Underdog to released the THUNday Kerfuffle contest with a $10 price point, 6,816 entries and $12k top prize. It is the same format as the Main Slate contest but with only 3 drafters instead of 6 (constant shift from 3 to 4). For this week, we get the Packers traveling to Buffalo to take on the Bills (-10.5) with a 47 o/u on Sunday Night and the Bengals (-3) traveling to Cleveland to take on the Browns with a 45 o/u on Sunday Night.
Reminder that you can also user our FREE Rankings for Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale “Showdown” tournaments to help aid in your drafts alongside this article. They are updated for every new slate each week (3x per week).
Let’s dig in.
Draft Strategy for Week 8 Sunday + Monday Night Football Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale
The main takeaway from looking at this slate is to win you will one again need to navigate the injury report. We got bombshell news on Thursday that Ja’Marr Chase would be out for the foreseeable future. We are also missing David Njoku and Allen Lazard which means we need to do some projecting on where their volume will go. It is important to note that the Bengals rank 1st in PROE over the last 3 weeks (+14.5%) and are 3rd overall through 7 weeks. The Bills are 2nd in PROE and don’t take their foot off the pedal. Don’t expect them to slow things down if they are up big on the Packers. The Browns are 4th worst in PROE and the Packers are league average at 17th (they lean a bit more russ-heavy.
Underdog decided to throw a wrinkle in for drafters. It has been shuffling between 3 and 4 man drafts, for this slate we get 3-man drafts. At first glance, this should make it a bit easier to get different but you will be sacrificing points from a projection standpoint. This can get tricky as you need to navigate drafts without providing unique & optimal combinations to your opposition.
With the significant change to 3 person drafts, it personally makes me underrate the QB position. For this particular slate though, I don’t. Josh Allen is far and away the best player on the slate due to how involved he is in the Bills offense. They design runs for him and as stated before they don’t take their foot off the gas, he has 500+ total yard upside which is unmatched by anyone in the NFL, let alone this slate. Next up would be Joe Burrow. We saw last week and part of last year that Zac Taylor and the Bengals won’t take their foot on the gas either and Burrow could throw for 350+ yards on volume alone. He is limited with his legs, which is why his ceiling outcomes are still below Allen’s. In years past, Aaron Rodgers may have been in the conversation with Allen, but this year has not been kind. Last year’s MVP is not in line to repeat. The Packers sit at 3-4 and the offense has been wildly inconsistent. This isn’t really Rodger’s fault. He is still accurately throwing the ball, but the Packers are 6th worst in the league in drop rate (7%). The offense hasn’t recovered from moving on from Davante Adams and I don’t expect this week to get any easier with top WR, Allen Lazard, already ruled out. If they offense does happen to click, it would be with Rodgers playing hero and keeping up the Bills leading to him being the optimal QB on the slate. There isn’t much to say about Browns’ QB, Jacoby Brissett. He has been a service-level QB since he entered the league. He does have some dual-threat ability, but with the offense being run-first, it severely limits his ceiling outcomes.
I will continue to hound on the fact that the reduction to 3 drafters really limits the player pool in terms of roster percentage. This is truly important in terms of pass catchers. Ownership will naturally (and deservedly) condense around Stefon Diggs, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, Gabe Davis, and Amari Cooper. Due to injuries, you can really start to differentiate yourself by mixing in Romeo Doubs, Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson , Isaiah McKenzie and Donovan Peoples-Jones. I expect most of the ownership to land on Doubs, Watkins, and Peoples-Jones since Doubs, Watkins and DPJ are all on the field during 2WR sets. However, due to inconsistent play at the WR position, I would expect Watson to see an increased amount of playing time if healthy (trending toward playing). Khalil Shakir is a player to mix in due to his depressed ownership. He has been rotating with McKenzie as the slot receiver for the Bills and since McKenzie has been inconsistent to start the year, the Bills may elect to play the rookie more, especially since they are fresh off their bye (a chance for the rookie to get more familiar with the offense). Another interesting name is Mike Thomas with the injury news to Ja’Marr Chase. Boyd and Higgins will become full-time players, but the Bengals play a lot of 11-personnel (3WR sets). This means Thomas may be on the field more and in a high-volume passing game is leverage off Boyd, Higgins and Joe Mixon.
On the RB end, there are 6 very viable running backs. Joe Mixon, Nick Chubb, Aaron Jones, Devin Singletary, Kareem Hunt, and AJ Dillon all come with 100+ yard and 2-TD upside. Hunt is more viable in gamescripts where the Browns are playing from behind as he is the 2-minute and primary pass-catching back. Whereas AJ Dillon is more favorable in positive-game scripts where the Packers are winning and trying to run out the clock. Samaje Perine would be the primary beneficiary if Mixon were to get injured. I don’t like to plan for injuries, but they do happen to the RB position at an increased rate. Another interesting name is James Cook similarly to the Shakir statement, the Bills may elect to increase his runtime after the bye. He will come in really low-owned.
We once again have an ugly TE slate. All four teams do have projected starters in Hayden Hurst, Dawson Knox, Robert Tonyan, and Harrison Bryant but none are world-beaters and you are trying to determine which will be the TD scorers to help push you up the leaderboard. My preferred picks are Tonyan and Bryant and then Hurst over Knox. I lean Tonyan and Bryant since Njoku was heavily involved in the offense and he should take over that role. Meanwhile for Tonyan, it is more due to Rodger’s being able to trust him. We could see both Bryant and Tonyan have 8+ targets. Hurst could see an increase in target share with Chase out, but he is still a low-volume option.
Top Plays for Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale Drafts
- Josh Allen – By far best QB on the slate
- Stefon Diggs – #1 option for Allen
- Aaron Jones – Primary pass catching back for a team that is 10.5 point underdogs
- Tee Higgins – #1 option for the Bengals with the Chase injury.
Players That Could Differentiate Your Lineup
- Mike Thomas – Projected WR3 for a pass-heavy Bengals offense.
- Khalil Shakir – Playing better than McKenzie just needs more snaps.
- James Cook – Rookie could see increased snaps after the bye.