💥 An Underrated Matchup for Sunday
We gotta find points somewhere...
Halloween weekend? Or no teams on bye? Don’t know which one is scarier tbh…
In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Constant Contact:
Colts. Saints. Fantasy points. Let’s get it.
Rankings Roundtable: Let’s talk about Love, baby.
DFS Stacks: Keep pushing the Lamar Jackson MVP agenda
QUICK HITTER: Injury updates (Sunday could be Purdy good)
An RB looking for a new home
The Walkthrough: Kerrane highlights the Texans’ passing game
Fantasy Bingo: More winning plays for Week 8
It’s 10/28. Take it away, Chris…
We’ve got an exciting day of football ahead of us on Sunday. Every team (minus the Thursday and Monday night squads) will take the field, giving fantasy managers as many options as possible to jam into our starting lineups.
On the one hand, great! We get our star players back. Run up the projections. But on the other hand, Vegas doesn’t want us to have any fun. Of the 14 games kicking off tomorrow:
Three games project for fewer than 40 points
Five are between 40 and 45 points
No game projects for more than 47
But don’t worry. At least one matchup caught my eye with the potential to overachieve its predicted total.
🚀 Saints at Colts
At first glance, a game with a 43.5-point total isn’t all that appealing. But the Saints are running 70.6 plays per game, and the Colts clock in at 67.1. Accordingly, this contest sets up as one of three on the slate where both teams are above the league average in plays run.
And we already know where most of the Gardner Minshew’s targets are going.
Minshew capitalizes on the free play 🔥
📺: #CLEvsIND on CBS
📱: Stream on #NFLPlusbit.ly/3rPFsBr
— NFL (@NFL)
Oct 22, 2023
Josh Downs ($4800 on DraftKings) led the Colts in targets with a 44.7% air-yard share against the Browns, and he’s yet to see fewer than five looks in a single game. And with Zack Moss only getting in limited practice this week, Jonathan Taylor ($6200) may get the backfield all to himself against a Saints’ run defense that just got rocked by Travis Etienne (22.7 PPR points, RB4).
And on the flip side, since his return, Alvin Kamara is averaging the same targets per game as Tyreek Hill. Plus, if Derek Carr throws him a ball inbounds, Chris Olave still leads the squad in air yards, with Taysom Hill taking more of the short-area looks on 8 and 5 targets over the last two weeks.
In single-week contests, this game might get lost in the shuffle as folks wait on news from the 49ers and updates on a few key injuries. Regardless, there should be enough upside plays in Lucas Oil Stadium to attract our attention for Week 8.
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Debating between two guys on your roster? Need someone to break the tie for you? Matthew Freedman, Dwain McFarland, and Ian Hartitiz dove deep into their rankings to find a few players they’re willing to push into their starting lineup for Week 8.
I’m still struggling with the fact we have no teams on bye this week.
Seven days ago, the sky was falling as fantasy managers had to move (what seemed like) every top-12 option to their bench. And injuries put us into an even tighter bind.
But this week? Everyone’s back. Plus, and I’m knocking on wood while typing this, I’m not shocked at the practice reports after Friday. However, in some ways, it makes our roster decisions tougher. With more players, and some in less than advantageous spots, we’ve got our work cut out for us in Week 8.
To help, our rankings squad got together again to find a few players they’re higher or lower on relative to consensus. So, if you’re having questions about setting your lineup for Week 8, check out their notes before kickoff.
💪 WR – Jordan Addison (Vikings) at Packers
Since Week 5 — when No. 1 WR Justin Jefferson (hamstring, IR) exited the game early with an injury — Addison has 16-215-4 receiving on 24 targets, and aside from a game-scripted one-target Week 4 stinker, he has looked like a competent and consistent pass catcher with five-plus targets and either 50 yards or a TD in each game.
The Packers could be without No. 1 CB Jaire Alexander (back), who missed last week after aggravating the injury that caused him to sit out Weeks 3-4.
🧀 QB – Jordan Love (GB) vs MIN
Things certainly haven’t been going great for first-year starting QB Jordan Love, particularly in the first half: Green Bay has scored a total of six points during the first 30 minutes of action over their last four games.
Credit to Love and Company for usually proving capable of staging a comeback and making things interesting late; just realize it'd be a lot cooler if this offense could sustain some level of consistency throughout four consecutive quarters of action.
Of course, it is hard to maintain offensive consistency when Love has functioned as arguably the single-most inaccurate passer in football:
Completion percentage over expected: -5.3% (No. 32)
Adjusted completion rate: 65% (No. 33)
Raw completion rate: 57.5 (No. 33)
The context of Love boasting the league’s second-highest average target depth (9.8 yards) matters, but still: This offense would suddenly look a helluva lot more lethal if their fourth-year QB could most consistently make the sort of layup throws that have been missing from this offense for most of the season.
Don’t get it twisted: Love has displayed some real highs this season (especially early on). His arm talent and athleticism force defenses to account for virtually every square inch of the field for better and (at this point mostly) worse.
In fantasy land, Love’s penchant for taking off and running has been very valuable and one of the main reasons why he’s worked as the QB8 in fantasy points per game through seven weeks: His average of 4.2 fantasy points per game from purely rushing production is the 10th-highest mark among all QBs to play at least five games this season.
Up next is a Vikings’ defense that has blitzed on a league-high 63.3% of their opponent's dropbacks.
While Love actually boasts top-12 marks in PFF pass grade and passer rating against the blitz this season, it wouldn’t be surprising if life in this offense continues to present more struggle than joy in the near term.
🥇 Popular option: Baltimore Ravens
In week 7, Lamar Jackson torched the Lions for 357 yards passing on just 27 attempts, with a yards per attempt of 13.2 (yearly double his season average) while adding 9 rushing attempts for 36 yards and a TD.
While the Ravens are not thought to be a fast-paced team (they are denoted as “Neutral in PPMOE), they have shown to be up-paced twice while not having a single slow-paced game this season, which is massive for their upside potential as a stack.
Zay Flowers doesn’t profile as the typical WR1, but his utilization has been surprisingly strong this year as he ranks 13th best in the league, sandwiched between Davante Adams and A.J. Brown.
📊 Stack info (DraftKings)
💰 Salary and projections:
Combo 1 (Jackson/Flowers/Andrews): The most expensive option at $20,100, it showcases a Median score of 48.69.
Combo 2 (Jackson/Flowers/Beckham Jr.): Priced at $17,500, it offers a Median score of 42.10.
Combo 3 (Jackson/Beckham Jr./Andrews): The least expensive of the trio at $18,300 but has a slightly better Median score than Combo 2 at 40.76.
Given the projections, Combo 1 leads in terms of raw performance, while Combo 3 presents itself as a cost-efficient option without compromising too much on the Median score.
🧮 Finish percentiles
Combo 1 (Jackson/Flowers/Andrews): It leads the pack with a 4.84% Top Finish, a promising 25.64% Top 5 Finish, a 43.88% Top 10 Finish, and an impressive 73.32% chance to exceed the 60% percentile.
Combo 2 (Jackson/Flowers/Beckham Jr.): Comes in with a 0.80% Top Finish, 8.64% Top 5 Finish, 19.40% Top 10 Finish, and a 71.92% chance to exceed the 60% percentile.
Combo 3 (Jackson/Beckham Jr./Andrews): The budget option, but with a 0.44% Top Finish, 6.92% Top 5 Finish, 16.96% Top 10 Finish, and a 62.40% chance to surpass the 60% percentile.
🔥 Combo 1: High Performance at a Premium
This combination leads in nearly all metrics, making it the go-to for those aiming for top-tier results and willing to spend a bit more.
🤷♂️ Combo 2: Value Play with Good Potential
With a good balance between cost and performance, this combo offers decent returns without breaking the bank.
📉 Combo 3: Budget-friendly Option
While it's the most affordable, its performance metrics lag slightly behind Combo 2. It's a viable choice for those who have budget constraints and are looking for reasonable potential.
The heart and soul of the Ravens stacks is based on Lamar Jackson and his rushing/passing combo.
Who you pair with him is largely less important, but you can see from the model results that dropping to Odell Beckham Jr. is a pretty risky proposition. That said, this is going to be a popular option on Sunday, so aiming to be a bit different with the WR3 is fine in larger GPPs.
📝 Josh Downs breakout campaign. Kincaid TE1 SZN. Why is Ridley struggling? We have all the notes you need for Week 8.
💪 Brock Purdy practicing against on Friday. Let’s see if he clears the protocol later today.
🧳 Dalvin...Cooked? Sounds like someone's ready to move on.
🦅 Two Eagles flying in different directions. Regression is coming for these WRs.
🤕 Matt LaFleur gives an update on Aaron Jones. It's...well...it's not great.
🙏 Kyler throwing darts to Hollywood. Is his season debut around the corner?
💔 Jameson Williams. Jared Goff. Looks like this couple still needs time to connect.
👀 Did you want to start Kareem Hunt or Pierre Strong this weekend? Watch for Sunday inactives to be sure.
😲 Tyrod Taylor to start in Week 8...and maybe longer?!?
An all-encompassing Week 8 preview breaking down EVERY game with an array of advanced analytics as well as devoted film analysis from a champion expert in the field who just so happens to also be a rather great writer — is that something you might be interested in?
C.J. Stroud is relentlessly attacking the deep middle of the field, which is great news for fantasy. And Fantasy scoring is driven by yards and TDs… which NFL teams also tend to like—especially NFL teams in the Shanahan tree.
I first started writing about the importance of these targets traveling 10+ air yards over the middle of the field – the splash zone – because of Mike McDaniel’s offensive design last season. This year, of the top 10 teams in splash zone target rate, five are run by coaches who worked under Kyle Shanahan or by Shanahan himself.
This is scheme at work.
But scheme isn’t the only element at play. You also need a QB capable of throwing into tight windows over the middle of the field.
This is a fun clip in which Benjamin Solak explains how Stroud manipulates a linebacker with his eyes to open up a window for Nico Collins in the splash zone. QB play matters too here, and Stroud looks capable of executing.
The Texans are unlikely to have a ton of raw passing volume in this matchup, but they should still post a high rate of splash zone attempts, given their aggressiveness in attacking that part of the field and the Panthers’ propensity for allowing 15+ yard passes.
And if you are looking to play this angle, Collins is your best bet. Collins is seeing splash zone targets at an elite rate. Among WRs with 150+ routes, only Brandon Aiyuk, Tyreek Hill, Jakobi Meyers, Adam Thielen, and Puka Nacua are seeing splash zone targets at a higher rate.
Tank Dell also looks interesting here. Per ESPN's newly released open score data, Dell is an elite route runner.
But when looking at splash zone targets, it’s pretty clear that Collins is the primary weapon for this part of the Texans' offense. And that’s the way to attack this passing matchup. Collins a locked-in WR2.
Dell also looks like a strong play, profiling as a high-end FLEX option. He might not run as many splash zone routes, but I’m never going to look down on a WR with elite route running skills. I recommend finding a way to get Collins and Dell into lineups.
Of course, we all like fantasy football. And who doesn’t like to hang out and play a few rounds of bingo? Well, now you can do both! Our friends over at Rival Fantasy have a new format for fantasy gamers to check out, and Geoff has some plays to start you off with a winning strategy.
If you’re new to Rival Fantasy, a quick overview:
“A bingo card costs $1 and is played on a 5×5 grid with 25 random achievements, such as 3 Total TDs, >50 Rushing Yards, and many more. If no one wins, the jackpot rolls over...
… Build a roster of players to unlock these achievements and win by getting five in a row or a corner of four”
Essentially, for every Bingo card we create, we are building a no-salary restriction roster (QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, TE, K, FLEX) and trying to hit on an array of achievements that are unknown before lock. Some can be simple (>10 rush attempts) and some difficult (3+ receiving TDs from an RB), but we need to chase UPSIDE to give ourselves the best chance of cashing in on a share of the jackpot.
Let’s dive into some Week 8 plays.
🤝 QB/WR stack: CJ Stroud / Nico Collins
Stroud has averaged 8.2 yards per attempt over his last three games and has already thrown for over 300 yards and 2+ TDs twice this year. The Texans have issues running the ball (31st in yards per rush attempt), and that should lead to a heavier passing game.
Nico Collins, who leads the league in yards per catch (18.9), is great for this achievement format as well. He’s gone for 125+ yards and a TD twice this season and faces a Carolina defense that is 27th in yards per play.
😤 RB: Breece Hall, Javonte Williams
Hall is leading the league in yards per carry (6.5) and faces off against a Giants team that is near the bottom of the league in missed tackles and has allowed an RB rushing TD in all but one game this year. Sign me up.
It also may be time to buy in on Javonte Williams. Williams is coming off his best game of the year against Green Bay (5.4 YPC) and faces a Chiefs team that struggles to contain the run (26th in yards per rush against – 4.6).
🚀 WR: DK Metcalf
Metcalf has had a week of rest and is off the injury report for Week 8. The Browns are a great defense but allowed numerous big plays last week. Metcalf (37 TD in 71 career games) is a player capable of making any vulnerable defense pay.
💥 TE: George Kittle
Kittle saw a 26% target share and 12.7-yard aDOT last week against the Vikings. The Bengals? They’ve allowed the second most TDs to the TE position this year. Kittle went for 80+ yards and 2 TDs an incredible three times last season.