Welcome to The Gauntlet. We are going to break down each and every game to find our NFL DFS Week 9 top plays on what is considered the main slate on DraftKings and Fanduel, and very well could still benefit you in Draft. This consists of the games only on Sundays. If you are playing other slates, such as the primetime slates, be sure to check out our other DFS content for plays in those games. In this breakdown, we are going to dive deeply into each matchup which is why we are going to stick to just the main slate of games. The numbers in parenthesis are the Vegas implied totals for each team. All of the stats in this breakdown are from Football Outsiders, while all of the player grades are from Pro Football Focus. Let’s get to it!
Bucs (21.75) at Saints (28.75) Total 50.5
Let’s start this slate off with a bang. This is one of my favorite games to attack this weekend for multiple reasons. Reason number 1, I don’t think this game is going to be as highly owned as it should be. All season long, the Saints have yet to explode in the dome. People have been playing them at home and they have not paid off their somewhat pricey costs. I think that changes this weekend. Even with the Deshaun Watson injury, Brees is going to be less owned than he should be.
We have played every QB playing the Bucs this season and it has been a profitable strategy. So, there is no need to change that now. Some of you may argue that Mark Ingram could steal all of Brees’ points. While that is possible, Ingram has run into a bit of a fumbling issue, and even then, he and Kamara are great pass catching backs. This is just such an incredible spot for the Saints air attack, and I want exposure here.
On the Bucs side, you have to think they are going to throw the ball a ton in the dome playing from behind. The only issue with that is the Saints D has been very respectable recently. While I think the Bucs can put up enough points to make Brees keep throwing, I don’t think we see them putting up a tourney winning team total to justify stacking them all.
Top Plays: Brees, Kamara/Ingram, Thomas, Ginn, Coleman, Evans, Jackson
Ravens at Titans
At the time of writing this, there is no Vegas line out yet. This is likely due to the uncertainty of Joe Flacco for this weekend’s game. If Ryan Mallet starts here, the Titans D become an interesting tournament option. Alex Collins is slated to start getting more running game work. Even though the matchup is average at best, he is an interesting play at his price because he consistently breaks long runs.
On the Titans side, if Corey Davis plays, I want in. They have consistently held the rookie out until he is 100% so that he doesn’t reinjure his hamstring. If he plays, he is going to be 100%. If they were going to play him at less than 100%, he would have played at some point between weeks 2-8 already. Again, the matchup isn’t great for him here, but his talent is unreal and can smash against anyone. At 4,400 on DK, his upside is unmatched against anyone in this price range.
Top Plays: Davis (if he plays)
Rams (22.75) at Giants (19.25) Total 42
Welcome back from your bye week, Todd Gurley. I have rostered him almost every week this year, and he gets a great matchup this week. The Giants are giving up over 100 yards on the ground per game. While they have not given up many rushing TDs, that is going to change this week. The Rams have shown that they will not get cute at the goal line and will just feed Gurley. I give Gurley the slight edge over Hunt this week in terms of raw points.
Someone who is extremely interesting as a punt with upside here is Sammy Watkins. He is dirt cheap and the Giants have suspended Jenkins indefinitely. Watkins saw absolutely brutal matchups over the last couple of weeks. Here is who he has faced in 4 of his 7 games: Peterson, Ramsey, Sherman, Norman. In 2 of the other 3 matchups, he scored double-digit DK points, with a 31.8 outing against the 49ers. The upside is there. This is the Sammy Watkins we have come to know when he was in Buffalo. Some weeks he disappears and other weeks he absolutely smashes. He seems to be matchup dependent, but with 30 point upside as a legit possibility at a dirt cheap price, I am willing to take a shot on him in tourneys.
On the Giants side, there are two players I want. Shepard and Engram. These guys are going to combine for 20-25 targets from Eli, and the Rams pass D is nothing special. We have the Rams play in a few shootouts already this season and these guys are in great spots given their guaranteed workloads.
Top Plays: Gurley, Watkins, Shepard, Engram
Bengals (17.5) at Jaguars (22) Total 39.5
Everyone played the Bengals O last week and everyone was disappointed. Even in the best matchup possible, the Bengals underperformed. Now they have the worst matchup possible. No thanks. Jags D, yes, please.
On the Jags side, only Fournette interests me, but if paying up I would rather play Gurley and Hunt.
Top Plays: Jags D
Colts (19.75) at Texans (26.25) Total 46
The Watson news is horrible and changes the complete outlook of this game. Tom Savage is awful. Like really bad. You can put him in the same category as Osweiler at this point which makes the Colts defense and intriguing tournament play at a minimum price. It also makes the Texans offensive players overpriced. On the Colts side of the ball, TY Hilton is criminally underpriced.
For the sake of the game of football, I am hoping Watson has a speedy and clean recovery.
Top Plays: Colts D, Hilton
Falcons (21) at Panthers (22.5) Total 43.5
How the Panthers are favored in this game must be solely due to the Falcons having Sark as their offensive coordinator. Cam has been awful this year and they just gave away Kelvin Benjamin. Funchess and McCaffrey are likely to be the two beneficiaries of extra targets here, so they are the only two players I am interested in.
On the Falcons side, this offense is a mess, but they should still be able to beat the Panthers after giving away Benjamin. Julio is always in play in tournaments as he has 2oo yard upside in any matchup, but I am not paying up for him this weekend personally.
Top Plays: McCaffrey, Funchess
Broncos (17.75) at Eagles (25.75) Total 43.5
Brock Osweiler is now the starting QB for the Broncos. Hahahahahahaha. He is literally the worst QB to ever play the sport of football. Give me Ryan Leaf over this guy. Like seriously, Broncos? This has to be a joke. Fire up Eagles defense and don’t even think twice about it.
On the Eagles side, with the addition of Ajayi, the running game just got messy. Wentz has a tougher matchup than normal through the air, so nothing excites me here. Ertz is likely to have the best day of the pass catchers but is too pricey for DFS.
Top Plays: Eagles D
Cardinals (20.75) at 49ers (18.25) Total 39
This 49ers team is a mess on offense. Hyde is the only player that is worth rostering right now and even that I don’t feel great about.
On the Cardinals side, with Stanton at QB, the Cardinals will likely be leaning heavily on the run. AP gets the best run D matchup of the year and should have the carries here to smash value. I love this spot for AP. Fitzgerald is interesting because Stanton should look his way often when throwing, but I just don’t think Stanton needs to throw much in this one.
Top Plays: Cardinals D, AP
Redskins (19) at Seattle (26) Total 45
We just saw Watson come in and challenge the Seahawks D, and Cousins now is in the same spot. The Redskins don’t have any RBs. Another issue is that they also don’t have the same caliber WRs that the Texans have. So while you may want to chase the same spot Watson was in, I would temper expectations for Cousins here.
On the Seattle side, Russ only throws a ton when he needs to. I don’t think he needs to here because the Skins should struggle to move the ball and are extremely banged up.
Top Plays: Seattle D
Chiefs (25.5) at Cowboys (25.5) Total 51
This game is right up there with the Saints game as the game stack of the week. There are so many incredible spots here. Zeke is unsuspended, again (shocked face). Zeke now jumps to my #1 overall RB on the slate in terms of raw points ahead of Gurley and Hunt. The Chiefs haven’t been able to stop anyone on the ground this year, or through the air either for that matter. Their offense has been playing at such a fast and efficient pace this year that it has turned the defense into somewhat of a liability. Even with Zeke back, Dez is in an incredible spot here. Marcus Peters does not leave his side of the field, so look for the Cowboys to keep Dez on the opposite side and feed him a ton. Double-digit targets and multiple touchdowns definitely wouldn’t surprise me at his middle of the road price.
On the Chiefs side, the usual suspects are in play between Hill, Kelce and Hunt. This offense runs through them and nobody else. In a game where Dallas should get pressure on the QB, Smith should be looking to make the quick high percentage throws, which plays into his wheelhouse. Until this season, Smith never threw deep. So he is used to getting the ball out quickly. Dallas tends to struggle with mobile QBs also, so Smith’s ability to extend the play and find Hill or Kelce gives them a boost. An off the wall play for tourneys that is literally free is Demarcus Robinson. The Chiefs are going to be extremely thin at WR this week and Dallas actually has been eaten alive by alternate receivers this year. Robinson makes a great way to get cheap exposure to the highest total of the week.
Top Plays: Dak, Dez, Zeke, Smith, Hill, Kelce, Hunt, Robinson
Raiders (23.25) at Dolphins (20.25) Total 43.5
This Dolphins team is in shambles and I want nothing to do with them. Raiders D could be a big field tournament option.
On the Raiders side, this team operates through Carr, Cooper and Crabtree. It is one of the more straightforward offenses in terms of knowing where production is going to come from and the Dolphins pass D isn’t anything to write home about.
Top Plays: Carr, Cooper, Crabtree
As always, thank you for checking out my NFL DFS Week 9 Top Plays! Don’t forget to check out other great weekly content and rankings at The Fantasy Authority.