As usual, DFS players are dealing with a unique set of challenges when building a lineup for week nine. The following four teams are on bye: 1) Bucs; 2) Seahawks; 3) Lions; and 4) Washington Football Team. In addition to the four teams on bye, there are three “prime time” games. These games are 1) Thursday Night-Jets @ Colts; 2) Sunday Night-Titans @ Rams, and 3) Monday Night-Bears @ Steelers.
Since the Titans are a prime-time game, DFS players will not feel the immediate impact of losing Derrick Henry as a fantasy asset. Henry sustained a foot injury in Week 8 and will miss anywhere from six to ten weeks after undergoing surgery earlier in the week.
Review of Week Eight Results:
Week 8 turned out to be another relatively successful week, except for misreading the Eagles’ game plan against the Lions. I listed Jalen Hurts as a “Fire” selection, as well as Kenneth Gainwell as a “bargain bin” selection. What ultimately happened in the 44-6 win was that Boston Scott and Jordan Howard combined for 117 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries. Meanwhile, Hurts had a whopping 14 pass attempts. He somewhat salvaged his fantasy day by rushing for 71 yards of his own.
Many of the other selections were spot on, including the stack of Matthew Stafford and Robert Woods. Stafford completed 21-of-32 for 305 yards and three touchdowns (one, as predicted, to Woods). Although Woods’ receiving line (three catches for 35 yards) was marginal, he also added a rushing touchdown to finish with 18.5 PPR fantasy points. A.J. Brown also had a monster day (10 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown) as a “Fire” selection.
Fire Them Up!!
Joe Burrow, Bengals-$6800-vs Browns: Despite being labeled as an “ice” selection last week, Burrow proceeded to have another solid outing. He completed 21-of-34 pass attempts for 259 yards and three touchdowns (with one interception). On the season, Burrow has now completed 167-of-246 passes (68 percent) for 2,215 yards and 20 touchdowns.
In the battle for Ohio in Week 9, Burrow takes on a Browns’ defense that allows the ninth most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Look for Burrow to continue his hot streak, and finish amongst the top 8 QBs this week.
Aaron Jones, Packers-$7200-@ Chiefs: For the second consecutive week, the Packers will be missing part of its offensive arsenal due to COVID restrictions. In Week 8, WRs Devante Adams and Allen Lazard missed the game, and in Week 9 Aaron Rodgers will. All Jones did in Week 8, was rush 15 times for 59 yards and a touchdown. He also added seven catches(on eleven targets) for 51 yards. In total, Jones amassed 24 PPR fantasy points.
By using the aforementioned game plan, the Packers beat a previously unbeaten Cardinals team. With the Chiefs allowing the 13th most fantasy points to RBs and Jordan Love making his career debut, I would assume a similar game script will unfold. Look for Jones to finish as a Top-8 RB in Week 9. As an added bonus, DFS players should consider A.J Dillon as a “bargain bin” option at $4200.
Marquise Brown, Ravens-$6k-vs Vikings: On the season, Brown has 37 catches (on 57 targets) for 566 yards and six touchdowns. He also has 10 or more targets in three out of his last six games. Facing a Vikings’ defense that allows the sixth-most fantasy points to WRs, Brown should be started as a WR1 across all formats. His price point offers a massive amount of roster flexibility in DFS.
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins-$4900-vs Texans: On the season, Gesicki has amassed 40 catches (on 55 targets) for 475 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Prior to last week’s projected dud (three catches for 48 yards), he had had at least six targets in six consecutive games. With this type of volume against a Texans’ defense that allows the most fantasy points to TEs, look for Gesicki to be a top-five tight end option in Week 9.
Colder Than Ice:
Justin Herbert, Chargers-$7k @ Eagles: Over the last two games (sandwiched by a Week 7 bye), Herbert has struggled playing at the Ravens and vs the Patriots. Over that two-game span, he has completed 40-of-74 pass attempts( 54 percent) for 418 yards and three touchdowns (vs three interceptions). Taking on an Eagles’ defense that allows the fifth-fewest fantasy points to QBs may not prove to be much easier. Although Herbert will have his moments, look for him to finish outside the top eight QBs this week.
Elijah Mitchell, 49ers-$5800-vs Cardinals: Unlike Herbert, Mitchell has played exceedingly well over the last two weeks. He has had back-to-back 100-yard games and has combined for 244 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries. This designation as an “ice” play is twofold. First, Mitchell missed Wednesday’s practice with a rib injury. He returned to limited practices on Wednesday and Thursday. Second, the Cardinals give up the seventh-fewest fantasy points to RBs. Being somewhat hobbled and facing a tough defense, look for Mitchell to finish outside of the top 15 RBs.
DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals-$7k-@ 49ers: As the attached article indicates, there is a concern as to whether or not either Hopkins or Kyler Murray can play in Week 9. Although Hopkins played in Week 9 (two catches for 66 yards), he was only able to play 15 snaps. The primary concern is that Arizona has a 4 PM Eastern game, and both Murray and Hopkins are legitimate “game time” decisions. If Murray sits, I would not trust Hopkins to reach his typical elite status with Colt McCoy under center. Of course, Hopkins may not even play himself. DFS players are much better off fading Hopkins this week.
Kyle Pitts, Falcons-$5900-@ Saints: After consecutive monstrous stat lines (18 catches for 288 yards and a touchdown combined) against the Jets and Dolphins, Pitts only had two catches for 13 yards in Week 8 vs the Panthers. In Week 9, he travels to New Orleans to take on a Saints’ defense that allows the sixth-fewest fantasy points to TEs. With Calvin Ridley out indefinitely, Pitts will be the primary focus of most defenses. This type of coverage will push Pitts outside of the top 5 this week.
Bargain Bin-Deep Tourney Plays
Tyrod Taylor, Texans-$5k-@ Dolphins: After missing the last six games with a hamstring injury, Taylor returns in Week 9 to play a Dolphins’ defense that surrenders the third-most fantasy points to QBs. Although it may be hard to select a Texans’ QB, Taylor had gotten off to a really nice start before getting injured. In two games (he got injured during the game in week two), he completed 31-of-45 pass attempts for 416 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown. DFS players should view Taylor as a low-end QB1 option this week.
Chase Edmonds, Cardinals-$5300-@ 49ers: On the season, Edmonds has 75 carries for 427 yards and one touchdown. He has also added 30 receptions (on 37 targets) for 211 yards. As mentioned previously, there is some concern with the health of both Murray and Hopkins. A. J. Green is also likely to miss the game due to COVID restrictions. With all of this talent potentially missing, look for Edmonds to have an expanded role. He will take advantage of that opportunity, and finish as a top 20 running back.
Hunter Renfrow, Raiders-$4800-@ Giants: Renfrow is in a similar situation to Edmonds, but with longer-term implications. Just like Edmonds, he has put up solid stats on the season, and now has an opportunity for an expanded role. On the season, Renfrow has 38 catches (on 51 targets) for 399 yards and two touchdowns. Facing a Giants’ defense that allows the ninth most fantasy points to WR, DFS players should use him as a WR3/flex with upside for more.
Tyler Conklin, Vikings-$3k-@ Ravens: On the season, Conklin has recorded 27 catches for 297 yards and one touchdown. He has also had at least five targets in four of the last five games. Assuming a similar number of targets, Conklin should finish as a TE1 against a Ravens’ defense that allows the most fantasy points to tight ends on the season.
Stack of the Week:
Although I’m not going to call a shot like I did with Woods’ touchdown last week, my favorite stack of the week is Josh Allen paired with either Stefon Diggs ($15,900) or Emmanuel Sanders ($13,800). While Sanders is more in line with the salary space I typically dedicate to stacks, the Diggs stack would be hard to pass up if the cap space is available.
On the season, Allen has completed 178-of-272 pass attempts for 1,972 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has also added 52 rushes for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Despite his goose egg last week, Sanders has 24 catches (on 43 targets) for 413 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Meanwhile, Diggs has registered 42 catches (on 65 targets) for 503 yards and three touchdowns. Taking on a Jaguars defense that allows the seventh-most fantasy points to WRs, Diggs should finish as a top-five wide receiver and Sanders as a low-end WR2.