2020 NFL Week 8 Picks — 12 Game Slate!

See below for my picks, plays, Model Z breakdown and explanation of each NFL Week 8 Pick. I’ll be ready for the roast (or silence) on Monday or Tuesday when you review these again.
*Stars represent confidence (1 to 5 scale).
Model Z was locked on Saturday afternoon. Any injuries declared “Out” or “Doubtful” were included and any injuries after that will not reflect ranks.

Sunday, November 1
1:00 PM ET
Z’s Model Projection: 20–26 BUF
Straight Up Pick: Buffalo Bills
Spread Pick: BUF -4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
O/U Pick: Over 40.5 ⭐⭐⭐
Zack’s Plays:
- BUF -9.5 Alternate Spread (+175)
- Zack Moss to score / Bills Win DOUBLE (+440)
Top DFS Matchups: Zack Moss ($4,400), Damiere Byrd ($3,700), Jakobi Meyers ($3,500)
Notable Injuries: CB1 Stephon Gilmore, WR1 Julian Edelman (NE), WR2 N’Keal Harry (NE), CB2 Josh Norman (BUF)
Notes: Cam Newton is the name, figuring out which Cam Newton you are going to get is the game. His last two games have been horrendous, and I personally do not expect that to change against a stout Bills front seven. The Patriots offensive line however is relatively healthy and should be able to give Cam more time than in the last few weeks. But news came in late in the week that Edelman, Gilmore and Harry will all be out, so now I give them zero shot.
As for the Bills, I have Josh Allen tied for QB6 (pre-matchup) with some good weapons so they should be able to score more points than the 31th Ranked Offense on the Model Z. -4 seems way too low.

Sunday, November 1
1:00 PM ET
Z’s Model Projection: 32–20 TEN
Straight Up Pick: Tennessee Titans
Spread Pick: Titans -7 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
O/U Pick: Under 51.5 ⭐
Zack’s Plays:
- TEN -7 (-110)
- Corey Davis to score / TEN Win DOUBLE (+310)
- Derrick Henry to score / TEN Win DOUBLE (-145)
Top DFS Matchups: Corey Davis ($5,100), Derrick Henry ($8,000), Jonnu Smith ($4,100)
Notable Injuries: RB1 Joe Mixon (CIN), LT Jonah Williams (CIN), C Trey Hopkins (CIN)
Notes: Joe Burrow (+220) has been excellent in his rookie campaign but is not the favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year according to FanDuel. That player is Justin Herbert (-175). I would say hop on that Joe Burrow number asap, but they have to face the Titans (10th DEF) and Steelers (3rd DEF) in the next two weeks, ouch. Back to this matchup specifically… there is much debate on if Tannehill is elite and I have him tied for 12th in the QB ranks. This Bengals defense isn’t awful (25th), but did just lose LE Carlos Dunlap to trade and their offense won’t help at all as RB1 Mixon and 3 starting offensive lineman are out due to injuries. I’ll take the 4th best overall team on the model, and 2nd best offense, the Titans.

Sunday, November 1
1:00 PM ET
Z’s Model Projection: 26–27 CLE
Straight Up Pick: Cleveland Browns
Spread Pick: CLE -2.5 ⭐⭐
O/U Pick: Over 49.5 ⭐⭐
Zack’s Plays:
- Anytime scorer on the following: Waller (+185), Ruggs (+250), H. Bryant (+200), Higgins (+290)
- 2+ Touchdowns for the following: Hunt (+310), Bryant (+1600)
Top DFS Matchups (Love to stack this game, plenty to choose from for both sides, just be aware of the weather): Harrison Bryant ($3,200), Darren Waller ($5,600), Henry Ruggs ($4,900), Kareem Hunt ($6,900), Rashad Higgins ($4,200)
Notable Injuries: TE1 Austin Hooper, RG Wyatt Teller
Notes: I am one of the few that believed in the Browns before the season started. Unfortunately, I have believed in them since they drafted Baker Mayfield, signed Jarvis Landry and traded for Odell Beckham Jr (13–18–1 in that time) so what do I know. With the loss of Odell Beckham Jr., it shouldn’t be too detrimental because of the emergence of Rashard Higgins and Donovan Peoples-Jones then the average of amount of targets he was receiving in recent weeks anyways.
As for the Raiders, they are the 29th Ranked pass defense in the Model Z which is what I think you need to beat the Browns (see Week 1 vRavens and Week 6 vSteelers). Also, it looks like RG Wyatt Teller (84) won’t play again and will be replaced by RG Evan Brown (65). That is a pretty big factor in my opinion and dropped my original confidence from 4
down to 2⭐.Weather looks to be a big issue, so watch out, usually makes a game pretty unpredictable.

Sunday, November 1
1:00 PM ET
Z’s Model Projection: 27–22 IND
Straight Up Pick: Indianapolis Colts
Spread Pick: IND -3 ⭐
O/U Pick: Under 49.5⭐⭐⭐
Zack’s Plays: Stay away for me
Top DFS Matchups: Jonathan Taylor ($6,600), Trey Burton ($3,500), Jack Doyle ($3,300)
Notes: The Colts defense came out white hot to start the season. Here is the secret, it’s because they got to face the offenses of the Jags (26th), Jets (32nd) and Bears (25th) to sway the numbers a bit. They are coming off a bye and face a Lions team that would have lost if Todd Gurley had not been listening to his fantasy owners DM’s. The Colts are the 12th best Defense pre-StatRanks and face the 17th best offense. Should be close but I’ll take the Colts (11th Overall) over the Lions (17th Overall).

Sunday, November 1
1:00 PM ET
Z’s Model Projection: 25–30 GB
Straight Up Pick: Green Bay Packers
Spread Pick: GB -6 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
O/U Pick: Over 49.5⭐⭐⭐
Zack’s Plays:
- GB -9.5 Alternate Spread (+140)
- Devante Adams 2+ Touchdowns (+410)
- Devante Adams 3+ Touchdowns (+2100)
- Justin Jefferson Anytime Scorer (+195)
- Justin Jefferson O62.5 Receiving Yards (-110)
Top DFS Matchups (Team stack the Pack!): Aaron Jones ($7,300), Devante Adams ($8,800), Aaron Rodgers ($7,600), Justin Jefferson ($6,500)
Notable Injuries: RB1 Aaron Jones (GB), CB1 Mike Hughes (MIN), CB2 Kevin King (GB)
Notes: The Vikings are a defense we are not used to seeing in Minnesota… a bad one. I’ll tell you the one reason why…. no Danielle Hunter. “Who?” you ask? The player that was 4th in Sacks in 2018 and 2019 and one of, if not the most underrated players in the league when healthy. Unfortunately, he started the season on IR and was forecasted to off the list mid-season, but in my non-professional opinion, they looked at their 1–5 record after Week 6 and decided to trade Ngakoue and sent Hunter to undergo season-ending neck surgery and just start looking at the draft. Tankers do not belong in any serious conversations in winning a game, especially against the Packers (even without Aaron Jones and a good WR2). Expect Devante Adams to have an absolute field day against these sub-par corners that will be also be missing their CB1 Mike Hughes.

Sunday, November 1
1:00 PM ET
Z’s Model Projection: 18–33 KC
Straight Up Pick: Kansas City Chiefs
Spread Pick: KC -19.5 ⭐
O/U Pick: Under 49 ⭐⭐⭐
Zack’s Plays:
- KC -13.5 Alternate Spread (-230)
- Denzel Mims to score (+300)
- Edwards-Helaire to score / Bell to score DOUBLE (+291)
Top DFS Matchups: LeVeon Bell ($4,600), Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($6,500), Tyreek Hill ($6,700)
Notable Injuries: RT Mitchell Schwartz (KC), WR1 Jamison Crowder (NYJ), S Bradley McDougald WR4* (NYJ), Breshad Perriman (NYJ), WR3* Sammy Watkins (KC)
Notes: Ah, the classic #1 vs #32 matchup. As I finished up the Week 8 Opening ratings, my number first question was how high will this spread projection be and it was 15. It’s always tough to pick a big spread like this (-19.5), and by always, I mean I’ve seen this maybe 3 times since I’ve really started gambling, but I’m not really thinking about taking it. The Chiefs only weakness in my opinion is the Rushing Defense, and the Jets don’t have a Running game to even go against that. The Jets will also be without two of their top players in Crowder and McDougald….eesh! Tempting, but I say just move the line down to 13.5 or pair whichever RB has the better odds to score with a win to be safe. 19.5 points is just too many to take (with confidence) for a team that has lost by that many only 3 times (IND, ARI, MIA) out of their 7 games.

Sunday, November 1
1:00 PM ET
Z’s Model Projection: 27–22 LAR
Straight Up Pick: Los Angeles Rams
Spread Pick: LAR -3 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
O/U Pick: U 45.5⭐⭐
Zack’s Plays:
- LAR -3 (-120)
- LAR -9.5 Alternate Spread (+200)
Top DFS Matchups: Darrell Henderson ($5,900), Jared Goff ($6,500), Robert Woods ($6,300)
Notes: I’ll admit that myself and my model were not super-high on the Rams to start the season, but they’ve made their way up to the 10th best team overall which might not be high enough realistically. They have the best defensive player (and arguably overall) in the game in Aaron Donald (98), the best CB in Ramsey (96) and the 3rd best pair of WRs (behind the Falcons and Seahawks). For the Dolphins, you have to imagine changing the offense to fit a lefty QB isn’t a simple plug-and-play and that’s why I believe they made this surprising (to most) change before the bye week. I’m excited to see Tua play, but going against #99 and the 7th Best DLine will be a tough welcome to the league.

Sunday, November 1
1:00 PM ET
Z’s Model Projection: 23–23 BAL
Straight Up Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers
Spread Pick: PIT +4.5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
O/U Pick: Under 46.5 ⭐⭐
Zack’s Plays:
- PIT ML (+176)
- PIT -6.5 Alternate Spread (+340)
Top DFS Matchups: None! Maybe the defenses?
Notes: The game of the week, no doubt. Wish it was in primetime instead of DALvPHI and TBvNYG. This is #3 vs #5 and they are separated by very little on my model. Let’s throw out some ranks and see if we can come up with a winner. Steelers are 13th on Offense, Ravens are 12th. Steelers are 1st on Defense, Ravens are 2nd by pennies. Steelers are 2nd against the run and the Ravens lead the league in Run % at 50%. Steelers have a top 5 trio of WRs but must go against the best trio of CBs (Humphrey, Peters, Smith). None of that helps me. I think the deal breakers are the Edge Rushers and Safeties and the Steelers have the edge on those groups. Plus, 4.5 is a lot for a toss-up game.

Sunday, November 1
4:05 PM ET
Z’s Model Projection: 27–22 LAC
Straight Up Pick: Los Angeles Chargers
Spread Pick: LAC -3 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
O/U Pick: Over 44.5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Zack’s Plays:
- LAC -6.5 Alternate Spread (+130)
- Kelley to Score / LAC to win DOUBLE (+260)
- Allen to Score / Kelley to Score / LAC -3 SAME GAME PARLAY (+783)
Top DFS Matchups: Joshua Kelley! ($4,900), Noah Fant ($4,700), Keenan Allen ($6,200)
Notable Injuries: RG Graham Glasgow (DEN), RG Trai Turner (LAC)
Notes: Drew Lock is now tied with Kyle Allen for the 2nd worst starting QB in the league in my opinion (Ben DiNucci is 1st). I like kind of like Drew Lock too so that shows how high the lows are when it comes to QBs right now in my opinion. His supposed-to-be #1 target, Jerry Jeudy, hasn’t met my expectations either but that may be by design as he is 2nd (287) to Tim Patrick (316) in snaps this season and only slightly above Patrick in targets (37 to 33). The Chargers on the other hand, look great, 2nd only to the Falcons when it comes to underperforming (in Wins) when it comes to their talent. I’ll take the Chargers to cover the spread easily, mainly because the only players that scare me on Denver’s entire team right now are their safeties (best pair in the league, Jackson and Simmons).

Sunday, November 1
4:25 PM ET
Z’s Model Projection: 26–20 NO
Straight Up Pick: New Orleans Saints
Spread Pick: NO -4.5 ⭐
O/U Pick: Over 42.5 ⭐
Zack’s Plays: Stay away game for me
Top DFS Matchups: None that I like
Notable Injuries: WR1 Michael Thomas (NO), WR2 Emmanuel Sanders (NO, C Cody Whitehair (CHI)
Notes: The Model Z has loooooved these two teams all year in different ways. Without the injuries, the Bears are the #1 Ranked defense, and the Saints are the #2 overall team. But with WR1 Michael Thomas and WR2 Emmanuel Sanders out, it drops them from the 2nd Overall team to the 6th. Even with that significant drop, it will not drop them low enough to touch the Bears at 12th overall. The Bears defense can keep games close, but their 25th ranked offense is not going to cut it especially against the 5th best defense. Probably not touching this game from a betting standpoint though.

Sunday, November 1
4:25 PM ET
Z’s Model Projection: 23–28 SEA
Straight Up Pick: Seattle Seahawks
Spread Pick: SEA -2.5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
O/U Pick: Under 53.5 ⭐⭐⭐
Zack’s Plays:
- SEA -6.5 Alternate Spread (+170)
- Metcalf to score / Aiyuk to score / SEA -2.5 SAME GAME PARLAY (+753)
Top DFS Matchups: DK Metcalf ($7,500), Brandon Aiyuk ($5,800)
Notable Injuries: RB1 Chris Carson (SEA), LB Kwon Alexander (SF), LF Mike Iupati (SEA), S Jaquiski Tartt (SF), WR1 Deebo Samuel (SF), RB1 Jeff Wilson Jr (SF)
Notes: I get the Niners wrong most weeks, so fair warning before you read this! The 49ers are 16th Overall and the Seahawks are 7th. The Niners are 19th on Offense and the Seahawks are 3rd. The 49ers are 14th on Defense and the Seahawks are 13th. All of that tells me to take the Seahawks no matter what, especially with the insane amount of significant 49ers injuries, Kwon Alexander being the biggest, so I’ll take the -2.5 and try not to be surprised if I lose vs the Niners again.

Sunday, November 1
8:20 PM ET
Z’s Model Projection: 27–25 DAL
Straight Up Pick: Philadelphia Eagles
Spread Pick: DAL +10.5 ⭐
O/U Pick: Over 42.5 ⭐
Zack’s Plays:
- Schultz to score / Cowboys to win DOUBLE (+1600)
Top DFS Matchups: Dalton Schultz ($3,700), Boston Scott ($6,000)
Notable Injuries: RB1 Miles Sanders (PHI), QB1 Andy Dalton (DAL)
Notes: The Cowboys have been active this week, and not in a good way. They’ve let go or traded 3 starters on a already bad defense: Everson Griffen, Dontari Poe and Daryl Worley. That being said, the Eagles don’t excite me either. Reagor, Goedert and Jeffrey are scheduled to come back off IR but Jeffrey (by no surprise) has a calf injury as well, so he probably won’t play. Most people could not name a starting Linebacker (unless you went to LSU). Then most importantly, Lane Johnson is probably out for multiple weeks. I don’t trust the model for this game (Cowboys by 2) because it’s a completely different team now and now I have no idea what to bet. Probably a stay away for me.



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Zack Nicol

Zack Nicol

Geaux Tigers. Go Mavs. Go Pats. Go Stars. Go Rangers. Go BlueClaws.