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The downside of watching Panthers and Bears on Thursday Night Football is having to watch the Panthers and Bears on Thursday Night Football. The upside is not having another sub-40 total on this week’s main Sunday slate. This week, the island games eliminate teams like the Panthers, Bears, Patriots, and Jets from the main slate. Totals are still down quite a bit from previous seasons, thanks to scoring being down. We do have a couple of spots that I am excited to attack, though, so let’s get into it!
Week 9 Report Card
H2H ITM%: 66%
H2H ROI: 17.93%
Double Up Cash Line: 123.88
Sometimes, I talk about having a good process but getting a poor result. This week, I believe my cash lineup was not that good, but luckily, it was still profitable. The Rhamondre Stevenson play was one I did not like but was popping in the projections I was using to build. Getting a long touchdown out of a guy who has not scored many of them was running a bit hot. I will take the successful cash lineup this week as it made a break even out of a poor tournament week. My time management skills were poor this past Sunday morning, resulting in me still tinkering with this lineup seconds before lock.
Cash Line: 139.12
Winning Score: 229.90
Finishing 1.02 points from the cash line was a little tilting. I liked the build, but it was probably more contrarian than I needed to be. Six of my spots were under 3.6% owned. I simply stacked the wrong side of this game as well. Coming from the Stroud direction was where you made the big bucks.
Top Lineup Payout: 4x
Cash Line: 137.52
Winning Score: 241.52
I had a C.J. Stroud lineup right below this one that hit much better on stacking that game, as it’s Stroud with Dell and Schultz with a Rachaad White bringback, but it took some snowflakes that prevented it from fully getting there. I played more A.J. Brown than CeeDee Lamb, hurting my ROI this week, but I do not believe my process was poor.
At the beginning of the year, I might have complained about all these low totals, but now I’m just glad there are at least a couple of games that could shoot out. Our two highest totals will be the Lions @ Chargers (48.5) and the Texans @ Cowboys (47). Both have reasonable quarterbacks on both sides of the matchup and solid pass-catching options. The Texans and Cowboys players will likely be slightly more popular as they are less cost-restrictive.
C.J. Stroud (HOU): $6,900 @ Cincinnati
Look how far Stroud has come in just eight weeks of professional football. Have yourself a day, CJ. He absolutely crushed the Week 9 slate. In past years, it was poor EV to play a guy the week after he blows up because he would likely be overplayed the following week, but now the DFS community has almost done an overcorrection in that direction. While he will likely have fewer than 470 yards and five touchdowns, he could still have a solid tournament-winning day at this $6.9K price tag.
Joe Burrow (CIN): $6,800 vs. Houston
On the other side of the same game, we have Joe Burrow. The calf seems fully healed, and the Bengals have been on a tear since then. We have had some value open up at WR for him, with Tee Higgins slated to miss this game (more on that later). Burrow projects better than C.J. Stroud from multiple projection sites despite being a bit cheaper. As I have said before, if you want to play the most popular quarterbacks on the slate, then be prepared to structure your lineup a little differently to avoid being dup’d.
Dak Prescott (DAL): $6,700 vs. New York (N)
This is one that we might have to fear getting out of hand too quickly for Dak to reach his true ceiling. The Giants are a disaster right now, and things are not likely to get better. The hope is that while the Cowboys still have their foot on the gas, Dak cashes in for three or four touchdowns and distributes them to guys like CeeDee Lamb ($8.5K) and Jake Ferguson ($4.6K) like he did last week and we get rich off of it.
Christian McCaffrey (SF): $9,200 @ Jacksonville
I am once again telling you that Christian McCaffrey is really good at football. I know you are stunned. At this price, he has to be the highest-scoring RB by a decent margin to pay off this salary, but that is very much in the range of outcomes. There is enough decent value on this slate that it is as difficult to find some extra salary for CMC. I like the idea of correlating him with either a single Jacksonville pass catcher or even as the bringback to a Trevor Lawrence (6.0K) lineup.
Amon-Ra St. Brown (DET): $8,300 @ Los Angeles (A)
The Lions having so many more games in primetime has given us fewer chances to play ARSB on main slates. The game environment is enticing, too, with the Chargers giving up the sixth most fantasy points to WR. The Chargers could also score some points themselves (though the Lions have a solid defense), forcing the Lions to air the ball out more to keep pace. This could lead to one of those double-digit target games that we have gotten out of St. Brown in the past.
Najee Harris (PIT): $4,900 vs. Green Bay
I did not think I would ever be advising you to put real U.S. American dollars on the line with Najee Harris as one of your running backs. They finally lowered his price enough that I am here telling you I might be playing more Najee this week than I have the rest of the season combined. The matchup is pretty good against a poor run defense, and the Steelers project to be playing ahead. He gets the first crack at the goal line work and has averaged four targets per game in the last three weeks. It will be physically uncomfortable to click Najee Harris into my lineups in a game with a 38.5-point total, but $4.9K is ludicrously cheap for a guy who could touch the ball 20 times in this game, even if it is inefficient.
Tired: Tyler Boyd will step into Tee Higgins’ targets
Wired: NFL coaches prefer to keep players in their current role and elevate someone else to take over the vacated place on the field. Tyler Boyd ($4.6) will get more targets than if Tee Higgins were playing this week, for sure. However, the place on the field and the routes Tee Higgins ran will be taken care of by these two min-priced guys. Irwin had eight catches on ten targets for 60 yards when Tee Higgins missed time previously, and Andrei Iosivas has caught a touchdown on 40% of the targets of his career (4 receptions, five targets, two touchdowns). Irwin is likely the higher percentage play, but I want to sprinkle in Iosivas in case the uptick in routes and targets is because they are starting to trust the rookie more.
Cash Game Core
Ja’Marr Chase (CIN): $8,600 vs. Houston
If Chase is inactive, obviously, don’t play him. There are plenty of value RBs and ways to save a bunch of salary that Chase feels easy to fit into a lineup. We may be jamming CMC if Chase cannot go because we have nothing better to do with our salary. He projects well even at the reasonably high price tag, and the game environment could be exciting. The matchup is tough on paper, with the Texans giving up the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs, but Ja’Marr Chase isn’t most WRs.
T.J. Hockenson (MIN): $5,000 vs. New Orleans
Hockenson’s price dropped from the $6K price range due to concerns about his quarterback play since the Cousins injury. Well, he now has a professional NFL quarterback who made Zach Ertz a reliable cash-game tight end for us earlier in the season. In last week’s game, Josh Dobbs ($5.5K) took over for an injured Jaren Hall, and Hockenson managed to take in seven targets on 12 targets for 69 yards. That is a fantastic value for $5K, especially at tight end on a slate with no Travis Kelce.
Trey McBride (ARI): $3,500 vs. Atlanta
It is double tight end week, y’all. Simply put, Hockenson and McBride project as better FPTS/$ plays than any running back or wide receiver on the slate. This sometimes happens in cash games when some tight ends are slightly underpriced for the volume. I will usually avoid this strategy in tournaments since WRs and RBs have much higher ceilings. We are interested in median projections for cash games, though, so at this point, I expect to be running the double tight-end cash lineup unless some other value opens up.
Kyler Murray (ARI): $5,900 vs. Atlanta
If you are too risk-averse to stomach playing Kyler Murray the week after Call of Duty’s newest release comes out, I understand. Sam Howell ($5.9) and Brock Purdy ($5.7) are also perfectly viable cheap stacks. I do not think those guys have the same ceiling that Kyler Murray could have. I know it has been a while, but with his extended time practicing, I expect him to be without any limitations. This hypothesis could be wrong, but if it’s right, we could be getting a huge price and ownership discount on a guy who will eventually be over $7K on every slate and much heavier owned. If he goes off this week, then there is a huge edge to getting there early. You cannot be afraid of getting last in GPPs; the payout near the top is so sharp that you have to be willing to take some risks.
Low Owned Plays
Keenan Allen (LAC): $8,800 vs. Detroit
Allen is having his ownership held down quite a bit by being a slate with Ja’Marr Chase ($8.6K), CeeDee Lamb ($8.5K), and Amon-Ra St. Brown ($8.3K), with Allen being the most expensive one. This season, we have seen a massive ceiling on Keenan Allen since Kellen Moore became the offensive coordinator. The 30.2% target share in the Chargers’ high-volume passing offense also gives Allen a great floor as well. The other Wide Receivers in this range may outscore him but won’t differentiate your lineups if they do. If Allen crushes the slate like he did in Weeks 2 and 3, he will give you massive leverage on all the people playing the other pass catchers in this tier.
Jahmyr Gibbs (DET): $7,000 @ Los Angeles (A)
We are receiving no discount on Gibbs to account for the return of David Montgomery ($6.9K). The good news is that everyone will fade the backfield entirely because they are both priced up, and people are unsure about the workload split after Gibbs tore it up on Monday Night Football against the Raiders. There is some risk involved, to be sure, but low-owned guys always carry some risk, or they wouldn’t be low-owned. The theory is that Dan Campbell was watching the same game we were and cannot possibly put the genie back in the bottle.
Gut Play of the Week
Jaxon Smith Njigba (SEA): $4,100 vs. Washington
The rise is slowly happening. Even in a game featuring both D.K. Metcalf ($6.8K) and Tyler Lockett ($6.1K), JSN was able to log an 82% snap share, the highest of his young career. This resulted in only seven targets for only 63 yards. The Ravens’ defense is much tougher than the Commanders he draws this week. I know I have pushed to play him a lot all season, but it’s because, at some point, he will win us a boatload of cash so that our hearts and our DraftKings account can be full.
In past years, this might not have been the most exciting slate, but after last week, it’s a breath of fresh air. It is nice to have a slate with mostly professional NFL quarterbacks playing. There have been games the past few weeks that were almost untouchable from a DFS perspective due to a lack of competent quarterback play. This is shocking since we are missing many tier-one quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, and Josh Allen. What we do have is real NFL quarterbacks on every team, and while we may not want to play those guys, at least we know all of our pass catchers are viable this week. Good luck, and make some money this week!
Thanks so much for reading. If you want to discuss more, you can reach me on Twitter. You can find me @DougHarrelson on there. Also, don’t forget to sign up for our Dynasty Football Factory Membership to get all things Dynasty, DFS, Sports Betting, Devy, and IDP. Annual Subscribers also get access to our discord server, where you can get access to our entire staff!