If this was a column about predicting mid-game injuries then I would have hit it out of the park in week eight. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Marvin Jones, and Larry Donnell all went down to injures in their games and sank GPP lineups everywhere. Austin Seferian-Jenkins didn’t even suit up. We did have some hits in week eight though so let’s take a look before getting into the picks for week nine.
Green Bay’s vulnerability to outside runs was once again exposed in week eight. Ronnie Hillman paid off big time for us with two rushing touchdowns to go with 60 rushing yards.
The New York Jets got absolutely trounced by the Raiders, but Eric Decker showed up with six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown for 15 points.
What didn’t work:
Other than the aforementioned injuries we had some other players let us down. Jay Cutler only threw one touchdown pass and didn’t quite hit 2x value.
The Cardinals were forced into a pass first gameplan which hurt the selection of both Andre Ellington and David Johnson. Despite there being talk of him being more involved this week, Ellington put up a big fat zero in the box score. David Johnson didn’t fair much better. He could only manage 1 carry for four yards and two catches for 44 yards. Not nearly enough.
The Packers offense was stymied all night by Denver and that includes Randall Cobb who ended up not even returning 1x on our investment of $7600.
Let’s wash off the stench from the injury bug and get into week nine.
Ryan Tannehill – $7400
The Dolphins ran into a buzz saw last Thursday night, but in the two weeks prior, Tannehill put up some big points. This week they travel to Buffalo to face the Bills. Opposing quarterbacks are throwing 40 times per game on average against Buffalo. Tannehill is priced as the 14th ranked QB this week and because of the expected volume there is all kinds of room to outproduce his price.
Jameis Winston – $6700
All the early season hype this year was on Marcus Mariota but I liked Winston more coming into the season and I still think he is the much better quarterback. Winston is playing the NFL game. He is getting through his progressions, looking off defensive backs, making subtle moves to give his receivers a chance to get open, and most importantly, giving his receivers opportunities to make plays on the ball. This week he gets the Giants at home who just gave up a 50 point fantasy day to Drew Brees. Winston is unlikely to hit that lofty number but the Giants are on average giving up 21.4 points per game to opposing quarterbacks. I think Winston approaches the 20 point threshold this week which would more than pay off his $6700 salary. To hit GPP value (3x) we need just 20.1 points.
Adrian Peterson – $8400
Peterson has had “decent” games the last few weeks against relatively tough rushing defenses but has failed to get into the endzone. Expect some positive touchdown regression in week nine. He makes a nice contrarian pivot play from Todd Gurley and Devonta Freeman this week if you want to roster one of the high priced options. St. Louis is a tough defense but more so against the pass. As a run defense they are middle of the pack (16th). A closer look reveals they have allowed the more elite backs in the league to be productive. In his first game back Le’Veon Bell put up 132 total yards and a touchdown. Marshawn Lynch had 104 total yards. Even Matt Jones put up 146 total yards and two touchdowns. Let the crowd be scared off of Peterson because of the perceived matchup but don’t be fooled. With the Rams pass rush likely terrorizing Teddy Bridgewater this week bank on a big day from Peterson.
Matt Jones – $5800
The last time we saw Washington was week seven against Tampa Bay in a game Jones out-touched Alfred Morris (12 to 7). Morris has been relatively ineffective this season. Against the Buccaneers in week seven he carried the ball six times for five yards. Assuming rational coaching, Jones should see more of the workload going forward. This week against the Patriots, Jones will see a run defense allowing 23.3 points to opposing running backs. With DeSean Jackson’s return, the Patriots defense will most likely be too concerned about him beating them deep, rather than what the running game will do. Jackson stretching the defense should give plenty of opportunity for Jones to pay off his salary.
Demaryius Thomas – $8400
The chalk for the elite receivers this week are likely to be on the three priced above Thomas as they all have fantastic matchups. Thomas on the other hand will likely see a healthy dose of Vontae Davis which will scare off many DFS players. One of my favorite ways to be contrarian is to pay up for elite level players perceived to have a bad matchup. Thomas qualifies this week as he is used in a way that shouldn’t lend itself to getting completely shut down by Davis. Thomas is also a candidate for positive touchdown regression. He is currently fourth among wide receivers in both targets and receptions but only has one touchdown on the season. Last week against the Packers he was tackled inside the five-yard line twice which could have easily gave him an even more monstrous day than he already had. Denver should get up emotionally for this game in Indianapolis for their quarterback and I want a piece of the Broncos passing offense in week nine.
Allen Hurns – $6800
This one seems too easy. The secondary wide receiver playing against the Jets have out produced the team’s WR1 in each of the last four weeks. Three of those four weeks the WR2 has given their owners at least five catches, 81 yards, and a touchdown. Last week Amari Cooper was mostly held in check while Michael Crabtree feasted on seven catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. The reason for this trend is obviously Darrelle Revis who will be blanketing Allen Robinson this week. Hurns should be the next NFL WR2 in line for a big game against the weaker parts of the Jets’ secondary.
Steve Johnson – $5400
Keenan Allen is out for the season with a lacerated kidney injuring leaving the intermediate and underneath routes to Steve Johnson. Malcom Floyd will continue to operate deep while Johnson takes over the role proven to be a target monster all season long. Chicago is giving up the sixth most schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing wide receivers at 27.5 points per game. Stevie Johnson is going to be fun to watch Monday night against the Bears at home. For $5400, the new role combined with a fantastic matchup, makes Johnson a steal.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins– $5200
Let’s try this again. ASJ didn’t end up playing last week but that’s ok. His gift for sitting out an extra week is a game against the defense dead last against tight ends. You will once again have to watch the injury reports to make sure ASJ is playing, but as of Thursday he has been practicing and is expected to be on the field this week against the Giants.
Vernon Davis – $4900
New fantasy life was breathed into Vernon Davis’ career this week when he was traded to the Broncos for two sixth round picks. Owen Daniels and Virgil Green immediately take a back seat to Davis who has put up elite numbers in the past. Most DFS players will shy away from Davis his first week in the new offense but don’t be one of them. Davis is the kind of player who will play with a chip on his shoulder in a situation like this and I’d expect Peyton Manning to target him in the red zone this week against the Colts. If ASJ doesn’t suit up this week, or you need to save a few hundred dollars, consider Vernon Davis for your GPP lineups.
New Orleans – $4200
I almost always want to pick the cheapest defense that has a shot to put up some points. This week my cheap contrarian defense is the Saints. after giving up 49 points to the Giants last week I highly doubt the Saints defense will be more than 1% owned. This week though they get the Tennessee Titans at home in the Superdome. The Titans just fired their head coach and have no identity on offense. Marcus Mariota is likely to be back this week which is some cause for concern but I still have a hard time believing the Saints defense won’t be able to create turnovers and possibly score a touchdown in week nine. You can’t ask much more from a fantasy defense than to be a home favorite playing against a rookie quarterback. The Saints check all of those boxes this week.
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