NFL DFS Deep Dive: Week 9

Week 8 Review

Not quite the high highs of weeks six and seven but week eight still had some nice plays. If anyone was lucky enough to play a team including Michael Carter (RB1), Michael Pittman (WR3) and Dan Arnold (TE2) then you can thank me in Bitcoin! Outside of those we had a struggle at quarterback with Teddy Bridgewater underperforming and Jameis Winston getting injured. Thankfully Carson Wentz scored 20.34 to redeem that section. At running back James Robinson also got injured, Myles Gaskin and Kenneth Gainwell were victims of strange coaching decisions and Damien Harris didn’t quite do enough, only managing 14 points for a RB16 performance. At receiver we were better with Pittman, Tee Higgins and Van Jefferson all returning 2-3x their value. Tight end rounded us out with average performances from Higbee and Uzomah, so hopefully you paid down to Darnold.

Great plays (3x$) – 46

Good plays (2x$) – 24

Bad plays (<2x$) – 27

Week 9

I’m away from home this week so the column might feel a little different, my weekly columns The $100 Bankroll Challenge and Stack of The Week are also available now. Whilst the column is a little bit shorter than usual hopefully it’s still packed with the weekly gems we usually manage. The slate looks interesting to me as we sit here a few days out. The tight end value in particular should make for interesting decisions whilst the running back position feels murky at best. 

Quarterbacks

Derek Carr $5900 vs New York Giants

Much has been written about the Vegas Raiders coming off their bye week and none of it makes for good reading. The sad news involving Henry Ruggs and an unnamed victim will no doubt continue to get the coverage it deserves but the Raiders made the choice to cut Ruggs and move on, and move on they must much like they did when John Gruden departed the team. Since that moment the Raiders are undefeated and Derek Carr has put up back to back games with over 300 yards and two touchdowns against both Denver and Philadelphia. For the season Carr has been a top 14 quarterback in five of the seven games he’s played and the team continues to be pass heavy, ranking eight in neutral pass rate since week five. The Raiders also lead the league in plays per game with their games seeing an average of 133.8 plays. The Giants have been reasonably good on defence this year but coming off a bye week, I like Derek Carr’s chances to return value.

Taysom Hill $5500 vs Atlanta Falcons

The Saints quarterback position seemed to be free of drama and locked in for a Winston Rollercoaster until Jameis suffered a season-ending injury in week 8. Now the keys to the car are in Taysom’s hands and he’ll have a second opportunity to try and prove he can be a quarterback in this league. In Hill’s previous audition in 2020, he played four games averaging 28.5 pass attempts and 20.5 completions per game. Those pass attempts were boosted for fantasy by an average of 52.25 rushing yards per game. We know what Taysom Hill most probably is, and it’s not a starting calibre quarterback long-term, but when Sean Payton is calling plays we know he enjoys doing so for Hill. When Hill took on the Falcons in 2020 he put up 24.22 fantasy points, now he’ll face a Falcons side that seemingly hasn’t improved since then and allows the fifth-most adjusted fantasy points to quarterbacks. Whilst Hill’s time under centre may be bad news for some Saints players, we should look to use him in favourable matchups.  ** Sunday Update: Trevor Siemian is set to start so avoid both quarterbacks in this matchup

Jordan Love $4400 vs Kansas City Chiefs

It’s pretty rare to get a starting quarterback below $5000 on DraftKings and even rarer to find any appeal in playing them. With Aaron Rodgers ruled out for COVID-19 Love will make his NFL debut halfway through his second season in the league. Love takes on the Kansas City Chiefs and their improving defence in a game that started out with a 54.0 over/under before it came down to 48.5 with Rodgers unavailable. So far this season the chiefs have allowed five top 12 QB finishes and the ninth most deep passes. Their defence is improving but it’s still porous. With the Packers still struggling with defensive injuries we shouldn’t be surprised if both offences become the key to the game. In two preseason games this summer Love went 24/35 for 271 and a touchdown. He’s not necessarily going to set the world on fire, but if you’re looking for a cheap play, it’s about as cheap as it gets!

Wide Receivers

Cole Beasley $5400 vs Jacksonville Jaguars 

Beasley’s current form may be a product of tight end Dawson Knox missing time with a broken hand, but until Knox returns he needs to be considered each week. With Knox out of the picture in week 8 and missing part of the game before the teams bye, Beasley has led the team in target share with 25% and put up 198 yards on 17 catches as well as a touchdown. On paper the Jaguars seem to do above average against the pass as they only see an average of 19.3 targets, but looking beyond the box score we know this is down to them frequently being in losing positions as teams look to run the clock out on them. When the Jaguars do face the pass they allow a league leading 77% catch rate and 2.05 PPR points per target. Knox’s status remains worth watching and Emmanuel Sanders may be an interesting tournament play after week 8’s goose egg, but Beasley is someone who will be firmly in my player pool.

Rashod Bateman $4000 vs Minnesota Vikings

You probably knew this was coming if you know I’m a Ravens fan. In honesty I’ll be heavily attacking this game with stacks. With a 50.0 over/under and the Ravens favoured by 5.5 points it sets up as a fun game. The Vikings defence allows the seventh most adjusted fantasy points to the position and has just given up big weeks to Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. Bateman has so far been solid if unspectacular putting up back to back games with six targets and turning them into a combined 17.9 PPR points. Personally, I’m a big believer in the post-bye week rookie bump and with an extra week to scheme for Bateman I’m expecting a big game. 

Jerry Jeudy $5000 vs Dallas Cowboys

Jeudy made his return from a high ankle sprain in week 8 and caught all four of his targets, which now takes him to 11 targets on only 48 routes run this season. Clearly Bridgewater trusts him and will continue to throw to him and in a matchup against the Cowboys we could see Jeudy make a real fantasy impact for the first time this season. Denver leans towards the pass in the red zone with a touchdown pass/rush rate of 13:4. Whilst Dallas’s defence has improved with Digg’s playing back there he’s also prone to lapses and the unit ranks 14th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to receivers. Jeudy will make an appealing bring back option if you’re looking to play some of the Dallas studs.

Running Backs

This position feels especially ugly this week. I’ll likely look to higher priced backs and prefer to pay down at other positions if possible. The cheaper plays I might talk myself into include;

Eli Mitchell $5800 vs Arizona Cardinals

The preseason hype around Trey Sermon has faded deep beyond the horizon now and the sun feels well and truly set on his rookie year outlook. The sun shines brightly upon Eli Mitchell however, with him seeing 85.7% of 49ers running back carries in their last two games. Whilst JaMycal Hasty has returned to the side he has only managed six carries and Sermon has played zero offensive snaps in his last two games and is only being used by the special teams unit, this backfield is firmly Mitchell’s until we see otherwise. Hasty is taking away some of the pass catching role but Sermon’s talent should win out for now. The Niners can’t count on Jimmy G to deliver through the passing game and find themselves as one of only four teams with more rushing touchdowns than passing. The Cardinals might look a tough matchup on paper where they allow the 26th fewest adjusted fantasy points to the position, but in week 8 they struggled mightily against Aaron Jones and A.J Dillon who combined for 31.8 points. ** Sunday Update: Varying reports are out regarding Mitchell’s fitness. Personally, I’m fine with this play but keep an eye on things. It would be surprising to see Jeff Wilson play a lot on his first game back.

Cordarelle Patterson $6300 vs New Orleans Saints

The Saints are by no means a pushover and currently allow the second fewest points to be scored by opposing running backs with just 26.8% coming from the position. However, C-Patt is no ordinary running back and with Calvin Ridley’s continued absence there’s a likelihood we see Patterson playing more snaps at receiver as Mike Davis continues to pound straight forward for two yards at a time. In games without Ridley, Patterson has seen an increase in carries, targets and expected fantasy points. Patterson is a key part of the small amount of things going well with the falcons and with a league leading 43.8% team touchdown share, it’s obvious that when he’s involved things go well. The price is creeping up slightly higher than many would like and I’d expect that keeps rostership down somewhat.

Boston Scott $5200 vs L.A Chargers

The chargers simply beg teams to run on them at this point, expecting their strong pass defence to hold up through the air. Through eight weeks the Chargers allows the fourth highest percentage of PPR points scored by running backs with 38.8%. Week after week teams find success attacking them on the ground and the Eagles will no doubt need to keep their running game going in order to do so. Since Miles Sanders was injured in week six, the Eagles are playing far slower and in that spell rank 31st in neutral pass rate. Boston Scott and Jordan Howard have been heavily leaned on and only exited last week’s game in the fourth quarter when the result was secure. Perhaps again we’ll see Gainwell getmore work this week but I like Scott’s ability in both the ground and pass game over Howard’s singular skill set and Gainwell’s lack of recent production. 

Tight ends

At times it feels like a real scramble to pay down at tight end, but not this week as we have several cheap options and no doubt picking the right one will be tricky. Personally, I love the idea of paying up at TE this week as everyone chases the value.

Mike Gesicki $4900 vs Houston Texans

My weekly dose of being wrong on Gesicki in 2021 continues (at least for now), and he lands in a peach of a matchup against the league’s worst defence against the position. Gesicki led the position group in week 8 for highest routes run per dropback with a whopping 98%. Recently the Dolphins have started to occasionally use him inline which should boost his chances of staying on the field when the receiver core returns to full health. 

Dan Arnold $3400 vs Buffalo Bills

Arnold faces a tougher matchup than Gesicki, with the Buffalo Bills allowing the second fewest targets to the position but the way the Jaguars are using Arnold can give a small amount of optimism. Last week Arnold ran 39 of his snaps at wide receiver and saw ten targets. Arnold is far more involved than Laviska Shenault and regardless of matchup he should see enough volume to allow him to outperform his price tag. 

Tyler Conklin $3000 vs Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore has faced some of the league’s best tight ends this season and not come out on top. Generally speaking the lesser opponents haven’t fared as impressively but there’s no denying the Ravens are struggling to tackle and cover which makes for a poor combination. The Ravens allow the second most adjusted fantasy points to the position and Conklin can look to build on last weekend’s 5-57 performance on seven targets. 

Brevin Jordan $2500 vs Miami Dolphins

It seems likely that Pharoh Brown (he’s a fellow tight end for the Texans FYI) could miss out this week through injury. If that occurs it should open up more playing time for rookie Brevin Jordan who made his season debut last week and scored a touchdown. Miami has allowed the second most yards to tight ends with 546. If Tyrod Taylor is able to play this will be more appealing. 

Albert Okwuegbunam $2600 vs Dallas Cowboys

In recent weeks Albert O has cut into Noah Fant’s production and whilst he hasn’t been fantasy relevant so far, with Fant missing week 9 due to covid, he will have a chance to shine. Dallas’s defence is middle of the pack against tight ends but at this price tag we’re not looking for a huge score.

That’s it for now. As news comes out I’ll try and update on Saturday morning along with posting the links for my usual content elsewhere.

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