FanDuel Picks: Week 9 Edition
Welcome to the weekly “one stop shop” for all things DFS. I tout my favorite plays of the week after breaking down all of the games, looking at matchups, and considering all relevant weekly and season-long injuries/suspensions. As a guide, you can think of the “Top Plays” sections as cash game recommendations and the “Under The Radar” sections as GPP tournament recommendations. Confused on the difference? Check out a recent DFS Strategy article I wrote. However, I refuse to specifically title the sections in that way because I believe it boxes in the picks. Many players can and do fall under both categories in any given week. I delve more into that in the article linked above as well. When reading, keep that in mind. Now let’s get to it, starting with my top Bonanza candidates.
Domination Bonanza Candidate: For the second straight week, I don’t believe there is one.
Back and Forth Bonanza Candidates: Tennessee Titans at San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts at Green Bay Packers
Top QB Plays Of The Week
Aaron Rodgers vs IND, $9,100
Aaron Rodgers is absolutely worth paying up for this week. Without the Packers having any RBs they can rely on right now, Rodgers fantasy ceiling has been unlocked. He has thrown 7 TD passes in his last two games and now gets to play at home against a Colts defense giving up the 2nd most passing yards per game and that is tied for the 10th most pass TDs (14) given up. Even better, Colts top CB Vontae Davis is still in the concussion protocol and might not play.
Philip Rivers vs TEN, $8,300
Philip Rivers hasn’t played a home game against a defense other than the Broncos since October 2nd. That will change on Sunday as this week he gets to play at home against a Titans defense giving up the 13th most passing yards per game and the 14th most pass TDs (12). Tennessee at San Diego is my favorite Back and Forth Bonanza candidate of the week and I expect Rivers to take full advantage.
Marcus Mariota vs SD, $7,600
I really like this Tennessee at San Diego game for fantasy purposes and expect there to be a lot of points scored. Philip Rivers is going to do his thing which in turn could unlock Marcus Mariota’s fantasy ceiling as well. Mariota ranks 10th in TD passes and has thrown at least two in his past four games. Plus, we know he possesses extreme rushing upside as well. A Back and Forth Bonanza is all that is needed for everything to come together for Mariota and think this is the week.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar QB Plays
Ryan Tannehill vs NYJ, $7,300
We know what Ryan Tannehill is at this point. For fantasy purposes, he’s a guy we don’t want to rely on consistently. However, he is streamable in the right matchup and that’s exactly what we have this week. Tannehill gets to play at home against a Jets defense giving up the most passing yards per game and that is tied for the 7th most pass TDs (15) given up. The Jets secondary has been absolutely atrocious this season and even Tannehill should be able to take advantage this week.
Colin Kaepernick vs NO, $7,200
We know that Colin Kaepernick is not a very good QB. However, that doesn’t necessarily matter for fantasy purposes. Rushing production from the QB position is gold in fantasy football and that’s exactly what Kaepernick provides. He has already ran for 150 yards in his first two starts this season. If he is able to score his first rushing TD of the year on Sunday, then we would really be onto something. Plus, he also thrown a TD in both starts this year and gets to play at home against a Saints defense giving up the 4th most passing yards per game.
Top RB Plays Of The Week
Ezekiel Elliott vs CLE, $9,200
Ezekiel Elliott is a phenomenal talent running behind an amazing offensive line in Dallas. He’s been a beast all year and he currently leads the NFL in rushing yards. His matchup couldn’t be much better this week as he gets a Browns defense giving up the 2nd most rushing yards per game and that is tied for the 4th most rush TDs (10) given up.
Melvin Gordon vs TEN, $7,800
Melvin Gordon’s matchup doesn’t look to be all that favorable on paper. The Titans are allowing the 5th least amount of rushing yards per game and have only given up 3 rush TDs on the year. However, a quick look at their schedule shows they’ve faced some questionable rushing offenses this season such as Detroit, Oakland, Miami (Before Ajayi blew up), Indianapolis, and Jacksonville. Gordon is a different monster and I expect him to prove it on Sunday. He rules the Chargers backfield as evidenced by his tie for the league lead in rush attempts. Gordon has turned that high volume into plenty of fantasy points as he leads the league in TDs with 10. A high volume dual-threat RB getting it done on the ground and in the passing game, Gordon plays at home in my favorite Back and Forth Bonanza candidate of the week. Despite the matchup, the evidence still strongly points to Gordon having a very good week.
Le’Veon Bell vs BAL, $8,700
Le’Veon Bell’s matchup doesn’t look very favorable on paper either. The Ravens are allowing the 4th least amount of rushing yards per game and have only given up 3 rush TDs on the year. However, you don’t need me to tell you how good Bell is at football. Plus, it looks like Ben Roethlisberger is going to play who is just two weeks removed from meniscus surgery. Bell touched the ball 31 times (21 carries and 10 catches) against the Patriots two weeks ago before the Steelers bye week. With there being no chance Roethlisberger is 100% healthy on Sunday, I see Bell giving those 31 touches a run for their money. Plus, Bell has yet to score a TD this season and there’s no way that trend continues much longer.
Charcandrick West vs JAC, $5,600
Spencer Ware has been ruled out this week due to a concussion. Fire up Charcandrick West. West should handle close to all of the RB touches for the Chiefs this week. Remember, Jamaal Charles has already been put on IR and Knile Davis is no longer on the team. Before Ware became a thing last season, West proved he was a capable dual-threat back in both the rushing and passing games. The Chiefs offense runs through the RB position and West gets to play at home this week against a Jaguars defense giving up the 6th most rushing yards per game and that is tied for the 7th most rush TDs (9) given up.
Ty Montgomery vs IND, $6,500
Many might be off Ty Montgomery after he missed last week due to complications with the sickle cell trait. Not me. If Montgomery plays and reports sound favorable over the weekend, there’s a very good chance I’ll be firing him up this week in DFS. In Montgomery’s last two games, he has seen 25 targets and caught 20 passes. He also started contributing in the run game as well rushing 9 times for 60 yards in his last game. The matchup is very favorable as Montgomery gets to play at home in a potential Back and Forth Bonanza against a Colts defense giving up the 12th most rushing yards per game and the 2nd most passing yards per game. Montgomery has yet to find the end zone this season and if he plays this week, that ends on Sunday.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar RB Play
Darren Sproles vs NYG, $4,800
Darren Sproles played on a season high 81.6% of the snaps last week. He saw 22 touches which was a season high as well. Listening to Doug Pederson, it sounds like there may have been a changing of the guard at RB for the Eagles. If Sproles does see 20+ touches again, he could be a guy that wins people thousands of dollars in DFS on Sunday. He’s always been a very talented back capable of producing but he’s very rarely been given enough opportunities to do so consistently. For just one week, he could do just that against a Giants LB corps the scares absolutely no one.
Top WR Plays Of The Week
Odell Beckham vs PHI, $8,900
Odell Beckham hasn’t seen fewer than 8 targets in any game this season. He’s continuously been the Giants #1 option in the offense all year and we know he possesses game breaking speed and quickness on every single play. Dez Bryant just dropped 113 yards and a TD on the Eagles last week and now it’s Beckham’s turn.
Donte Moncrief vs GB, $6,100
Donte Moncrief was not eased back in last week at all after missing significant time due to injury. In fact, he led the Colts in targets with 9. This really isn’t that surprising when you consider Moncrief is an extremely important piece of the Colts offense and a very talented WR. While teammate T.Y. Hilton is an absolute stud in his own right, Hilton is also a smaller WR that struggles to convert in the red zone. Moncrief is actually the main red zone target on this team evidenced by his 7 TD passes in his last 10 games played with Andrew Luck. This Colts at Packers game has the potential to turn into a Back and Forth Bonanza and I expect Moncrief to have a solid performance against a Packers secondary that is missing multiple starters due to injury.
Jarvis Landry vs NYJ, $7,600
Jarvis Landry has only seen fewer than 8 targets in a game once this season and remains Ryan Tannehill’s #1 option in the passing game. Many times, Landry’s catches act as an extension of the running game and that strategy will come in very handy this week. The Jets defense is giving up the fewest rushing yards per game but the most passing yards per game. This looks to be a contest where Landry is funneled with targets evidenced by the 28 total targets he saw against the Jets in two games last season. Look for Landry to take advantage of his opportunities in this one as he already is tied for 6th in the league in catches this season. He’s had one 2 TD game in each of his first two seasons. This could be that game in 2016.
Davante Adams vs IND, $7,100
Davante Adams has seen 30 targets and caught 25 passes over his past two games. Those are insane numbers that correlate with the Packers loss of a running game due to injuries in their backfield. Aaron Rodgers is my favorite QB play of the week and I expect Adams to have another solid performance against a Colts defense giving up the 2nd most passing yards per game and that is tied for the 10th most pass TDs (14) given up. Colts top CB Vontae Davis is still in the concussion protocol but if he plays, he likely matches up with Jordy Nelson a lot in this game. WR2s have consistently showed out against this Colts secondary and Adams gets to take his turn on Sunday.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar WR Play
Tyrell Williams vs TEN, $5,600
Tyrell Williams falls under this category because of his 1 catch for 4 yard outing last week. As we all know, fantasy football and especially DFS is a weekly game so wash that memory out of your head. Williams was playing in Denver last week. Now, he gets to play at home against a Titans defense giving up the 13th most passing yards per game and the 14th most pass TDs (12). Plus, Tennessee at San Diego is my favorite Back and Forth Bonanza candidate of the week.
Michael Thomas vs SF, $5,800
At this point, Michael Thomas really should not be a name listed in an under the radar section. However, I’m going to put him here for at least one more week as I feel like there are many still failing to realize how important he is to the Saints offense. Thomas leads all Saints pass catchers with 42 catches on the season. In fact, that number has him tied for 11th in catches in the entire league with Jordan Reed and Demaryius Thomas. At this point, the $1,800 difference in price between Brandin Cooks and Michael Thomas really makes no sense at all. Thomas gets a 49ers defense this week that is tied for the 7th most pass TDs (15) given up.
Top TE Plays Of The Week
Dennis Pitta vs PIT, $5,200
Dennis Pitta currently ranks 3rd in TE targets on the season and he’s already had his bye week. His heavy usage didn’t appear to be affected by the Ravens change at offensive coordinator either as Pitta saw 10 targets in week 7 after Marc Trestman had already been relieved of his duties. Pitta is in a good spot at home this week against a Steelers defense giving up 7th most passing yards per game. He’s another guy that has yet to score a TD this season. Don’t be surprised if it happens this week.
Travis Kelce vs JAC, $6,600
Alex Smith has been holding down Travis Kelce’s fantasy potential for far too long. Kelce has an extremely high ceiling and we saw it last week when he grabbed 7 passes for 101 yards and a TD. I don’t think it was a coincidence that Kelce recorded his first 100 yard game of the season after Alex Smith got injured. Nick Foles will start this week and I believe there is a good chance that will continue to be a positive for Kelce.
Kyle Rudolph vs DET, $5,000
Detroit has absolutely no idea how to cover the TE position. C.J. Fiedorowicz became just the latest TE to score a TD on them last week. Now it’s Kyle Rudolph’s turn. Rudolph has been one of the best fantasy TEs this season as he’s tied for the 4th most targets and 7th most catches at the position this season.
Top Kicker Plays Of The Week
Josh Lambo vs TEN, $4,600
I expect the Chargers to score plenty of points at home against the Titans this week. Josh Lambo is currently tied for 6th in field goals made this season.
Dan Bailey vs CLE, $4,800
Dan Bailey is tied for 9th in field goals made this season and has made both of his attempts from 50+ yards. On the road in Cleveland, I see Dallas moving the ball. However, drives could stall a bit more than usual and Bailey could see multiple field goal opportunities in this one.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar Kicker Play
Will Lutz vs SF, $4,500
The Saints are going to score plenty of points on the 49ers in this one and Lutz has made three 50+ yard kicks so far this season.
Top Defense Plays Of The Week
Kansas City Chiefs vs JAC, $5,100
The Chiefs lead the league in interceptions with 11. Blake Bortles is tied for the 3rd most interceptions with 9. This game is in Kansas City. You do the math.
Carolina Panthers vs LA, $5,200
The Panthers get to face Case Keenum this week who threw 4 interceptions in his last outing. Plus, despite the Panthers struggles on defense this season, they still rank tied for 7th in interceptions and tied for 9th in sacks.
Shattering The MainSTREAM: Under The Radar Defense Play
Miami Dolphins vs NYJ, $4,700
The Dolphins get to face Ryan Fitzpatrick at home this week. Fitzpatrick leads the league in interceptions and has not played very good football this year. Turnovers could be coming.