Note: All FanDuel ownership percentages in this article are publicly available. FanDuel currently displays the ownership percentages of any players in a user's lineup once a contest begins. This allows users to enter a variety of lineups in Thursday contests to record ownership percentages for the players that they selected in those contests. The percentages come from the big $2 Thursday NFL Snap. It’s a large-field tournament with thousands of entries. These numbers don’t have much meaning for cash games, but are a great tool for GPPs. Below, I noted a handful of players whose ownership stood out to me. You can access the full list in our Season Pass.
QB Tom Brady vs. Redskins (16.1 percent) — Brady is the most expensive quarterback on the slate and was the highest-owned one Thursday night not named Andy Dalton. Even with that, there’s a good chance tournament-winning lineups will have Brady at quarterback. It’s just too good of a spot not to use Brady. The Patriots are 14-point favorites with an implied team total of 33.25. Brady’s been the No. 1 quarterback twice already this season and has yet to finish lower than QB7. The Redskins don’t have much of a pass rush with Ryan Kerrigan (hand) ailing and remain banged up in the secondary. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston both found varying degrees of success against this Washington defense the past two weeks. At home, Brady should light up the scoreboard.
QB Ben Roethlisberger vs. Raiders (4.5 percent) — Big Ben’s had a week to knock the rust off after coming back from his knee injury. At home against a Raiders team coming to the East Coast for an early start after a big home win against the Jets, Oakland is in a prime letdown spot while Pittsburgh needs a win after dropping a divisional game Week 8. With Le’Veon Bell (torn MCL) out for the year, more is going to be on Big Ben’s plate. The Raiders have allowed a 250-yard passer 10 consecutive games dating back to last season. Oakland has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, and this game has the third-highest over-under of Week 9 at 48 points.
RB DeAngelo Williams vs. Raiders (24 percent) — Williams is no slouch, but he’s no Le’Veon Bell. His price is great on FanDuel at a meager $6,500, which certainly has much to do with his high ownership. Only Devonta Freeman (25.2 percent) was higher owned at running back Thursday night. But the Raiders actually play pretty stout run defense. Running backs are averaging just 3.56 YPC against them. Williams is going to need a heavy workload and/or some gift opportunities near the goal line. I’m more inclined to fade Williams and go after the Steelers’ pass-game parts.
RB Chris Ivory vs. Jaguars (12.4 percent) — Ivory is coming off back-to-back dreadful games on the road against both the Patriots and Raiders. This came after Ivory ran roughshod through the Dolphins and Redskins in Weeks 4 and 6 for 29-166-1 and 20-146-1 rushing lines with the bye in between. Back home against the Jaguars, this sets up well for Ivory to get back on track. The Jaguars are allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to running backs. The Jets are unlikely to put a ton on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s plate with him dealing with a torn ligament in his left, non-throwing thumb, and Gang Green is 2.5-point favorites. According to Graham Barfield, in five games the Jets are home and favored the past two seasons, Ivory has averaged 14.6 rushing attempts for 85.2 rushing yards and 1.2 touchdowns. He’s a good bet to meet those numbers Sunday. And on a half-PPR site like FanDuel where touchdowns are most important, Ivory is a great play.
RB LeGarrette Blount vs. Redskins (4 percent) — The entire Patriots offense is in play with a sky-high implied team total. New England is heavy 14-point favorites at home over Washington. This is a game both Dion Lewis and Blount could return high-end numbers with Lewis doing damage early and Blount milking the clock late and tallying touchdowns. The Redskins started off the season playing well against the run but have since been exposed through the middle of their defense. They’re a bottom-seven run defense at Pro Football Focus. Blount hasn’t scored in two weeks but has 22 career touchdowns in 32 career games (including the playoffs) with New England. He’s due.
WR Malcom Floyd vs. Bears (18.1 percent) — The high ownership on Floyd came as a real surprise. He was the third-highest owned non-A.J. Green receiver Thursday night behind Alshon Jeffery and Odell Beckham. Floyd is coming off a monster 4-92-2 game against the Ravens, but saw just six targets. He’s an ideal tournament play most weeks simply due to his low ownership and deep-threat role in the Chargers’ high-octane offense. But now that he’s so highly-owned in a sure case of recency bias, he’s an easy fade. Even with Keenan Allen (kidney) done for the season, Floyd’s role is unlikely to change much. Stevie Johnson and Dontrelle Inman are bigger beneficiaries.
WR Tavon Austin at Vikings (10.9 percent) — Another case of recency bias here with Austin. He’s another player who did a ton with very little last week. Austin caught 4-of-7 targets for 98 yards and a score and also rushed for a two-yard touchdown. The Rams are showing much more willingness to manufacture touches for the former No. 8 overall pick, but Austin lit up one of the league’s worst defenses in the 49ers last week. The Vikings are much better, and St. Louis-Minnesota has the lowest over-under of the week at 40 points. Nick Foles hasn’t thrown for 200 yards in a game since Week 1. There are good times to use Austin. Week 9 isn’t one of those.
WR Allen Hurns at Jets (2.2 percent) — Hurns is fantasy’s WR15 after eight weeks, but is just 31st in targets among receivers. Hurns has scored a touchdown in five-straight games, yet has topped seven targets in a game just once all year. Among receivers who have caught at least 20 passes, Hurns is sixth in YPR with a 16.5 mark. Teammate Allen Robinson is fourth with a 17.2 average. The Jaguars are a big-play offense. Robinson projects to draw shadow coverage from Darrelle Revis on Sunday, leaving Hurns against Antonio Cromartie and slot WR Bryan Walters vs. Buster Skrine. Through eight weeks, Cromartie is Pro Football Focus’ No. 89 cover corner out of 113 qualifiers. He’s allowed 18.4 YPR and five touchdowns to go along with a 132.5 passer rating. Hurns and Blake Bortles have a strong chemistry and are a good bet to hook up a number of times.
WR Dez Bryant vs. Eagles (1.2 percent) — Bryant returned from his foot surgery last week only to draw Richard Sherman’s coverage. He caught just 2-of-6 targets for 12 yards and is flying under the radar for Week 9 in a much better matchup against the Eagles on Sunday Night Football. Eagles LCB Byron Maxwell’s struggle have been well documented. As a whole, Philadelphia is surrendering the seventh-most fantasy points to receivers. Matt Cassel is the big thing holding Bryant back, obviously, but anytime he drops back for a pass, Bryant will likely be the No. 1 read. With such low ownership, Bryant makes for an interesting pivot off higher-owned receivers like Julian Edelman and Alshon Jeffery. Bryant is normally an $8,800-$9,000 receiver, but is priced at $7,900 coming off injury.
TE Ben Watson vs. Titans (17 percent) — Watson was the highest-owned tight end on Thursday night, ahead of both Tyler Eifert and Rob Gronkowski. His salary has jumped all the way up to $5,700 after starting the year at the stone minimum of $4,500. Watson just lit up the Giants’ league-worst tight end defense for a 9-147-1 line and has alternated 11-target weeks with five-target ones. Tennessee-New Orleans sets up much better for Mark Ingram and the running game, making Watson an easy fade at his high ownership. Jordan Reed, at the same price, is a more interesting play.