The international games on this year’s NFL schedule are in the books, so we just have the usual Sunday afternoon games this week. With four teams on a bye, there are 11 games on the main slate, with eight starting with a 1:00 p.m. ET kickoff and three more kicking off in the later window.
With 22 teams in play, there are many strong options to consider as you assemble your Week 11 NFL DFS squad. Of the 11 games, there are two tied for the highest total of the week on our Vegas dashboard, The Lions-Bears game and the Texans-Cardinals game. The highest implied teal total, though, goes to the Miami Dolphins as they come back from their bye week and face the resurgent Raiders.
As you start your prep for Sunday’s slate, let’s take a look at a few players who stand out for Week 9, using the early projections in our NFL Player Models. Of course, these models update frequently.
Things will likely change between now and Sunday, but it’s still good to have a plan of attack.
If there’s news between now and lock — and there will be — the models will update to reflect that.
As always, they’re powered by Sean Koerner — the most accurate fantasy ranker in the industry from 2019-2021.
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:
Try Our New SimLabs Tool!
NFL DFS Quarterback Values
Kyler Murray ($6,100) Arizona Cardinals (+5) at Houston Texans (47.5 total)
Welcome back, Kyler! After missing the first nine weeks of the season following his knee injury last season, Kyler Murray made his return to the field for the Cardinals and led his team to a win over the visiting Falcons. Murray shows up at the top of the value projections at quarterback this week with the highest Projected Plus/Minus of any quarterback and the most Pts/Sal at the position in both THE BLITZ projections and Chris Raybon’s projections.
If you combine THE BLITZ, Raybon’s, and the FantasyLabs projections into an evenly-mixed, three-way blend, Murray has the best Projected Plus/Minus at the position, edging out fellow NFC West QBs Brock Purdy and Geno Smith.
Murray looked healthy in his return, running for a touchdown and 33 yards on six carries and throwing for 249 yards. He didn’t throw a touchdown, but the best news is that he looked like his normal improvisational self in the pocket and didn’t seem to be limited by the injury at all.
His rushing potential gives him a high ceiling, especially in this matchup with Houston. The Texans’ recent surge has been on the strong play of their own signal-caller, C.J. Stroud, who is emerging as a legitimate MVP candidate. That success hasn’t meant they aren’t a good matchup for opposing QBs, though. They have allowed seven passing touchdowns and an average of 305.8 passing yards per game over the last five weeks. They also have given up three rushing touchdowns to opposing QBs on the season, so there’s rushing potential for Kyler as well.
With a successful return behind him, Kyler should be ready to re-establish himself as one of the top two-way threats at QB the rest of the way. Getting him as the ninth-most expensive expected starter is a value to take advantage of since his salary will likely climb as he shows he is fully back to form and can thrive in this new offense.
NFL DFS Wide Receiver Values
Khalil Shakir ($3,200) Buffalo Bills (-7) vs. New York Jets (40 total)
In the three-way blended projections, Michael Wilson, Marquise Brown, and Rondale Moore are all in the top four in Projected Plus/Minus at wide receiver and can be a good stack to consider with Kyler if you believe the Cardinals can find success in Houston. If you’re looking for a different direction, though, Shakir brings fascinating upside at barely more than the minimum salary.
Shakir has stepped in this year as the Bills’ primary slot receiver, but the team has been very reliant on formations that utilize two tight ends. That made sense with Dalton Kincaid and Dawson Knox, but with Knox injured, Shakir’s role has increased in the last few weeks, and he has gotten a chance to flash his upside.
Shakir converted 14-of-14 targets in a three-game span before last Monday’s loss to the Broncos. He averaged 61.3 yards per game in that three-game stretch and fell just short of a 100-yard performance against the Bucs. Last week, though, he only drew two targets, although one resulted in an impressive 24-yard grab on the sidelines.
The Bills made a big move this week, firing offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey and replacing him with Joe Brady. The numbers indicate that Brady would be smart to transition to more formations with one tight end and Shakir on the field. If Shakir is going to get four or more targets in the new-look offense, he brings a very high ceiling. It’s definitely high-risk to go with Shakir, given the uncertainty around his usage, but I love his upside at this price.
The Jets’ pass defense has been good this year, but Shakir should be able to find space out of the slot. With Knox still on IR for at least one more week, this week should give Shakir a chance to shine.
Be sure to check out all the pick’ems Sleeper has to offer with Sleeper Fantasy promo code LABS1 for a $100 deposit match.
NFL DFS Running Back Values
Jerome Ford ($5,200) Cleveland Browns (-1.5) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (34 total)
The Browns got crushing news early in the week that Deshaun Watson (shoulder) would be sidelined for the rest of the season. Watson’s absence will have a huge impact on the offense, but it may actually end up with more focus on the run game, which could offer a nice boost to Ford, who has been making the most of his chances since the season-ending injury to Nick Chubb.
Ford has the fourth-highest Projected Plus/Minus at running back on Sunday’s slate in the aggregated projections, and he has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at the position in the FantasyLabs projections, which were updated after the Watson injury.
Last week, Ford exceeded salary-based expectations for the fourth time in his last five games and got to 100 rushing yards for the second time this season. He has produced double-digit DKFP in each of those four games, and he only found the end zone in one of those matchups. Kareem Hunt has vultured many of Ford’s goal-line chances and has scored six rushing scores in his past five games. If Ford can get some positive touchdown regression this week against the Steelers, he has a very high ceiling, and even if he doesn’t, he is producing enough yardage that some extra chances would be enough to make him one of the best values on the board.
The Steelers kept the Packers running backs out of the end zone last week, but they still surrendered 135 rushing + receiving yards. In each of their previous four games, the Steelers allowed at least one score to opposing running backs and have now allowed over 100 rushing + receiving yards in five of their last six games.
The Browns struggled with rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson starting in Week 4 against the Ravens, but they did go with a run-heavy attack, especially early. A similar game script this week could mean a big day for Ford.
NFL DFS Tight End Values
Trey McBride ($4,400) Arizona Cardinals (+5) at Houston Texans (47.5 total)
Trey McBride continues to emerge as one of the top tight ends in the league from a value perspective, and he has the top Projected Plus/Minus on this week’s slate at the position by a wide margin when looking at the aggregated projections. He is the sixth-most expensive tight end on the slate, but he has the highest ceiling, median and floor projection, meaning he stands out both as a stud option and as a good value.
McBride has exceeded salary-based expectations in four of his past five games, with the only down performance in an ill-fated start by rookie Clayton Tune. With Tune now backing up Murray, McBride returned to being an elite option since he plays such a large role in Arizona’s offense.
In his first game with Kyler, McBride had eight catches on nine targets for a new career-high 131 yards. Over his last four games, he has averaged 8.0 targets per game from three different quarterbacks. The second-year tight end should continue to monopolize the looks at the position until Zach Ertz (quad) comes back from IR.
This week, he gets a good matchup against the Texans. Opposing tight ends have averaged 7.1 catches for 63.9 yards per game against Houston while scoring four touchdowns. They have been the sixth-best matchup for tight ends, and McBride should be poised to continue his emergence this week.