Between the Bankroll and Me: Fanduel Week Nine

Drew Brees

What a wet and wild week eight! You likely needed a piece or two of the Houston/Seattle game to win big money (a game I did not see playing out like that), but thankfully several of my plays hit. McCoy, Gordon, Blount, Dalton, and, of course, the great JuJu all paid off. Hopefully you had a few of those studs in your lineups. Let’s keep the good times rolling for Fanduel week nine.

 

Quarterback

Russell Wilson ($8,500) vs. Washington

I originally led off this weeks column with, of course, Deshaun Watson, but alas, we’ve lost yet another star to injury. So, instead I’ll lead off with the quarterback on the other side of that thriller last week. Wilson has been up to his usual star slow-but-get-hot tricks (although he seems to be heating up earlier than usual), and has scored 26-plus fantasy points in four out of his last five. Washington is actually kind of middle of the road against the pass, but then again Houston was much higher ranked and look at what RW3 did to them. Vegas has Seattle as an early seven point favorite with an implied total of 26.

Dak Prescott ($8,200) vs. Kansas City

Full disclosure, while not ignoring him, I originally didn’t include Dak because, well, I can’t write up everyone. However, while the matchup was excellent anyway, with the news coming down that Ezekiel Elliot is, outside of a legal miracle, finally headed towards his suspension, Dak becomes my favorite play on the slate. He will be relied on much more now, and Vegas has this game pegged as the highest projected scoring game on the slate with a 51 over/under.

Drew Brees ($8,300) vs. Tampa Bay

As much as it pains me to say, it’s looking like a week where we definitely want to pay up for quarterback; there just isn’t a lot to love once you drop past the top tier. Brees is a great play this week, and actually makes for an elite tournament pivot, as recency bias will be strong causing many to go up to Wilson or Watson. Brees, surprisingly, hasn’t been his usual self at home this year, which should drive his ownership down even more. Yes, the Saints seem to have found a new, more balanced way to win with Ingram and Kamara, but rostering Brees at home is never a bad idea.

*Note* Alex Smith ($7,900) @ Dallas is probably as low as I’m willing to go this week. He gets what will likely be an uptempo game on the road against Dallas. 

 

Running Back

Todd Gurley ($9,100) @ New York Giants

With Le’Veon Bell on bye, the Gurley man becomes our highest priced running back. Although I don’t love the matchup on the road against what is usually a tough Giants defense (although they currently rank 24th against the run), he’s just seeing too much volume to dismiss him -against anyone. And, as we all know, volume is king. Gurley is averaging over 24 touches per game, and is a major contributor in both the run and the pass game.

Kareem Hunt ($9,000) @ Dallas

Hunt, unsurprisingly, had his first slow game of the season against Denver last Monday night, failing to reach double digit fantasy points for the first time. However, he still received 25 touches, which demonstrates that Andy Reid is still firmly committed to him. I expect things to turn around for him this week against Dallas, in what Vegas is predicting to be a shootout (51 over/under).

Mark Ingram ($7,900)/Alvin Kamara ($6,600) vs. Tampa Bay

I list both Saints backs here because, first of all, both are firmly in play against the Bucs this week. But, after Ingram’s two late fumbles against Chicago last week, Kamara was the one closing out the game. If we get any sort of news before the game that Ingram might be in Sean Payton’s “dog house” and that Kamara will be in line for a larger workload, then he becomes a near must-play at his price tag. We may not get such news, but it is a situation to monitor.

Chris Thompson ($6,700) @ Seattle

Yes, this is a tough matchup; Seattle ranks first in DVOA for pass defense against running backs. But hear me out. Seattle is going to lock down the outside receivers (not like Washington is using them much anyway), thus likely forcing Cousins to hone in on his true number one receiver – Thompson. He’s probably a better tournament play, but due to his receiving prowess he has shown a fairly nice floor for cash games so far, scoring double digit fantasy points in all but one game.

*Note* While I will likely be fading the Dallas running game entirely, they do deserve mentioning. Both Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden are priced at $5,600, which is lovely, but this situation reeks of a timeshare/hot hand situation that we likely won’t get enough clarity on before game time. 

 

Wide Receiver

Deandre Hopkins ($9,100) vs. Indianapolis/Will Fuller ($7,600)

I’m having to scrap everything I originally wrote about these two due to the Watson injury. Originally, I had Hopkins as a cash game play and Fuller a tournament option (due to the huge price hike), and now, with Tom Savage under center, both become strictly tournament options for me. Hopkins should still see a good amount of targets, but now we have to question the quality of those targets.

Mike Evans ($8,500) @ New Orleans

Although he has four touchdowns, Evans is having a relatively quiet season. However, with 68 targets (6th in the league) he’s still being targeted like a number one wideout, and one we can go back to the well on in DFS. The Saints defense has quietly been much better than most people realize, but if Tampa has any chance of staying with Brees and Co at home, they must lean on their best player. I love Evans in this spot, and he makes for an excellent tournament pivot off of Hopkins.

Michael Thomas ($7,600) vs. Tampa Bay

Thomas, like Evans, has been quiet so far this year. He hasn’t scored since week four, has yet to top 100 receiving yards in a game and only has two scores to his credit. However, he too, like Evans, is still seeing an excellent amount of targets with 62 total, good for almost nine per game. He’s in an excellent bounce back spot, and, you guessed it, is also a great tournament target as most will be off him due to his slow start.

Jarvis Landry ($7,000) vs. Oakland

This is the week of the “bounce back”. Landry, unsurprisingly, struggled against Baltimore’s stout secondary last week, but lands a soft one this week with Oakland and their wet paper bag pass defense coming to town. Landry has seen only one game this year where he didn’t get double digit targets.

Devin Funchess ($6,100) vs. Atlanta

With the departure of Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo, a large market share has opened up in Carolina. While Christian McCaffey is sure to see a boost (as he’s already the team’s leading receiver), Funchess should see an uptick as well. Atlanta currently has the 25th ranked pass defense. I’m not sure I trust him (and by proxy Cam Newton) for cash games, but the price is cash game-worthy.

 

Tight End

Zach Ertz ($7,600) vs. Denver

Against what was the number one ranked tight end defense in San Francisco, Ertz proved he’s basically matchup proof when he found the end zone for the fourth game in a row. On paper this appears to be a tough matchup, and yes, generally we want to fade players going up against Denver. But if there’s one area where Denver has shown a weakness, it’s over the middle of the field with their linebackers and safeties. They actually rank 27th against tight ends. I thought last week was a week we could fade him, and he proved me wrong. Not going to let it happen again.

*Note* For $600 cheaper, Travis Kelce is also in a prime spot against Dallas in what should be a shootout.

Jimmy Graham ($6,200) vs. Washington

With the exception of Ertz, over the past three games there may not be a better tight end than Graham. He has scored in three straight, hasn’t seen less than five targets and has scored 12 or more fantasy points in all three, too. This week he gets Washington and their 28th ranked tight end defense, lining him up to keep his hot streak going. Due to the price, Graham is probably a better cash game play than Ertz, but you can’t go wrong with either.

Ed Dickson ($4,700) vs. Atlanta

Dickson is my punt play at tight end this week. He’s not exciting, but with Benjamin out of the picture we can likely pencil in a few more looks for him going forward. Since week five he has seen five or more targets in each game, and this week he sees the Falcons and their 24th ranked defense.

 

Defense

Jacksonville ($5,300) vs Cincinnati/Philadelphia ($5,200) vs. Denver

You could go either way here. We all know about the Jags’ ability to completely erase opposing passing attacks, thus taking out the Bengals main source of offense. And Philly now gets to be facing Brock Osweilier (although it still would’ve been a nice matchup against Semein). If you’re in the mood to spend up at defense, fire up either one of these. Both are big home favorites in games with lower projected totals.

LA Rams ($4,800) @ New York Giants

The Rams are my sneaky tournament play this week. They are a west coast team traveling back east for an early game, which, in the past hasn’t been an ideal spot, but they are actually 3.5-point favorites in this one. They’ve been really good against the pass this year, which should play right into their hands as the Giants can’t run the ball anyway. On the season they are 7th in sacks (23), 5th in interceptions (9) and have four defensive touchdowns.

 

Kicker

Mike Nugent ($4,600)

With Dan Bailey still on the shelf, we can fire up Nugent at a great discount on a Dallas team that is projected to score the second most points on the slate. In his first game with the team last week, he hit four of five tries for 16 fantasy points. Sign me up.

 

 

 

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