DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 9
The daily fantasy football games offered on FanDuel and DraftKings have many similarities, but one distinct difference is that DraftKings uses full PPR scoring. Much like you would in season-long leagues, that means we must evaluate players slightly differently on each site. In this space, we'll help you on the DraftKings side of the equation.
Be sure to pay attention to inactives prior to Sunday's games. Similar to late scratches in the NBA, injuries can have a huge impact on playing time, and great values can open up for you at the last minute. At a position like running back, a low-priced backup can suddenly find his way into a feature role and crush his value.
Also, be sure to use numberFire's premium tools at your disposal. In particular, the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals, and every team's strengths and weaknesses.
Now, let's check out the top plays on this week's DraftKings main slate.
Drew Brees ($7,000): The New Orleans Saints are at home sporting a stellar 28.75 implied team total. They host a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that ranks 29th against the pass by numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics, and will likely still be missing top cornerback Brent Grimes. The Bucs also struggle at generating pressure on the quarterback, as they are dead-last in both sacks (7.0) and Football Outsiders' adjusted sack rate. Drew Brees hasn't had one of those truly bonkers Superdome performances yet this season, but if ever there was a time, it's this spot.
Dak Prescott ($6,700): The Kansas City Chiefs/Dallas Cowboys tilt has shootout written all over it, with the highest over/under on the board (51.5). The Chiefs' pass defense ranks an unintimidating 18th by numberFire's metrics, and as always, Prescott's wheels also add to both his floor and ceiling, showing 168 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns this season. Also, don't sleep on Alex Smith ($6,500) over on the opposing sideline.
Jacoby Brissett ($5,200): The unfortunate season-ending injury to Deshaun Watson actually hurts Jacoby Brissett's upside in a game that would've had some shootout potential as well. Still, injuries have left the once feared Houston Texans defense more vulnerable to the pass, ranking just 16th by numberFire's metrics. At his low price point, Brissett has shown he can reach value in the right matchups, and like Dak Prescott, he adds potential on the ground, with 135 rushing yards and 3 rushing touchdowns of his own.
Kareem Hunt ($8,600): The Cowboys rank a woeful 31st against the run by numberFire's metrics, putting Kareem Hunt near the top of the wish list in what should be a high-scoring, back-and-forth affair. Hunt had hit 100 yards from scrimmage in every game this season before falling short against a tough Denver Broncos defense last week. His 39.4% market share of carries and targets tops all other players on the slate outside of Todd Gurley ($8,100). Between the volume and matchup, Hunt is a strong bet to get in the end zone after being held out the last five games. Also, with Friday's news that Ezekiel Elliott ($9,000) will be allowed to play on Sunday, he's squarely back on the map against Kansas City's 27th ranked rush defense.
Mark Ingram ($7,600): We finally didn't see a big jump in Mark Ingram's salary this week, making him a relative bargain given his recent usage. Since the Adrian Peterson trade, he's gotten a 40.9% market share of carries and targets, while averaging 26.7 touches a game. A pair of lost fumbles in his last contest does add some risk that coach Sean Payton could lose trust in him, but that shouldn't be enough to shy away from a lead back who's a home favorite with a massive team total.
Joe Mixon ($5,100): Although Joe Mixon didn't quite get the volume we were hoping for last week, he still led the Cincinnati Bengals backfield with 14 touches and saw a season-high 63% of the snaps. The Bengals are 5.0-point road underdogs with a middling 17.25 implied team total and a shaky offensive line against an imposing Jacksonville Jaguars defense, so it's not the best situation, but Jacksonville does funnel towards the run. They rank first against the pass by numberFire's marks, but just 18th against the run. The Bengals aren't exactly slouches on defense themselves, so this game should stay close enough to keep Mixon involved.
Michael Thomas ($7,200): Michael Thomas is in the midst of a solid season, but he's yet to surpass 100 yards in a game despite averaging 8.9 targets and seeing 39% of the Saints' air yards. The good news is it's kept his salary affordable entering a potential blow-up spot against a Bucs team that's allowing the most DraftKings points per game to wide receivers.
Dez Bryant ($6,400): Similar to Michael Thomas, Dez Bryant hasn't had a ceiling game this year, failing to reach 20 DraftKings points in any contest. But he's seeing 28.4% of the team's targets and 39% of the air yards, so it's only a matter of time before he has that game-changing performance. Playing against a Chiefs defense that's allowing the second-most DraftKings points per game to wide receivers just might be the ticket.
T.Y. Hilton ($4,900): It's been a mostly disappointing season for T.Y. Hilton, but when 2016's leader in receiving yards is at his cheapest salary since 2013, you take notice. Despite the underwhelming results, Hilton is seeing a reasonable 7.0 targets a game and 36% air yards market share. In the right matchups he's proven to still have huge upside, putting up DraftKings scores of 31.3 and 27.7 points against the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers. While anything a coach says should be taken with a grain of salt, it's worth noting that Chuck Pagano has stated Hilton needs to get the ball more. It's true that Hilton has well-documented home/road splits, but historically he's performed well in Houston's indoor venue.
Jack Doyle ($4,300): Coming off a breakout performance in Week 8, Jack Doyle has asserted himself as Jacoby Brissett's favorite pass-catcher, averaging 9.8 targets over his last four games. While we probably shouldn't expect another 121-yard game this week, Doyle remains considerably underpriced given his consistent volume. There are few wide receivers you can reasonably expect double-digit targets for, let alone a tight end who costs under $4,500.
Vernon Davis ($4,100): The stars seem to be aligning for Vernon Davis, with both Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder not expected to play against the Seattle Seahawks. Normally it's difficult to predict where Kirk Cousins' passes are going to go, but with fewer mouths to feed, Davis could be the one who reaps the benefits. Attacking Seattle on the road doesn't make for an ideal matchup, but Earl Thomas will likely be out, and Davis has shown he can still produce at a high level when Reed misses time.
Philadelphia D/ST ($3,300): The Denver Broncos probably made the right move in benching a struggling Trevor Siemian, but if we get the same Brock Osweiler as last year, it will hardly matter. Including the playoffs, Osweiler tossed 19 picks in 2016, and remember, not even the talent-starved Browns wanted to hold onto him entering this season. The Eagles do a good job of getting pressure on the quarterback, and as 8.0-point home favorites, they could force Denver to air it out, leading to more potential sacks and turnovers.
Indianapolis D/ST ($2,000): So what happens when a stoppable force meets a movable object? Well, we might find out when Tom Savage faces the beleaguered Colts defense. The Colts are allowing the most points per game this season (30.8), so it might seem insane to use them -- except when you consider Savage lasted all of two quarters as the Texans starter before being benched in Week 1, getting sacked 6 times. Also, he hasn't thrown a single touchdown pass in 105 career attempts. Since the Deshaun Watson injury, the Texans have gone from 13-point favorites down to 7. It might not be for everyone, but as the lowest priced defense on the slate, the Colts really don't have to do much to hit value.
Kenyatta Storin is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Kenyatta Storin also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username yatters. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.