Halloween might be Thursday night, but Sunday night is going to be the scariest part of Week 9 for the New England Patriots. I mentioned this earlier in the week, but every Patriot fan fears playing the Ravens like the gang fears "creepy old Lady Bakewell's house" in the Halloween episode of "Fat Albert." Unfortunately, disappointment extends beyond Bill Cosby as most of the daily fantasy football (DFS) sites exclude that game from the Week 9 main slate. And that's as wrong as the dentist's house that gives out toothbrushes and dental floss instead of candy on Halloween!
However, if like me you play multiple sites then you will have the opportunity to include players from that game on some of those. Hit me up on Twitter (@MarkStrausberg) if you want suggestions for sites or even plays from that game.
In the meantime, let's focus on the picks for the Week 9 main slates for both DraftKings and FanDuel.
Teams on bye: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans
Week 9 DFS Picks
Safe QB: Russell Wilson vs. Buccaneers (DK $7100, FD $8600)
Even if Patrick Mahomes ends up playing, I don't like his matchup against the Vikings' secondary. Other than Mahomes, Wilson is the only one of the top five or six options playing at home this week. Given that the Seahawks are hosting the sixth-most generous team in giving up fantasy points to quarterbacks, this is an easy choice to anchor our team.
High Risk/Reward QB: Derek Carr vs. Lions (DK $5500, FD $7300)
The GPP choice is much more difficult this week. I love the upside of a number of options not on the main slate, such as Lamar Jackson. Of course that's not an option, but something about Carr feels like a good deep pick.
First off, I like the matchup. With one of the week's highest over/under totals at 51 points, I think Carr and the Raiders will be racking up the points. The Lions have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year. Of course, they have allowed a ton of fantasy points to running backs as well. But the Leos are giving up a league-worst 289 passing yards per game. I think Carr easily surpasses the 300-yard mark.
And when he took on another NFC central team, the Bears, in London, he looked pretty good...
Safe RB: Dalvin Cook at Chiefs (DK: $9500, FD: $9000)
You know who else has looked really good this year? Cook. If we all drafted again, he would be an obvious top-five pick. Of course, Cook is priced accordingly on the sites. But even at these prices, he's a safe pick.
High Risk/Reward RB: Mark Walton vs. Jets (DK: $4500, FD: $5700)
So the risk part here is obvious. And there must be a glitch in the matrix as I am actually recommending a Dolphin. But lets look at the last four weeks of snap counts:
Number of Snaps
Kalen Ballage has not even had 20 percent of the snaps in the Dolphins' last four games.
I have two more stats for you to know as well. One, Ballage is averaging a reasonable 4.2 yards per carry this year. Two, the Jets are giving up more than 27 fantasy points to running backs each week, which makes them the sixth-most generous defense to the position. I think you can follow where I am going here.
Safe WR: Kenny Golladay at Raiders (DK: $7700, FD: $7600)
If you like Stefon Diggs better, roll with him. I am happy to roll with either. DraftKings has Golladay $100 more while FanDuel has Diggs $200 more expensive. I ventured over to Yahoo! to "break the tie" and Golladay is clearly the better-priced option.
As I discussed above with Derek Carr, the Oakland-Detroit matchup has a high over/under. I would expect it to turn into a shoot out. Yes, more than Minnesota vs. Kansas City. But if Detroit needs to keep up with Oakland's scoring pace, you better believe that Golladay will be heavily involved.
High Risk/Reward WR: Anthony Miller at Eagles (DK: $3700, FD: $5100)
Between guys like Kenny Golladay, Dalvin Cook, and Russell Wilson, you are going to need to find some savings somewhere. So I dug a little deeper and found the steal that is Miller. He has yet to score this season, but after reeling in seven touchdown catches last year, he's due. The fact that Philadelphia has given up the second-most fantasy points to WRs doesn't hurt.
Safe TE: Hunter Henry vs. Green Bay (DK: $6000, FD: $6400)
I like Darren Waller much more on DraftKings than FanDuel this week, where he is a whopping $6800. That's right between DK Metcalf and Odell Beckham Jr. No thanks, too rich for my blood. Henry meanwhile has been producing similar numbers to Waller and comes at a slight discount on both sites. If the Chargers OL can somehow give Philip Rivers enough time...
High Risk/Reward TE: Greg Olsen vs. Titans (DK: $3500, FD: $5300)
Olsen hasn't done much this year, having scored just twice this year and both of those were back in September against the TE-warm-and-fuzzy blanket coverage that is Arizona. But I think he punches it in this week.
Safe DST: Bills vs. Redskins (DK: $3800, FD: $5000)
The Bills defense is pretty good, the Washington offense is not. Pretty sophisticated analysis, eh? Okay, let's go a little deeper:
Many analysts will point to the fact that this game takes place in Buffalo, so the home defense should definitely have an advantage. But as I said, we went a little deeper. The Bills have actually given up more points at home than they have on the road this year. Furthermore, the Redskins have scored more points on the road this year than they have at Danny's place. It doesn't make a difference either way. The Redskins are averaging less than a baker's dozen points per game. The Bills are allowing less than 18 a game. Even if the Redskins better their average, they are not scoring 20 points against the Bills.
Furthermore, the Redskins have allowed nearly three sacks a game and turned the ball over almost twice a game. And if Dwayne Haskins, who has more interceptions than games played, starts than I would expect even more turnovers. Are the Bills the No.1 DST this week? No. Is their floor one of the best this week? Absolutely.
High Risk/Reward DST: Carolina vs. Titans (DK: $2800, FD: $4000)
Maybe this is a very safe pick. But just as Patriot fans are scared of the Ravens this week, it alarms me that both sites have the Panthers this low. The Panthers are currently the No. 3 fantasy DST. The Titans are the league's sixth-worst offense. Maybe I'm missing something, but if you want a trip to the DFS masquerade ball, a Panther might be the best costume.
— 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.