FanDuel Week 8 NFL DFS Sleeper Picks & Pivot Lineup Plays

Written By Nate Weitzer on October 27, 2017

Week 8 NFL DFS Sleepers, Fades, Contrarian, and Pivot Plays on FanDuel

Week 8 of NFL DFS is upon us, and everyone is looking to cash in on the big daily fantasy football money at FanDuel. Every week, we’ll bring you our top DFS NFL picks for each position and recommend them as Cash Game and/or GPP plays. And to keep up with all things PlayPicks, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Cash Game options generally come with less risk and a more stable floor, while the best GPP plays can bring tons of risk but also upside. Taking a chance on players with high ceilings and low floors is a good way to separate from a large tournament field.

As with any daily fantasy sport, the advice below is relevant for fantasy purposes. A player or team might be better or worse from a fantasy perspective than in real life due to matchup, price, gameflow, and more. This is important when constructing a roster. And if you’re looking for a new way to play NFL DFS, be sure and give DRAFT a try.

In this article, we highlight the plays that aren’t necessarily obvious and, therefore, may help separate you in a contest that features thousands of lineups.


CHALK: Carson Wentz vs. SF ($7.9k)
PIVOT(S): Kirk Cousins vs. DAL ($7.8k), Cam Newton @ TB ($7.8k)
Carson Wentz flashed his incredible upside with a masterful performance on Monday night against a staunch Washington defense and will be highly owned in a juicy matchup against San Francisco’s 29th-ranked pass defense. Yet gameflow could prevent him from throwing down the stretch.

Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins’ team (+2.5) should trail in a game against Dallas with a 50.5-point over/under. Despite the struggle of key receivers (Terrelle Pryor Sr. is a non-factor, and Jamison Crowder has been awful), Cousins continues to put up numbers, as he’s averaging 304.5 passing yards per game with 11 TDs in his last four appearances. He burned Rod Marinelli’s Cover 2-based scheme last Thanksgiving and has historically been much better at home.

Using Cam Newton is a great way to be contrarian in GPP formats after the inconsistent passer went down in flames in Chicago last week. Now, he faces a Bucs secondary that looked bewildered while getting demolished by the Cardinals and Bills the past two weeks. Newton continues to pile up rushing stats, which significantly raises his upside on FanDuel. 

FADE: Tom Brady vs. LAC ($9.4k)
He’s simply too expensive given the lack of upside we’ve seen from Tom Brady, and he’s actually flashed a scary-low floor by throwing for fewer than 270 yards in three of his seven starts this season. The Chargers rank 8th in DVOA pass defense and 27th in run defense while coughing up the second-most RuYPG (140.6) this season. If the Patriots (-7) get ahead early, they could milk the clock and sap Brady’s value in a repeat of what happened last Sunday night in Foxborough.

Running Backs

CHALK: Ezekiel Elliott @ WAS ($9.0k)
PIVOT: Le’Veon Bell @ DET ($9.4k)
After exploding for a career-best 219 yards from scrimmage (as recommended in last week’s Pivots article), Ezekiel Elliott should have a massive ownership rate this Sunday. But he faces Washington’s 10th-ranked run defense, which has been solid despite drawing a brutal schedule. Le’Veon Bell has a higher floor in a potential shootout in Detroit Sunday night. The Lions are giving up the most receptions per game (6.83) to opposing RBs this season, likely securing the workhorse’s massive role even further.

CONTRARIAN: Devonta Freeman @ NYJ ($8.0k)
Everyone is off the Falcons offense after yet another ineffective outing against the Patriots’ vulnerable defense. So Devonta Freeman will likely have light ownership despite facing a Jets team ranked 22nd in DVOA run defense. Plus, the Jets are coughing up the fifth-most RuYPG (126.6) this season. Tevin Coleman (knee) could be limited or inactive this week, which would considerably boost Freeman’s security as a workhorse back, and he remains the preferred option at the goal line. Once Matt Ryan and new OC Steve Sarkisian revive this dormant offense, Freeman will reap the benefits.

SLEEPER: Jalen Richard @ BUF ($5.3k)
DeAndre Washington will be a popular play this week with Marshawn Lynch suspended, but his matchup is far from ideal against the Bills’ seventh-rank run defense. If Washington is stonewalled on the interior, Oakland will likely look to throw a ton and soften up the Bills’ deep coverage by dumping it off to Jalen Richard on a couple of designed screens. The speedy back is averaging 12.8 yards per reception on 12 catches this year. He’s also carried 35 times for 158 yards and a touchdown. There’s a chance Richard makes a splash play in Buffalo.

Wide Receivers

CHALK: A.J. Green vs. IND ($8.5k)
PIVOT: Julio Jones @ NYJ ($8.7k)
A.J. Green needs no justification as an elite play in a bounce-back spot against the Colts’ pathetic pass defense. But if the first couple of touchdowns go to the Bengals’ backs, TE Tyler Kroft, or other WRs, he could be phased out due to positive gameflow.

Once again, a Falcons player would be an appealing pivot in this price range: Julio Jones faces a Jets team that’s been torched for 15 passing touchdowns, tied with the Patriots for the most allowed in the NFL this year. The Jets rank 21st in DVOA pass defense against opposing top receivers, and Jones is starting to get the “squeaky wheel” treatment. Even though he’s not complaining about a lack of targets, Steve Sarkisian’s job essentially depends on getting his elite WR involved the way Kyle Shanahan did last season. A blowup spot is coming for Jones, and this could be the week to target him in GPP formats.

FADE: Amari Cooper @ BUF ($7.2k)
Amari Cooper broke out of a lengthy slumber with a massive game last Thursday night and will probably be a popular target in tournaments as a result. Yet he’s far from a consistent player, and he’ll draw a tough away matchup against a Bills team that’s allowed just five passing scores and snatched nine interceptions on the season. Buffalo has a rising star at CB in Tre’Davious White, a first-round pick out of LSU. If he lines up opposite Cooper, Michael Crabtree could actually be the superior play at the very same price tag.

SLEEPER: JuJu Smith-Schuster @ DET ($5.5k)
The Martavis Bryant saga continues, as the disgruntled WR will reportedly be a healthy scratch this Sunday due to his consistent trade demands. That opens the door for JuJu Smith-Schuster to log even more playing time after his snap-rate dropped to 44.9 percent in Week 7. He played on 79, 71, 82, and 67 percent the previous four weeks and has turned into a viable red zone option for Ben Roethlisberger when teams sell out to stop Antonio Brown. Up next is a Lions secondary that’s very good along the boundaries but more vulnerable against slot receivers. Bryant’s absence all but ensures more targets will be headed toward JuJu.

Tight Ends

CHALK: Zach Ertz vs. SF ($7.3k)
PIVOT(S): Rob Gronkowski vs. LAC ($8.4k), Jordan Reed vs. DAL ($6.1k)
There’s no tight end in a similar price range to Zach Ertz, who has established the highest floor at his position and remains a rock-solid Cash play. Yet gameflow remains a concern for Eagles’ receivers with their team favored by nearly two touchdowns at home, and the 49ers are actually the top-ranked defense in terms of DVOA against opposing TEs this year.

At home against the Chargers, Rob Gronkowski will continue to see massive usage in the red zone. It’s simply a question of whether he draws a pass interference flag, drops the ball, or hangs onto those pinpoint passes from Brady.

Another appealing tournament play, Jordan Reed won’t cost you much, and he also has multi-TD upside to go along with his massive injury risk. He played on 78 percent of offensive snaps in Week 7, his highest total since Week 1, and scored twice against a strong Eagles defense. He’s worth a look against the Cowboys’ mediocre secondary. 

VALUE SLEEPER: Hunter Henry vs. NE ($5.5k)
Hunter Henry topped 70 receiving yards in a second consecutive game last week, and his role continues to expand with Antonio Gates (knee) heading toward retirement. The athletic young TE has finished second on the team in targets in three straight games and draws a great matchup against the Patriots’ struggling linebackers. They have coughed up the sixth-most FPPG (12.16) and ninth-most receptions per game (5.29) to opposing tight ends this season. With the Chargers likely playing from behind, Henry has a solid floor in this road game.

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Nate Weitzer Avatar
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Nate Weitzer

Nate Weitzer is a successful DFS player at DraftKings and FanDuel with numerous tournament wins in NBA and NFL contests. He's been writing about DFS for several years, specializing in NBA picks and advice while continuing to build his bankroll across the daily fantasy industry. When he's not playing DFS, Weitzer is often covering high school sports in the greater Boston area for outlets such as The Boston Globe, or playing basketball himself. Follow Nate on Twitter @Nweitzer7.

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