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NFL Week 8 FanDuel picks: Carson Wentz, Travis Kelce are must starts

Four buys, sells and steals this week in DFS.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Damn you Mike Evans and your ability to catch tough balls and score touchdowns. And damn you Cole Beasley and your ability to do nothing when I said you’d do something. At least Julio Jones came through, beating my success line by 0.4 points or else it would have been a rough, ROUGH 0-3 week. Yikes.

Clearly I should have picked T.Y. Hilton as my sell of the week and Jimmy Graham as my steal. Heck, I could have also picked Melvin Gordon as my sell and been right. I should get points for that right? Who made up this whole scoring system any way? I could have been 3-0 this week but alas, your vision looking back in the rearview mirror is 20/20 (I’m pretty sure that’s how the saying goes). Instead, I’m...

Season record: 7-11

At least I can get a slushie while I’m here.

Time for Week 8. THIS IS THE WEEK! Here are four guys who I’m buying, selling and who I think will be steals based on their price and their matchups this week on FanDuel. Now, because it’s always fun to has some form of winning and losing, for one player in each group I give a success line, which is the minimum—or maximum for the “sell” guy—number of points they need to score for me to be happy about my choice. These will be the three guys I feel most confident in heading into the weekend.

With all that said, here are names to keep in mind, for good and bad, when you start to create your FanDuel lineups.

Buy

QB Carson Wentz vs 49ers ($7,900): Can I pick the same guy two weeks in a row? I can, and I will. (To pull back the piano cover, I was going to put Dak Prescott here but he’s the second most expensive quarterback and I don’t love him sooooo much that you simply have to start him.) Wentz has been as red hot as his red hair and is facing a 49ers’ defense that is as bad as it gets. No team has given up more points to opposing quarterbacks over the last three weeks and you can bet the Eagles and Ginger Jesus will be coming for the gold.

WR A.J. Green vs Colts ($8,500): I just can’t pass up on this matchup. I really don’t know what I need to say to persuade you of this start since it’s so obviously the right start to pick. So, what I’ll do instead is quickly address why I like him better than Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Dez Bryant. Brown costs almost a thousand dollars more than Green and is facing a Detroit defense ranked 20th against opposing wide receivers. Not worth it. Julio is going against the Jets who do suck but so does the Falcons offense it seems. Dez is facing Josh Norman. Boom. Green is your guy.

WR Kelvin Benjamin vs Buccaneers ($6,600): I’m balancing out my Green pick with a cheaper option. The Panthers offense has been all over the map this season, from looking amazing like they did against the Patriots, to looking absolutely awful like they did in every other game. Luckily for the Panthers, they’re going up against a struggling Bucs defense who have a lot of trouble matching up against size (which is ironic since they face off against Mike Evans every day in practice). The Bucs are giving up 36.4 points per game to opposing wide receivers this season and Benjamin could be the one to benefit greatly from Tampa Bay’s inability to play defense.

TE Travis Kelce vs Broncos ($7,200): The Chiefs are going to have to pass against this Broncos defense Monday night (you’ll see why in a second) and while the Broncos are good at stopping opposing receivers, they are not good at stopping opposing tight ends. Like they are actually pretty bad at it. Really bad. Denver has given up the 4th most points per game to tight ends. You can bet that the Chiefs will rely on Kelce heavily Monday night. So heavily in fact that... yes, it’s happening... I’M GOING TO MAKE HIM MY BUY OF THE WEEK!
Success line: 13 points

Sell

QB Deshaun Watson vs Seahawks ($8,000):

This will be Watson’s first real test and it’s not that I don’t believe in the rookie to be productive, it’s that I’m not buying the fifth most expensive quarterback when he’s going up against the Seahawks defense in Seattle for the very first time. Seattle is only surrendering 11.3 points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season.

RB Kareem Hunt vs Broncos ($8,500): Other than Orleans Darkwa in Week 6, Denver’s defense hasn’t allowed a 100 yard rusher all season. In fact, they’ve barely even allowed a 50 yard rusher. After starting off the hottest player in NFL history, Hunt has cooled off slightly and I think he could be in for a rude awakening Monday night. This Broncos defense is still very legit and will be chomping at the bit to put the rookie in his place. Of course price also is part of my consideration here as Hunt is the third most expensive running back this week. No thank you.

RB Carlos Hyde vs Eagles ($6,600): Hyde has been the lone bright spot on this 49ers team this season. He’s given some pretty big performances this season and has only scored under 10 points once (shockingly against the Colts). However, despite the love that I have for Hyde, the 49ers face off against an Eagles defense that’s pretty proficient at stopping the run. Philly has allowed the 7th fewest points to opposing running backs, not a great sign for a team that a) can’t run and b) will likely need to throw because they’re behind lots and lots and lots of points (remember, start Carson Wentz).

WR Keenan Allen vs Patriots ($7,800): Pete, are you crazy? You know that the Chargers are playing that very same Patriots defense that you have pooped on so much this season. You’re really saying that we shouldn’t be starting Allen this week? It’s crazy I know but I feel like this defense is taking a turn. I think they’re starting to all get on the same page and they’re just going to continuously build on the previous game to get to playoff ready just in time for the big dance. Am I being an optimistic homer? Probably. But you can’t tell me that performance they put on Sunday night wasn’t impressive. More so than that, Allen has been a major letdown this season as his last three games have TOTALED for only 21.3 fantasy points (8.7, 7, 5.6). And you know what? I’m going to promise you he won’t get back on track this week because I’m making him my sell of the week.
Success line: under 9 points

Steals

RB Joe Mixon vs Colts ($5,900): I initially had Mixon as a buy but then he was cheap and I wanted to add Kelce instead, so here he is. The Colts defense is awful, giving up an average of 31 fantasy points a game to opposing backs over the last three weeks. They just let T.J. Yeldon run for over 120 yards on them last week. I know Marvin Lewis has been all “Mixon will be punished for talking out” this week but come on Lewis, he’s clearly the best running back in Cincinnati and against a defense this bad, I think we see what a full gameplan of Mixon can do. And the answer will be “a lot”. Oh, and I’ll lock this up thank you very much.
Success line: 11 points

RB Dion Lewis vs Chargers ($5,400): Lewis has been seeing most of the work out of the Patriots backfield recently and is going up against one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. Who can predict the Patriots’ backfield but Lewis might be worth the risk.

WR Brandon LaFell vs Colts ($4,900): Yup, really just laying into the Colts this week, but LaFell’s production has steadily improve each week and he could have himself a nice game this week.

TE Kyle Rudolph vs Browns ($5,800): The Browns give up the 3rd most points to opposing tight ends and while Rudolph’s value has been a little bit all over the place, this week he could at the least get you a touchdown.