Kenneth Walker's DFS Value Climbs into Week 8

Seattle Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker
Seattle Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 8 - Week 8 is upon us, and as ever the main slate of games has plenty of narratives that will shape your lineups in different ways from previous weeks. With the Bills, Chiefs, Chargers, and Ravens all either on bye weeks or not playing in the main slate, the quarterback landscape looks very different, but there are good opportunities out there. Remember folks, if you're U.K.-based, the clocks go back this weekend and your lineups need to be in an hour earlier than usual.

Quarterbacks

Jalen Hurts $8300 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (43.5 over/under)

Rejoice, for Jalen Hurts and the Eagles are back off their bye week and on the main slate. The Steelers travel to Philadelphia at a time when they're desperate for wins, but unlikely to find one as they face the fourth-best team in both offensive and defensive DVOA. Through six games, Hurts has had just two fantasy finishes outside the top five, and now he will face a Pittsburgh defense that has allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. The Steelers haven't encountered many dual-threat quarterbacks so far this season, but they allowed Josh Allen to rush five times for 42 yards when they met the Bills.

Usage Suggestions: Hurts is in play for both cash games and tournaments, but with his high pricing it might be easier to look elsewhere for cash.

Kyler Murray $7500 @ Minnesota Vikings (49.0 over/under)

The Cardinals normally start hot and finish cold, but this year we might be seeing the opposite as they finally look to be finding their feet later in the season with the return of DeAndre Hopkins. Murray averaged 4.0 rush attempts over Arizona's first three games, but it seems the team has cottoned on to the fact that his scurrying around the field can help, with an average of 8.3 rush attempts in the last four games. The Minnesota defense ranks 21st against both the pass and the rush and has allowed Justin Fields and Jalen Hurts to have strong rushing days with 8-47 and 11-57, respectively. We can expect Murray to be particularly strong in the red zone as he faces a Vikings side that ranks 32nd in red zone defense.

Usage Suggestions: Murray has had some down days and he doesn't feel quite secure enough for cash games, but he can be used in tournaments where we're chasing his ceiling outcomes. Stacking Murray with Zach Ertz and running it back with Justin Jefferson looks like a great start to lineups.

Tua Tagovailoa $6200 @ Detroit Lions (51.5 over/under)

Tagovailoa's broken start to the season has seen him appear in five games but only play three full games. Tagovailoa has thrown for multiple touchdowns just once in those five games: the Week 2 matchup against a collapsing Ravens defense. Like many before him, Tagovailoa might be finding a get-right spot against the Lions, who rank 31st in pass defense DVOA and have allowed two or more passing touchdowns in their last two home games, along with giving up the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Usage Suggestions: Tagovailoa has just one top-10 performance this year, and whilst the matchup is friendly, perhaps the Dolphins move toward the rushing game this week. As such, this is a ceiling-chasing play and makes more sense for tournaments. Miami stacks with Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill should capture most of any ceiling outcomes.

Daniel Jones $5700 @ Seattle Seahawks (44.5 over/under)

The NFC Offensive Player of the Week, Daniel Jones is coming off his seventh-career game of 30 or more fantasy points after he broke 100 rushing yards for the first time in his career. With the Giants banged up at both tight end and wide receiver, Jones has had to rely on his legs heavily, averaged 59.4 rushing yards in his last five outings, and ranks third among quarterbacks with 343 rushing yards. The Giants have the third-best road offense in DVOA and will take on a Seahawks team that has allowed opposing quarterbacks the seventh-most points in the league.

Usage Suggestions: Jones is a fringe starter for cash games this week. Expect this game to be a popular one for tournaments, but due to the injuries, it might make the obvious plays a little chalky.

Justin Fields $5200 @ Dallas Cowboys (42.0 over/under)

Amongst 35 quarterbacks, Fields ranks 35th in both DYAR and DVOA, but he has finished inside the top 12 fantasy quarterbacks in each of the last three weeks, including a Week 7 top-five performance and back-to-back 80-plus-rushing-yard games. The Cowboys have allowed the least points to opposing quarterbacks and rank first in pass defense DVOA, so this is by no means a great matchup, but we have seen an increase in Fields' fantasy floor in recent weeks with four games over 170 passing yards, compared to his first three games which all were under 125 yards. Fields has also passed for a touchdown in each of his last three games. It's not a great floor, but at $5200 Fields is very cheap.

Usage Suggestions: I prefer Fields for tournaments where you can take shots pairing him with one of the Cowboys running backs, who have a favorable matchup against this poor Chicago rushing defense.

Sam Ehlinger $4000 vs. Washington Commanders (39.5 over/under)

The Colts have decided not to continue with Matt Ryan and instead turn the page and evaluate what they have in Sam Ehlinger, who is in his second season after being drafted by the Colts in the sixth round. Where Ehlinger differs from Ryan is in his mobility, something that Ryan lacks greatly at this point in his career. Ehlinger rushed for 1,907 yards and 33 touchdowns over four seasons in college with the Texas Longhorns. It's unlikely that Ehlinger looks incredible in this stuttering colts offense, but the Commanders have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks along with the second-most passing touchdowns (14) and rank 29th in passing defense DVOA.

Usage Suggestions: At just $4000, Ehlinger is as cheap as you will ever find a quarterback. Because of that price tag, it's OK to consider him for cash and tournament games as you'll be able to access a higher ceiling elsewhere with the savings.

Malik Willis $5000 vs Houston Texans (40.5 over/under)

On Saturday Titans starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill was ruled out with illness which will in turn lead to rookie Malik Willis making his first career start. Willis's price isn't quite as low as Sam Ellingher but at $5000 will attract plenty of attention. Willis made plenty of plays in the preseason including a 50-yard rush against the Cardinals. The Texans are not a frightening defense and we shouldn't be scared of playing Willis.

Usage Suggestions: Willis is in play for cash and tournament games. It's tricky to stack Willis without an idea of how he'll perform, and stacking him with Derrick Henry feels more intriguing than any other option.

Running Backs

Derrick Henry $8400 vs. Houston Texans (40.5 over/under)

The Houston Texans have allowed the fourth-most rushing yards in the league (988) despite having played one less game than most teams. Henry has had more rushing attempts than Ryan Tannehill has had passing attempts for three consecutive weeks now as it seems the Titans are well aware that their offense's success rests on the shoulders of their star running back. Henry ranks fifth in effective yards, has had three top-five fantasy performances in his last four outings, and will now face this extremely friendly matchup where the Texans allow more fantasy points to running backs than any other side.

Usage Suggestions: Henry is on the expensive side of things, but his matchup is excellent and he can be used in both cash games and tournaments if you're paying down at other positions. Neither quarterback in this game brings much fantasy appeal, but you can correlate Henry with Brandin Cooks for a stack that relies on the narrative the Texans are throwing heavily to get back into the game.

Saquon Barkley $8100 @ Seattle Seahawks (44.5 over/under)

After starting the season in top form, Barkley has quietly regressed, with three of his last four games resulting in fantasy performances outside the top 12. Barkley, however, still ranks ninth in DYAR and will now face a Seahawks defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs and a league-high 1,048 rushing yards. Barkley feels less of a sure thing than early in the season, but that should result in a lot fewer people rostering him this weekend.

Usage Suggestions: In cash games, I would lean towards Derrick Henry, but for tournaments, Barkley is a fine play and can be paired with a Seahawks pass-catcher. Stacking Barkley with Jones will access a lot of the Giants ceiling outcome, but it's of note that Barkley has less than 50 receiving yards in every game this year.

Alvin Kamara $7100 vs. Las Vegas Raiders (49.5 over/under)

After a sluggish start to the season, Alvin Kamara is showing signs of life again for fantasy managers, leading the position in receiving yards over the last three weeks. Only Austin Ekeler has seen more targets than Kamara's 24 in that period. The Saints intend to carry on with Andy Dalton at quarterback and that's not a bad thing for Kamara, who has been more productive in games without Jameis Winston. The Raiders have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to running backs in the rushing department, but have allowed the 12th-most points to running backs in the receiving game and rank 23rd in DVOA in that category.

Usage Suggestions: Kamara is in play for both cash games and tournaments this week and can be easily paired with Davante Adams if you're paying down elsewhere.

Kenneth Walker $6500 vs. New York Giants (44.5 over/under)

Since Rashaad Penny sadly suffered a season-ending injury, Kenneth Walker has looked every bit the running back Seattle hoped for when they selected him with the 41st pick overall in this year's draft, and Walker now ranks eighth in DVOA amongst running backs. Despite fears that Walker would have to share this backfield with Pete Carroll's love of a committee, DeeJay Dallas has had just four touches per game since Penny's injury. The Giants defense ranks 30th on the road and in run defense DVOA, and it has allowed a league-leading 5.7 yards per carry, including over 350 rushing yards in its last two games combined. Walker's price is climbing steadily, but it's not out of reach yet.

Usage Suggestions: Walker projects well enough in a good matchup that he's in play for both cash games and tournaments.

Tony Pollard $6100 vs. Chicago Bears (42.0 over/under)

It sounds likely that Ezekiel Elliott will miss the Cowboys' Week 8 matchup against the Bears as he recovers from a sprained knee. This in turn will hand over the reins for at least one week to Tony Pollard. The Cowboys have split their running back work slightly in favor of Elliott this season, but Pollard has been more efficient, which has led to him ranking 14th in DVOA compared to Elliott's 18th. Pollard ranks ninth amongst running backs with 5.6 yards per carry and has an impressive 4.3 yards after contact compared to Elliott's 2.8. The Bears are the ninth-worst team in run defense DVOA and have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the position.

Usage Suggestions: If Elliott is in fact ruled out, then Pollard will be an extremely popular play, which makes slightly more sense for cash games, but he can be used in tournaments if you're mindful of your lineups.

D'Onta Foreman $5300 vs. Atlanta Falcons (41.0 over/under)

The Panthers running back room is looking very slim at the moment and on Friday Chuba Hubbard was ruled out for Week 8, leaving D'Onta Foreman likely to get the bulk of the work on Sunday. Atlanta ranks 26th against the run in DVOA and has allowed over 150 rushing yards in three of their last four games. 

Usage Suggestions: Foreman will be a popular play and is fine for both cash and tournaments. 

Wide Receivers

Tyreek Hill $8500 @ Detroit Lions (51.5 over/under)

Through seven games, with three different quarterbacks, Tyreek Hill has averaged 11.1 targets and 8.1 catches per game, which is a great floor in PPR formats. He now ranks second in DYAR and leads the position in receiving yards (773). The Lions rank 31st in pass defense DVOA and 30th against WR1s. There will be some talk about the Lions shutting down players like Justin Jefferson, who scored a disappointing 4.4 PPR points in Week 3, but the Dolphins have shown they will scheme touches to Hill and I have no worries.

Usage Suggestions: A stronger play in tournaments than for cash as this feels more of a week to pay up for a running back. Therefore, in tournaments, we can flip the build and go in a different direction.

Tyler Lockett $6500 vs. New York Giants (45.0 over/under)

DK Metcalf looks likely to miss at least one game, and after he got injured against the Chargers, much of the attention went to Marquise Goodwin, who scored the second-most fantasy points of his 95 career games. Goodwin is likely to attract attention at $4400, but I prefer to play Tyler Lockett, who has the eighth-most catches amongst wide receivers, ranks 10th in DYAR, and has the fourth-highest catch rate with 77%. The Giants rank eighth against the pass, but volume alone should be plenty enough for Tyler Lockett this week.

Usage Suggestions: Lockett can be used as leverage away from Kenneth Walker, who will attract the most attention of the Seahawks this week.

Devonta Smith $6300 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (43.5 over/under)

Despite having as many catches and touchdowns as A.J. Brown, Devonta Smith continues to come at a discount to Brown, who does have 106 more receiving yards. Smith ranks 11th in DYAR whereas Brown ranks 21st and at cost, it's hard to argue for playing Brown over Smith right now. The Eagles play the Steelers, who rank 15th against the pass but rank 22nd against WR2s. This feels like another good matchup for Smith.

Usage Suggestions: The Steelers aren't a team I like to play against too often for cash selections as they play slow and are a strange team this year, but I wouldn't argue strongly against Smith for cash games. In tournaments, Smith pairs well with Jalen Hurts for a stack that should get you off to a strong start.

Brandon Aiyuk $6100 @ Los Angeles Rams (43.0 over/under)

After back-to-back games with 11 targets, Brandon Aiyuk is now tied with Deebo Samuel for the most catches on the 49ers with 32. The Rams rank 29th against WR2s and have given up the sixth-most fantasy points to the position as their defense and secondary in particular has failed to live up to last year's reputation. With Deebo Samuel ruled out of this game Aiyuk will no doubt be a popular play this weekend.

Usage Suggestions: These division grudge matches have a habit of going against the way we predict sometimes, and I prefer Aiyuk more for tournaments than for cash. Jimmy Garoppolo has been reasonable for fantasy purposes of late and at $5600 he offers a cheap stacking option for tournaments only.

Brandin Cooks $5900 vs. Tennessee Titans (40.5 over/under)

After years of being faded by fantasy managers and Cooks proving them wrong, so far this season Cooks hasn't been able to do so as Davis Mills' regression has caught up with Cooks' performances, leaving him languishing as the WR48 in PPR. There may be a reason for hope, though, as the Texans go up against the Titans, who are stout against the run, ranking third in run defense DVOA but 17th against the pass and allowing the second-most fantasy points to receivers.

Usage Suggestions: With the Texans being a difficult team to count on, I prefer to play Cooks in tournament settings and correlate him with Derrick Henry or on his own.

DJ Moore $5300 @ Atlanta Falcons (41.0 over/under)

After two games with PJ Walker, we can start to feel like we have an idea of who he'll lean on, and without Christian McCaffrey on the team any longer, it's hard to imagine Moore seeing less than the 8.5 targets he has seen in the last two games. The Falcons started the season surprisingly well at times on defense but now they languish in last place in pass defense DVOA, allowing the most passing yards in the league by over 200 more than the next closest team, and have given up an average of 368.6 yards in their last three games. On Friday A.J Terrell was ruled out for the Falcons which will lead to Moore being a very popular play. 

Usage Suggestions: With Terrell ruled out Moore will be one of the most popular plays at receiver and as such he's fine for cash games. For tournaments, I'm not sure there are any Falcons worth correlating with Moore.

Van Jefferson $3000 vs. San Francisco 49ers (43.0 over/under)

On Saturday the Rams activated Van Jefferson from I.R and his return should be most welcome to the Rams if they can keep Matthew Stafford protected long enough to throw downfield. Jefferson averaged 5.65 targets per game in 2021 and managed six touchdowns, at a time when the Rams are searching for answers he might be able to help. $3000 is the absolute minimum at wide receiver and he's a far more intriguing option than any other receiver under $4500.

Usage Suggestions: Van Jefferson's game suits more of a tournament setting than cash games as he can be quite boom or bust.

Tight End

Zach Ertz $5100 @ Minnesota Vikings (49.0 over/under)

Zach Ertz is tying Travis Kelce for weekly finishes inside the top 12 in fantasy points with both players doing so six times. Whilst Ertz has managed only one top-five performance, his consistency is not to be disregarded at a tough position for fantasy. The Vikings allow the 10th-most fantasy points and rank dead last against tight ends in DVOA.

Usage Suggestions: Ertz is a fine play for both cash and tournaments and an easy candidate to be stacked with Kyler Murray.

Tyler Higbee $4200 vs. San Francisco 49ers (43.0 over/under)

Despite already having had a bye week, Tyler Higbee still remains fourth in targets amongst tight ends (50) and is second in targets per game with 5.6. San Francisco has allowed the ninth-fewest points to tight ends but they have faced very few tight ends of note, and the last time these teams met in Week 4 Higbee put up 17.3 DraftKings points.

Usage Suggestions: I have concerns about whether this game will explode or not, and I would feel more comfortable chasing the ceiling outcomes in tournaments, where we can stack Higbee with Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford.

Irv Smith Jr. $3500 vs. Arizona Cardinals (49.0 over/under)

The simplest decision in fantasy football starts with checking which tight end faces the Cardinals each week. The Cardinals have climbed out of last place in DVOA against the position to the dizzying heights of fifth-worst, but they have still surrendered the second-most fantasy points to tight ends all season and it feels fine to continue chasing that narrative for now.

Usage Suggestions: Tournaments only and best as part of a game stack hoping this game turns into a shootout.

 

Stack of The Week

Value is the name of the game this week and there are a few low-cost stacks that open up interesting options elsewhere. This week's Stack of The Week is Daniel Jones ($5700), Wan'Dale Robinson ($4700) and bringing it back with Tyler Lockett ($6500). This stack leaves $33,100 remaining for you to play with and so far I've found nice combinations using this stack that still allows me to play Derrick Henry and Tyreek Hill.

 

Fade of The Week

The Steelers face a brutally tough road trip to the Eagles and I find it hard to play any of the pass-catchers outside of George Pickens ($4700), but in particular, Najee Harris at $5700 is still not cheap enough to tempt me when the Eagles have allowed the fourth-fewest rushing first downs this season (35).

 

That's all for now, but as usual, this column will be updated as the news continues to filter out. For all your DFS questions, jump into the Football Outsiders Discord or find me on Twitter @NFL_Tstrack.

Comments

4 comments, Last at 29 Oct 2022, 6:17am

#1 by Pen // Oct 28, 2022 - 1:38am

Find my fantasy team. Then stay away from all my best players, 1st through 4th round picks, because they are going to be injured.

If one of my players is questionable, but they say he;'s good to go, he's not going to play.

If I grab a hot player, stay away from him. He's going to either get injured or have his worst day.

No matter what TE I start, start the TE I leave on the bench that day. He's going to go to town and the one I started is going to flop.

Oh, and grab the Denver Kicker. He's a busy man.

Points: 0

#2 by Bears85 // Oct 28, 2022 - 12:20pm

Washington Team Defense DVOA is 16th not 28th. 

Points: 0

#3 by Tom Strachan // Oct 29, 2022 - 5:59am

Apologies, that's passing defense DVOA. Will clarify that now.

Points: 0

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