DRAFT Week 9 Breakdown and Top Plays
UPDATE: Deshaun Watson (ACL) is OUT. More updates coming soon.
We’ve reached Week 9 folks, and that means we get six teams on a bye, new matchups, and a fresh set of players primed for your DFS lineups. The DRAFT platform has put together a unique format that marries redraft and DFS together into one exciting and different power couple.
Their weekly fantasy contests are not your typical salary cap format. Instead, they offer a series of snake-style draft contests with differing team amounts. You can choose from head-to-head, 3-team, 6-team, 8-team, or 10-team contests, with varying dollar amounts per contest. With each draft, players must select five position players: 1QB, 2RB, and 2WR/TEs. There are no salaries, no ownership percentages, and no large tourneys.
Below I will take a look at some of the best plays of the week, according to league size. You will see multiple references to aFPA, which is our schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed metric. By using aFPA, we remove bias so that we can level the playing field and compare matchups in an "apples-to-apples" manner. One more note: remember that DRAFT is a snake-style format, so you must plan accordingly in larger contest sizes.
With only two drafters involved, your cumulative score just has to be higher than that of your opponent. Since only 10 players are involved, stick to the elite DFS chalk here.
Deshaun Watson (HOU) vs. IND
It’s still somewhat mind-blowing Watson has become matchup proof just halfway into his rookie season, but his fantasy output is undeniable. There have been some rumblings about too high of a price tag on salary based DSF sites, but the beauty of DRAFT is that price is irrelevant. Watson gets a slam dunk of an opponent this week, as the Texans face the Colts at home, a defense ranked dead last versus the QB position. Zero brain cells needed here, draft Watson in every contest you can.
Drew Brees (NOS) vs. TBB
Brees gets the second-best matchup of the week, as the Bucs are ranked 31st in the league versus the pass, with an aFPA of 20.3 points to opposing QBs. Last week was Brees’ worst performance of the season, but he’s still averaging 17.73 DRAFT points per game. The 17-year NFL veteran plays well at home, and with a team implied total of 28.50 points, he’s chalk and will put up solid numbers this week.
Todd Gurley (LAR) @ NYG
Fresh off a nice restful bye week, Gurley should eat this Sunday in New York. The Giants are ranked 19th against the run, allowing an aFPA of 24.3 points to the position so far this season. Gurley currently sits fourth overall in touches per game among rushers, with a total of 25. With that kind of weekly volume, he’s sure to put up the numbers needed to take down any contest.
LeSean McCoy (BUF) @ NYJ
Shady is chalk once again as the Bills head to New York to face a Jets defense ranked 22nd in the league when it comes to defending the run. He’s the top RB in DRAFT rankings this week, projected to score 17.2 points in their format. Without salaries to consider, he’s draftable all day long.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) vs. IND
If you can grab Hopkins with Watson you’re golden, but either one on their own is a solid play, too. Indy ranks 29th when it comes to defending WRs, and has allowed some big fantasy numbers this season, including 31.6 points to Bengals wideouts in Week 8, 34.7 to Jags receivers in Week 6, and 40.8 to Tennessee’s receiving corps in Week 5. Nuk is currently the No. 3 ranked WR in overall targets in 2017.
Michael Thomas (NOS) vs. TBB
I’m fairly certain you’re not shocked to see Thomas here since his QB is also chalk this week. Tampa Bay’s defense occupies the sub-basement at defending wideouts, ranked 32nd in the league, with an aFPA of 45.0 points to opposing WRs. Thomas leads the Saints offense in targets per game with an average of 8.9 and he should see plenty of volume this Sunday at home.
Dez Bryant (DAL) vs. KC
The Cowboys' No. 1 WR hasn’t been overly consistent this season, but is still a stud and faces a weak Chiefs secondary in Week 9 at home. Bryant averages 10.94 DRAFT points per game, and is projected to score 12.5 this week, the fourth-highest among WRs. He gets a bump to the chalk portion of this piece, based on his soft opponent coming off a short week.
When you enter a contest with only three teams, you’re either picking two players at a time, or you’re in the middle of two drafters doing just that. Same studs apply here; draft accordingly.
6, 8 or 10-Person Draft
Below you’ll find a few more recommendations for Week 9 starters to assist in filling out five-player rosters when more players are involved. You’ll need to dig a bit deeper into the rankings to find a player or two who will out-produce the players your opponents draft.
Russell Wilson (SEA) vs. WAS
Averaging 23.1 DRAFT points per game, Wilson is always in the conversation in larger contests. He’s coming off a monster 452-yard, four-touchdown performance last week versus the Texans. This week, he faces a Washington defense riddled with injuries at home. With an implied 26 point total for Seattle, Wilson should have a solid day, especially with a bolstered offensive line thanks to the addition of LT Duane Brown. Grab Wilson in any contest on the DRAFT docket.
Dak Prescott (DAL) vs. KC
Without Ezekiel Elliott, a more pass-heavy game script should be in the cards for the Cowboys. In Week 9, they get a home tilt against a Chiefs team that sits in the middle-of-the-pack when it comes to aFPA. Prescott is averaging 21.37 DRAFT points a game, which is lower than it should be with last week’s stinker factored in, where he only scored 7.32 fantasy points. Even with that Week 8 dud, he sits as the No. 6 ranked QB in overall fantasy points. He makes an excellent choice for your QB this week.
Alex Smith (KC) @ DAL
The league’s leading QB in fantasy points, Smith continues to shine this season, shaking his “game manager” label one contest at a time. Dallas ranks 23rd against the pass, with an aFPA of 17.5 to opposing QBs. The Chiefs signal-caller has yet to throw an interception this season and only has one game with under 200 passing yards. When it comes to DFS in 2017, he’s always on the table.
Mark Ingram (NOS) vs. TBB
It may seem like I’m picking on Tampa Bay here, but their defense has been giving up fantasy points consistently to opposing offenses this season. Ingram is averaging 14.06 DRAFT points weekly with at least 1 touchdown in his last three contests. He had a fumbling issue in Week 8, but hopefully, that’s behind him. Ingram will be back to form this week on his home turf.
Kareem Hunt (KC) @ DAL
With an average of 19.38 DRAFT fantasy points per game, Hunt’s name will always be somewhere in this article weekly. He’s been shut out of touchdowns for the past three weeks, but he still manages to rack up points both on the ground and through the air. The rookie rusher is DRAFT’s second-highest projected scorer in Dallas this week, versus the 23rd-ranked Cowboys run defense.
Leonard Fournette (JAX) vs. CIN - UPDATE: Fournette is OUT.
Fournette appears to be ready to go this week, despite a bum ankle. He’s averaged 20.45 DRAFT points over his past three games, with an average of 132 rushing yards. Fournette faces a Bengals defense in Week 9, ranked 21st versus the run, with an aFPA of 24.5 PPR points. With two weeks of rest in the books, he should return as the workhorse for Jacksonville and put up a solid number for your DRAFT team this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Mike Evans (TBB) @ NOS
With an over/under of 51.5 points, this game is predicted to be a shootout, so you want a part of both offenses. Evans is averaging 13.63 DRAFT points per game, with a projected score of 13.1 in Week 9. The Tampa Bay wideout is the sixth-highest targeted player among WRs, with an average of 9.7 per contest. In other words, the volume is there so the points should be, too.
Doug Baldwin (SEA) vs. WAS
Baldwin is quietly doing his thing, as the highest targeted member of Seattle’s offense. His target rate per snap is 16.5%, almost 3% higher than Jimmy Graham’s. With an average fantasy point total of 13.8 per game, he’s also the highest scoring member of the Seahawks' receiving corps. It seems as though Wilson and Baldwin have found their 2015 mojo, and are gearing up for a productive second half of the season.
Zach Ertz (PHI) vs. DEN - UPDATE: Ertz is OUT
The Broncos defense is arguably one of the best in the NFL right now with just one weakness: tight ends. Denver ranks 28th against opposing TEs with an aFPA of 15.4 points. Ertz leads the league in both TE fantasy points and targets with 129.8 and 64, respectively. He and Carson Wentz are a tandem on fire this season and continue to be DFS chalk week in and week out.
Devin Funchess (CAR) vs. ATL
Here’s one somewhat off the beaten path; a DRAFT contrarian of sorts. With Kelvin Benjamin now in Buffalo, Funchess is the lead receiver against a defense that has allowed at least 115 yards and a score in five of their last six games. The Panthers wideout is already sitting as the No.8 ranked WR in targets over the past five weeks. An uptick in targets makes him draftable in larger contests.
Ted Ginn (NOS) vs. TBB
If you don’t grab Thomas, Ginn is also a player I would consider this week. He’s averaged 92 receiving yards over the past three weeks, and gets a squishy Bucs defense ranked dead last against opposing WRs. He and Brees have developed chemistry this season, so Ginn should continue to get a fair amount of looks in Week 9.