As both the NFL and our world continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, football can be a healthy distraction, and daily fantasy sports (DFS) sites offer a fun way to get skin in the game. Let’s break down the Week 9 slate at DraftKings.
If you want to fire up some studs in your DFS lineups, you’ll have to find cheaper options somewhere who can return value. By “value,” I mean a player who offers some upside but won’t bust for zero points. To hit value, a player should get between three to four times their salary in fantasy points. I’ll look at quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers under $6K, and at tight ends under $4.5K.
Check back next week for another slate of picks — and for my results from last week!
Last Week’s Picks
Derek Carr (LV): 12.6 points (2.29x)
Jonnu Smith (TEN): 4.9 points (1.20x)
Last week could’ve gone better. Weather and injuries derailed two of the plays, while two others (Bell and Smith) didn’t meet expectations. It seems like a healthy number of analysts whiffed on Bell, so I won’t beat myself up too much, but Smith failing to catch a touchdown with both Corey Davis and A.J. Brown back might be the new normal. Both of our wideouts hit, though, so that’s encouraging! I’ll be looking for more of that magic here in Week 9.
This Week’s Value Plays
Drew Lock (DEN): $5,200 at ATL
The Atlanta Falcons give up the second-most DraftKings points per game (DKPPG) to quarterbacks, so naturally, I intend to target them here. While Lock has had an up-and-down season, he just dropped 20.8 DK points on the Chargers’ defense. They give up an average of 23.2 DKPPG to the position, so Lock should be able to post similar numbers. There’s also a good chance that Lock will have Tim Patrick back this week, and his return would help the downfield passing game out considerably.
Honorable mention: Jake Luton (JAC): $4,900 vs. HOU.
Justin Jackson (LAC): $4,900 vs. LV
Yes, I know Austin Ekeler’s return is on the horizon. But two weeks ago, head coach Anthony Lynn said that it would be “later rather than sooner”; on Wednesday, he declined to put a timetable on Ekeler’s return. As a result, I’m not expecting him back for Week 9’s matchup against the vulnerable Raiders defense. Las Vegas has allowed the sixth-most DKPPG to the position (29.8), they’re tied for the third-most rushing touchdowns allowed to running backs, and they’re allowing the second-most receiving yards per game to opposing rushers. While this backfield will remain a committee until Ekeler returns, Jackson is the clear leader, and he has hit value at this price point twice already.
J.D. McKissic (WAS): $4,300 vs. NYG
The Washington Football Team will keep the ball in the hands of their running backs against the New York Football Giants. That’s what they did for most of Week 6’s game, although a late fumble from Kyle Allen forced them into a passing situation at the end. McKissic got 14 touches in Week 6, the most of any player, and he turned them into 14.4 DK points. Sure, he underperformed against the Cowboys, but the garbage-time touches for Peyton Barber diluted his value. McKissic should come close to value this week, and while he may not have Antonio Gibson’s upside, he’ll be a savvy punt play at running back.
Honorable mention: J.K. Dobbins (BAL): $4,900 at IND.
D.J. Chark (JAC): $5,200 vs. HOU
Yes, I know that Jake Luton is starting. But there’s a lot to get excited about — coaches have lavished Luton with praise for his arm, deep-strike ability, and touch, all of which would go fantastically with Chark’s 96th-percentile speed. The Houston Texans give up the seventh-most DKPPG to fantasy wideouts, and though Chark didn’t impress against them in Week 5, he also suffered an ankle injury partway through the game. Despite playing in one fewer game than most of his teammates, Chark leads this team in targets (41) and air yards (549), so he should have a solid floor even if he doesn’t catch a long touchdown.
Darnell Mooney (CHI): $3,900 at TEN
Fact #1: Mooney has led the Bears in air yards in three straight weeks. Fact #2: Mooney reeled in a deep toss from Nick Foles last week for 50 yards. Fact #3: the Titans allow the second-most DKPPG to wide receivers. While I am a little bit concerned that the Titans have done a good job of limiting explosive passing plays, it’s not enough to scare me off. The Bears will need to pass a lot to keep up with Tennessee’s high-scoring offense, and Mooney should be a prime beneficiary of the game script.
Honorable mention: Diontae Johnson (PIT): $5,000 at DAL.
Greg Olsen (SEA): $3,100 at BUF
This is the definition of a punt play. Olsen hasn’t scored more than four DK points since Week 4, but I’m somewhat optimistic about his odds against the Bills. Buffalo surrenders the fourth-most DKPPG to the position, and Olsen is still getting targets. He failed to catch any of his four targets last week, but Russell Wilson still threw his way four times. This may come as a surprise to you, but Olsen has a 10.6% target share in this offense, which ranks him third on the team. Yes, his 65.4% catch rate leaves something to be desired, but I’m optimistic that he’ll see enough targets against the Bills to score 10 points.
Honorable mention: Pay the extra $100 for Noah Fant (DEN): $4,600 at ATL.
Beyond our daily fantasy football content, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Football Tools. From our Value Plays – which allows you to identify players who are projected to outperform their salaries – to our DFS Cheat Sheets – that helps you get a quick read on the day’s players – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.