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Dan's DFS picks for NFL Week 8

29 Oct 2015

By Dan Podheiser
When the 4 o'clock games ended on Sunday, I was having quite the day in the DraftKings Millionaire Maker.

My Week 7 lineup had already amassed nearly 150 points, thanks to monstrous games from Todd Gurley, T.Y. Hilton, Antonio Brown and the Rams' defense. And I still had two of my key players to go, as Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer and stud receiver John Brown didn't play until Monday night.

So I began to get curious, and I wondered just how far I was from the top spot in the tournament. I figured that a big night from Palmer and Brown could possibly put me in contention for a nice payday, and a really big day might even win me some life-changing money!

Then I checked the standings. The player in the lead, who ended up winning the whole thing, had nearly 135 points more than me. He had all the same great players as me, plus a handful of other guys who had monster days. His roster was damn near perfect, and there was no chance I could possibly get close to his score.

Oh well. By the end of Monday night, Palmer and Brown had at least done enough to secure me a min-cash, my second cash of the season. That's right, if you're counting at home, that's seven $20 buy-ins in and $70 of winnings out – a negative 50% return on investment.

Hey, I'll take it! If I'm going to have a weekly addiction to the lottery that is daily fantasy sports, I might as well cut the cost in half.

For a full explanation of the differences between DraftKings and FanDuel scoring, read this blog post by Daily Fantasy Sports 101.

Quarterback: Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (DK: $5,500; FD: $7,400)

Flacco, my Colonial Conference brother, has been less than stellar so far in his eighth NFL season. His nine touchdown passes to eight interceptions is just bad, but the good news is that he has a very favorable matchup this week against the hapless San Diego Chargers.

The Ravens and Chargers have been two of the biggest disappointments in the league so far this season, mostly because of both teams' inability to stop the opposing offense whatsoever. Hell, the Ravens let Colin Kaepernick torch them for 340 yards, and the Chargers haven't given up less than 24 points in a game this season.

All of this is to say that the Ravens-Chargers game on Sunday should be a shootout, and that I could easily see Flacco throwing the ball upwards of 50 times for 400 yards. Remember, he did have a five-touchdown performance last season, and had three touchdowns against the Chargers when they played in 2014.

Running Back (DK): Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals ($4,600)

The resurgence of CJ2K has been one of the more remarkable storylines of the 2015 NFL season. Johnson, who rushed for just 663 yards with the Jets last year, is on pace for nearly 1,300 in his first season with the Cardinals and has three 100-yard games already this year.

More importantly, he just looks like the old Chris Johnson again, the guy with the best first step in the league who can jump cut from inside the tackles and burst to the sideline in less than a second. And this week, Johnson has the tastiest matchup possible, as the Cardinals take on the Cleveland Browns, owners of the worst rushing defense in the league.

Running Back (FD): Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($7,500)

Martin is another running back whose resurgence has been noteworthy in 2015. After a stellar rookie season in 2012 that saw him gain a whopping 1,926 yards from scrimmage (second all time for a rookie), injuries kept him down and ineffective in both 2013 and 2014. But Martin is back this year and has already gained 670 yards, including 541 on the ground.

The Bucs take on the Atlanta Falcons this week in a key NFC South matchup that should be a high-scoring affair. Vegas oddsmakers list this as the highest-scoring game on the books this week, with an over/under of 52 points. With Martin's ability as both a runner and as a pass-catching back, he should have plenty of opportunities to stretch the field against Atlanta's slow and ineffective linebacking corps.

Wide Receiver (DK): Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens ($6,100)

Smith has been sensational in all but two games so far this season, and he should have another superb effort this week against the Chargers. He's already been targeted 16 and 17 times in back-to-back games this season and had 10 targets in another. Look for Smith to be Flacco's top receiving option on Sunday in a game that, as previously mentioned, should be a shootout.

Wide Receiver (FD): Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons ($9,200)

Not much explanation needed here. Jones is the best, most productive wide receiver in football right now. He's a sure thing every week, but he absolutely must be on your roster when his matchup dictates a high-scoring game. Pay the price.

Tight End: Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers (DK: $3,000; FD: $5,300)

You may have to adjust your entire roster based on this pick, because I'm assuming Chargers starting tight end Antonio Gates continues to be out on Sunday with an injury. If he does miss the game against the Ravens, Green should once again be a nice option at tight end at a bargain basement price.

Defense: Dallas Cowboys (DK: $2,700; FD: $4,500)

Despite the Cowboys' 0-4 record since quarterback Tony Romo went down to injury in Week 2, Dallas' defense has been the lynchpin keeping its games close. They play the Seahawks in a touch matchup on Sunday, but Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has been sacked a whopping 31 times this season, more than any other quarterback by far. I'll be happy with a few sacks, maybe a turnover or two, and a low-scoring game out of the Dallas defense. And hey, a special teams touchdown wouldn't kill them.
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