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DFS: Week 8 top lineup picks and stacks

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By TJ Hernandez, 4for4

Special to Yahoo Sports

Whether you are playing in the biggest tournament of the week on Yahoo or prefer to play in smaller GPPs, there are some general positional strategies that you can implement in any size tournament. These concepts include stacking, finding pivots off of popular players, and looking for leverage in other spots. While it’s important to implement these into your lineup-building approach, the foundation of any tournament lineup is a solid core — usually players you would use in cash games.

Stacks to Target

QB Matthew Stafford, Rams ($34)

WR Cooper Kupp, Rams ($36)

WR Van Jefferson, Rams ($11)

The Rams offense has been one of the most pass-heavy and efficient in the league, ranked fifth in passing rate in neutral game script and third in yards per pass attempt. That has resulted in the second-most passing touchdowns for any offense this season and they should build on that in a game with a 31.25 implied total against the Texans.

Houston has been one of the worst defenses in the league against the pass, ranked 25th in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. They have been especially bad against the deep ball, allowing the most fantasy points per pass attempt on passes 15+ yards downfield, a weakness this stack can attack.

Per SportsInfoSolutions, the Rams have the fifth-highest average throw depth. This obviously benefits Cooper Kupp’s upside, as he has been the recipient of a third of those targets this year but it opens the door to save salary with Van Jefferson. Jefferson has seen his role steadily increase and he played a season-high 94 percent of snaps and received 17 percent of targets in Week 7. He is one of two players on LA with an average target depth over 10 yards.

QB Jalen Hurts, Eagles ($33)

WR DeVonta Smith, Eagles ($16)

Many are calling for Jalen Hurts’ head (or at least his starting job) but that’s a good thing for GPP players as it should keep his rostered rate in check. Despite his shortcomings as a passer, Hurts is the only player to score at least 20 Yahoo points in every game and he’s third in total fantasy points. Hurts will have the opportunity to turn things around through the air against a Lions defense that is allowing the most fantasy points per pass attempt to opposing quarterbacks. Philadelphia projects for a healthy 26 points.

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Stacking Hurts with DeVonta Smith takes advantage of one of the best values plays of the week, as 4for4 ranks Smith as a top-five value at his position. The Eagles’ rookie receiver has been a mainstay in 4for4’s Breakout Receiver Model with expected production similar to players such as Tyreek Hill and Chris Godwin. This is an ideal get-right spot for all parties involved in Philly’s passing attack.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith
Week 8 is a great time for a DeVonta Smith explosion. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

This is one of five QB/WR stacks with a ceiling of at least 56 points, according to 4for4’s Stack Value Report, but is much more affordable than the other four which all have a combined salary of at least $59.

RB Joe Mixon, Bengals ($29)

Bengals Defense ($18)

After last week’s blowup performance against the Ravens, the Bengals offense may be popular in Week 8 but that interest should be mostly for their passing game. Although Cincinnati is favored by 10.5 points, DFS players who pay up for defense might opt for the Bills or Rams who are both favored by two touchdowns. Meanwhile, running backs in similarly favorable spots, such as Darrell Henderson and Leonard Fournette, have lower salaries than Joe Mixon which should keep Mixon’s rostered rate reasonable.

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The Bengals have been easing Mixon back into a full workload after returning from injury but his backfield share should be closer to the 64% he saw in Week 6 than the 50% he saw in Week 7 when Cincinnati was up big. The Jets rank last in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to running backs. Correlating Mixon with his defense capitalizes on quarterback Mike White making his first career start in a matchup that heavily favors the Bengals’ defensive line.

Contrarian Plays to Target

RB Khalil Herbert, Bears ($19)

This game will likely go largely ignored by DFS players, especially on the Bears’ side of the ball. While Chicago’s passing game is in shambles, there is some hope on the ground. The Bears run at the highest rate in the league in neutral game script and no defense faces a higher neutral rushing rate than San Francisco. Despite Damien Williams’ return to action last week, Khalil Herbert still saw 82% of Chicago’s backfield touches and totaled 133 yards in an awful game script against a strong Buccaneers run defense. San Francisco has allowed five running backs to score at least 15 Yahoo points.

WR DJ Moore, Panthers ($23)

Moore is 4for4’s top wide receiver value of the week but he may not be very popular in GPP lineups after ranking behind 49 other wide receivers in Yahoo points per game over the last three weeks. His output hardly reflects his expectation, however, as only five players have more expected fantasy points per game in that span. Carolina’s receivers have a chance to shine in spite of Sam Darnold’s struggles against a Falcons defense that ranks in the bottom 10 in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to every position.

Cash Game Strategy

Paying up for quarterback salary is a must this week, with players such as Josh Allen and Matthew Stafford in games with huge ceiling potential. Five of the top seven tight ends in terms of fantasy points per game are off the main slate, making it a great week to save at the position for those who don’t use Kyle Pitts.

  • QB: Josh Allen, Matthew Stafford, Jalen Hurts

  • RB: Derrick Henry, Darrell Henderson, D'Andre Swift, Chuba Hubbard, Cordarrelle Patterson

  • WR: Cooper Kupp, Stefon Diggs, DJ Moore, Brandin Cooks, Deebo Samuel, Diontae Johnson, Calvin Ridley, Emmanuel Sanders, Marvin Jones, Jakobi Meyers

  • TE: Kyle Pitts, Ricky Seals-Jones

  • DEF: Rams, Bills, Bengals, 49ers, Jaguars

This article originally appeared in its full form on 4for4.com

TJ is a former full-time poker player who has been playing fantasy football for more than a decade. After online poker was outlawed, TJ ended his poker career and dedicated himself to fantasy football. His background in poker statistics and analytics translates to success in both daily and season-long fantasy football.

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