Digging Deep for Some Picks

Week #8 of the NFL season is already here. It’s hard to believe that we’re almost halfway through the regular season. The good news is that we have a lot of data to help us make more informed decisions when it comes to who to start and who to sit on our fantasy football teams. Nowhere is this more important than in your daily fantasy football league, where who you decide to draft will have an impact right now on whether you dominate your league or sink down to the bottom of the standings.

With that in mind, I thought I would do something a little different this week. Over the past several weeks, I’ve been listing the big names at each position, helping you to decide who to start at the top of your roster. Although this is certainly important, it’s equally important to look at who your second or third string players should be, too. Using the same strategy that I have been, I will evaluate these mid-tier players for you, helping you to decide who to start and sit based upon concepts like value, matchups, and expected value.

It Comes Down to some Deep Picks

You need to take on some risk each week if you really want to move up in the ranks.

Ready to get started with Week #8? Keep reading!

Running Back

Chris Carson: Carson is not a fantasy standout this season, but he is in a position where he could thrive on Sunday. He’s already averaging 11.7 fantasy points per game, but with the Seahawks taking on the #27 ranked Detroit Lions defense, it’s likely that Carson will be more heavily utilized and see a much higher ceiling than what we typically see from him. Carson has one TD this season and is averaging more than 70 yards per game. He also is used quite a bit as a receiver, having picked up 61 yards on 6 receptions. That versatility puts him in a good fantasy position. Plus, he’s extremely cheap compared to his potential for points. At $4,300, he is going to open up a lot of space on your roster for stronger lead players.

Giovani Bernard: Bernard has fantasy numbers quite similar to Carson’s. He has averaged 13.8 points per game, which has earned him a price tag of $4,500 at DraftKings. Although he has fewer yards per game than Carson at 38.8, he has 3 TDs. That has helped to make him a popular supporting RB. The big drawback to Bernard is that he’s listed as questionable a few days before kickoff. That’s a level of uncertainty that makes me uncomfortable drafting him, especially if he does play and is only used on a limited basis. Going with a healthy player is almost always the superior choice.

RB Sit: Bernard

RB Start: Carson

Wide Receiver

Geronimo Allison: For a moment, let’s forget about the fact that Allison is listed as questionable this weekend. Even if he plays and even if he is 100 percent healthy, he is not your best backup choice here. With an average of 15.0 fantasy points per game he could add a lot to your roster, but that’s not what he’s likely to do this weekend. Yes, Allison has 19 receptions with an average of 72.3 yards per game and 2 TDs, but the Packers will see one of their toughest defensive opponents of the year on Sunday in the shape of the Los Angeles Rams. Allison will likely be targeted often, but the LA passing defense is one of the best in the NFL right now, ranked at #7. He is likely to have a lower fantasy point total than normal in this situation. His price tag of $5,000 is pretty enticing, but again, the matchup situation this weekend just does not work out in his favor. Then, go back to the fact that he’s questionable and we have a whole new set of problems we’re facing with Allison.

Taylor Gabriel: Gabriel has 30 receptions so far this season for a total of 54.8 yards per game. He has scored 2 TDs, as well. Those numbers have given him an average of 14.1 fantasy points per game, which is incredibly strong given his price tag of $5,100 this weekend. He was quite limited as the Bears fell to the New England Patriots last weekend, but as he takes on the New York Jets on Sunday, I expect him to be used with a bit more frequency. The Jets are ranked 30th in the NFL against passing offenses, which should give his fantasy numbers a bit of a boost.

WR Sit: Allison

WR Start: Gabriel

Flex

Because most leagues only allow you to draft one QB, for our purposes this week I thought that taking a look at your flex position would be most beneficial. This includes RBs, WRs, and TEs, all into one catchall position. Picking the right player to fill this spot will be a huge boost to your overall roster strength.

Ideally, your Flex player will match up well within your roster. Typically, one of the most highly used strategies for picking a Flex player is to think of them as an afterthought. Go through your entire roster and save the Flex player for last.

While this can work, it’s not always the best way to approach the position. Here are a couple Flex players to consider before you resort to just going with the cheapest starter you can find.

O.J. Howard: Assuming that you’ve already filled your TE position with a high value player, Howard remains as a welcome addition to any roster. Priced at $3,900, he’s an incredible value in himself. He has 11.2 fantasy points per game and 2 TDs. Also, the Buccaneers play the #32 ranked Cincinnati Bengals defense on Sunday, which gives him the opportunity to inflate his numbers.

Ryan Switzer: Switzer is not going to be as heavily used as Steelers receivers like Antonio Brown, but QB Roethlisberger has already shown that he can and will throw to Switzer. He has 13 receptions and a TD so far this season, putting up 4.5 fantasy points per game. As Pittsburgh takes on the #23 ranked Cleveland defense, Switzer should see a small point boost. With a price tag of just $3,100, that’s a high value play in my book.