Welcome back to Fanduel Picks Week 9, your one-stop-shop for the best FanDuel player picks. Week 8 proved to be a rather middling day, with the real scoring coming in the unexpected shootout in Seattle. Sure Melvin Gordon, Carson Wentz and Le’Veon Bell performed decently, but that is not why we spend top dollars on those players. However we still remain in the green on the year and this week we look to pick up the pieces and move onward towards big time cash. There are a good handful of plus matchups among the top skill players, so sifting through the relevant information will be the key to success in Week 9. As a note, these picks are based on Sunday only leagues, so players on Thursday and Monday night will be ignored, as well as London games.
UPDATE, November 3, 11:00 A.M.: Well it looks like I have quite the editing to do. Since writing this article on Wednesday morning, Deshaun Watson tore his ACL and is out for the season and Ezekiel Elliott had his suspension overturned for Week 9. How the turntables have…With those key movements in mind, Watson and Dak Prescott no longer deserve their “Lock” title (although I do still think Dak will play pretty well). Russell Wilson‘s ($8,500) legs and the Seahawks lack of any semblance of a running game should keep Wilson scoring all day against the Washington Redskins. Sure, Josh Norman is back, but Wilson is playing at the top of his game and can hurt you in myriad of ways. Look for Wilson to build off his past two weeks in which he has accumulated 786 yards and 7 passing touchdowns. Drew Brees ($8,300) also deserves some love going against a horrendous Bucs defense allowing the 6th most points to opposing quarterbacks. As for the “Sleeper” Wide Receivers, Terrance Williams goes back to being unstartable with Zeke back in the lineup. DeSean Jackson ($6,200) and his big playmaking abilities travels to New Orleans to face a fiery hot Saints team. However, I think we can all agree this defense is due for a dud, and with New Orleans likely focusing on stopping Mike Evans, Jackson could run free against a Saints team allowing big plays by the bunches.
- Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans ($9,600) – It is undeniable now. It would be like looking at yourself in the mirror and telling yourself you do not have a nose. DeShaun Watson is the real deal, and maybe more. I said going into Week 8 against the Seahawks owners had to start Watson, but his matchup profiled more as that of back end QB1.5. Wrong. Watson annihilated the Seahawks dreaded pass defense in Seattle for over 400 yards passing, 4 touchdowns and 67 rushing yards. As a jack-of-all-trades, Watson can score in a myriad of ways. And he has some explosive weapons to play with (see below). Sure he will be a popular play among DFS players this week, but his endless upside cannot go ignored against a defense allowing the fifth most points to opposing quarterbacks.
- Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys ($8,200) – With a judge denying Ezekiel Elliott‘s motion, it once again looks like Elliot will serve his six game suspension. But really who knows. But let’s, for the sake of this article, assume he does not play Sunday. Vegas still projects this game as the only game total over 50 points. And they have the Cowboys as the favorites at home with a 26 point implied team total against the Kansas City Chiefs! How!?!? For one Dak Prescott is playing as well as any quarterback in the NFL not named Watson (notwithstanding Dak’s performance last week). And he still has solid offensive weapons (and the legs) to put up solid fantasy numbers and keep his Cowboys team competitive. The Chiefs allow the ninth most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and with no Elliott I do not expect Dallas to ride the coattails of Darren McFadden or Alfred Morris. Look for Dallas to draw up a gameplan centered around Dak’s arm and legs, with him being the main source of all offensive output.
- Drew Stanton, QB, Arizona Cardinals ($6,400) – I honestly do not like any of the names below the top tier guys this week. Each quarterback priced below $7,500 either has a horrendous matchup or is just flat out horrendous. So if we are going low this week, we are going realllllllllllllll low. And with that in mind, we unfortunately turn our attention to Drew Stanton. He played quite poorly in relief of Carson Palmer in Week 7, turning the ball over twice and throwing for just 66 yards, so this selection is purely based off the matchup (and a whim). The Niners allow the second most points to opposing quarterbacks, allowing multiple touchdown passes in 5 of 8 games this year. And with the 49ers likely to stack the box against Adrian Peterson, daring Stanton to throw, he should find one-on-one matchups across the field. Look for Stanton to target Larry Fitzgerald like a maniac and pray he can connect on a touchdown or two.
- Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs ($9,000) – Give me the best individual fantasy player in the highest total game every day of the week. Andy Reid still cannot seem to consistently gameplan a way to focus on getting Kareem Hunt 25+ touches, but this week look for Hunt to go back to his monster ways of the early season. After scoring 5 times in his first three games, Hunt has not found the end zone since Week 3, with last week being his worst performance of the season and the first time held under 100 total yards. And while the Cowboys play the run fairly well, C.J. Anderson, Todd Gurley and Aaron Jones gashed them for over 100 yards in weeks past and they tend to struggle against pass catching backs. With a tightly contested shootout likely in Big D, look for the Chiefs to involve Hunt in all aspects of their gameplan.
- Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams ($9,100) – Keep the ball on the ground. That should be the name of the game this week for the LA Rams. Leading the universe in total touchdowns, Todd Gurley is about as automatic as it comes in regards to finding the end zone, and that should be no different Week 9 against a Giants team ranking in the bottom 10 in terms of rushing yards allowed per game and rushing yards allowed per carry. Gurley also ranks first on the Rams in receptions and third in receiving yards, so Gurley should remain active in all facets of the game. One of the few all-purpose backs in football, Gurley looks to continue his resurgence as a top 5 running back.
- Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bau Buccaneers ($6,700) – With Jameis Winston potentially still hobbled by a throwing shoulder injury, the Bucs could lean more on the Muscle Hamster Week 9 than in games past. Doug Martin has been a crucial component to the Bucs offense since coming back from suspension in both the running and passing games, which bodes well given his matchup against a Saints team allowing the ninth most points to opposing running backs. Look for the Bucs to involve Martin more Week 9, taking a little of the load off Winston, leading to a solid volume-based RB2 with the potential to make it into the top 5 for running backs overall.
- Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers ($6,100) – Ranking first on the team in targets and receptions and second on the team in receiving yards and touchdowns, Christian McCaffrey steadily finds himself in the RB2 conversation. With at least 5 receptions in each of his last four games, McCaffrey remains a pivotal cog in a Panther offense built around the pass as their rushing offense fades into the abyss. Facing a Falcons team which perennially struggles against pass catching running backs, look for Newton to target his rookie early and often, especially after trading away primary receiving option Kelvin Benjamin. If McCaffrey finds the end zone, you might have yourself an RB1 at RB2.5 pricing.
- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans ($9,100) – Like peanut butter and jelly, Watson and DeAndred Hopkins have that connection only married couples dream of having. The Colts allow the sixth most points to opposing wide receivers, so they should have less than no chance to stop the #1 ranked fantasy wide receiver among those who have played at least 5 games. Hopkins has recored 70+ receiving yards or at least one touchdown in every game this season, giving owners a base floor of a WR1.5. With the juiciest of all juicy matchup and coming off a career game (8/224/1 touchdown) look for Watson to continue peppering his new toy and watch the FanDuel dollars fall from the sky.
- Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints ($7,600) – The big game comes now. I am calling it. No better time than the present. We are all still waiting on the 2016 Michael Thomas to arrive at the 2017 fantasy party and I can feel it coming Week 9 against the 32nd ranked fantasy defense against opposing wide receivers. While he has yet to top 100 yards in a game, he has topped 76 yards in 5 of his 7 performances, showing that we can still rely on his for steady floor production. But we all drafted him as a solid WR1, not a front end WR2 with solid floor production. And while Mark Ingram increasingly becomes a focal point in the Saints new kind-of-run-based offense, Drew Brees will not be afraid to air it out at home in the Superdome against such a horrific Bucs pass defense.
- Paul Richardson, WR, Seattle Seahawks ($5,800) – I covered my love for Paul Richardson on the Stream Team, and that loves carries over to FanDuel. Richardson ranks second on the team in yards and first on the team in yards per catch and touchdowns (5), showing he has the true big-play ability we want out of our Sleeper options. With Russell Wilson playing like a true QB1 look for the Seahawks to once again veer away from their incompetent running game and move the ball steadily through the passing game.
- Ted Ginn, WR, New Orleans Saints ($5,700) – We like our cheap options to have major breakout potential. And it does not get more breakout-y than Ted Ginn. Maybe the most explosive player on the Saints offense, Ginn could run wild against a horrendous Bucs pass defense that will attempt to focus its attention on stopping the run and Thomas. Averaging over 90 yards per game his past 3 weeks, Ginn could be in line for a monster day as the firmly established WR2 in the Drew Brees offense.
- Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys ($4,600) – How about a sneak pick here? With no Zeke, the Cowboys should stray away from the run and focus more on airing the football out Sunday. Cole Beasley suffered a concussion Week 8 and his status is murky at best, so that could mean an uptick in usage and volume for Terrance Williams. Behind Zeke, Jason Witten and Dez Bryant, Williams production has been consistently mediocre at best. However, he still ranks third on the team in targets, reception and yardage. Look for the Cowboys to include him more in Week 9 with the potential for a breakout as Kansas City focuses its attention on stopping Dez.
- Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles ($7,600) – It does not get better than Zach Ertz at the tight end position. With either a touchdown or 81+ yards in every game this season, no defense has held Ertz below double digit fantasy points this year. And with a matchup coming against the best run defense in the league (sorry newly acquired Jay Ajayi) I expect Ertz to continue to lead the Eagles passing attack in Week 9. And for all the high regard and esteem we lay on the Denver Broncos defense (deservedly so) they do have one Achilles Heel: the tight end position. Denver allows the third most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, already seeing Jason Witten, Charles Clay, Evan Engram and Travis Kelce spring for double digit performances, two of which ended in the 20’s. Fire Ertz up, lock it up.
- Jared Cook, TE, Oakland Raiders ($5,500) – Jared Cook appears to have carved out a consistent role for himself in the Raiders offense. And although Marshawn Lynch should play in Week 9 I expect the Raiders to keep up with their passing ways. Over the past two weeks the Cook-Derek Carr connection looks as strong as ever, seeing the pair connect on 10 of 12 targets for 164 yards. With the Miami Dolphins boasting one of the worst defenses against the tight end this year look for Cook to continue to put up solid floor performances, with the potential for much more if he can find the end zone.
- Harrison Butker, K, Kansas City Chiefs ($5,200) – Death. Taxes. And a great Harrison Butker kicking performance. Those are the only guarantees in life. Kicking for the third highest scoring team in the NFL, only once has Butker failed to score double digit FanDuel points (8 points Week 6 against Pittsburgh) and averages 15.2 FanDuel points per contest. He seems more like a decent WR3 in FanDuel than a kicker. This week Butker kicks in the friendly confines of Jerry World against a subpar defense. Look for Kansas City to play most of the game in the Cowboys defensive side of the field and bank on another double digit performance for Butker.
- Mike Nugent, K, Dallas Cowboys ($4,600) – We need to save money, and Mike Nugent fits the kicker-bill perfectly. In a dome against a poor defense in a tightly contested game. In his first game action last week Nugent went 4/5 in field goal tries and 3/3 in extra points, scoring 16 FanDuel points. While that number represents the high end of Nugget’s abilities, he should put up double digits again Week 9.
- Houston Texans DST ($5,200) – Stream against the Colts. New policy. With Josh McCown playing so well and the Niners about to enter into a dynasty with Jimmy Garoppolo, the Jacoby Brissett-led Colts now boast one of the, if not the, worst offenses in football (save the Miami Dolphins, ew). Last week the Bengals hung up a smooth 14 FanDuel points on the Colts, and this week expect the Houston Texans DST to top that number as Vegas projects the Texas as 13 points favorites and gives the Colts an implied team total of just 18 points. The Colts give up the most fantasy points to opposing defenses, so the Texans should have no problems this week scoring double digits.
- New York Giants DST ($4,100) – We spent enough money above. Now, it’s time to go deep sea fishing for a defense. So let’s venture allllllll the way down to the bottom, just above the most pre-historic forms of life on earth (the Indianapolis Colts DST) and select our newest species: the New York Giants DST. Streaming an underdog might not be the wisest thing to do, especially against the second highest scoring team in the league. But not all is grim with this matchup. First, Vegas only favors the Rams by 3.5 points over the Giants. Second, the Rams have an implied team total under 23 points. Interesting. The Giants rank in the middle of the pack in points allowed per game and sacks, so let’s hope they play an inspired game at home in Week 9, helping us save money for some of the studs above.
And that’s a wrap for Fanduel Week 9 analysis. Remember to always look at the matchups and Vegas totals, which are always telling, and do not be afraid to admit they know more than you, because they usually do. Until next time, good luck and don’t forget to tip me 10% of your earnings. Thanks in advance.