This is a weekly series where I break down my favorite weekly fantasy football tournament plays. I’m going to be focusing on high-upside, potentially low-owned plays and stacks from the main Sunday slate that (hopefully) can really pay off big for you in a large-field tournament.
Baker Mayfield ($5,600) – David Njoku ($4,600) – Kareem Hunt ($7,700)
The Chiefs’ defense is still a great target for opposing QBs, as it’s allowed an average of 305 passing yards per game and has four games with multiple passing TDs against as well. Mayfield should have a new lease on life after the Browns fired Hue Jackson this week and also should be relishing a matchup with former college rival Patrick Mahomes ($7,100). The two combined for historic numbers when they met in college — a game where Mayfield threw for seven TDs.
After an off week where he saw zero targets, yet played on nearly all the snaps, Njoku should also be in for a bounce-back week against the Chiefs, who have allowed the fifth-most DKFP to opposing TEs this year.
On the opposing side, Hunt was stymied to an extent by the Broncos’ defense last week but contains massive upside against a Browns unit that has allowed four RBs to rush for more than 130 yards. This stack plays to a game where the Chiefs figure to rely on Hunt late — adding to his chances for a big play — against a Browns team that should be passing late and much looser after ridding themselves of an uninspiring head coach.
Just Missed — Jared Goff ($6,000) – Brandin Cooks ($6,700) – Mark Ingram ($5,000)
Russell Wilson, SEA vs. LAC, $5,900 — The Chargers and Seahawks are both bottom-10 teams in terms of pace of play, but the game total for this week’s matchup (48) and the close point-spread (-1.5 Seahawks) suggests we might get a more offensive game than expected.
Wilson has been somewhat of a disappointment this year, as he’s rushed for over 20 yards in a game just twice and has zero rushing TDs. Still, his efficiency as a passer has been impressive, and he comes into Week 9 with nine TDs and just one INT over his past three games.
The Chargers’ defense has been gifted some easy QB matchups this year but gave up an average of 300 yards and 3.5 TDs to Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff in Weeks 1 and 3, respectively. Wilson could be relied on for more offense in this game if Seattle finds itself behind late, and his recent play suggests that if that is the case, he’ll come through with a big day for fantasy.
Just Missed — Mitchell Trubisky ($5,800)
Mark Ingram, NO vs. LAR, $5,000 — The Saints-Rams games promises to be a great environment for fantasy scoring this week, and while both Saints RBs are in play, Ingram is the more interesting from an ownership perspective. Ingram has had only one decent game since his return, but history tells us this week might prove to be another boom week for the cheaper of the Saints’ RBs.
In his past 10 home games. Ingram has scored 10 TDs — six of those coming over his past four — and all those games were with Alvin Kamara ($7,300) in the lineup. It’s also interesting to note that while Ingram played on less than 50 percent of the snaps in his past two road games, he played on 55 percent of the snaps in his first game back, which was also at home.
The Saints have an implied team total of over 30 this week, so even if his snap count stays depressed, there’s every chance he could post a big game regardless. He’s a great target for those looking for contrarian options in the highest game total matchup of the week.
Isaiah Crowell, NYJ at MIA, $4,200 — Crowell bombed in his first game without Bilal Powell (neck) and played less snaps than Trenton Cannon ($3,600), who also could manage only 5.2 DKFP. The matchup this week is much more enticing for Crowell, however, as the Jets are small underdogs — after being +8 last week — and are facing the Dolphins, who have given up the third-most rush yards per game.
Miami has ceded at least 100 yards rushing to opposing RBs in four of its past five games, and with Crowell still expected to receive nearly all the early-down and goal-line work, the chance for a big bounce back in this spot looks promising. It’s rare to see a decent main back in this good matchup for this cheap a price, making Crowell a great value target for those needing a cheap RB to round out their lineups.
Just Missed — Latavius Murray ($5,100)
Julio Jones, ATL at WAS, $7,900 — There are understandably those who are fed up with the lack of TDs from Jones over the past couple of seasons, but that negative sentiment and a perceived bad matchup should help drive his ownership down to low levels in GPPs this week.
The Redskins have a solid defense but are likely to be without their best cornerback in this game — Quinton Dunbar (hamstring) — which would help open things up for Jones. Washington has allowed multiple TDs to wideouts in three of its past five games.
This matchup has a tight point spread (Atlanta -1.5), which means Atlanta isn’t likely to be in a situation to abandon the pass game early. Jones also could be aided by the fact Mohamed Sanu (hip, questionable) might miss or not be 100 percent for this game, which would only add to his chance of seeing more red zone targets.
Kenny Golladay, DET at MIN, $5,500 — All due respect to Marvin Jones Jr. ($5,300), but the Lions’ trade of Golden Tate this week spoke more about their confidence in the ability of Golladay to be an impact receiver. After a solid start to the season, Golladay sputtered the past two weeks, seeing just three targets as the Detroit run game and Jones stole much of his thunder.
A matchup with the Vikings could be the cure, however, as he should see second coverage from Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes in this game — an easier assignment than Xavier Rhodes. This game has a total of just under 50 with Detroit as a 5-point underdog, so if it does delve into shootout territory, Golladay’s upside will be immense.
Just Missed — Jakeem Grant ($3,700)
Jordan Reed, WAS vs. ATL, $4,800 — Reed saw a season high 12-targets last week and gets another tasty matchup against the Falcons in Week 9. Despite some consistent targeting, this has been a bit of a letdown season so far for Reed, who only has one TD through eight weeks. Still, with Chris Thompson (ribs) looking highly questionable, he could see another uptick in targets against Atlanta, which is allowing the third-most passing yards per game in the league.
This game has a close spread, and given the Redskins are supremely beat up at the receiver position, Reed is in a good spot for a breakout game of sorts against an opponent that has allowed the third-most points per game to opposing offenses. If Reed is ever going to post a monster week, this is likely to be the spot it occurs.
Just Missed — Chris Herndon ($3,000)
Denver Broncos, DEN vs. HOU, $2,300 — The Broncos DST might have allowed 30 points last week, but it’s cleaned up its run defense over the past two games, allowing less than 50 yards on the ground last week against the Chiefs. Denver’s pass rush is still elite, as it’s recorded 13 sacks over its past three games and is second in the league as a unit in that category.
Houston’s offense exploded against the Dolphins, but this matchup presents a much different test and it’s not particularly favorable for a Houston offensive line that has allowed the fifth-most sacks in the league and has the fourth-worst adjusted sack rate. The loss of Will Fuller (knee) hurts the Texans’ upside as even with the acquisition of Demaryius Thomas ($4,500), they lack a true field stretcher to take the pressure off DeAndre Hopkins ($8,300). An improving Denver defense looks to be in a good spot here and a prime upside target for GPPs in Week 9.
Just Missed — Pittsburgh Steelers ($2,300)
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.