With Deshaun Watson’s season-ending injury, my advice for DFS and weekly games is to avoid anyone from Houston this week. Between the World Series hangover and now this depressing news, even the runners might be a little shell-shocked in Week 9.
Here are other DFS considerations for you.
QB: Jared Goff, Marcus Mariota and… Cutler?
If you want to pay full price, you can go into action with Dak Prescott and Alex Smith, primed to battle against each other in what should be a fruitful matchup for fantasy football players. For better bargains, consider Jared Goff, Marcus Mariota, and Jay Cutler.
Goff travels cross-country for an early game, but he has traveled well so far in his young career. There are also mixed reports about the mental state of the Giants locker room after starting cornerback Janoris Jenkins became the second defender suspended by coach Ben McAdoo this month.
Marcus Mariota faces a tough defense in the Baltimore Ravens, but he also gets wide receiver Corey Davis back in the lineup. It wasn’t a spectacular game, but Mariota’s only top-ten NFL fantasy point total came in Davis’ only appearance this season. Mariota is mobile and allegedly back to 100% healthy after his hamstring injury.
Jay Cutler is as big a coin flip as any week. I am betting the Dolphins put a positive spin on Jay Ajayi’s departure as a team and Jay Cutler’s ego is soothed as the Dolphin fans now know they are actually not better off with Matt Moore at quarterback. The return of DeVante Parker helps Cutler have a big day in Florida.
RB: Adrian Peterson, Orleans Darkwa & Joe Mixon
The San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams give up the most points per game to running backs in the league. The Rams have the added burden of crossing the country for an early game this week. That puts the Giants running game in play. Orleans Darkwa is the starting running back and is priced well if he produces as one. The only question in New York is how many snaps will Wayne Gallman and Shane Vereen take from the starter? And what happens if the Giants fall behind and pass?
The safer option then is Adrian Peterson. Against the 49ers on a week’s rest, Peterson should be closer to his breakout premier performance than his snoozer in London. Priced at a second tier, he could wind up the bargain of the week.
Another low-priced option is Joe Mixon going against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags rack up fantasy points by wrapping up quarterbacks and stepping in front of receivers. They haven’t yet mastered defending the run. In fact, they own the worst DVOA in football. Mixon is risky since we never know how the Bengals will use him, but he’s the best bet of the Cincinnati runners to take advantage of the Jaguars’ deficiencies against the run.
WR: Dez, Devin, and DeVante all lit up
Dez Bryant is priced below most premier wide receivers. If you can afford to stack him with Dak Prescott this week against the generous pass defense of the Kansas City Chiefs, you might not need any other players. Bryant leads the team in red zone targets and there should be plenty in that game.
Devin Funchess is still priced like a WR-2, and not a very good one at that. He is a lock to see double-digit targets this week. His floor is high and his ceiling soars with every percentage point he improves his catching average by.
DeVante Parker and Jay Cutler are on the field together for the first time in a few weeks. Cutler is feeling pretty good and will waste little time throwing downfield to his favorite deep target. That could be an inexpensive stack.
At similar prices, Mohamed Sanu and Paul Richardson offer tremendous upside. For even less, TJ Jones and Cooper Kupp could be bargains this week.
TE: Tyler Higbee gets a freebie, Ed Dickson could return
The Rams play the Giants this week, which assures us that a Los Angeles tight end will catch a touchdown. Tyler Higbee gets the most targets. If Gerald Everett steals it, sorry.
Cam Newton will deal with a great big hole in his receiving corps this week without Kelvin Benjamin. The coaches would love to see him hurl passes deep to Curtis Samuel or Russell Shepard, but my guess is that big Ed Dickson looks too inviting to pass up this week.
Jack Doyle and Evan Engram are a little cheaper than Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce but have positive matchups this week.
D/ST: Birds soar
The Eagles are the most powerful play this week as I expect them to eat Brock Osweiler for lunch. The Broncos, however, will be on the field too long to play to their usual standard. Don’t spend on them this week.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals will face the 49ers’ poor offense and are the bargain of the week. But I am also intrigued by the noise from San Francisco. They really feel this is a winnable game. Their defense could put up quite a fight.
If you are into head games, the Atlanta Falcons could be a sleeper against the Panthers. The shock in the locker room was palpable after the Benjamin trade. I am not sure if Cam Newton is mentally ready to go at it yet.
So, there you have it. Week 9 offers lots of tricky factors between trades, suspensions, and injuries. If decisions come down to a coin flip, your best bets are usually the most stable players on the most stable teams. So spend wisely and win big.
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