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Are you ready for my Daily Fantasy Football Week 9 #HOTSIZZLETAKES? Well, looks like my value plays continue to be on fire, including a perfect 4-for-4 this past weekend! Ah, at least I’m not terrible all the time. Last week’s exciting venture into the world of football was not a kind one for many DFS players, as injuries marred and ravaged potential winning lineups. And then we had the whole Ty Montgomery mess, having been ruled out AFTER lock and everyone panicking on who to swap in over Montgomery. Hopefully Week 9 is much kinder to our wallets and with all the injuries starting to add up, there’s plenty of value to go around (as well as some land mines). The RB situation this week looks extremely dicey, with usage rates and potential starters up in the air at the moment. Will Ty play? Will Ware stop playing that dizzy T-Ball bat game we all did as a kid? Is Mark Ingram going to lose carries now after his benching last week due to fumblitis? I DON’T KNOW!!!!! What I do know is Jay Ajayi is the second coming of Ricky Williams. Deal with it.
Top Play — With all the injuries and weird stuff going on in Green Bay, I can’t put Aaron Rodgers as the top play despite a plus matchup against the lowly Colts defense. Yes, he did get 4 TD passes against the Falcons with receivers like Jeff Janis, Geronimo Allison, and Trevor Davis. Rodgers certainly could do the same thing again, but lightning usually doesn’t strike twice, unless you’re just really unlucky or Frankenstein. I’m going to pick an unlikely top play with Drew Brees, as he’s on the road, and Brees on the road usually leads to indigestion. He’s facing a 49ers defense that just got torn up by the Buccaneers, both by Mike Evans and the injury bug. The 49ers are so depleted everywhere due to injuries that they might end up starting 4th and 5th stringers at this point. Their injury report is riddled with questionable tags, despite an extra week to rest thanks to a well-timed bye week. Brees has been on fire the last few games, throwing for 265 yards and 2 combined TDs against a stingy Seahawks defense and combining for 832 passing with 7 TDs in the two games before Seattle. Insane! He’s also completing at an absurd 70%+ clip, despite an ineffective Ingram and a decreasing role from Fleener. He’ll get the 23rd ranked defense DVOA with a 20th pass and 30th run defense. The 49ers may be without their best cornerback in Rashard Robinson and several other key players, such as pass rush specialist, Aaron Lynch. The Saints are still second in snaps per game, while the 49ers are giving up the second-most snaps to opposing offenses. Both teams are top-10 in pace, so it’s very likely the Saints will have at least 70+ plays on offense, maybe even the most for the week. Give me all the Brees, baby! Let the cool Brees invigorate your lineups and lead you to the promised land! Brees is currently projected near the top of DailyRoto’s QB rankings.
Value Play — Some people may go to Nick Foles for a good salary relief option at QB. He has some upside, thanks both to Reid’s system and the matchup against a Jaguars defense that seems to have given up at this point in the season. It’s not a bad play since he didn’t look terrible against a poor Colts defense after Alex Smith got injured (twice). The better, safer bet, is the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott. Coming off a great comeback win against a legitimate top 5 defense in the Eagles, Prescott gets the anemic Browns pass defense that’s giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to QBs. He’s got another rookie that should make his play-action passes much easier and dangerous in Zeke Elliot. Prescott is a little TD dependent these days, but with the return of Dez Bryant (4/113/1) and the Cowboys using more running plays, especially in the RZ, Prescott suddenly has a safe floor with good upside for Week 9. He’s DailyRoto’s best values on the board, and I’m inclined to agree with them. He’s a very safe cash play and could even be GPP viable if Zeke doesn’t get all of his TDs…
BOLD CALL — Here we are again on Tanny’s Hill, as the Dolphins take on the Jets to try and make it threes wins in a row. Jay Ajayi is coming off back to back 200+ rushing yards games, but will be facing the third-ranked rush defense DVOA that’s giving up the lowest yards per carry at 3.3. It’ll be rough sledding for the Dolphins’ rushing attack even on nickel personnel, as the Jets still only give up an average of three yards or fewer on most packages. It’ll come down to Tannehill’s arm to pull the win out against a dilapidated Jets pass defense that’s currently ranked the second-worst pass defense DVOA. The Jets are doing this with ex-stud CB Darrelle Revis, who’s just been getting completely toasted week in and week out. He gave up 6/103 to Terrelle Pryor, keeping his PFF grade in the low 40s for the season. That’s not good at all. The problem for Tannehill is the fact that Miami may still try to grind out the game and keep the clock moving with quick passes and dump-offs. Miami runs the least amount of plays in the NFL and has the fifth-slowest pace. I’m banking on Adam Gase’s knowledge of the Jets’ run defense and how bad their pass defense can be, and allowing his franchise QB — who’s been playing fantastic behind a healthy OL — to carve up the defense. It might be wishful thinking from a deluded Fins fan, but I think Landry and Parker are in for a big day, thanks to Tanny’s cannon. Let us die.
Top Play — With the Saints being noncommittal about Ingram’s real role within the team, it’s safe to toss out Ingram as the top play against the worst run defense. We’ll go ahead and lock in the most expensive RB on both DK/FD in Zeke Elliott, facing the second-worst run defense and giving up the third-most fantasy points to running backs. Sure, his face doesn’t fit his body as he looks like he weighs about 300 pounds, but he’s still a damn good RB behind the best OL in the NFL. The Browns give up huge chunks of yards on most running plays, and this weakness was most notable when Jeremy Hill ran nine times for 168 yards and a TD. That’s Jeremy Hill, folks. Elliott leads the NFL in rushing yards and has been getting more involved in the passing game, hauling in nine catches on 12 targets for 106 yards. That makes his floor even higher, and when coupled with his great upside, this makes Elliott the no-brainer top play for the week. Le’Veon Bell will get a boost with Big Ben back, even if Ben is hobbled, but gets a tough matchup against the best-rated run defense DVOA. The RB facing the Colts is a mystery at this point, so all signs point to Elliott as the true No. 1 RB for Week 9. Chew more gum, Elliott!
Value Play — Let’s try to avoid the landmines that await us at the RB position. In fact, why don’t we go west? As in, Terrance and Charcandrick West! Of course Charcandrick West is entirely dependent on whether or not Ware is cleared to play. If Ware is out, give me all the C. West! He’ll have a massive workload with Foles at QB and a likely safe and simple game plan from Andy Reid against the Jags. His usage rate should be pretty darn high and he’ll gobble up any and all receiving targets. Now, if Ware is able to play, we’ll have to look at Terrance West, facing a depleted and decimated Steelers run defense that’s currently ranked 22nd DVOA and giving up the fourth-most fantasy points to RBs. Some people may have forgotten about West after his goose egg against the Jets, rushing eight times for 10 yards and basically nothing else. Well, what about his game the week before? T. West put up 123 combined yards and two 2 TDs against the Giants’ above-average run defense. The Ravens are still averaging the fourth-most offensive plays in the NFL, despite the bye week. Facing a Steelers offense that will have Ben at the helm likely means the Ravens offense will have to bring its A- game. West should be heavily involved in both the run and pass game, and at his price he’s the best bang for your buck! Go West, young man.
BOLD CALL — You know what? I’m going to give a very strange BOLD CALL and say we will have no injuries at running back this week. That’s right! Not a player call, but a position call! With all the silly injuries suffered by damn near every RB committee in the NFL, declaring an injury-free week at RB seems illogical at best. Well, call me Spock ’cause I’m gonna get all illogical up in here! No running back will get hurt and knocked out for the game this week, and in fact, I’ll add in a player to boot. Because I’m cool and all. My secondary BOLD CALL is Theo Riddick, coming off yet another great overall game with a 11/56 rushing and 8/77/1 receiving line. Yes, we all saw Jordan Howard take it to the Vikings defense to everyone’s surprise, but that’s probably an aberration. What Theo does for the Lions is what makes him such a good RB every week, as he’s heavily involved in the passing game with a 19.91% market share on 43 targets. Let’s just round that up to 20% since we’re not all math geeks, like the DailyRoto team. The Vikings may be tough against the run typically (11th DVOA and 13th-fewest points given up), but they’ve been gashed by receiving backs in the past few weeks. That’s Riddick’s bread and butter, making him the best ideal BOLD CALL for Week 9. No injuries, too!
Top Play — Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Antonio Brown is the top play for Week 9. Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve slotted AB in the top WR position, but with the return of Big Ben facing a Ravens defense giving up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers, it’s a fantastic matchup for Antonio. His price has dropped from the usual 9k range thanks in part to both Roethlisberger’s injury and Landry Jones’ inability to throw to Antonio. The Ravens secondary has been pretty terrible most of the season, with Jimmy Smith teetering between being average and really bad, and Shareece Wright being outright benched after a couple games. They even started Will Davis in the nickel and he falls down on almost every double move! Brown will have a plus matchup wherever he lines up on the field, and with 48% of his routes on the left side, he’ll be able to light it up against the 63-graded Jimmy Smith most of the time. Locked and loaded!
Value Play — With T.Y. Hilton battling a hammy injury and not being able to say for sure if he’ll play against the Packers, Donte Moncrief suddenly becomes the go-to value play at WR. It also helps that the WR situation in Green Bay is extremely muddled, as Adams’ value hinges on Cobb & T.Y.’s availability. Even if Hilton is able to go, Moncrief would still have a fantastic matchup against a Packers secondary that just gave up 9/84/1 to the Falcons’ second WR in Mohamed Sanu. That could be Moncrief’s floor in what could be another shootout for the Packers. It’s a plus matchup with a potential for an uptick in usage rate for Moncrief. We can expect a fully healthy Moncrief as well after his 4/41/1 performance against the Chiefs. The Packers are giving up the 11th-most points to receivers, and with their run defense still ranked high (4th run defense DVOA), the Colts will be more pass heavy than usual. Take advantage of a nicked up Hilton and get Moncrief into your lineups!
BOLD CALL — Kelvin Benjamin is the BOLD CALL for the week, and even though he’s got the talent to be a top-10 WR, he’s been missing for a few weeks now. He had a tough matchup last week against Patrick Peterson, but still finished with a half decent 2/76 day. Benjamin’s last TD catch was in Week 4 against the Falcons and hasn’t eclipsed the 100-yard mark since his monster game against the 49ers in Week 2. That could all change against the Rams, as he’ll be matched up against both Troy Hill (38.7 grade) and EJ Gaines (47.6 grade) with 51% of his routes in Troy Hill’s area. He’ll have a big height advantage against both and the Panthers are committed to turning around their season and getting back into the playoff hunt. Despite Benjamin’s slightly above average production and lack of touchdowns, he’s still seeing plenty of targets as he’s now received 35 of Cam Newton’s missiles over the last four games. The workload is still there, and against a Rams defense giving up the 14th-most points to the receiver position, the opportunity’s there as well. I’m feeling a two TD game from Kelvin to get me all the Benjamins. Had to do it.
Top Play — Is Gronko playing this week? No? Damn it all! OK, who’s the next best option? Olsen vs the Rams’ 11th-ranked toughest against TEs? Meh. Jimmy Graham facing the Bills that just got Gronk’d? Maybe, but they’re still a tough team against TEs, and I mean it is Gronk. How about Kyle Rudolph against the worst defense versus tight ends? Yes, please! Once again, the Lions let up another TD to a tight end, as fellow value play pick CJ Fiedorowicz (Fiedor) was able to cash in Week 8 with a TD grab for a modest 5/43/1 day. Rudolph still gets a buttload of targets from Sam Bradford, and while it’d be nice if those targets went beyond two yards, it’s still something. Bradford’s OL is a mess right now and Norv Turner just resigned, so we should probably avoid that mess right? Nah. Fire up all of your Rudolph shares as he scores a TD on the Lions. Always play the best matchup! ALWAYS! Unless….no, always!
Value Play — The Power Walker has returned to the list, as Antonio Gates will face a Titans defense giving up the 8th most points to the position. He’s currently projected as a top value for tight ends, and if you still don’t have the projections, buy it already! You’re crazy not to. Back to it… Gates has been putting in overtime due to Hunter Henry’s concussion and limited workload. Gates is still getting an absurd amount of RZ targets (up to 13 RZ targets), and he’s also getting other targets outside of the RZ (4/33/1 on 9 targets last week vs Broncos). Gates continues to get it done at his advanced age while running at the speed of a man with two broken legs. He’s only five touchdowns away from breaking Tony Gonzalez’s record for most TD catches by a TE, so let’s get all five of them in this game! His price point makes Gates an appealing choice, despite his dependence on TDs, and for a lower-end TE like Gates, all you want is the workload and usage.
BOLD CALL — I can’t believe I’m doing this again, but fire up Lance Kendricks! He’s suddenly emerged as a solid TE streamer with 17 targets in his last two games. He put up a solid 7/55 day against the Giants in London and he’ll get the surprisingly bad Panthers defense against tight ends. The Panthers are giving up the second-most points to opposing TEs (!) with a DVOA of 28th against the position. That’s probably Josh Norman’s fault, too. Yes, it’s Lance Kendricks. Yes, it’s the Rams and Case Keenum. Who cares? Seventeen targets in two games!!!! Second-most points to opposing tight ends!!! KENDRICKS HAS TO PAY OFF ONE OF THESE DAYS!