Week 9 looks to be the toughest week yet for DraftKings NFL cash games. Let The Fantasy Football Ghost help you navigate this minefield!
At what is, essentially, the half way point in the regular season, we’ve had some excellent success thus far through the first eight weeks of playing DraftKings NFL cash games. Last week wasn’t as great as some of the other weeks though as we limped to a 2.95 times valuation. That said, the players highlighted were all very solid values with none dipping below 2.3 times value, which is one of the more consistent weeks I’ve posted thus far. Also, a lineup that was 2.95 times value should be more than enough to win a large majority of cash games you might find yourself in. Last week was already a bit tough due to the large amount of injuries coupled with a heavier bye week. Week 9 is shaping up to be even more difficult though as six teams are on bye and several high-profile names were traded this week, meaning they will not accumulate points this week on DraftKings. I’m up for the challenge though — follow me, as I navigate us through the most difficult week we’ve faced this season!
As a reminder, I will put forth a few players each week that I think you should work into your cash line ups. Some weeks I might only have a single player at a position, the next week I may have three, it is all going to depend on the strength of the slate, the values present on a given week and the match ups. The following week I will recap how my picks fared. A successful week will be determined by the players I suggest averaging 2.5 times their value, while an unsuccessful week will be an average under 2.5 times value.
Another quick reminder, much of the data presented in this piece can be found in Dave Caban’s Weekly Stat Explorer, found here. Check it out to keep on top of all the week’s key match ups!
DraftKings NFL Cash Plays for Week 9
Alex Smith – $5,000
Alex Smith?! Yeah. Look, with this play we aren’t aiming for the moon, clearly, as Smith hasn’t really been known as the world’s biggest gunslinger. What we are doing here is setting ourselves up to pay up all across the board. This selection is all about upside and hitting our multiplier. Smith’s opponent, Atlanta, is giving up a whole lot of fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, ranking as the second-most susceptible defense to opposing quarterbacks through the first eight weeks of the season. The Falcons are allowing an average of 318 passing yards to opponents, the third-most in the NFL, while also surrendering 2.4 passing touchdowns per game, tying them for the second-most allowed this season. Atlanta is also allowing an average passer rating of 106.6, the fifth-highest average of all defenses. The Falcons have allowed 300-plus passing yards in all but two of their games this season while Smith has yet to hit that mark through the first seven games of his season. In fact, Smith has three straight games where he hasn’t even hit the 200-plus passing yard mark, pushing his DraftKings price all the way down to $5,000, presenting us with an excellent intersection of a low-priced player heading into a highly-exploitable matchup. This is shaping up to be one of the biggest values on this slate.
Patrick Mahomes vs. Cleveland – Mahomes is the highest priced quarterback on this slate, and with good reason. His opponent, the Browns, just fired their head coach and offensive coordinator while simultaneously allowing the seventh-most passing yards per game. Mahomes, on the other hand, is throwing for the fifth-most passing yards in the league. These are two teams heading in different directions and Mahomes could put up some serious passing statistics this week.
Jared Goff vs. New Orleans – Goff has led the Rams to a perfect record through the first eight weeks of the season. He will face one of his biggest tests against New Orleans, but the only question is whether he can keep up with Drew Brees’ production. The Saints are allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks due, in large part, to the fact that they are allowing the fifth-most passing yards and are tied for allowing the fifth-most passing touchdowns. This matchup features an unbelievable line of 60 combined points. Why play defense, right?
Kareem Hunt – $7,700
I’m going to go with back-to-back weeks of finding a way to get Hunt into my DraftKings NFL cash game lineups. Hunt pulled down a 2.8 multiple last week and it’s looking as if he will surpass three times value against Cleveland on Sunday. The Browns are allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and fifth-most of the teams on this slate. Cleveland is also allowing the second-most rushing touchdowns in the league to go with the fifth-most rushing yards allowed. The Chiefs are averaging the fifth-most rushing touchdowns per game while accumulating the 10th-most rushing yards per game. Through the air, the Browns are allowing the tenth-most yards per pass attempt to the running back position while Kansas City is gaining 9.7 yards per pass attempt to the position, the highest average in the league! Finally, Hunt ranks among the top ten running backs in nearly every major statistic. Look for Kansas City to get up early and feed Hunt as the game winds down.
Other Running Backs
Isaiah Crowell vs. Miami – Crowell will face off against a Miami defense that is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, making him a tantalizing bargain play at the running back position. The Dolphins are allowing the fourth-most rushing yards and are tied for allowing the sixth-most rushing touchdowns. The Jets, meanwhile, are ranked 12th in both categories. With a price tag of only $4,200, Crowell can free up a lot of cash while likely outperforming his price tag.
Dalvin Cook vs. Detroit – Pivot away from Cook if he is unable to find his way back onto the field after missing the past four weeks, however, if he does suit up Cook will face a Lions defense that is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to the position. Detroit is allowing the third-most rushing yards per game making this a prime opportunity for Cook to return to action.
Devin Funchess – $5,600
Tampa Bay simply cannot stop opposing wide receivers. The Buccaneers are allowing the second-most fantasy points to the position through eight weeks. While Funchess isn’t the most explosive wide receiving option available, his price coupled with his matchup make him one of the most attractive plays at the position in Week 9. Tampa Bay is allowing the most passing touchdowns in the league as well as the most passing yards as well. Additionally, they are allowing 9.1 yards per pass attempt to opposing wide receivers, the seventh-highest average of all defenses. This play is much less about Funchess and more about the poor coverage skills that Tampa Bay’s secondary has demonstrated thus far this season. If Funchess is able to simply hit the 16-point average projected in the Weekly Stat Explorer then he would come in at 2.9 times value, who wouldn’t find a way to get that kind of production into their lineup?
Other Wide Receivers
Robert Woods vs. New Orleans – If Jared Goff is to have a good game like I talked about earlier, it will be in large part due to Woods. The Saints are allowing the most fantasy points in the league to opposing wide receivers. Also, just to refresh your memory, New Orleans is allowing the fifth-most passing yards and the fifth-most passing touchdowns. Worth mentioning as well, the Saints are allowing 10.4 passing yards per pass attempt, the highest average of all the defenses in the NFL.
John Brown vs. Pittsburgh – John Brown is smack in the middle of one of the best seasons of his career and his opponent this week, the Steelers, could allow him to continue padding those statistics. Pittsburgh is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. They also rank as the second-worst defense in touchdowns allowed and the sixth-worst defense in regard to receiving yards allowed. Remember, Brown also racked up 23.9 DraftKings points just five weeks ago when the teams last met.
David Njoku – $4,600
Njoku’s scoring trend had been trending upwards all season long until last week when he ran smack into a brick wall named the Steelers. Pittsburgh shut Njoku down completely, preventing him from even being targeted a single time. Luckily, this week’s opponent, Kansas City, hasn’t been able to shut down tight ends all season long. The Chiefs are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points in the league to the position while the Browns target their tight ends with 22 percent of all their passes, the fifth-highest percentage in the NFL while Njoku himself is the fifth-highest targeted tight end in the league. Kansas City is allowing 9.3 yards per target to the position, the fourth-highest average of all defenses. The Browns will need to go to the air early and often just to make a game of it and Njoku appears to be one of the main beneficiaries of Cleveland’s increased dependence on it’s passing game.
Other Tight Ends
O.J. Howard vs. Carolina – Howard was featured in this exact spot last week but his opponent this week, the Panthers, are an even tastier matchup for the second-year Buccaneer. Carolina is allowing the most fantasy points in the NFL to opposing tight ends. The Panthers’ weakness is no secret to the rest of the league either, as 25 percent of all passes thrown against them have targeted the tight end position, the fourth-highest percentage in the league. Tampa Bay is rather fond of targeting their own tight ends as they average 9.6 yards per target, the fifth-highest average in the NFL. Look for Howard to be force fed in this divisional grudge match.
Kyle Rudolph vs. Detroit – Rudolph hasn’t been much of a factor this season, averaging just 9.5 DarftKings points per game thus far. However, this week he will face off against a Lions defense that is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends of all the teams on this week’s slate of games. Detroit is allowing the eighth-most yards per target to the position with 8.6 yards surrendered per attempt.
As I have consistently stated throughout this week’s column, identifying and exploiting value plays are going to be so important to walking away a winner in this week’s DraftKings NFL cash games. Unlike most weeks, you could likely find a way to fit all of the major plays I identified into a single lineup. Despite this being the toughest week yet on the schedule, I actually like our chances to make some money. As always, good luck to everyone, and feel free to both reach out to me and follow me on Twitter at @TheFFGhost. I’ll do my best to answer any and all questions you may have!