DraftKings Reignmaker Core Strategy: Week 9
It's Week 9 in the NFL, and it's time for the Reignmakers Core strategy rundown for this Sunday's games. Matt Price and I opened a Deadfellaz pack on Make It Reign, our pack-opening video show that includes some early-week strategy, and despite not landing a rare card, we pulled a nice Core card trio of Tee Higgins, Nick Chubb, and Amari Cooper that should all go right into our lineups. We'll open up a new pack each week on Make It Reign. which drops every Tuesday on our YouTube Channel.
Prior to the season's start, DraftKings designated 17 top players as "SuperStars," and only one SuperStar card is allowed in each contest lineup. Week 9 sees the first changes on the list since the season began, with several players added and removed:
|QB Jalen Hurts||QB Aaron Rodgers|
|QB Joe Burrow||RB Dalvin Cook|
|RB Saquon Barkley||RB Najee Harris|
|RB Nick Chubb||RB Jonathan Taylor|
|WR Tyreek Hill||WR CeeDee Lamb|
|WR Ja'Marr Chase|
|WR Deebo Samuel|
That leaves us with the following table of Super Stars after the changes heading into Week 9:
Core SuperStar Strategy
Week 9 Additions and Removals
Removals: Most of the players removed from the SuperStar list were expected. Aaron Rodgers ranks 18th in fantasy scoring after Week 8, and things don't appear to be improving in Green Bay.
Najee Harris would likely be a more productive player on a more productive offense, but his continued inclusion is hard to justify at his PPR scoring rank of 23rd among RBs. Jonathan Taylor has dealt with injury and surprisingly poor play from quarterback Matt Ryan, but RB33 is RB33 no matter the cause. Dalvin Cook's removal was somewhat of a surprise, as his 112.1 PPR points scored through 7 games plus a team bye ranks 13th among RBs, but falling outside of the top 10 was mentioned by DraftKings as a potential cause for SuperStar ejection.
Deebo Samuel sits at 23rd in WR points scored, which wasn't what those drafting him were hoping for, but CeeDee Lamb is another surprise removal. Lamb has scored 116.8 fantasy points, 10th-most at the position, and most of that without Dak Prescott. Ja'Marr Chase would not have been stripped of his SuperStar status were it not for his hip injury in Week 7, but he's also a victim of being bumped by Super-Saiyan Joe Burrow.
Additions: Exactly zero of the five SuperStar additions were surprising. Jalen Hurts is now the QB4 after throwing 4 touchdowns in Week 8 (4for4 ALERT), flashing QB1 upside even when he's not rushing for double-digit yardage and touchdowns. Joe Burrow was featured in every winning lineup in the known universe for two of the past three weeks and is perched atop the QB scoring rankings through 8 weeks.
RB4 Saquon Barkley has returned to pre-injury form as a dangerous weapon with jaw-dropping agility. He's on a bye for Week 9, but has excellent upcoming matchups against Houston and Detroit in Weeks 10 and 11. Barkley's upstairs-rankings-neighbor, RB3 Nick Chubb, may offer minimal receiving production out of the backfield, but he's had over 100 total yards in 7 of 8 games played, and his 10 total touchdowns are the most among all running backs.
Tyreek Hill has been so absurd he needs his own paragraph. Well that and he's the only new SuperStar wide receiver. Hill can see his house from there (atop the WR PPR scoring rankings). Among all wide receivers, his 11.5 targets per game ranks 3rd, his 23.1% target rate (targets per snap) is #1, and his 92 total targets would be a decent regular-season-long total, except we're not yet halfway there.
Week 9 SuperStar Strategy
Week 9 brings with it quite a few team byes, and it's coming for your favorite SuperStar running backs. New additions Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb are absent as a result, as is stalwart Christian McCaffrey.
The Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes are 10.5-point favorites at home against the Titans on Sunday Night Football, taking both Mahomes and Derrick Henry off the main slate. The same goes for Jalen Hurts with the Eagles playing on Thursday night, as well as Lamar Jackson whose Ravens play Monday night.
Newly-crowned SuperStar QB Joe Burrow leads a Bengals team that project as 7-point favorites, but against an anemic Panthers offense that lowers the projected game total to 43.5. Josh Allen is always a tempting start, and the Bills are favored by 13 points with a 30.25 projected team total, but they're visiting a division-rival Jets team allowing the 9th-lowest aFPA to quarterbacks.
Ultimately, for me the choice among SuperStars narrows down to Austin Ekeler and Tyreek Hill. Austin Ekeler is the SuperStar RB that benefits most from Vegas projections with a 48.5 game total and 25.75 team total on the road against Atlanta, who've allowed a 21st-ranked aFPA of 24.1 to the position, but also rank dead last in aFPA to wide receivers. With Keenan Allen and Mike Williams looking like they'll both miss Week 9, Ekeler could see a larger target share than usual. Tyreek Hill and the Dolphins travel to Chicago to play a Bears team that ranks fourth in aFPA to WRs, but I've accepted that Hill is a unicorn immune to matchup concerns when Tua Tagovailoa is 100%.
Core Marketplace Values
Kyler Murray, RB ARI
A $15.00 Core price tag doesn't represent EXTREME value, but Murray will be playing in a matchup with Seattle that has the highest projected point total for the week. 4for4 projects him for 24.1 fantasy points as the QB2 on the main slate, just 4.1 projected points behind $25 Josh Allen.
Rhamondre Stevenson, RB NE
Rhamondre is underpriced at $9.99. Wash, rinse, repeat. The Patriots run the ball at the 10th-highest rate, and the 9th-highest when they're in the red zone. They face the Colts at home, who rank 5th in aFPA to RBs, but they've allowed the 4th-most receiving yards to the position, raising Stevenson's floor even if they slow him down somewhat on the ground. The Patriots are also 5.5-point favorites in a game with a low 39.5-point game total and a decent 22.5-point team total, facing Sam Ehlinger at QB.
Jamaal Williams, RB DET
Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell candidly stated that D'Andre Swift isn't back yet from his injuries, and openly expressed his regrets about Swift's playing time in Week 8. You won't have any regrets about paying $4.25 for Jamaal Williams on the marketplace. Detroit hosts Green Bay for a game with a 49.5-point projected total, Williams has scored 8 rushing touchdowns, which have all been scored in pairs against every team Detroit has faced that ranks outside the top 10 in aFPA to RBs. Green Bay ranks 22nd.
Tee Higgins, WR CIN
Tee Higgins was priced at a head-scratching low of $7.99 on Monday, but he remains a huge value after his meteoric rise to $9.07 as of this writing on Thursday. Ja'Marr Chase will be absent for at least four more games, and Higgins is 4for4's WR10 facing a Panthers defense allowing the 7th-highest aFPA to WRs.
Week 9 Tournament Strategy
RMF Classic - CORE - $50K Fiat Frenzy [$5K to 1st]
Let's focus on the largest Core tournament, the $50K Fiat Frenzy that includes the 10 Sunday afternoon games, excluding the PHI@HOU Thursday night game, the TEN@KC Sunday night game, and the BAL@NO Monday night game. The payout structure awards $5,000 to first place, payouts down to $5 for 4,150th place, and a Core Plus pack prize all the way down to 6,150th place. As of late-Thursday there are 7,414 entries in the Week 9 contest, and last week's contest drew 21,375 entries by kickoff.
Top Options at Each Position
QB: Kyler Murray, ARI
It's not every week that the game with the top projected total score features no SuperStar players on either team, so why not enjoy it when it happens? Drafting Kyler Murray is one way to celebrate, as the Cardinals have an implied team total of 26 points for their side of a projected 50-point matchup at home. Murray was limited to 222 passing yards in Arizona's Week 6 matchup in Seattle, but he rushed for 100 yards in that game, and that was before DeAndre Hopkins returned from his suspension. Murray is coming off of a 24.6-point Week 8 game against Minnesota that equated to a QB5 finish, and the Vikings are allowing the exact same 17.2 aFPA to quarterbacks as the Seahawks. There's some risk in not drafting Josh Allen with the Bills' 30.25 implied team total, but Allen's SuperStar status would prevent the best option at RB, which is enough to pivot to Murray.
RB: Austin Ekeler, LAC
Drafting Austin Ekeler might preclude choosing fellow SuperStar Tyreek Hill at WR, as well as SuperStar Josh Allen at QB, but the projected point differential between Allen and Murray is 4.4, while just 2.9 points separate 4for4's projected WR4 DeAndre Hopkins from Hill at WR1. Austin Ekeler projects at 5.1 points ahead of Josh Jacobs, 4for4's next-ranked RB on the slate. The Chargers' 25.75 implied team point total doesn't hurt him, nor do the team's depleted wide receiver corps given Ekeler's established receiving role.
WR: Stefon Diggs, BUF
Stefon Diggs stands as the top wide receiver without a SuperStar designation. Diggs gives you access to a Bills game with a 30.25 implied team total, and his 173.4 PPR fantasy points rank 2nd only to Tyreek Hill. 4for4 projects Diggs as the WR3 for the week, but just 0.3 projected points behind WR1 Hill and WR2 SuperStar Cooper Kupp. Only Davante Adams and (surprisingly) Allen Robinson can match Diggs' 1.4 end-zone targets per game among starting wide receivers, and among the 4 wide receiver averaging over 100 receiving yards per game, his 7 touchdowns are more than the other three receivers have combined.
WR/TE: DeAndre Hopkins, ARI
Neither Kyler Murray nor DeAndre Hopkins have been given SuperStar status, so stacking them is both feasible and glorious. Hopkins has only been back from his suspension for two games, but he's garnered 27 targets (14 targets in Week 7 and 13 targets in Week 8), which ties him with Tyreek Hill in raw target volume for the past two weeks, and his 26% target rate ranks #1. He'll be drafted more often than his 3.11% rate in Week 7, but he ranks as the 2nd-best non-SuperStar WR option for the week behind only Stefon Diggs.
FLEX: Aaron Jones, GB
Despite the struggles of the 2022 Packers' offense thus far, Aaron Jones has been a fantasy hammer. He's ranked 8th among all Flex options at 4for4, 6th when you preclude players not on the main slate. Jones will line up against a Detriot defense practically laying out a welcome mat for opposing RBs, ranking 31st in aFPA to the position. Allen Lazard, Green Bay's top receiving option, remains questionable for this game, and the Packers/Lions tilt has the 2nd-highest projected point total on the main slate at 49.5. Jones is the PPR RB9 on the season, and his work as a receiver out of the backfield is a large part of that outcome. He'll be used heavily as a runner and a receiver if Green Bay is to hit their projected point total.