DFS Core Four and Value Stacks: Week 9
This Week 9 NFL DFS article consists of two parts, the "Core Four" and value stacks. The Core Four are my four favorite plays on the main slate for any game format, regardless of price or projected percent rostered. All four will almost assuredly be in my cash lineup and be an integral part of my GPP core plays (though they probably won't all be in the same GPP lineup).
For the value stacks, I’ll be using 4for4's Stack Value Reports to find stacks that can take down a tournament. I like building contrarian stacks around my chalkier core of players because you only have to get one instance correct for it to hit. Though there may be a chalkier player or two within the value stack, I will usually add a piece from the game that makes the stack a bit contrarian.
For example, if we hit on a contrarian quarterback play while having a pass-catcher or two from that same game, the positive correlation of those stacks is technically getting one contrarian play correct despite filling multiple roster slots. I feel this is easier than having a chalkier stack while trying to hit multiple individual low-rostered plays throughout the rest of your lineup. Keep in mind that these are contrarian stacks, so you don’t have to use these stacks in a large percentage of lineups to be overweight on the field. They should be used in tandem with a chalkier core of players.
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Core Four Plays
WR Tyreek Hill ($8,500 FD/$7,900 DK)
Hill's price is absurd. I don't normally make a guy like Tyreek Hill a cash game consideration, but at his price and recent usage, Hill's upside outweighs his volatility. He has seen 28% of the Chiefs' targets and 36% of their air yards. Hill also has seen an average depth of target of 9.9, which indicates he's running a wider range of routes, from short to deep. That reduces some of the volatility he used to come with and raises his floor a bit. Mahomes has thrown his way an average of 11.3 targets per game, as well. With increased volume and route variation, Hill must be strongly considered for all formats at his current salary. I'm not one to harp on matchups, but with no Jaire Alexander on the other side, Hill's ceiling is one of his patented 150-yard multi-touchdown games.
WR Amari Cooper ($6,900 FD/$5,700 DK)
DraftKings is asleep at the wheel with Amari Cooper's price. We usually see that when a player has a primetime game the prior week, but this is a bit egregious. Cooper has had a few games with low volume, but he often makes the most of the targets he gets. Cooper owns a 22% target share and a 33% air yards share of the season. Cooper ranks inside the top eight in our value metric on DraftKings and top 10 on FanDuel. I will note that he is going to be massively rostered in both cash games and tournaments, so I think using CeeDee Lamb on tournament rosters makes a lot of sense if Lamb is active. However, for the value, it will be hard not to click on Cooper's name for cash.
Austin Ekeler ($9,000 FD/$7,900 DK)
Ekeler is far and away my favorite play at running back at the top of the board. The game between the Eagles and the Chargers projects to be one of the higher-scoring games on the slate. Additionally, the Eagles can be beaten on the ground. Ekeler, as we know, is game script proof as he'll catch a ton of passes if the Chargers are trailing and get the rushing work if they are winning. Ekeler has produced week in and week out and this could be the best environment he's been in all year long.
TE Albert Okwuegbunam ($4,500 FD/$2.600 DK)
Admittedly, this is more of a DraftKings play because the salaries are so tight you need some serious salary-savers in your lineup. Albert O as many call him because they are afraid to pronounce his surname (Oh-coo-WAY-boo-nahm) is an absolute freak athlete. As long as he's healthy he can step in and fill the exact role that Noah Fant does each Sunday. After Fant went down last week, he stepped in for a quick 3-34 in limited action. The Cowboys are a pass-funnel team in that they have been beaten through the air much more than on the ground this season. The game script should set up for the Broncos to be trailing in this game as well, resulting in an elevated number of plays and pass attempts for the offense.
Value Stacks to Target
QB Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins ($7,300 FD/$5,800 DK)
WR Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins ($6,100 FD/$5,600 DK)
WR Devante Parker, Dolphins ($6,200 FD/$5,300 DK)
WR Brandin Cooks, ($6,800 FD/$6,100 DK)
sub: Mike Gesicki for inactive Devante Parker
The Dolphins are really letting Tua sling it since his return. I see Myles Gaskin getting some hype this week—couple that with this game stack being near the top of the 4for4 value report and I'm sold. Tua is within the top five quarterback values in our lineup generator, which makes sense playing the 25th ranked Texans defense in aFPA to quarterbacks. Parker looked excellent in his return to the field last week seeing 11 targets. Waddle out-targeted him with 12, but couldn't do much with those targets. Together, they account for almost half of the Dolphins' target share per week and about 57% of the air yards. I'm expecting points in this game from the Dolphins and it's not often the value and leverage reside with the same players.
Brandin Cooks's usage is otherworldly. He is sporting a 30% target share and a 45% air yards share. It's clear that Cooks is commanding targets in this offense because not much has changed with a new quarterback. The Dolphins have a talented secondary, but with his combined usage and price a matchup isn't going to scare me away from clicking Cooks, especially since they rank bottom three in aFPA to wide receivers, and Cooks gets moved all around the formation. With Tyrod Taylor likely back this week, it raises the question if Cooks will remain in the same role. With Taylor the first week and a half of the season Cooks was just fine. In fact, Cooks had his highest receiving yardage total of the season in Week 1 with Taylor under center.
QB Jalen Hurts, Eagles ($7,800 FD/$6,700 DK)
TE Dallas Goedert, Eagles ($6,200 FD/$4,500 DK)
WR Mike Williams, Chargers ($7,300 FD/$7,700 DK)
I always like single-stacking Hurts because of how much production can come from his rushing upside. Hurts has added, on average, eight fantasy points per game with just his rushing upside. I believe some will be off him because he was chalk last week and the Eagles ran the ball into the end zone four times. This should be a big game for Goedert. He saw seven targets last week and that was in three quarters. He saw almost half the Eagles' targets last week and leads the team over the last two weeks with 26% of targets. Goedert even gets some downfield looks as well—he's not a dink-and-dunk tight end. I think the extra usage ends up vaulting him to his best game of this season this week.
Mike Williams is in a great bounce-back spot. He got hurt and left the game three weeks ago, finishing with two catches. The Chargers then had their bye and he came back last week with only two catches. Nearly a month removed from his injury, now in a game that I think will have a back-and-forth nature to it, Williams is primed for a return to glory. He was absolutely smashing before his injury. He averaged over 20 fantasy points per game in Weeks 1-5 which came on the backs of 10 targets per game and a near 40% air yards share. If this game has offensive fireworks, Williams is going to be the player to own.