Week 9 DFS Lessons Learned


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Week 9 DFS Lessons Learned

Another week in the NFL and another week or hit-and-miss calls for DFS. Getting a pick or recommendation right in 2020 isn’t harder than usual, but it is harder than usual to have a great week with mostly hits, since anyone is capable of doing anytime at any time in the league this year, so things are a bit more volatile.

The best thing I did in this column last week was to write that DFS players might be wise to narrow down the field of possible QBs to only the truly elite, and I specifically mentioned Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, Deshaun Watson, and Justin Herbert (and Joe Burrow, who was off in Week 9). I recommended all four last week in the column with very good results.

I did like Derek Carr at his low price point and I featured him, but for the second week in a row his attempts were down, which doesn’t make much sense, since 57 points were scored in the game and the Chargers just missed making that total 64 with a game-winning TD on the game’s last play. Carr did get 2 TDs, but he’s less appealing for now, since we can’t trust they will throw the ball more than 30 times. I also listed Drew Lock, who was included mainly because I expected a lot of volume, and we got that with 48 attempts.

We may now be back with Josh Allen being a very safe play, but his matchup was very good and the Seahawks played a lot of man coverage, which Allen shreds. But Allen may be back. Aaron Rodgers was not listed because he played Thursday, but he’s certainly been a consistent producer this year with only one bad game.

So the QB calls this week were great - except one guy: Tom Brady. I’m not sure if we should burn the tape (probably) or be genuinely concerned, but that was as ugly as it gets. Heck, that may have been the worst game of Brady’s 20-year NFL career.

Finding values at any position for DFS is always fun, and I’ll continue to look for guys like Drew Lock in Week 9. But for the most part, I’m inclined to use one of these consistent performers and call it a day in terms of searching out the values or sleepers:

Kyler Murray

Russell Wilson

Patrick Mahomes

Deshaun Watson

Justin Herbert

Aaron Rodgers

Josh Allen

Joe Burrow

Pretty much everyone else at QB is week-to-week, so I’m very inclined to pay up at QB.

I may need to also pay up for RB because the position continues to be a real pain in the ass. David Johnson got hurt (concussion), but considering his backup Duke Johnson is currently the RB5 for the week, I can’t get too upset about that call.

But James Conner? I’m upset because he’s the latest reminder about how hard RB has been this year. Conner had scored in 5 of his last 6 and had 20+ carries in 2 of his previous 3 games, so he was looking good going in against a Cowboys team that had faced a league-high 27.9 carries per game from RBs for the second-most rushing yards per game (138.6). So of course the Steelers looked past the Cowboys and came out flat, and Conner was rendered completely useless. It means nothing going forward, of course, and he could be the RB4 next week

But the RB position has been pretty brutal, and a fun game for me now each week is to look at the names of all the scrubs in the top-20 for the week, and there are many each week. This week, the names were: JD McKissic, Duke Johnson, Kalen Balage, Wayne Gallman, Ryan Nall, and Devontae Booker.

So maybe it’s time to pay up for QB and RB every week and focus on finding the best WR/TE values. Or, if cheaping out on receivers is hard, maybe we can focus on the cheap guys and just get a solid return on their price point and spend the money elsewhere. Of course, I tried that last week with David Johnson and DeeJay Dallas and it didn’t work well. I will say this when it comes to the RBs this past week: Other than maybe Christian McCaffrey (and I was not buying into the “ease him back” argument), I have no regrets about leaving a guy off the list.

Things should improve when we get Joe Mixon, Miles Sanders, and Nick Chubb back, but as of right now, the list of high-end RBs I’m willing to pay for almost any given week is small:

Alvin Kamara

Christian McCaffrey

Dalvin Cook

That’s it. End list.

Beyond those three, maybe we willingly pay up for these guys:

Derrick Henry

Aaron Jones

James Conner

And, of course, we’ll see how these guys are looking in the near future:

Joe Mixon

Miles Sanders

Nick Chubb

The WRs calls were decent, other than the flop of the week in Tyler Lockett. Honestly, I’m so caught up in listing guys who will actually produce in the article, that I’m not paying as much attention to ownership, but Lockett was very chalky. Seattle came out flat on the road and across the country, so I’m not shocked the streaky Lockett came up small (he did just miss a TD, at least). In retrospect, Lockett has been volatile, his team traveled to the east coast, which usually is a challenge for them, and he was very popular, so Lockett fit the profile of a good fade. I’ll be paying more attention to picks that may blow up in your face like Lockett going forward.

I tried out Justin Jefferson, and I feel it was a good call. He just missed a TD and he averaged 16 yards a target. The problem was, of course, they threw the ball only 20 times. From now on, I’ve got to examine the matchup more for Dalvin Cook because if Cook can go off, they will give him every chance to with 20+ touches, which is killing Jefferson and Adam Thielen.

I did get the volume with Jerry Jeudy, which was nice, and the rest of the recommendations were decent-to-good with Marvin Jones, Stefon Diggs, Julio Jones, and even Danny Amendola coming through.

I do regret not listing some of the more stable and productive guys who got it done yet again, so it’s time to bust out another list of options I trust. The WR position is more trustworthy guys than any other position right now, including:

DK Metcalf

Tyreek Hill

Stefon Diggs

Keenan Allen

Terry McLaurin

Will Fuller

Tyler Boyd

Brandon Aiyuk

A.J. Brown

Christian Kirk

The TE position is truly void of many trustworthy options, so it continues to be a challenge to isolate the best plays. One thing we know is that TJ Hockenson is very reliable, and he’s been in the article a lot this year and the last two weeks. Obviously, Travis Kelce is a great option most weeks. Darren Waller is also pretty darn reliable, but TE is tough.

I will say that Hayden Hurst is looking quite decent right now, but his upside is capped because he doesn’t score much, and Eric Ebron has also been sneaky-good.

But TE is pretty rough, so it continues to look like you’re best served paying up, going cheap, or using Hockenson.

Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Famer John Hansen has been an industry leader and pioneer since 1995, when he launched Fantasy Guru. His content has been found over the years on ESPN.com, NFL.com, SiriusXM, DirecTV, Yahoo!, among others outlets. In 2015 he sold Fantasy Guru and in 2020 founded FantasyPoints.com.