Welcome back to the RotoGrinders Primer! We’re past the halfway point with Week 9 on the horizon, and another London game and a handful of byes leads to a relatively small main slate (10 games).
Now that we have some data at our fingertips, we’ll dive into a handful of the available research tools at RotoGrinders to uncover some of the top options for Sunday’s main slate.
A few of the tools I’ll dive into are for DFS premium members, so you’ll get a sneak preview of our top content. I’ll also take a look at some of my favorite free content that I use weekly while building my own lineups. Let’s get into it …
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Targets & Touches
The Targets & Touches page is something I use every week during football season – it’s one of the best indicators of opportunity, which we like for fantasy purposes. You can find target data for RBs, WRs and TEs in addition to snap data and percentage of workload information. One of my favorite features is that you can view this information alongside salaries for each site, which makes it a little easier to spot value.
Michael Thomas ($8,600 on FanDuel, $7,600 on DraftKings) – It couldn’t have gone much worse for the Saints aerial attack in Week 8, but they’re primed to bounce back in a matchup between two of the league’s top offenses. Thomas’ production and target share has dipped since Mark Ingram returned and the Saints fell into more of a run-heavy approach, but that’s not going to be the case every week. We actually have to go back to Week 3 to find Thomas’ last double-digit target game, yet he still ranks fourth among WRs on this slate in red-zone targets with 13, one behind the lead. His red-zone target share’s going to remain high and he ranks sixth at the position in percentage of workload (targets), so considering the shootout potential he’s well worth his asking price on both major sites. I do have a little more interest on DraftKings, where he’s considerably cheaper than Adam Thielen.
Christian McCaffrey ($7,900 on FanDuel, $7,800 on DraftKings) – After finally scoring his first rushing touchdown of the year last weekend, McCaffrey steps into his best draw of the year at home against Tampa Bay. His rushing output’s been concerning given what you’re paying to roster him, but he’s had a brutal stretch of matchups (BAL, PHI, WAS) and one of the toughest first-half schedules of any RB. McCaffrey’s second among RBs on this slate in targets, and his consistent usage in that department makes him a perfectly suitable stacking candidate along with Cam Newton in Week 9. Mike Evans is a fine way to get exposure to the other sideline as well.
Travis Kelce ($7,600 on FanDuel, $6,600 on DraftKings) – Kelce finds himself here for a second consecutive week, and for good reason. After ending a three-game touchdown drought this past Sunday, he’ll look to follow that up against a Browns Defense that figures to throw Denzel Ward on Tyreek Hill, who could come in hobbled after suffering a groin injury in Week 8 and being downgraded to a limited practice participant on Thursday. There really aren’t any other elite TE plays on this slate, which is a little concerning in regards to Kelce’s ownership. However, it’s possible Greg Olsen and O.J. Howard pick up more steam in a heavily targeted CAR/TB game. Kelce ranks first among TEs on the main slate in targets (70) by a whopping 18 – David Njoku is second with 52.
WR/CB Matchup Chart
We’ll pivot over to the Wide Receiver/Cornerback Chart, which helps to highlight some of the better matchups for receivers each week. It’s an extreme rarity that one corner follows a particular receiver for all of his snaps, so this chart shows which matchup each receiver is likely to be in for the largest number of his snaps. Snap data available on the chart gives you a better idea of how often each matchup is likely to occur.
Adam Thielen ($8,900 on both FanDuel and DraftKings) – It’s getting a little too obvious to even mention Thielen, but I’m squarely on board yet again. Given his historic start it’s not surprising that he’s first in targets (98) with a reception rate over 75%, and there isn’t any real reason to expect a setback at home against Detroit. He’s likely to avoid Darius Slay quite a bit given that he runs more than half of his snaps on the inside (Slay plays almost strictly on the outside). The pass-happy nature of this offense without Dalvin Cook or reliable run-blocking shows that volume is also rarely going to be an issue for Thielen. He’s the top receiver for cash game purposes and is going to be a recommended tournament play almost every week.
Tre’Quan Smith ($5,100 on FanDuel, $4,200 on DraftKings) – Smith was another victim of Drew Brees’ low output against Minnesota, and I’m hoping two slow weeks will keep his GPP ownership in check as he returns home against the Rams. Cameron Meredith has done next to nothing to with Ted Ginn on the shelf, as he hasn’t been targeted in either of the past two games and played just nine snaps in Week 8. Smith is clearly the No. 2 wideout behind Thomas and has very real big play potential against a Los Angeles defense that’s been dusted for 10 pass plays of 40+ yards to date. He did see 77% of the offensive snaps against Minnesota compared to 36% for Austin Carr and 17% for Meredith, and that type of snap rate in this Week 9 draw in the Superdome should breed fantasy goodness. He’ll likely spend a good deal of time lined up against Marcus Peters, which is not a bad draw for a speedster.
Kenny Golladay ($6,200 on FanDuel, $5,500 on DraftKings) – With Golden Tate shipped out of town, a sizable chunk of target share opens up. Golladay and Marvin Jones are the two likeliest beneficiaries with TJ Jones, Brandon Powell, Theo Riddick, and a few tight ends all candidates to become more involved week-to-week. Golladay figures to avoid Xavier Rhodes far more often than Marvin Jones, who’s actually excelled in that matchup before and Rhodes isn’t at 100%. He was inactive against the Saints last week and is questionable as of this writing. Given that he’s coming off of a combined three targets in his last two games, it’s definitely possible Golladay goes a little overlooked in tournaments.
Welcome to Value Town, parts unknown. I won’t be recommending the Todd Gurley’s of the world here, but instead will try to find a handful of viable value plays at each position to make the rest of the roster building process a little easier. I won’t go into detail for each player, but they’re ranked in order of preference for GPPs/tournaments at each position.
- Matt Ryan ($5,700 on DraftKings) – This one is DraftKings specific, but Ryan is too cheap there and I’m going to be way overweight on the field in terms of Ryan/Julio stacks.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick ($7,100 on FanDuel, $5,500 on DraftKings)
- Case Keenum ($6,800 on FanDuel, $4,900 on DraftKings) – Also more of a DK-specific play.
- Latavius Murray ($6,700 on FanDuel, $5,100 on DraftKings)
- Phillip Lindsey ($6,700 on FanDuel, $5,500 on DraftKings)
- Nick Chubb ($6,600 on FanDuel, $4,500 on DraftKings)
- Tre’Quan Smith ($5,100 on FanDuel, $4,200 on DraftKings)
- Courtland Sutton ($5,500 on FanDuel, $3,900 on DraftKings)
- Kenny Golladay ($6,200 on FanDuel, $5,500 on DraftKings) – He’s a better value on FanDuel than DraftKings.
- Greg Olsen ($6,200 on FanDuel, $4,700 on DraftKings) – He’s the second-most expensive play at TE, but he’s not very pricey. I’d rather pay a little more for his services than take a flier on most of the options in the $5-$6K range on FanDuel.
- Austin Hooper ($5,900 on FanDuel, $3,800 on DraftKings)
- Jordan Reed ($5,600 on FanDuel, $4,800 on DraftKings)