We’ve reached the halfway point of the 2019 NFL season.
Yeah, we can’t believe it either.
In hopes of wrapping up the first half of the campaign on a high note, we’ve constructed what we believe to be the ideal DFS roster for Week 8. Without further ado, here’s our “optimal lineup” for DraftKings’ main Sunday slate (early afternoon and late afternoon games), which allots a $50,000 budget for a roster of nine players.
Quarterback: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions ($6,100)
The Lions really need a win this weekend in hopes of keeping their playoff hopes alive. Luckily for Detroit, a favorable home matchup against the New York Giants awaits. Stafford, who’s averaging just a shade under 300 passing yards per game, is in store for a big performance against a team that’s allowed the seventh-most passing yards in the league. The veteran signal-caller also could be taking to the air even more than usual in Detroit’s first game this season without top running back Kerryon Johnson, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this week.
Running Backs: Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers ($5,900); James White, New England Patriots ($5,100)
Melvin Gordon’s return to action has been anticlimactic,, somewhat stalling a potential breakout season for Ekeler. But Ekeler is undoubtedly the Chargers’ top pass-catching back, which was reflected in Week 7 when he hauled in seven catches for 118 yards with a touchdown against a tough Tennessee Titans defense. Philip Rivers likely will struggle to go downfield against the Bears, which could set up for quite a few screens and dump-offs to Ekeler. Not to mention, Chicago surprisingly has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game to RBs this season.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Patriots lean on their running backs Sunday against the Browns. New England has moved on from Josh Gordon, and expectations should be tempered for Mohamed Sanu in his team debut. Cleveland has struggled to defend RBs all season, and White unequivocally is the Patriots’ most sure-handed option out of the backfield. While Sony Michel likely will receive the majority of carries, White very well could be in store for double-digit receptions.
Wide Receivers: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints ($8,000); John Brown, Buffalo Bills ($5,900); D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks ($5,000)
We really shouldn’t have to sell you on Thomas, who currently leads the league in both receptions and receiving yards. He’s poised to stuff the stat sheet Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, who’ve given up 10 touchdowns to wideouts this season and have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to players at the position. Regardless of who’s under center for the Saints, Thomas is a safe bet.
Thomas is one of two WRs this season to post at least 50 receiving yards in each game. It probably would surprise you that Brown is the other. The veteran wideout hasn’t really stuck out as the Bills find themselves in slugfests week after week, but that could change Sunday when Buffalo meets Philadelphia. The Eagles’ secondary is flat-out abysmal, and Josh Allen, obviously, can air it out with the best of them. Brown could be in line for multiple chunk plays in Week 8,
Speaking of brutal pass defenses, the Falcons have been on-par with the Eagles this season in that regard. Atlanta can’t stop a nosebleed at this point, and Metcalf already has flashed his big-play potential early in his rookie season. The Ole Miss product currently is somewhat of a bang-or-bust type of fantasy player, but the risk probably is worth it against the lowly Falcons.
Tight End: Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons ($5,500)
The current leader for receptions and TD catches among tight ends this season isn’t Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz or George Kittle. It’s Hooper, who’s putting together a career campaign in a contract season. The 24-year-old has hauled in 46 passes for 526 yards with four touchdowns through seven games, and he should be able to pad those stats against the Seahawks, who’ve allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to tight ends this season.
Flex: Emmanuel Sanders, San Francisco 49ers ($4,600)
We admit starting a player in his first game with a new team is a bit of a risk. But given how little the 49ers have received from their wideouts this season, Jimmy Garoppolo might be eager to get the ball rolling with his new weapon. The Carolina Panthers have been solid defensively this season, but they’ve had their struggles against the pass, as they’ve allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game to WRs. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is one of the league’s sharpest offensive minds, which could set up for a big day from Sanders in his 49ers debut.
Defense: Los Angeles Rams ($3,800)
We’ll keep this one short and sweet. The Cincinnati Bengals are really, really bad. The Rams have allowed 20 points or less in over half of their games this season. Go with Los Angeles.
Thumbnail photo via Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports Images