Week 8 Punt Plays: Mr. R-eli-able

Week 7 is in the books, and now it’s time to take a look at Week 8.

If you used some of the suggested punt plays I recommended last weekend, your daily fantasy football lineup probably fared well. Michael Floyd (14.9 points), Ladarius Green (18.5 points) and the St. Louis Rams defense (25.0 points) all exceeded expectations and provided tremendous value for their listed salaries.

Quarterback

Eli Manning, Giants ($13,400) and Andy Dalton, Bengals ($12,200)

While neither of these quarterbacks (QB) are truly “punts”, but they both fall below the top eight signal-callers in terms of salary.

Manning, whose $13,400 salary ranks him ninth among QBs this week, has an excellent matchup vs. the New Orleans Saints and their very beatable defense.

The Saints allow the MOST fantasy points to opposing QBs on the season, and their 14 TDs allowed are tied for third. The team currently ranks 30th in yards allowed per game after finishing 31st last year. Rob Ryan had this unit ranked second in 2013 — his first year as defensive coordinator — but that’s now a distant memory.

Dalton, like Manning, isn’t a bottom-priced guy, but his $12,200 price tag offers a ton of value.

The 6-0 Bengals travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, who get QB Ben Roethlisberger back from injury.

The Steelers’ defense has helped hold this team together while their Hall of Fame QB was on the sidelines, but things will start to become a lot more offensive, and look for that to happen quickly. Big Ben will have all his weapons at his disposal (he was without Martavis Bryant early on), and with the high-flying Bengals in town, this should become a shootout.

Jeremy Hill has struggled, and with the Steelers limiting teams to just 99 rushing yards per game, Dalton and the Bengals will likely take to the air in hopes beating their divisions rivals and staying undefeated.

Running Back

Charles Sims, Buccaneers ($6,900)

One thing the Atlanta Falcons defense has had trouble with this year is defending pass-catching running backs (RB).

Enter Charles Sims.

Sims has been an underrated force in the Bucs backfield, catching 16 passes for 210 yards and two scores. After using a third-round pick on him in last year’s draft, Sims’ role in the pass game was expected to increase this season. But the unexpected part has been the 22 carries he’s received over the past two weeks. Though Doug Martin is hands down the No. 1 back in Tampa, he and Sims have formed a very nice one-two punch.

Atlanta’s defense has been the worst team in the NFL when it comes stopping opposing RBs from catching the ball — and it’s not close. They’ve given up 64 receptions, with the Raiders and Broncos (48 catches) trailing far behind, and the 514 yards they’ve permitted outpaces the Jaguars by 101 yards.

Wide Receiver 

Stevie Johnson, Chargers ($6,400)

Stevie Johnson has the feel of a great punt play this week in a matchup against the Ravens.

Johnson missed two weeks with a hamstring injury, but returned to action Sunday to post a decent line of four catches for 50 yards. His eight targets were fourth on the team, and he could easily return value this week if he can receive a similar number of looks from QB Philip Rivers.

Rivers has been a JUGS machine in 2015, passing the ball a league-leading 311 times — 24 more than the man behind him, Joe Flacco. Lots of pass attempts usually translate to catches and yards for his receivers, and against a Ravens defense playing on the road on a short week, I expect big things from Rivers and Co. The Ravens have also allowed the second-most points to opposing wide receivers (WR).

As of Friday, Antonio Gates had yet to practice this week, and word out of San Diego is that may have to miss additional weeks with his MCL injury. Minus Gates, everyone moves up a rung in Rivers’ pecking order, including Johnson.

Tight End

Crockett Gillmore, Ravens ($6,000)

It’s hard to ignore Gillmore’s minimum price when you consider that Joe Flacco is second in the NFL in pass attempts. Gillmore will be on the tight end (TE) map this week, even if it’s due to sheer volume.

After sitting out Weeks 4 and 5, the second-year TE returned to the Ravens lineup to post lines of 3/30/0 and 5/53/0 against the Niners and Cardinals, respectively. Gillmore received seven targets on Monday night — second on the team behind Steve Smith Sr. — as Kamar Aiken became an afterthought in OC Marc Trestman’s game plan. His 10.3 fantasy points was a nice line, but when you take into account that the Cards are the third-best team in football at defending the TE position, it makes it look even better.

Sparks will fly when the Ravens travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers, as their offenses are ranked No. 1 and 2 in passing attempts. You want a piece of that action.

Defense/Special Teams

Houston Texans ($6,000)

The Houston defense (D/ST) has been comically bad this season. This past week, though, the laughs turned to tears, as last year’s No. 4-ranked D allowed 41-first half points to the Miami Dolphins.

So they don’t really seem like a team you’d want to start in daily fantasy, right?

Well, not in every situation, but if you’re punting the position this week, there’s no better time to roster them.

They’ll take on the Titans at home, a team that has been struggling just as equally, except they’re failing on the offensive end. I’ll take my chances on the Texans in a game that pits a bad offense vs. a bad defense.

The Titans offense is so bad that they are THE most favorable offense to target against in fantasy football. They’re 28th in passing yards and 27th in rushing yards, most of which came in the first two weeks of the season. They’ve also allowed 21 sacks (5th in NFL), fumbled six times (tied for 4th) and their QBs have thrown seven picks (tied for 4th).

There has been a lot of turmoil in the Texans organization this week, and what better way to put that behind them than to come up with a big win on Sunday?

Seth Klein

Seth is a DFS writer at FantasyDraft, as well as a writer for TheFantasyFix and Razzball. You can find his player rankings at FantasyPros. Though he was born and raised in Los Angeles, Seth is a lifelong New York sports fan. Seth has no more access to the site than the typical user. Follow him on Twitter at @SethDaSportsMan.

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