DFS: FanDuel Week 9, QBs Goff and Newton Set for Big Games

QBs Jared Goff and Cam Newton both looked poised to have big DFS Week 9 performances. We will build lineups around them while sprinkling in a few sneaky plays that are well positioned to have great games.

Only one of the three lineups that we entered into four GPPs cashed last week. The winning lineup was our 1:00 PM EST Only slate. That win was a bit of anomaly because our QB Jameis Winston got benched after throwing four picks and TE C.J. Uzomah got shutout despite having the best matchup on the board. It won in large part because RB James Conner went off for 35.7 points, and WRs Mike Evans (26.9 points) and Tyler Boyd (24.1) both had great games.

Conner was our best call of the week and was in all of our lineups. Unfortunately, so was Uzomah. Let’s blame Uzomah’s performance on horrendous play calling against a great matchup.

Our Sunday Million lineup which we played in another GPP, nearly cashed. It fell just two points short when Rams RB Todd Gurley decided to give up three yards short of the end zone on the final play of the game. It was the right move for his team, but the wrong one for our DFS team and kept us from a winning day.


With two weeks in a row of falling just short of profitable, the bankroll is back down to slightly above even for the season. We are confident we can turn that around this week with the two lineups we are playing.

For very similar reasons to last week, we are avoiding the late 4:05 ET Only slate.

It’s difficult to justify paying for RB Todd Gurley ($11.200, 18.2%) when he faces the Saints stout run defense, yet Gurley is hard to fade in a small slate.

RB Melvin Gordon III (LAC, $8,600, 8,6%)  is the second highest priced RB on the slate and in most circumstances would be a great play, but he missed Week 7 with a tweaked hamstring and had been limited in practice this week following the team’s bye. Gordon will likely play, but there is enough to be concerned about to be hesitant in using him.

RB Alvin Kamara (NO, $8,000, 44.2%) is the third-most expensive RB, and he missed practice on Thursday with an illness. There is an outside chance Kamara doesn’t play which would open the door for a big RB Mark Ingram day (NO, $7,400, 2.7%), but we don’t know that yet.

There is even some doubt around WR Michael Thomas (NO, $8,600, 20.4%) who has been dealing with a shoulder injury this week. Thomas should have a big day against the Rams defense which has given up 9.2 yards per target and could easily be the leading fantasy WR for the entire week, but there are some reasons to worry.

Put it all together, and there are too many variables on a three-game slate to have a clear picture of what to do.


Last week’s column features three lineups because we effectively built two Main Slate lineups. We used one of them with players who had lower projected ownership in the Sunday Million tournament. Our Main Slate lineup for this week features enough players with low projected ownership that we will also use it in the Sunday Million tournament. Despite the low projected ownership, we are still very confident in using those players.

Before we break down this week’s plays, I’m going to give a shoutout to the team at EvoAlert. The best way to get better at DFS is to collaborate with others and share information and ideas. This week, we collaborated with EvoAlert who appear to be newcomers to the DFS info world.

It turns out that we were very much on the same page and had a similar approach, so the collaboration did not have much impact on our final lineups. That’s okay; it was still good to share info and reinforce the approach we were taking.

Here are a few of the players EvoAlert is focused in on that we are not using: WRs DeVante Parker (MIA, $5,800, 6.4%) and John Brown (BAL, $6,400, 10.2%), and RBs Kenyan Drake (MIA, $6,900, 2.6%) and Nick Chubb (CLE, $6,600, 2.9%).

Follow EvoAlert on Twitter: @EvoAlert.

Let’s break it down.

Note: The Alternative players will be swapped into our Main Slate lineup to create the 1:00 PM EST Only lineup.

QB Jared Goff (LAR, $8,400 on FanDuel, 7.7% projected ownership on Fantasy Pros) is coming off a 26.5 FanDuel score against the Packers where he completed 19 of 35 passes for 295 yards and three TDs. Goff faces a Saints defense that is fifth worst against pass having allowed 300.0 passing yards a game, and ninth worst 15 passing TDs.

The Saints, however, have the top run defense with a 74.1 rushing yards a game average allowed. The game has the highest predicted over/under at 59.5 points with the Rams predicted with the highest score of the week of 31 points. If the predictions are to come to fruition and the Saints past run defensive performances are an accurate indicator, even with Gurley, the Rams will likely do substantial damage via the passing game.

With the likely return of WR Cooper Kupp (strained MCL),  Goff will have his WRs corps intact for what promises to be an offensive aerial shootout.

Alternative QB

QB Cam Newton (CAR, $8,600, 13.7%) has the highest project QB score on both FantasyPros and 4 for 4 with a 26.8 points projection on both sites. The lofty projection is based on the fact Newton has performed very well this season and has a great matchup. Newton has averaged 24.7 FanDuel points a game in large part because of his ability to pad average passing production with fantasy points scored by yards on the ground when he scrambles.

He leads all QBs with rushing yards (309), rushing TDs (4), and carries (62). Newton faces a Buccaneers defense that is worse in the league at defending the pass and bleed fantasy points to opposing QBs.

“It’s pretty insane when I look at my spreadsheet on just how bad the Bucs have been against the pass, and it’s not even volume related,” wrote Mike Tagliere in his weekly column The Primer for FantasyPros. “They’ve allowed 8.76 yards per attempt (highest in the NFL), a 73.7 percent completion rate (highest in the NFL), and a 7.52 percent touchdown rate (highest in the NFL).

The only quarterback they’ve held outside the top-12 this year was Nick Foles, who still finished with 334 yards and a touchdown. The Bucs have faced two mobile quarterbacks this year, and we saw Mitch Trubisky post 53 rushing yards, while Baker Mayfield posted 43 of his own.”

RB Kareem Hunt (KC, $8,500, 51.4%) had averaged 21.5 FanDuel points since his disappointing performance in Week 1 when he only scored 4.9 points. Hunt faces the Browns who allowed RB James Conner (PIT, $8,000, 4.5%) to run for 146 yards and two TDs on 24 carries while adding five catches for 66 yards. Hunt is $2,700 cheaper than Gurley and in a much better matchup. Hunt is the must play of the week.

RB Tarik Cohen (CHI, $7,200, 2.4%) has also been a model of consistency over the past month. Over the last four games, Cohen has averaged 18.08 FanDuel points. Cohen’s high production will likely continue this week against the Bills who allowed Patriots RB James White (not on slate), a similar style RB to Cohen, to score 20.4 FanDuel points with ten receptions for 79 yards, plus 15 yards rushing and a TD on Monday night.

RB Isaiah Crowell (NYJ, $5,700, 2.8%) has had three poor performances in a row where he has only averaged 5.3 FanDuel points. Crowell, however, has been battling a foot injury and in last two weeks has faced two tough run defenses in the Bears and the Vikings.

We are looking at what Crowell did four weeks ago against the Broncos when he scored 29.6 points on 15 carries for 219 yards and a TD; he also caught his one pass for 12 yards. Crowell is no longer on the injury report and faces the Dolphins who are who are yielding a generous 5.47 YPC to running backs since Week 5, according to John Paulsen is his weekly column Sneaky Starts for 4 for 4.

We are not projecting Crowell will score nearly 30 points again as he did against Denver. However, we believe even with a blah performance will be near 2 X value. There is plenty of room for upside from there.

Alternative RBs

We are not playing any alternative RBs this week. Hunt, Cohen, and Crowell all have early games and can be played in both slates.

WR Cooper Kupp (LAR, $6,800, 0.2%) is a bit of risk because he is coming back off an MCL strain. We believe the positive upside far outweighs the risk.  At 8-0, the Rams big picture is winning the Super Bowl. They don’t need Kupp back to make the playoffs. It is extremely doubtful he would play before he is ready. Kupp FanDuel points per game average (FPPG) is 15.2 is higher than teammate WRs Robert Woods ($7,600, 14.6 FPPG, 11.8%) and Brandin Cooks ($7,500, 13.9 FPPG, 8.7%), yet he is cheaper and projected for extremely low ownership.

Kupp also has a juicy matchup. He will likely face CB Patrick Robison who allowed two TDs last week and three to Falcons WR Calvin Ridley (ATL, $6,500, 0.8%) in Week 3. Those five TDs is good for 1/3 of the 15 total receiving TDs the Saints have allowed. Kupp is no longer listed as questionable as of Friday. HC Sean McVay reiterated Kupp would play as he announced Kupp would be the honorary captain for the game.

WR Adam Thielen (MIN, $8,900, 56.9%) is the top WR in football by a mile. His 74 receptions for 925 yards and six TDs is 13 receptions, 140 yards, and four TDs better than Giants WR Odell Beckham (on bye) who is the second leading WR through eight games played. Thielen is poised to be the first WR to have over 100 yards receiving in nine straight games. The stage is set for him to do it.

“Just what the No. 1 receiver in fantasy football needs, a matchup with one of the league’s worst defenses against slot receivers,” wrote Mike Tagliere. “Defending the slot as a team, they’ve allowed 40-of-53 passing for 598 yards and five touchdowns. It’s clearly been a problem for Lions, because they’ve allowed four wide receivers to score 18-plus PPR points against them, and three of them were slot-heavy receivers (Danny Amendola, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Quincy Enunwa).”

WR Tre’Quan Smith (NO, $5,100, 11.9%) provides another piece of the highest projected scoring game and at a cheap price. “In his last home game, Smith posted 3-111-2 on three targets against Washington,” wrote John Paulsen. “He should square off with struggling corner Marcus Peters for most of the day.”

Alternative WRs

WR Kenny Golladay (DET, $6,200, 12.7%) will likely see more targets with WR Golden Tate (not on slate) being traded from the Lions to the Eagles earlier in the week. That trade occurred after pricing was set, so Golladay should be a bit of a value play and is in a plus matchup against Vikings CB Trae Waynes.

“Golladay has the more desirable matchup this week on Waynes as Golladay runs nearly 40 percent of his routes on the right side,” Mike Woelert wrote in his weekly WR vs. CB column at 4 for 4. “Waynes is allowing 12.6 yards per reception, so he could struggle as Golladay’s average depth of target is 12.3.”

WR D.J. Moore (CAR, $5,300, 25.4%) provides a nice affordable stack with Newton against the Bucs horrid pass defense considering Moore is the Panthers number two receiver with WR Torrey Smith (knee) listed as out. Moore made the most of his opportunity last week against the Ravens. He caught five of six targets for 90 yards and added 39 yards on two carries for a 15.4 FanDuel score. Moore is another Sneaky Start for Paulsen, but he might not be that sneaky with his current ownership projection.


TE O.J. Howard (TB, $6,000, 11.2%) has had three solid performances in a row after returning from a sprained MCL. In the last three weeks, Howard has averaged 12.7 FanDuel points and had two TDs. “Howard has totaled at least 54 yards in every full game he’s played, including games of 62, 67, and 68 over the last three weeks.” wrote Tagliere.

That should continue this week as Howard faces the Panthers who have been fifth worst at covering TEs and have allowed a third-worst 10.8 FanDuel points a game to the position. Tagliere expanded why the matchup is so good against the Panthers.

“Across the board, they’ve been bad against the position, allowing 8.38 yards per target, a 73.8 percent completion rate, and a touchdown every 13.0 targets. There have been just two games this year where they’ve not allowed a touchdown to a tight end.”

Alternative TE

TE Greg Olsen (CAR, $6,200 7.4%) is coming off a performance against the Ravens where he caught all four of his targets for 56 yards and a TD.  Olsen is the third highest projected TE on both FantasyPros and 4 for 4 with an average projection of 10.6 points. Olsen faces a Bucs defense is actually worse than the Panthers defense at covering TEs.

Until last week, the Bucs were worst in the league against TEs until they unexplainedly held Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah pointless. Despite the mystifying performance against Uzomah, the Bucs are still fourth-worst at covering TEs. They have allowed a league-high 11.6 FanDuel points a game to the position.


The Broncos Defense ($3,400) has the second most amount of sacks with 24 and face QB Deshaun Watson (HOU, $7,900, 2.9%) who has been sacked 26 times, second most. Good things happen for defenses when they can get to the QB. Our only concern is Watson has only been sacked once in the last two games. So perhaps Houston has made some adjustments to protect him. Nevertheless, we like the matchup at the price.

Alternative Defense

The Redskins Defense ($3,400) appears to have a tough matchup against the Falcons. They have still averaged nine FanDuel points a game and have scored 15 points in each of their last two games against the Giants and Cowboys. At the price, we think there is a good chance Washington at least returns a 2 X value.

Dan McLellan’s Main Slate and Sunday Million Lineup:


Dan McLellan’s Early 1:00 PM EST Only Lineup:

Listen In: Every Sunday at 12:30 eastern, I join an experienced group of NFL DFS players at wblzmedia.com. Together we build our own Sunday Million lineup. It’s a great example of hearing how the thought process that went into this article plays out in real-time.


Play on FanDuel: If you want to give DFS a shot on FanDuel, use the link to signup. Once you deposit and pay $10 in the paid contest, you will get an extra $25 and I get $20.


Dan’s Ranking:


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