Week 9 DFS Spotlight
With 6 teams on a bye and countless stars injured, week 9 is shaping up to be very interesting in the DFS world. Wide receiver can often be the most volatile position in our lineups, and this week is no different. We’re looking for playmakers that don’t cost an arm and a leg, but still have GPP winning upside. In this week’s DFS Spotlight, I break down wide receivers that I’m targeting in DraftKings tournaments.
T.Y. Hilton is always a threat to score 30 points in any given matchup, even on the road. When we think of Hilton, we usually imagine a long connection on a TD pass from Andrew Luck at home in the dome. Although the Colts play in Houston this week, there is still plenty of merit to playing him. At only 4900, Hilton stands out as an obvious target based on his point per dollar upside and game-breaking ability. The counter argument is that Hilton is expected to be highly owned, with ownership possibly approaching 40%. His slate breaking upside is what will make many DFS players gladly play him, despite the high ownership. If you fade him—although extremely risky—it could pay off in the event that the Colts offense comes out flat on Sunday.
Before news broke that Ezekiel Elliot would indeed play this week, Das Prescott and Dez Bryant were expected to be very highly owned. Now that Zeke is back, I expect a lot of people to move off of Dak and Dez, in favor of Elliot. While we can’t quite call ourselves sneaky for playing Dez Bryant, we can at least enjoy the fact that he may be lower owned than he should be. At only 6400, Bryant should be able to exceed price based expectations, and come through with his biggest performance of the year. Kansas City’s defense is not as good as public perception, with cornerback Marcus Peters showing a tendency to get burned by elite receivers on the outside. Do you know any elite receivers on the Cowboys that line up on the outside? I can think of one. Dez Bryant is firmly in play against the Chiefs, in what should be one of the highest scoring games of the week.
For Julio, it’s really quite simple. You are probably best served to have exposure to him even while he works through this struggle. With the second-best receiver in the world significantly underpriced (7800), play Jones in the hope that he can overcome the inefficiencies of Atlanta’s play-calling and have his 2017 arrival game. After all, it was in this exact matchup last year in which Julio went for 300 yards and torched the Panther’s secondary.
The Clemson product is one of the big-time playmakers in this league at the wide receiver position, but never seems to be valued as so. Coming into this matchup with the Giants, Watkins has several factors in his favor. The Rams are coming off a bye week in which they had plenty of time to emphasize how to get the underutilized Watkins the ball more. That game-plan won’t be as hard to put to use as you might think, with the Giants missing star cornerback Janoris Jenkins. At only 4200, this is the time to hop on the Watkins train. At no other point this year will we get a chance to play Watkins at such a cheap price, with such low ownership, and a clean bill of health. It is worth mentioning that Watkins is also returning to the state of New York, where he began he career with the Buffalo Bills. While that may not be enough reason on its own to play Watkins, it certainly doesn’t hurt his case. It is completely viable to hedge this play with other Rams offensive pieces, but Watkins is the player that stands out most to me. I expect him to absolutely shatter his price tag if he can meet or exceed 6-8 targets on Sunday.
The Kansas City and Dallas game is setting up to be shootout. There is no need to overthink this one. Play Tyreek Hill. In a plus matchup on the fast track turf, expect ‘Ty-Freak’ to give the Dallas secondary fits. As we’ve seen, Hill only needs one big scoring play to justify his price tag, which checks in this week at 6700. This game provides us with plenty of one off tournament players, as well as the possibility of stacking up the whole game. Even though Dallas likes to control the clock and run the ball, there still should be ample opportunity for the Chiefs to move the ball and score. In need of a bounce back game, Tyreek has a great chance to go nuts this week.
When there’s a team on the schedule who looks all but guaranteed to obliterate their opponent, it’s obviously a great idea to get exposure to them. With teams like Seahawks and Saints in such clear smash spots, much of the public will be drawn to the same players on these teams. While simply being higher owned doesn’t make someone a bad play, it is important to think outside the box in these situations in order to find the sharpest solution. For Seattle, we would want to first accept the outcome of Seahawks dominance and then identify where the scoring will come from. I wrote up Tyler Lockett last week, identifying him as a player that will improve as the year goes on. Lockett remains in play this week, but faces the likelihood of going up against Washington elite cornerback Josh Norman, who generally patrols the left side of the field. If you want to get frisky, you can spin the wheel with the Seahawks and have exposure to Lockett, as well as Paul Richardson and Doug Baldwin. In the end, I may very well end up having more exposure to Baldwin than either of the other two. The fact that Baldwin normally lines up in the slot is very encouraging, as he will avoid Josh Norman in coverage. The Seattle running game is a complete mess, often forcing the Seahawks to put the game on Russell Wilson’s shoulders. For the Seahawks to put up points in bunches, the passing game has to be successful. More than likely, one or more of their receivers goes off this week, with tight end Jimmy Graham being a strong possibility as well. The Seahawks defense can be stacked with an offensive player, as game flow should allow both to have opportunities to produce points. The with Hawks running game being notably bad, Russell Wilson makes a fantastic GPP this weekend as well, but he does check in with the highest price tag of any quarterback on the slate.
Saints running back Mark Ingram has been on a tear as of late, and now has risen all the way up to 7600. Even after owning up to two fumbles last week, it just seems like a classic Sean Payton move to limit Ingram’s snaps this week in favor of Alvin Kamara. This game could shootout, with Kamara having heavy usage independent of game flow. If you think the game takes the path of a defensive divisional battle, you will definitely want exposure to the Saints defense, who faces off against turnover-prone Jameis Winston. The public is sure to bet on Michael Thomas having a huge game this week, and rightfully so. If you want to hedge this play, you’ll find the idea of playing smaller names from the Saints passing game to be highly intriguing. I will be finding every which way I can to get exposure to this game, as I expect a lot of points to be scored.
Week 9’s optimal roster build will likely feature wide receivers priced in the mid-range, as so many of the elite guys have a strong chance to bust. I will be going with a complete fade of AJ Green and DeAndre Hopkins and loading my player pool with guys in the 4K-7K range. To win a GPP this week, you’ll need to have at least some element of a contrarian mindset. I wouldn’t be surprised if something such as a sneaky Rams game stack won a tournament. Keep your eyes and ears turned towards injury updates and analysis as you fine tune your lineups. Most importantly this week, don’t overthink playing underpriced playmakers. We’ve identified a few here in the hopes that they help one of you win big on Sunday.
I write about the NFL and more for TheSportsTalk
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