As we head into the weekend, be sure to check out all the content rolling onto the Rotoworld Daily page. Here’s a list of articles looking at the FanDuel NFL week nine slate. I will be updating as new columns are added, so consider this section as the DFS Table of Contents.
FanDuel NFL Bargains by Renee Miller
QB/RB Grind Down by Stephen Young
RotoGrinders NFL Primer by Stephen Keech
QB/WR/TE Tournament Stacks by Spencer Limbach
FantasyLabs Ownership & Pivots by Matthew Freedman
VIDEO: FanDuel NFL 6-Pack hosted by Chris Prince
FanDuel NFL Fades by Renee Miller
WR/TE Grind Down by Josh Lewis
Rotoworld Rankings vs DFS Pricing by Rich Hribar
Now onto the FanDuel NFL Must Plays for week nine!
Just a reminder, this column includes only Sunday games (starting at 1 ET), as that’s considered the main slate on FanDuel.
PLATINUM: Build your lineup around these guys
Ezekiel Elliott – RB – Dallas (FanDuel Price: $8,900)
I was fully prepared to have Dak Prescott in this spot, but then the news broke: Elliott has been granted a temporary stay of his suspension, meaning he’ll play in this Sunday’s game. That means we can fire him up in fantasy without much hesitation. This Dallas-Kansas City matchup profiles as one of the higher-scoring draws of the week. The Chiefs rank 28th against the run despite only facing a pair of legitimate rushers (Melvin Gordon & Le’Veon Bell). The Broncos were able to collectively rush for 177 yards on only 31 carries (5.71 avg) last game, making the Chiefs containment of Elliott that much harder to envision.
Drew Brees – QB – New Orleans (FanDuel Price: $8,300)
With Dak Prescott falling back under Elliott’s shadow, Drew Brees checks in as my favorite QB option. Sure, he has been somewhat mediocre (relative to his high fantasy standards) over the past three weeks, but this is an excellent “get right” spot against a Tampa defense that ranks 31st in DVOA vs the pass. The absence of corners Brent Grimes and Robert McClain won’t help the Bucs improve that mark.
GOLD: Next wave to consider in terms of priority
Leonard Fournette – RB – Jacksonville (FanDuel Price: $8,600)
Yes, I strongly considered Todd Gurley and Kareem Hunt in this spot. However, Fournette is cheaper with an arguably better situation to thrive. While Gurley and Hunt have better matchups on paper, Fournette will benefit from a run-heavy gameplan with Jacksonville settling in as solid home favorites. The Jaguars defense should help win the time of possession battle and field position game, calling for a strong DFS pairing with the rookie RB.
Michael Thomas – WR – New Orleans (FanDuel Price: $7,600)
As mentioned earlier, the New Orleans’ passing attack has taken a backseat to Mark Ingram in previous weeks. That should change on Sunday. Tampa’s defense funnels production to the passing game, creating an excellent feasting opportunity for Brees and Thomas. To be perfectly honest, I’m not too enthusiastic about the wide receiver position this week. Deshaun Watson’s injury causes a firm downgrade to overpriced Houston pass catchers, making Thomas more of a necessity with lower opportunity cost. He’s an easy lift in all formats.
SILVER: Good options that narrowly rank ahead of similar players
Devin Funchess – WR – Carolina (FanDuel Price: $6,100)
I just finished mentioning the lower-than-usual opportunity cost at wide receiver this week. In my opinion, that helps boost Funchess into the WR2 conversation … Carolina’s top receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, was traded earlier this week. Meanwhile, Greg Olsen remains sidelined with a foot injury. That means Devin Funchess and Christian McCaffrey (more on him later) will serve as the top targets in this Panthers’ passing attack. Funchess has displayed high-upside potential earlier this season, and this elevated role could rekindle the flame.
Jack Doyle – TE – Indianapolis (FanDuel Price: $5,700)
Doyle will likely be popular this weekend, and I’m agreeing with the masses for cash games. Doyle comes at a nice discount from the other top tight ends despite looking like his team’s top receiving option. Indianapolis QB Jacoby Brissett has had a difficult time feeding the ball to T.Y. Hilton, effectively funneling that production to Doyle. The Colts’ tight end has racked up 25 catches on 32 targets for 215 yards and two touchdowns over the past three weeks. He has an excellent chance to keep the momentum against a leaky Texans secondary.
BRONZE: Not 100% necessities, but they mix well into a quality lineup
Sterling Shepard – New York Giants (FanDuel Price: $5,900)
The matchup doesn’t look great vs LAR, but Shepard could see a ton of volume as New York’s default top receiver. Evan Engram had been enjoying that role with great fantasy success, and some of that production could transfer to Shepard now that he’s healthy. The Giants will continue to struggle on the ground, leading to another pass-happy performance from Eli Manning. I’m expecting double-digit targets (and the upside that comes with it) for Shepard.
Ted Ginn Jr. – WR – New Orleans (FanDuel Price: $5,700)
I’ll be looking towards Ted Ginn Jr in tournaments while also considering him a borderline cash commodity due to the lower-than-usual opportunity cost at wide receiver. Combining him with Brees and Thomas could make for a high-upside stack if the Saints decide to expose Tampa’s weakness against the pass. The generally low amount of targets is somewhat concerning for Ginn, but he could pay dividends as a WR3 in this excellent draw.
PARTICIPATION RIBBONS: Fell just short of a featured spot
Todd Gurley – RB – Los Angeles Rams (FanDuel Price: $9,100)
As mentioned earlier, Gurley makes for a realistic alternative to Ezekiel Elliott or Leonard Fournette. The Giants have struggled against the run this season (23rd in that category), and Gurley certainly has the ability to take advantage. He’s certainly in the mix through all formats.
Dak Prescott – QB – Dallas (FanDuel Price: $8,200)
Even though Elliott will be playing in this game, I’m not writing Dak off completely. There could be room for both to thrive in this high-scoring shootout with Kansas City – similar to Dallas’ games against the 49ers and Rams.
Adrian Peterson – RB – Arizona (FanDuel Price: $6,800)
The last time we saw Peterson, he posted a dud against the Rams in London. The veteran had a large DFS contingency that day, burning a broad audience of DFS backers. If you were included in that group (like me), it’s time to forgive, forget, and strongly consider the Arizona RB. This is an excellent matchup against San Francisco, and Cardinals’ offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin mentioned “feeding the beast” (referring to Peterson) as his gameplan.
Tyreek Hill – WR – Kansas City (FanDuel Price: $6,100)
One of my favorite alternative lineup startegies revolves around finding a mid-range running back then making Tyreek Hill my WR2. As mentioned several times in this article, Dallas-Kansas City has some serious shootout potential. This creates an excellent game environment for Hill to get back on track.
Christian McCaffrey – RB – Carolina (FanDuel Price: $6,100)
McCaffrey may be called upon more with Kelvin Benjamin out. He was already a huge part of the Carolina passing attack, seeing near double-digit targets every week. The rookie already had some intriguing fantasy upside, and sentiment grows with Benjamin out of the picture.
Aldrick Robinson – WR – San Francisco (FanDuel Price: $4,800)
Robinson is the cheapskate special of the week. Pierre Garcon has been ruled out, meaning Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson will need to step up. Goodwin could draw coverage from stud CB Patrick Peterson, giving Robinson the easier matchup to make a fantasy impact.
Jacksonville Jaguars – DEF (FanDuel Price: $5,300)
I already touched on pairing Jacksonville’s defense with Leonard Fournette as a potent stack. The Jags have been impressive on defense this season, and they’ll face a leaky Cincinnati offensive line (as home favorites) this Sunday.
The Kicker Conundrum
I’m mostly focused on Mike Nugent ($4600) as an excellent source of salary relief. The Cowboys hold one of the highest totals of this slate, and he should see plenty of opportunities to provide a strong fantasy impact.