DFS Wide Receiver Analysis: Week 9

DFS Wide Receiver Analysis: Week 9

By TJ Hernandez (Associate Editor), last update Nov 9, 2017

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TJ is a former full-time poker player who has been playing fantasy football for more than a decade. After online poker was outlawed, TJ ended his poker career and dedicated himself to fantasy football. His background in poker statistics and analytics translates to success in both daily and season-long fantasy football.

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Each week I break down the wide receiver position and explain how you should think about players in terms of tiers, their overall impact on lineup construction, and potential range of outcomes.

Below is an analysis of this week’s wide receivers on the main slate, including the upside and downside of each relevant player, and how you might adjust your approach to the position depending on the game type. The chalk and any referenced ownership percentages are derived from the 4for4 DFS Ownership Projections.

Chalk

INJURY UPDATE:  With the Deshaun Watson out, DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller lose most of their fantasy value. Hopkins may still be the floor play because he is the primary target in his offense, but he is not a recommended cash game play and is barely worthy of a dart throw in tournaments. Michael Thomas should be viewed as a chalk play and Doug Baldwin may also see his ownership creep near the top with owners taking Hopkins out of their player pools.

Two receivers coming off of huge games with an even better matchup this week and two receivers expected to see an uptick in workload with the loss of a significant teammate are expected to dominate ownership in Week 9. Salaries of the chalk receivers are quite spread out, so owners will have a lot of flexibility whether they are looking for price pivots or hoping to stack correlated plays along with the chalk.

  • Only one player has seen a higher ownership projection this season than the 30–35% ownership DeAndre Hopkins ($9,100 FD/$9,200 DK) is expected to see this week against the Colts. The Indianapolis defense ranks in the bottom 10 in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) to every skill position, including the 29th ranking against wide receivers. With the highest target share in the league, Hopkins is the top wide receiver value on FanDuel and a top-two value on DraftKings. Hopkins is $600 more than the WR2 on FanDuel and costs $1,400 more on DraftKings, so if he fails to find the end zone, his lofty price tag could limit the upside of a roster trying to take down a large GPP.
  • Will Fuller ($7,800/$7,000) is averaging under 6 targets per game but he is priced as the WR6 on both sites. His price tag is reflective of his league-leading 7 receiving touchdowns, but with just 3 red zone targets and no games with more than 5 catches, his current production is clearly unsustainable. That regression may not come this week, though, as no team has allowed more passing plays of 15+ yards than the Colts.
  • With Kelvin Benjamin being shipped off to Buffalo, Devin Funchess ($6,100/$5,400) is expected to be one of the most popular receivers this week. Even with Benjamin in the lineup, Funchess has seen at least 8 targets in five of the Panthers’ last six games and almost a quarter of Carolina’s red zone targets this season. The quality of those targets is a concern, as Cam Newton has only complete 63% of his passes and ranks 21st in touchdown rate. Carolina also has the eighth-lowest passing rate in the red zone, which limits the upside of Panthers pass-catchers.
  • Dez Bryant ($7,700/$6,400) is expected to be the focal point of the Cowboys offense with Ezekiel Elliott suspended for the next six weeks, and that role begins against a Kansas City defense ranked 28th in wide receiver aFPA. The Chiefs rank in the top 10 against running backs and tight ends, so the offense likely would have been filtered to Dez this week no matter who was in the backfield. This game is a pick'em with a projected game total at 51, and no player has seen more red zone targets this season than Bryant. The risk with the entire Dallas offense right now is that they sputter with Zeke out of the lineup as defenses scheme to take away Dez.

UPDATE: Ezekiel Elliott Ezekiel Elliott ($8,900) will not begin his suspension this week and is ACTIVE against the Chiefs. With this move, the game total has moved up to 53.5. Dez Bryant will remain a chalk play and this likely helps his fantasy prospects more than it hurts him. Kansas City will not be able to focus on Dez and the Chiefs' weakness is against wide receivers. 

Studs

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