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The A List at DFS Academy | NFL DFS Week 9

NFL DFS Week 9

Week 9 marks the halfway point of the NFL season, but we are still two weeks away from the halfway point of the DFS season. That is the beauty of DFS. If your fantasy team is all but eliminated, you can always turn to DFS to imagine what could have been with a fresh lineup every week.

And wow, what could have been in Week 8. Last week was fascinating for DFS, where we had no teams on a bye week, so an enlarged player pool. And yet, everybody seemed to be targeting the same players.

This made it particularly challenging if you were down going into the afternoon games as I was. That’s right, I utilized the late swap option to attempt to get different and hit the cash line. And boy, was I close. I finished with around 135 points, but the cash line was closer to 142.

So what was my process?

Going into the afternoon games, I had Brock Purdy, Travis Kelce, and Alvin Kamara. I thought all three of these players were going to be fairly chalky, so I decided to rework my salary between these three.

I landed on Lamar Jackson and Christian McCaffrey, thinking their salaries would be cost-prohibitive to most players. At tight end, I went with Trey McBride, thinking he would be lower rostered. Turns out, he was nearly 70% rostered.

And honestly, it almost worked out anyway. If I had just stuck with Brock Purdy over Lamar Jackson, I would have cashed. 

So what did we learn from this?

Honestly, nothing. I feel good about my process. I was just wrong and misread what other players would do. Instead, I’m taking this as more information on how Cash players are approaching roster construction, valuing cheap tight ends even when Travis Kelce looks like he’s going to smash. 

But overall, we will try again next week.

Let’s dig into the Week 9 NFL DFS Cash slate.

Cash is in session.

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NFL DFS Week 9

NFL DFS Week 9

Teacher’s Pet

Jonathan Taylor (DraftKings: $6,400 / FanDuel: $8,000)

It took me five weeks to realize that Jonathan Taylor was priced below $7,000 on DraftKings, but that’s okay. Now is the time to get back on the bandwagon. Taylor’s snap count has consistently increased since his Week 5 return. Last week, he nearly put up 100 yards in the first half alone. Now, he gets the best matchup for running backs in the Carolina Panthers. Enjoy the cheap version of Jonathan Taylor before it’s too late.

Honor Roll

A.J. Brown (DraftKings: $8,600 / FanDuel: $9,000)

This is a simple “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” move. A.J. Brown has been absolutely ridiculous this season and is poised for more high utilization in a division matchup against the Cowboys. I want exposure to one of the receivers priced above $8,000. I don’t trust Cooper Kupp or Davante Adams, given their quarterback situations. CeeDee Lamb is a compelling option, but the Cowboy’s offense can be unpredictable. Because of that, Brown is a much safer bet.

Brian Robinson (DraftKings: $5,300 / FanDuel: $6,600)

When I write this article, I always provide four running backs, so there is always an odd man out when actually setting the lineup. Brian Robinson is my fourth favorite running back this week. While he isn’t getting the nearly 20 touches he did in Weeks 1 and 2, he is still a prominent part of this offense and is always a threat to get in the endzone. I like Robinson more as a salary savings option on FanDuel for the touchdown upside. Essentially, if you’re only paying up for one of Alvin Kamara and Jonathan Taylor, Robinson is my next best cheap option after Chuba Hubbard, but otherwise, I’ll be rocking with those three. 

Nico Collins (DraftKings: $5,800 / FanDuel: $6,800)

It’s been a minute since we got to target Nico Collins in our Cash lineups, but he is poised for a great matchup against Tampa Bay, who is allowing the second most points to wide receivers since Week 5. Sure, he has had some down weeks, but he has been facing tough defenses in plus situations. The Panthers were coming off their bye and had two weeks to prepare. The Saints defense is just good. The Falcons secondary was playing better in Week 5 when they played the Texans. Long story short, this is the best matchup Collins has had since Week 4, when he put up 38.8 DraftKings points on the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Marquise Brown (DraftKings: $5,400 / FanDuel: $6,700)

If I told you Marquise Brown has the 12th most targets amongst wide receivers, would you believe me? What if I told you he had the eighth most since Week 4? That’s right, Brown has been getting peppered with targets, making him a great target on DraftKings, where we value the PPR scoring. And you may ask, “What about the Cleveland Browns?” Oh, let me tell you. In Weeks 1 through 4, they were the toughest matchup for receivers, allowing the fewest points. Since Week 5? They’re giving up the fourth most points to the position. The turntables have turned. 

NFL DFS Week 9

Check the Chalkboard

Alvin Kamara (DraftKings: $8,100 / FanDuel: $9,200)

Everybody played Alvin Kamara last week, and I expect more of the same this week. Kamara was 67% rostered in the $10 DraftKings Double-Up, and he smashed his salary. In a slate with no Christian McCaffrey, I expect more of the same. Further, Kamara gets one of the friendliest matchups for running backs in the Chicago Bears. Don’t overthink this one. Play Alvin Kamara. 

NFL DFS Week 9

Participation Grade

Juwan Johnson (DraftKings: $2,900 / FanDuel: $4,500)

If you need to punt at tight end off a cliff this week, look for Juwan Johnson. When he was healthy to start the season, he was averaging four targets per game, which is just enough to keep him relevant for DFS. Last week was a down week, but he was easing back in from injury. Expect Johnson to get back to his typical usage this week against a Chicago Bears defense allowing the eighth-most points to the position since Week 8.

Back of the Classroom Studs

C.J. Stroud (DraftKings: $6,200 / FanDuel $7,000)

CJ Stroud had his worst performance of the year against a Carolina Panthers defense coming out of bye week and with something to prove. But this week, he gets a Tampa Bay offense that has been getting shredded by quarterbacks of late, including against one Desmond Ridder. Not only has Stroud been getting it done through the air, but he’ll take off and run every now and then, providing him additional upside to pay off his salary. 

Jordan Love (DraftKings: $5,500 / FanDuel: $7,300)

If you go this route, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, watch this game. I am pulling for Jordan Love from an NFL perspective, but it hasn’t been pretty so far. That said, he only has one game below 15 DraftKings points. Given that his salary is stagnant in the $5,000 range, that’s perfectly fine. Count on Love to score between 15 and 20 points, but don’t watch the path for him to get there. Not yet. 

Chuba Hubbard (DraftKings: $5,000 / FanDuel: $6,500)

I never would have predicted Chuba Hubbard taking over the Carolina Panther backfield after they paid Miles Sanders a legit contract. But Hubbard’s top two snap counts have come in his past two games, and he is getting the touches over Sanders. The Indianapolis Colts have given up the third most points to running backs since Week 5, so even if the tides shift and Sanders gets more touches, Hubbard will still have the chance to hit his salary. And if you’re like me and avoid playing both running backs from the same game, this is the exception where I’ll consider playing both Hubbard and Jonathan Taylor. 

Elijah Moore (DraftKings: $3,900 / FanDuel: $5,500)

Everybody is going to be playing Demario Douglas this week as their punt option at receiver. And frankly, it’s a good play. But, if your margins are too thin and you need to save a little more money, or you simply don’t trust Mac Jones, seek out Elijah Moore. The Arizona Cardinals continue to give up plenty of points to opposing receivers, and Moore has been a consistent weapon in Cleveland regardless of who is under center. 

Cade Otton (DraftKings: $3,000 / FanDuel: $4,900)

When it comes to tight ends, we need to chase opportunities. Cade Otton is running a route on 83% of passing downs, according to PFF. How many more opportunities could you ask for? Plus, Tampa Bay plays the Houston Texans, who have allowed the most points to tight ends since Week 5. Further, if Chris Godwin is unable to play Sunday, Otton will have the chance for even more opportunities. 

New York Giants (DraftKings: $2,300 / FanDuel: $4,000)

After watching the Las Vegas Raiders absolutely implode on Monday night, how could you not pick the New York Giants? They are the cheapest defense on FanDuel, yet have been performing well in terms of getting pressure on the quarterback. Plus, they are facing a rookie quarterback in Aiden O’Connell, which will provide opportunities to capitalize on mistakes.

New England Patriots (DraftKings: $2,900 / FanDuel: $3,700)

The New England Patriots paid off their salary against arguably the best offense in the league last week. Now, they match up against a Washington Commanders offense that has led the league in sacks allowed. That’s all the analysis. We’re picking on the Commanders until Howell proves he can get the ball out before taking sacks.

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Report Card


Scoring System

  • A: Scored over three times their price
  • B: Scored over two times their price
  • C: Matched their price
  • F: Scored lower than their price
Player Price Points Grade
Travis Kelce $8,400 11.8 C
Lamar Jackson $8,100 11.98 C
Alvin Kamara $7,300 27 A
Breece Hall $5,900 21.3 A
Chris Olave $6,400 9.6 C
Christian Kirk $5,900 8.6 C
Dameon Pierce $5,300 4.6 F
Jake Ferguson $3,600 14.7 A
Brock Purdy $5,600 24.3 A
Gus Edwards $5,500 29.4 A
Diontae Johnson $5,000 16.5 A
Josh Downs $4,800 14.2 B
New England Patriots $2,000 5 B
Atlanta Falcons $2,900 3 C
Overall $60,200 178.2 B
Season Long $557,200 1564.76 B


Scoring System

  • A: Scored over two times their price
  • B: Scored over one and a half times their price
  • C: Matched their price
  • F: Scored lower than their price
Player Price Points Grade
Travis Kelce $9,000 8.8 F
Lamar Jackson $8,800 11.98 C
Alvin Kamara $8,300 25 A
Breece Hall $7,300 18.3 A
Chris Olave $7,300 7.1 F
Christian Kirk $7,000 6.6 F
Dameon Pierce $6,700 4.6 F
Jake Ferguson $4,900 12.7 A
Brock Purdy $7,200 20.3 A
Gus Edwards $6,600 28.4 A
Diontae Johnson $6,400 12.5 B
Josh Downs $6,100 10.7 B
New England Patriots $3,100 5 B
Atlanta Falcons $3,900 3 F
Overall $74,800 154.2 A
Season Long $671,400 1347.26 A

Be sure you’re following Austin on Twitter! Also, you can find our Week 9 rankings here and the rest of our Week 9 content here!

And don’t forget to check out our Week 9 DFS Matchup Report before you submit those lineups!