Week 8 of the NFL season is upon us and it’s hard to believe we’re nearing the halfway point of the 2023 season. Seems like not too long ago we were just finishing up draft prep and here we are preparing for the eighth main slate of the season. After having six teams on bye last week, we get a full 13-game main slate on Sunday, a departure from last week’s 10-game slate. But from the looks of it, some of you didn’t seem to mind the shorter slate. I’m happy to say I had a very good day myself so let’s keep that momentum going into the final main slate of October. Early in the week, we did have six of the 13 games accompanied by an implied total of 42 points or less. So let’s look at the betting trends and matchups to see which D/ST’s we can build around on Sunday for another profitable week!


Be sure to check out the rest of the NFL DFS Coaches and DFS Watch List throughout the week!

| NFL DFS Watch List | DFS Playbook | QB Coach | RB Coach | WR Coach | TE Coach | D/ST Coach |

NFL DFS D/ST Top Tier Picks

Philadelphia Eagles

Sure, they’re the most expensive option on the main slate. And yes, the most expensive D/ST on last week’s main slate didn’t pan out. But this is a position of variance and if you’re paying up at this position, the Eagles are the way to go. They only have one takeaway in their last four games but they’re generating plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks with 18 sacks in their last four appearances. 

Here’s the kicker this week, they’re facing the Washington Commanders. And I get it, it’s a divisional game and these always have a weird way of playing out. Just look at last week’s game between New England and Buffalo. But Sam Howell takes an enormous amount of sacks when he doesn’t really need to. 

Through seven games he’s been sacked at least five times in all but one game and even in that outlier against Denver, he still took four sacks. And Denver has one of the pass rushes in the league! The Eagles do have to go on the road in this matchup, but they’re favored by nearly a touchdown. But I also like that they’ve held three straight offenses to under 250 total yards. The over/under opened around 45 points which isn’t ideal, but this is a matchup where Philadelphia could give the Commanders’ offense fits at every turn.

Kansas City Chiefs

I gave some consideration to the New York Jets in this spot as well. I do like them against the New York Giants but with Andrew Thomas potentially coming back this week that’s a benefit to the Giants O-line. Still, they’re a good play, but I think this is a smash spot for the Chiefs. This is a road game at altitude in Denver. But the Broncos are nothing special. These two teams met on Thursday night a couple of weeks ago and it was a bit of an underwhelming matchup. 

The Chiefs defense has been outstanding this year. Only one opposing offense has put up 20+ points on them. They’ve really embraced the “bend but don’t break” mentality on this side of the ball. Yes, they can bleed yardage, but they’re allowing just 13.9 points per game with 22 sacks and 11 takeaways in seven games. The over/under is a bit high compared to other games at 45.5 points but the Chiefs are 8.5-point favorites on the road. Given how inept the Broncos can look on offense at times, this is a high-ceiling opportunity for Kansas City.

NFL DFS D/ST Mid-Tier Picks

Cleveland Browns

I may be a little biased, but I just believe the Browns are routinely underpriced week in and week out. And make no mistake about it, this is a tough matchup on the road in Seattle. The Seahawks have one of the best home-field advantages in the league. They have weapons such as Kenneth Walker, Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf (should he play), and even Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Jake Bobo found the end zone last week while Metcalf was inactive. The Browns have returned at least 2X value in all but one game so far this year, and in half their games they’ve exceeded 3X value. 

Even against the San Francisco 49ers, at the ripe price of $2,200, they managed six fantasy points. On the road last week against the Indianapolis Colts, they allowed 38 points and 456 yards in a controlled environment, but they still had four sacks and four takeaways with a touchdown to get them to 16 fantasy points. Geno Smith has four turnovers in the last two games and opposing defenses can get pressure on him. When you have a player like Myles Garrett leading your pass rush, you feel good about them against any opponent. I may prefer the Browns more in Cash games this week because I like the floor as we await a monster performance from this unit.

Atlanta Falcons

This is my favorite mid-tier D/ST for week 8. This defense can be hit-or-miss at times but I feel like we’ll see them in the D/ST Coach frequently in the coming weeks. Over the next handful of matchups, they’ll face the Cardinals, Saints, Jets, and Panthers. But this week they drew the Tennessee Titans on the road. Obviously, we don’t love the Titans coming off their bye week. However, their offensive line is still a mess and their quarterback situation is in flux. They will start Will Levis as the “primary” quarterback but I imagine they’ll mix in Malik Willis a little as well. 

The Falcons are slightly favored in this game but the over/under is around 35.5 at the time of this writing, which is almost historically low. The Dirty Birds have held three of their last four opponents to under 20 points and the run defense has been elite which is what we somewhat expected when Ryan Nielsen came over from the New Orleans Saints and brought some free agents along with him. The Falcons have some nice double-digit fantasy point upside in this matchup and make for a great mid-tier play on both DraftKings and FanDuel. 

You can also consider the Tennessee Titans on the other side. Desmond Ridder has six turnovers in his last three games and the Falcons are stubborn enough to keep playing him at quarterback so long as they keep winning. But Tennessee’s pass funnel defense is worrisome and their pass rush has cooled off after a respectable start to the year.

NFL DFS D/ST Value Picks

Washington Commanders

It’s not pretty. But sometimes you have to punt down here and hope for the best. Last week my best lineup put up 210.56 points on DraftKings and I had the Patriots D/ST in that build. They were the only D/ST I could play to make the rest of the lineup work and I didn’t want to pivot anywhere else. So with that said, the Commanders are a punt-worthy unit. In four games this year they’ve returned at least nine fantasy points. 

They can easily give up a ton of yards, but they do possess a decent pass rush at least. They’ve collected at least three sacks in four straight games and they have five takeaways in their last two. Plus this is a divisional matchup and these games always mean a little more to both sides. If you want to avoid this matchup after these teams combined for 65 points almost a month ago, I wouldn’t fault you. I like the next D/ST better anyway.

Cincinnati Bengals

If you don’t like Washington’s matchup at home, then consider Cincinnati on the road. This game has shootout potential but at the same time, the over/under is only at 43.5 points as of this writing. The Bengals are fresh off their bye week, so they’re rested and affordable on both DraftKings and FanDuel. The San Francisco 49ers are limping into this matchup a bit. They’ve lost back-to-back games on the road while scoring 17 points in both outings. Plus, this is a short week for San Francisco having just played Monday night and Trent Williams was inactive in that loss against Minnesota which was in a controlled environment. 

On top of that, they’ll likely be without Deebo Samuel and Brocky Purdy is in concussion protocol so it’s possible Sam Darnold gets the start here. As the Bengals went into their bye week, the defense had collected 16 sacks in their previous four games with eight takeaways. Brock Purdy has also thrown three interceptions and fumbled the ball in each of San Francisco’s last two losses. With the way the 49ers are trending, and with Cincy on fresh legs, this is an intriguing paydown spot for the road team.


San Francisco 49ers

The Bengals are the fresher team and the 49ers have lost back-to-back games against inferior competition. The Bengals come into this matchup off their bye week and that just means another week for Joe Burrow’s calf injury to heal up and it’s an extra week for Tee Higgins to get healthy as well. At full strength, the Bengals have one of the best offenses in the league and while they may not explode in this spot, there’s a path to 20+ points. 

The 49ers haven’t been giving up a ton of points, but they only have 10 sacks in their last six games. They can still force multiple turnovers but this is arguably the best offense they’ve seen to this point in the year. It’s somewhat unfair the Bengals are coming off their bye week and the 49ers are prepping on a short week. Either way, we’ll use that to our advantage. And at the end of the day, this is a classic case of “pay up or pay down” from here. There are better point-per-dollar plays.