DraftKings NFL Picks: Week 9 Top Plays is a column that finds the players who are in the best situation to do well that week based primarily off opportunity and match up. You’ll get an insight into the mind of a consistently profitable DFS player and give yourself the best chance at hitting it big on the week’s slate!
It’s crazy to think we’ve already had 10 weeks of NFL so far, but here we are! This is the point in the season where we should be hitting our stride. We finally have a better idea of how teams are playing on both sides of the ball and the information that we’re working with is much more current and useful and should help us build out DraftKings NFL picks!
This Week 11 slate isn’t nearly as interesting as last week’s, but who knows what kind of value will open up as we get closer to Sunday. The Titans/Colts, Patriots/Niners and Packers/Redskins games open with the highest totals, and I also like the Lions/Jags and Bears/Giants game for some interesting plays. Let’s dig in!
Andrew Luck ($7,200): His Week 9 matchup against the Packers was a spot a lot of people looked to Luck to have a big game, and he disappointed with just 14.74 DK points. This week seems like a great week to bounce back at home against the Titans. This is the highest projected game on the slate and you’ll want to have some exposure here. The Colts are one of the most pass-heavy teams in the league and tend to increase their passing volume as the year goes on due to the wear and tear on Frank Gore.
The Titans have a great run defense but struggle against the pass, so they funnel teams into throwing more than they normally would. Their opponents call pass plays 66.4% of their snaps, which is the second highest in the league behind the Cowboys. That gives Luck an extremely high floor, but his ceiling is very high with the explosiveness of the Colts’ offense.
Blake Bortles ($5,400): Bortles has been having an absolute disaster of a season, but as a result his price has dropped all the way down to $5,400. The Jaguars are the most pass-heavy team in the league, calling pass plays 68.08% of their snaps. The talent is still there with Bortles, and he has weapons in Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas. He’s a lock for at least 40 pass attempts, and against the Lions, there’s potential to do a lot with those attempts.
Detroit is currently giving up the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Add that to the fact that the Lions are 6.5 point favorites, and Bortles should be in line for a ton of workload in an easy matchup. Darius Slay and Nevin Lawson have been playing well so far this season, but I still feel that we can stack any of his weapons with him for tournaments. At his price, he’s nearly a lock to hit value.
Demarco Murray ($8,200): I said earlier that we wanted to get some exposure to this game, and on the Titans’ side of the ball the obvious target is running back Demarco Murray. He’s listed as questionable with a toe injury but I expect him to be fine for Sunday. The Titans are the second most run-heavy team in the league with a 47.31% run percentage (again ranking only behind Dallas). Murray has been a model of consistency this year, only scoring under 20 DK points once.
The Titans have quietly had one of the top offensive lines in football this year, and the Colts’ defensive line is the worst in the league. Murray should have plenty of holes to run through, and if the offense played like they did in last week’s explosion against Green Bay, he’ll have a lot of scoring upside as well.
Todd Gurley ($5,000): The Rams have been extremely offensively challenged this year, and Todd Gurley‘s stats are suffering from it. His price has dropped to $5,000, and he’s only scored touchdowns in 2 games this season. His volume, however, has stayed consistent and with Jared Goff starting this week, change is supposedly on the way. This isn’t a great game to target for fantasy, but Los Angeles is projected to score 3 touchdowns as 1 point favorites, and someone has to score those for the Rams.
The Dolphins have been alright against the run this season, but teams keep targeting them on the ground, so something will have to give here. They’ve allowed big games to Matt Forte and Demarco Murray in recent games, so they’re definitely vulnerable. The Rams have also made an effort to get Gurley the ball in the passing game because they recognize he’s their best weapon and they need to give him some space to make plays. At just $5,000, fire up Gurley this week.
James Starks ($4,200): In his first game back from injury, James Starks only got 7 carries and 4 targets. However, game flow was a big issue as the Titans jumped all over the Packers from the start. The Packers did pick up Christine Michael this week, but don’t expect him to have a major role in his first game. I would expect game flow to look much differently in this game against the Redskins, where Green Bay is listed as 2.5 point favorites.
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Washington is one of the worst run defenses in the league, having given up the 4th most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Mike McCarthy tends to favor the run more and more as the year goes on, so expect the “all-pass” Packers to end this week. At $4,200 you’re getting the lead back in a prime matchup on one of the league’s best offenses. Lock him into your cash games, and his ownership shouldn’t be too high in GPP because of last week and the Michael signing.
Odell Beckham Jr. ($8,500): Despite his childish antics this year, Odell has been playing well and has come at lower ownership percentages than he should. His lowest target count has been 8 in Week 1, so his volume is incredibly consistent. Combine that volume with Odell’s big play and touchdown potential, and he’s awesome for DFS purposes. The Giants have a team total of 26.3 according to Vegas and I think Odell will have a big part in that.
Tracy Porter will be tasked with shadowing OBJ. Porter has a CB rating of 58.8/100, making him one of the worst graded corners in the league. Also, because he’ll be shadowing, Beckham will be able to figure out exactly what his weaknesses are and exploit them throughout the game. Shadow corner backs tend to do worse against these elite receivers because of their ability to adapt.
Mike Evans ($8,100): Mike Evans let a lot of people down in his matchup with the Bears last week, but don’t let that take you off him this week. Evans leads the league in targets with 108 so far, and this week finds himself in a nice matchup with the Chiefs. Kansas City is listed as 7.5 point favorites, so the game script sets up well for the Bucs’ passing game. Despite only getting 5 targets last week, Evans is still the primary target in this offense.
The Chiefs are known for being pretty tough on opposing passing games, but this season they’re 25th in the league in fantasy points allowed to opposing WRs. Evans lines up on the left side 47% of the time, where he’ll see Phillip Gaines. Gaines has been one of the worst corners in the league, grading out at 39.5/100 on Pro Football Focus. On the other side, Marcus Peters is known as a good corner, but that’s mainly because he’s very aggressive going after the ball. This makes him susceptible to big plays if he takes a bad gamble,
Julian Edelman ($6,300): The Patriots have the highest implied team total on the slate at 31.8, so it’s probably a good idea to have some exposure to their offense. Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan have already been ruled out, so Tom Brady will have just a few options to target. Since Brady’s return, Edelman has become a much more viable target for DFS. Since Week 5, he’s gotten 10, 7, 10, 8 and 9 targets.
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Edelman plays 51% of his snaps in the slot, and that’s the best place to beat this Niners’ defense through the air. Inside receivers like Larry Fitzgerald and Doug Baldwin have gone off for huge days against San Francisco this year. With the targets from Gronk and Hogan opening up, I think that Edelman is the best bet to benefit. Martellus Bennett has had inconsistent targets and I can’t trust Danny Amendola‘s snap count from week to week.
Tyreek Hill ($4,500): This is solely a GPP play, but with Jeremy Maclin ruled out for the Chiefs’ game against the Bucs, Alex Smith has to throw to someone. Last week with Maclin out, Hill got 13 targets, which was the highest on the team. Hill has big play potential which is evidenced by his 4 touchdowns this season in a very limited role. The Chiefs are projected for 26 points, good for 9th best on the slate.
Hill lines up all over the field, and I’m not afraid of any of the matchups he’ll be facing. Brent Grimes is the highest graded corner for Tampa, and I don’t think he’s as good this season as his PFF grade suggests. Vernon Hargreaves and Jude Adjei-Barimah have both struggled, and Hill should see plenty of snaps against both. As far as cheap wideouts go on this slate, Hill is your best bet.
Travis Kelce ($4,700): Jeremy Maclin has already been ruled out against Tampa, and while Kelce disappointed in a similar situation last week, I’m going back to the well. Last week against the Panthers, Kelce only had 3 catches on 6 targets for 8.1 DraftKings points. The Buccaneers have been poor against tight ends for years now, and I think Smith will have more opportunity to get him the ball. He’s flashed 25+ fantasy point upside this season, and if the Chiefs get in the red zone, they’ll likely look his way. He has 12 red zone targets through nine games.
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Zach Miller ($3,800): With Alshon Jeffery‘s suspension because of PED use (he certainly didn’t play like he was on PEDs), Jay Cutler will look to new targets. At the end of last season, we saw Cutler latch onto Miller as a main weapon, and I think we’ll see a return of that strategy. The Giants have been a team to target with tight ends for a few seasons now because their safeties and linebackers aren’t very good in coverage. Miller will also be the top red zone weapon left without Jeffery.
Cardinals ($3,100): As a die hard Vikings fan it’s hard to write this one up, but I can tell you that you need to take defenses against us. The Vikings offensive line was already without two starters, then lost Jake Long last week against Washington. Things are not looking good for Sam Bradford & Co., and the Cardinals defense has enough talent to take advantage of the Minnesota shortcomings.
Dolphins ($2,900): Jared Goff is finally getting the start for the Rams this week against Miami, and if it took this long to unseat Case Keenum, I don’t have very high hopes for the number one pick in the 2016 Draft. The Dolphins defense has been better than we expected this season, and the matchup doesn’t get any better than the Rams. This game has the lowest Vegas total on the slate, so don’t expect any surprises here.
Others I Like: Seahawks, Steelers, Patriots, Bengals, Bills