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Week 8 DFS Primer: No reason not to pay up for Cooper Kupp

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Whether you've played Daily Fantasy on Yahoo before or are giving it a try for the first time, this weekly column will take an early look at the DFS landscape, revealing whom I like building lineups around, stars to fade, undervalued plays and bargain bin options to help you construct a better team.

Lineup building blocks

Cooper Kupp ($36) @ Houston Texans

Cooper Kupp has the most fantasy points by a WR through the first seven games ever. In fact, the gap between Kupp and the No. 2 fantasy receiver is as big as the No. 2 and No. 20. He leads the NFL in targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns. Kupp also has the most targets inside the 10, and only Deebo Samuel has more yards after the catch among receivers. He’s on pace to finish with 136 catches, 1,964 yards and 22 touchdowns. Especially with no Davante Adams on the slate, Kupp is the obvious WR foundational piece in Week 7.

Darrell Henderson ($23) @ Houston Texans

Darrell Henderson is coming off a disappointing game but remained LA’s true workhorse, leading all running backs in snap% in Week 7. He’s still affordable in Yahoo DFS despite acting as the clear feature back on a Rams offense that ranks top-five in scoring. LA enters this week more than two-touchdown favorites against a Texans team with one of the league’s worst run defenses, so Henderson is a strong building block.

D’Andre Swift ($22) vs. Philadelphia Eagles

D’Andre Swift is the No. 2 scoring fantasy back in PPR leagues yet continues to be disrespected with a DFS salary lower than D’Ernest Johnson, who’s facing the Steelers. Swift leads all players in yards after the catch and all RBs in targets and gets a home matchup versus an Eagles defense that’s allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs this season (and the fifth-most catches to the position).

Stars to fade

Jonathan Taylor ($35) vs. Tennessee Titans

Jonathan Taylor is without question one of the league’s best running backs, but this is an awfully high salary for an RB who’s yet to reach 20 carries in a game this season. Taylor will no doubt continue to benefit from Quenton Nelson’s return, but Tennessee has allowed the 11th fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. Taylor just doesn’t see the volume to have a top salary that’s in the same tier as Derrick Henry.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - OCTOBER 17: Jonathan Taylor #28 of the Indianapolis Colts runs the ball in the game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 17, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Jonathan Taylor has been great when he gets the ball, but his limited workload is a concern at a $35 salary. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Undervalued options

Calvin Ridley ($21) vs. Carolina Panthers

Calvin Ridley put up just 26 yards last week but saw double-digit targets for his fourth straight game. He’s averaging the second-most targets over the last month, when Atlanta has also begun racking up more air yards. This week Ridley returns home — where he averaged 109.4 yards last season compared to 76.0 on the road — and he’s due for serious regression given the discrepancy between his volume and (lack of) production. Kyle Pitts finally breaking out should also help Ridley moving forward. He’s one of only six receivers who has registered a 20% target share in every full game played this season.

Brandin Cooks ($15) vs. Los Angeles Rams

Brandin Cooks is tied with Davante Adams for the NFL lead in WOPR and should get Tyrod Taylor back as his quarterback this week. Cooks racked up 14 catches (21 targets) for 210 yards and a touchdown over the first two weeks of the year, when Taylor played six quarters. The Texans are once again big underdogs Sunday, so there should be plenty of passing against a Rams defense that’s been average versus fantasy receivers. Cooks is more valuable in PPR but still a bargain here with a salary outside the top-35 wide receivers.

Tee Higgins ($16) @ New York Jets

While Tee Higgins has taken a backseat to rookie sensation Ja’Marr Chase, he’s quietly waiting to explode himself. Higgins saw a whopping 15 targets last week, when he finished No. 1 in WOPR. He’s third in the league in red-zone target share (38%) this season. After going run-heavy with Joe Burrow returning from surgery to open the season, the Bengals have completely flipped the script and rank first in situation-neutral pass rate over Weeks 4-7. In fact, the Bengals were the most pass-heavy team in Week 7 (through three quarters before the score got out of hand) and Sunday they get a Jets defense with the only secondary in the league yet to record a pick this season.

[Play in Yahoo's Week 8 Million Dollar Baller DFS contest]

Dallas Goedert ($17) @ Detroit Lions

With Zach Ertz traded, Dallas Goedert marked season-highs last week in snap%, route% and slot%. Sunday the Eagles will likely be missing their lead back and get a Lions pass defense that’s allowed an almost unfathomable 9.5 YPA and an NFL-high 114.5 Passer Rating. Goedert should be treated as a top-five fantasy tight end moving forward.

Bargain Bin

Mac Jones ($22) @ Los Angeles Chargers

Mac Jones has thrown multiple touchdowns in three of the last four games and continues to impress unlike the other rookie QBs this season. The Patriots get a run-funnel Chargers defense this week, but New England is starting to open its offense up more. In a matchup with one of the highest over/unders on the main DFS slate this weekend, Jones is a fine QB option if you’re looking to save salary; he’s actually PFF’s second-highest graded QB over the last two weeks. It’s absolutely wild Jones fell to pick No. 15 to Bill Belichick in a league in which seemingly every team is in need of a quarterback.

Van Jefferson ($11) @ Houston Texans

Van Jefferson played 61-of-65 snaps last week when the Rams reverted back to being a 3-WR team with TE Johnny Mundt out. He finished top-10 in air yards and ran routes on 40-of-42 Matthew Stafford dropbacks, making Jefferson quite attractive at the near minimum salary. He ranks top-25 in yards per target this season and is looking at more volume moving forward. The Rams also have the highest implied team total this week.

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