Guys, it’s been too long. I apologize for the hiatus (blame the Cubs). Anywho, the Contrary-Ten is back. One of my favorite things about the NFL from a fantasy standpoint is as the season goes on, people start to get certain opinions about certain players. Bye weeks allow for players to go forgotten. Players who get injured and return lose ownership (see Jonathan Stewart from week 8). These are opportunities to take advantage if you have been paying attention all season to usage. More importantly, if you are sticking to YOUR process. Always #TrustTheProcess whatever that may be. Here in the Week 9 Contrary-Ten, I’m going to highlight some guys that may be forgotten about due to recency bias, but are still great pivots off of some of the chalkier plays.
Draftkings Price: $6100
I think a majority of things you read or look into this weekend will have Ezekiel Elliott as the “nuts” play. It makes sense as the Browns defense hasn’t been able to stop a nosebleed. Cleveland is allowing running backs to AVERAGE 193 rushing yards the past three weeks to the Jets, Bengals, and Titans. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, the Cowboys have had 175+ yards in five consecutive games. So why play Dak Prescott? For one, he’s one of the most efficient QBs this year. He’s had at least 17 points on DK in six straight weeks. Combined with his rushing ability, his floor is extremely safe. As bad as the Browns are on run defense, they are just as bad defending the pass. They’ve allowed multiple TDs from QBs in 19 of their last 24 games going back to 2015. The only quarterback to not throw for multiple scores against them this season was Ryan Fitzpatrick, last week. With Dak coming off of two 20+ point outings on DK and not many quarterbacks I want to pay up for, I’m looking towards the Cowboys field general as a staple of my lineups on Sunday.
Fantasy Aces ownership from Thursday lock: 20 percent
Honorable Mention(s): Colin Kaepernick ($5600) & Trevor Siemian ($5100)
Draftkings Price: $6300
There haven’t been too many weeks I’ve been willing to play Melvin Gordon because he’s just been way too chalky in match-ups. Yet this is a guy who is always on my radar due to the amount of volume he see’s. San Diego has not shied away from Gordon being their guy in the backfield and he has zero competition on the roster. Since the Danny Woodhead injury, Gordon has played on 83 percent of the snaps. He leads the league in rushing touchdowns (10) and has the third-most touches at the position. I mean, my goodness, he just put up 20+ DK points on the Broncos defense WITHOUT scoring a touchdown. Both Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin are dealing with injuries so the focal point for the Chargers offense is sure to be Gordon. Tennessee has a pretty stout run defense but is allowing over 100 yards on the ground on the road. Gordon is the seventh-highest price running back on the slate, but can easily finish as the top back from a points-per-dollar standpoint.
Fantasy Aces ownership from Thursday lock: 13 percent
Draftkings Price: $4800
No one wants to play Mark Ingram a week after he just got benched for fumbling on the sixth snap of the game. With Hightower, Ingram’s backup, being $800 cheaper I expect many to look there. But here me out. This game between New Orleans and the 49ers should be high scoring. For those of you who have followed this article, you know I don’t like targeting Brees on the road so both of the running back options are in play for me. I just see Ingram with higher upside. I doubt this is a week where Ingram doesn’t start, and even in limited usage, he should reach value at this price. The 49ers run defense is ranked 29th on the year, allowing 5.1 yards per carry to running backs. As long as Ingram can get 15-20 touches I definitely think he’s still in play. I wanted nothing to do with him in the $5k range, but now is the time you take advantage on the low-price and low ownership in a road match-up where the Saints are projected to score 27 points.
Fantasy Aces ownership from Thursday lock: 5 percent
Draftkings Price: $3900
I have never been a big fan of Ryan Mathews so I guess me and Doug Pederson have something in common. The fist year head coach came out on Monday this week and said he was considering making Sproles the lead back. Now we know coaches lie, often. This is when we have to look at the numbers. Last week versus Dallas Sproles played on 79 percent of the snaps. He also saw 20 touches which he was able to turn into 15 fantasy points. Sproles has dynamic playmaking ability with the ball in his hands. Josh Huff just got released by the Eagles, too, so look for Sproles to see plays in the return game. On DK where skill players are awarded 1-point per reception it’s hard for me to not want to get Sproles in my lineup at $900 above minimum. He’s risky considering we haven’t seen him as a lead back yet this season, but given the amount of usage he’s seeing I’m willing to lock-and-load Sproles in tournament lineups.
Fantasy Aces ownership from Thursday lock: 5 percent
Honorable Mention(s): Le’Veon Bell ($7700) & Derrick Henry ($5000)
Draftkings Price: $8900
Big Ben is expected back. That’s really all I need to know to make Antonio Brown an option for this article. Many will be excited to load up on Pittsburgh’s 3-B’s in tournaments. There are some “catches” here if that’s the route you’re looking to take. The first would be that Roethlisberger does not play well coming back from injuries. The second being this is a rivalry game. I expect it to be low scoring and so does Vegas, giving the game an over/under of 43. Third is Antonio Brown is putrid versus the Ravens. He’s never, and by never I mean zero times, scored a touchdown in Baltimore. In 11 career games, he’s only averaging just around 60 yards per game. His best game in Baltimore only awarded 16 DK points from a 7-90 stat line. This is the ultimate Contrary-Ten play I’ve done, but honestly, sometimes you just have to go with your gut. In a rivalry game, coming off a bye, having not seen paydirt since week 5, I expect the best wide receiver in football to be hungry and ready to eat.
Fantasy Aces ownership from Thursday lock: 3 percent
Draftkings Price: $7600
Donte Moncrief is back in the lineup. This is good for Andrew Luck because he can use all the weapons he can get in his matchup versus Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay on Sunday. But this is also good for DFS players like myself who enjoy the chance to play T.Y. Hilton at low ownership. Only five percent owned in the Fantasy Aces Thursday locks, I expect Hilton’s ownership on Draftkings to be criminally low. He disappointed many last week with the hamstring injury against Kansas City. In came Moncrief with 14 DK points on 9 targets. Hilton was on the injury report most of the week but was a full participant in Friday’s practice. Think about this: of all the receivers in play for us on DK this weekend, Hilton has seen the most targets at the WR position with 82 for the year. In what should be the highest scoring game on the slate, look for the Luck-T.Y. connection to help take down some big tournaments.
Fantasy Aces ownership from Thursday lock: 5 percent
Draftkings Price: $7300
When I first was thinking of plays for this week, I thought about writing up Quincy Enuwa. And then it came to me…*NARRATIVE ALERT* Brandon Marshall returns to Miami. Marshall only spent two years as a Dolphin, but I think it’s pretty safe to say it was the worst stop on his career. He did have 1,000 yards receiving in back-to-back years but getting into the end zone was a chore for him (only 9 total). He’s been back to Miami since his departure twice and in those games he recorded a combined 259 yards receiving on 16 catches for 2 touchdowns. The past three weeks have been rough on Marshall with the foot injury a couple weeks ago and the QB battle (if you want to call it that) between Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith. Now that things seem to be more consistent on offense I’m looking for Marshall to break out in a big way on Sunday, possibly being the highest scoring WR for the week.
Fantasy Aces ownership from Thursday lock: 8 percent
Draftkings Price: $6800
This one is tough. It’s tough because I don’t know what to expect from the Panthers offense in this one. We’re one week removed from Cam making comments that he feels he’s unfairly targeted by defenses. Thus, I’m off Cam. I expect the Rams defense to be a sneaky tournament play. But back to Benjamin. This is a match-up he should thrive in. Much has been made about the Rams secondary and rightfully so. The Rams have only allowed just four top-24 fantasy performances on the year. Last week, however, Benjamin proved he could productive on limited looks with two catches going for 73 yards. Not a line you’re looking for at this price tag, but if he’s able to find the end zone (which he hasn’t done for week 4) he could surprise on Sunday. I expect the Rams to want to come out and stop the running game, leaving Benjamin in one-on-one match-ups with EJ Gaines who’s a good 6-7 inches shorter than Benjamin. It’s risky, but we’ve seen Benjamin score big on the season already and he’s Cam favorite WR to target.
Fantasy Aces ownership from Thursday lock: 6 percent
Draftkings Price: $5600
Remember how good Mike Wallace was to start the season? In his first two games, he saw 12 targets and scored three times. He really had pretty average games after that on the season despite seeing 43 targets in his last four games…until last week. Wallace turned 13 targets into a 10-120 stat line for 25 DK points. Although he didn’t get into the endzone, Wallace is Flacco’s go to deep ball threat. This week Wallace will go against Pittsburgh whose passing defense is susceptible to big plays. *NARRATIVE ALERT* Mike Wallace is facing his old team in this match-up and even with the game being played in Baltimore, not Pittsburgh, I still expect a big game from Mike Tik-Tok Wallace (60 Minutes reference for you older folks). This will be his first time playing his former team as a member of the archrival Ravens. As long as Steve Smith is out (he’s expected to miss) Wallace is always in play seeing as he’s Flacco’s clear No. 1 option.
Fantasy Aces ownership from Thursday lock: 7 percent
Honorable Mention(s): Allen Robinson ($6900), Tavon Austin ($4200) & Tyreek Hill ($3400)
Draftkings Price: $3000
Hunter Henry is out. Antonio Gates is $3000 seeing 19 targets in his last two games. Add in a touchdown. This is just a spot I can simply not fade. There’s no Gronkowski and no Jordan Reed on the slate – that to me means Tight End is wide open for Sunday. I want to pay up at receiver and running back this week and Gates gives me the financial flexibility to do so. Tennessee has had troubles defending the Tight End position on the year. Oh, and there’s just that touchdown record that Rivers is on record saying he wants to get Antonio Gates. Right now Gates just needs five touchdowns to pass Tony Gonzalez’s 111 TD record. This game on Sunday versus Tennessee could help Gates close that gap even further.
Honorable Mention(s): Zach Ertz ($3500)
My Main Draftkings Tournament Team for Sunday all-day slate:
QB: Dak Prescott
RB(s): Ezekiel Elliott, Melvin Gordon
WR(s) – Brandon Marshall, T.Y. Hilton, Tavon Austin
Flex – Darren Sproles
TE – Antonio Gates
D/ST: Kansas City
Total Salary: $48,800