Hello and welcome to the Week 9 Sunday Morning Update. What is this article? Mostly it’s a follow-up to yesterday’s big DFS piece – Scott Barrett’s Week 9 DFS Breakdown. But this article should also offer some utility of its own for redraft and dynasty players.
Each week Graham Barfield and I will be breaking down the key injuries, news, and notes from Saturday / Sunday and will be updating this article up until kickoff (1PM EST). And we’ll also be providing a sort of TL;DR to yesterday’s big DFS article. Who are my core cash game plays? Who are Graham’s preferred low-owned plays for tournaments? You can find that at the end of this article.
Key News, Injury Updates, & Notes
Sunday Morning Update
– Christian McCaffrey and Sam Darnold are both ACTIVE. I’m expecting CMC to be on a pitch count and get about 60% of his usual role.
– James Robinson (heel/ankle) is OUT, as expected. Carlos Hyde stepped in and played on 66% of the Jags’ snaps and got 9 carries and 8 targets in relief of Robinson against Seattle last week. Hyde is in play at 4.9K on DK and 5.6K on FD.
– For the Ravens… Sammy Watkins is OUT. Latavius Murray is OUT. Rashod Bateman is ACTIVE. Watkins missing is a small boost to Hollywood Brown and Bateman, but the bigger news is that the Vikings are going to be without S Harrison Smith. Keep in mind, Danielle Hunter is also OUT. This is an amazing spot for Lamar Jackson & Co.
– Donovan Peoples-Jones, Jadeveon Clowney, Harrison Bryant, and Denzel Ward are all ACTIVE.
– Cole Beasley is ACTIVE.
– Kenny Golladay is ACTIVE.
– Huge news: Tua Tagovailoa has a small fracture in his finger and is OUT. Jacoby Brissett will start. This is obviously a small downgrade to Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki’s outlook, but the volume should still be there. In the four games that Brissett played in, his target distribution was: Gesicki (19%), Waddle (18%), Parker (16%), and Gaskin (13%). Parker is now on I.R. and Preston Williams was demoted last week due to disciplinary reasons, so Waddle and Gesicki’s pathway to targets is still clear.
– At this point, it’d be a shock if Kyler Murray (ankle) or DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) suit up today. A.J. Green is still on the COVID list, too, and is OUT. Captain Checkdown Colt McCoy will get the start.
– NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that Rashod Bateman’s missed practice on Friday was just a rest / maintenance day. He should be full-go. Meanwhile, Sammy Watkins is a game-time decision.
– Per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, the Giants are expecting Kenny Golladay to play today. His return means that Daniel Jones will have Golladay and Darius Slayton as his outside WRs and Kadarius Toney in the slot.
– Sam Darnold (bad) is planning to start barring any pregame setbacks per Schefter.
– Cowboys WRs Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb are good to go. Michael Gallup (calf) is still on IR and is OUT. Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Tom Pellissero said that there are “no restrictions” on Dak Prescott – which is great news. More on Dallas below in Contrarian Angles.
– Browns WR Donovan Peoples-Jones is expected to play.
- Per Adam Schefter, “49ers’ TE George Kittle, who returns Sunday from injured reserve after battling a calf injury, will be on a pitch count vs. the Cardinals and is expected to play roughly half the game.”
- Per Adam Schefter, “49ers’ RB Elijah Mitchell (rib) and WR Deebo Samuel (calf), each listed as questionable for Sunday, both are expected to play vs. Cardinals, per sources. But team also uncertain how long each player will be able to go, and is hoping there are no setbacks.”
- Per Adam Schefter, “Jaguars don’t sound optimistic that RB James Robinson will play Sunday due to the ankle injury that has him questionable, but they want to test him in pre-game warmups before making any decisions, per source.”
- Per Adam Schefter, “Cardinals’ QB Kyler Murray, listed as questionable for today due to a sprained ankle, is expected to test his injury in pre-game warmups before Arizona makes a final decision on his status. Cardinals want to be careful. If Murray can’t start, Colt McCoy will.”
- Per Adam Schefter, “Arizona doesn’t sound as optimistic that WR DeAndre Hopkins, who is listed as questionable due for Sunday due to a hamstring injury, will be able to play. But Cardinals also want to see Hopkins in pre-game warmups before making decision.”
- Per Adam Schefter, “Ravens’ WR Rashod Bateman, listed as questionable for Sunday with a groin injury, is expected to play vs. the Vikings, per source.”
- Per Adam Schefter, "Panthers cleared QB Sam Darnold to start Sunday and activated RB Christian McCaffrey."
- Saints QB Taysom Hill is EXPECTED TO PLAY. Trevor Siemian will start at QB.
- Giants RB Saquon Barkley is OUT. Sterling Shepard and Dante Pettis are OUT.
- Ravens RB Latavius Murray is OUT.
- Chargers RB Justin Jackson is OUT.
- Dolphins WRs DeVante Parker and Will Fuller are OUT.
- Saints WR Ty Montgomery is OUT.
- Bills TE Dawson Knox is OUT.
- Texans TE Pharaoh Brown is OUT.
Things I Think
I think this is a great week. Maybe our best slate yet.
I think I don’t have much to add from yesterday’s Slate Breakdown, beyond some of the ownership projections that surprised me:
- Lamar Jackson stacks are going to be a lot more chalky than I initially thought. So, I’m considering pivoting to some of the lesser-owned game stacks I liked and talked about in the Slate Breakdown. But I’ll have Justin Jefferson on the near-entirety of my Jackson stacks, and he doesn’t expect to be too highly owned. So, maybe that will be enough for me to be unique (7% projected ownership).
- For TEs in GPPs, I’m only really looking at Albert O., Dalton Schultz, Dallas Goedert, and maybe Tyler Conklin on Lamar teams. With Tua Tagovailoa out, I’m a lot less excited to Mike Gesicki, and am now fully off Jaylen Waddle. (Though, Graham is a little more optimistic it seems.)
- I still don’t know why Myles Gaskin is chalk (14%) and no one wants to play Devontae Booker (5%). Gaskin is in line for something like 60-65% of the snaps and 60-65% of the backfield XFP, but Booker is at like 95%.
- Some ownership that surprised me as being too low: Kadarius Toney (8%), Jerry Jeudy (4%), Rondale Moore (3%), and Brandon Aiyuk (2%).
- Oh, and Rashod Bateman is now a decent option for Lamar stacks, with Sammy Watkins ruled out. Wes Huber wrote about him here.
Graham Barfield’s Contrarian Angles
Overlooked Stacks / Games
Dak Prescott + CeeDee Lamb
Dak is back and fully healthy. He’s projected for sub-5% ownership on FanDuel and DraftKings and stacking him with Lamb provides excellent, tournament-winning leverage over Ezekiel Elliott – who will be top-3 in ownership among RBs. Wes also loves Lamb’s matchup and he’ll be fairly popular, but Dak won’t be.
The Cowboys put up a whopping 34.2 points per game in Dak's first six starts, which, for reference, would lead the league over the Bills (32.7) this season. Dallas’ high-powered, fast-paced offense led their games to going 5-1 towards the over in Weeks 1-6 and this sets up as another potential blowup spot. Before facing an injured Baker Mayfield on a short-week on TNF two weeks ago and Washington in Week 8, the Broncos yielded 23 points to the Ravens, 27 to the Steelers, and 34 to the Raiders in three-straight losses. Now Denver is without Von Miller and CB Bryce Callahan.
Contrarian Plays With Slate-Breaking Upside
(Projected ownership in parenthesis).
Dalvin Cook (9% DK | 8% FD) – Any time Cook is projecting for under-10% ownership, he has slate-breaking upside. Trailing game-script is likely as 6-point dogs, which should help boost Cook’s passing game floor. Ravens are also allowing the fourth-most receiving YPG to opposing backfields.
Marquise Brown (2% FD only) – Hollywood is going to be popular on DraftKings, but he’s priced up on FanDuel and projecting to be very contrarian despite the fact that Lamar Jackson is going to be chalk. He’s the way to stack up Lamar Jackson and have a bit of leverage.
Mike Gesicki (9% DK | 5% FD) – Got 7, 9, and 8 targets in the three games DeVante Parker missed and turned it into 43, 115, and 85 yards. Texans giving up 11th-most YPG to TEs (61.5).
Chalk Plays (Ownership Projections)
- Hunter Renfrow, WR (23.2%)
- Ezekiel Elliott, RB (21.3%)
- Austin Ekeler, RB (20.8%)
- Alvin Kamara, RB (20.8%)
- Tyreek Hill, WR (20.4%)
- Lamar Jackson, QB (15.0%)
- Amari Cooper, WR (15.0%)
- D.J. Moore, WR (14.7%)
- Tee Higgins, WR (14.7%)
- Myles Gaskin, RB (14.3%)
- Tyreek Hill, WR (22.4%)
- Austin Ekeler, RB (21.8%)
- Ezekiel Elliott, RB (21.3%)
- Stefon Diggs, WR (21.2%)
- Josh Allen, QB (18.7%)
- Myles Gaskin, RB (17.3%)
- Deebo Samuel, WR (16.7%)
- Joe Mixon, RB (16.3%)
- Hunter Renfrow, WR (16.2%)
- CeeDee Lamb, WR (16.0%)
Cash Core (DK/FD)
QB: Lamar Jackson / Josh Allen, Tyrod Taylor / Jordan Love
RB: Austin Ekeler, Ezekiel Elliott, Devontae Booker
WR: Tyreek Hill, Kadarius Toney, Amari Cooper, Marquise Brown (DK), Jarvis Landry, Jerry Jeudy, Rondale Moore / Brandon Aiyuk
TE: Albert Okwuegbunam
DEF: Chiefs DST, 49ers DST