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NFL DFS: Week 9 Best Bets, High Leverage, and Safe Picks for DraftKings and FanDuel

This week could be the one where Darnell truly is Mooney in the bank for DFS contests.

We had another good week as Tony Pollard and A.J. Brown absolutely smashed. But the NFL Week 9 Best Bets and daily fantasy (DFS) picks are a symbol of my frustrations this year.

After the furious trade deadline deals finally stopped, I was ready to move forward with my DFS picks and maybe get this piece to my editor early. Unfortunately, there were too many players whose injury status was up in the air. And even on Friday when we find out that Jonathan Taylor was out, that didn't really make things much easier.

Deon Jackson is going to be a very popular play this weekend. But does that make him a "safe" pick? I will tell you right now, he's a good value and I will have him in a number of lineups where I need the salary savings. But his floor is not the kind of safety I want in a safe pick.

Week 9 Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

Teams on bye: Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, New York Giants, Pittsburgh, San Francisco

Here is where I give you the usual reminder, that in addition to my best bet, I will give you "safe picks" and "high leverage" picks. Those more or less equate to "cash game" picks and GPP picks for those familiar with what those are.

So who did I choose as a "safe bet" at RB? Read below to find out, but as usual, we start with our "best bet" of the week.

Week 9's Best Bet: Tennessee Titans at Kansas City (SNF) Chiefs OVER 46.5 (-110)

Before we even get into the rationale for this bet, I wanted to let you know all the reasons why I chose this. First off, I like to choose a bet that is not part of the "main slate" and this qualifies obviously. Secondly, I haven't done a single over/under in this space and I figured for a change we would do something "simple." Third, I didn't see a lot of other options that screamed "bet me." Maybe that will change between now and the various kickoffs. But for now, let's focus on this bet.

First off, Kansas City is no stranger to high-scoring games. The Chiefs are averaging nearly 32 points a game, but also allowing more than 24 points per game. That's 56 points right there, way over our 47 points necessary.

Now, the Titans' points scored and points allowed are much lower than that. But they have been playing a lot of weak offenses lately. However, back when they played Buffalo in Week 2, that game hit 48 points combined. I think we see a very similar game here.

Kansas City is at home coming off of a bye. Not only will the Chiefs be much more rested than the Titans, but Arrowhead Stadium is always a tough place to play for opponents. Furthermore, we know the Chiefs' strength is passing the ball and Tennessee has one of the most suspect secondaries in the league. The Titans are allowing the ninth-most passing yards per game, the eighth-most completions per game, and the fourth-most touchdown passes per game. Kansas City could score 40 points alone.

And remember, Kansas City is allowing more than 24 points per game. Even if Tennesee manages just half of that (and I think the Titans probably score closer to 17) for a dozen points and KC scores only 35 points (which I think is a low estimate), that's still 47 points.

Smash the over. Onto this week's DFS picks...

Safe Quarterback Week 9 Pick

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers at Atlanta Falcons (DK $7200, FD $7800)

Speaking of teams coming off byes, the Chargers are the only other team that was off last week. And they've been a bit of a disappointment this year. But this absolutely feels like a "get right" game for Herbert.

Yes, Herbert is down his top two WRs, but I don't think it matters. Atlanta is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season. Expect Herbert's numbers to resemble last year's MVP-caliber numbers more than his "slightly above average" numbers this year. Even if Herbert gives us his average of 287 passing yards per game, I'll gladly take that.

High-Leverage Quarterback Week 9 Pick

Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Las Vegas Raiders (DK $5200, FD $6800)

I know, Lawrence did not look too good overseas last week. But that will help keep his ownership down, which is critical. Because otherwise, I think he'd be too heavily owned now back in the US of A hosting a Raiders team that was absolutely putrid last week.

No team is giving up more fantasy points to QBs this season than the Raiders and I expect Lawrence to take full advantage of that. I definitely agree with Mike LaPlant on this:

Related: Week 9 Start/Sit Fantasy Advice for QB/TE/DST

Safe Running Back Week 9 Pick

Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (DK $7400, FD $7800)

The Packers have been an absolute mess this season, but Jones has been one of their few bright spots. Should they lose at Detroit, a team they usually have no issue beating, then it's definitely time to wonder if the Pack might have the first pick next season.

But as mentioned, Jones has been a ray of sunshine in Green Bay. He has almost 800 combined yards on the year and is coming off one of his best games when he absolutely ran roughshod on the Buffalo defense of all defenses for 143 yards.

The Detroit defense is nowhere near as good as the Buffalo defense. The Lions have in fact allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to RBs this season. I wouldn't count on Jones putting up 140-plus again, but no RB has a safer floor this week.

High-Leverage Running Back Week 9 Pick

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Carolina Panthers (DK $6500, FD $8100)

While Jones has been a reliable source of points, Mixon has yet to put up even one 100-yard game this season. He has all of three touchdowns this season. Last season he had 16.

Some positive regression is coming. Will it come against the Panthers who are allowing the 11th-most fantasy points per game to RBs this season? I think so. As we have a battle of the "big cats in the Jungle." I think Mixon finally gets his stripes this weekend.

Related: Week 9 Start/Sit Fantasy Advice for RB/WR

Safe Wide Receiver Week 9 Pick

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings at Washington Commanders (DK $8600, FD $9000)

The Commanders' secondary is nothing special, and you already know that Jefferson is a stud. He is the No. 4 WR in PPR fantasy right now with 52 catches for 752 yards in seven games this season.

Despite Kirk Cousins spreading it around, Jefferson is still seeing more than a third of his team's targets. Jefferson might not have as high a ceiling as others this week, but of the top half-dozen options, he definitely has the highest floor.

High-Leverage Wide Receiver Week 9 Pick

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears vs. Miami Dolphins (DK $4700, FD $6100)

Now here is where things get interesting. The safer move is probably to grab the newly acquired Chase Claypool who has a slightly lower salary. But I think the addition of Claypool leaves Mooney with far more single coverage, which I think he can beat. Plus Mooney and Justin Fields are starting to show some chemistry.

I know Mooney has been a bit of a disappointment this season, but like the Tweet above states, he's been playing much better lately. He hasn't scored a TD, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that ends this week. Even if doesn't, Miami is giving up the seventh-most receiving yards per game.

Safe Tight End Week 9 Pick

Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Las Vegas Raiders (DK $3300, FD $5200)

Once again, neither Travis Kelce nor Mark Andrews is on the main slate. Therefore I see very little reason to spend up at TE in my 50/50 and double-up entries. Engram is a nice mid-range option, who has seen 29 targets over the last four weeks, including his first touchdown last week.

Engram is not a sexy pick, but against a Las Vegas team that has given up the third-most fantasy points per game to TEs, he will do just fine.

High-Leverage Tight End Week 9 Pick

Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (DK $3000, FD $4900)

If you don't like Dissly, go with one of the other Seahawk TEs. Or perhaps go with one of the other TEs on the Arizona side of the ball. Either way, I'd bet dollars to donuts that we see a TE score a TD in this game. Both these teams are the most generous when it comes to allowing fantasy points to opposing TEs.

I'm going to go with the one priced outside the top 15 TEs who already has three TDs this season.

Safe Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 9 Pick

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets (DK $4300, FD $5000)

There is no need to complicate this. The Jets are averaging an interception a game. The Bills have intercepted 11 passes already this season. Bet on an interception. Or two, or three...

High-Leverage Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 9 Pick

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (DK $2500, FD $4100)

Folks don't realize how good Seattle has been this season. Only seven teams have more sacks than Seattle. These young Seahawks have really come into their own as the season has progressed. Over their last three games, this defense has allowed just 289 total yards per game, good for fifth in the league in that span.

If you're looking to save some salary this week, go with Seattle.

Other Cheap(er) Options I'm Considering In My GPP Entries:

QB: Justin Fields, Marcus Mariota

RB: Avery Williams, Deon Jackson

WR: Bryan Edwards, Dyami Brown, DeAndre Carter

TE: Cole Kmet, John Bates, Tre McBride

— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.