Fantasy Football: Top smash plays, upgrades and fades for Week 8 | Fantasy Football News, Rankings and Projections | PFF

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Fantasy Football: Top smash plays, upgrades and fades for Week 8

Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts (8) makes a one-handed catch against Miami Dolphins free safety Eric Rowe (21) during the second quarter of the game at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Week 8 of the NFL season is here, and so is the weekly look at the top smash, upgrade and fade plays for fantasy football. I'll integrate NFL totals, spreads, implied points and proprietary PFF matchup data each week, looking for players who score highly or poorly across all metrics.

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Rankings & Projections | WR/CB Matchup Chart | NFL & NCAA Betting Dashboards | NFL Player Props tool | NFL & NCAA Power Rankings


We will also look at the projected DFS rostership for additional context for building tournament lineups.

KEY:

  • SOS: PFF's Fantasy Strength of Schedule (SoS) metric provides a league-wide, season-long view of opponent matchups for each fantasy position.
  • OL Pass Block Advantage (OL PBA): offensive-line pass blocking matchup; derived from the OL/DL Matchup tool (pass blocking advantage — the higher the percentage, the better the matchup for the offensive line, and vice versa).
  • OL Run Block Advantage (OL RBA): offensive-line pass blocking matchup; derived from the OL/DL Matchup tool (run blocking advantage — the higher the percentage, the better the matchup for the offensive line, and vice versa).
  • WR/CB Matchup Advantage (WR/CB MU): wide receiver versus cornerback matchup; derived from the WR/CB Matchup tool (matchup advantage grade — the higher the grade, the better the matchup for the receiver, and vice versa).
  • TE Matchup Advantage (TE MU): tight end versus linebackers and safeties; derived from the TE Matchup tool (matchup advantage — the higher the percentage, the better the matchup for the tight end, and vice versa).
  • Projected PPR Points (PPR Proj)

QUARTERBACKS

For quarterbacks, we are looking for big point totals and implied points. The spread doesn't matter as much for pass-heavy teams, but we are looking for trailing scripts that could cause run-heavy offenses to throw more than usual.

Smashes
Player Opponent Total Spread Implied Points QB SOS OL PBA PPR
Patrick Mahomes NYG 52.5 -9.5 31.00 6.0 15 23.4
Jalen Hurts @DET 48.0 -3.5 25.75 10.0 16 21.1
Matthew Stafford @HST 47.5 -14.5 31.00 7.0 24 20.9

Mahomes posted his first dud performance in a smash spot against the Titans in Week 7, and his explosive play rate (15-plus yard plays) is the lowest of his career at 12.2%. Mahomes' totals the last three seasons:

  • 2020: 18.9%
  • 2019: 16.9%
  • 2018: 22.9%

However, Mahomes gets an opportunity to get right in another choice spot against the Giants.

Patrick Mahomes throws against the Tennessee Titans. Credit: USA TODAY

Hurts has finished as a top-12 fantasy quarterback every week of the 2021 season. He handles 27% of the Eagles' designed rushing attempts — first in the NFL — and is fourth in scramble rate (10%). Now he lands the crème de la crème of passing matchups in the Detroit Lions.

Stafford and the Rams are heavily favored again and may not need to throw that much, but it didn't slow him down in Week 6 or 7 against the Giants and Lions. The Rams were favored by 16.5 and 7.5 in those contests, and Stafford went of for QB4 and QB3 performances.

  • Week 6: 251 yards and four touchdowns
  • Week 7: 334 yards and three touchdowns

The Rams aren't a pass-happy team, but their efficiency and willingness to throw inside the 5-yard line (59%) — the sixth-most in the league — keep Stafford viable in blowout wins.

Upgrades
Player Opponent Total Spread Implied Points QB SOS OL PBA PPR
Josh Allen MIA 49.5 -13.5 31.50 6.7 -3 24.0
Justin Herbert NE 49.0 -5.0 27.00 6.5 5 21.8
Joe Burrow @NYJ 42.5 -10.5 26.50 6.8 -19 19.8
Kirk Cousins DAL 55.0 1.5 26.75 7.3 -8 18.5

Allen resides on one of the most progressive offenses in the NFL, where the Bills throw the ball above the NFL average in all situations.

  • Trailing by four or more: +6%
  • Within three points: +6%
  • Leading by four or more: +8%

The Bills are heavily favored again in Week 8 against the Dolphins.

Herbert has three top-12 and three 20-plus finishes on the season but draws a good scoring environment and matchup against the Patriots. The Chargers need to do a better job staying out of long-down-distance situations (worst in the NFL), but they love to throw in all conditions. Their pass rates versus the NFL average by game script:

  • Trailing by four or more: +6%
  • Within three points: +7%
  • Leading by four or more: +9%

Burrow and the Bengals are showing signs of throwing the ball in more situations, and the weapons are elite.

Burrow's projected DFS rostership on DraftKings is under 8%, making him a viable tournament option.

Related content for you: Erickson: NFL Week 8 fantasy football start 'em or sit 'em via Andrew Erickson

Cousins and the Vikings are willing to lean into the running game when leading but are at or above NFL average pass rates in close or trailing situations. This week they draw a potential shootout against Dallas.

Fades

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