DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 9

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We're halfway through the season, and while the spots for many plays this week certainly deserve 'WILL SMASH' designation, the pricing is tight enough on DraftKings that we will need to be selective about which smash spots will be the smashiest and which will just be sorta smashy. I've said smash too much. Let's look at some plays this week:


Russell Wilson ($7,100): Russ made the list last week in what appeared to be an excellent spot against the Atlanta Falcons' pass-sieve defense. However, after accumulating two touchdowns in the first half (both to D.K. Metcalf), the Seattle Seahawks went cold and had only four drives and a time of possession of about 12 minutes in the second half. Redemption thy name is Russ. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense enters the contest with a secondary that has allowed the seventh most DraftKings points to opposing quarterbacks over the last four weeks, giving up more than 300 yards and almost three touchdowns per game. Wilson and his pass catchers will find success against this defense, which is highlighted by elite run-stuffing abilities but can't do a dang thing about getting thrown on. These two offenses project to interact well, as the game total is up to 52.0, per FanDuel Sportsbook. Russ has an awesome floor and a great shot at that illustrious 40-point ceiling this week.

Jameis Winston ($6,100): On the other side of the Seahawks/Bucs game, we find a discounted Jameis Winston for $1,000 cheaper than Russ. It's no secret Jameis is turnover prone, but the Seahawks' defense just isn't what it used to be, neither in the secondary nor in the pass rushing category. Winston should feel much less pressure this week as Seattle's defensive line is ranked 27th in Football Outsiders adjusted sack rate, and the defense as a whole is giving up 24 DraftKings points per game to opposing quarterbacks over their last four outings. Even a dusty Matt Schaub threw for an mind-boggling 460 yards against this Seahawks secondary. With Winston having weapons like Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, it's hard to envision a scenario where Jameis doesn't post a good fantasy day against a bad defense in a game with a high projected total.

Ryan Fitzpatrick ($4,700): Fitzmagic is apparently giving the Miami Dolphins their best shot at winning as he's been named the started already for the week, even if that best shot is probably a not very good shot. That being said, the New York Jets' defense he faces this week shouldn't scare us in either the secondary or defensive line. The Jets' defensive line ranks 30th in adjusted sack rate, which should give Fitz ample time to throw, and the pass defense as a whole ranks an average 16th versus the pass, per our schedule-adjusted metrics. With emerging weapons like Preston Williams, Albert Wilson, and Davante Parker Jakeem Grant, Fitzpatrick has the capacity to get the ball to these guys in space and let them make plays. He offers a solid floor in cash games at a bargain price.

Running Backs

Dalvin Cook ($9,500): There's not much that needs to be said for this play. Dalvin is awesome, and he is in an awesome spot. He's averaging 3.5 receptions per game over his last four games. His offensive line is ranked sixth in adjusted line yards, per Football Outsiders. His opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs, owns the fourth-worst run D. Dalvin for all the monies this week.

Nick Chubb ($7,300): Despite somewhat pedestrian numbers against the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots, Nick Chubb has been a volume monster the past four weeks. He's averaging 19 rushes and 2.5 receptions per game and is averaging 126.3 rushing yards per outing over the last four games. With the return of Kareem Hunt, uncertainty may drive his ownership down. But the Denver Broncos are forced to start Brandon Allen at quarterback this week after Joe Flacco was diagnosed with a neck injury. With an inexperienced quarterback at the helm, it should mean positive game script for Chubb, who pairs well with the Cleveland D/ST for some nice correlation. We've seen ceiling games already from Chubb in similar type middling matchups this year, and I think we are in store for another one this weekend.

Devin Singletary ($4,700): Singletary returned in Week 7 from injury after a three week absence and was eased back into action against the Dolphins. Last week, the coaches let him loose. While he had just three carries (rightfully so against an elite Philadelphia Eagles run defense), he caught four passes on six targets, played on 68% of the offensive snaps, and scored a touchdown. With this increased role, Singletary and his number-one ranked offensive line in adjusted line yards get to take on Washington, the league's seventh worst defense by our metrics and the fourth worst in defensive adjusted line yards.

Wide Receivers

Tyler Lockett ($7,500): This is the week. Lockett has seen some decent matchups in the past few weeks, but none have been as good as what he will face against the Bucs on Sunday. Sporting a ridiculous catch percentage of 87%, Lockett catches nearly everything that comes his way and should be in line for even more volume than what he has been getting against a Bucs defense that is the definition of a pass-funnel unit. Tampa Bay is allowing the most DraftKings points to wide receivers the past four weeks. The Bucs' run defense should be able to bottle up Chris Carson, leaving us with the magic of the Wilson-to-Lockett connection all afternoon long.

Robby Anderson ($5,500): Coupled with terrible quarterback play for three games earlier in the season, Robby Anderson's first-half schedule was brutal. But it's about to get absolutely delightful. He starts out this stretch of delight with a matchup against the Dolphins, who just lost their shutdown corner, Xavien Howard, to injured reserve. Sam Darnold should see ample time in the pocket as Miami ranks 25th in adjusted sack rate. Robby's game is stretching the defense down the field, and if Sam has the time to drop back and find him, Robby can deliver. He's averaging 7.3 targets per game over the last three outings since Darnold returned and leads the team in percentage of air yards (by a lot) and target share.

Curtis Samuel ($4,300): In digging through the bargain basement of the wide receiver group this week, Curtis Samuel stuck out to me as a high-ceiling play who has been getting loads of opportunity but hasn't quite delivered. The Tennessee Titans are ranked 26th in DVOA to number-one wide receivers this season. Now, you might argue that D.J. Moore is the number-one in Carolina, but when you look at the peripheral numbers, Samuel stands out as equal if not better in opportunity. He has a higher share of air yards over the last three weeks (43% to 31%), higher average depth of target (16 to 10.4), and close to the same target share (25% to 28%). Moore may have the higher floor, but I like having access to a high ceiling in cash and GPP contests, and Samuel gives us that.

Tight End

Darren Waller ($6,300): If you're looking to pay up at tight end this week, Waller's matchup offers a solid game environment, and his consistent volume gives him an excellent floor with an accessible ceiling. The Detroit Lions have struggled mightily against the tight end in the last four games, allowing the fourth most DraftKings points to the position (18.8) in that span. Both of these defenses are struggling at this point in the year, but the offenses are clicking, and the game's point total reflects it at 50.5. Averaging 8.3 targets per game, good for a 26% target share this season and over 92.1 yards per game, Waller should continue to be a huge piece of a Raiders offense that is implied for a solid 26.25 points.

Cameron Brate ($3,100): A bit of a disappointment last week, Brate didn't deliver in a spot where he was anticipated to get heavy volume. However, he did see nearly double his average snap count and saw the most targets in a game that he's seen all year with six. If O.J. Howard is out again with injury, I think we go back to Brate in a plus matchup with an A-plus game environment. Seattle is allowing the most points to opposing tight ends over the last four weeks, giving up more than 6.5 receptions and 100 yards per game. If the Winston-Brate connection flares again like it has twice already this season, Brate is in line to smash value and be a solid piece of Buccaneers-Seahawks game stacks. (Note: Brate is also battling injury. If both he and O.J. sit, fire up preseason stud tight end Tanner Hudson [$2,500] in his absence.)


Carolina D/ST ($2,800): After getting waxed in San Francisco last weekend, the Panthers run into a much easier spot against a Titans team that is still trying to find its identity after benching Marcus Mariota two weeks ago. The Carolina D knows its identity, though, which is a defense that is good at rushing the passer and defending the pass. They rank third in pass defense, per our numbers, and their defensive line sits second in adjusted sack rate. Combine that with a Tennessee offensive line that ranks dead last in adjusted sack rate, and you can see how this Carolina defense is set up for success in Week 9.

Washington D/ST ($1,800): Washington is the second best point-per-dollar tight end, per our projections, and it's mostly due to their heavily discounted price -- although you could also make a case that the Washington D hasn't been that bad in the last three weeks. They've allowed point totals of 16, 9, and 19, the last being to a clicking Minnesota Vikings offense to boot. Also in their favor is the Buffalo Bills' offensive line ranking 27th in adjusted sack rate, and Washington is playing against a turnover-prone quarterback. Needing only about six points to hit cash value, they make for a great salary saving punt play this week.

“Justin Manuel is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice Justin Manuel also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username JMIZZLE08. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.”