DFS Ice and Fire: Week 9 picks

November 7, 2020

Antonio Brown is making his debut as a Buccaneer; Christian McCaffrey is returning to the field and Jake Luton is making his first career start in Jacksonville. Week 9 is full of storylines and more importantly, fantasy points. Make sure to monitor for COVID-19 cancellations and get players out of your lineups if you need to. That said, let’s make some money and get to the DFS!

All values are subject to DraftKings’ prices and scoring format. All ownership data is courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

Fire ‘em up

Ben Roethlisberger @ DAL ($6,500)

People are electing James Conner (projected ownership of 10.9 percent) more than Big Ben (4.7 percent) so that’s where the pick lands. Points are going to rain in Dallas for the Steelers and simply put, I want a piece of that. This could easily dive into a Week 6 mistake where, in a nice matchup, Roethlisberger fell short for fantasy because of an utter blowout. But this time around I expect Roethlisberger to take advantage of a Dallas secondary allowing the third-most passing touchdowns in the league.

Chase Edmonds vs. MIA ($6,800)

I was worried the ownership projection might be too high for me, but 8.7 percent will not scare me off from Edmonds in his bell cow role. The price tag is well worth it to get a running back who is among the most explosive in football who will now see volume with Kenyan Drake (ankle) sidelined. Miami is not a scary opponent and Edmonds can factor in on the ground and through the air. There won’t be much stronger plays this week than Edmonds; pay up.

Allen Robinson @ TEN ($6,900)

Did I miss something? Is there a reason why Robinson, in a dream matchup against the Titans defense that is allowing the third-most points to fantasy wide receivers, is only projected to be in 6.9 percent of lineups? There must be something in the water. While Chicago is admittedly a dumpster fire on offense Robinson is the fire hose that keeps it from becoming out of control. With these pricey picks early, it will definitely need some Bargain Bin picks to get under budget but there is simply no way you should avoid Robinson this week. The Titans are tied for the fourth-most receiving touchdowns allowed.

Jonnu Smith vs. CHI ($3,900)

Recent weeks have stalled the explosive start Smith had to the season, and A.J. Brown’s return certainly put a damper on the breakout parade. But fantasy football is a matchup game and Smith has the upside in a great matchup against a Bears defense allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to tight ends. That defense allowed Jared Cook to catch five passes for 51 yards and a score last week. It allowed Cole Kmet and Jimmy Graham to catch a combined seven balls for 76 yards. Smith should have a decent floor in this matchup and, as we saw many times before, a tremendous ceiling at a cheap price tag with low projected ownership (3.6 percent). Shoot for the stars.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ DAL ($4,900)

It’s a bit pricey for my taste, especially given my desire to go cheap at DST. But there aren’t many defenses who are locked for a top performance and the team leading the league in sacks (30) while being third in interceptions (10) against an uninspiring Dallas offense. It’s Garrett Gilbert at the helm who barely played in relief during his time in Carolina. If it’s not Dak Prescott (and it isn’t), it doesn’t matter. T.J. Watt will have a field day and fantasy points will follow.

Colder than ice

Lamar Jackson @ IND ($6,900)

Jackson is still a fine quarterback. In fact, he’s still very good. Don’t misconstrue this down year as anything more than regression.

Public service announcements aside, don’t play Jackson this week. The Colts have been stingy all season and it won’t change against Baltimore. Indianapolis has allowed the second-fewest passing yards while also recording the most interceptions in the league. Don’t pay up for the name; avoid Jackson.

James Robinson vs. HOU ($7,000)

Consider this an extension to all Jaguars this week until we see what Jake Luton looks like. The matchup may not be terribly scary but poor quarterback play will stall this entire offense. Say what you want about Gardner Minshew, but he has not been bad this season. Underwhelming, maybe, but not bad. Luton is a complete wildcard and I’d lean towards disaster rather than revelation for a sixth-round quarterback in his first career start. As such, touchdowns will be scarce and without touchdowns, there is no ceiling. If you factor in the 17.1 percent of projected lineups with Robinson and his $7,000 price tag, there are enough reasons to steer yourself away from a juicy matchup.

A.J. Brown vs. CHI ($6,600)

It’s a tall order for Brown to overcome Chicago’s defense. Cornerback Kyle Fuller should shadow the 2019 first-round pick, and while Brown is a tremendous talent, so is Fuller. His upside will be capped and frankly, there are better options than Brown, who is also expected to be owned in 7.6% of lineups.

Mike Gesicki @ ARI ($4,400)

Why? Gesicki has fallen short of the breakout hopes we wanted. He only saw two targets in Tua Tagovailoa’s first start and while the game script was likely a reason why, it has been this way all season. If he finds the end zone you are happy, if he doesn’t you aren’t. Why pay up for that feature?

Dallas Cowboys vs. PIT ($2,000)

I wonder if this is a typo, but the Dallas DST is expected to be owned in 10.6 percent of leagues.

Yeah, the same Cowboys defense that is allowing the most points against in football as well as the fifth-most yards. Don’t overthink this, ladies and gentlemen. Just because Carson Wentz turned the ball over last week does not mean it will be the same against Pittsburgh. The Steelers aren’t prone to turnovers — they’ve only lost the ball eight times this season, middle of the pack. The cheap price tag might entice you, but potentially scoring negative points shouldn’t.

Bargain Bin/Tournament

Derek Carr @ LAC ($5,700)

The Chargers have been putting up plenty of points in recent weeks with the kickoff of the Justin Herbert era which should create a nice game script for Carr. The Raiders also welcome back rookie Bryan Edwards, who should be a big help especially in the red zone. The Raiders have plenty of healthy receiving weapons for Carr to utilize and the Chargers allow the second-most points to the fantasy quarterback. With Josh Jacobs looking not 100%, the Raiders need to lean on Carr. With a low projected ownership of 4.3%, he’s an attractive play this week.

Phillip Lindsay @ ATL ($5,200)

Atlanta is a favorable matchup and Lindsay is just really talented. It’s a perfect combination and while the price tag isn’t as low as I normally go in Bargain Bin, it’s impossible to not pick him. This segment is also meant for deep tournament picks and lowly owned players. A projected ownership of 2 percent is a ridiculous value. Monitor his status up to game time but he’s expected to suit up after practicing in a limited fashion on Thursday and Friday.

John Brown vs. SEA ($4,600)

Brown (knee) hasn’t been totally healthy for some time but practiced in full on Friday, suggesting the veteran is back to form. Seattle has been a sieve for fantasy options to exploit this season and with everyone focusing on Stefon Diggs, more love needs to be given to the option across from him. Brown, free of an injury designation, should be a big part of a high-scoring affair between the Bills and Seahawks. With a lower projected ownership of 5 percent and a cheap price tag, you won’t find other better options in such a dream matchup.

Jimmy Graham @ CHI ($3,800)

The Titans defense is entirely beatable, so take your shot on someone. Graham projects to be a good option with rookie Cole Kmet potentially missing Sunday’s game with a groin injury. He should see plenty of snaps and has a good opportunity to score against a Titans defense that allowed big games from Darren Fells and Eric Ebron in Weeks 6 and 7.

Houston Texans @ JAX ($3,100)

You can extend what I wrote about Robinson to the Texans here. Luton is an unknown rookie who will struggle under pressure just like he did at Oregon State, one of his noted flaws. Pressure causes turnovers and turnovers turn into lovely fantasy points. The Jaguars have also allowed the fourth-most sacks in the league, and the fourth-most over the last three weeks. This problem has not been fixed and it won’t be with a quarterback who has yet to manage a pocket in a game.