The 2020-21 NFL season is in full swing and there are huge Week 9 DFS contests being offered on DraftKings with big prize money up for grabs.
In this weekly column, we will identify the best plays, values, and tournament options for your NFL DFS lineups. We’ll also offer the best “fades” at each position, indicating which players to avoid when building your lineups.
Keep in mind that some of the plays offered are better for “Cash” games, i.e. 50/50, H2H, and Double-Up formats that require a more conservative approach. Some plays are recommended for GPP (Guaranteed Prize Pool) tournaments where it’s necessary to take more risk in the hopes of separating from a large field. Those GPP plays can also be ideal for Best Ball formats where players with higher upside are valuable.
For those interested in the DFS Single-Game Slate contests, here’s a quick recap:
In the “Showdown” mode on DraftKings, there are five utility spots and a “Captain” slot, who receives 1.5x multiplier for all DK points accrued. Pricing differs for players when selected in the Captain spot versus the FLEX spots, with all players required to fit under a $50k salary cap. All options are in play from QBs, RBs and WRs, to kickers and D/ST from each team.
Keep an eye on injury news right up until kickoff since things can change quickly in the NFL. Please note any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if he doesn’t respond well in warm-ups.
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Best Play: Russell Wilson ($7.6k)
Wilson is a surgeon in the red zone and has the most reliable floor-ceiling combination among QBs because of his team situation. The Seahawks have posted a 63.2% pass-play rate over their last 3 games and Wilson will be asked to carry the load again with rookie DeeJay Dallas likely to start at RB again. The Bills are coughing up the 11th-most points per red zone trip (5.25) and rank 22nd in DVOA pass defense. Their struggling secondary has benefitted from inclement weather in recent weeks, but this Sunday it’s supposed to be 60 degrees with light winds in Buffalo.
Value Play: Justin Herbert ($6.8k)
Herbert has been fantastic against the blitz with the fourth-highest completion rate (54.7%) when pressured. He has the third-most Money Throws (passes requiring exceptional skill in clutch moments) in the NFL despite playing just 5.5 games. The rookie should keep rolling at home this week against a Raiders team that ranks 27th in DVOA pass defense and 30th in adjusted sack rate (4.2%) this year. With the Chargers using a carousel of RBs, Herbert is seeing plenty of volume and he should be aggressive regardless of game flow after a conservative approach caused his team to blow a 21-point lead in Denver last week.
GPP Play: Jake Luton ($4.9k)
Playing Luton as an extreme value would provide tons of flexibility for GPP lineups. The Oregon State product posted a 28:3 TD:INT ratio over 11 games as a senior and will likely see heavy volume with the Jaguars (+7) expected to trail throughout Sunday’s home game against Houston. Luton’s lack of mobility is a concern behind a subpar line, but Houston ranks 23rd in DVOA pass defense and allows the most TDs per drive (.371) in the NFL this year.
Fade: Kyler Murray ($7.8k)
Murray’s rushing ability gives him huge upside, but the scoring system at DK favors passers who routinely top 300 yards. Murray ranks 14th with a 71.6 total QBR, per Football Outsiders, and is averaging 263.8 passing YPG this season. After struggling in the opening weeks, the Dolphins defense has become very stingy with Byron Jones (groin) starting at CB opposite Xavien Howard. Miami has allowed 4 passing TDs with 7 picks and 16 sacks over their last 5 games while facing the other NFC West offenses in that span. If the Dolphins contained Russell Wilson, it’s possible they can contain Murray.
Best Play: Dalvin Cook ($8.2k)
Obviously Cook will be a popular play after erupting for the most DK points (51.6) by a RB this season. But he’s established a floor of around 20 DK points and has a chance to blow past his projections again in a juicy home matchup. Detroit allows 130 rushing YPG and ranks 28th against power run blocking, per Football Outsiders. Minnesota’s offensive line is creating the third-most RB Yards (5.02) per carry and Cook has evaded a league-high 51 tackles with the second-most Yards Created (286) over just 6 appearances.
Value Play: Zack Moss ($5.2k)
The Bills aren’t going to phase Devin Singletary out of their game plan entirely, but Moss has passed the eye test as the superior back. The rookie averages the fourth-most Yards Created (2.12) per touch and handled 6 carries with 1 target in the red zone last week. Now that he’s healthy, Moss has a stranglehold on work at the goal line and is also the favorite to rack up receptions out of the backfield, which could prove to be huge if the Seahawks build a lead.
GPP Play: Chase Edmonds ($6.8k)
Kenyan Drake (ankle) is questionable for Week 9 and DFS players should almost hope he’s active so that Edmonds will see lower ownership. The 5-foot-9, 205-pound speedster has lapped Drake by averaging 7.2 yards per touch and 5.6 True YPC (stat courtesy of PlayerProfiler. Miami ranks dead last in DVOA rush defense and has allowed the seventh-most receiving YPG (46.3) to opposing RBs. The Dolphins will have to focus tons of attention on Kyler Murray, allowing Edmonds to leak out for easy receptions.
Fade: Derrick Henry ($7.9k)
Henry has proven to be matchup proof and he brings a high floor to the table with the Titans (-5) favored at home. But the Bears defense allows just 20.8 PPG and the lowest third-down conversion rate (29.8%) in the NFL by far. Chicago plays at the third-slowest pace and there simply might not be enough possessions for Henry to top 100 rushing yards and pay off his salary.
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Best Play: Keenan Allen ($7.0k)
There are few WRs more reliable than Allen when it comes to Cash plays in PPR formats. The Chargers top wideout has drawn double-digit target in every game this season besides the Saints game he left due to injury. Allen is averaging 10.8 targets per game over his last 8 meetings with the Raiders and his new QB Justin Herbert is targeting him on 26.2% of red zone throws. Raiders slot CB Lamarcus Joyner was toasted for 10 receptions on 14 targets by Chris Godwin in Week 7, and Allen is a superior talent.
Value Play: Diontae Johnson ($5.0k)
The Steelers WRs predictably struggled in a brutal matchup with the physical Ravens CBs, but now they can get anything they want against Dallas. The Cowboys have coughed up the second-most TDs (14) to WRs and allow 11.9 yards per reception. Johnson is drawing the fourth-most targets per snap (19.6%) among WRs and is fully healthy now. Expect the Steelers to squeak the “greasy wheel” by targeting him after he showed frustration in Baltimore.
GPP Play: Tyler Lockett ($6.8k)
Lockett and D.K. Metcalf continue to take turns posting huge days during Russell Wilson’s MVP campaign and this could be a good week for Lockett with Tre’Davious White set to shadow Metcalf. White is an elite corner, but the rest of the Bills secondary has struggled with RCB Josh Norman looking washed up. When he lines up in the slot, Lockett will see a lot Taron Johnson, who allows an average of 1.3 yards of separation per route. Lockett is eighth among WRs in average separation (2.32) and plays with the most accurate QB in the league.
Fade: Julio Jones ($7.2k)
The Broncos were burned downfield a few times last week thanks to brilliant tight window throws by Justin Herbert. At this stage in his career, Matt Ryan is incapable of matching that accuracy or strength in the face of a good pass rush. Denver ranks sixth in adjusted sack rate (8%) and 10th in DVOA pass defense this season. If A.J. Bouye (concussion) is ruled out or Falcons No. 2 WR Calvin Ridley (foot) can’t go, Jones will become a better play, but fading him is still a good strategy in this matchup.
Best Play: Darren Waller ($5.8k)
When we listed Waller and Derek Carr as top plays last week, it was before the forecast turned into a nightmare in Cleveland. The 6-foot-6 TE disappointed with a weak 5-28-0 line under those circumstances, but is bound to bounce back in southern California this Sunday. The Chargers are coughing up 4.9 receptions per game to TEs and have allowed 5 TDs to the position. This game has a healthy 53.5-point total and Waller is the Raiders undisputed top receiver with the highest target share (27.6%) among TEs.
Value Play: Evan Engram ($4.3k)
Daniel Jones continues to showcase his upside and athleticism, but is struggling in the red zone. His ability to move the ball downfield gives Engram a solid floor considering his role. Engram leads all TEs in route participation (96.3%) and ranks third in targets (54). His minimal red zone role has kept his price tag down, but he could find success against a Washington team that’s allowed 5 TDs to his position.
GPP Play: Noah Fant ($4.6k)
Drew Lock galvanized the Broncos locker room and led a spirited comeback to top the Chargers last week. Fant caught 7 of 9 targets for a modest 47 yards and appears to be fully recovered from his ankle injury, while Tim Patrick (hamstring) remains out. Fant has the third most unrealized Air Yards (201) at his position and that’s exactly the type of potential we look for in GPP formats. He has the potential to pop in an indoor matchup against the Falcons’ 29th-ranked pass defense.
Fade: Mark Andrews ($4.8k)
Well coached teams are aware of Lamar Jackson’s preference to target Andrews in the red zone and we’ve seen the Chiefs, Eagles, and Steelers hold him under 32 scoreless yards in recent matchups. Now he faces a Colts team that allows the fewest DK PPG to opposing TEs and is the only team not to allow a TD to the position. Indy’s athletic LBs should ensure that Andrews is accounted for in the red zone.