DRAFT Daily Fantasy Helper: Week 9

Cam Newton is in an eruption spot against the Buccaneers in Week 9. Who else should you consider picking on DRAFT?

With the NFL season moving along quickly, Week 9 looks to have some fantasy-friendly games between the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints, as well as the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots. However, a number of feature backs fall on bye this week, including Saquon Barkley, Joe Mixon, and David Johnson, tightening the player pool. Playing daily fantasy allows people to target these specific, high-scoring environments, while showcasing their knowledge of the game.

DRAFT provides an awesome way to do this through weekly snake and auction drafts. Here are this week's standout plays on DRAFT.


Cam Newton - Patrick Mahomes deserves to be the first quarterback drafted in weekly snake, but Cam Newton deserves to be right behind him. Newton draws a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that just keeps on giving.

Newton has a modest 1,646 yards through seven games this season (235.14 YPG), but leads all quarterbacks with 309 rushing yards. Newton's rushing prowess provides a great floor most weeks, but his matchup in the passing game against Tampa makes for an explosive combination.

The Bucs have been absolutely ravaged by injuries on the defensive side of the ball in 2018. In the secondary Vernon Hargreaves III and Chris Conte remain on injured reserve and rookie M.J. Stewart looks questionable to face the Carolina Panthers after suffering a lower body injury last week.

The Bucs have also allowed the third-most passing yards to date with 2,330 despite already having their bye. Per our schedule-adjusted metrics, Tampa Bay ranks dead last in pass defense.They have allowed at least 20 points to be scored on them in every game this season and at least 30 in five of seven games.

Also working in Newton's favor, bookmakers see this match racking up the third-most points on the slate. With a 30.25-point implied team total, targeting Newton in the early rounds of snake drafts should provide an edge.

Aaron Rodgers - Somehow falling to the mid/late rounds, Aaron Rodgers looks to be the ultimate value at the quarterback position this week. Rodgers ranks seventh in the NFL in passing yards (2,283), with 13 touchdowns and only 1 interception.

Since Week 4, Rodgers has passing yardage totals of 298, 442, 425, and 286. Showing his elite play-making ability, Rodgers should be considered an elite quarterback option against a New England Patriots defense that has struggled recently.

Excluding the Buffalo Bills last week, the Patriots allowed Mitchell Trubisky, Mahomes, and Andrew Luck to eclipse 330 passing yards in the last four weeks. On the season, they have allowed the fifth-most passing yards.

Bookmakers currently project this game with the second-highest over/under on the slate at 56.5 points. As 5.5-point underdogs, Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers project to throw early and often in this one.

Running Back

Kareem Hunt - Similar to Mahomes, Todd Gurley rightly deserves to be the top running back drafted. However, just after Gurley, Kareem Hunt deserves consideration with so many feature backs on bye.

Hunt now has a seven-game touchdown streak and exactly six targets in each of his last three games. The second-year pro has handled a massive 80.2 percent of the Kansas City Chiefs' running back touches. Playing in the league's highest-scoring offense, Hunt warrants early first round consideration every week.

Also working in Hunt's favor is a glorious matchup against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards (947) and an additional 385 receiving yards to backs this season. Playing a bottom-12 run defense, per our metrics, Hunt should take advantage in the run and pass game alike. Last week, Hunt handled a massive 95.5 percent of the Chiefs' running back touches.

This game currently has the fourth-highest over/under on the slate at 51.0 points. With the Chiefs favored by 8.5-points, they are implied for 29.75 points. Favored and playing in a projected high-scoring affair, Hunt should anchor fantasy lineups this weekend. With his projected role, he warrants an early first round selection in weekly snake drafts.

Latavius Murray - Mentioned above, running back dries up quickly with many notable teams on bye. However, Latavius Murray looks like a diamond in the rough at his mid-round price tag.

With Dalvin Cook, unlikely to play until Week 11, Murray should remain the Minnesota Vikings' workhorse back. In his last four games without Cook, Murray has handled a massive 76.8 percent of the Vikings' running back touches. He has also been highly effective in the red zone, scoring a touchdown in each of his last three games. Murray even contributed in the receiving game last week with six targets.

Playing in a divisional game against the Detroit Lions, Murray should be featured early and often. On the season, the Lions have allowed the fourth-most rushing yards to opposing backs (952), with an additional 305 coming through the air. Detroit added run-stuffer Damon Harrison last week, but still gave up 139 rushing yards to Seattle backs. The Lions currently rank 30th in rushing defense according to our metrics.

Favored by 4.5-points at home, according to numberFire's projections, Latavius should see at least 15 touches, including passing game and red zone work. Falling to the mid rounds, Murray offers rock solid stability for a team's second running back.

Aaron Jones - Criminally underused to this point, Aaron Jones may finally see an increased workload with Ty Montgomery traded to the Baltimore Ravens.

Jones has easily been the Packers' most-efficient back, leading the team in rushing every week since his suspension. The Packers also finally seemed to realize the talent discrepancy between their backs as well. Aside from trading Montgomery, Jones played a season-high 62 percent of the Packers' snaps in Week 8 against the Rams. He also notched season-highs in carries (12) and rushing yardage (86). With Montgomery out of the picture, Jones' role should conceivably rise even further.

New England Patriots has played average rush defense to start the year, but they have faced a bottom-12 23.9 rushing attempts per game. The Patriots have also been susceptible to receiving backs, allowing the second-most receiving yards to the position on the season (520). Montgomery led the Packers backfield in targets (23), so Jones (8 targets on the year) should see a share of that work.

The Packers come in as 5.5-point underdogs, but this game currently has the second-highest total at 56.5 points. With scoring projected to be plentiful, Aaron Jones remains a solid late-round target for those employing a contrarian draft strategy.


Julio Jones - Julio Jones may not have a touchdown, but his opportunity has been absolutely massive to start 2018. As a late first/early second-round pick, Jones remains criminally underrated in weekly fantasy leagues.

Jones currently ranks fifth in targets (81), second in receiving yards (811), and first in air yards (1,140). Compensating for the league's second-worst defense, per our metrics, Julio should see similar opportunity going forward.

The Atlanta Falcons also find themselves in an inviting pass-game matchup against the Washington Redskins. Of late, the Redskins have actually been more vulnerable through the air, contrary to what was believed going into the season. The Redskins have allowed a league-worst 881 yards to receivers over the last four weeks, including 100-yard games to Odell Beckham and Tre'Quan Smith.

Atlanta has also struggled to run the ball since losing Devonta Freeman. Per our metrics, Atlanta fields the third-worst run offense, but the fifth-best pass offense.

Often sliding to the second round of snake drafts, Jones should remain a target in Week 9.

Brandin Cooks - Disappointing in recent weeks and with Cooper Kupp projected to return from injury, Brandin Cooks has dropped to the mid-rounds of weekly snake drafts.

In his last three games, Cooks has a mere 9 catches and no games above 75 yards. However, the opportunity has certainly been there. Cooks has 19 targets in the last three weeks, but he has been targeted heavily downfield. In that span, he ranks fourth with 397 air yards. Last week alone Cooks saw 173 air yards, but rookie corner Jaire Alexander held him to a mere 74 yards.

This week, Cooks has a much friendlier matchup against the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have given up the most yards to receivers this season (1,650) and rank 28th in pass defense according to our schedule-adjusted metrics. With Kupp probable to return, Cooks should play most of his snaps on the outside. However, with the Saints acquiring Eli Apple at the trade deadline, New Orleans did not use shadow coverage in Week 8 with their stud Marshon Lattimore. This should allow the Rams to take their shots, potentially to the benefit of Cooks.

Also working in Cooks' favor, this Saints-Rams contest has the highest-over under on the slate at 60.0. The Rams slide in as 2.0-point underdogs, indicating the game should remain competitive throughout.

With a depressed cost, Cooks looks like a solid way to get a piece of the high-scoring action in the mid-rounds.

Courtland Sutton - Demaryius Thomas has officially been traded to the Houston Texans, opening up targets for rookie Courtland Sutton. Often undrafted in weekly leagues, Sutton has a chance to be a late-round league winner.

Thomas' departure opens up 19 percent of the Denver Broncos targets and 25 percent of their air yards. Prior to the trade, Sutton began approaching Thomas from a volume standpoint. Sutton played only four fewer snaps than Thomas over the last two weeks and had 150 air yards compared to Thomas' 131.

Now projected for a full-time role, Sutton will face off against an ailing Texans secondary. Johnathan Joseph, Shareece Wright, and Aaron Colvin all come into this week's game as questionable, with Kevin Johnson and Kayvon Webster still on injured reserve. The Texans already ranked 26th in pass defense coming into the week, per our metrics.

With increased volume in a plus matchup, Sutton should be targeted as a late-round flier in weekly snake drafts.

Matthew Gajewski is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Matthew Gajewski also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mgajewski. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.