DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 9
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Once again the main slate is only 10 games, but we have both Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara on the main slate. Thankfully, the trade deadline has opened up a number of values at the wide receiver position that will make it very easily afford both of these premier running backs in the same lineups. Additionally this week, quarterback is very straight forward while tight end looks fairly thin outside of Travis Kelce at the very top.
Cam Newton ($6,600): Even in the most difficult matchup, Cam Newton's rushing ability provides an extremely stable floor. Over his last six games, Newton has exceeded 24 DraftKings points on five occasions. On the season, he's averaging close to 45 rushing yards per game while scoring a total of four times on the ground. In addition to throwing for a 66.4 percent completion rate -- easily a career-best figure -- Newton's passing touchdown rate of 5.5 percent is his best mark since winning the MVP award in 2015. The visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the worst pass defense in the league by numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics and are significant underdogs. Despite already having a bye week, Tampa Bay's 20 passing touchdowns given up are two more than any other team. Clearly, Newton is an outstanding play in all formats.
Jared Goff ($6,000): Despite last week's performance of 295 passing yards and three touchdowns, Jared Goff's price remains at $6,000 for the third time in four weeks. Even though Todd Gurley is nearly impossible to avoid in cash games, pairing him with Goff is totally viable. After all, Gurley caught six touchdown passes last year and already has four this season, including one in each of the last two games. Our projections have Gurley and Goff scoring the first- and second-most raw points, respectively, on the entire main slate. The Los Angeles Rams are tied with the Carolina Panthers for the highest implied total, even though LA will be on the road. Thankfully, that venue is the fantasy-friendly Superdome, where the New Orleans Saints field a bottom-five pass defense by our metrics.
Baker Mayfield ($5,600): Back in 2016, Baker Mayfield faced his former team, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, and their starter, Patrick Mahomes. The two quarterbacks accounted for seven touchdowns apiece during a jaw-dropping display of offense that saw Mayfield's Oklahoma Sooners win 66-59. The Cleveland Browns are one of the biggest underdogs on the main slate and just replaced both their head coach and offensive coordinator. However, even though the Kansas City Chiefs pass defense is middle of the pack by success rate allowed, they are second in pass completions, pass attempts, and passing yards allowed as opposing teams have had to air it out to keep pace with KC's offense. As a starter, Mayfield is averaging 40 pass attempts per game and will likely be behind on the scoreboard for much of this game. Over the last two weeks, Mayfield has begun to turn things around by completing nearly 65 percent of his passes with four touchdowns to just one turnover.
Christian McCaffrey ($7,800): Playing Gurley in cash games is a no-brainer, so we'll skip that bit of analysis and shift the focus to a tournament option near the top of running back pricing this week. Thanks to having Gurley and Melvin Gordon above him -- plus Kareem Hunt and Kamara below him -- Christian McCaffrey could go overlooked just a week after scoring a pair of touchdowns against the vaunted defense of the Baltimore Ravens. The Panthers remain home for a divisional game as they face the Buccaneers for the first time this season. In seven games, opposing running backs have scored a total of 11 touchdowns against Tampa. Receiving backs like McCaffrey have been extremely effective against the Bucs, particularly Kamara (6 targets, 5 receptions, 112 yards, touchdown) in Week 1 and Tarik Cohen (8 targets, 7 receptions, 121 yards, touchdown) in back Week 4. McCaffrey hasn't been reliable enough to play in cash games, but he has plenty of ways to post a big number in tournaments.
Alvin Kamara ($7,300): After two consecutive games with similar snap counts to teammate Mark Ingram, Week 8 saw Kamara play on nearly 72 percent of the snaps. Since Ingram's return from suspension, he's averaging 16 touches per game. Kamara is averaging nearly 20 touches per game over the last two contests while scoring a total of three touchdowns. Our projections give Kamara the second-highest raw fantasy output at running back this week, making him the top point-per-dollar value at the position. While the Rams haven't given up big numbers to opposing running backs thus far, they do surrender 4.8 yards per carry and are bottom-10 against the run, per our metrics. The Saints are narrow home underdogs against the undefeated Rams as they square off in what is easily this week's largest over/under. Cash-game players will surely want to include multiple players from this matchup. Combining Goff, Gurley, Kamara, and even one of the underpriced Rams receivers provides both a strong floor and very high ceiling to get it done.
Nick Chubb ($4,500): Even though Nick Chubb is likely to be a part-time player facing a game script that could get away from the Browns, his price tag is worth chasing given the matchup. Cleveland are 8.0-point home underdogs but face a Kansas City defense that just gave up 173 rushing yards to the pair of Phillip Lindsay and Devontae Booker. Kansas City is easily the worst defense versus the run by our scheduled-adjusted metrics, and they give up a stunning league-high 5.4 yards per carry. Last week, Chubb saw 20 touches despite Cleveland losing on the road to the Pittsburgh Steelers by 15 points. The volume and efficiency we can project for Chubb makes him worth a look as the third running back in a cash-game lineup, and he is the second-best running back value on the main slate, per our models.
Brandin Cooks ($6,700): Getting multiple players from Rams at Saints into cash lineups is the best way to create a high-floor, high-ceiling lineup this week. The game has a massive over/under and is expected to be the highest-scoring game on the slate. That puts Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods ($7,000) firmly into consideration. Last week, the Saints saw both Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen exceed 100 receiving yards and score touchdowns. In Week 7, John Brown caught all seven of his targets for 134 yards and a score. However, it sounds as through Cooper Kupp (knee) is on track to return after a multi-week absence, which does ding Cooks and Woods a bit. Our projections have Cooks and Woods extremely close, so the $300 savings with Cooks could be the way to go if every dollar counts. From Weeks 6 through 9, Cooks paced the Rams with 367 air yards and an average depth of target of 20.9 even though he's second to Woods in targets, receptions, and yards. Both players have a strong chance to smash their price, especially if Kupp is limited in his first game back.
Marvin Jones ($5,300): By trading away Golden Tate, the Detroit Lions have just opened 27 percent of their target share. Even though fantasy managers will try to decipher the difference T.J. Jones and Brandon Powell as the team's new slot receiver, the targets will be far more concentrated going forward. That's big news for Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay ($5,500), both of whom we have both projected as top-10 receiver value plays this week on the road against the Minnesota Vikings. Playing in week's fourth-highest over/under, the Minnesota pass defense is mid-pack by our metrics. They've allowed just three 100-yard wide receivers this season, all of which came in Week 4 against the Rams. Also, four of the six touchdowns they've allowed to the position came in that same contest. Marvin Jones leads Golladay by three targets thus far, but he trails Kenny G in receptions and receiving yards. However, Jones has scored two more touchdowns and leads the team in air yards market share by nine percentage points. While the matchup isn't totally ideal, Minnesota is 30th in explosive passing rate allowed and could find themselves in another shootout.
Courtland Sutton ($3.900): The easy play this week at wide receiver is Courtland Sutton, who will likely be one of the most highly-owned players in both cash games and tournaments. Sutton will face a Houston Texans team that just acquired Demaryius Thomas, who was seeing nearly 20 percent of Denver's target share. Despite being a top-10 pass defense in limiting DraftKings points to opposing wide receivers, Houston sits is inside the top 10 when it comes to conceding targets and receptions to the position. Houston is coming off a recent stretch of games in which they saw very limited competition in the pass game: Dallas, Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Miami. Thanks to an influx of targets and better-than-advertised matchup, Sutton is a top-five value at wide receiver based on our projections, and he's the top choice under $5,500. Sutton is a must for cash games and makes for a very difficult fade in GPPs if he finds the end zone for the third time in five games.
David Njoku ($4,600): The only thing uglier than the Browns' coaching situation is the empty box score by David Njoku a week ago. That's because the promising tight end didn't record a target on the road against the Steelers. Njoku's lone opportunity came in the end zone, but it resulted in a pass interference penalty. Thankfully, this air ball looks like an aberration as Njoku has averaged 9.0 targets and 5.5 receptions for 57 yards while scoring a total of four touchdowns in the four other games Mayfied has started. Additionally, the Chiefs are second in receiving yards allowed to tight ends. Over the last two weeks, Kansas City has allowed touchdowns to far less talented tight ends in C.J. Uzomah and Jeff Heuerman. Njoku will probably be more highly owned, but O.J. Howard ($4,300) is in a very similar price range. Howard enters this week with two touchdowns over the last three games while exceeding 60 receiving yards in each of those contests.
Austin Hooper ($3,800): The cheapest tight end you can feel somewhat comfortable with rolling out in cash games this week is likely Austin Hooper. After popping up with nine receptions and more than 70 receiving yards in back-to-back contests, Hooper reverted to his pedestrian ways with four targets, three receptions, and 48 yards last week. While Washington has done a good job of limiting tight end production thus far, they are top 10 in targets faced to the position, so opposing teams must see something in the matchup that they like. Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen, and Evan Engram all saw at least seven targets when they matched up with Washington earlier this season. Based on our projections, Hooper is the second-best tight end value on the main slate this week.
Carolina D/ST ($3,200): It's difficult to justify paying up for defense this week, but if you are looking to get contrarian at the position, the Carolina Panthers will be at home against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bucs. The Panthers are inside the top 10 in hurry rate and have recorded nine sacks over the last three weeks. They are also coming off their third game of the season in which they had multiple interceptions. Over Fitzpatrick's last three starts, he recorded five interceptions and was sacked seven times. This game has one of the highest over/unders of the week, so the Carolina D will likely need to score a touchdown to really pay off.
Broncos D/ST ($2,300): Look for the Denver Broncos defense to be the highest-owned squad in cash games this week. They are very slight home underdogs but are playing in one of the lowest over/unders on the main slate. Deshaun Watson has been a very generous quarterback most weeks when it comes to the fantasy defense he draws. Prior to facing a Miami Dolphins defense that lacks a pass rush, Watson was sacked multiple times in five of seven starts while being intercepted seven times during that span. Thus far, Denver is eighth in hurry rate and sixth in sack rate. Denver is also on a streak of four games with at least one interception.
Eric McClung is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.