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Week 9 Primetime Slate DFS Breakdown

Who are the best plays for the Week 9 DFS primetime slate on DraftKings and FanDuel? Tyler Loechner runs through notes on the primetime short slate featuring SNF/MNF games.1

DSF Week 9 Primetime Slate

HomeAwaySpreadFavorite ImpliedUnderdog ImpliedVegas Total
Baltimore RavensNew England PatriotsNE -323.7520.7544.5
Dallas CowboysNew York GiantsDAL -727.520.548

DFS Week 9 Primetime Slate theory thoughts:

  • This is a wacky short slate. The high-end names are tantalizing, while the cheaper options are hard to swallow. If building just one lineup, you’re going to have to leave several studs on the sidelines simply because of salary.
  • There are many important questions to answer on this slate, but here are the two I find most pressing from a game theory perspective:
    • Daniel Jones will finally have all of his offensive weapons on the field at the same time. How many Giants players are you willing to roster on this short slate?
    • What happens when an unstoppable force meets and immovable object? We’ll find out when Lamar Jackson squares off against the Pats D. Which side do you trust?


Chalk: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Prescott headlines a group of strong QBs on this slate, but he stands out from the field given his soft matchup. Three of the last four QBs to square off against the Giants have topped 23.5 fantasy points en route to top-1o fantasy finishes. Prescott’s home/road splits are the only concern here (27.7 DK points at home vs. 18.5 on the road), but as a 7-point favorite, he still has the fewest question marks of this slate’s QB options. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that he annihilated the Giants for 405 yards and four scores back in Week 1.

Contrarian: Tom Brady, New England Patriots

This Week 9 primetime DFS slate will afford you with the rare opportunity to snag Brady on a two-game slate at extremely low ownership. The matchup isn’t perfect, but the Ravens D has given up some big games (374-3 to Patrick Mahomes; 342-1 to Baker Mayfield) in the last month. The Ravens D has also allowed top-12 performances in terms of QB expected points each of their last two games. Prescott and Lamar Jackson are objectively better plays, but Brady is certainly not a bad play, which makes him quite intriguing as a contrarian option.

Running Backs

Chalk: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

It’s not easy to decide between Elliott and Saquon Barkley. On the one hand, Barkley is at home. On the other hand, Elliott’s team is a 7-point favorite, and Elliott is actually averaging more FPs on the road than at home so far this year. Both Barkley and Elliott are great plays, but I’ll give Elliott the nod as the Giants D has given up top-six fantasy performances to three of their last four backfields faced.

Contrarian: Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens

Ingram is a high leverage play against Lamar Jackson, who should still draw decently high ownership despite the tough matchup. Ingram, on the other hand, should be low-owned with most RB ownership going to Elliott, Barkley, or a Patriots RB. Ingram’s chances of falling into the end zone once or twice are as high as anyone’s on the slate. Per the RotoViz Screener, Ingram ranks tied for second among all RBs in terms of rushes inside the 3 — and he’s converting them at a much higher rate:


Wide Receivers

Chalk: Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys

The third member of the Cowboys trio that’s worth the chalk on this slate, Cooper draws a dream matchup against the Giants, which has been exposed by WRs in recent weeks, most notably Adam Thielen (32 FPs), Julian Edelman (20.3 FPs), and Kenny Golladay (30.3 FPs). All told, over their last five contests, the Giants have allowed the fifth-most FPOE2 to opposing WRs. Cooper himself dropped a 6-106-1 line against the Giants in Week 1.

Contrarian: Phillip Dorsett, New England Patriots

Dorsett figures to be a primary benefactor of Josh Gordon‘s surprise departure from New England. He’s already tied for the team lead in TD receptions (4) while playing just 68% of the snaps with a 13% team target share. Now Gordon’s 73% snap rate and 16% target share are up for grabs. James White was also a late addition to the injury report and could be limited, giving Dorsett even more opportunity. And, despite their reputation, Baltimore’s D was been weak against WRs this season allowing the sixth-most expected points to the position over the last 5 weeks:

Contrarian: Sterling Shepard, New York Giants

Shepard will likely be low-owned in his return to action, but he makes a ton of sense as a salary-saver. Golden Tate should draw a ton of ownership (and Tate is a good play), which will also serve to keep people off Shepard. But in his three full games with Jones, Shepard saw a solid 9 targets in each game, with one of those games resulting in 100 yards and a TD. Tate was (barely) in the mix during those games, but Shepard was Jones’ most-targeted player (27% team target market share).

Tight Ends

Chalk: Evan Engram, New York Giants

Engram leads all Giants players with 38 targets since Jones took over as QB, and he has a much better matchup than the other strong TE option (Mark Andrews). Engram faces the Cowboys, who have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points, 16th-most expected points, and ninth-most FPOE to opposing TEs over the last five games. TEs have also scored against Dallas in back-to-back games.

Contrarian: Ben Watson, New England Patriots

Watson is a contrarian dart throw on this short slate, but he will be extremely low-owned behind Engram, Andrews, and Jason Witten. Watson has played 73% of the snaps since starting two weeks ago, drawing 6 targets (8% market share). He’s low on the totem pole, but I wasn’t willing to call any of the three previously mentioned TEs contrarian options, so here we are.

Image Credit: George Walker/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Ezekiel Elliott.

  1. An important note: I’m writing this column with tournaments and GPPs top of mind. Cash game plays on short slates are usually easier to figure out because the options are so thin; tournaments require quite a bit of game theory, which can be half the fun.  (back)
  2. Fantasy points over expectation.  (back)

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