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2023 NFL Week 8: Top Underdog Higher, Lower Entries to Consider

We will evaluate the projections available on Underdog Fantasy each week and craft entries that leverage game environments and correlation to maximize value. 

Week 8 Higher/Lower Entries

Terry McLaurin HIGHER than 4.5 receptions, A.J. Brown HIGHER than 88.5 receiving yards and Jalen Hurts HIGHER than 247.5 passing yards

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Despite the narrative that the Philadelphia Eagles are a team focused on establishing the run, they prefer to pass in environments where they can succeed. The Washington Commanders' defense ranks 27th in estimated points allowed per dropback (EPA) through the air, and five of the first seven quarterbacks to play their defense have thrown for at least 275 yards, including Jalen Hurts’ 319-yard performance during Week 4. 

Hurts’ preferred target this season has been A.J. Brown. Brown has earned at least eight targets and six receptions in all but one of the team’s first seven games. In five consecutive games, Brown has at least 125 receiving yards. 

The Commanders enter the game as underdogs of nearly a touchdown. Games where the Eagles have success moving the ball downfield and scoring points will lend themselves to heavy passing tendencies from the Washington offense. In such games, Terry McLaurin will likely be the team’s top target and, more likely than not, catch at least five passes. 

Patrick Mahomes HIGHER than 276.5 passing yards, Jerry Jeudy LOWER than 4.0 receptions and Travis Kelce HIGHER than 77.5 receiving yards

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The Kansas City Chiefs, riding a six-game win streak, travel to take on the Denver Broncos. Since the Broncos’ pass defense ranks last in the league in EPA per dropback and defensive success rate, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ passing attack have a favorable matchup. The Chiefs’ offense will move through Travis Kelce, as he has hauled in at least 60 receiving yards in five straight games. When Kelce clears 77 receiving yards, Mahomes is increasingly likely to pass for at least 277 yards. 

The Chiefs controlling the time of possession also lowers the available play volume for the Broncos’ offense. Jerry Jeudy catching fewer than four receptions becomes more likely as team pass volume decreases. Additionally, with the trade deadline on Tuesday, there is a non-zero chance that the Broncos manage Jeudy’s reps in a way that makes taking lowers on any projections favorable. 

Desmond Ridder HIGHER than 218.5 passing yards, Derrick Henry LOWER than 65.5 rushing yards, Azeez Al-Shaair HIGHER than 9.5 tackles + assists, Kyle Pitts HIGHER than 34.5 receiving yards and Drake London HIGHER than 4.0 receptions

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The Atlanta Falcons face the Will Levis and Malik Willis-helmed Tennessee Titans in one of the most high-variance games of the season. In college, Levis took sacks at an incredibly high rate, similar to what Willis has done in his limited sample as the Titans’ starter. If the Titans cannot sustain drives due to repeated sacks, the Falcons will have the opportunity to dictate the game. 

While the Falcons might have success rushing the ball and not need to pass, capturing a tail outcome in which the Falcons' passing attack continues to outperform expectations has value. Desmond Ridder has three straight games of at least 250 passing yards, with Drake London catching at least six receptions and Kyle Pitts recording at least 40 receiving yards in all three games. 

When the Falcons passing triumvirate succeeds, Titans’ linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair will have ample tackle opportunities. After four games with at least nine tackles, Al-Shaair likely will outperform his projection when the Falcons control the ball. Derrick Henry’s rushing workload also probably decreases when the Titans have to play from behind and have less time on offense, making lower than 65.5 rushing yards a correlated addition to the entry. 

Tony Pollard HIGHER than 67.5 rushing yards, Matthew Stafford LOWER than 34.5 passing attempts and Dak Prescott LOWER than 0.5 interceptions

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The Los Angeles Rams visit the Dallas Cowboys as six-point underdogs. Optimizing for a game script where the Cowboys can play ball-control offense and wind down the clock appears favorable based on current projections. 

Dak Prescott going through the game without throwing an interception makes more rushing opportunities for Tony Pollard likely. As such, Pollard should see at least 68 rushing yards more often when Prescott throws fewer than 0.5 interceptions. In these games, Matthew Stafford will potentially have fewer plays on offense, making it an uphill battle to record at least 35 pass attempts.

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