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Week 9 NFL Fantasy WR Breakdown: Julio Jones, Bang a Gong

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The Week 9 NFL main slate kicks off on Sunday, Nov. 8, at 1 p.m. ET.

In this piece, I highlight wide receivers who stand out in our large suite of analytical fantasy tools, most specifically our FantasyLabs Models. While the Models are built for daily contests, this is an all-purpose fantasy article with actionable information for all formats.

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Top Wide Receivers in the FantasyLabs Models

There are five wide receivers atop the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek), Ryan Hodge and I have constructed.

Here’s where they place within our Week 9 fantasy football rankings (as of Thursday morning).

  • Julio Jones: No. 2 (PPR) | No. 2 (Half PPR) | No. 3 (STD)
  • D.K. Metcalf: No. 5 (PPR) | No. 4 (Half PPR) | No. 2 (STD)
  • Stefon Diggs: No. 8 (PPR) | No. 7 (Half PPR) | No. 7 (STD)
  • Allen Robinson: No. 11 (PPR) | No. 13 (Half PPR) | No. 15 (STD)
  • Danny Amendola: No. 50 (PPR) | No. 54 (Half PPR) | No. 57 (STD)

FantasyLabs Positional Breakdowns

Check in throughout the week as I publish the rest of the positional breakdowns.

For more in-depth NFL analysis, check out The Action Network. For updates, see our FantasyLabs News Feed.


Odds as of Thursday morning and via DraftKings Sportsbook, where you can get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus today.


Julio Jones: Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) vs. Denver Broncos (50 Over/Under)

Not since Week 1 has Jones been atop any of Models. It’s time to rectify that.

What needs to be said about Jones?

He’s one of the best wide receivers in NFL history. He’s No. 1 with an all-time mark of 96.3 yards receiving per game (regular season only), and since his 2013 third-year campaign that number has been an atmospheric 102.4.

Jones often gets knocked for not scoring touchdowns, but that’s not really fair. Even if we ignore his 2012 season with 10 touchdowns and look only at the past seven-plus years, Jones has scored in 33 of 103 regular-season games: This guy gets a touchdown about a third of the time he steps on the field. That’s not bad.

Also, it’s not as if he’s horrible when he doesn’t score. In such games, he has still produced (per RotoViz Game Splits App).

Who turns their noses up at 89.5 yards on 6.2 receptions and 9.9 targets per game?

Week to week, Jones can be volatile. Since 2013, he has been a fantasy WR3 or worse in 37% of his games (per RotoViz NFL Stat Explorer).

As great as he is, Jones is a boom-or-bust producer. The bad comes along with the good.

But the bad still isn’t all that bad. Year to year, Jones is as safe of a bet as there is for a wide receiver to end up with 1,400-plus yards.

I think the biggest problem with Jones might be that we’ve gotten used to him. Last year he was less efficient in yards per route than he had been in previous years, but he was still elite, and this year he has returned to form (including playoffs, per Pro Football Focus).

  • 2013: 2.75 (1st)
  • 2014: 2.72 (3rd)
  • 2015: 3.04 (1st)
  • 2016: 3.23 (1st)
  • 2017: 3.04 (1st)
  • 2018: 2.93 (2nd)
  • 2019: 2.44 (4th)
  • 2020: 2.83 (3rd)

As long as Jones is out there running routes, he will get his yards.

In his five full games this year, Jones has been his typically-productive self.

  • Week 1 (vs. SEA): 24.7 PPR, 15.7 STD | 9-157-0, 12 targets
  • Week 2 (at DAL): 4.4 PPR, 2.4 STD | 2-24-0, four targets
  • Week 6 (at MIN): 33.7 PPR, 25.7 STD | 8-137-2, 10 targets
  • Week 7 (vs. DET): 17.7 PPR, 9.7 STD | 8-97-0, nine targets
  • Week 8 (at CAR): 20.7 PPR, 13.7 STD | 7-137-0, 10 targets

Even with his injury-shortened Week 4, Jones is No. 7 in the league with 126.7 air yards and yards after the catch (AirYAC) per game.

AirYAC is a leading indicator of fantasy output. You can find it in the RotoViz NFL Player Statistical Summary.

At a glance, Jones has a bad matchup against the Broncos, who are No. 1 with a 71.1 PFF coverage grade. But I think that’s mitigated by two factors.

First, No. 1 cornerback A.J. Bouye (concussion) exited Week 8 with a head injury. He is yet to return to practice, and I am skeptical that he will play for the Broncos this weekend.

Second, wide receiver Calvin Ridley (foot) left Week 8 early with an injury. Although Ridley is reportedly on a day-to-day basis, he didn’t practice on Wednesday, and the team has a bye in Week 10, so I expect Ridley to sit this game out so he can have three-plus weeks to heal.

Without Bouye and Ridley, Jones will have an easier matchup and almost certainly more targets.

In the words of T. Rex: “Get it on, bang a gong, get it on.”

Jones has got the teeth of the hydra.

In his three games last year without Ridley, Jones was built like a car with an outrageous 37% target share.

  • Week 15 (at SF): 38.4 PPR, 25.4 STD | 13-134-2, 20 targets
  • Week 16 (vs. JAX): 26.6 PPR, 16.6 STD | 10-166-0, 15 targets
  • Week 17 (at TB): 14.8 PPR, 7.8 STD | 7-78-0, 13 targets

Hubcap diamond star halo.

Jones is a top-tier WR1 in season-long leagues and the No. 1 wide receiver in the Bales and Hodge Models for DraftKings, where he has a position-high eight Pro Trends.


D.K. Metcalf: Seattle Seahawks (-3) at Buffalo Bills (55 O/U)

In 2020, the Seahawks have abandoned their 2018-19 run-heavy ways and are passing far more frequently than even the most optimistic prognosticator would have imagined.

Head coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer are finally letting quarterback Russell Wilson cook, and that means lots of food for Metcalf to eat.

With all that extra protein, Metcalf has dominated in his second NFL season.

  • Week 1 (at ATL): 19.5 PPR, 15.5 STD | 4-95-1, eight targets
  • Week 2 (vs. NE): 19.2 PPR, 15.2 STD | 4-92-1, six targets
  • Week 3 (vs. DAL): 19.0 PPR, 15.0 STD | 4-110-1, eight targets
  • Week 4 (at MIA): 14.6 PPR, 10.6 STD | 4-106-0, six targets
  • Week 5 (vs. MIN): 27.3 PPR, 21.3 STD | 6-93-2, 11 targets
  • Week 7 (at ARI): 4.3 PPR, 2.3 STD | 2-23-0, five targets
  • Week 8 (vs. SF): 40.1 PPR, 28.1 STD | 12-161-2, 15 targets

His soul-stealing performance against 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore in Week 2 was particularly impressive, but Metcalf has been great almost every week. In all but one of his first seven games this season, he has either 100 yards or a touchdown.

In his second season, Metcalf has metamorphosed into a Megatron-like superstar.

At a glance, you wouldn’t think that a guy with only 8.4 targets per game would be pacing for something pretty darn close to a 1,600-16 season this far into the year. How is Metcalf doing this?

The answer lies in the high quality of his targets. Even though Metcalf has already had a bye, he is tied for No. 3 at the position with eight end-zone targets and 16 deep-ball targets of 20-plus yards. With each target, Metcalf has an elevated chance of scoring a touchdown and picking up chunk yardage relative to other receivers.

That he’s No. 1 overall with 154.1 AirYAC per game speaks to the overall yardage-accumulating potential he has.

Metcalf is the slate’s top wide receiver in Hayden Winks’ Week 9 Usage Model.

Although Metcalf is not a technically proficient player — he’s not yet a nuanced route-runner — he is quickly becoming one of the league’s most commanding receivers thanks to his sheer athleticism, as exemplified by his 99th-percentile 133.3 Speed Score (per Player Profiler).

Last year, Metcalf flashed a world of potential. In a slow-paced, run-focused offense, he was 58-900-7 receiving with a league-high 18 end-zone targets in the regular season, and then in two playoff games he balled out with 11-219-1 receiving.

This year, he has transformed the promise of potential into the potency of production. The sample is small, but on his 59 targets, Metcalf has bestowed to Wilson an elite 12.4 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A, per RotoViz AY/A App).

But starting this week, he has a cornerback gauntlet ahead of him.

Apologies to Gilmore, but Metcalf’s matchup with White might be the toughest one he’s faced so far this year.

Ever since his incredibly underappreciated 2017 rookie campaign when he had a 90.1 PFF coverage grade, White has been one of my favorite corners. Last year, he finally got the credit he deserves with an All-Pro recognition.

For his career, White has allowed just 7.3 yards per target on a 55.2% catch rate, and he has faced only 2.9 targets per game this year.

For the most part, 2020 quarterbacks are opting not to test White, which means that there’s some elevated risk associated with Metcalf this week.

As we saw in Week 7 when the Cardinals shadowed Metcalf with cornerback Patrick Peterson and also used a safety over the top, Wilson is willing to take what the defense gives him. With the Cardinals selling out to stop Metcalf, Wilson peppered slot receiver Tyler Lockett with 20 targets.

If the Bills do everything they can to slow Metcalf down, Wilson just might make the strategic football decision to let them succeed. This could be another game in which Lockett, not Metcalf, leads the team in receiving.

But even with his potential downside, Metcalf has slate-crushing upside, and in a road game that could be close, I expect Metcalf to get enough opportunities to make plays.

Full disclosure: I’m betting on the Seahawks. With Wilson, they are 73-55-7 against the spread (ATS), good for an 11.0% return on investment (ROI, per our Bet Labs database).

I know that the Seahawks are a West Coast team traveling east and playing in the early game, which theoretically means they should have some sort of biorhythmic disadvantage, but I’m not worried.

There might have been an edge with that angle years ago, but nowadays the market tends to account for cross-country travel.

In fact, bettors now might put too much weight on the west-to-east angle, creating value on the team that should be hindered. With the Seahawks, Carroll has had 24 East Coast games with a start time of 1 p.m. ET. He’s 14-7-3 ATS (27.5% ROI).



I expect the Seahawks to put up points, which bodes well for Metcalf. You can bet on this game at DraftKings.

Metcalf is a high-end WR1 in season-long leagues and the No. 1 wide receivers in the Koerner and Freedman Models for FanDuel, where he leads all wide receivers with his median and ceiling projections.


Stefon Diggs: Buffalo Bills (+3) vs. Seattle Seahawks (55 O/U)

Insert here the most explicit lyrics you can think of from your favorite Guns N’ Roses song. Honey, you’re a bit obscene.

Diggs is gonna rock this weekend. First of all, there’s the matchup: Opposing wide receiver units are No. 1 against the Seahawks with 36.2 fantasy points per game on 151-1,885-11 receiving.

Imagine I’m Matt Damon in Ocean’s Eleven as I say this: The list of guys who have gone off against the Seahawks … well, it’s long.

  • Calvin Ridley (Week 1): 33.9 PPR, 24.9 STD | 9-130-2, 12 targets
  • Julio Jones (Week 1): 24.7 PPR, 15.7 STD | 9-157-0, 12 targets
  • Russell Gage (Week 1): 20.4 PPR, 11.4 STD | 9-114-0, 12 targets
  • Julian Edelman (Week 2): 25.9 PPR, 17.9 STD | 8-179-0, 11 targets
  • N’Keal Harry (Week 2): 15.2 PPR, 7.2 STD | 8-72-0, 12 targets
  • Damiere Byrd (Week 2): 13.2 PPR, 7.2 STD | 6-72-0, nine targets
  • Amari Cooper (Week 3): 17.6 PPR, 8.6 STD | 9-86-0, 12 targets
  • Michael Gallup (Week 3): 25.8 PPR, 19.8 STD | 6-138-1, nine targets
  • CeeDee Lamb (Week 3): 11.6 PPR, 6.6 STD | 5-65-0, six targets
  • Cedrick Wilson (Week 3): 27.7 PPR, 22.7 STD | 5-107-2, seven targets
  • DeVante Parker (Week 4): 21.0 PPR, 11.0 STD | 10-110-0, 12 targets
  • Adam Thielen (Week 5): 29.3 PPR, 20.3 STD | 9-80-2, 13 targets | 1-3-0 rushing
  • DeAndre Kirk (Week 7): 24.3 PPR, 14.3 STD | 10-103-1, 12 targets
  • Christian Kirk (Week 7): 20.7 PPR, 15.7 STD | 5-37-2, eight targets
  • Larry Fitzgerald (Week 7): 14.2 PPR, 6.2 STD | 8-62-0, eight targets
  • Brandon Aiyuk (Week 8): 23.1 PPR, 15.1 STD | 8-91-1, 11 targets
  • Kendrick Bourne (Week 8): 16.1 PPR, 8.1 STD | 8-81-0, 10 targets

The Seahawks have the league’s most receiver-friendly flow-chart defense, with an NFL-high 13 fantasy WR1/2 performances allowed in just seven games.

With a funnel defense that ranks No. 6 against the run (-23.2% DVOA) and No. 30 against the pass (23.8%, per Football Outsiders), the Seahawks are utterly exploitable via the air.

Long gone is the Legion of Boom.

On top of that, the Seahawks are dealing with major injury issues in their secondary.

All-Pro safety Jamal Adams (groin) exited Week 3 early and missed Weeks 4-8. He practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday but is still uncertain for Week 9.

Perimeter cornerback Shaquill Griffin (concussion/hamstring) left Week 7 early and missed Week 8. He is yet to return to practice, which does not bode well for his Week 9 availability.

Backup slot cornerback Ugo Amadi (hamstring) also missed Week 8 and Wednesday practice, and Week 1 slot starter Marquise Blair (knee, IR) is already out for the year.

In this game, the Seahawks could be without three secondary starters and one key injury fill-in.

Diggs could not ask for a better matchup.

And outside of the matchup, there are reasons to be enthusiastic about Diggs.

He’s No. 6 with a 29% market share of targets and 9.9 targets per game and No. 7 with 15.9 expected fantasy points per game. Diggs is the only wide receiver with six-plus targets in all eight weeks.

In only one game this year has Diggs not had either 80-plus yards or a touchdown.

  • Week 1 (vs. NYJ): 16.6 PPR, 8.6 STD | 8-86-0, nine targets
  • Week 2 (at MIA): 29.3 PPR, 21.3 STD | 8-153-1, 13 targets
  • Week 3 (vs. LAR): 14.9 PPR, 10.9 STD | 4-49-1, six targets
  • Week 4 (at LV): 17.5 PPR, 11.5 STD | 6-115-0, seven targets
  • Week 5 (at TEN): 20.6 PPR, 10.6 STD | 10-106-0, 16 targets
  • Week 6 (vs. KC): 16.6 PPR, 10.6 STD | 6-46-1, eight targets
  • Week 7 (at NYJ): 10.8 PPR, 4.8 STD | 6-48-0, 11 targets
  • Week 8 (vs. NE): 15.2 PPR, 9.2 STD | 6-92-0, nine targets

And it’s not as if this production is out of nowhere. With back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2018-19, Diggs clearly put his playmaking talent on display, and the promise he flashed for years with the Vikings he has now translated into sustained output with the Bills.

An added bonus: Diggs is the No. 1 wide receiver in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Week 9 Air Yards Buy-Low Model.

Insert here the background vocals of Adriana Smith, you know what I mean?

Diggs is a top-five WR1 in season-long leagues and the No. 1 wide receiver in the Raybon, SportsGeek and Hodge Models for FanDuel.


Allen Robinson: Chicago Bears (+6) at Tennessee Titans (46.5 O/U)

Over the past two weeks, the Titans have taken the bold step of using cornerback Malcolm Butler in shadow coverage, so there’s a decent chance he will tail Robinson in this game.

On the one hand, he did a good job against wide receivers Chase Claypool and A.J. Green, who combined for just 3-17-0 receiving on six targets.

On the other hand, Butler has been a mediocre cover man for the Titans throughout his time with the team.

  • 2018: 69.8 PFF coverage grade
  • 2019: 64.2 PFF coverage grade
  • 2020: 64.3 PFF coverage grade

And in Weeks 1-6, he allowed 8.1 yards per target on an outlandish 8.4 targets per game before moving to shadow coverage.

Robinson should be fine against Butler. He has endured much worse, after all.

God bless the child.

In his six games this year with quarterback Nick Foles, Robinson is 42-524-3 receiving on 59 targets, looking very much like the best-case version of the guy who was 98-1,147-7 last year.

In half his games with Foles, Robinson has been a fantasy WR1.

A borderline WR1/2 in season-long leagues, Robinson is the No. 1 wide receiver in the Bales and CSURAM88 Models on FanDuel.


Danny Amendola: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (Off the Board)

Don’t act like you’re not here for what I’m about to give you. Degenerates like you only ever have one thing on your mind: Where can I get me some of that sweet, sweet Amendola analysis?

Don’t worry. Here it is.

As of writing (Wednesday evening, for this particular blurb), this game is off the board because Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been placed on the COVID-19 list.

But this game is still scheduled to play, and Stafford could still suit up if he tests negative for the virus. When this game was posted, we saw consensus lines of +4 and 52.5.

If Stafford plays, Amendola will warrant consideration.

Amendola has two main factors in his favor this weekend.

First, top wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hip) is out, so Amendola could see extra targets. In Weeks 1-2, Amendola was No. 1 on the Lions with seven targets and 51 yards receiving per game and a 0.46 WOPR.

WOPR (Weighted Opportunity Rating) is a stat created by Josh Hermsmeyer. It combines market shares of targets and air yards and is available at AirYards.com.

In Golladay’s absence, Amendola has a decent chance to get six-plus targets, and when he has hit that threshold with the Lions he has done well.

Second, he’s facing the Vikings, against whom opposing receiver units rank No. 2 in the league with 32.2 fantasy points per game on 96-1,339-15 receiving.

On top of that, they are horrendously thin at cornerback. Let’s ignore the fact that last year’s starters — Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander — all left this offseason via free agency. Let’s focus only on the team’s corners now.

All of the guys who started in Week 1 are injured. Mike Hughes (neck, IR) was forced from Week 6 early and might not play the rest of the year. Holton Hill (foot) hasn’t played since Week 5 and is yet to return to practice. And Cameron Dantzler (concussion) exited last week early and missed practice on Wednesday.

The Vikings actually might start three backup cornerbacks this weekend.

In his two games against the Vikings last year, Amendola averaged 13.5 PPR and 7.0 STD points per game on a combined 13-139-0 receiving with 19 targets.

Amendola is a viable bye-week waiver-wire play in season-long leagues and the No. 1 option in the CSURAM88, Koerner, Raybon, SportsGeek and Freedman Models for DraftKings.


Wide Receivers With Week-Winning Upside

In this section, I highlight some wide receivers I think will outperform expectations and whom I especially like as upside season-long and DFS tournament plays.

DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals (-4) vs. Miami Dolphins (48 O/U): Despite already having his bye week, Hopkins owns an NFL-high 57 receptions and 704 yards receiving. He has a below-average matchup with cornerback Byron Jones and the Dolphins, who rank No. 3 with a -14.1% pass-defense DVOA, but Hopkins leads all receivers in our Models with his floor projections.

Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5) vs. Carolina Panthers (52.5 O/U): The Panthers are No. 26 with a 45.2 PFF coverage grade, and the Chiefs have a slate-high 31.75-point implied Vegas total. In his 36 full games with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Hill has averaged 87.7 scrimmage yards and 0.83 all-purpose touchdowns per game.

Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (-1) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (52 O/U): The Raiders are No. 32 with a 37.2 PFF coverage grade, and the over is 5-1-1 (51.6% ROI) in their games this year. In his four healthy games with Herbert (he exited Week 5 early with a back injury), Allen has dominated.

  • Week 2 (vs. KC): 16.6 PPR, 9.6 STD | 7-96-0, 10 targets
  • Week 3 (vs. CAR): 30.2 PPR, 17.2 STD | 13-132-1, 19 targets
  • Week 4 (at TB): 14.2 PPR, 6.2 STD | 8-62-0, 11 targets
  • Week 7 (vs. JAX): 22.5 PPR, 12.5 STD | 10-125-0, 13 targets
  • Week 8 (at DEN): 21.7 PPR, 12.7 STD | 9-67-1, 11 targets

In this diffuse five-week sample, Allen is easily No. 1 among all wide receivers with a 35% target share and 0.78 WOPR.

Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (-3) at Buffalo Bills (55 O/U): When facing starter-caliber slot receivers, the Bills have been exploited.

  • Jamison Crowder (Week 1): 24.5 PPR, 17.5 STD | 7-115-1, 13 targets
  • Isaiah Ford (Week 2): 14.6 PPR, 7.6 STD | 7-76-0, nine targets
  • Cooper Kupp (Week 3): 25.7 PPR, 16.7 STD | 9-107-1, 10 targets
  • Hunter Renfrow (Week 4): 10.7 PPR, 5.7 STD | 5-57-0, eight targets
  • Adam Humphries (Week 5): Out (COVID-19)
  • Tyreek Hill (Week 6): 5.5 PPR, 2.5 STD | 3-20-0, three targets | 1-5-0 rushing (fart noise)
  • Jamison Crowder (Week 7): Out (groin)
  • Julian Edelman (Week 8): Out (knee, IR)

Lockett is pacing for his third straight 1,000-yard season and has a league-high seven touchdowns receiving.

Will Fuller, Houston Texans (-6.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (50.5 O/U): Coming off the Week 8 bye, Fuller has an A+ matchup against the Jaguars, who are No. 32 with a 37.7% pass-defense DVOA. Fuller has either 100 yards or a touchdown in every game this year … aside from his soul-crushing, hamstring-impacted zero-target Week 2.

We ain’t dead yet. Let’s live while we’re still alive.

Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions (Off the Board): No. 1 cornerback Desmond Trufant (hamstring) last played in Week 4 and is uncertain to play. As an injury fill-in, Jeffrey Okudah has allowed 26-376-0 receiving on 38 targets and has a 33.6 PFF coverage grade. Thielen is No. 3 in the league with a 0.72 WOPR.

A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans (-6) vs. Chicago Bears (46.5 O/U): Since returning in Week 5 from a knee injury, Brown is 22-317-5 receiving on 31 targets in four games. In quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s 17 regular-season starts with the Titans, the over is 14-2-1 (69.0% ROI). You can bet on this game at FanDuel.



Brown has three fantasy WR1 performances over the past month.

Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team (-3) vs. New York Giants (42 O/U): In quarterback Kyle Allen’s two starts, McLaurin is 14-164-1 receiving on 23 targets, and for the season he is No. 1 in the NFL with a 0.77 WOPR. Even with “light shadow” coverage from cornerback James Bradberry, McLaurin was 7-74-0 receiving on 12 targets against the Giants in Week 6.

Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers (+10.5) at Kansas City Chiefs (52.5 O/U): Despite ranking No. 10 in the league with 122.3 AirYAC per game, Anderson has just one touchdown and is due for positive regression. The Panthers intrigue as a road dog off a loss, given that such teams this year are 24-13-0 ATS (25.6% ROI). You can bet on this game at William Hill.



Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is a banging 16-2 ATS (73.6% ROI) as a road dog for his career.

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions (Off the Board): Since moving from the slot to the perimeter in Week 3, Jefferson is 26-493-3 receiving on 34 targets with a 2-point conversion and has surpassed Thielen in AirYAC (601 vs. 500). The Lions are No. 29 with a 43.5 PFF coverage grade.

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers (+13.5) at Dallas Cowboys (41.5 O/U): The Cowboys are No. 30 with a 43.4 PFF coverage grade, and the high-flying Claypool is 17-224-4 receiving and 5-13-2 rushing over the past month. Almost every alpha-ish perimeter receiver to face the Cowboys has gone off.

  • Robert Woods (Week 1): 17.9 PPR, 11.9 STD | 6-105-0, eight targets
  • Calvin Ridley (Week 2): 22.9 PPR, 10.9 STD | 7-109-2, 10 targets
  • D.K. Metcalf (Week 3): 19.0 PPR, 15.0 STD | 4-110-1, eight targets
  • Odell Beckham Jr. (Week 4): 38.4 PPR, 33.4 STD | 5-81-2, eight targets | 2-73-1 rushing
  • Darius Slayton (Week 5): 20.9 PPR, 12.9 STD | 8-129-0, 11 targets
  • DeAndre Hopkins (Week 6): 9.3 PPR, 7.3 STD | 2-73-0, eight targets
  • Terry McLaurin (Week 7): 22.0 PPR, 15.0 STD | 7-90-1, 11 targets
  • Travis Fulgham (Week 8): 19.8 PPR, 13.8 STD | 6-78-1, seven targets

What are the odds that Claypool doesn’t score a touchdown?

D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers (+10.5) at Kansas City Chiefs (52.5 O/U): Still pacing for his second straight 1,200-yard season, Moore is essentially the co-No. 1 receiver, as he barely trails Robby Anderson in WOPR (0.67 vs. 0.63). Moore and Anderson have the same number of WR1/2 performances this year (4 PPR, 3 STD).

Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans (-6.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (50.5 O/U): Although teammate Will Fuller gets the hype, Cooks is a co-No. 1 receiver, barely trailing him in WOPR (0.51 vs. 0.50) and ranking No. 1 on the team with a 22% target share. Cooks went off on the Jags for 8-161-1 receiving on 12 targets in Week 5.

Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (Off the Board): Top wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hip) is out, and in his absence in Weeks 1-2, Jones was tied for No. 1 on the team with a 20% target share. Since 2017, Jones is 27-348-6 receiving on 42 targets in five games against the divisional rival Lions.

Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (-1) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (52 O/U): When I feel especially iconoclastic, I make ridiculous statements, such as “Williams is better than Keenan Allen.” A boom-or-bust receiver, Williams is 11-212-3 receiving on 19 targets in three games since returning from injury in Week 5. He is perpetually undervalued.

Logically, I know he’s not better than Allen … but are we sure?

Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers (+13.5) at Dallas Cowboys (41.5 O/U): In the four games in which Johnson has played over 50% of the snaps, he has averaged 10.3 targets. Opposing receiver units rank No. 4 against the Cowboys with 29.4 fantasy points per game on 92-1,304-14 receiving.

Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5) vs. Carolina Panthers (52.5 O/U): Last week, Hardman had a career-best 7-96-1 receiving on nine targets. He is a threat to turn any target into a touchdown and has done well in his nine career games with a receiving score.

Set your money on fire.

Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos (+3.5) at Atlanta Falcons (50 O/U): Top perimeter receiver Tim Patrick (hamstring) missed Week 8 and is uncertain for Week 9. The Falcons have a receiver-friendly funnel defense that ranks No. 8 against the run (-18.6% DVOA) and No. 29 against the pass (22.4%). In Patrick’s absence last week, Jeudy hit career-high marks with 10 targets and 73 yards receiving.

John Brown, Buffalo Bills (+3) vs. Seattle Seahawks (55 O/U): See Diggs, Stefon. The matchup is marvelous, and Brown has upside as evidenced by his 10-152-2 receiving line in Weeks 1-2 and 72-1,060-6 performance last  year.

Randall Cobb, Houston Texans (-6.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (50.5 O/U): Three Texans wide receivers? In this economy???

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) vs. Denver Broncos (50 O/U): Wide receiver Calvin Ridley (foot) seems unlikely to play, and in his three Ridley-less games last year he averaged 8.3 targets. With No. 1 cornerback A.J. Bouye (concussion) presumed out, slot corner Bryce Callahan will move to the perimeter and backup Essang Bassey will start in the slot. An undrafted rookie, Bassey has allowed an 87.5% catch rate.

Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts (+2.5) vs. Baltimore Ravens (47 O/U): No. 1 wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (groin) exited Week 8 early and is highly uncertain for Week 9. In his six games without Hilton since last year, Pascal has played well.

All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey (COVID-19) is out, so Pascal is slated to face undrafted second-year special-teamer Terrell Bonds, who has 17 coverage snaps in his NFL career.

Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars (+6.5) vs. Houston Texans (50.5 O/U): No. 1 receiver D.J. Chark Jr. is likely to face shadow man Bradley Roby, which means that Shenault will run most of his routes against Vernon Hargreaves III (a.k.a. Rocket Man), who has allowed 9.0 yards per target with a 69.4% catch rate for his career. 🚀🚀🚀

K.J. Hamler, Denver Broncos (+3.5) at Atlanta Falcons (50 O/U): If top perimeter receiver Tim Patrick (hamstring) is out, Hamler is in play. An upside speedster, Hamler has had five targets per game in his three healthy outings, and last week he was the No. 1 read on the last offensive play of the game, scoring his first NFL touchdown to complete the dramatic comeback win. Opposing receiver units are No. 5 against the Falcons with 29.4 fantasy points per game on 111-1,695-8 receiving.

Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5) vs. Carolina Panthers (52.5 O/U): In the absence of No. 2 wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring), Robinson has five-plus targets and in two of the past three weeks. In his eight five-target games since last year, Robinson has been viable.

Frodo: “Roast chicken?” Sam: “You never know.”

David Moore, Seattle Seahawks (-3) at Buffalo Bills (55 O/U): Over the past two-plus years, Moore has been a fantasy WR1/2 in 19% of his games.

Moore has been highly efficient in his career with 9.3 yards per target and a 9.4% touchdown rate.



Matthew Freedman is 728-572-28 (56.0%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

The Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, Freedman is commonly called the Oracle & the Labyrinthian.

Pictured above: Julio Jones
Photo credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Week 9 NFL main slate kicks off on Sunday, Nov. 8, at 1 p.m. ET.

In this piece, I highlight wide receivers who stand out in our large suite of analytical fantasy tools, most specifically our FantasyLabs Models. While the Models are built for daily contests, this is an all-purpose fantasy article with actionable information for all formats.

New NFL DFS Trial Offer: Try our new football subscription for $4.95 and get access to our industry-leading tools and projections.

Top Wide Receivers in the FantasyLabs Models

There are five wide receivers atop the individual Pro Models that Jonathan Bales, Peter Jennings (CSURAM88), Sean Koerner, Chris Raybon, Kevin McClelland (SportsGeek), Ryan Hodge and I have constructed.

Here’s where they place within our Week 9 fantasy football rankings (as of Thursday morning).

  • Julio Jones: No. 2 (PPR) | No. 2 (Half PPR) | No. 3 (STD)
  • D.K. Metcalf: No. 5 (PPR) | No. 4 (Half PPR) | No. 2 (STD)
  • Stefon Diggs: No. 8 (PPR) | No. 7 (Half PPR) | No. 7 (STD)
  • Allen Robinson: No. 11 (PPR) | No. 13 (Half PPR) | No. 15 (STD)
  • Danny Amendola: No. 50 (PPR) | No. 54 (Half PPR) | No. 57 (STD)

FantasyLabs Positional Breakdowns

Check in throughout the week as I publish the rest of the positional breakdowns.

For more in-depth NFL analysis, check out The Action Network. For updates, see our FantasyLabs News Feed.


Odds as of Thursday morning and via DraftKings Sportsbook, where you can get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus today.


Julio Jones: Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) vs. Denver Broncos (50 Over/Under)

Not since Week 1 has Jones been atop any of Models. It’s time to rectify that.

What needs to be said about Jones?

He’s one of the best wide receivers in NFL history. He’s No. 1 with an all-time mark of 96.3 yards receiving per game (regular season only), and since his 2013 third-year campaign that number has been an atmospheric 102.4.

Jones often gets knocked for not scoring touchdowns, but that’s not really fair. Even if we ignore his 2012 season with 10 touchdowns and look only at the past seven-plus years, Jones has scored in 33 of 103 regular-season games: This guy gets a touchdown about a third of the time he steps on the field. That’s not bad.

Also, it’s not as if he’s horrible when he doesn’t score. In such games, he has still produced (per RotoViz Game Splits App).

Who turns their noses up at 89.5 yards on 6.2 receptions and 9.9 targets per game?

Week to week, Jones can be volatile. Since 2013, he has been a fantasy WR3 or worse in 37% of his games (per RotoViz NFL Stat Explorer).

As great as he is, Jones is a boom-or-bust producer. The bad comes along with the good.

But the bad still isn’t all that bad. Year to year, Jones is as safe of a bet as there is for a wide receiver to end up with 1,400-plus yards.

I think the biggest problem with Jones might be that we’ve gotten used to him. Last year he was less efficient in yards per route than he had been in previous years, but he was still elite, and this year he has returned to form (including playoffs, per Pro Football Focus).

  • 2013: 2.75 (1st)
  • 2014: 2.72 (3rd)
  • 2015: 3.04 (1st)
  • 2016: 3.23 (1st)
  • 2017: 3.04 (1st)
  • 2018: 2.93 (2nd)
  • 2019: 2.44 (4th)
  • 2020: 2.83 (3rd)

As long as Jones is out there running routes, he will get his yards.

In his five full games this year, Jones has been his typically-productive self.

  • Week 1 (vs. SEA): 24.7 PPR, 15.7 STD | 9-157-0, 12 targets
  • Week 2 (at DAL): 4.4 PPR, 2.4 STD | 2-24-0, four targets
  • Week 6 (at MIN): 33.7 PPR, 25.7 STD | 8-137-2, 10 targets
  • Week 7 (vs. DET): 17.7 PPR, 9.7 STD | 8-97-0, nine targets
  • Week 8 (at CAR): 20.7 PPR, 13.7 STD | 7-137-0, 10 targets

Even with his injury-shortened Week 4, Jones is No. 7 in the league with 126.7 air yards and yards after the catch (AirYAC) per game.

AirYAC is a leading indicator of fantasy output. You can find it in the RotoViz NFL Player Statistical Summary.

At a glance, Jones has a bad matchup against the Broncos, who are No. 1 with a 71.1 PFF coverage grade. But I think that’s mitigated by two factors.

First, No. 1 cornerback A.J. Bouye (concussion) exited Week 8 with a head injury. He is yet to return to practice, and I am skeptical that he will play for the Broncos this weekend.

Second, wide receiver Calvin Ridley (foot) left Week 8 early with an injury. Although Ridley is reportedly on a day-to-day basis, he didn’t practice on Wednesday, and the team has a bye in Week 10, so I expect Ridley to sit this game out so he can have three-plus weeks to heal.

Without Bouye and Ridley, Jones will have an easier matchup and almost certainly more targets.

In the words of T. Rex: “Get it on, bang a gong, get it on.”

Jones has got the teeth of the hydra.

In his three games last year without Ridley, Jones was built like a car with an outrageous 37% target share.

  • Week 15 (at SF): 38.4 PPR, 25.4 STD | 13-134-2, 20 targets
  • Week 16 (vs. JAX): 26.6 PPR, 16.6 STD | 10-166-0, 15 targets
  • Week 17 (at TB): 14.8 PPR, 7.8 STD | 7-78-0, 13 targets

Hubcap diamond star halo.

Jones is a top-tier WR1 in season-long leagues and the No. 1 wide receiver in the Bales and Hodge Models for DraftKings, where he has a position-high eight Pro Trends.


D.K. Metcalf: Seattle Seahawks (-3) at Buffalo Bills (55 O/U)

In 2020, the Seahawks have abandoned their 2018-19 run-heavy ways and are passing far more frequently than even the most optimistic prognosticator would have imagined.

Head coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer are finally letting quarterback Russell Wilson cook, and that means lots of food for Metcalf to eat.

With all that extra protein, Metcalf has dominated in his second NFL season.

  • Week 1 (at ATL): 19.5 PPR, 15.5 STD | 4-95-1, eight targets
  • Week 2 (vs. NE): 19.2 PPR, 15.2 STD | 4-92-1, six targets
  • Week 3 (vs. DAL): 19.0 PPR, 15.0 STD | 4-110-1, eight targets
  • Week 4 (at MIA): 14.6 PPR, 10.6 STD | 4-106-0, six targets
  • Week 5 (vs. MIN): 27.3 PPR, 21.3 STD | 6-93-2, 11 targets
  • Week 7 (at ARI): 4.3 PPR, 2.3 STD | 2-23-0, five targets
  • Week 8 (vs. SF): 40.1 PPR, 28.1 STD | 12-161-2, 15 targets

His soul-stealing performance against 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore in Week 2 was particularly impressive, but Metcalf has been great almost every week. In all but one of his first seven games this season, he has either 100 yards or a touchdown.

In his second season, Metcalf has metamorphosed into a Megatron-like superstar.

At a glance, you wouldn’t think that a guy with only 8.4 targets per game would be pacing for something pretty darn close to a 1,600-16 season this far into the year. How is Metcalf doing this?

The answer lies in the high quality of his targets. Even though Metcalf has already had a bye, he is tied for No. 3 at the position with eight end-zone targets and 16 deep-ball targets of 20-plus yards. With each target, Metcalf has an elevated chance of scoring a touchdown and picking up chunk yardage relative to other receivers.

That he’s No. 1 overall with 154.1 AirYAC per game speaks to the overall yardage-accumulating potential he has.

Metcalf is the slate’s top wide receiver in Hayden Winks’ Week 9 Usage Model.

Although Metcalf is not a technically proficient player — he’s not yet a nuanced route-runner — he is quickly becoming one of the league’s most commanding receivers thanks to his sheer athleticism, as exemplified by his 99th-percentile 133.3 Speed Score (per Player Profiler).

Last year, Metcalf flashed a world of potential. In a slow-paced, run-focused offense, he was 58-900-7 receiving with a league-high 18 end-zone targets in the regular season, and then in two playoff games he balled out with 11-219-1 receiving.

This year, he has transformed the promise of potential into the potency of production. The sample is small, but on his 59 targets, Metcalf has bestowed to Wilson an elite 12.4 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A, per RotoViz AY/A App).

But starting this week, he has a cornerback gauntlet ahead of him.

Apologies to Gilmore, but Metcalf’s matchup with White might be the toughest one he’s faced so far this year.

Ever since his incredibly underappreciated 2017 rookie campaign when he had a 90.1 PFF coverage grade, White has been one of my favorite corners. Last year, he finally got the credit he deserves with an All-Pro recognition.

For his career, White has allowed just 7.3 yards per target on a 55.2% catch rate, and he has faced only 2.9 targets per game this year.

For the most part, 2020 quarterbacks are opting not to test White, which means that there’s some elevated risk associated with Metcalf this week.

As we saw in Week 7 when the Cardinals shadowed Metcalf with cornerback Patrick Peterson and also used a safety over the top, Wilson is willing to take what the defense gives him. With the Cardinals selling out to stop Metcalf, Wilson peppered slot receiver Tyler Lockett with 20 targets.

If the Bills do everything they can to slow Metcalf down, Wilson just might make the strategic football decision to let them succeed. This could be another game in which Lockett, not Metcalf, leads the team in receiving.

But even with his potential downside, Metcalf has slate-crushing upside, and in a road game that could be close, I expect Metcalf to get enough opportunities to make plays.

Full disclosure: I’m betting on the Seahawks. With Wilson, they are 73-55-7 against the spread (ATS), good for an 11.0% return on investment (ROI, per our Bet Labs database).

I know that the Seahawks are a West Coast team traveling east and playing in the early game, which theoretically means they should have some sort of biorhythmic disadvantage, but I’m not worried.

There might have been an edge with that angle years ago, but nowadays the market tends to account for cross-country travel.

In fact, bettors now might put too much weight on the west-to-east angle, creating value on the team that should be hindered. With the Seahawks, Carroll has had 24 East Coast games with a start time of 1 p.m. ET. He’s 14-7-3 ATS (27.5% ROI).



I expect the Seahawks to put up points, which bodes well for Metcalf. You can bet on this game at DraftKings.

Metcalf is a high-end WR1 in season-long leagues and the No. 1 wide receivers in the Koerner and Freedman Models for FanDuel, where he leads all wide receivers with his median and ceiling projections.


Stefon Diggs: Buffalo Bills (+3) vs. Seattle Seahawks (55 O/U)

Insert here the most explicit lyrics you can think of from your favorite Guns N’ Roses song. Honey, you’re a bit obscene.

Diggs is gonna rock this weekend. First of all, there’s the matchup: Opposing wide receiver units are No. 1 against the Seahawks with 36.2 fantasy points per game on 151-1,885-11 receiving.

Imagine I’m Matt Damon in Ocean’s Eleven as I say this: The list of guys who have gone off against the Seahawks … well, it’s long.

  • Calvin Ridley (Week 1): 33.9 PPR, 24.9 STD | 9-130-2, 12 targets
  • Julio Jones (Week 1): 24.7 PPR, 15.7 STD | 9-157-0, 12 targets
  • Russell Gage (Week 1): 20.4 PPR, 11.4 STD | 9-114-0, 12 targets
  • Julian Edelman (Week 2): 25.9 PPR, 17.9 STD | 8-179-0, 11 targets
  • N’Keal Harry (Week 2): 15.2 PPR, 7.2 STD | 8-72-0, 12 targets
  • Damiere Byrd (Week 2): 13.2 PPR, 7.2 STD | 6-72-0, nine targets
  • Amari Cooper (Week 3): 17.6 PPR, 8.6 STD | 9-86-0, 12 targets
  • Michael Gallup (Week 3): 25.8 PPR, 19.8 STD | 6-138-1, nine targets
  • CeeDee Lamb (Week 3): 11.6 PPR, 6.6 STD | 5-65-0, six targets
  • Cedrick Wilson (Week 3): 27.7 PPR, 22.7 STD | 5-107-2, seven targets
  • DeVante Parker (Week 4): 21.0 PPR, 11.0 STD | 10-110-0, 12 targets
  • Adam Thielen (Week 5): 29.3 PPR, 20.3 STD | 9-80-2, 13 targets | 1-3-0 rushing
  • DeAndre Kirk (Week 7): 24.3 PPR, 14.3 STD | 10-103-1, 12 targets
  • Christian Kirk (Week 7): 20.7 PPR, 15.7 STD | 5-37-2, eight targets
  • Larry Fitzgerald (Week 7): 14.2 PPR, 6.2 STD | 8-62-0, eight targets
  • Brandon Aiyuk (Week 8): 23.1 PPR, 15.1 STD | 8-91-1, 11 targets
  • Kendrick Bourne (Week 8): 16.1 PPR, 8.1 STD | 8-81-0, 10 targets

The Seahawks have the league’s most receiver-friendly flow-chart defense, with an NFL-high 13 fantasy WR1/2 performances allowed in just seven games.

With a funnel defense that ranks No. 6 against the run (-23.2% DVOA) and No. 30 against the pass (23.8%, per Football Outsiders), the Seahawks are utterly exploitable via the air.

Long gone is the Legion of Boom.

On top of that, the Seahawks are dealing with major injury issues in their secondary.

All-Pro safety Jamal Adams (groin) exited Week 3 early and missed Weeks 4-8. He practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday but is still uncertain for Week 9.

Perimeter cornerback Shaquill Griffin (concussion/hamstring) left Week 7 early and missed Week 8. He is yet to return to practice, which does not bode well for his Week 9 availability.

Backup slot cornerback Ugo Amadi (hamstring) also missed Week 8 and Wednesday practice, and Week 1 slot starter Marquise Blair (knee, IR) is already out for the year.

In this game, the Seahawks could be without three secondary starters and one key injury fill-in.

Diggs could not ask for a better matchup.

And outside of the matchup, there are reasons to be enthusiastic about Diggs.

He’s No. 6 with a 29% market share of targets and 9.9 targets per game and No. 7 with 15.9 expected fantasy points per game. Diggs is the only wide receiver with six-plus targets in all eight weeks.

In only one game this year has Diggs not had either 80-plus yards or a touchdown.

  • Week 1 (vs. NYJ): 16.6 PPR, 8.6 STD | 8-86-0, nine targets
  • Week 2 (at MIA): 29.3 PPR, 21.3 STD | 8-153-1, 13 targets
  • Week 3 (vs. LAR): 14.9 PPR, 10.9 STD | 4-49-1, six targets
  • Week 4 (at LV): 17.5 PPR, 11.5 STD | 6-115-0, seven targets
  • Week 5 (at TEN): 20.6 PPR, 10.6 STD | 10-106-0, 16 targets
  • Week 6 (vs. KC): 16.6 PPR, 10.6 STD | 6-46-1, eight targets
  • Week 7 (at NYJ): 10.8 PPR, 4.8 STD | 6-48-0, 11 targets
  • Week 8 (vs. NE): 15.2 PPR, 9.2 STD | 6-92-0, nine targets

And it’s not as if this production is out of nowhere. With back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2018-19, Diggs clearly put his playmaking talent on display, and the promise he flashed for years with the Vikings he has now translated into sustained output with the Bills.

An added bonus: Diggs is the No. 1 wide receiver in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Week 9 Air Yards Buy-Low Model.

Insert here the background vocals of Adriana Smith, you know what I mean?

Diggs is a top-five WR1 in season-long leagues and the No. 1 wide receiver in the Raybon, SportsGeek and Hodge Models for FanDuel.


Allen Robinson: Chicago Bears (+6) at Tennessee Titans (46.5 O/U)

Over the past two weeks, the Titans have taken the bold step of using cornerback Malcolm Butler in shadow coverage, so there’s a decent chance he will tail Robinson in this game.

On the one hand, he did a good job against wide receivers Chase Claypool and A.J. Green, who combined for just 3-17-0 receiving on six targets.

On the other hand, Butler has been a mediocre cover man for the Titans throughout his time with the team.

  • 2018: 69.8 PFF coverage grade
  • 2019: 64.2 PFF coverage grade
  • 2020: 64.3 PFF coverage grade

And in Weeks 1-6, he allowed 8.1 yards per target on an outlandish 8.4 targets per game before moving to shadow coverage.

Robinson should be fine against Butler. He has endured much worse, after all.

God bless the child.

In his six games this year with quarterback Nick Foles, Robinson is 42-524-3 receiving on 59 targets, looking very much like the best-case version of the guy who was 98-1,147-7 last year.

In half his games with Foles, Robinson has been a fantasy WR1.

A borderline WR1/2 in season-long leagues, Robinson is the No. 1 wide receiver in the Bales and CSURAM88 Models on FanDuel.


Danny Amendola: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (Off the Board)

Don’t act like you’re not here for what I’m about to give you. Degenerates like you only ever have one thing on your mind: Where can I get me some of that sweet, sweet Amendola analysis?

Don’t worry. Here it is.

As of writing (Wednesday evening, for this particular blurb), this game is off the board because Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been placed on the COVID-19 list.

But this game is still scheduled to play, and Stafford could still suit up if he tests negative for the virus. When this game was posted, we saw consensus lines of +4 and 52.5.

If Stafford plays, Amendola will warrant consideration.

Amendola has two main factors in his favor this weekend.

First, top wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hip) is out, so Amendola could see extra targets. In Weeks 1-2, Amendola was No. 1 on the Lions with seven targets and 51 yards receiving per game and a 0.46 WOPR.

WOPR (Weighted Opportunity Rating) is a stat created by Josh Hermsmeyer. It combines market shares of targets and air yards and is available at AirYards.com.

In Golladay’s absence, Amendola has a decent chance to get six-plus targets, and when he has hit that threshold with the Lions he has done well.

Second, he’s facing the Vikings, against whom opposing receiver units rank No. 2 in the league with 32.2 fantasy points per game on 96-1,339-15 receiving.

On top of that, they are horrendously thin at cornerback. Let’s ignore the fact that last year’s starters — Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander — all left this offseason via free agency. Let’s focus only on the team’s corners now.

All of the guys who started in Week 1 are injured. Mike Hughes (neck, IR) was forced from Week 6 early and might not play the rest of the year. Holton Hill (foot) hasn’t played since Week 5 and is yet to return to practice. And Cameron Dantzler (concussion) exited last week early and missed practice on Wednesday.

The Vikings actually might start three backup cornerbacks this weekend.

In his two games against the Vikings last year, Amendola averaged 13.5 PPR and 7.0 STD points per game on a combined 13-139-0 receiving with 19 targets.

Amendola is a viable bye-week waiver-wire play in season-long leagues and the No. 1 option in the CSURAM88, Koerner, Raybon, SportsGeek and Freedman Models for DraftKings.


Wide Receivers With Week-Winning Upside

In this section, I highlight some wide receivers I think will outperform expectations and whom I especially like as upside season-long and DFS tournament plays.

DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals (-4) vs. Miami Dolphins (48 O/U): Despite already having his bye week, Hopkins owns an NFL-high 57 receptions and 704 yards receiving. He has a below-average matchup with cornerback Byron Jones and the Dolphins, who rank No. 3 with a -14.1% pass-defense DVOA, but Hopkins leads all receivers in our Models with his floor projections.

Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5) vs. Carolina Panthers (52.5 O/U): The Panthers are No. 26 with a 45.2 PFF coverage grade, and the Chiefs have a slate-high 31.75-point implied Vegas total. In his 36 full games with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Hill has averaged 87.7 scrimmage yards and 0.83 all-purpose touchdowns per game.

Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (-1) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (52 O/U): The Raiders are No. 32 with a 37.2 PFF coverage grade, and the over is 5-1-1 (51.6% ROI) in their games this year. In his four healthy games with Herbert (he exited Week 5 early with a back injury), Allen has dominated.

  • Week 2 (vs. KC): 16.6 PPR, 9.6 STD | 7-96-0, 10 targets
  • Week 3 (vs. CAR): 30.2 PPR, 17.2 STD | 13-132-1, 19 targets
  • Week 4 (at TB): 14.2 PPR, 6.2 STD | 8-62-0, 11 targets
  • Week 7 (vs. JAX): 22.5 PPR, 12.5 STD | 10-125-0, 13 targets
  • Week 8 (at DEN): 21.7 PPR, 12.7 STD | 9-67-1, 11 targets

In this diffuse five-week sample, Allen is easily No. 1 among all wide receivers with a 35% target share and 0.78 WOPR.

Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (-3) at Buffalo Bills (55 O/U): When facing starter-caliber slot receivers, the Bills have been exploited.

  • Jamison Crowder (Week 1): 24.5 PPR, 17.5 STD | 7-115-1, 13 targets
  • Isaiah Ford (Week 2): 14.6 PPR, 7.6 STD | 7-76-0, nine targets
  • Cooper Kupp (Week 3): 25.7 PPR, 16.7 STD | 9-107-1, 10 targets
  • Hunter Renfrow (Week 4): 10.7 PPR, 5.7 STD | 5-57-0, eight targets
  • Adam Humphries (Week 5): Out (COVID-19)
  • Tyreek Hill (Week 6): 5.5 PPR, 2.5 STD | 3-20-0, three targets | 1-5-0 rushing (fart noise)
  • Jamison Crowder (Week 7): Out (groin)
  • Julian Edelman (Week 8): Out (knee, IR)

Lockett is pacing for his third straight 1,000-yard season and has a league-high seven touchdowns receiving.

Will Fuller, Houston Texans (-6.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (50.5 O/U): Coming off the Week 8 bye, Fuller has an A+ matchup against the Jaguars, who are No. 32 with a 37.7% pass-defense DVOA. Fuller has either 100 yards or a touchdown in every game this year … aside from his soul-crushing, hamstring-impacted zero-target Week 2.

We ain’t dead yet. Let’s live while we’re still alive.

Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions (Off the Board): No. 1 cornerback Desmond Trufant (hamstring) last played in Week 4 and is uncertain to play. As an injury fill-in, Jeffrey Okudah has allowed 26-376-0 receiving on 38 targets and has a 33.6 PFF coverage grade. Thielen is No. 3 in the league with a 0.72 WOPR.

A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans (-6) vs. Chicago Bears (46.5 O/U): Since returning in Week 5 from a knee injury, Brown is 22-317-5 receiving on 31 targets in four games. In quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s 17 regular-season starts with the Titans, the over is 14-2-1 (69.0% ROI). You can bet on this game at FanDuel.



Brown has three fantasy WR1 performances over the past month.

Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team (-3) vs. New York Giants (42 O/U): In quarterback Kyle Allen’s two starts, McLaurin is 14-164-1 receiving on 23 targets, and for the season he is No. 1 in the NFL with a 0.77 WOPR. Even with “light shadow” coverage from cornerback James Bradberry, McLaurin was 7-74-0 receiving on 12 targets against the Giants in Week 6.

Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers (+10.5) at Kansas City Chiefs (52.5 O/U): Despite ranking No. 10 in the league with 122.3 AirYAC per game, Anderson has just one touchdown and is due for positive regression. The Panthers intrigue as a road dog off a loss, given that such teams this year are 24-13-0 ATS (25.6% ROI). You can bet on this game at William Hill.



Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is a banging 16-2 ATS (73.6% ROI) as a road dog for his career.

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions (Off the Board): Since moving from the slot to the perimeter in Week 3, Jefferson is 26-493-3 receiving on 34 targets with a 2-point conversion and has surpassed Thielen in AirYAC (601 vs. 500). The Lions are No. 29 with a 43.5 PFF coverage grade.

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers (+13.5) at Dallas Cowboys (41.5 O/U): The Cowboys are No. 30 with a 43.4 PFF coverage grade, and the high-flying Claypool is 17-224-4 receiving and 5-13-2 rushing over the past month. Almost every alpha-ish perimeter receiver to face the Cowboys has gone off.

  • Robert Woods (Week 1): 17.9 PPR, 11.9 STD | 6-105-0, eight targets
  • Calvin Ridley (Week 2): 22.9 PPR, 10.9 STD | 7-109-2, 10 targets
  • D.K. Metcalf (Week 3): 19.0 PPR, 15.0 STD | 4-110-1, eight targets
  • Odell Beckham Jr. (Week 4): 38.4 PPR, 33.4 STD | 5-81-2, eight targets | 2-73-1 rushing
  • Darius Slayton (Week 5): 20.9 PPR, 12.9 STD | 8-129-0, 11 targets
  • DeAndre Hopkins (Week 6): 9.3 PPR, 7.3 STD | 2-73-0, eight targets
  • Terry McLaurin (Week 7): 22.0 PPR, 15.0 STD | 7-90-1, 11 targets
  • Travis Fulgham (Week 8): 19.8 PPR, 13.8 STD | 6-78-1, seven targets

What are the odds that Claypool doesn’t score a touchdown?

D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers (+10.5) at Kansas City Chiefs (52.5 O/U): Still pacing for his second straight 1,200-yard season, Moore is essentially the co-No. 1 receiver, as he barely trails Robby Anderson in WOPR (0.67 vs. 0.63). Moore and Anderson have the same number of WR1/2 performances this year (4 PPR, 3 STD).

Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans (-6.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (50.5 O/U): Although teammate Will Fuller gets the hype, Cooks is a co-No. 1 receiver, barely trailing him in WOPR (0.51 vs. 0.50) and ranking No. 1 on the team with a 22% target share. Cooks went off on the Jags for 8-161-1 receiving on 12 targets in Week 5.

Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (Off the Board): Top wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hip) is out, and in his absence in Weeks 1-2, Jones was tied for No. 1 on the team with a 20% target share. Since 2017, Jones is 27-348-6 receiving on 42 targets in five games against the divisional rival Lions.

Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (-1) vs. Las Vegas Raiders (52 O/U): When I feel especially iconoclastic, I make ridiculous statements, such as “Williams is better than Keenan Allen.” A boom-or-bust receiver, Williams is 11-212-3 receiving on 19 targets in three games since returning from injury in Week 5. He is perpetually undervalued.

Logically, I know he’s not better than Allen … but are we sure?

Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers (+13.5) at Dallas Cowboys (41.5 O/U): In the four games in which Johnson has played over 50% of the snaps, he has averaged 10.3 targets. Opposing receiver units rank No. 4 against the Cowboys with 29.4 fantasy points per game on 92-1,304-14 receiving.

Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5) vs. Carolina Panthers (52.5 O/U): Last week, Hardman had a career-best 7-96-1 receiving on nine targets. He is a threat to turn any target into a touchdown and has done well in his nine career games with a receiving score.

Set your money on fire.

Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos (+3.5) at Atlanta Falcons (50 O/U): Top perimeter receiver Tim Patrick (hamstring) missed Week 8 and is uncertain for Week 9. The Falcons have a receiver-friendly funnel defense that ranks No. 8 against the run (-18.6% DVOA) and No. 29 against the pass (22.4%). In Patrick’s absence last week, Jeudy hit career-high marks with 10 targets and 73 yards receiving.

John Brown, Buffalo Bills (+3) vs. Seattle Seahawks (55 O/U): See Diggs, Stefon. The matchup is marvelous, and Brown has upside as evidenced by his 10-152-2 receiving line in Weeks 1-2 and 72-1,060-6 performance last  year.

Randall Cobb, Houston Texans (-6.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (50.5 O/U): Three Texans wide receivers? In this economy???

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) vs. Denver Broncos (50 O/U): Wide receiver Calvin Ridley (foot) seems unlikely to play, and in his three Ridley-less games last year he averaged 8.3 targets. With No. 1 cornerback A.J. Bouye (concussion) presumed out, slot corner Bryce Callahan will move to the perimeter and backup Essang Bassey will start in the slot. An undrafted rookie, Bassey has allowed an 87.5% catch rate.

Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts (+2.5) vs. Baltimore Ravens (47 O/U): No. 1 wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (groin) exited Week 8 early and is highly uncertain for Week 9. In his six games without Hilton since last year, Pascal has played well.

All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey (COVID-19) is out, so Pascal is slated to face undrafted second-year special-teamer Terrell Bonds, who has 17 coverage snaps in his NFL career.

Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars (+6.5) vs. Houston Texans (50.5 O/U): No. 1 receiver D.J. Chark Jr. is likely to face shadow man Bradley Roby, which means that Shenault will run most of his routes against Vernon Hargreaves III (a.k.a. Rocket Man), who has allowed 9.0 yards per target with a 69.4% catch rate for his career. 🚀🚀🚀

K.J. Hamler, Denver Broncos (+3.5) at Atlanta Falcons (50 O/U): If top perimeter receiver Tim Patrick (hamstring) is out, Hamler is in play. An upside speedster, Hamler has had five targets per game in his three healthy outings, and last week he was the No. 1 read on the last offensive play of the game, scoring his first NFL touchdown to complete the dramatic comeback win. Opposing receiver units are No. 5 against the Falcons with 29.4 fantasy points per game on 111-1,695-8 receiving.

Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5) vs. Carolina Panthers (52.5 O/U): In the absence of No. 2 wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring), Robinson has five-plus targets and in two of the past three weeks. In his eight five-target games since last year, Robinson has been viable.

Frodo: “Roast chicken?” Sam: “You never know.”

David Moore, Seattle Seahawks (-3) at Buffalo Bills (55 O/U): Over the past two-plus years, Moore has been a fantasy WR1/2 in 19% of his games.

Moore has been highly efficient in his career with 9.3 yards per target and a 9.4% touchdown rate.



Matthew Freedman is 728-572-28 (56.0%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

The Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, Freedman is commonly called the Oracle & the Labyrinthian.

Pictured above: Julio Jones
Photo credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images