WATCH: BROCK OSWEILER TO START FOR THE BRONCOS
This is a weekly series where I break down my favorite tournament plays for the upcoming NFL week. I’m going to be focusing on high-upside plays and pairings that could really pay off in a large tournament.
EDITOR’S UPDATE: Per multiple reports, Texans QB Deshaun Watson suffered a torn ACL in practice Thursday and will miss the remainder of the season.
Alex Smith ($6,500) and Tyreek Hill ($6,700)
Given the Chiefs’ defensive struggles of late, it’s a near certainty Dallas (fifth in points scored at 28.3 per game) is going to be able to score some points against it this week, and that should mean Smith is forced to throw more. This should be good news for fantasy purposes as Smith has thrown 35 or more times on four occasions this season and has averaged 29.97 DKFP in those games. So far, five of the seven QBs who have faced Dallas have thrown 36 or more times, and with those trends in mind, you have to love Smith’s opportunity for a big fantasy game in this spot.
Stacking-wise, this is a tough spot for TE Travis Kelce, as Dallas’ excellent cover safety Byron Jones has only allowed one TD to opposing TEs this year. However, it is a great spot for WR Tyreek Hill, as the Cowboys have given up the sixth-most fantasy points per game to WRs. Hill has totaled eight or more touches in three games thus far and has averaged 26 DKFP in those contests. He should have a great chance at meeting or exceeding those totals in this game, making this a great spot to deploy him with his QB.
Just Missed – Brock Osweiler ($4,500) and Demaryius Thomas ($6,000)
EDITOR’S UPDATE: Ezekiel Elliott was granted a temporary stay request by the Second Circuit Court. He is now eligible to play on Sunday against the Chiefs.
Dak Prescott ($6,700) – With Ezekiel Elliott’s game-breaking ability gone from the Dallas’ backfield, seeing an uptick in passing from the Cowboys this week would not be shocking. Prescott comes into this week’s game already averaging 21.4 DKFP on the season and has a great matchup to build on that number. The Chiefs’ defense comes in having given up the fourth-most passing yards and passing TDs on the season and has also been downright awful in its past two road starts, giving up a combined eight passing TDs while recording just three sacks and no INTs. Prescott’s red zone rushing attempts may also increase without Elliott in the lineup, so targeting him as your QB this week for tournaments makes a ton of sense.
Just Missed –
Deshaun Watson ($8,100)
Doug Martin ($5,800) – Martin comes into this game having averaged 19 carries and 2.5 targets over his last two games. While he is still yielding some passing down work to Charles Sims, Martin is the only Tampa Bay running back to take a red zone carry the past two weeks and has seen his playing time rise steadily since rejoining the team. With QB Jameis Winston (shoulder) banged up and questionable for Week 9, I expect the Buccaneers to lean on Martin a bit more. The Saints are a good target for Martin this week too, as they’ve given up an average of 120.5 yards and a TD to RBs over their last two games. A season-high workload for Martin here against a poor rush defense would not be shocking, making him a nice tournament play at less than $6K.
DeMarco Murray ($5,400) – Baltimore dominated the line of scrimmage last week on defense against Miami, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore its shortcomings against the run on the season. Overall, the Ravens have allowed the second-most rushing yards to RBs and three 100-yard games to RBs over their last five starts. Coming off a bye, Murray is now practicing in full and looks over the hamstring and shoulder ailments that were limiting him beforehand. Even at less than 100 percent, Murray still played more than 60 percent of the snaps in the Titans’ Week 7 win and seems unlikely to drop below that number here. His affordable price tag and improved health put him back on the radar this week in tournaments.
Just Missed – Tevin Coleman ($4,700)
Demaryius Thomas ($6,000) – The Broncos are changing QBs this week, as Brock Osweiler will be starting against the Eagles. This may not seem like a huge deal, but Osweiler’s history with Thomas is good, as the former and now current Bronco QB threw five of his 10 TDs in 2015 to Thomas. Osweiler has had his issues, but I imagine he’ll be at least a small upgrade for Denver’s offense and could provide a one-game spark for the passing game. The matchup, on paper, is favorable, as the Eagles have given up the second-most receptions overall to WRs on the year and don’t have a prototypical “shutdown” corner to shadow Thomas with. I’m looking for Osweiler to lean heavily on Thomas here and to hopefully boost him to a big fantasy day.
Robert Woods ($4,300) – Woods has been the most consistent receiver for the Rams this season as he comes into Week 9 averaging seven targets and 64 receiving yards over his last five games. While he’s yet to score a touchdown, Woods’ target share and the fact he is averaging a healthy 14.1 yards per reception suggest a big-play TD or two will eventually transpire. The Giants have been porous against opposing wideouts in their last two starts, allowing Demaryius Thomas and Doug Baldwin to post big games and now will be without the services of their best corner in Janoris Jenkins (suspended) for this matchup. For just $4,300, Woods and the other Rams’ WRs bring cheap tournament upside this week.
Just Missed – Dede Westbrook ($3,500)
Vernon Davis ($4,100) – Davis could be the biggest beneficiary this week from injuries to teammates, as both TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder missed practice on Wednesday and look very questionable to suit up this week. Reed left the game in Week 8 and didn’t return, and Davis played on 81 percent of the snaps in that game. Davis should be asked to take on even bigger workload in Week 9 against Seattle with Reed unlikely to take the field.
While the Seahawks certainly haven’t been awful defending the position, they have been vulnerable to more athletic TEs like Davis and just allowed the Giants’ Evan Engram to post his best day as a pro two weeks ago (six receptions, 60 yards, TD). Davis’ upside would be huge here if both of the aforementioned Reed and Crowder were to miss. However, if Crowder does suit up, Davis should still be more than viable for a decent fantasy day and a good upside target for tournaments.
Just Missed – Tyler Higbee ($2,800)
Broncos ($2,600) – The Broncos’ 2017 defense hasn’t been the world beater we’ve seen the past two seasons, but it hasn’t been awful, either. Denver comes in having allowed the second-fewest rushing yards, the sixth-fewest pass yards and only 21 points against per game. What has eluded them thus far is the big play (only 17 sacks and one defensive TD), but there is reason to think that could change this week. Eagles’ QB Carson Wentz has now turned the ball over at least once in each of the past four games, and while the addition of Jay Ajayi should help its run game, Philly likely will struggle to move the ball on the ground against Denver. While Wentz has proven the ability to put up points against almost anyone this year, at $2,600, seeing an elite defense like Denver contain him and possibly make some big plays of its own wouldn’t be surprising, either. At such a cheap price, the Broncos make for a perfect upside play in tournaments this week and will allow you nice roster flexibility.
Just Missed – Rams ($3,100)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.