NFL

Daily Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Primer: Week 9

It looks like a tough week for wide receivers, with a long list of productive guys carrying injury designations deep into the week -- Julian Edelman, Adam Thielen, T.Y. Hilton, Davante Adams, Odell Beckham, just to name a few. With such uncertainty at the position, especially among the higher-priced stars, it might make sense to target the value plays at wide receiver this week and spend your cash on quarterback and running backs.

In this preview, I'll break down the wide receivers into three categories based on FanDuel's prices: players to build around, value plays, and players to avoid.

Players to build around are more expensive, but their ceilings are high enough that you should consider prioritizing them in your lineup. Value plays are cheaper options who usually come with some risk, but adding them to your lineup will help you afford the expensive stars. Players to avoid are guys you might normally consider at their price tag but have tough matchups and are unlikely to live up to their usual expectations.

All references to betting totals and spreads are from the FanDuel Sportsbook.

Receivers to Build Around

Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys ($8,000) -- Over the Dallas Cowboys last three games, 62 percent of Amari Cooper's targets have been at least 10 yards downfield. That trend will likely continue against a New York Giants' secondary that has struggled to defend downfield this season. New York's starting cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Deandre Baker are each allowing a completion percentage over 50 percent on targets 10 yards downfield, according to Sports Info Solutions.

Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions ($7,500) -- According to Sports Info Solutions, Kenny Golladay leads the NFL with 18 targets at 20 or more yards downfield. Golladay's Week 9 opponent, the Oakland Raiders, leads the NFL with 21 receptions allowed at 20 yards downfield, including nine touchdowns. That combination gives Golladay an enormous ceiling this week, although the inconsistent nature of the deep ball probably makes him a better option for tournaments than cash games.

Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears ($7,200) -- In three of his seven games, Allen Robinson has faced a defense which ranks in the top 10 in fewest fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. In those three matchups, he averaged 9.5 points per game. In his other four outings, Robinson put up 16.3 fantasy points per game. This week the Chicago Bears top target draws the Philadelphia Eagles, who are allowing an NFL-worst 36.2 fantasy points per game to wide receivers.

D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars ($6,400) -- Due to a quad injury, D.J. Chark has been limited in practice this week, so check on his status before starting him (he plays Sunday morning in this week's London game). If active, however, Chark draws an ideal matchup against a struggling Houston Texans secondary. In three of the last five games, Houston has allowed a top-12 wide receiver performance, including three top-three finishes. Chark will frequently be matched up with Texans cornerback Gareon Conley, who is allowing a completion percentage of 57.9 percent on targets 10 or more yards downfield according to Sports Info Solutions. 56 percent of Chark's targets have come at least 10 yards downfield, which makes him a tough matchup for Conley.

Value Plays

Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens ($5,300) -- As dominant as the New England Patriots defense has been, their one weakness has been defending the deep ball. Opposing quarterbacks are completing 54.8 percent of their passes against New England on throws 20 or more yards downfield, the second-worst rate in the league. According to Sports Info Solutions, 28 percent of Marquise Brown's targets have come on the deep ball, which gives him a high ceiling against New England. Due to the Patriots defense's reputation, Brown is also likely to have a low ownership rate, making him a good tournament play. Brown has been limited in practice this week, however, so be sure he's active before inserting him into your lineup.

Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts ($5,300) -- Zach Pascal did not see a single target during the Indianapolis Colts first two games, but since Week 3 he's third on the team with a 12.7 percent target share. 52 percent of his targets have come from the slot, which is what makes him a good play versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. According to Sports Info Solutions, Pittsburgh is allowing 31.8 fantasy points per game to players lined up in the slot, the most in the NFL.

Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers ($5,000) -- In Mason Rudolph's four starts, Diontae Johnson has seen just one fewer target than JuJu Smith-Schuster. While the Colts defense is solid, a weakness has been defending receivers lined up wide. According to Sports Info Solutions, wide receivers are averaging 10.0 yards per target versus Indy's defense -- the third-highest rate in the league -- compared to just 8.8 yards per target for slot receivers (12th highest rate). Since Johnson typically lines up wide, with Smith-Schuster in the slot, that may make him the more dangerous Steelers' receiver in this matchup.

Demaryius Thomas, New York Jets ($4,800) -- Since Sam Darnold returned in Week 6, Demaryius Thomas has 19 targets -- just three fewer than leading receiver Robby Anderson ($6,200) -- and appears to have replaced Anderson as Darnold's downfield threat. Over the last three weeks, a team-high 10 of Thomas' 19 targets have been 15 or more yards downfield. According to Sports Info Solutions, opposing quarterbacks are completing 52 percent of their passes at 15 yards downfield against the Miami Dolphins' defense. Additionally, Thomas benefits from facing a Dolphins secondary without top cornerback Xavien Howard, who was placed in injured reserve this week.

Receivers to Avoid

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers ($7,300) -- As previously mentioned, Smith-Schuster and Johnson have an almost identical usage rate with Rudolph at quarterback, and this matchup with the Colts appears to tip the scales in Johnson's favor. Smith-Schuster draws a tough matchup with Indy's slot cornerback Kenny Moore, who has allowed just 29.5 fantasy points on 36 targets in coverage, according to Pro Football Reference. Given their target shares and massive price difference, it looks like fading Smith-Schuster and playing Johnson is the way to go this week.


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