DFS is largely about separating the signal from the noise when it comes to statistical trends, and then using the signal to find an edge. Here are five trends to home in on in Week 8 as you set your lineups.
1. Seven of the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks have gained 120 or more rushing yards
With defensive lineman seemingly getting more and more athletic and offensive lineman coming out of college less and less refined—and with the CBA limiting the time teams have to develop those unrefined offensive lineman—mobility at quarterback is becoming more important than ever in both real life and fantasy. Among the top-10 passers in terms of fantasy points per game, Dak Prescott, Alex Smith, Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson\ and Cam Newton all have at least 120 rushing yards and average at least 4.3 yards per carry. The only members of the top 10 that have not accomplished the aforementioned feats? Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. We know the currently injured Rodgers was able to run around when he needed to, but the point is there’s less margin for error if a quarterback isn’t mobile. Why? Mobility allows a quarterback’s team to convert more often on third down, whether by running for a first down outright or escaping pressure and slinging the ball downfield. Of the seven quarterbacks with 120 rushing yards or more, five are on teams ranked in the top eight in third-down conversion rate (Eagles, first; Chiefs, fourth; Cowboys, fifth; Panthers, sixth; Seahawks, eighth) and none is lower than 19th. Converting third downs is crucial to fantasy success—a quarterback (or his teammates) can’t rack up fantasy points if they’re routinely forced off the field after third down. Keep mobility in mind when looking for safety in cash games, upside in tournaments, or just plain old value at the quarterback position.
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2. Ezekiel Elliott has averaged 1.2 touchdowns per game in his career on the road
Production at running back, more than any other position, can hinge on game script. That makes road games especially dangerous fantasy propositions, because NFL teams are simply more likely to struggle on the road. Elliott and the Cowboys have faced no such issues, as he averages exactly one rushing touchdown and 0.2 receiving touchdowns per game in his career on the road, not to mention a stellar 127.1 total yards per game. Elliott takes his show to Washington, D.C., this week to face a Redskins defense that has already surrendered two multi-touchdown games to opposing running backs.
3. Mark Ingram is averaging 28 touches per game since Adrian Peterson was shipped out to Arizona
For context as to just how much volume 28 touches per game is, we can consult 4for4’s Player Touches App, which tells us that only one running back—Le’Veon Bell—averages more this season (28.9). We know that volume is crucial at the running back position in fantasy, and the only thing separating Ingram from the top-tier backs in DFS is his salary, which still hasn’t quite caught up with his workload. This week, the Saints are large home favorites—a positive indicator for running back production in DFS—and Ingram should continue to see more than enough volume to pay off his salary.
4. The Colts have allowed multiple rushing touchdowns in 71.4% of their games, most in the NFL
Indianapolis ranks 31st in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to running backs, and a big reason why is their propensity to surrender rushing touchdowns. This sets up well for rookie runner Joe Mixon, who (rightfully) clamored for more touches after a four-game low 10 in last week’s defeat at the hands of the Steelers. Even with that 10-touch game, Mixon is still averaging 16.8 touches per game in the four games since Bill Lazor took over as Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator. More importantly, though, Mixon has handled multiple red-zone carries in three of those four games, with at least one carry inside the opponent’s 10-yard line in each game. With the Bengals set to take on the Colts as double-digit home favorites, Lazor should resume heavily riding Mixon. If he does, it should end with at least one trip to the end zone.
5. Jordan Reed’s salary is the lowest it has been since 2015 on both DraftKings and FanDuel
The last time you could get Reed for less than $4,700 on DraftKings? Week 9 of 2015. And the last time you could get him for less than $6,100 on FanDuel? Week 14 of that same season. Nagging injuries have held Reed in check thus far, but they have also pulled down his salary, which DFS sites didn’t have a chance to adjust after Reed’s eight-catch, 64-yard, two-touchdown game last week because it occurred on Monday Night Football, after salaries for the following week are set in stone. Despite his injury struggles, Reed’s average of 5.2 receptions per game ranks third among tight ends, and he’s a highly valued possession receiver for an offense that throws to its tight ends 28% of the time, tied for third-most in the league. Reed is underpriced against a Cowboys defense ranked an unimposing 14th in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to tight ends in what is projected to be a close, high-scoring game (the over/under for Cowboys-Redskins is 49 with the Cowboys installed as two-point favorites as of this writing).