Season long owners are getting crushed by the Week 9 bye at all positions, especially wide receiver as 4 of the top 7 scoring leaders, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Golden Tate, and Julio Jones are off. Other notables include Alshon Jeffrey, Brandon Marshall, Roddy White, Sammy Watkins, and Calvin Johnson. This is just another reminder of the benefits to playing 1-week fantasy football, no one starts with a disadvantage. This is what makes contests like the Millionaire Maker so fun to play in and to watch. For just $27, a single lineup featuring players from the Sunday and Monday NFL games will earn somebody $1,000,000 for the 5th consecutive week.
Wide receivers are critical components to the DraftKings Millionaire Maker contest this Sunday! lineup as you must start 3 but can also start a 4th in your FLEX position. That means they can comprise up to 50% of the position players on your roster. Let’s take a look at some of the wideouts that are suiting up for Week 9.
Five Highest Priced Wide Receivers
Antonio Brown, BAL @ PIT, $9,100 – If you’re not on the Antonio Brown bandwagon yet then forget about it because there’s probably not enough room. Brown leads all receivers, and is 4th among all players, in fantasy points per game with 24.2. That’s 7.5 receptions, 106.5 yards, and nearly 1 touchdown per game. Dude is on pace for 120 receptions, 1,704 yards, and 14 touchdowns and you have a chance to experience that any week you choose to on DraftKings. Nobody can cover this guy right now, so it’s not even worth talking about his opponent. You have to pay top dollar for his consistent production though, but a $9,100 price-tag does not seem unreasonable compared to Arian Foster for $800 more.
Demaryius Thomas, DEN @ NE, $9,000 – What will New England’s game plan be this week? Unfortunately none of us will know the answer to that until halftime of the 4:25 EST Broncos @ Patriots matchup, and even then it could change again. If the Patriots decide to target one player to shut down with Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner on Sunday, it will likely be Demaryius Thomas or Julius Thomas. Demaryius has certainly performed like a $9,000 player, but I’m avoiding him this week. For the first time this season though, stacking Broncos could arguably be the contrarian play of the week.
Dez Bryant, ARI @ DAL, $8,200 – You don’t extra get points for this, but the 6’2″ 220 lb Dez Bryant is a physical specimen. Even though he’s 3 inches shorter than Calvin Johnson, Dez takes advantage of defensive backs with elite strength on all areas of the field. My only issue with Dez is that for whatever reason, sometimes he can disappear. He’s caught 4 or less passes in half of his games this season. If you’re selecting a top five priced wide receiver each week, you just have to get 20+ points out of them. While Dez is capable of 40 any given week, that will be highly unlikely if Brandon Weeden replaces injured Tony Romo under center. Track that injury report closely because I’m not playing Bryant unless Romo is active.
T.Y. Hilton, IND @ NYG, $8,100 – Like Antonio Brown, T.Y. Hilton is fun to watch. Did I just mention those two together because of their size? Of course I did. T.Y. stands at just 5’9″ to Antonio at 5’10” but both still run all the routes of a [insert tall receiver here]. Hilton is priced $1,000 less than Brown this week due to his slower(er) start and lack of touchdown productivity with just 2 on the year. As passing leader Andrew Luck’s go-to receiver, it makes sense why T.Y. leads the league in receiving yards with 866 (108.3 per game). The possible return of Reggie Wayne should not adversely affect Hilton’s value either if you’re worried about that. In Reggie’s last full game on October 9th, Hilton went off for a 9/233/1 line. With Reggie sidelined last weekend against Pittsburgh, Hilton put up a similarly impressive 6/155/1 line. T.Y. may be the deciding factor of the million dollar winner on Monday night, so start him with confidence.
Emmanuel Sanders, DEN @ NE, $8,000 – Sanders returns to Foxboro where in April 2013, he signed a one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet to become Tom Brady’s newest offensive weapon. Instead, the Steelers matched the Patriots offer and enjoyed Emmanuel’s best season in the NFL with 67 receptions, 740 yards, and 6 touchdowns. In the offseason, the Broncos swooped in and gave Sanders a 3-year, $18 million deal with $6 million guaranteed. The steep price at the time has certainly paid off as Sanders has nearly matched his 2013 production in just 7 games with Peyton Manning. If the Patriots key in on Demaryius Thomas as I expect they will, a lot of Peyton’s 36 pass attempts per game will go Emmanuel’s way, making him a strong play at $8,000.
Five Mid-Priced Wide Receivers
A.J. Green, JAX @ CIN, $6,300 – You will rarely ever see A.J. Green priced below another Bengals receiver. He is now with Mohamed Sanu priced at $6,400. I mean, I guess I understand why, he’s been hobbled by a toe injury all season and has missed the past 3 games because of it, but he’s expected to make his return this weekend at home vs. Jacksonville. When A.J. suits up, he is one of the most difficult players in the league to defend. In his 3 full games this season, he has posted the following lines: 6/131/1, 6/102/0, and 5/81/1. That last game, by the way, was against top corner Darrelle Revis. Take advantage of A.J.’s modest price while you can.
Brandon LaFell, DEN @ NE, $6,000 – LaFell’s price has ballooned 200% from the DraftKings’ WR minimum $3,000 in Week 5 to $6,000 this week. In an absolute blowout over the Bears, LaFell produced 11 catches for 124 yards and a score in his best game as a Patriot. Let’s not get too excited though, as LaFell essentially matched the production totals of his previous 3 games. More on Julian Edelman later, but LaFell has to compete with him, Rob Gronkowski, Tim Wright, Shane Vereen, and Danny Amendola among others for targets this Sunday against a tough Denver defense. I’m not subscribing to the LaFell hype just yet at the 10th highest Week 9 WR salary.
Steve Smith Sr., BAL @ PIT, $5,600 – Although it’s been just 8 games of Steve Smith Sr.’s 190 played throughout his 14-year NFL career, it’s hard to imagine him wearing a uniform other than the Ravens (unless you’re a Panthers fan). He personifies the identity that Baltimore has been establishing since their first Super Bowl victory in 2000 arguably more than any other receiver in NFL history. The Senior will enjoy his second experience against rival Pittsburgh as a member of the Ravens this Sunday. During their first meeting back in Week 2, Smith Sr. led the team with 6 grabs for 71 yards. Last week against the Bengals, he had a game winning 80-yard touchdown called back by a questionable offensive pass interference call. If it counted, the Ravens would be first in the AFC North and Steve would be 7th among wide receivers in points. Expect his anger of that moment and loss to carry over to Pittsburgh on Sunday night. Steve is an absolute steal at $5,600.
Andre Johnson, PHI @ HOU, $5,500 – Talk about another steal here with All-Pro Andre Johnson at $5,500. Andre “The Natural” Johnson has been a solid #1 for the Texans this season. He’s only found the endzone once which has mitigated his perceived value, but Andre has caught 5 or more balls all but once through the first half of the season. Andre is 9th in the league with 75 targets, arguably the most important PPR statistic when trying to project receiver performance. The volume is there, so draft Andre and expect a minimum of 15 points, with upside as high as 30.
Rueben Randle, IND @ NYG, $5,400 – The Colts visit East Rutherford, NJ to face the Giants on Monday Night Football and I already know what will be discussed for about an hour during the pre-game show. How did the Colts surrender 639 total yards to the Steelers, including 522 through the air for 6 touchdowns? That means Eli Manning, Rueben Randle, and Odell Beckham Jr. are all in line for a big performance, right? I find that difficult to argue against, despite the inconsistent Giants offense this season. Expect the Manning-Randle-Beckham Jr. combo to be a top stacking choice in the Week 9 Millionaire Maker. Randle is coming off 10.8 and 13.4 point fantasy performances without finding the end-zone. He should on Monday night en route to his best game of his season.
Five More to Consider
Larry Fitzgerald, ARI @ DAL, $5,700
Keenan Allen, SD @ MIA, $5,500
Donte Moncrief, IND @ NYG, $5,300
Anquan Boldin, STL @ SF, $5,000
Odell Beckham Jr., IND @ NYG, $5,000
Five Low-Priced Value Wide Receivers
Percy Harvin, NYJ @ KC, $4,200 – Harvin and his alleged attitude problems were traded to the New York Jets on Friday, November 17th, a day after the Jets lost to the Patriots on Thursday Night Football. With a little more than a week to prepare for his first game in green, Harvin was expected to play in 25-30 offensive snaps. For reference, Antonio Brown played in 87 last week. Harvin doubled those expectations, playing in 53 snaps vs. Buffalo. Despite the higher than expected usage, his DraftKings salary has only increased by $100. He has immediately become the Jets best offensive weapon. I expect Percy and new starter Michael Vick to strike fantasy magic together. While the Chiefs are a tough draw on the road, there is very little risk, just huge upside, in drafting Harvin for $4,200.
Julian Edelman, DEN @ NE, $4,100 – We discussed Brandon LaFell earlier in this article with his 10th highest Week 9 WR salary thanks to his explosive performance last week vs. the Bears. For $1,900 less, you can roster 40th priced WR Julian Edelman, once considered PPR gold. Edelman started the year off red hot, scoring 17.6, 21, then 18.9 fantasy points. Over the past 5 games, he peppered in one strong 19.1 point performance, but has turned in a bunch of duds otherwise. The salary cap format is very much a “what have you done for me lately” game, but knowing what Edelman is capable in PPR scoring, you just have to be intrigued by his lowest price of the season.
John Brown, ARI @ DAL, $3,800 – By now, I think everyone has caught wind of Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians comparing third-round rookie John Brown to Marvin Harrison. Assuming he’s comparing John to Marvin’s on the field activity rather than off, Arians’ statement is pretty significant since he has huge influence on a players snap count. When digging for values near the minimum $3,000 WR salary on DraftKings, offensive snap count is critical. Brown’s snap count in Week 8 (44 of 70) remained 3rd among Cardinals receivers behind Larry Fitzgerald (65 of 70) and Michael Floyd (55 of 70), but Brown’s snap count has and should continue to trend upward throughout the rest of the year. Coming off his best game as a professional that included a beautiful game winning 75-yard catch and run, Arizona will look to get Brown involved more than ever.
Wes Welker, DEN @ NE, $3,800 – There are a lot of weapons on the Broncos offense, and despite Peyton Manning’s 36 pass attempts per game, Wes Welker hasn’t been on the receiving end of many. One of the best parts of daily fantasy sports though, is that you can select a player any given day strictly based on a matchup you really like. That’s an especially important consideration to make if you need to roster a player under $4,000. For that, it’s always acceptable to turn to players making bitter returns to an old team in hopes that they turn up their performance level just a bit more. I have no statistic for you that supports that, but at least you can take comfort knowing that Welker is still featured in 3-wide sets, which Denver runs more than any team in the NFL. The Broncos will need Welker’s help moving the chains on Sunday if they expect to beat the Patriots on the road.
Kenny Britt, STL @ SF, $3,100 – Britt is a little banged up with a hip injury but if he suits up against the 49ers, he’ll be the Rams #1 wide receiver. It’s not that Britt has earned a higher price than $3,100, but I can’t remember ever seeing a team’s top WR priced this low. Britt has flashed brilliance in moments throughout his career, but he’s been very disappointing this season with the Rams. If Britt can develop some new chemistry with Austin Davis, at least the targets will be there. At $3,100, you can certainly do worse than Britt this week, so take a chance if you’re stuck.
Five More to Consider
Dwayne Bowe, NYJ @ KC, $4,500
Torrey Smith, BAL @ PIT, $4,100
Cecil Shorts III, JAX @ CIN, $4,100
Jordan Matthews, PHI @ HOU, $4,000
Jarvis Landry, SD @ MIA, $3,400