Week 9 features a 10-game main slate that kicks off at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Finally, make sure to check out all the projections available for purchase (Chris Raybon’s come included with a FantasyLabs subscription) within the FantasyLabs Models. Subscribers now have the option to purchase Derek Carty’s THE BLITZ from our Marketplace. Projections from One Week Season and Establish the Run are available if you’re a subscriber to those specific sites (our optimizer is a separate add-on feature).
You can also combine them to create your own aggregate projections:
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NFL DFS Quarterback Picks
We have just one game with a total of over 45 on Sunday’s slate — the divisional showdown between the Cowboys and the Eagles. Vegas is expecting a median of 47 points for that one. Still not a great number, but the best we have available.
That’s despite all of the trends working against this game. It’s a divisional game which tends to be lower scoring, and both teams are fairly strong defensively, with Dallas ranking third in DVOA and the Eagles a respectable 18th.
Still, both quarterbacks in this one are strong options on the Week 9 slate, with Jalen Hurts ($8,000) topping our median and ceiling projections, as well as those around the industry. Hurts has been a valuable fantasy asset this season thanks to his dual-threat ability.
He seemed to be dealing with a minor knee injury last week, with a season-low four rush attempts. He still put 31.36 DraftKings points, though, and his knee should be at least somewhat better this week. The biggest factor in his fantasy production has been whether opposing teams can keep games competitive — and Dallas is just a three-point underdog.
Those are the types of games where I want to roster Hurts, who’s somehow seen his salary fall since last week despite his big score. The defensive matchup isn’t optimal, but he has the talent and supporting cast to overcome that.
It feels like most teams on this slate are resorting to starting a backup or rookie at quarterback, leaving plenty of cheap DFS options. Don’t confuse “cheap” with “value,” though. We still need points from the position, even at a steep salary savings.
Which is why Sam Howell ($5,800) is my preferred option below $6,000. The Commanders trail only the Chiefs in Pass Rate Over Expectation (PROE) on the season, and he’s thrown the ball at least 40 times in four of his last five games. Washington even seems to be improving their offensive line play, allowing just one sack last week against the Eagles.
This week’s matchup is even better against a Patriots team that ranks 26th in adjusted sack rate. New England is built to stop the run, ranking 7th in DVOA against the run but 18th against the pass. That plays directly into how the Commanders approach most games anyway.
While New England’s offense might not do enough to push the scoring, that’s less of a concern with a quarterback in Howell’s price range. He’s a solid cash game option that leaves plenty of salary for pay-up players at other spots. With Washington trading their two best defensive players at the trade deadline, this one also has sneaky shootout potential, keeping Howell in play for GPPs.
Depending on your settings, if you run 150 lineups through our new SimLabs tool, you’ll get a decent amount of Howell.
The other quarterback in the clear best fantasy game, Dak Prescott ($6,500), is also an excellent option this week. The Cowboys will likely need to chase points against the Eagles, who have the worst Opponent Plus/Minus allowed to quarterbacks on the slate. The concern that Dalls inexplicably tries to pound the rock is enough to keep me from Prescott in cash games, but he might be my favorite GPP quarterback when factoring in salary and ownership projection.
Lamar Jackson ($8,200) narrowly trails Hurts for the best projections on the slate. The bigger concern is his ceiling, with Baltimore favored by six while hosting Seattle. If the Seahawks can push the pace in this one, his ceiling is massive, but that’s a big ask against the NFL’s No. 1 ranked defense by DVOA. Still, Jackson is a strong GPP play if paired with a Seattle piece or two, with some easy options among their receiving corps.
With the Colts playing at the league’s fastest overall pace, Gardner Minshew ($5,200) is an option this week. He’s facing a Panthers team that’s been tough against quarterbacks, but largely due to their own offensive incompetence putting opponents in positive game scripts. Given the Colts’ below-average defense and the improving play of Panther’s rookie Bryce Young ($5,100), both quarterbacks in this game have considerable upside relative to the price.
NFL DFS Running Back Picks
It will be interesting to see how the Saints use Alvin Kamara ($8,100) this week against the Bears. Kamara’s usage has been heavily dependent on the game script since his return from suspension, with two games of 14 targets with the Saints chasing points and heavier rushing totals in closer games.
New Orleans is the second-biggest favorite on the slate this week, which in theory, pushes Kamara towards less valuable carries. However, the Bears rank 10th in DVOA against the run but 31st against the pass, so a pass-happy approach would be a logical game plan from the Saints.
Of course, we’re trying to predict what coaches will do, not what they should. Still, that’s a slight boost to Kamara’s receiving projections, especially for as long as this game remains close.
He’s managed to get it done from a DFS perspective no matter what phase his looks come in, though. He’s exceeded salary-based expectations in every game this year while averaging north of 28 points in the last two games. That might not be enough to justify his slate-leading salary for GPPs, but he’s a very safe floor play for cash games.
Kamara leads our models in median and ceiling projection at running back in Week 9.
Just like at quarterback, there are plenty of running backs being thrust into a larger role due to injuries in Week 9. Projections around these players are fairly fragile, as they rely on the assumption that they’ll see a similar role to the starter they’re replacing or consume the bulk of their committee-mate’s work — and have a degree of efficiency in the process.
This makes it hard to feel good about any of the budget options this week, as they all have major question marks. With that said, if I’m forced to roster one, it’s likely to be Devin Singletary ($4,300), thanks to his near-minimum price tag. His salary didn’t really make sense with Dameon Pierce ($5,200) active — Singletary has double-digit carries in each of the last two weeks.
Now, with Pierce likely to miss, Singletary is in an even better spot. His Texans are three-point home favorites against the Bucs, whose once-elite run defense is merely average in 2023. Plus, Singletary was already the Texans’ primary receiving back and should see a few more overall looks this week.
The current leader in Pts/Sal projection is D’Andre Swift ($6,600), who’s emerged as the Eagles’ lead back after being signed in the offseason. After Week 1, he’s seen at least 17 opportunities (targets+carries) in each game, with the game flow dictating whether those looks come on the ground or through the air. This game remaining close should skew more of his workload towards passes, with targets being more valuable than rushes.
My big concern with Swift is his lack of touchdowns/red zone carries, thanks to the “tush push” from Jalen Hurts dominating the goal line for Philadelphia. They ran a fake tush push to Swift for a touchdown last week, but that may have been due to Hurts struggling with a knee injury. That limits his ceiling, but his floor is still rock solid.
Josh Jacobs ($6,900) has become the focal point of the broken Raiders offense due to their inability to throw the ball effectively. That’s a blessing and a curse, as his increased opportunities come with decreased touchdowns and plenty of stacked boxes to run against. However, he has a matchup against a bad Giants run defense and a solid receiving role, both of which raise his upside this week.
While Jacobs is projecting better, I actually prefer Saquon Barkley ($7,900) in the Raiders-Giants game. He’s seen at least 25 opportunities in each game since returning from injury, including a ridiculous 41 (36 carries) last week against the Jets. He’s been nearly as inefficient as Jacobs, but the Raiders run defense is even worse than the Giants, so that could turn around this week.
On the other end of the efficiency scale, we have Bijan Robinson ($6,100). He’s averaging over five yards per carry but is firmly in a timeshare with Tyler Allgeier ($4,700). There should be more carries to around this week against a Vikings team that just lost their starting quarterback, giving Robinson an outside shot at solid volume. If he can add a big play or two, he could be a slate-breaker.
Tony Pollard ($6,800) is in play based on my “last week’s biggest disappointment” metric. He was heavily owned in all contest types last week but ended up disappointing with just 6.50 DraftKings points. The Cowboys have done a terrible job getting him in space, which explains part of his dreadful efficiency.
Still, he’s the cheapest he’s been all season and should also be fairly contrarian. It’s a tough matchup, but stranger things have happened. He’s “large field GPP” only for me this week, but I’ll take a small sprinkle.
NFL DFS Wide Receiver Picks
With the Dolphins off the main slate, we’re getting a brief respite from this being the Tyreek Hill section of the article. The Bengals and Ja’Marr chase are also out, leaving no receivers projected over 19 points in our models.
The closest is AJ Brown ($8,600), who has (re?) emerged as an alpha wideout this season. With a top-five target share and the most air yards in the NFL, he has a rock-solid role. Brown has also been extremely efficient, with six straight games of at least 125 yards.
With the best offensive environment on the slate, it’s hard to see any of that changing for Brown. While Dallas is a tough defensive matchup, I’ll bet on the talent and usage of Brown regardless of the opposing defense. He’s an easy stacking partner for Hurts in GPPs, and a solid one-off in other lineups.
It looks like Demario Douglas ($4,000) will be the Patriots top receiver moving forward. Kendrick Bourne and his team-leading target share is done for the season, with Douglas immediately taking over as the first look for this offense.
He saw seven targets last week when Bourne exited partway through the game. Now, he has little remaining competition for targets, especially at wide receiver. The 5’8″ Douglas is a low-aDOT receiver with plenty of short looks. That lowers his ceiling a bit, but also raises his floor with plenty of catchable targets.
That makes him a cash game lock this week in what should be an uptempo game against Washington. He still has some GPP appeal as well, though. He’ll need to break a big play with the ball in his hands, but he has the burst to do just that:
I thought the days of Adam Thielen ($7,500) as a top DFS option had long since passed, but I was wrong. Among Week 9 main slate receivers, he ranks second behind only Brown in PPR points per game this season. After a slow Week 1, he’s averaged over 11 targets per contest in the remaining games. Now he’s a slight underdog against the fastest-paced team in the league — an ideal scenario for the Panthers passing attack.
For the reasons mentioned above about Sam Howell, I’m also interested in Terry McLaurin ($5,600). The Commanders alpha wideout has a mediocre 21% target share, but that should tick up with Curtis Samuel (15% share) out for Week 9. He seems to have found a connection with Howell, with at least 14 DraftKings points in three straight. This could be our last shot to roster him under $6,000.
Dallas spreads the ball just enough to be annoying, with three receivers all seeing at least 20% of the air yards. CeeDee Lamb ($8,200) is the top option, but expensive for his likeliest outcome. Brandin Cooks ($4,400) and Michael Gallup ($3,600) are boom-or-bust options with deep route trees. I’m mostly interested in them as part of stacks built around this game, but could see a case for mixing in the cheaper options as one-offs in other builds.
It’s a good matchup for Cooper Kupp ($8,500) and Puka Nacua ($7,400) against the Packers. Both are excellent zone beaters, with Green Bay running zone coverage at the sixth-highest rate. However, I wouldn’t spend that much on a receiver catching passes from Brett Rypien ($4,700). With Matthew Stafford ($6,300) questionable, I’d wait for more clarity before considering either. However, the uncertainty should keep ownership down on both.
I’m also interested in the Saints passing attack against a run-funnel Bears defense. Adding Montez Sweat will help, but is unlikely to even bring the Bears’ pass rush to mediocre, much less good. This should leave plenty of time for the deep routes run by Chris Olave ($6,300) and Rashid Shaheed ($4,500) to develop. Shaheed popped last week, which will likely elevate his ownership. Olave’s usage far exceeds his production to date, though, making him due for a breakout.
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NFL DFS Tight End Picks
With the Chiefs on bye, it’s a two-horse race for the top tight end on the slate. Mark Andrews ($6,800) and TJ Hockenson ($5,200) stand out above the field in Week 9.
Hockenson has the better matchup, facing Atlanta, who have the worst Opponent Plus/Minus allowed to tight ends on the slate. Andrews is playing Seattle, one of the toughest teams against the position by that metric. On the other hand, Andrews has Lamar Jackson at quarterback, while Hockenson has Jaren Hall ($4,800).
I’m not too concerned, though, as Hockenson could be used as a safety valve for the fifth-round rookie. That helps his floor more than his ceiling, as the offense could struggle to get anything going while he still sees seven or eight catches. Andrews has a lower floor with the Ravens spreading the ball around, but a higher ceiling thanks to higher touchdown equity.
This leaves me looking to roster Hockenson in cash lineups where I have the salary while reserving Andrews for GPP play — especially lineups with Jackson at quarterback.
The Trey McBride ($3,700) value experience was a fun one. McBride went off for 25.50 DraftKings points as mega-chalk last week, leading to a $900 increase in his salary. Now his quarterback is traded away, and he’s priced appropriately for his starting tight end role.
This leaves me looking to Logan Thomas ($3,500) this week. The Commanders tight end isn’t a ton cheaper, but he has a far better game environment and matchup in Week 9. He’s a cheap way to get exposure to the Commanders passing attack that stands out this week, without sacrificing the quarterback position.
He’s seen at least six targets in three of the last four games, the lone exception being the slow-paced matchup with the Falcons. His ceiling is fairly touchdown-dependent, but he has a strong floor for cash games.
David Njoku ($3,800) is viable for both cash games and tournaments, with double-digit DraftKings points in three of the last four games. He has a top-12 target share at the position on the season and finally found the end zone last week against Seattle. Like all of the non-elite tight ends, you’re betting on another touchdown if using him for GPPs, but he’s unlikely to burn you even if he’s held out of the end zone.
If you’re really trying to save salary, Daniel Bellinger ($2,500) is the Giants starter at the position, but priced at the DraftKings minimum. He’s been stuck behind Darren Waller on the depth chart, but Waller is set to miss Week 9 and possibly beyond. Waller has the fourth-highest target share at the position this year, but that won’t necessarily transfer over to Bellinger. Still, he should catch a few balls and won’t take your lineup at just $2,500.
GPP Roster Construction
It’s a tough week for tournaments. With one game that stands out, we can expect a big chunk of ownership to concentrate around it. At the same time, It’s hard to see other spots that produce more DFS scoring — even though we know those always emerge.
I have some interest in the Ravens with Seahawks bringbacks or even without. Jackson has produced a week-winning score in blowouts and could bring one of his primary pass catchers with him. Other spots I’m looking at include the Saints-Bears game and the Commanders-Patriots.
With the former, I’m mostly interested in the Saints’ side of the ball. Chicago could spread the offense out enough to stay competitive, even without producing any strong DFS scores. With the other game, I’m considering some stacks built around both teams, with bringbacks from the other side. Both teams have a fairly clear top receiver, and Mac Jones ($4,900) could get there (relative to his salary) against a suddenly awful pass defense.
While stacks will largely dictate my receivers, I do want to make sure to roster some of the Rams wideouts if Stafford is in. It’s an obvious leverage spot with the field, mostly assuming he won’t play. Other one-offs in my pool include Adam Thielen, AJ Brown, and Chirs Olave. Of course, I want to cast a wide net at receiver since it’s a fairly volatile position.
Conversely, it’s probably right to keep to a fairly small core at running back. The seven players mentioned in that section and maybe Jonathan Taylor ($6,400) will make up the vast majority, if not all, of my lineups. We know it’s far easier to project running back scoring, so no need to get crazy there.
Nobody at tight end stands out strongly from a price-and-ownership-considered standpoint this week. I’m happy to roster the position based on my remaining salary and hope for a touchdown. The possible exception is Mark Andrews, but he’s really only a priority in Ravens stacks.
Defense is similarly wide open and hard to project. I’ll be trying to get away from the Giants at 20%+ ownership, but eating a bit of chalk isn’t the worst thing in the world. Outside of them, no unit really stands out to me this week as a screaming value.
The big cash game decision in recent weeks has been paying up or down at quarterback. The top few passers in the league generally separate from the rest of the bunch. However, not always by enough to justify their price tags, depending on the quality of the alternatives.
This week, that decision is likely between Jalen Hurts and Sam Howell. I’d love to get up to Hurts, given the game environment. I also expect his knee to be a non-issue, boosting his rushing production. However, the volume should be there for Howell and the Commanders.
If rostering Howell, I’m making it a point to get to AJ Brown and still have exposure to Hurts’ upside. Similarly, I want one (or both) of Terry McLaurin or Logan Thomas if I’m passing on Howell. There should be enough collective volume to support them both on full-PPR DraftKings.
At running back, the savings on Singletary are enough that I’ll probably plug my nose and roster him. I’m a bit lower on him than the field is likely to be, but I’d hate to get burned by fading him. Alvin Kamara is a priority for me here as well. There are some two-RB builds that make sense, but I’d be fine with having any of Josh Jacobs, Saqupon Barkley, or Bijan Robinson in cash as well.
At receiver, Demario Douglas is a near-lock regardless of roster construction. He’s just too cheap for a player getting 6+ targets per game. That was before the player in front of him on the depth chart got hurt. From there, I’m using the position to hedge my quarterback play as outlined above. Of course, stacking Howell with McLaurin or Brown with Hurts is fine as well.
Outside of those players, I’d love to get to Adam Thielen. While he’s not quite a priority, he’s a strong option on a weak slate for the position. Chris Olave is a reasonable pivot while saving $1,200, though. Those five players mentioned are the only options I’m strongly considering, though there are other cheap punts besides Douglas (Michael Gallup, for example) if the salary savings are meaningful.
At tight end, I’m considering Thomas, Hockenson, and Bellinger. I don’t have a strong read on any of the above, but would be happy to roster either, depending on my remaining salary. Without Kelce on the slate, it’s hard to lose the week based on a bad decision at tight end.
Finally, Giants Defense ($2,300) feels like a fairly obvious choice against a broken Raiders offense. The Raiders total is just 19.5, giving New York a solid floor for the price. If I had a $50,500 salary cap and Matthew Stafford is ruled out, I might get up to Green Bay ($2,800) — but I don’t, and neither do you.