DraftKings NFL: Week 9 Tournament Guide

DraftKings NFL: Week 9 Tournament Guide

This article is part of our DraftKings NFL series.

A few things stand out for Sunday's 11-game slate. First, no game has a total higher than 50. There are a lack of appealing stacking options as a result. Second, after being spoiled for options at running back in recent weeks, there isn't much that jumps out this time around. That could lead to condensed rostership for the few top options and popularity spread around the rest. The Bills, Cowboys and Chiefs are in good spots, but their opponents lack for viable run back options. Stacking only one side of those games is my preferred option. As things stand, the expected "chalk" doesn't seem as safe as it has been in weeks past making this a great week to look for leverage with less popular players. The chalky options are rarely that much better, and the leverage afforded by fading them is the No. 1 factor when it comes to winning large-field tournaments. To summarize, don't put cash lineups in GPPs. Good luck on Sunday!

Note: All prices listed come from DraftKings, but most of the logic can be applied to other sites across the DFS industry. Discussion is limited to players from the "main slate" of games kicking off at 1 p.m., 4:05 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. EST on Sunday. The strategy below is meant for large-field tournaments, where payouts typically are limited to ~20 percent of lineups, with the vast majority concentrated at the very top.

The Games

Over/UnderRoad Team

Road Implied 

Total

Home Team

Home Implied 

Total

42Atlanta Falcons18New Orleans Saints24
46,5Las Vegas Raiders24.75New York Giants21.75
50Minnesota Vikings22Baltimore Ravens28
46.5Houston Texans20.5Miami Dolphins26
48.5Buffalo Bills31.5Jacksonville Jaguars17
41New England Patriots22.5Carolina Panthers18.5
47Cleveland Browns22.25Cincinnati Bengals24.75
49Denver Broncos19.5Dallas Cowboys29.5
49.5Los Angeles Chargers25.5Philadelphia Eagles24
45.5Arizona Cardinals23.5San Francisco 49ers22
48.5Green Bay Packers20.75Kansas City Chiefs27.75

Point-Per-Dollar Value

These are the players with the best projections relative to their salaries — good plays both for cash games and large-field tournaments. While we don't want our GPP lineups to look like cash-game lineups top to bottom, there's nothing wrong with using a few chalky plays. These players, along with a couple passing-game stacks, tend to form the core that remains fairly consistent throughout my lineups.

Elliott has 20-plus touches in five consecutive weeks. His involvement in the passing-game has also been encouraging as he drawn 15 targets the last two weeks. The Cowboys are double-digit home favorites against the Broncos, so the likely game-script sets up well. The Broncos defense has allowed 100-plus rushing yards if four of the last five games, including 182 against Cleveland's third-string RB two weeks ago. Zeke has upside for 100-plus yards and multiple TDs in this spot.

With the Browns set to waive Odell Beckham, Landry becomes the clear-cut No. 1 option. He's drawn 18 targets in two weeks since returning from injury and should see 10-plus in a competitive matchup against the Bengals. $5,100 is just too cheap for that type of expected usage. You could say something similar about Hunter Renfrow ($4,800), who should benefit from the absence of Henry Ruggs. Both players are good options in cash-games. 

Other Cash-Game Options

QB Lamar Jackson vs. MIN ($7,300)

QB Jalen Hurts vs. LAC ($6,700)

QB Tua Tagovailoa vs. HOU ($5,800)

QB Jordan Love at KC ($4,400)

RB Alvin Kamara vs. ATL ($8,200)

RB Austin Ekeler at PHI ($7,900)

RB Cordarrelle Patterson at NO ($6,300)

RB Josh Jacobs at NYG ($6,200)

RB Devontae Booker vs. LV ($5,900)

RB Myles Gaskin vs. HOU ($5,800)

RB Darrel Williams vs. GB ($5,700)

WR Tyreek Hill vs. GB ($7,900)

WR Keenan Allen at PHI ($6,700)

WR Brandin Cooks at MIA ($6,100)

WR Jaylen Waddle vs. HOU ($5,600)

WR Tee Higgins vs. CLE ($5,300)

WR Kadarius Toney vs. LV ($5,200)

WR Hunter Renfrow at NYG ($4,800)

TE Travis Kelce vs. GB ($7,000)

TE Darren Waller at NYG ($6,200)

TE Dallas Goedert vs. LAC ($4,500)

TE Dan Arnold vs. BUF ($3,400)

TE Albert Okwuegbunam at DAL ($2,600)

D/ST Kansas City Chiefs vs. GB ($2,300)

Passing-Game Stacks

Stacks are the centerpiece of any tournament lineup, seeking to take advantage of positive correlations between players. It rarely makes sense to use a quarterback without one or two of his pass catchers, even if the player in question scores a decent portion of his fantasy points with his legs. Ideally, a stack also includes a pass catcher from the other side of the game, hoping to take advantage of a back-and-forth shootout. (Implied team totals are listed in parentheses.)

Los Angeles Chargers (25.5) at Philadelphia Eagles (24)

Chargers

There aren't many appealing games to stack this week. The Bills, Cowboys and Chiefs are in good spots ,but all three matchups lack options on the other side. The Chargers-Eagles game is expected to be fast paced and it has the second-highest total on the slate. After a promising start to the season, Justin Herbert ($7,000) has struggled in back-to-back games. He faces an Eagles defense that's good on the outside and funnels offenses to the middle of the field. That sets up better for Keenan Allen ($6,700) and Jared Cook ($3,300) than it does for Mike Williams ($7,100). Allen has been Herbert's favorite target in recent weeks. He caught six of  11 targets last week for 77 yards and a TD. Cook is cheap and he averages more than five targets per game this season. He has TDs in two of his last four. Austin Ekeler ($7,900) stands out as one of the top overall options on the slate. He drew 10 targets last week and already has eight TDs in seven games. 

Eagles:

Jalen Hurts ($6,700) is coming off his worst fantasy performance of the season as the Eagles dominated the Lions 44-6 last week. Nevertheless, he's been one of the best quarterbacks in DFS this season as he's already rushed for 432 yards and five TDs through eight games. Competitive matchups seem more favorable for Hurts from a fantasy production standpoint and the Chargers will surely present a stiffer test than the Lions did. DeVonta Smith ($5,200) has been inconsistent, but he's drawn at least nine targets in three of the last five games. Dallas Goedert ($4,500) has had at least 70 receiving yards in both games since the departure of Zach Ertz. He was targeted on seven of Hurts' 14 attempts last week and was on pace for a big game had it not been a blowout. 

  • Favorite Stack: QB Hurts + RB Ekeler + TE Goedert

Minnesota Vikings (22) at Baltimore Ravens (28)

Vikings:

The Vikings-Ravens game has a 50-point total, the highest of the slate. I don't have much interest in Kirk Cousins ($6,200) or Dalvin Cook ($7,700), but Minnesota has three pass-catchers who make for appealing running backs in Ravens stacks. Justin Jefferson ($7,500) will be less popular than the other WRs in his salary range after drawing only four targets in last week's disappointing loss to the Cowboys. He still has one of the higher ceilings at the position and makes for a good leverage option. Adam Thielen ($6,900) has drawn 22 targets the last two weeks and has caught TDs in both games. We've already seen him put up 30-plus fantasy points twice this season. Tyler Conklin ($3,000) stands out among the cheap tight end options. He's drawn at least five targets in four of his last five games and the Ravens have allowed the most fantasy points in the league to TEs. 

Ravens:

Lamar Jackson ($7,300) is one of the top overall options on the slate from a point-per-dollar perspective and has considerable ceiling potential as well. Stacking this game is basically an excuse to roster Jackson. He leads QBs in rushing, averaging 68.6 per game. He's looked much improved as a passer this season too with Baltimore featuring less of the running game than previous seasons. He should probably be priced closer to $8K. Marquise Brown ($6,000) drew 14 targets last time out. He has upside in any matchup as one of the premier deep threats in the league. Mark Andrews ($5,500) has seen at least six targets in five consecutive games and has scored three TDs in his last three. He has as much upside as any TE on the slate. Rashod Bateman ($4,000) is a talented first-round rookie. He's seen six targets in both games since returning from injury and he looks like one of the better cheap options at the position. 

  • Favorite Stack: QB Jackson + WR Brown + TE Conklin

Other Stacks to Consider

QB Josh Allen + WR Stefon Diggs +/- WR Cole Beasley + TE Dan Arnold

QB Dak Prescott + WR Amari Cooper + TE Albert Okwuegbunam

QB Joe Burrow + WR Ja'Marr Chase/WR Tee Higgins + WR Jarvis Landry

QB Tua Tagovailoa + WR DeVante Parker + WR Brandin Cooks

QB Daniel Jones + WR Kadarius Toney + WR Hunter Renfrow/WR Bryan Edwards

High-Priced Heroes

Normally I'd be targeting Alvin Kamara ($8,200) in a great matchup at home against the Falcons, but he has a couple of factors going against him. Taysom Hill is expected to start at QB and he only targeted Kamara 10 times in four games last season. Much of Kamara's appeal comes from his receiving upside. Mark Ingram is also back with the Saints now. He had eight touches last week and Kamara saw less than 70 percent of the snaps as a result. All this has me preferring Ekeler up top at RB. He drew 10 targets last week and has seen at least five in every game this season. He has eight TDs in seven games with his dual-threat ability making him a weapon in every facet. The Chargers matchup against the Eagles should be one of the faster-paced on the slate and has one of the higher totals. 

Hill has drawn at least 12 targets in four of his last five games, including a whopping 18 last week. He has considerable upside seeing that type of usage and we've already seen him put up 40-plus fantasy points twice this season. The Packers are missing top corner Jaire Alexander and also Aaron Rodgers, meaning the Chiefs should have plenty of the ball and there will be no one on the field who can match up with Hill. 

Honorable Mentions: Stefon Diggs, BUF at JAX ($7,700); Ja'Marr Chase, CIN vs. CLE ($7,600)

Fading the Field

Every week we see at least one or two players who are popular without the backing of a top point-per-dollar projection. Recency bias is often to blame, but in some cases it even makes sense to fade a player with a strong projection, particularly when there are good alternatives at the same position and price range.

A big part of what makes Adams so special is his connection with Aaron Rodgers. With Rodgers out, Adams seems overpriced now. Any WR that has Jordan Love for a QB should never be the most expensive at the position. As far as the game goes, I expect the Packers to try to slow it with a heavy dose of the running game, and that doesn't bode well for Adams either. I much prefer the likes of Hill, Diggs and Chase in that range. 

The Smash Spot

Players in favorable positions to significantly outperform their salary.

This is the first time we've seen Cooper priced less than $6K all season. Last week he caught eight of 13 targets for 122 yards and a TD with Cooper Rush at quarterback. Now the Cowboys get Dak Prescott back for a home matchup against the Broncos in which they have 29.5-point implied total. Cooper is too cheap in general but especially in this spot. 

Honorable Mentions: Tee Higgins, CLE at CIN ($5,300); Jaylen Waddle, MIA vs. HOU ($5,600)

The Bargain Bin

QB Tua Tagovailoa vs. HOU ($5,800)

QB Daniel Jones vs. LV ($5,600)

QB Tyrod Taylor at MIA ($5,000)

QB Jordan Love at KC ($4,400)

RB Devontae Booker vs. LV ($5,900)

RB Myles Gaskin vs. HOU ($5,800)

RB Elijah Mitchell vs ARI ($5,800)

RB Darrel Williams vs. GB ($5,700)

RB Zack Moss at JAX ($5,300)

WR Bryan Edwards at NYG ($4,100)

WR Rashod Bateman vs. MIN ($4,000)

WR Mecole Hardman vs. GB ($3,900)

TE Dan Arnold vs. BUF ($3,400)

TE Tyler Conklin at BAL ($3,000)

TE Albert Okwuegbunam at DAL ($2,600)

Injury Situations 

Murray is listed as questionable with an ankle injury and is a game-time decision. If he sits, I'd avoid the Cardinals WRs and would have increased interest in Elijah Mitchell ($5,800).

Hopkins hasn't practiced this week after injuring his hamstring last Thursday against the Packers. If he misses, Christian Kirk ($5,300) and Rondale Moore ($4,200) would be in line for expanded roles with A.J. Green (COVID-19) already ruled out as well. 

Weather Watch 

Nothing to worry about this week. 

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Belongia
Ryan has a background in accounting, finance and poker. He's been playing DFS full-time since 2018. A multiple-time King of the Pitch finalist, Ryan's been ranked inside the Top 5 on the RG Soccer Leaderboard for three years running. Originally from Wisconsin, he moved to London in 2019 for the futbol.
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