7 Daily Fantasy Football Tournament Plays for Week 9
With a lot of teams on bye this week, daily fantasy options are thinner than normal. With fewer options, owners will be leaning more heavily on the more obvious, value plays for the week, and I expect to see a lot of incredibly high ownership percentage numbers in tournaments. Identifying a few high-upside, low-ownership plays can give you a big edge.
Here are some players I'll be targeting in tournaments this week.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens - Flacco has quietly been having a respectable year so far. He ranks 13th among quarterbacks in fantasy points, and has also been playing with solid efficiency, ranking 10th in our Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back metric. The Steelers secondary has been struggling this year, and ranks only 24th in the league in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play, having given up 19-point performances to both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Mike Glennon. Flacco has been a little bit hit-and-miss this year, but I expect this to be one of his better performances.
Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts - While Richardson didn't see the field due to injury last week, he was active as the Colts' emergency number-three running back, and looks like he should be good to go this week. Richardson has seen a good size workload so far, and is averaging 15 carries per game over his last four, as well as seeing 5 targets in three of those four games. He also brings upside in terms of touchdown potential, and has seen one of the highest goal line workloads in the league, recording seven touches from inside the opponent's five-yard line, which has him tied for fourth in the league. In a very exploitable matchup this week against the Giants, who are giving up the second-most fantasy points to running backs right now, Richardson should be able to put up some solid numbers while having a fairly high ceiling.
Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns - Crowell is a bit of a Hail Mary play this week, but at a minimum salary of $3,000 on DraftKings, he offers you a lot of upside for the price tag and leaves you with a lot of money to work with elsewhere. Crowell has proven to be an effective runner in his limited touches so far this year; he's tied for 11th among backs with 50 or more carries in terms of Rushing NEP per carry. While Crowell's upside isn't other-worldly, he offers the potential for one or two touchdowns, and at minimum salary and likely a low ownership percentage, that could spell big things.
Andre Johnson, Houston Texans - Despite the emergence of Deandre Hopkins as a relevant fantasy option, Johnson remains the top receiving threat in Houston. Johnson's 75 targets in the passing game account for fully one-third of the Texans' attempts, and are also good enough for eighth in the NFL. To go along with the high floor these targets represent, Johnson leads the Texans, and is ninth in the league, in red zone targets with 12. Despite only having one touchdown on the season, this heavy red zone usage gives him plenty of upside, especially when facing off this week against an Eagles secondary that is allowing the fourth-most points to wide receivers.
Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens - Smith has been a boom-or-bust play all season, but he looks to be a solid option as a stack with Flacco this week. As I mentioned above, the Steelers have struggled to defend the pass, and with the benching of the oft-burned Cortez Allen for Antwon Blake (who has only played 37 snaps in his two-and-a-half seasons in the league), Smith should have no trouble getting open.
Clay Harbor, Jacksonville Jaguars - While the Bengals managed to shut down superstar Crockett Gillmore last week, I still like playing the matchup, even with a mediocre tight end in a bad offense like Harbor. The Bengals have given up the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, and will be without linebacker Vontaze Burfict, making the matchup that much more appealing. Harbor has averaged only 5.2 targets per game this season, but don't be surprised if he takes advantage of a very soft matchup this week and even tops his season high of eight.
Miami Dolphins - While there aren't a lot of defensive options I like this week outside of the Bengals, Chiefs and Seahawks, those three will likely be owned very heavily in tournaments this week. The Dolphins make for an interesting play with some high upside, they'll have a much lower ownership percentage. The Dolphins are currently tied for fifth in the league in takeaways. While the Chargers projected points this week aren't exceptionally low (Vegas odds-makers project them to score 21), it's still one of the lower totals in the league. While they're a risky play with a tough matchup, they have been one of the highest scoring fantasy defenses this year, and if you're looking to deviate from the top defensive options this week, they offer you a lot of upside.