DFS Analyzer: Matchups to Exploit in Week 9

By Chris Dilworth on Saturday, November 4th 2017
DFS Analyzer: Matchups to Exploit in Week 9

As we recover from one of the most exhilarating and distressing weeks in football news with trades and injuries abound, I hope this article can provide some respite from the gloom. Everyone’s approach to DFS is different depending on the site you play and how you construct your lineup.

But one thing is always true: the goal is to put together a lineup that scores the most points, thereby netting you the most profit. To that end, I’ve broken down the Kansas City Chiefs v. Dallas Cowboys matchup, providing insight and analysis that will be helpful for this week’s roster construction.   

We want to target games with high totals, which also have a good chance of going over their projected total.

To illustrate, look no further than the winner of DraftKing’s Milly Maker last week won by targeting and stacking players from the Seattle Seahawks/Houston Texans matchup that put up a very healthy 79 points. By targeting this game, cubsfan333 was able to place first and second in the DK Milly Maker last week with astute correlation plays.

Vegas currently has the Chiefs/Cowboys matchup set as the highest total on the slate at 54 points. With an expected shootout in this game, it’s advisable to target players from both sides as you build your lineups. This kind of approach to DFS roster construction is effective in both tournaments and cash games.

Dallas Offense v. Kansas City Defense

Dallas currently has the fourth-ranked offense, according to Football Outsiders DVOA and the Kansas City Chiefs have the 26th-ranked defense. The Chiefs’ defense has been a sieve in the run game. They are currently ranked 29th worst in yards per rush attempt, giving up 4.9 yards per rush. The Chiefs are also 31st in run defense DVOA. The last time they faced a good running game, they gave up 194 yards to Le’Veon Bell. Facing one of the best run blocking offensive lines in the NFL this week, Ezekiel Elliott is the strongest play in this matchup and probably the best running back on the slate.

Next, due to the loss of Eric Berry and their lack of a decent cornerback to pair with Marcus Peters, the Chiefs also surrender the eighth- most passing yards per attempt (for context, Cleveland is ninth and San Francisco is seventh). Kansas City’s secondary has been almost as bad as its run defense.

Peters hasn’t looked like himself; meanwhile, I could probably suit up and perform better than Terrance Mitchell. Fortunately for us, Dez Bryant averaged over nine targets a game in the last four outings and has the most red zone targets for wide receivers in that span. Expect Dez to get fed this week. I have very little interest in guys like Brice Butler, Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams because they just don’t get enough work in this offense, but suppose they might be worth a look if you're looking to punt.

Kansas City Offense v. Dallas Defense

On the flipside, Dallas has the 25th-ranked defense by Football Outsiders DVOA, giving up 4.5 yards per rush, good for 24th in the league, and giving up just over five yards per play, which ranks them in the better third of the league. Over their last four games, the Cowboys have given up 320-plus yards per game. This week they face a Chiefs’ offense that averages the most yards per play and the most points per play in the NFL and are ranked fifth in offensive DVOA.

With that in mind, let’s look at the matchups we want to exploit in this game.

I love Tyreek Hill this week matching up against anyone in Dallas’ secondary, but more specifically when matched up against Anthony Brown. Brown has the sixth-highest passer rating when targeted this season according to Pro Football Focus.

The Chiefs’ WR corps is currently depleted with injuries to Chris Conley and Albert Wilson, which sets up for an increased target market share for Tyreek. In addition, the Cowboys are one of the best teams at defending tight ends this season, with only one touchdown allowed to tight ends this season and just 29 catches on 40 targets. 

The caveat is that the Cowboys have not faced a formidable tight end yet this year. The best tight end the Cowboys faced was Jordan Reed and he left the game early with an injury.  Kelce is an okay play, but he has not proven himself to be matchup proof. 

Sean Lee is great in coverage and I expect Kelce to see a lot of scrutiny from Dallas defenders this week. With the added attention given to Travis Kelce, Hill is a high ceiling play this week that will likely go under owned due to high variance.

I predict he’ll take the top off that Dallas defense more than once. I’d even take a glance at wide receiver Demarcus Robinson as a dark horse for some extra targets, as he has seen more targets over the last couple of weeks.

Going along with the above, I like Alex Smith against this Dallas defense. He will be much lower owned than guys like Dak, so game theory tells us Alex Smith is a great pivot of higher priced guys. Smith has not thrown an interception all season and has the highest completion percentage to boot. He is playing at a high level this year and it shows.

Quarterbacks are completing 64 percent of their passes against this Dallas’ secondary, which I fully expect Smith to continue in this game. Not only that, but remember, Smith has the mobility to take off and add some value with his mobility.

Lastly, while I like Kareem Hunt very much this week, he splits work with Charcandrick West, which sets up for the potential to steal points from Hunt. Because Elliott has the backfield all to himself, he is the better play of the two.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that the Cowboys allow 100-plus yards rushing per game. This makes Hunt a solid play; however, he has not rushed for a touchdown in five weeks, and his pricing has yet to reflect that on sites like Fanduel.




Dak Prescott

Ezekiel Elliott

Dez Bryant

Kansas City:

Alex Smith

Tyreek Hill

Kareem Hunt

Demarcus Robinson

Final Score: Dallas 34 - Kansas City 27

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