NFL DFS Week 9: Hot Sizzle Taeks
What a crazy trade deadline! Kelvin Benjamin to the Bills! Jay Ajayi to the Eagles! Jimmy Garoppolo to the depths of hell! What wonderful real-life trades that's actually a pile of burnt avocado toast for fantasy purposes. The Eagles were already running a crappy RBBC with Smallwood/Blount/Clement, and now Ajayi figures to cut into Blount's workload as the 1 inch away from a 1st down specialist. Benjamin goes from an offense that was all contested balls or sailed over his head to an even worse offense that's all about whether or not Tyrod Taylor wants to take the risk. Spoiler alert – he doesn't. Then there's poor ol' Jimmy G, stuck with no O-Line, a 49ers defense that continues to add to its never-ending list of injured players, and a front office that made paying a fullback 20 million a priority. Good times are a-comin' for Jimmy Crack Corn and he don't care! Let's go ahead and check out the DailyRoto projections instead of reading the rest of this trash heap of an article. If you chose to continue reading, thank you for adopting me. Every click donated to me will help dig a brand new hole for me to do my business in. Very crucial work here. May John Earl Madden bless you all.
Anyways, onto the NFL DFS Week 9 picks!
Top Play – Yes, yes. I know you're going to pick Watson. I know. Shut up already. I'm not picking him again because come on now that regression has to hit sometimes, right? Guys? Right? (breathes deeply into brown bag).
I will trust the projections with their choice at QB in Russell Wilson, who got a nice present from the Seahawks with their trade of premier LT Duane Brown from the Texans. Brown will be the best OL Wilson has had for basically his entire career, someone who can actually block and hold his man without falling down or feigning injury. Wilson has been magical this season despite an abysmal OL that gives him zero time to stand in the pocket and the most attempted passes (and pace) in a single season. Despite running for his life on seemingly every snap, Wilson has been spectacular from outside the pocket, coming in as the 10th best-rated QB throwing outside of the pocket (and thrown the most out of pocket as well). Seattle is now the 8th fastest team in the NFL, running the 5th most offensive snaps, and has nearly the worst graded run blocking OL in every meaningful category. It's no surprise Wilson has been asked to lead the team by example, carrying Fat Eddie's bloated carcass on his back among others. Wilson is always going to be a high volume play at QB based on his current team's situation, but he'll be facing a Redskins defense that's starting to resemble the 49ers in terms of injuries. The Redskins have now dropped to the 16th DVOA pass defense, giving up the 15th most points to opposing QBs (a slow rise over the past month). The fact of the matter is Wilson just might become match-up proof for the rest of the season due to his increased passing opportunities, his great running skills keeping him at a high floor, and his team's total reliance on Wilson's arm to move the chains. Staple City! Not Staples, of course. That's a lawsuit waiting.
Value Play – Hey, did you hear about Janoris Jenkins? You didn't? That's okay, it's not like the Giants are relevant or anything. Jenkins apparently screwed up with the coaching staff and has been suspended for the Rams game. That weakens an already low ranked pass defense (22nd) as Jenkins was by far and away their best cornerback and a crucial component of their defensive assignments. The Giants were giving up the 6th most fantasy points to opposing QBs, so the loss of Jenkins essentially makes Jared Goff an easy value pick for me. Goff's actually been one of the better value QBs all season long in good/great match-ups, so it's been a lock for me thus far. The last time Goff graced the value column was when he faced off against the Cardinals in London, racking up 19 DK points at around the same price he is right now. I'd put more stats here but this is pretty much the same spot Goff was in against the Cardinals except better, as the Giants' version of Patrick Peterson in Janoris Jenkins won't even suit up. When in doubt, play Goff in good match-ups! Just look at his game-log!
HOT TAEK – There's going to be some really awful options that shouldn't be used such as Jay Cutler, Brock Osweiler, and Drew Stanton. Well, hold on a minute. Drew Stanton actually has a very favorable match-up against the 49ers and their 27th ranked pass defense. Yes, it is Drew “Crazy Legs” Stanton who's been barely better than Max Hall and John Skeleton for the Cardinals. Still, if you really needed the salary relief then Stanton's isn't a horrible GPP dart throw considering his match-up against a depleted 49ers secondary that just gave up Rashard Robinson for nothing. Sure, he was one of the most penalized CBs in the NFL, but he was still one of their most talented defensive backs. Jimmie Ward is on IR, leaving the 49ers with what appears to be the Walking Dead at the safety positions since they promoted (demoted?) Eric Reid from SS to LB full-time. Stanton still has a Hall of Famer WR in Larry Fitzgerald, another HoF'er in Adrian Peterson, and a plethora of weapons to maybe put up a 200 yard and a TD or two effort. I mean, the damn 49ers are giving up the 2nd most points to QBs! The most offensive plays given up per game! Stanton can't be that bad! Or can he?
Top Play – Whew, what an ugly week for RBs. Take away Bell and this is what happens? Kareem Hunt figures to have one of the best match-ups on the slate, but the Chiefs have been depending on him less and less every week. So there goes Hunt's Bell-like workload that made him such a stud in the early weeks. Where do we go for our weekly fix of a 30+ touch RB in a good match-up? Oh, hello Mark Ingram and your 80 combined touches in the last 3 games! That also includes a 3 game streak of scoring at least a touchdown! Slurp. He'll get a Buccaneer run defense that's continued to give up large chunks of yardage on the ground, ranking at 20th worst DVOA. The bigger issue for the Bucs is their 2nd worst-rated pass defense, and we all know a happy Drew Brees is a happy Ingram. Here are some quick stats to make you fall in love with Fat Mark. Ingram had been giving up his red zone work to Alvin Kamara in the early goings but has now become the man for the Saints with 14 RZ opportunities over the past 3 weeks. He now leads the lead in said opportunities alongside a 41% MS of the RZ carries, a number that's likely in the high 80s over the past few weeks. Simply put, the Saints traded away Adrian Peterson for a reason, and it's paid off tremendously for both the Saints and Ingram as he's cashed in 4 touchdowns since. Not only does Ingram possess rare RB1 type red zone work, he's also one of the highest targeted backs over the same span with 16 targets. In what should be a high volume week for the Saints' offense as big favorites, it should be noted that the Saints have preferred to run the ball as early as possible and have provided great run-scripts over that span. TB gives up the 10th most points to the RB position, 4th most offensive plays, and already run at the 3rd highest pace. As much as I hate math, numbers do mean something.
Value Play – I'm here to explain how the RB situation in Miami likely will pan out. Kenyan Drake was the Dolphins' 3rd round pick a year ago, not playing a ton of snaps both due to being a rookie and injuries. However, with the Ajayi trade, Drake now has the opportunity to make the questionable pick worth it for Miami. He's got some wiggle to him and is a much more natural pass-catcher than Ajayi, something that Coach Gase had noted. Drake's been a special teams monster for Miami, showcasing his agility and deceptive speed on returns while adding in tough tackles on the other side of the ball. Drake likely won't get a heavy workload that Ajayi got, but he'll be presented with more receiving opportunities/being put into space where he excels. That's something Miami had started trying to do with Damien Williams in the past few weeks, to obviously no success. It probably won't be as much of a RBBC as it may appear, with Drake receiving at around 65% of the snaps and rotating with Williams on passing downs. Is he worth a gamble against a 23rd ranked OAK run defense? Absolutely, but be forewarned. Gase has said quite incendiary comments about his team, promising to completely change up the complexion of the team. The Ajayi trade may be an ominous sign for the offense, possibly for the better. It's a value pick I'm okay with on a week lacking any real options outside of guessing which Cowboys RB you want and relying on Stanton not to muck up AP's day.
HOT TAEK – On a week with so many depleted RB options, it was quite difficult to find a terrible RB with a decent match-up to make fun of. I've decided to simply use this section of the article to condemn bad coaching staffs who refuse to utilize their best running back to the fullest. Yeah, that means you Marvin Lewis! How are you still refusing to let Mixon explode for one measly game? The guy clearly is your best rushing/receiving option at RB! Did you not see his 67 yard gallop on a catch? Did you not see him eviscerate the Steelers defense in the 1st half of that godforsaken game? Oh, and you only gave John Ross 5 snaps! Disgraceful! And I haven't forgotten about you Mr. Ron Rivera. You continue to feed Jon Stewart touches when he's been an ineffective runner, and then you have the audacity to motion him outside??? Blasphemy! Let McCaffrey run wild on them, brother! The guy's already your best receiver and the only guy who can score from the red zone! You spent a 1st round pick on him for a reason! Where's the Riverboat Ron we all came to love? Let 'em live! And lastly, Mr. John Harbaugh. Screw you. Alex Collins? Buck Allen? And soon, Danny Woodhead? What a massive headache that backfield is every single damn week! Will you just be honest with us for once? Just say one of the stinks or you're in love with the other RB's wife or something. Anything! Maybe not that last part, but it's always a good start. Yes, I'm aware all of you may not call the offensive plays, but this is a one man angry mob! I don't listen to reason! GET OFF MY LAWN!
Top Play – Fine. I'll hedge my Watson bets and place Deandre Hopkins here. Hopkins gets to face the PFF's 2nd worst graded pass defense and 3rd worst DVOA. The Colts give up the 6th most points to opposing WRs, give up the 13th most offensive plays, and the most points on average per snap. And the sky is blue. The grass is green. In other words, Hopkins in a good match-up generally means good things. And good things are good. He rates as the best WR play on the slate according to the all-knowing projections, which is good enough for me. I guess I could mention that Hopkins has now scored in 4 straight games, garnering 39 targets for a 24/402/6 stat-line. Hopkins also leads his team in RZ targets, has the 3rd most targets among all WRs, and owns a 35% market share of the team's targets. What more do you want? I need a drink.
Value Play – I'm going to pick Robert Woods to complete the value pick stack. He's now seen 22 targets over his last 3 games for a respectable 15/195/0 stat-line. Sure, he's not much of a scoring machine, but he is pretty consistent and should hit value at his low price on all sites. As mentioned before, Woods won't have to contend against the Giants' best cornerback, giving him some opportunities against their weakest CB in Eli Apple. That could prove fruitful for both Goff/Woods, as Apple has been one of the most picked on CBs in the NFL, giving up near the most receptions in his coverage. I may be wrong on this but I think Apple still has given up the most touchdown catches thus far among all eligible cornerbacks. Woods currently runs 59% of his routes on Apple's side, giving him plenty of chances to add on to that TD total. The Giants defense has surprisingly been giving up the 2nd most offensive plays per game, The Rams have been ramping up their tempo to start the games (2nd fastest in 1st half), then closes out the game with Gurley-Man as they protect their leads (30th slowest in 2nd half). I expect that trend to continue, relying on Gurley and Woods to move the ball early with maybe Woods' first touchdown of the year. Team No TD!
HOT TAEK – Guys, T.Y. Hilton is now under 5k on DraftKings. Please be aware. He is involved in a game that may turn into a blowout quickly, creating a very high pass-script for Hilton. Yeah, he's been really awful in the past 3 weeks, turning 17 targets into a hideous stat-line of 5/61/0. I mean, I'm no rocket scientist or anything but that seems kind of bad. Hilton versus the Texans though? That's his bread and butter, his biscuits and gravy, the Hall to his Oates. No, I don't really know about that terrible band. Hilton is only 3 weeks removed from the 177 receiving yards stud game against the 49ers, who continue to be one of the worst pass defenses in the league. The Texans defense used to be good before the injury bug decided to infect them with the Dead virus, decimating their pass rush which has had an adverse effect on the secondary. That has resulted in giving up the 9th most fantasy points to opposing WRs. Hilton's history against the Texans has been up and down, but the ups have been monstrous (3 TD game, a 200-yard smashfest, and a 115-yard day in the last Texans game). Again, Hilton is now under 5k on DraftKings. Please take appropriate measures and make sure you are protecting yourself from a 5 TD Hilton game. This is your first and only warning.
Top Play – Gotta eat the chalk here. Zach Ertz likely won't match fellow TE Travis Kelce's game against the Broncos, but the whole “Broncos are trash against TEs” seems to be holding up thus far. Ertz has been one of the very best TEs all year long, not only increasing his catch and yardage production but actually scoring touchdowns at a high rate that many had envisioned when Ertz entered the league. Ertz has been Wentz's favorite target all season, feeding him a grand total of 64 targets which puts him as the 12th most targeted player in the NFL. He's also got a whopping 24% MS of the team's targets with the most RZ targets, converting 6 of those into touchdowns. Impressive! The Broncos are now a lowly 27th DVOA in their TE coverage, giving up an absurd 17.2 average fantasy points per game which would be the 3rd most among all teams. Point blank, if you're going to pay up for a TE, then you're either going to pick Kelce or Ertz. I'll be chasing Kelce's performance with Ertz.
Value Play – Ben Watson, I guess? Guy is way too cheap for the potential volume he can get. I mean, the dude even caught a TD pass from Ryan Mallett! Of course, if Joe Flacco can't go (all signs point to a start), then Watson probably shouldn't be considered. Still, it's hard to pass up Watson at that price even if Mallett does end up playing. The Titans are 23rd DVOA in TE coverage despite having a stud safety in Kevin Byard as their primary man against tight ends. Watson has received 17 targets over his last 3 games, albeit some of them were in utter garbage time. Here's the thing though – when you're punting at TE, you don't care about the intrinsic details of the stat-line said puntee gets. All you want is points! And points Watson shall get if he gets ELITE Flacco at the helm. Even a 2/20 game wouldn't be horrible at his price point. I mean, it's bad but not bad bad. Just pick O.J. Howard if you don't believe me! Sheesh.
HOT TAEK – What a let-down Ed Dickson has been since his 175-yard explosion against the Lions. He's barely been a middling TE value during the past few weeks, but now his price has lowered enough to where I'm willing to give him another shot. Dickson got a target boost with the Kelvin Benjamin trade, as Kelvin saw 19% of the team's targets. That's a big number that surely will spread among all of Carolina's options, but my guy says Dickson will get at least half of that tasty morsel. He'll get a 24th ranked ATL TE coverage that hasn't given up as much fantasy points as that ranking would indicate. That's mostly due to limiting TDs to tight ends, as they simply just let running backs score on them instead. That could mean a very low ownership on Dickson as others pass him up for players with better TD equity. Dickson has still seen 18 targets across the last 3 games despite basically doing nothing in those said games. The volume and match-up is there for a punt, and the Kelvin trade should be a positive one for Ol' Dicky. Score one for the Gipper!
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