This is the first week of putting most of our information on the website in addition to the podcast. Our idea is to skim through everything and then direct listeners here for the full picture. We’ve found our average run time of 45 minutes to be a bit too long so we are aiming for a shorter show and supplemental info below. In future weeks, we might even post more during the week and culminating in the podcast. We are also going to start posting our favorite bets under the betting section.
Week 8 in the NFL is upon us after watching the Ravens demolish the ‘phins Thursday night while somehow hitting the over with 2 back up QBs trying to out suck each other. Joe Flacco’s elite career seemingly ended in the 2nd quarter and we now look forward to Ryan Mallet and his arm lead the Ravens to the promise land.
The Perfect Storm
Of the 32 teams in the league, six are on bye (same deal next week) and with the Thursday game, Monday game, London game, and Sunday night game on DK, you are down to 20 teams to pick from (18 on DK). Further muddying the waters is the weather on the East coast. So far, we have not had to discuss the impacts weather can have on football games. There will be rain and nasty winds in Carolina, Philly, Washington, New York, and New England. What this means is that ownership will be concentrated on a select few and it’s a great week to go contrarian with bad weather and bad matchup games.
Andy Dalton – chalk
Carson Wentz – chalk
Matt Ryan (GPP)
Leveon Bell (FD Only)
Joe Mixon/Giovanni Bernard
Mark Ingram/Alvin Kamara
Christian McCaffery (DK)
Chris Thompson (DK)
Kelvin Benjamin/Devin Funchess
Defense and Special Teams
If we have learned anything about Defense this year, its less about the team and more about the matchup. We saw that Thursday night when the Ravens took two Matt Moore INTs to the house. The Dolphins by any stretch aren’t a bad team record wise, but they were starting their career backup on short rest. We saw in Week 1, the Jaguars jump all over the Texans and Tom Savage. Beyond that, we have to focus on the QBs who have been known to throw poor interceptions throughout their careers. Players like Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, and Carson Palmer come to mind. Third, there is the health and smarts of the defensive skill positions. Most DBs can run fast and make plays but others are better at diagnosing the play and causing havoc. Does the defense you are targeting have those players. Lastly, you have to look at the offensive line situations. The worse the o-line, the more likely you get points for sacks, fumbles, and bad throws. Before I dive in, lets breakdown the grading system:
Facing a rookie/backup QB: 1 star
Facing a turnover prone QB: 1 star
Facing a poor o-line: 1 star
Intelligent and playmaking D: 1 star
Explosive KR/PR: 1 star
Facing a offensive juggernaught: -1 star
Lack of playmakers and poorly graded players: -1 star
**note that half stars can be awarded and certain ones offset (for example a TO prone QB might also make big scoring plays)
Chargers at Patriots: Normally, I would lump Phillip Rivers into the category of bad INT thrower but when the Patriots give up 300 yard games to everyone and their INTs generally on deep throws, it’s tough to get any returns. We know the reasons why not to target teams against Brady and the Pats although their o-line is shaky.
Chargers: 1 star D | Patriots: 1.5 star D
49ers at Eagles: 49ers offense is ripe for a disaster game. Starting a rookie and going on the road again + a quick hitter offense means its prime for a pick 6. Their o-line is generally solid so sack upside isn’t there but I like the Eagles D this week. 49ers D is one of the worst in the NFL so lets pass and target Eagles offensive players.
49ers: -1 star D | Eagles: 3 star D
Bears at Saints: The Bears are starting a rookie QB who has looked decent in his 1st two starts. The credit must go to the O-line which has protected both Trubisky and Glennon well while opening up holes for Jordan Howard. The Saints are young, athletic, and aggressive on D and usually have boom or bust games. I like them to have a boom game this week in the dome. Drew Brees at home is scary although he’s shown the ability to throw picks this year. However, I don’t see any pick-6s in this one but the Bears D is stingy and might be a sneaky contrarian play in a GPP
Bears: 1.5 star D | Saints: 2.5 star D
Colts at Bengals: Jacoby Brissett has done admirably filling in on short notice but has given up some big, big games to opposing D. He’s a gunslinger who will make big plays but also toss some quails that make you think. The Bengals are generally solid on D so this makes for a popular play, if only for the lack of points scored by the Colts offense. The Colts D is bad. Plus they are losing defenders left and right. Like the Eagles, I want to focus on Cincy’s offense here.
Colts: 0 star D | Bengals: 2 star D
Falcons at Jets: The 2017 Falcons are not the 2016 Falcons by any means. They still boast all the weapons so its hard to start any D against them. Matt Ryan is not necessarily turning the ball over but he also isn’t scoring the ball either. For the Jets, Josh McCown has been a steady game manager for a surprising NY Football Jet team. He is still prone to turnovers but generally speaking, he takes the 3 and out rather than the INT. Falcons are a low owned GPP play this week.
Falcons: 2.5 star D | Jets: .5 star D
Panthers at Bucs: Both Jameis and Cam have the ability to throw back breaking INTs but I am scared to target either team specifically because their D’s are that bad. This game *should* shootout and leave not a lot of points for the D’s to pick up. However, I can envision a Saints/Lions scenario where the final score is 45-35 but 2 defensive TDs are scored. Unfortunately, I don’t know which one.
Panthers: 2 star D | Bucs: 1.5 star D
Raiders at Bills: The Bills D was able to start the year on fire thanks to a less than stellar schedule. The last 4 weeks however, there have been some chinks in the armor and I fully expect this game to shoot out similarly to last weeks tilt against the Bucs. The Raiders generally do well against zone schemes which the Bills run almost exclusively. The Raiders are more known for a bad defense, especially in the secondary. Tyrod is a capable QB and should have no problem not turning the ball over.
Raiders: .5 star D | Bills 1.5 star D
Texans at Seahawks: The Texans and Deshaun Watson are rewarded after their bye week with a trip to the northwest vs the 12s. Seattle doesn’t have it’s lock down D in years past but they still have the pieces to shut down a rookie QB. Watson has been great from a stats perspective but overall there are signs he’s due a regression. I look for it to happen this week. As for the Texans D, they are without 2 All-Pro talents and have a banged up secondary to boot. Wilson does a great job protecting the football and I look for him to feast on a depleted defense.
Texans: 1 star D | Seahawks: 3 star D
Cowboys at Redskins: The Cowboys have long had one of the better o-lines in football so don’t expect much pressure from the front 7 of the Redskins. Dak is an expert game manager but as taken another step this year scoring the football through the air. With a banged up secondary, I expect a lot of offensive points scored for the Cowboys. On the other side, the Cowboys have lost a lot of games thanks to their defense. It starts in the middle with a banged up LB core and they released a few DBs in the offseason. I think Kirk Cousins has a big game a la Jared Goff a few weeks ago. I wouldn’t target either in this game could see the Cowboys as a viable play with a crucial pick 6 or fumble return for 6.
Cowboys: 1.5 star D | Redskins: 1 star D
K(For the FanDuel fans)
Best Ground options
Best Air options
Vs Patriots (for now)
Avoid on the ground
Bills (raiders RBBC)
Avoid through the air