FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 9
Welcome to our weekly FanDuel NFL primer, where we give you an overview of the Sunday main slate to help you get started on your research.
As always, we recommend checking out all of numberFire's daily fantasy tools at your disposal. In particular, our weekly projections can help you nail down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values, while the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals and every team's strengths and weaknesses.
Now, let's run through some of this week's top plays of the slate.
Russell Wilson ($9,000 on FanDuel): Another week, another potential shootout for the Seahawks, who are looking at a slate-high 55.0 total versus the Bills. Seattle and Buffalo rank 27th and 28th, respectively, in schedule-adjusted pass defense, per numberFire's metrics, setting up both offenses for a fantasy-rich game environment. It's hard to match the floor/ceiling combo we've witnessed from Russell Wilson this season. He hasn't dropped below 20 FanDuel points in any of his seven games and has exceeded 30 points four times. He's the top projected player on the slate.
Deshaun Watson ($8,300): The Texans come out of the bye to face a Jaguars team that's the worst overall defense in numberFire's metrics and 31st against the pass, opening up a path for a big performance from Deshaun Watson. In game with a 50.5 total, Houston checks in as 6.5-point favorites over Jacksonville, so there's some blowout risk here -- particularly with the Jags rolling out Jake Luton in his first NFL start -- but the Texans' second-worst schedule-adjusted defense should provide an assist. Watson has four straight 300-yard passing days and is also coming off his best rushing performance of the season, converting 7 carries for 38 yards in Week 7.
Justin Herbert ($7.900): The slate's third-highest total belongs to the Raiders-Chargers game (51.5), giving us another possible back-and-forth affair with fantasy upside. Justin Herbert has put up impressive numbers in his rookie campaign, which includes an efficient 0.28 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back that's tied for sixth-best among signal-callers with at least 200 drop backs. He's thrown for at least 300 yards or multiple scores in all six starts -- some of which were against tough opponents -- and has shown that he can take advantage of plus matchups, racking up 38.48 FanDuel points versus Jacksonville in Week 7. A plus matchup is exactly what he gets this week against a Las Vegas defense that sits 23rd in adjusted pass defense.
Dalvin Cook ($9,300): Coming off his best fantasy performance of 2020, Dalvin Cook is now gifted another plum spot against Detroit, which ranks 29th in adjusted run defense and has allowed the second-most FanDuel points per game to running backs. Cook clearly saw no lingering effects from his groin injury last week, churning out a season-high 33 opportunities (30 carries, 3 targets) on an 88% snap rate against Green Bay. As 4.5-point home favorites, Minnesota will likely rely heavily on Cook again, and this could have the makings of a high-scoring contest (50.5 total). Christian McCaffrey ($9,500) may not see a high roster percentage after his hiatus -- much like Cook himself last week -- making McCaffrey an enticing pivot in tournaments.
Josh Jacobs ($7,700): Although Josh Jacobs didn't put up a huge fantasy score in Week 8, his trend of seeing increased work in wins continued, as he piled up 31 carries and a target against Cleveland. Jacobs is one of the most game-script dependent backs in the league, averaging 26.5 rushes, 3.3 targets, and a 68.4% snap rate in victories, compared to 13.7 rushes, 4.0 targets, and a 59.1% snap rate in losses. He's posted 12.9, 21.5, 12.0, and 33.9 FanDuel points in those wins versus single-digit points in every loss. That leaves a scary floor, but the Raiders are just a 1.5-point underdog to the Chargers, so a spike week is in the realm of possibilities.
James Robinson ($7,300): As of this writing, James Robinson projects as the best point-per-dollar running back by numberFire's model. His workload was magnificent prior to Jacksonville's bye, tallying 22 carries and 6 targets on an elite 90% snap rate in a loss to the Chargers. As a sizable underdog against Houston with a new quarterback at the helm, Robinson isn't without some risk, but that's some tantalizing volume at this salary. The matchup also checks out, as the Texans rank 28th in adjusted run defense and have allowed the third-most FanDuel points per game to opposing backs.
Chase Edmonds ($6,700): We technically still have to wait for Kenyan Drake to officially be ruled out, but all signs still point to Chase Edmonds finally being unleashed this week. Edmonds has arguably been the better back all season, and sure enough, he bests Drake as both a runner and pass-catcher in numberFire's metrics. For what it's worth, when Edmonds saw 94% of the snaps in Week 7 last season, he racked up 27 carries and 4 targets for 150 total yards and 3 scores. Arizona is a 3.5-point home favorite against Miami, a team that ranks 19th in adjusted run defense.
DK Metcalf ($8,100) and Tyler Lockett ($7,400): These two are becoming frequent visitors to these parts, but that's to be expected when you have Russell Wilson doling out touchdowns left and right. The tricky thing has been picking the right guy, as DK Metcalf has posted 34.1, 3.3, and 24.3 FanDuel points over the last three weeks, while Tyler Lockett has gone 5.3, 45.5, and 6.4. So, who's the preferred option this week? Metcalf is expected to be shadowed by Tre'Davious White, so the pendulum could swing back toward Lockett, and Lockett also has the far lower salary. Of course, this is Metcalf we're talking about. He's averaging a league-high 125 air yards per game on a 41.0% air yards share, so be sure to also have exposure to him at what should be a lower roster percentage than Lockett's.
Stefon Diggs ($7,600): Buffalo's offense has scuffled a bit lately, but this is a classic get-right spot for Josh Allen ($8,200) and friends against Seattle. The Seahawks give up the most FanDuel points per game to wide receivers by a sizable margin, and they rank 26th in Target Success Rate allowed to the position. With Stefon Diggs averaging just a hair fewer than 10 targets per game on a 28.9% target share and 36.9% air yards share, he's an easy choice this week.
Keenan Allen ($7,500): Only Jamison Crowder and Davante Adams have averaged more targets per game than Keenan Allen this season (10.7), and if we throw out an injury-shortened Week 5, Allen has averaged a whooping 13.0 targets per game with Justin Herbert under center. He's projected for the second-most FanDuel points at wide receiver, making him the best point-per-dollar value at the position this week by our projections.
Marvin Jones ($6,100): This is contingent on Matthew Stafford coming off the reserve/COVID-19 list -- a distinct possibility in his specific situation -- as a Chase Daniel-led passing attack would be a far tougher to trust. With Kenny Golladay out, Marvin Jones will be the top target against a banged up Vikings secondary that ranks 19th in adjusted pass defense and has coughed up the second-most FanDuel points per game to wide receivers. No team has allowed more touchdowns (15) to the position, too. In truth, Jones hasn't produced amazing numbers in the three games Golladay has missed all or a part of this season, but he's averaged 7.0 targets in those weeks with a respectable 19.3% target share.
Darren Waller ($6,400): While Travis Kelce ($8,000) is great and all, his salary is essentially that of a top wide receiver, which will be awfully tough to fit in. Luckily, we can always hop down to Darren Waller, who leads all tight ends with 8.9 targets per game and a 27.6% target share. He will have plenty of scoring potential in what should be a high-scoring game against the Chargers, and Waller projects as the top point-per-dollar value at tight end.
Noah Fant ($5,800): The Falcons not only sit dead last in adjusted pass defense, but they've been particularly poor at defending tight ends, ranking 29th in Target Success Rate allowed to the position and giving up the most FanDuel points per game. Noah Fant quietly ranks fourth in targets per game (7.2) among tight ends, and this Denver-Atlanta clash has a fantasy-friendly 50.0 total.
Pittsburgh D/ST ($5,000): Following a poor start by Ben DiNucci against the Eagles last week, the Cowboys will now turn to either Garrett Gilbert or Cooper Rush, who have a combined nine pass attempts in the NFL. This isn't likely to end well against the sixth-best defense in numberFire's rankings. Pittsburgh is the slate's biggest favorite at 14.0 points.
Houston D/ST ($3,700): The Texans are far from a good defense, but they get to face rookie Jake Luton, who wasn't exactly a highly touted prospect as a sixth-round draft pick. Houston is tied for the third-biggest favorite on the board, which could force Luton into the pass-heavy game script we want for sacks and turnovers.