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I like Russell Wilson ($38) pretty much any week, but this week is especially juicy. Yahoo! sees it too, as they’ve priced him at QB1. Tampa Bay is as friendly a defense to opposing quarterbacks as you’ll find. According to the RotoViz NFL Stat Explorer, the Bucs rank second in fantasy points allowed to the position over the past five games even though the list of signal callers they’ve faced is shockingly bad – Daniel Jones, Jared Goff, Teddy Bridgewater, Kyle Allen, and Ryan Tannehill. Wilson exposure is a must if you’re playing heavy volume this week, but he’s also in play if you’re a “single bullet” GPP player.
Matthew Stafford ($35) draws a reeling Oakland defense that has surrendered eight passing touchdowns over the past two weeks and 13 over the past four. Detroit has all but given up on its rushing attack in the post-Kerryon Johnson injury era and Stafford has responded with over 700 passing yards over his past two games. He ranks third in air yards thrown and second in air yards completed, which has led to a quartet of games at 26 fantasy points of higher already in 2019.
If paying up for your quarterback isn’t palatable this week, Jameis Winston ($29) against the Seahawks has some appeal, as the Seattle defense has twice allowed 395 passing yards or more over its past five contests. However, they’ve only allowed three passing touchdowns and have snagged six interceptions over that span as well. In contrast, Winston has been better at protecting the ball on the road and has also been more efficient away from home, throwing a half-touchdown more per game despite averaging eight fewer attempts. There’s some hope for a shootout that doesn’t also result in a handful of Winston turnovers.
Yahoo! got stingy with its running back pricing this week, gouging bettors who want to play Christian McCaffrey ($40) or Dalvin Cook ($39). They’re definitely capable of returning tournament-winning value even at those prices, though. CMC faces Tennessee, who has given up the third-most receiving yards to running backs over the past five games, including 118 yards to Austin Ekeler in week seven. The Titans have also allowed the fourth-most receptions to the position since week four. CMC is averaging 8.67 targets per game at home this season.
Cook travels to Arrowhead to cash in against one of the friendliest defenses for running back fantasy production in the NFL. The NFL Stat Explorer paints the picture better than I could describe it.
Bottom line – you’ll want some Cook this week.
Nick Chubb ($31) travels to Denver in a must-win game for Cleveland and should be the clear focal point of the offense. The Broncos have been murder for opposing quarterbacks and I don’t expect this will be a situation where the Browns will even care about getting Baker Mayfield in rhythm. Chubb is averaging over 111 rushing yards per game on the road this year in a four-game sample.
Aaron Jones ($29) has at least four receptions in each of the past five games, twice hitting seven in a game over that span. The Chargers have allowed a rushing touchdown to a running back in four straight weeks, too.
Le’Veon Bell ($26) is really intriguing to me this week. He complained about his lack of involvement last week and was even rumored to be on the trade block. I think Adam Gase will want to keep his star running back happy, and conditions couldn’t be better considering it’s Gase’s revenge game against Miami, in Miami. I expect Bell to have one of the heaviest workloads of any back this week and no defense has allowed more rushing yards to running backs over the past five weeks than the Dolphins.
Josh Jacobs ($24) is one my favorite plays of the week regardless of price and makes for a great correlation play in Stafford lineups. The Lions have been fantasy-friendly to pretty much everyone they’ve faced of late. It’s also pretty hard to ignore Jacobs’ wild home-road splits so far this year.
Royce Freeman ($16) is five bucks cheaper than teammate Phillip Lindsay ($21) and the Broncos are sure to lean on the running game with Joe Flacco out. Cleveland was shredded by run-heavy schemes deployed by San Francisco and Seattle in recent weeks.
Jaylen Samuels ($12) has an impossible matchup against Indianapolis, but he might get every running back touch the team has to dish out this week. The per-dollar value could be strong if he simply lucks into a touchdown along with some check down receiving work. Even that could prove to be difficult, though. The Colts have allowed just one running back touchdown over the past five weeks. Normally a volume back at this price is a lock. The matchup keeps him short of that recommendation, but the lineup flexibility means you’ll likely end up with your fair of exposure this week.
Either part of the Buccaneers duo of Mike Evans ($30) and Chris Godwin ($29) is in play, as always. Evans saw 29 (twenty nine) targets over the past two weeks. Godwin could be due for some touchdown regression after going scoreless on 20 targets over the past two games. Top receivers have had no trouble posting big days against the Seahawks, with Julio Jones, Cooper Kupp, and Odell Beckham Jr. all posting over 100 yards in their matchups in recent weeks.
In the same game, Tyler Lockett ($28) and D.K. Metcalf ($18) warrant strong consideration since Wilson is going to go off. Professional route-running technicians Robert Woods, Sterling Shepard, and Michael Thomas each scorched the Bucs for at least seven receptions and 100 receiving yards. This is more of a fun stat than a telling one, but Lockett has scored only in odd-numbered weeks this season…and this is Week 9.
We can’t ignore the pass catchers for the other recommended quarterback, so give Kenny Golladay ($25) and Marvin Jones Jr. ($18) a hard look even in non-Stafford lineups. Golladay has scored a touchdown in four of seven games this year, including two weeks with multiple scores. His role is also much more consistent, having drawn eight or more targets in all but one contest this season.
However, in non-Samuels lineups with CMC or Cook, it could be tough to cram in Golladay. Jones has shown us two boom games registering over 19 half-PPR (Yahoo! DFS settings), which is the kind of ceiling that can be hard to find in the sub-$20 salary range, especially when the matchup is attractive.
Robby Anderson ($17) has a great ceiling against the Dolphins and fits the downfield attacker mode that’s had success against the team. Anderson is due for a regression bounce after posting 5/53/0 on 14 targets over his past two contests. Miami has allowed eight touchdowns to wide receivers over the past five games, twice allowing a single receiver to score a pair.
DeSean Jackson ($16) is a risky play in his return from injury, but the Eagles have badly missed his skill set. He smashed Washington for 8/154/2 in his only appearance this season.
Darren Waller ($21) is potential leverage-correlation play in Stafford lineups (Jacobs will likely be the most popular run-back choice). He scored three touchdowns over the past two weeks and has eight or more target in four of seven games this year. The Lions are the third-worst fantasy defense against tight ends over the past five weeks and rank fifth-worst in expected points per game over the same sample.
At the same price point, Hunter Henry ($21) gets the Packers, who couldn’t stop Waller, Travis Kelce, or Zach Ertz. Henry ranks first among tight ends in air yards per target (10.7) and the Chargers (3.5 point home underdogs) could be chasing the Packers early.
Eric Ebron ($16) and Jack Doyle ($12) should each see more action with T.Y. Hilton out.
Ebron is definitely the ceiling play of the two, as has great fantasy splits in terms of volume and conversion without Hilton on the field. The $4 savings on Doyle isn’t insignificant though. It would be an upset if he didn’t see at least five targets, which is hard to find volume when diving this far into the dumpster.
Buffalo ($19) will be hard to cram in, but they’ve scored double-digit points four times this year and get to face Dwayne Haskins in his first ever NFL start.
Cleveland ($12) is my preferred defense play this week against another first-time starter, Brandon Allen in Denver.