StatHero NFL Lineup Advice: Week 8
If you haven’t heard of StatHero yet, you will soon. By combining weekly lineup-based competition with the structure of a survivor pool, the site offers multiple weeks of value for one entry fee.
How does it work? Each week, you’ll pick an NFL team and build a DFS lineup from players on their roster. You’ll choose one non-quarterback “MVP” to earn double points, a quarterback, three more skill-position players, and in the first week of each contest, a kicker. Your lineup just has to outscore StatHero’s lineup for you to “survive” and advance on to the next week — and you’ll win a payout in the process.
Aggressive Lineup: San Francisco 49ers
As in a traditional survivor pool, you can only pick each team once. But since you’re guaranteed a payout if you survive past the first week, it makes sense to be aggressive early on to maximize your chances of winning something. I featured the Seahawks in this spot last week, and that worked out (although I wish I had put Tyler Lockett as the MVP, not D.K. Metcalf), and I’ll roll with the 49ers this time out. San Francisco’s game against Seattle is projected for 53.5 total points, 25.25 of which should get scored by the Niners. San Francisco usually scores a bit above that threshold (they average 25.9 points per game), and they’re a good team to target on StatHero.
MVP: George Kittle
Since StatHero gives tight ends an extra-half point per reception, featuring a tight end at your MVP slot means that he’ll get 3PPR. Kittle is averaging seven receptions per game, so he should score you about 21 points just for catching the football.
Against Seattle’s league-worst secondary, you should roll with Kittle here, especially since Deebo Samuel won’t play. Sure, the Seahawks are the fourth-best defense against tight ends in PPR scoring, but that’s because teams opt to use their wide receivers against them instead (Seattle fields the worst defense against wide receivers).
Touchdowns are the most important thing to consider when choosing an MVP, and George Kittle/Jordan Reed lead the team in targets inside the 20-yard line (7) and inside the 10 (5). Reed played Kittle’s role when he was out earlier in the year, so I think it’s fair to merge their stats, especially with Reed now on injured reserve.
Lastly, Kittle is the clear leader of this team’s receiving offense. He leads in targets (45), receptions (35), and receiving yards (438), and it’s not close — he leads in targets by 13, receptions by 15, and receiving yards by 155.
QB: Jimmy Garoppolo
FLEX A: Brandon Aiyuk
I touched on this above, but Seattle can’t defend against receivers to save their life. I almost featured Aiyuk as the MVP due to the Seahawks’ struggles against receivers, but Kittle just sees too much volume to not go with him instead.
That said, Aiyuk is the clear-cut second option until Samuel returns, and he’s the reason why I merged Kittle’s stats with Reed’s above. Without that adjustment, Aiyuk leads the team in targets inside the 20-yard line (6) and inside the 10 (4). Sure, he hasn’t been as efficient as Kittle, but he has too much of a red-zone role to leave out of your lineup.
FLEX B: Kendrick Bourne
When the defense is this bad, you have to play the first and second-string wide receivers. With Samuel out, that leaves Bourne as the next man up. Although he doesn’t get much attention, Bourne ranks third on this team in targets (30), receptions (17), and receiving yards (271). A lot of that production came when Samuel was sidelined earlier in the season, so Bourne should be a fantasy-viable option until he returns.
FLEX C: Jerick McKinnon
McKinnon didn’t do much in Week 7, but head coach Kyle Shanahan explained that the team had been resting him. Then, on Friday, reports surfaced that McKinnon was dealing with “tired legs.” I really don’t know what’s going on here, especially since Tevin Coleman might be back this week and the team has hyped up rookie JaMycal Hasty (who, keep in mind, is their RB5). You’ll need to include at least one of these players in your lineup, and McKinnon is the only one of them to have posted fantasy-relevant numbers so far this season. Unless it’s announced that Coleman will not just play, but start, I would use McKinnon on Sunday.
Contrarian Lineup: Cleveland Browns
I featured the Falcons in this spot last week, and things worked out okay. My MVP, Calvin Ridley, beat out Julio Jones — but a third party, Todd Gurley, led the team in overall scoring with two touchdowns. After two weeks of getting burned by running backs in my contrarian lineups, I’ll roll with one who I’m expecting to have a big week. I’m targeting the Cleveland Browns against the Las Vegas Raiders, a game with a projected point total of 50.5. of which the Browns should score 26.5. That’s more than two points below their per-game average (28.6).
MVP: Kareem Hunt
The Las Vegas Raiders are bad against the run. They give up the most rushing touchdowns per game (1.3), and they rank third in total touchdowns allowed despite having played fewer games than the league-leading Panthers and Texans. They are especially vulnerable to receiving backs, as they rank second in receiving yards allowed to the position.
Enter Kareem Hunt. Since Nick Chubb went down against the Cowboys, Hunt has picked up the slack — he has averaged 17 carries and 2.7 receptions per game in his three starts. While he struggled against the Colts and Steelers, two of the best defenses in the league, Hunt returned to form against the Bengals last week. He totaled 102 all-purpose yards and a score.
Not only is Hunt Cleveland’s best healthy weapon on the ground, but he is also their best healthy red-zone receiving weapon. Hunt is tied with the now-injured Odell Beckham for the team lead in targets inside the 20-yard line (6) and inside the 10 (5). He has four receiving touchdowns on the year.
The Browns have phased out every running back behind Hunt. Last week, Hunt was on the field for 47 of 52 offensive plays, and backup D’Ernest Johnson logged just two snaps.
QB: Baker Mayfield
FLEX A: Rashard Higgins
Speaking of Beckham, Hollywood Higgins will replace him as Cleveland’s go-to downfield threat. You can read more about him here, but the gist is that he’s an extremely reliable weapon despite an unremarkable athletic profile. He caught six-of-six targets for 85 yards last week, and he has the ability to get into the end-zone on a 10-plus yard catch every week (those get you three bonus points, by the way).
FLEX B: Jarvis Landry
Where Higgins has upside, Landry has floor. There’s not much to get excited about with the veteran receiver — through seven weeks, he’s thrown more touchdowns (1) than he’s caught (0), but his 5.6 targets and 4.1 receptions per game give him respectable fantasy value. He won’t win you a week, but he won’t burn you with a goose-egg, either. Besides, who else would you consider starting in this offense?
FLEX C: Harrison Bryant
There’s an argument to be made for D’Ernest Johnson here. When the Browns were up big against the Cowboys, Johnson came in to wind out the clock. The Browns have played in much closer games since then — they beat the Colts 32-23, lost to the Steelers, and came back to beat the Bengals. Since Cleveland hasn’t had a big lead to protect in a while, it makes sense why we haven’t seen much of Johnson.
All of that said, Johnson could give you a goose-egg, and I advise that you roll with Bryant over him instead. The rookie tight end had a larger role than David Njoku did last week, and with Austin Hooper still sidelined, Bryant seems like a decent option in TE-Premium scoring.
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