Week 9 NFL FanDuel Late Afternoon Slate Breakdown

The Week 9 late afternoon slate on FanDuel features a trio of games (4:05pm ET), including one of the week's premier matchups as the Los Angeles Rams take on the New Orleans Saints.

The Rams and Saints matchup owns a 60.0-point over/under, the highest of the season, so players in that projected shootout will surely be popular plays.

Matchup (Implied Team Total) Game Total
Los Angeles Rams (30.5) at New Orleans Saints (29.5) 60.0
Los Angeles Chargers (23.5) at Seattle Seahawks (24.5) 48.0
Houston Texans (22.5) at Denver Broncos (23.5) 46.0

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Chargers return from their bye week to take on a Seattle Seahawks team that has won four out of their last five. And wrapping up the slate, the Houston Texans are on the road to face the Denver Broncos in what is projected to be the lowest scoring game of the three.

Among the tournaments on FanDuel this week, we have the $300,000 NFL Rush, which costs $9.99 to play and pays out $100,000 to first. The $40,000 NFL Bomb pays out $8,000 to first and costs $33 to play. Among the single entry tournaments, the NFL Spike costs $5 to enter and rewards first place with $3,000.

Now, let's break down the top plays and fades at each position on the slate.


Lock: Jared Goff ($8,400) - Goff and Drew Brees carry the same price into this projected shootout and both are squarely in play. The Rams have the highest implied team total on the slate (30.5) and the Saints' defense has been better at stopping the run than the pass through eight weeks. Per numberFire's metrics, the Saints' run defense ranks as the league's eighth-best, but the pass defense ranks as the fifth-worst. Opposing quarterbacks are averaging 300 yards per game against the Saints and have thrown for 15 touchdowns compared to only 3 interceptions.

Fade: Deshaun Watson ($7,900) - Watson is coming off a five-touchdown game in Week 8, but faces a much stiffer test in Week 9. The Denver Broncos have the league's second-best pass defense per numberFire metrics, and are one of the best at pressuring the quarterback. The Broncos rank top-5 in both sacks (53) and quarterback hits (53) on the season. Meanwhile, Watson has taken the second-most sacks (26) among all quarterbacks and the most hits (71). Who will line up opposite DeAndre Hopkins on Sunday is also up in the air. Will Fuller is out for the year after he tore his ACL last week and Keke Coutee is questionable heading into the weekend. Demaryius Thomas was traded to Houston on Tuesday and will have just a handful of days to prep to play his former team.

Sleeper: Case Keenum ($6,800) - Keenum is the cheapest starting quarterback on the slate and faces a Texans pass defense that hasn't been challenged over the past month. The Texans have allowed just three passing touchdowns over the past four games, but they've faced Dak Prescott, Josh Allen/Nathan Peterman, Blake Bortles/Cody Kessler, and Brock Osweiler. Not exactly an imposing group. Despite the easy matchups over the last month, the Texans' pass defense still ranks as the league's seventh-worst on the season, per numberFire metrics. Keenum has actually been playing pretty well over the last month. He's thrown for multiple scores in three out of four games and he's averaging 280.5 yards per game.

Running Back

Lock: Todd Gurley ($11,200) - As noted above, the Saints' run defense has been solid this year, but that doesn't take Gurley off the radar. Not only is Gurley a workhorse in the run game, but he's heavily involved in the Rams passing game. Gurley has seen fewer than 5 targets in a game just once all season and his 42 targets are tied for seventh among all running backs. Averaging 25 touches per game and playing in a potential high-scoring affair in the Superdome, Gurley is always one of the top plays on the slate.

Fade: Mark Ingram ($7,400) - Running back is deep on this slate and Ingram has a nice matchup against a bottom-10 Rams run defense, but he's the fourth-most expensive back on the slate, $600 cheaper than Alvin Kamara and $700 more than Phillip Lindsay. After leading the Saints' backfield in his Week 5 return from suspension, Ingram has taken a backseat to Kamara in Weeks 7 and 8. Over those two games, Kamara has 39 touches to Ingram's 30 and he has played 62% of the snaps compared to 47% for Ingram. Kamara has also been the team's primary back inside the 10-yard line over the past two games with seven carries and one target. Ingram has just two carries inside the 10 over the past two weeks.

Sleeper: Chris Carson ($6,500) - Carson has taken hold of the Seahawks' backfield, averaging 20 touches per game over the past three weeks. His 28.57% market share over that span ranks 10th-best among all running backs. Despite the heavy usage, Carson is just the sixth-most expensive back on the slate and his matchup is pretty appealing against a Chargers run defense that ranks 18th, per numberFire metrics. Carson did pop up on the injury report with a hip issue on Thursday, but should he be good to go for Sunday, and should be locked in for another 20 or more touches in Seattle.

Wide Receiver

Lock: Michael Thomas ($8,600) - After his blistering start to the season, Thomas has seen more than 6 targets in a game just once over the past four weeks and he hasn't been targeted 10 times in a game since Week 3. But that trend should change in what should be a shootout in New Orleans. Even though he hasn't been putting up gaudy stat lines over the past month, Thomas has still been targeted on 25% of Drew Brees' passes over the past three weeks. On the season, his nine targets inside the 10-yard line also ranks second-best among all receivers.

Fade: Demaryius Thomas ($5,800) - It's already a revenge game for Thomas after he was traded from the Broncos to the Texans on Tuesday, but with less than a week to practice with his new team, it's difficult to see Thomas putting up a big game. Even with the Broncos, Thomas was a diminished fantasy asset. He had one 100-yard game on the year and was held below 60 yards in five out of eight. With Watson and the Texans facing a tough passing matchup in Denver, Thomas is unlikely to show up his old team on Sunday.

Sleeper: Tre'Quan Smith ($5,100) - Only $600 above minimum price, Smith is one of the most appealing plays on the slate. Courtland Sutton is sure to be a popular play at $5,500 following the trade of Demaryius Thomas, but Smith has taken over the old Ted Ginn Jr. role and offers high-upside if the Saints and Rams game goes as expected. Smith has emerged as the clear second option behind Michael Thomas, playing more than 67% of the snaps in each of the past three weeks. Cameron Meredith has become an afterthought, seeing fewer than 30% of the snaps in two of the past three games. Smith flashed his big play ability in Week 5 against the Redskins and is in prime position to do so again against the Rams in Week 9.

Tight End

Tight end is always a difficult position to fill, and this week is particularly brutal. Instead of listing a top play, fade, and sleeper, here are a few options to consider:

Jeff Heuerman ($4,600) - The fourth-most expensive tight end on the slate, Heuerman has seen at least four targets in every game since Week 2. He's only found the end zone once this season, but the trade of Thomas could also open up some more looks for Heuerman. He's always on the field for Denver, playing more than 80% of the snaps in four out of the last five games.

Benjamin Watson ($5,400) - Watson popped for a big game two weeks ago against the Baltimore Ravens, but then wasn't targeted in Week 8. He's splitting snaps with Josh Hill, although Watson has seen more targets than Hill on the year (28 to 8) and targets inside the red zone (5 to 1). In what should be a barnburner in New Orleans, Watson is well worth a look.

Ed Dickson ($4,700) - In his first game of the season last week, Dickson was targeted twice and caught both for 54 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown. While 2 targets may not seem like a lot, Russell Wilson only threw the ball 17 times. Dickson played behind Nick Vannett in Week 8, but he may see his playing time grow now that he's off the injury report.

Blair Ames is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Blair Ames also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Bames31. 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.