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NFL DFS: Best DraftKings and FanDuel Predictions and Picks for Week 9

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

Remember me? One of the most productive tight ends of the past several seasons is back from injury and could be a value play in DFS

A clogged sink and a broken furnace were just two of the many stresses this week. But there were some highs, as I had a huge night with my daily fantasy (DFS) football picks on "Thursday Night Football." So I'm coming into these Week 9 DFS picks riding high.

After last week's two-team bye week, we are back to four teams this week. But there are still plenty of options from which we can choose. We will have to wait on the emergent D'Andre Swift, Russell Wilson might be back for Week 10, and we can use a breather from Tampa Bay. And maybe Washington even gets some things worked out before we set our Week 10 GPP or cash game lineups.

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

Speaking of GPP and cash games, I remind you that I will go through each position and list one "safe" pick and one "high-risk/high-reward" pick. The first is essentially a cash-game play and the second is a GPP play. I also will make sure that said player is priced proportionately about the same across DraftKings, FanDuel, and the other major sites. For those of you unfamiliar with DFS, do yourself a favor and look up cash games vs. GPPs. Or hit me up on Twitter (@MarkStrausberg) and I will explain it to you personally.

Teams on bye: Detroit, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Washington

Let's see if I can turn this confidence into some winning picks. Here are your Week 9 DFS picks.

Safe Quarterback Week 9 Pick

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars (DK $8200, FD $9000)

The only reason Allen doesn't put up big numbers is that the Bills jump out to huge leads early and decide to just run the ball the rest of the day. You probably know the Jags are not a great pass defense, but here is the nitty-gritty of how bad they are:

  • QB Fantasy points allowed per game: 22.7 (28th)
  • Explosive pass-play rate allowed: 18.4 percent (30th)
  • Yards per attempt allowed: 8.94 (31st)
  • QB rating allowed: 118.4 (31st)
  • Contested target rate allowed: 11.6 percent (32nd)

Yes, Allen is on the expensive side, but his floor is higher this week than at least half of the other starters' ceilings.

High Risk/Reward Quarterback Week 9 Pick

Tyrod Taylor, Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins (DK $5000, FD $6900) 

No guts, no glory. If you are looking for a low-owned play, this is it. Taylor might be the most snake-bit QB out there. Ignore those little red IR tags the sites had at least as of Saturday morning;  we know he's starting this week.

Taylor did play six quarters to start the year before getting injured. All he did in that time was throw three TDs (with no picks), run for another score, complete better than 70 percent of his passes and compile a QB rating higher than 122.

And we are getting him at rock-bottom prices against a Miami defense that I mentioned earlier in the week has already given up more than 2,300 passing yards. If you are playing multiple entry GPPs, I'd have at least one entry with Taylor in it!

Related: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 9 QB/TE/DST Fantasy Advice

Safe Running Back Week 9 Pick

Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles (DK $7900, FD $9000)

I like all six of the top RB plays and I wouldn't fault you for going with any of them. I like Ezekiel Elliott's ceiling in relation to cost the best. But of the top half dozen, I think Ekeler brings the best floor for his cost. Bank on Ekeler getting at least double-digit carries and at least half-a-dozen targets. 

He is averaging more than 22 PPR fantasy points per game and should easily top 20 again this week against the Eagles who are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to RBs at just under 30.

High Risk/Reward Running Back Week 9 Pick

Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys vs. Denver Broncos  (DK $7000, FD $8200)

With so many options at the top, I think Zeke can be an exceptional leverage play and get him low-owned. I would expect Dalvin Cook and the aforementioned Ekeler to each see close to 20 percent ownership and then the cheaper-on-DK Aaron Jones plus top-of-the-board on both sites Alvin Kamara going against a week Atlanta defense to see a combined 30 percent ownership. I think seeing those little red numbers next to Zeke's name might help keep his ownership low too.

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But it ain't stopping me. For one, any ranking of the Denver defense was before the Broncos traded away Von Miller. They are not suddenly going to be the worst in the league, but they are unquestionably inferior. Elliott meanwhile is quietly having one of his better years. Some are saying the play he made last week on third-and-11 was one of the best ones of his career.

That's pretty good. Bottom line, I think Zeke eats again this week.  

Related: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 9 RB/WR Fantasy Advice

Safe Wide Receiver Week 9 Pick

Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars (DK $7700, FD $7600)

Let's not complicate this. I love Josh Allen this week. And Diggs, who is pretty gosh darn good himself, is his top receiver. End of story.

High Risk/High Reward Wide Receiver Week 9 Pick

Bryan Edwards, Las Vegas Raiders at New York Giants (DK $4100, FD $5300)

Here's where things get interesting. If you are playing the extended slate, you might want to consider Allen Robinson as his price is just too low regardless of how disappointing he's been. But he's not on the main slate, so I'm going with Edwards.

I won't say much about the Henry Ruggs III situation other than it is just a horrible story for everyone involved. But it leaves a bit of a void in the Raiders' passing offense and Edwards is just too talented and too cheap to ignore. He's had between three and six targets every game. And that was before the Ruggs incident.

He finally scored his first touchdown this season in his last game, but with the Giants allowing the sixth-most receiving TDs, I think he makes it two games in a row.

Safe Tight End Week 9 Pick

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens vs. Minnesota Vikings (DK $5500, FD $7100 )

Andrews has averaged seven targets over his last five games and I would be shocked if he saw a number much lower than that this week. I wouldn't let this matchup scare you away. He's currently the No. 2 TE in fantasy football for a reason.

Related: Fantasy Football 5 Up, 5 Down for Week 9

High Risk/High Reward Tight End Week 9 Pick

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals (DK $5200, FD $6000)

Kind of mind-boggling that Kittle is a risky pick, but there are multiple reasons why. First off, even before his injury, his production had been minimal. Secondly, this will be his first game back. Third, Arizona is a pretty good defense.

However, Arizona is coming in kind of banged up. Most are paying attention to the offensive side, but the defensive side is an injury ward as well. J.J. Watt (shoulder) is out for the season and safety James Wiggins (knee) has been ruled out for this game along with DT Rashard Lawrence (calf). The Cardinals' pass rush won't be what it was earlier in the season and I think Jimmy Garoppolo will have time to throw to Kittle cutting across the field. I don't think you can keep a player who had over 3K receiving yards from 2018 through '20 down for long.

Safe Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 9 Pick

Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars (DK $4000, FD $5200)

There are actually worse offenses than Jacksonville. However, those teams aren't available on the main slate. Buffalo is an easy set-it-and-forget-it DST this week.

High Risk/Reward Defense/Special Teams (DST) Week 9 Pick

Houston Texans at Miami Dolphins (DK $2400, FD $4000)

Obviously not a pick for the faint of heart.

But the Dolphins' running game has been pathetic, producing just four rushing TDs. And while the passing stats look better, that's often because they are playing from behind. On Friday, the 'Fins placed DeVante Parker on IR and Tua Tagovailoa is considered questionable. That is not going to help Miami's cause.

Also, the Texans DST is a better fantasy option than you may think. They are tied for ninth in INTs and are averaging nearly two sacks a game. The sportsbooks have an implied total for Miami of 26. I think Houston can keep the Dolphins to that and probably even lower. If Houston can keep Miami to 24 points, get a few sacks and get a turnover or two, that will be plenty and enable us to spend up elsewhere.

— 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.