DFS Early Look: Week 9

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DFS Early Look: Week 9

Another week of NFL football is in the books, which means that more NFL football is right around the corner. With both Fanduel and DraftKings having released their Week 9 DFS pricing, it’s time to look ahead to next Sunday’s DFS slate.

Here are the most glaring values I’ve found after analyzing pricing.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers (AT KC)

DraftKings: $7,500 (QB4) | Fanduel: $8,100 (QB5)

Rodgers hasn’t posted any elite fantasy performances this season, with his best game (26.8 fantasy points) coming in Week 2 against Detroit. Regardless, the reigning MVP absolutely has merit in DFS week-to-week, we just need to be more conscious of matchup and scoring environment than we would with Konami Code QBs like Jalen Hurts or Kyler Murray.

Well, Rodgers has the best matchup and scoring environment of any QB in Week 9 thanks to a road matchup with Kansas City. The Chiefs have allowed 23.9 FPG to opposing QBs (2nd-worst), rank 3rd-worst in Football Outsiders pass defense DVOA (29.7%), and are giving up 269.8 passing yards per game (8th-most). By basically any metric, this is a bottom-5 pass defense, and KC may be contending for the overall-worst pass defense in the NFL.

This game offers a total of 55.5, and the Packers are 2.5-point underdogs with a relatively high implied team total of 26.5. Since 2016, Rodgers has averaged 25.4 DraftKings FPG and 23.9 Fanduel FPG as an underdog with an implied team total over 24.0 (9 instances). With Konami Code QBs acting as a black hole for ownership this season, Rodgers could be one of the highest owned ‘statue’ QBs of the year given the stellar matchup and sky-high total.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys (VS. DEN)

DraftKings: $7,000 (RB7) | Fanduel: $8,200 (RB6)

Among slate-eligible RBs, Zeke ranks 3rd in touches per game, 1st in XTD per game, 3rd in XFP per game, and 5th in FPG (18.0). Still, he’s the cheapest he’s been on both DFS sites since Week 5, despite a solid matchup with favorable game script against Denver.

The Broncos rank 7th-worst in Football Outsiders rush defense DVOA (-4.9%), just lost one of their best run defenders in Von Miller (83.0 PFF rush defense grade), and have given up 4.8 YPC over their last 3 games (9th-worst).

Not to mention Zeke has historically performed quite well in similar scoring environments, averaging 23.2 DraftKings FPG and 20.2 Fanduel FPG in his career when the Cowboys are favored by 7.0-points or more. If extrapolated over the full season, those numbers would currently rank 2nd among all RBs. Zeke is clearly a top-5 RB option on the Week 9 main slate, but just isn’t priced like it.

Cordarrelle Patterson, RB, Atlanta Falcons (AT NO)

DraftKings: $6,300 (RB11) | Fanduel: $7,000 (RB13)

CPat ranks 26th among RBs in total touches (96), but 6th in FPG (19.2) largely due to his receiving role and outstanding red zone efficiency. Patterson has scored 0.5 more TDs per game than expected, the most of any RB. But, it may not be just pure luck, as Patterson is the 4th-most efficient runner in NFL history (5.6 career YPC) and has been playing outstanding football (87.7 overall PFF grade). Plus we have never seen a high-volume CPat — he’s already eclipsed his career high in touches, and it’s only Week 7. We need more data points to know for sure, but Patterson is looking like a Tyreek Hill- or Derrick Henry-type of player, as in we can actually rely on him to consistently exceed his usage-based expectation.

His 5.9 targets per game rank 4th among RBs, and unlike almost all other RBs, Patterson is running WR routes — as his 3.5 aDOT and 22 targets from WR alignments leads the position. With Calvin Ridley out indefinitely, it’s fair to assume Patterson is the No. 2 pass catcher on this team, on top of the 12.3 carries per game he had been seeing. Week 9 ushers in a tougher matchup against New Orleans, but Patterson’s ‘positionless’ nature makes him less likely to succumb to the Saints outstanding run defense (18.3 FPG allowed, 4th-best) than pure RBs like teammate Mike Davis. Patterson could easily be priced about $1,000 higher on both sites, and he should be quite popular in Week 9 given the price discount relative to his production.

Zack Moss, RB, Buffalo Bills (AT JAX)

DraftKings: $5,300 (RB22) | Fanduel: $6,000 (RB25)

Moss has seen at least 14 touches in every game the Bills have won by multiple scores. And in Week 9 they play Jacksonville, as a 14.5-point favorite. The Jags have given up the 4th-most rushing FPG to opposing RBs (17.2), and the 2nd-most TDs (8). Moss is the undisputed leader for Buffalo inside the red zone, leading the team (and ranking 8th in the NFL) with 4.0 opportunities inside the 20 yard line per game. That’s reflected well on Moss’ TD expectation, as he also ranks 8th among RBs with 0.7 XTD per game. That usage in a game environment where the Bills should face plenty of positive gamescript suggests immense TD upside. Moss isn’t in play for cash games, but he is an ideal tournament play, especially on Fanduel, as a multi-TD performance is absolutely within reach.

Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (VS. GB)

DraftKings: $7,900 (WR2) | Fanduel: $8,500 (WR2)

This is the cheapest Hill has been on DraftKings since Week 12 of 2020. And he costs 5.6% less than Davante Adams on Fanduel, despite the fact Hill has been 4.3% more productive. Most importantly, Hill is seeing the best volume of his career, averaging 11.3 targets per game (+2.3 from his previous career high), 3.3 red zone targets per game (+0.4), and 18.9 XFP per game (+1.9).

Given that Hill is a player who has always historically outperformed his expectation, the fact he’s seeing a workload on par with Davante Adams is absolutely huge. If Cooper Kupp wasn’t having potentially the greatest fantasy WR season of all-time, we’d undoubtedly be talking about Hill as the favorite to be the overall WR1 this season.

And he gets to play in the best scoring environment of Week 9, facing the Packers as 2.5-point favorites with a total of 55.5. Not surprisingly, Hill has crushed high-total games in his career, averaging 24.7 DraftKings FPG and 20.1 Fanduel FPG in games with a total over 54.0 (23 instances). And in that sample, Hill has scored over 40.0 DraftKings points an incredible 5 times (22% hit rate). He’s the top tournament WR play of the slate, and I don’t think it’ll be particularly close unless his projected ownership gets out of hand, which is certainly a possibility.

Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens (VS. MIN)

DraftKings: $6,000 (WR15)

Brown is inexplicably priced as the WR15 on DraftKings despite ranking 5th among slate-eligible WRs in DK FPG (19.4). Compared to 2020, Brown is seeing 1.9 more targets per game, 1.0 more deep targets per game, 3.6 more XFP per game, and 2.0 more opportunities in the red zone or end zone per game. And the Ravens expected pass rate is 7% higher than in 2020. That’s a serious usage bump for a player who is currently playing the best football of his career, averaging a career high 2.29 YPRR and posting a career high 80.1 PFF receiving grade.

Brown’s Week 9 matchup with Minnesota certainly isn’t one to shy away from, as they’ve allowed the 9th most FPG to opposing outside WRs (18.9) and just got shredded for 341 passing yards on Sunday Night Football against Dallas. Should his current usage continue, within a few weeks I’d expect Brown’s DraftKings price to more closely mirror his Fanduel price, where he clocks in as the WR5 (by salary).

Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys (VS. DEN)

DraftKings: $5,700 (WR18) | Fanduel: $6,900 (WR15)

Cooper has only been cheaper than $6,000 on DraftKings in 5 of his last 25 games, and cheaper than $7,000 on Fanduel in 10 of his last 25 games. With Dak Prescott likely to play in Week 9, this is an excellent opportunity to grab Cooper at a relative discount in GPPs.

Dallas offers an implied team total of 29.25 this week, and Cooper has historically averaged 19.0 DraftKings FPG and 15.6 Fanduel FPG when Dallas has a team total higher than 28.0 over the last four seasons (8 instances). Those numbers would currently rank 10th and 9th among WRs this season, but more importantly, Cooper has borderline unmatched single-game upside. Since 2018, only Tyreek Hill (6) and Davante Adams (5) have more games of 35.0 fantasy points than Cooper (4). Comparable game breaking upside to Hill and Adams, for a roughly 30% salary discount on both sites? Yes please. At (hopefully) moderate ownership, Cooper is one of the top WR plays in Week 9 tournaments.

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers (VS. ARI)

DraftKings: $4,100 (WR54) | Fanduel: $5,500 (WR43)

In Week 8, Brandon Aiyuk finally earned the usage we all hoped he would see this season, granted the result wasn’t spectacular, as he finished the game with just 10.5 fantasy points. Still, that’s comparable usage to what Aiyuk saw last season, when he averaged 15.4 FPG, a mark that would currently be good for WR23 on the year.

With how surprising Aiyuk’s usage has been this season, it’s incredibly difficult to put our full faith in the idea he’s a full time player again. But, he’s certainly trending in the right direction and if there was ever a week to roster the sophomore WR in GPPs, it would be in Week 9 given he’s the cheapest he’s been on DraftKings since Week 7 of 2020 and $775 cheaper than his average Fanduel salary over the past 12 weeks. And he’s facing Arizona, in a game the 49ers are all but guaranteed to need to throw the ball as much as nearly any team of the Week 9 main slate. With the Cardinals giving up 24.8 FPG to opposing outside WRs (8th-most), I’m viewing this as the ideal buy-low spot in GPPs, especially on DraftKings, for Aiyuk.

Dan Arnold, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars (VS. BUF)

DraftKings: $3,400 (TE15) | Fanduel: $5,100 (TE16)

Over the last three weeks, Dan Arnold has ranked 3rd on the Jags in target share (16.3%), 3rd in targets per game (7.7), 3rd in routes (99), and 3rd in FPG (10.0). Or, in other words, that’s the same target share as Zach Ertz, 0.5 more targets per game than Mark Andrews, a comparable number of routes per game as Mike Gesicki, and the same FPG as C.J. Uzomah. And every single one of those players is at least $500 more expensive on DraftKings and $300 more expensive on Fanduel than Arnold. Jacksonville went out of their way to trade former Round 1 pick CJ Henderson for Arnold, and they’ve shown in the month he’s been with the team that they clearly want to make him an active part of the offense.

Arnold faces a difficult matchup with Buffalo in Week 9, but the Jags are 14.5-point dogs, and that means plenty of pass volume for this offense, and thus, routes and targets for Arnold. I’m anticipating Arnold to be the most popular salary-saving TE for the second week in a row.

Jake Tribbey is a recent college graduate and lifelong football fan obsessed with extracting every edge possible from NFL DFS, Best Ball, and player props/futures.

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