It is time for the bye weeks to take a toll on fantasy football with the arrival of Week 9 of the NFL season. Here is how you can use those bye weeks to make some money on DraftKings.
This time of year is tough for season-long fantasy football players. Week 9 features six teams on bye. Those six teams are the Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals and Jacksonville Jaguars. That is a big hit for the fantasy community. Not only in terms of productive players but there are talented defensive groups that have been used for fantasy.
Regardless of the teams missing action, this is a good week to use your knowledge to take home some cash on DraftKings. Just like in the NFL, it all starts with the quarterback position.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs @ Cleveland Browns $7100
The leader in the club house for MVP started off slowly a week ago but rebounded on his way to throwing another four touchdowns. Patrick Mahomes is taking the NFL by storm in his first season at the helm. Kansas City this week travels to Cleveland against the pesky Browns, who just fired their head coach. Cleveland’s defense ranks in the better half of the league in surrendering points to quarterbacks. There is talent at every level and a pass rusher in Myles Garrett that can take over a game. The defense leads the NFL in interceptions with 12. Mahomes will likely continue his hot streak and pay dividends even on what could be considered a tough matchup.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers $6600
Quietly Cam Newton is having his best statistical season of his career. New coordinator Norv Turner has the Panthers utilizing Newton’s ability to run and taking the patented shots that the big play quarterback thrives on. This week they are at home against the Buccaneers in a NFC South battle. Tampa Bay is the friendliest fantasy defense to opposing quarterbacks. Newton and the Panthers offense should have another big day in a much easier test than the faced last week in Baltimore. If Newton can do what he did against the Ravens this game could get ugly in a hurry.
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans @ Denver Broncos $6300
Another player that is showing his wide range of talents on the football field is Houston’s Deshaun Watson. After recovering from a knee injury, Watson is playing elite football despite a porous offensive line. Things will get tougher with the loss of Will Fuller but Houston is sniffing around the wide receiver market leading up to the trade deadline. Watson has a tough test with the defense of Denver. The Broncos still have an elite pass rusher and corner to give the Houston offense trouble. This matchup does not look as good as some other top priced options.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings vs Detroit Lions $6200
Statistically Kirk Cousins had a fine game last week against the Saints. However, the Vikings are not looking for fine from the highest paid free agent signing in the NFL. Sunday night’s game was the game that Cousins was supposed to win in Minnesota. Another positive matchup awaits this week in Detroit. The Lions defense ranks 11th in points given up to the quarterback position. Cousins will find success moving the ball this weekend.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints vs Los Angeles Rams $6100
The other quarterback from Sunday night’s game, Drew Brees, is in the midst of running the NFC gauntlet. After defeating Minnesota he gets the best team in the conference in Los Angeles. Brees is humming along with 14 touchdowns to only one interception. He’s asked to do much less with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram carrying the offensive load. However, he is going to be needed against a Rams defense that is vulnerable through the air. Los Angeles is an elite team but their back end can be had, and Brees may be the guy to do it. If the Saints give him time with Kamara, Ingram and Michael Thomas as weapons, New Orleans may give the Rams a run for their money.
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams @ New Orleans Saints $6000
Right from Drew Brees to the opposing quarterback. Jared Goff has been criminally under priced for most of the season. Goff may be the sixth highest priced quarterback but his upside represents value. He’s coming off a three touchdown game in a close game. There is no signs this offense is going to slow down. Until Goff is priced inside the top five consistently, he will offer value. He gets a Saints defense that has been up and down most of the season. The dynamic Rams offense will score points and Goff is the best bet to out perform his price point on that unit.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers $5500
One of the cheapest options at the starting quarterback position is Ryan Fitzpatick. Now that he is once again the starting quarterback, he takes over a prolific passing offense. No team in NFL history has thrown for more yards as a team than the Buccaneers through seven games. With the team needing points, Fitzpatrick is the perfect flyer at the position.
Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams @ New Orleans Saints $9500
What Patrick Mahomes has been for the quarterback position, Todd Gurley is doing for the running back position. It truly does not matter who Gurley is playing, in that offense with the offensive line in Los Angeles, he is going to score. Fantasy players were upset about him giving up instead of scoring late in Sunday’s win but that will not stop anyone from rostering him this week. Gurley gets a New Orleans defense that is one of the league’s best at slowing down running backs. Again, that doesn’t matter for him. He will find his points and keep dominating.
Melvin Gordon III, Los Angeles Chargers @ Seattle Seahawks $8200
The price drop from Gurley to Melvin Gordon shows just how elite Gurley has been this season. Gordon is no slouch in his own right, he’s the sixth highest scoring running back this season. Now he gets a Seahawks defense coming off a strong performance at Detroit. Seattle ranks 21st in points allowed to opposing running backs so it could be a tough day ahead for Gordon. The usage will be high enough to limit the bust potential but this is far from a good matchup.
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens $8000
As of Wednesday October 31st, there is no sign that Le’Veon Bell will be returning to Pittsburgh. Unless something changes, keep him out of lineups.
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers $7800
With the success of Cam Newton and the offense, Christian McCaffrey is showing why he was a top-10 draft pick. The do-it-all back is being used as a bell cow and rightfully so. McCaffrey gets a great matchup in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are in the running for the league’s worst defense. They currently rank only tenth in points allowed to running backs but the loss of Kwon Alexander will only hurt an already reeling unit. McCaffrey is poised for a big game, especially if the Panthers start pulling away and he’s able to get a few extra carries.
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs @ Cleveland Browns $7700
Last year’s rushing leader has taken a back seat offensively to his quarterback. Kareem Hunt is still putting up strong numbers and is the fourth highest scoring running back in the NFL this season. Hunt has an easier challenge ahead of him this week in Cleveland. The Browns defense ranks sixth in points allowed to running backs. On paper the matchup favors the Kansas City ground game but with Mahomes under center you never know.
Value Running Backs
Lamar Miller, Houston Texans @ Denver Broncos $5200
Everyone this weekend will be talking about Houston’s acquisition of Demaryious Thomas as a big part of their offense. What actually has been a massive piece of the Texans’ offense is the emergence of Lamar Miller as a true RB1. Miller is coming off back to back games with 100 yards and a touchdown. They play a Denver defense that has surrendered the second most yards on the ground. To protect Deshaun Watson from Von Miller Houston will need to lean on Lamar Miller and this is a great place of value for the veteran back.
Jordan Howard @ Buffalo Bills $4700
The most questionable pricing this week to me was the fact that Tarik Cohen is priced $1500 more than Jordan Howard. Cohen offers more value on most weeks with his pass catching but Howard is the Bears back to have this week. With Buffalo’s historically bad offense on the other side, game script will favor the bruiser over Cohen. This seems like the type of week Howard reminds everyone that he is a skilled back that has been one of the league’s top rushers for two seasons. Buffalo ranks 11th in points allowed to running backs, and Howard can feast this weekend.
Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings vs Detroit Lions $8900
What a year Adam Thielen is having. He’s set a record for games with 100 yards to start the season. That pace shows no signs of slowing down, even with a Darius Slay and the Lions defense. Slay is one of the better shadow corners in the league. Still, Thielen will find ways to get open. Minnesota does a terrific job of moving him around and creating advantageous positions. Thielen has been a revelation this season and that should continue Sunday.
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens $8400
Battling Thielen for the NFL’s best receivers, as always, is Antonio Brown. Pittsburgh’s top option is coming off a two touchdown game against a tough Cleveland defense. Things do not get easier this weekend with the Steelers traveling to Baltimore. In the team’s meeting earlier this season Brown had a quiet game but was still able to find the end zone. On the road, it gets a little harder with Pittsburgh’s historical struggles. This could be a down week for Brown, but his upside is always high.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans @ Denver Broncos $8300
When Will Fuller went down, DeAndre Hopkins’ value decreased. Fuller was the perfect compliment to Hopkins in Houston’s offense and it was showing. The Texans’ offense was clicking, losing Fuller hurts. They will attempt to rebound after Tuesdays’ trade for former Bronco Demaryious Thomas. Now Hopkins will have a former Pro Bowl player opposite him for their matchup with Denver. The Broncos rank as one of the 12 hardest teams to throw against. Hopkins will get his points but this is a tough matchup for the elite receiver.
Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers $8100
There are three teams in the NFL to only allow five touchdown receptions to opposing receivers. They are the Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers. Mike Evans and the Buccaneers have a tough test this weekend. Throw in the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to be under center and this looks like a week to face Evans. Fitzpatrick clearly prefers DeSean Jackson over Evans.
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs @ Cleveland Browns $8000
Out of the top five receivers, the only one in a truly positive matchup is Tyreek Hill. The cog to the NFL’s scariest offense travels to Cleveland. The Browns rank tenth in points allowed to opposing receivers. Their defense is vastly improved but are young on the back end. Hill with Mahomes at the helm should be able to exploit that youth for a few deep shots. This is my favorite play in the top five just given the price disparity and Hills game breaking ability.
Value Wide Receivers
Marvin Jones Jr, Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings $5300
The trade of Golden Tate to the Eagles will decrease Tate’s eventual value but it elevated Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay’s value tremendously. Jones and Golladay are priced only $200 but give me Jones, the cheaper option here. Jones is coming off his best game of the season, a two touchdown performance against Seattle. He gets a tough Vikings matchup this weekend on the road but there will be targets to go around and Jones is the likely beneficiary with his experience over Golladay.
D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers $4300
Peg me as one of the guys that is all in on this Panthers offense this weekend against Tampa Bay. That includes rookie receiver D.J. Moore. The dynamic rookie has progressively gotten better each week. He’s coming off a game where the game script did not favor Carolina. It did not matter as Moore finished with 120 all purpose yards. He’s a great compliment to Devin Funchess at $1300 cheaper. Moore can find space against the league’s worst secondary.
Cortland Sutton, Denver Broncos vs Houston Texans $3900
Yet another player that will benefit from his teammate’s departure is Cortland Sutton of the Denver Broncos. The talented rookie receiver is part of the reason Denver was okay with trading Demaryious Thomas. Sutton is a big-bodied player who is a red zone threat. He has shown the ability to get open against NFL corners, despite his route running struggles in college. Now he gets a more featured role in a great matchup. Grab Sutton this week before his price rise that will happen in the coming weeks.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs @ Cleveland Browns $6600
Travis Kelce is battling Zach Ertz for the NFL’s best tight end right now. Ertz is on a bye meaning that Kelce is the only elite option left at the position for fantasy players this week. This is a relatively tough matchup for Kelce at Cleveland. The Browns rank 20th in points allowed to opposing tight ends and have only allowed two touchdown catches to the position all year. The price jump from Kelce down is massive and this is a week to find value at the tight end position.
Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins vs Atlanta Falcons $4800
A player that used to be in the category with Kelce was Jordan Reed. Now, as a shell of himself, he will try to dominate Sunday with Kelce’s former quarterback. The Redskins stay in Washington for a battle with Atlanta. The Falcons defense, ransacked with injuries, have played relatively well against tight ends. Injuries to the top two safeties and a linebacker should open the middle of the field for Reed. If it was not for Vernon Davis, Reed would be a slam dunk play.
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers $4700
The actual slam dunk play this week seems to be Greg Olsen of the Panthers. After catching a touchdown pass last week, the healthy Olsen is once against his quarterbacks favorite red zone target. Norv Turner’s offense will be friendly in the red zone for Olsen. This week they get a Buccaneers defense that is second in points allowed to tight ends. They’ve allowed the second most red zone touchdowns. Olsen is a great matchup here with almost $2000 in savings from the top.
David Njoku, Cleveland Browns vs Kansas City Chiefs $4600
Another former Miami Hurricane tight end, David Njoku, is in the midst of having a mini-breakout season. The young, athletic tight end is developing a rapport with Baker Mayfield as the season progresses. Njoku will be needed this week if Cleveland expects to keep up with the Chiefs offense. Luckily Kansas City has struggled to stop tight ends this season, ranking fifth in points allowed to the position. They’ve also allowed the second most yards to tight ends through eight weeks. Njoku is finally getting priced right but there are still good savings there.
Trey Burton, Chicago Bears @ Buffalo Bills $4500
For the past two weeks Trey Burton has been a great value play. His athletic playmaking is helping his young quarterback on early downs and in the red zone. This week he is the fifth highest priced tight end but still represents value. Chicago travels to play Buffalo on a short week with yet another change at quarterback. Buffalo has been tough defensively on opposing tight ends. Burton will need to find the end zone to make this one be worth it.
Value Tight End
O.J. Howard Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers $4300
The Buccaneers are having a wasted offensive explosion season. No team has thrown for more yards than the Buccaneers. Their turnover prone quarterbacks and leaky defense have squashed any success the offense may have. For fantasy that does not matter for the skill positions. One player having a great little run is O.J. Howard. He’s got four straight games with over 60 yards receiving and two touchdowns during that run. Howard is a big value against the NFL’s friendliest defense to opposing tight ends.
Chicago Bears @ Buffalo Bills $4100
Like clock work, the defense facing the Buffalo Bills offense will top the DraftKings pricing. There is a stat going around that says Buffalo is a historically bad offense. Now they’ll have to play Nathan Peterman yet again and the Bears defense is chomping at the bit. Chicago’s defense will dominate this game, and with Peterman’s likely two or three interceptions, it could be a historic scoring game for the Bears.
Carolina Panthers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers $3200
The Buccaneers are also going with a quarterback change with Ryan Fitzpatrick getting the nod on Sunday. Fitzpatrick showed life earlier this season leading the Buccaneers to a few offensive explosions. That magic may have run out but the threat of it is still there. Carolina’s defense has been good and getting better. This is still a tough play just because you never know with Fitzpatrick.
Value Defense/Special Teams
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins $2500
This is a tough week to find value on the defense position. Most of the best defenses are priced accordingly. One spot where there could be value is with the Jets. New York is actually a competent defense that has pieces to represent problems. They travel to Miami to play a Dolphins offense that may be making a quarterback switch. It does not matter who’s under center, New York can generate interior pressure and let their stellar secondary take over this game.
QB: Jared Goff $6000
RB: Kareem Hunt $7700
RB: Lamar Miller $5200
WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster $7200
WR: Robert Woods $7000
WR: D.J. Moore $4300
TE: David Njoku $4600
FLEX: Cortland Sutton $3900
D/ST: Chicago Bears $4100
This lineup is built around the stack of Jared Goff and Robert Woods. The Rams offense will be able to move the ball inside against the Saints. That game could become a shoot out so this is a good way to get a piece of the offense set to score big points. Most of the other players were discussed above. Only Kareem Hunt, who’s looking at a positive game flow, and JuJu Smith Schuster were not. Smith-Schuster is poised for a tough matchup but with the attention Antonio Brown will get, it may open up for the second year receiver. This is a lineup that grabs the top priced defense because they’re looking like a lock for a big week.
Check back on Sunday for an update with any injuries or changes that could impact these lineups.