Hello friends. After a brief absence, your favorite FanDuel advice columns are back and even more exciting content is coming soon. In the coming weeks, we'll include video content where we'll further breakdown matchups and help build optimal lineups for your weekly FanDuel plays. But for now, let's jump on into the upcoming slate of next weekend's games.
Week 9 will deliver a blow with six teams on the bye, but we'll still quickly be able to find some great value plays and top players to plug into our lineups. After looking over costs and matchups, we've put together an optimized lineup that you can use in a few contests this week or takes part of it and add in a little spin of your own.
Alex Smith, KC @ DAL, $7,900
It took a lot of fight to say no to Deshaun Watson, but he just didn't make sense for our optimized lineup this time around. While we'll definitely want to get some Watson shares into our lineup, a quarterback priced over $9,000 given the other quality alternatives isn't reasonable for optimization.
Instead, we save over $1,200 dollars by targeting Smith, who enters the week on the top-seven quarterback radar, Fresh off a win against a stout Denver Broncos defense, Kanas City should find offensive success much easier against the Dallas Cowboys. Through seven games, Dallas allowed the 14th-most FanDuel points per contest to opposing quarterbacks.
It's not a mark that immediately jumps out at you, but it's an even greater matchup given the Cowboys don't have the type of defensive chess pieces to match up to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Pair 10-20 rushing yards with 275-plus passing yards and two touchdowns, you've got a high-end quarterback performance. The ceiling could also be even higher, making Smith an easy choice to plug into our optimal lineups.
Adrian Peterson, ARZ @ SF, $6,800
This week's running back slate left us in a tough position. With the way we constructed our wide receivers, even if we dropped from DeAndre Hopkins to Will Fuller and saved over $1K, it wouldn't have been enough to upgrade from Peterson to an elite running back or Collins to a better option in a strong matchup with a workload we could count on.
But don't worry, this is still a running back duo we feel good about. It all starts with Peterson as our RB1 in an ideal matchup. Arizona is set to face a San Francisco 49ers defense that allows the most fantasy points per start to opposing running backs. Not only do they allow the most FPPG, but they allow nearly three points per game more than the second-worst team.
With Carson Palmer done for the year, Arizona will ask Peterson to shoulder the weight of this offense. In a great matchup, Peterson certainly offers RB1 upside and at an affordable price..
Alex Collins, BAL @ TEN, $5,900
As we highlighted on Monday, Collins is headed for an expanded role after an excellent outing against an otherwise impressive Miami Dolphins run defense. Collins gashed gashed them for 143 total yards and as a result, raised his season yards per carry average to 6.0 on 80 carries.
Naturally, Harbaugh is ready to give him the keys to the lion's share of carries in this backfield. While Tennessee's defense is only average versus the run, it's statistically worse than Miami's run defense even after the Dolphins got sliced up into bits of sushi by Collins. Baltimore's defense will keep this game close and that should allow Collins to see 15-plus touches in Week 9. As a result, he's definitely someone we want shares of as our RB2.
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU v. IND, $9,100
If we're going to spend $9K-plus on a player, it needs to be the right player in the perfect matchup. Thus, we present Nuk going head-to-head with a Colts' secondary that allows the fifth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing wide receivers and is hurting even more in the secondary with free safety Malik Hooker out for the season.
It's asking for too much to expect Hopkins to repeat his 224-yard performance against the Seattle Seahawks, but the matchup is significantly easier this week than the competition he faced last Sunday. So even if we cut his yardage down to 130-plus receiving yards, he also offers the ability to make multiple trips to the end zone. A playmaker, a deep threat and a red-zone weapon, you need Hopkins in your lineup this week.
Michael Thomas, NO v. TB, $7,600
One of the bigger disappointments this fantasy season, Thomas fantasy output just hasn't lived up to the top-five expectations many had for him. But the looks from Drew Brees are still there with 61 targets on the season. 75-plus receiving yards in each of the last two weeks also gives fantasy owners a floor that won't hurt them too much.
This week, we're all focused on Thomas' ceiling in a dynamite matchup. Through seven games, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have allowed the second-most FanDuel points per contest to opposing wide receivers and things could get even worse with everyone in their secondary battling injuries. This matchup could be the big day fantasy owners have been waiting for and he can be a big reason why we'll cash in this weekend. He slides in as our WR2, but he easily offers the upside to post a top-three overall performance at wide receiver this week
Dez Bryant, DAL v. KC, $7,700
Sure, we'll round out our wide receiver corps with Bryant. One of the best at his position, Bryant's price takes a hit after he only contributed 39 receiving yards against Washington. It certainly hurt fantasy owners, but Washington's top cornerback Josh Norman returned and helped quiet Bryant. In addition, Dallas focused on running down the throat of Washington's defense and it led them to a victory.
Things will be different this week. Ezekiel Elliott will almost certainly miss Sunday's game as he begins his suspension and Marcus Peters, Kansas City's top quarterback, doesn't shadow wide receivers. As a result, Dallas will line up Bryant away from Peters and let him go to work against Terrance Mitchell and Phillip Gaines. Both cornerbacks have found themselves closely compared to burnt toast when they face quality wide receivers, those comparisons will be spot on again after they face Dez.
Jared Cook, OAK @ MIA, $5,500
Once again Cook won't get the name appeal or as much attention, but he produced for fantasy owners even in a week when Oakland's passing attack struggled to make anything happen. In Week 8 against the Buffalo Bills, Cook produced 57 yards on five targets and continued to show more evidence of Derek Carr's trust in him.
Now in Week 9, he finds himself with another quality matchup to take advantage of. Through seven games this season, Miami's defense allows the eighth-most FanDuel points per game to opposing tight ends (11.76) and that number came down last week given Baltimore's offense doesn't feature a fantasy relevant option. Cook's athleticism should give them fits and he's absolutely someone you want DFS shares of this week.
Los Angeles Rams D/ST @ New York Giants, $4,800
Scrolling down the list of defense/special teams options to pick from in Week 9, the choice became obvious quickly. While Los Angeles is notorious for having one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, that isn't much of a problem against a Giants' offense that doesn't get consistent blocking from their offense linemen and the running game is inconsistent as a result.
So that will allow the Rams front seven and secondary to just go to work against a depleted Giants' offense with an aging Eli Manning at quarterback. Los Angeles offers the chance at a return touchdown and should rack up a few sacks in this one, while keeping the score low.
Mike Nugent, DAL v. KC, $4,600
Sure, you can spend a few hundred dollars more to land a more high--profile name at kicker or someone with a great leg. But in fantasy, we want a kicker who will find opportunities and Nugent fills that role. In his first appearance for Dallas, Nugent converted four-of-five field goal attempts and delivered a 15-point fantasy performance for fantasy owners. Dallas will find success moving the football against Kansas City and that should give Nugent the chance to put up eight-plus points.