With an early game on Sunday morning in Germany and four teams on a bye week, the main slate on DraftKings is back to 10 games this week. Only one of those 10 games is a divisional matchup, as the Eagles and Cowboys face off in a key matchup in the later window.
With 20 teams in play, there are many strong options to consider as you assemble your Week 9 NFL DFS squad. Of the 10 games, the highest total is that divisional matchup between Philly and Dallas. Three teams are tied for the highest Implied Team total: the Ravens, the Saints, and the Eagles.
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
Gardner Minshew ($5,200) Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) at Carolina Panthers (44.5 total)
The projections are pointing to more Minshew Mania this weekend as Gardner Minshew leads the Colts to Carolina. Both the FantasyLabs and Raybon’s projections give Minshew the highest Projected Plus/Minus of any quarterback on Sunday’s slate. He is also tied for the highest Pts/Sal in both of those projections.
Minshew comes into this contest after throwing multiple touchdowns in back-to-back home losses. In the last three weeks, Minshew faced pretty tough defenses in the Jaguars, Saints, and Browns but still produced 22.2 DraftKings points per week. He averaged 282 passing yards per game over that stretch and threw five touchdowns while also running for two more scores.
The Colts offense has worked Jonathan Taylor back in the mix, and Minshew has made Josh Downs one of the best rookie receivers. The offense has been productive with 20+ points in every game this season, and Minshew has been a very solid producer since taking over for Anthony Richardson (shoulder). He showed his ceiling in a high-scoring game against the Browns, throwing for 305 yards and finishing with 34.1 DraftKings points.
This week, Minshew takes on the Panthers, who rank in the middle of the pack against quarterbacks. They have allowed 12 quarterback touchdowns in seven games, including giving up multiple passing scores for three straight weeks before a better showing last week against the Texans.
The Colts have the fourth-highest implied team total of the week, and Minshew should be able to deliver good value since he’s outside the top 10 at the position in salary. He’s a much more proven option than Jaren Hall, Brett Rypien, and Clayton Tune, who are all expected to make their first start of the season this week.
NFL DFS Wide Receiver Values
Demario Douglas ($4,000) New England Patriots (-3.5) vs. Washington Commanders (40.5 total)
For the second straight week, rookie receiver Demario Douglas stands out as a value play with big upside in a growing role. Douglas has the highest Projected Plus/Minus and the most Pts/Sal in the FantasyLabs projections and also ranks in the top three of both those value metrics using Raybon’s projections.
The Patriots continue to scuffle on offense, but Douglas is finding his place and should stay busy as injuries continue to mount. Last week, JuJu Smith-Schuster returned for the Pats, but the team lost Kendrick Bourne (knee) to a season-ending injury. With Smith-Schuster still in a minimal role and DeVante Parker (concussion) uncertain, Douglas will likely take over the top spot on the depth chart.
The sixth-round pick from Liberty brings plenty of big-play potential and has played well over 50% of the team’s snaps the past two weeks since missing a game with a concussion of his own. He caught 4-of-6 targets for 54 yards against the Bills in his return and last week hauled in 5-of-7 targets for 25 yards. He exceeded salary-based expectations in each of those contests since his cost has been so low.
Without Bourne and possibly Parker, Davis should be even more involved this week in a great matchup against the Commanders. Washington has given up the second-most fantasy points to opposing receivers this season, allowing an average of 197 receiving yards per game to the position, along with 13 wide receiver touchdowns in eight games.
Douglas is still looking for his first touchdown, and this looks like a great spot for the rookie to find the end zone as part of a big game. He brings a ton of upside at just $4K as he steps into a bigger role in a soft matchup.
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NFL DFS Running Back Values
Emari Demercado ($4,700) Arizona Cardinals (-8) at Cleveland Browns (37.5 total)
There are differing opinions on exactly where the best value lies at running back this week. To help find the best plays at the cheap end of the salary structure, sometimes it can be helpful to combine multiple sets of projections. I set up an evenly blended aggregate of the three main sets of projections used for this post–the FantasyLabs projections, Raybon’s projections, and THE BLITZ projections.
In that aggregate, Emari Demercado pops up to third in Projected Plus/Minus and stands out as the best play under $5K by a wide margin. THE BLITZ projections actually have Demercado second in Projected Plus/Minus at running back behind only the expensive Tony Pollard.
The Cardinals are still without James Conner (knee), who remains without a timetable to return. Whether they activate Kyler Murray or start Clayton Tune after trading Joshua Dobbs to Minnesota this week, they’ll likely be looking to Demercado to carry as much of the offensive workload as possible to take the pressure off whoever is under center.
Demercado is an undrafted rookie out of TCU who has been a very solid producer since stepping into a bigger role. He burst onto the scene with a touchdown and 12.7 DraftKings points against the Bengals in Week 5 before returning to the bench in Week 6. Neither Keontay Igram nor Damien Williams (now injured) impressed against the Rams that week, so coach Jonathan Gannon went back to Demercado in Week 7.
After he claimed the job, Dmercado exceeded salary-based expectations in back-to-back games. He took a career-high 20 carries last week and finished with 78 yards against the stout Ravens run defense. The previous week against Seattle, he also showed he brings potential in the passing game, catching 4-of-5 targets for 17 yards.
The Browns have a good defense, but they have given up 100 rushing yards to opposing running backs in three of their last four games. They have also given up three running back touchdowns in those four contests.
As we get closer to game time, keep a close eye on who is starting at quarterback for the Cardinals. Murray gives the offense more upside, but either way, Demercado should be busy enough to return value from his bargain salary under $5K.
NFL DFS Tight End Values
Logan Thomas ($3,500) Washington Commanders (+3.5) at New England Patriots (40.5 total)
Last week, I highlighted Demercado’s teammate Trey McBride in this space, and he went off for a huge 25.5 DraftKings points in the Cardinals’ loss. McBride’s price jumped almost $1,000, but he’s still a strong play to consider this week. With McBride’s salary bump and uncertain QB situation, instead, I’m looking to Logan Thomas for my value pick early in the week. Thomas has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at the position in the three-way aggregate projection and is tied with McBride and Dallas’s Jake Ferguson for the most projected Pts/Sal.
Thomas has a 97% Bargain Rating on DraftKings, and he should be in a good spot to produce in this matchup with the Patriots. New England has allowed just an average of 44 receiving yards per game to opposing tight ends this season, but in two of the past three games opposing tight ends have produced over 85 receiving yards.
In the past few weeks, Thomas has continued to grow into a heavily involved role for the Commanders. He’s one of the release valves when Sam Howell is under pressure, which seems to be on just about every play. Thomas has averaged 5.7 targets per game on the season and 6.5 targets per game over his past four contests. He had a big game with nine catches and a touchdown in Week 5 against the Bears, and he returned to the end zone last week against the Eagles as part of his 16.4 DraftKings points.
The converted quarterback has exceeded salary-based expectations in six of his seven games this season with an Average Plus/Minus of 2.6 DraftKings points. He should be a nice value option again this week.