Safety is the name of the game in cash games, but FantasyDraft also pays out at least 25 percent of the field in every single contest, including tournaments, as well. This should motivate users to lean towards safe options in all formats on a site that puts #PlayersFirst. Without the top-heavy nature of tournaments, single entrants do not have to go with a “YOLO (you only live once)” mindset in tournaments, but can play for a solid cash instead. That makes life a whole lot easier.
Here are the “safe bets,” or players who can be inserted into lineups without fear of a dud, heading into Week 8:
Andrew Luck, Colts, $12,700 – Just as it appeared it was time to write off Andrew Luck as a top five or so fantasy QB option, he went ahead and led all players at the position in fantasy points last week. The Titans had allowed the 11th fewest fantasy points to the position and Luck still lit them up for 350-plus passing yards and three TDs. Luck’s Week 8 opponent, the Chiefs, have allowed the 12th fewest fantasy points to the position so they and the Titans present a pretty similar matchup on paper. While I hate playing the “if you remove certain plays/stats” game, the Chiefs would rank as a much more favorable matchup sans the Ryan Fitzpatrick six interception game earlier this season (which was a historically bad performance for a QB). The most encouraging part of his numbers last week was the season-high 9.1 yards per attempt (YPA) which suggests he was targeting receivers further down field. Part of the reason had to be due to the fact he was sacked a season-low two times so he had more time to throw. Luckily for the Colts QB (pun intended), the Chiefs have produced fewer sacks than any team in the league. If opposing defenses are not getting after Luck, he should be able to tear them apart like he did the Titans. With this game being played at home, he most definitely possesses one of the highest floors (and highest ceilings) of any QB on the slate.
Christine Michael, Seahawks, $13,700 – This week, Christine Michael draws the weekly absolutely ideal matchup against a Saints defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to the position. Even though Spencer Ware only rushed for 77 yards, he also caught a 54 yard TD last week to catapult him into the top nine scorers at the position for the week. As a whole, the Saints have allowed 10 rushing TDs (most in football) and two receiving TDs to opposing backs which combined equate to the most TDs allowed to the position by any single defense. On Sunday Night Football, Michael dominated the snap count in the backfield as per usual as he played 46 snaps to C.J. Prosise’s 16. With Russell Wilson playing through an ankle injury, the team has no choice but to establish the run and Michael has touched the ball 19-plus times in every game since Week 3 (including two-plus receptions in each game). Against this defense, those opportunities will no doubt translate into fantasy points considering the Saints are allowing a healthy 4.2 yards per carry (YPC) and 116.8 rushing yards per game overall.
Giovani Bernard, Bengals, $10,200 – Through six games this season, Giovani Bernard had out-snapped Jeremy Hill 242-162. Yes, Bernard had played on 59.3-percent of the team’s offensive snaps compared to just 39.7-percent for Hill…and Bernard once again out-snapped (33-21) and out-touched (18-11) Hill in Week 7. Even with game flow working theoretically working against Bernard with the team up and looking to pound the ball, Bernard receiving the lion’s share of the work. Unsurprisingly, Bernard’s playing time combined with his more PPR-friendly skill set has led to him averaging nearly 2.0 more fantasy points per game than his counterpart. The Redskins and Bengals will square off in Wembley Stadium at 9:30am EST on Sunday so this game will only be included in the Thursday-Monday slate but the matchup is too solid to overlook for Bernard. Not only have the Redskins already allowed eight rushing TDs but they have allowed the 11th most receptions to the RB position. Since Bernard has out-touched Hill 37-25 over the past two games, it is safe to assume he will receive the larger amount of volume. Against an inept defense, and at a reasonable price, it is hard to imagine an excellent receiving back flopping in this matchup. On a week devoid of cheap RB options, Bernard should possess a double-digit fantasy point floor (he has only failed to reach double-digits once in the past four ballgames).
Brandon Marshall, Jets, $14,600 – According to Ian Rappaport, Geno Smith tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the 2016 NFL season. Therefore, Ryan Fitzpatrick will step back into the starting role which should benefit the team’s number one target: Brandon Marshall. In 2015, Fitzpatrick developed a rapport with Marshall and he had been trustworthy in targeting Marshall at least eight times in every game prior to Week 6’s difficult meeting with the Cardinals. With Smith playing nearly half the game, Marshall eclipsed just 39 yards on three receptions (RECs) total in Week 7 and two of those came via a pass from Fitzpatrick. It is pretty clear Fitzpatrick is the better fit for Marshall’s skill set mostly because he keeps chucking it up to him (even though Marshall’s catch rate overall is still only 48-percent). However, this may be the week for him to shine against a likely Joe Haden-less Browns secondary. Just look at what A.J. Green did to the Browns last week: eight RECs for 169 yards and a TD. If you want to consider the 48 yard Hail Mary pass a fluke then he still caught seven passes for 120 yards. As a whole, the Browns have allowed the third most fantasy points to opposing WRs including 10 TDs. While Marshall feels awfully volatile heading into the weekend, he will not feel so iffy once he drops a solid performance on the lowly Browns.
Ty Montgomery, Packers, $10,500 – Why does Ty Montgomery not have RB eligibility by now? Seriously, the guy has been playing a ton of half back over the past two weeks as he even led the team in rushing attempts last week after Don Jackson was deemed the starter (he left due to injury). With only Knile Davis healthy in the backfield, Montgomery should continue to see a large percentage of the work moving forward. Davis is still new to the system and Montgomery actually rushed for 6.7 YPC in Week 7. After the game, Aaron Rodgers was quoted as saying, “Ty is a RB now.” The best part for his fantasy value was he continued to catch passes out of the backfield and hauled in 10 passes for 66 yards last week after catching 10 for 98 yards in Week 6. No matter where he lines up, he is clearly a big part of the offense moving forward…but he will line up all over the place. He played 48 snaps in the backfield, 10 in the slot and two as an outside WR in Week 7 (per Nate Jahnke on Twitter) and a similar trend should be expected with all the RBs banged up moving forward. Playing out of the backfield is helping to increase his volume in the passing game so one of Aaron Rodgers’ security blankets sure looks enticing at a sub-$11,000 cost.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, Texans, $5,600 – Quietly, C.J. Fiedorowicz finished as TE8 between Weeks 6 and 7 combined and yet he remains priced like a scrub on an offense that relies upon him. On Sunday, Fiedorowicz draws the coveted TE matchup against the Lions who have allowed 19 TDs to the position over the last 23 games. Sure Vernon Davis did not score last week but he still caught six passes for 79 yards (and dropped a TD) at the exact same price as Fiedorowicz is listed; he finished as TE4 for the week. Prior to Monday Night Football, Fiedorowicz had caught 14 passes over the past three weeks for an average of 64.7 yards to along with two TDs. If this is anywhere close to the new baseline for this emerging youngster moving forward, he should be able to add an additional standard deviation to it in just about the best matchup a TE could ask for (Lions rank 27th in DVOA to TEs).