Sunday, Feb 2nd — Early
Bye Week:
49ers
Bears
Bengals
Bills
Broncos
Browns
Buccaneers
Cardinals
Chargers
Chiefs
Colts
Cowboys
Dolphins
Eagles
Falcons
Giants
Jaguars
Jets
Lions
Packers
Panthers
Patriots
Raiders
Rams
Ravens
Redskins
Saints
Seahawks
Steelers
Texans
Titans
Vikings

Week 8 Player Grid

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This Player Grid will hold little value for you without first reading this.

Note: Players in a given tier are not listed in any particular order.

FantasyDraft Players :: I’ve added a FantasyDraft Addendum to the bottom

If you’re not playing FantasyDraft, here are some tips to get you started, along with an exploration of the reasons why FantasyDraft play is going to help you build bankroll…

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TIER 1

Quarterback

This slate narrows down the quarterback list for us on its own, with only seven or eight guys even worth talking about from a “Floor/Ceiling” standpoint. Among these seven or eight, I have five guys on my “list,” and I have only three in Tier 1. I would be comfortable playing any of the quarterbacks listed in this Player Grid, but I’ll be focused on the three Tier 1 guys for my own roster construction.

  • Jameis Winston :: Jameis has the highest likelihood on the slate of a 300-yard passing game, and this game should feature plenty of points — with the Bucs poor at scoring on the ground. It won’t be a surprise if one of these other two outscores Jameis, but I like him the most as an “all-around” play, in terms of floor/ceiling combo.
  • Aaron Rodgers :: There are elements in this matchup that make it less stellar than most are willing to realize, but Rodgers still remains one of the top plays on the slate, given that the Rams will score points…which means Rodgers will be passing…and when Rodgers passes, good things happen. You probably have Rodgers higher on your list than Jameis, and I’m fine with that, as Rodgers is Rodgers. I’m playing Jameis myself on my main roster, but I wouldn’t overthink this spot. Play the guy from this tier you like the most. You shouldn’t be able to go “wrong” with any of them.
  • Andrew Luck :: Luck has looked awesome lately, and the fast-paced Colts offense will be able to rack up points against the slow, pathetic Raiders defense. With this game being played in Oakland (and with the Colts installed as only three point favorites), the Raiders should be able to keep this game close enough for Luck to rack up huge volume once again.

Running Back

Running back is a beautiful position this week, with six very clear Tier 1 plays, and with plenty of tourney plays behind these six that “could pay off.” Because RB is such a strong Source of Certainty this week, I am not reaching beyond these six. Instead, I am embracing the certainty here, and am embracing the volatility at wide receiver (more on that in a moment). Remember: my Tier 1 is, essentially, “Guys who are unlikely to post a dud, and who have a strong shot at a big price-considered score.” In other words: I don’t expect any of these guys to fail (and all of them have a shot at hitting big, for the price). Because some of them are cheap, it makes sense to me to stick with the “certain” plays, rather than “trying to guess on someone who might outscore them” in other spots. Each of us has a unique style of DFS play, of course; but if your style of play is similar to mine, this is an approach to consider — locking in RBs from this tier, rather than adding extra volatility by trying to guess on a lower-floor option that “might” outscore them.

  • Todd Gurley :: Always the highest raw projection on the slate. The matchup is good, and Gurley should post yet another strong game.
  • Kareem Hunt :: The Broncos have been detonated on the ground lately, and Hunt sets up perfectly in this matchup. He ranks third in the NFL in red zone touches, behind only Gurley and Kamara.
  • James Conner :: Conner ranks fourth in the NFL in carries inside the 10 (behind only Gurley, Kamara, and Hunt), and he ranks second in the league in carries inside the five (behind only Gurley). The Browns are one of only three teams in the league that has allowed more touchdowns to running backs than to wide receivers and tight ends combined.
  • Phillip Lindsay :: Even if the Chiefs jump out to a big lead, Lindsay should see 16 to 18 touches — and if the Broncos keep this game close through the first two or three quarters, Lindsay will be the reason why. At his price, he carries a high floor and a high ceiling in one of the best running back matchups in the league.
  • Kerryon Johnson :: I don’t love the matchup for Kerryon, but he should see around 20 touches once again, and his talent is off the charts. I have him slightly below Lindsay and Mack myself, but I have zero arguments against him being higher than those two if that’s where you have him. He’s a clear Tier 1 play for me, and if Mack and Lindsay weren’t available on the same slate as him, he would be a top priority for me.
  • Marlon Mack :: Mack has a pristine matchup against a slow Raiders defense, and as long as his ankle is fine, he’ll be in line for another 20-touch game with huge upside on this work. This is a totally different back than we saw last year — a guy willing to hit the hole hard and take what the defense gives him, rather than trying to hit a home run every play. Because of his burst through the hole, this actually gives him more opportunities for home run plays than he had with his previous approach.

Wide Receiver

NOTE: none of these guys are “true” Tier 1 plays. As in: not a single one of these guys is a priority for me. QB // RB // TE // DST came together very easily for me this week, and as such, I had a ton of extra time to dig into this week’s WR position to see if I could get any closer to certainty than others would be likely to get. After an extra day and a half of research and study and even picking the brains of others, I have found nothing that moves me any closer to “certainty” at this position than I was before — which seems to be the consensus in the community. Lots of “strong plays” this week. But nothing that allows you to feel like you are underpaying for guaranteed production. As such, I am locking in “certainty” at other positions first, and am then doing what I can at WR to get as much floor and ceiling as I can this week — recognizing that volatility will be part of the equation here. (I have built a few extra teams outside my Main team this week; all of them pull from Tier 1 at QB, RB, TE, and DST…and then mix and match various wide receivers — from various tiers — from there. I think my Main Team has landed on the best variation of the bunch, but volatility will drive the WR position this week, and will therefore drive the slate.)

  • Davante Adams :: I love his role in this offense, and it will be nearly impossible for him to fail. The Rams have been better against WRs than most realize, but matchup rarely matters for Adams, and touchdowns should not be a problem here. He’s appropriately priced — not a “priority” that I’m moving around salary to fit, but a guy I’ll be happy to have.
  • Antonio Brown // JuJu Smith-Schuster :: Same as Adams: the matchup is a bit tougher than most realize, but it’s nearly impossible for these guys to “fail.” I like both of these guys if salary works out.
  • Mike Evans // A.J. Green :: Evans and Green are appropriately priced as well this week. Same as the three already listed: neither of these two projects for a monster game, but each is capable of a monster game, and each should at worst be solid.
  • T.Y. Hilton // Emmanuel Sanders :: These two go together as higher-volatility plays with as much upside as any wide receiver on the slate, but with a slightly lower floor than the guys listed above. Neither guy is immune to duds; but each guy is in a good spot this week to approach “ceiling” rather than “floor.”
  • All the rest :: Other guys I’m looking at in this “Tier” are Jarvis Landry (concerns about his connection with Mayfield; but the work should be there, and he should post a solid game for his price), Robert Woods (should see seven to 10 targets, and it will be surprising if he posts a dud), Tyler Boyd (his role has been less predictable than we would love, but this spot sets up for him to see work), and Chris Godwin (his role is secure as a four-to-six catch guy with 40 to 60 yards as his expected range; this gives him some safety at his price, while his red zone role (fourth in the NFL in targets inside the 10) gives him decent price-considered ceiling).

Tight End

  • David Njoku :: The Steelers push targets to tight ends, and Njoku already has a steady floor of seven looks per game. If he sees around seven looks, he should post a solid game. If his targets rise, he has an opportunity to really pop off.
  • Jimmy Graham :: Graham is likely to go a bit overlooked, but he is typically seeing around seven or eight targets with some downfield work to his game, and the Rams are a good matchup for tight ends. Graham doesn’t have the sexy YAC upside of some of these other guys, but he should post a strong score yet again. I like him as a tourney pivot off of a likely-popular Njoku, but I also just plain like him as a process-driven play, without strategy even taken into account.

DST

  • Steelers :: All three sites messed up pricing on the Steelers, who have one of the best pass rushes in the NFL, and are playing at home against a team that takes as many sacks as any in football. High floor and high ceiling on the Steelers at a way-too-low price. Expect them to be massively, massively chalky this week — but they really do pop off the page.

TIER 2

Running Back

  • Saquon Barkley :: I believe Saquon has found himself here every week he has been on the Main Slate, as a “Tough matchup, bet on talent” play — and every week, we have been exactly right, as Saquon has posted a useful game, without hitting for the sort of ceiling that would make us “have to have him.” Remember: Tier 2 is guys who have a safe floor for the price, without having the same shot at ceiling that the Tier 1 guys have (the wording there is important; Saquon has the same amount of upside as the Tier 1 guys — but he has a lower chance of hitting). One of these days, we’ll get a Tier 1 matchup for Saquon on the Main Slate. But until then, his talent and usage keep him in Tier 2 every week, in spite of having run through one of the toughest RB schedules in the NFL so far this year. (Obviously, his talent still allows him to carry slate-winning upside, if you feel compelled to go off the board in large-field stuff. I’m never against the idea of betting on Saquon.)

TIER 3

Quarterback

  • Patrick Mahomes :: Mahomes always carries as much upside as anyone, though he is more “appropriately priced” than “underpriced” this week. Naturally, I have no arguments against playing Mahomes if you want to go there yourself.
  • Andy Dalton :: Dalton is in a great spot at home against Tampa this week, and he’s one of my favorite pieces. I like all three Tier 1 guys more, however, as the Bengals don’t pile up yards the way the Bucs do, and Dalton is not in the same class of quarterback as Rodgers and Luck. (It also probably stands out that Goff is not on my list, so real quickly on that: Goff is absolutely a fine play; but in digging into that matchup, and the way the Rams are likeliest to move the ball and score, I prefer the five guys I have listed. Obviously, stick to your guns if you feel differently. I agree that Goff is a strong play — he’s simply not a guy I am considering over the five already listed. His ceiling is the same. His floor is lower.)

Running Back

With so many “upside” plays at RB, I’m going to list all the guys who made my early-week list, along with the notations I marked them with in my notes. For deeper-digging on these plays, of course, you can turn to the Week 8 NFL Edge, where the setup for every one of these guys is explored. A reminder: Tier 3 is for guys with strong price-considered upside, but with a more dangerous floor.

  • Guys I marked with “Strong upside, but price-considered Floor concerns” :: Joe Mixon // Peyton Barber // Chris Carson // Tarik Cohen // Adrian Peterson // Nyheim Hines.
  • Guys I marked with “Strong upside, but some uncertainty” :: Jalen Richard // Raheem Mostert // Trenton Cannon.

Wide Receiver

Same as RB, there are a lot of “other wide receivers” to consider. Here is how I noted these guys when I built my original list, after doing all my research and then reading the NFL Edge myself. (As noted at the top: I plan to stick to Tier 1 at RB myself, and to then mix and match various WRs. All of these guys are in play for me — with the following caveats applied.)

  • Guys I marked with “Solid price-considered upside, but price-considered Floor concerns” :: Christian Kirk // Larry Fitzgerald // Brandin Cooks // Jordy Nelson // Odell Beckham // Sammy Watkins // Tyreek Hill // John Brown (Brown earned an extra “upside” notation, as he can genuinely score like a WR1 — but his floor is also lower than others in his price range) // DeSean Jackson (same as John Brown)

Tight End

  • O.J. Howard :: Howard was right on the cusp of Tier 1 for me, but with so many mouths to feed in Tampa (and with his targets not guaranteed to be north of four or five), he just doesn’t quite make the list. Still, I like him a lot this week, and I would be willing to play him over the Tier 1 guys in tourneys.
  • Travis Kelce :: Same as Howard, I would be very willing to play Kelce in tourneys over the Tier 1 guys, given that he has slate-breaking upside. But from a true “Tier 1 definition” perspective, Kelce actually does not belong up there, as his floor is a bit low for the price. With that said, I expect him to land much closer to his ceiling than to his floor this week, and I’m very much on board with the idea of paying up for him in tourneys.
  • Jared Cook :: Cook’s floor is low in this dysfunctional offense, but the matchup is great, and the upside is there — particularly with a few extra targets available with the departure of Amari Cooper. I like Cook as a “fade on Main Roster, play on game stacks” guy. I’ll have a bit of him with Luck/Hilton teams. (Vance McDonald could also be listed here for his YAC upside, at his near-zero floor. If I added one more to the list, he would be the guy; if I added two more, Uzomah would join as well. Though I don’t actually have exposure to either guy this week.)

DST

  • All the rest :: The Steelers are the play, given how underpriced they are; but if you want to differentiate in tourneys, the Bears are taking on Sam Darnold, the Cardinals are taking on C.J. Beathard, the Chiefs should do well at home against Case Keenum, and even the Colts (at Raiders) and 49ers (vs Rosen) can be considered. As always at DST: you can always make a case for going completely off the board as well, as this is a high-volatility position, and it only takes one or two big plays for a random DST unit to post the top score on the slate.

Hopefully this gives you a great opportunity to compare your thoughts against my own.

I’ll see you at the top of the leaderboards this weekend; and I’ll see you on the site next Thursday morning for the Week 9 edition of the NFL Edge!

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FantasyDraft Players:

If playing the Full-Sunday slate on FantasyDraft:

As noted in the NFL Edge :: the only player who pops off in this game as a true Tier 1 play for me is Adam Thielen. With wide receiver so unpredictable this week on the Main Slate, I am moving around pieces to make sure I get him as a core Source of Certainty on my FantasyDraft roster. Otherwise, I’ll be sticking to the earlier games myself — but of course, all of Diggs, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, both quarterbacks, and even Latavius Murray and Tre’Quan Smith can be considered in tourneys. The full breakdown of this game has some good thoughts on where these players stand, so if building for FantasyDraft, I recommend digging into that writeup to see where you slot in these guys compared to the guys you like on the rest of the slate; but in terms of pure “Tiers,” literally all those guys can be considered for their upside in tourneys, while none are priority plays for me. Thielen is the only guy who emerges as Tier 1 in this spot for me.