Week 9 NFL DFS Starting Points: Vegas Lines
You know that targeting the highest scoring games and particularly the teams with the highest implied totals makes sense in fantasy football. This analysis will highlight exactly which situations are the best to take advantage of and which you might want to avoid within those games. We’ll also highlight a couple games to use caution with as well as some less obvious targets. The focus is on Sunday games, since both main DFS sites have eliminated Monday and Thursday games from their big tournaments.
The high scoring games:
New Orleans at San Francisco
Total 52, Saints -3.5
New Orleans has yet to play in a game with a total below 50 points. They’ve gone over four times, and under three times. Notably, the under games were all against good pass defenses (Kansas City, Seattle, and the New York Giants), which gives me confidence that the Saints will actually make good on their promising team total this weekend.
Regardless of “Drew Brees on the road”, he is playable even at $8,600 on FanDuel. This is a week I want to spend at QB, and while the best way to do so is in the next game, I think Brees makes a nice tournament pivot. He has five multi-touchdown games, including two on the road, and is averaging over 300 yards per game. Michael Thomas is still underpriced, I apologize for the broken record on him, but he’s simply a machine and has led the team in receiving yards two weeks in a row. Brandin Cooks is still getting his targets too, and was the guy catching a touchdown in Week 8. The Saints’ run game is what the buzz is all about this week…Mark Ingram getting benched for fumbling has created all kinds of Tim Hightower flashbacks. In fairness, Hightower did make the most of the opportunity, rushing for 102 yards against the Seahawks, while Ingram looked on with negative fantasy points from the bench. This sounds like it could be a hot-handed committee going forward, and while Ingram will probably get the first crack, Hightower is going to cut into his value. At $6,100 on FanDuel, I’m avoiding Hightower and Ingram this weekend.
The surprising implied team total this week is San Francisco (around 24), who has averaged 20.6 points per game. Colin Kaepernick has led them to 16 and 17 point finishes in consecutive losses to good to mediocre defenses. The Saints’ defense falls well below the level of Buffalo or Tampa Bay (in fact only the 49ers themselves have allowed more points to opponents), making a lot of cheap 49ers playable at home this week. Kaepernick, the starting running back (completely up in the air as of Tuesday), Torrey Smith and perhaps Vance McDonald, who had six targets in Week 7 from Kaepernick, are all in play in tournament lineups, though I would struggle to trust any of them in cash games.
Indianapolis at Green Bay
Total 54, Packers -7
Aaron Rodgers will probably be the most popular quarterback play in Week 9, coming off a nice game where he reconnected with Jordy Nelson (finally!), threw for four total touchdowns and ran for 60 yards. Indianapolis gives up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and with the highest implied team total of the week, Rodgers is almost a must-play for me. Don’t overthink it. Davante Adams scored 14 targets (caught 12 of them) in Week 8 to Nelson’s nine, while Ty Montgomery (sickle cell trait) and Randall Cobb (hamstring) sat out. This is what will differentiate lineups in Week 9, and is a good illustration of how using the chalk quarterback isn’t a death knell to tournament lineups. My personal strategy will be to use Adams in cash games and Nelson in tournaments.
On the other side of the field, the Colts just disappointed about 80% of the fantasy/DFS playing population. Luck passed for just 210 yards and had equal touchdowns and turnovers (two). T.Y. Hilton left the game without a catch in one of the best positional matchups around, but returned to end with one reception--crushing hopes and hearts as he did. Things look equally good against the Packers, a tough run D, but giving up the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers. Hilton’s ownership will likely plummet, but if he’s healthy, both he and Donte Moncrief are worth rolling out this weekend. Frank Gore is like the turtle who wins the race, coming through with that 10-15 fantasy points one way or another every week, but he’s not worth using against the Packers in Green Bay. Given the Colts propensity for turnovers, the Packers defense is not a bad low-end play this week if you can’t afford one of the elite units.
The low-scoring games:
Detroit at Minnesota
Total 41, Vikings -6
The Vikings defense was no match for Jay Cutler and Jordan Howard Monday night, (pause for dramatic eye rolls), but remain a force in the eye of Vegas. Their normally stout defense combined with their inability to move the ball since coming off their Week 6 bye makes this game a particularly tough one to call. I mean, every week I talk about the quarterback facing the Lions defense, which has given up the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and tight ends this year. However, that streak is going to have to come to an end as I simply can’t recommend Sam Bradford and Stefon Diggs in anything but a tournament flier at their current salaries and production. Kyle Rudolph remains a DFS option at the discount price of $5K on FanDuel. If you don’t believe me, check out C.J. Fiedorowitz Week 8 stats.
I do believe in the Vikings defense, and given the low total of the game and implied team total for Detroit in particular, won’t be using Matthew Stafford and company either. The state of the Vikings offense makes the Lions a tempting defense option, as they have scored at least seven fantasy points in five of eight games this year. I trust this low total, and will probably have some exposure to both defenses.
High team totals you might miss:
Jacksonville at Kansas City
Total 45.5, Chiefs -9
There isn’t a ton I can say right now except that the Kansas City Chiefs defense should be the highest owned unit in Week 9. This implied team total is directly related to the Chiefs ability to take advantage of and force turnovers, limit time of possession for opponents, and strong run game. However, we suspect Spencer Ware will be out, Jamal Charles is on injured reserve, and Charcandrick West will be the lead back. He will be among the most popular plays this week for sure, pending a change of status for Ware. The other big question mark is Alex Smith. For obvious and controversial reasons, the concussion reporting has been conflicting. Hopefully, the team used an abundance of caution in removing Smith from Sunday’s game unnecessarily and he will be ready to go this week. In the even that Nick Foles starts, he’s a great value play this week. He’s a higher volume deep passer than Smith, and was able to complete 16 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Both of those guys and Jeremy Maclin get a boost with Foles under center.
I’m over the Jaguars, their preseason hype, and their good matchup let downs. This is NOT a good matchup for Blake Bortles and his receivers. Using Bortles and Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns or even Marqise Lee in a multi-entry tournament to differentiate around a more responsible/respectable core of players is the only acceptable way to use them.