Was playing Jimmy Garoppolo last week a mistake?
Nick Mullens doesn’t think so. He came in for Garoppolo in Seattle and racked up 238 yards, 2 TDs and 17.5 DraftKings points … in just 1 quarter. And remember that Garoppolo had played well the 2 weeks prior, completing 74% of his passes and averaging 9.4 yards per attempt.
So I’m fine with the decision to use Garoppolo last week — even though it failed miserably and means I can’t afford diapers for my daughter this month. (Kidding.)
What made Week 8 particularly frustrating is that it basically came down to whether or not you played the Dolphins DST. Miami was surprisingly 15-20% owned in most doubleups and scored 23 points.
I’m all about the cheap DST but much preferred the Browns over the Dolphins. Miami’s pass rush and coverage is definitely underrated. But I expected the Rams’ rushing attack to control this game against a bad Fins run defense. That went out the window when L.A. fell behind by multiple scores in the 2nd quarter.
The weekly variance at DST is just something you gotta live with if you’re a DFS player. Maybe next time we’ll be on the 23-point defense.
We’re on to Week 9. As usual, there are a bunch of injury situations that might impact our cash-game plays. I’ll update this article on Saturday and again on Sunday if needed.
Derek Carr, Raiders ($5,700)
Russell Wilson ($7,600), Deshaun Watson ($7,100) and Josh Allen ($7,000) are excellent plays in a vacuum. But when breaking down the slate as a whole, it looks like a week to pay down at QB.
Throw out Carr’s Week 8 in windy Cleveland. He’d tossed multiple TDs in 5 straight prior, topping 20 DraftKings points in 4 of those.
Sunday’s game against the Chargers looks like a shootout. The game has a 52-point over/under, with the Raiders sporting a nice 25.5-point implied total.
Los Angeles is down to 26th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to QBs and has coughed up the following passing lines over the last 4 weeks:
- 369-5-1 to Tom Brady
- 325-1-1 to Drew Brees
- 173-2-0 to Gardner Minshew
- 248-3-1 to Drew Lock
Dalvin Cook, Vikings ($8,200)
Cook is coming off a monster 32-touch, 226-yard, 4-TD outing vs. the Packers. He’s now topped 17 DK points in all 6 of his games, gone over 29 points 3 times and is averaging 28.7 points per game.
Cook is in another prime spot this Sunday as a 4-point home favorite with a 28-point implied total against a bad Lions run defense. Detroit sits 21st in Football Outsiders’ run defense rankings and is allowing 4.5 yards per carry to RBs.
We have Cook projected for 4.4 more DK points than any other RB on the main slate. He checks in as the top dollars-per-point value at the position, despite the $8,200 price tag.
Chase Edmonds, Cardinals ($6,800)
Assuming Kenyan Drake misses Sunday’s game with his ankle injury, Edmonds figures to play a workhorse role. Behind him on the depth chart will be 7th-round rookie Eno Benjamin and undrafted rookie Jonathan Ward.
Edmonds is already averaging 4.6 targets per game. We can probably add to that something around the 17 carries per game Drake has averaged this season.
And the matchup is pristine. Miami still ranks dead last in Football Outsiders’ run defense DVOA, allowing 5.0 yards per carry to RBs. And there’s this from CBS’ Jacob Gibbs: No team runs from shotgun more than the Cardinals, and no team allows a higher rushing success rate from shotgun than the Dolphins.
Julio Jones, Falcons ($7,200)
It’s rare to see an expensive WR pop as the top value at the position, but that’s what we have with Julio this week.
It looks like Calvin Ridley will miss Sunday’s game with his foot injury, making Jones the best target bet on the slate. In 3 games without Ridley last year, Jones saw 20, 15 and 13 targets. He scored 41.4, 29.6 and 14.8 DK points in those contests.
Atlanta basically has the same supporting cast around him this year, with Hayden Hurst in for Austin Hooper. So Jones is a strong bet for double-digit targets.
He gets a Broncos defense ranked 22nd in adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs that might be without CB A.J. Bouye (concussion).
Brandin Cooks, Texans ($5,500)
The salary gap between Cooks and Will Fuller should not be $1,300. In 3 games since Bill O’Brien was fired, Cooks has actually out-targeted Fuller 30 to 25 and out-scored him in DK points 67.9 to 55.6.
Both guys have a strong matchup this weekend vs. a Jaguars defense ranked 32nd in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA and 20th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs. Cooks smoked this secondary for an 8-161-1 line back in Week 5.
Diontae Johnson, Steelers ($5,000)
His Week 8 dud dropped his price by 500 bucks. That was Johnson’s 1st healthy game this season without double-digit targets. He saw 10, 13 and 15 in the first 3.
Speaking of health, Johnson is completely off the injury report this week for the 1st time all year. Just in time for a tasty matchup vs. Dallas. All 3 of the Cowboys’ starting CBs rank outside the top 50 in Pro Football Focus’ coverage grades. Dallas sits 18th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs.
The Steelers probably won’t have big passing volume in a game they should easily control on Sunday. But Johnson should do enough to pay off this price tag in cash games.
Hunter Henry, Chargers ($4,000)
Henry keeps underwhelming in the box score. And his DK salary keeps sinking. He’s now down to his lowest price of the season — $1,300 cheaper than he was in Week 1.
The usage has been there. Henry ranks top 8 among TEs in targets, catches and yards. He’s just been a bit unlucky in the TD department, still sitting on 1 score.
Let’s keep chasing that volume, though, in a likely shootout against the Raiders on Sunday. Vegas ranks 15th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs.
If you have a few extra bucks to spend at TE, I really like Noah Fant ($4,600) vs. a Falcons defense sitting dead last in adjusted fantasy points allowed. And if you wanna punt at the position, Irv Smith ($2,900) is your best bet.
This is a pure matchup + price play. Atlanta isn’t a good defense. But facing Drew Lock is a good spot.
Lock has taken a sack on 5.3% of his drop backs this season and thrown an INT on 3.5% of his passes. Those marks rank 16th and 6th worst among 33 qualifying QBs.
Denver is a 4-point underdog in Atlanta on Sunday. So if game script goes as expected, Lock will need to drop back a bunch.