🌟Can You Trust These 2 Star WRs?
The QB play will be rough...
I’ve seen enough. Mike McDaniel needs a Netflix special…
In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by LG Channels:
Star players with bad QB play
Morning Download: Tune up the band.
Bets from the Group Chat: Climbing the ladder in Carolina.
Davante Adams was almost traded…
Hidden Gems: It’s gross, but hear us out.
It’s 11/5. Take it away Peter Overzet…
With three important offenses on bye (Lions, Jaguars, and Niners) and a laundry list of teams without their starting QB, Week 9 presents some difficult decision points for fantasy managers.
When you look at our consensus Top 10 WR rankings for the week, two names stand out:
Every other QB in the Top 10 will have their starting QB throwing them balls, but Kupp will likely have Brett Rypien behind center for the Rams (morning update on Matthew Stafford here) and Adams will be receiving targets from rookie Aiden O’Connell.
🙏 What to do with Kupp and Adams…
As Ian pointed out in his blurb about Stafford, Rypien is PFF’s third-lowest graded QB in pure passing grade among 83–yes, 83–qualified signal callers. Woof. It’s a huge concern for Kupp, who is already coming off back-to-back disappointing games (2-29 vs. PIT and 4-21 vs. DAL).
There’s slightly more hope for Adams with O’Connell. He threw for 238 yards in his start earlier this year vs. the Chargers and peppered Adams with eight targets. As long as Adams keeps getting open like this, the fantasy points should come.
In a normal week with less byes and injuries, you might be able to get away with benching these guys for players in better spots, but I just don’t see how that is possible this week.
It is worth noting that Dwain is significantly lower on Adams (WR16) than our other rankers who have him WR8 and WR9, which is a perfect encapsulation of the volatility with his projection this week.
🙏 What about Hockenson?
The same goes for T.J. Hockenson, who will be catching balls from rookie Jaren Hall today.
Hall, a fifth round draft pick out of BYU, is a true mystery box. But there is a long history of inexperienced signal callers relying on their TE as a safety blanket underneath.
Despite massive question marks at QB, Hockenson still clocks in as our consensus TE3 on the week.
All three of Kupp, Adams, and Hockenson project for 5+ catches across most projection systems, so this is simply a situation where we need to trust that the volume and talent will win out and keep our fantasy teams afloat through a treacherous week.
If you are playing daily fantasy contests, I think it’s worth proceeding with more caution because we need high-end ceiling options to take down large-field tournaments, but you simply need to plug your nose and start these stars in managed leagues.
And pray. Oh ya, definitely pray too.
🛠️ Everything you need for Week 9
Read on for more info in the Morning Download on the Cardinals, Giants, and Chargers.
For everything else you need for Week 9—including our Inactives page, which will update shortly after 11:30 am ET with all of the relevant status updates—you can get to your destination with a mere click of a button.
See our suite of tools to get you ready for today’s slate below:
The NFL landscape is constantly changing, with players’ statuses getting frequent updates throughout the week. Unfortunately, that includes Saturday.
If you were doing something better than following the NFL during the weekend – lucky you – let’s get you caught up on everything you might have missed courtesy of Matt LaMarca...
Staying on top of the news is half the battle in the NFL. If you have more information than your leaguemates – and can make more informed decisions – you’re setting yourself up for success.
Let’s dive into three of the biggest developments you may have missed on Saturday
🎺 Tune Up the Band
After trading Joshua Dobbs to the Vikings, the Cardinals will be making a change at quarterback for their Week 9 matchup vs. the Browns. There was some hope that Kyler Murray would return to the lineup, but rookie Clayton Tune will get to make his first start instead.
It’s tough to imagine much worse of a spot to make your NFL debut. The Browns boast the best pass defense in football per EPA/play, and the Cardinals have a serious lack of talent on offense. James Conner and backup running back Emari Demercado are both out of the lineup, while receiver Michael Wilson is unlikely to play due to a shoulder injury. That would leave the Cardinals with even less talent than usual.
Ultimately, it’s hard to trust any of the Cardinals’ skill-position players with Tune at the helm. Even Marquise Brown ranks outside the top 30 at receiver, so even in a week where four teams are on bye, I wouldn’t consider anyone on the Cardinals unless you absolutely have to.
Fortunately, Murray should return to the lineup next week, which will completely change the entire dynamic of the team’s offense.
🚑 Darren Waller and Tyrod Taylor to IR
The Giants’ defense has looked better in recent weeks, but they sent two offensive players to IR on Saturday.
Taylor isn’t a huge deal – Daniel Jones will return to the starting lineup in Week 9 – but Waller is arguably the team’s top pass-catcher. The Giants are already dead last in EPA/play this season, so they can’t really afford more absences.
On a positive note, the team could be getting a bit healthier on the offensive line. Specifically, Andrew Thomas is questionable after sitting out since Week 1, and he’s easily the team’s most talented player. If he returns, it could honestly still be a net positive for the team from an injury perspective overall.
Without Waller, the Giants’ other pass-catchers should also see a slight boost in value. It remains to be seen if Jones can get the most out of guys like Darius Slayton, Wan’Dale Robinson, and Jalin Hyatt, but they should at least have more opportunities.
⚡️ Quentin Johnston’s Time to Shine
It’s been a quiet start to Johnston’s rookie season, but he’s going to get thrown into the deep end on Monday. The team was already without Mike Williams, and now Josh Palmer is going to join him on the sidelines. That doesn’t leave the Chargers with a ton of pass-catching talent behind Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler.
Palmer had an 80% route participation last week, while Johnston was at 66%. Johnston should undoubtedly see a bump with Palmer sidelined, putting him firmly in the WR3 conversation for fantasy purposes.
📺 Fantasy Life on LG Channels: LIVE TODAY at 11:00 a.m. EST!
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The QB Landscape 🤮
Defense Loses Championships?
3 to Flex
Welcome to Week 9 of Bets from the Group Chat. This is where Geoff elicits as much information as he can from my Fantasy Life colleagues about their leans for this week. It’s really a selfish endeavor as he’ll probably be using some of their plays to offset his own losers.
If you’re tailing our group parlays from this segment, we’re now 1-2 (+3.43 units) after last week where the Steelers and Cam Akers receiving yards were losers.
You can find a bigger overall recap using the link at the bottom, but for now, let’s get right into the Week 9 plays.
🤝 Week 9 Group Chat Parlay
Play to: +8.5 (-120)
The Bears have risen all the way up to +8.5 from +5.0 where this game opened. Their offense is ugly, but chasing this much steam with the Saints also seems like a recipe for disaster.
Derek Carr is also 8-24-2 ATS for his career when he comes into a game as a favorite of 3.0 points or more. Taking the Bears at this point – whose number has shot up by 3.0 points – just off that trend alone seems warranted.
2️⃣ Freedman & LaMarca Like: Taysom Hill 15+ rushing yards (+240 w/ Bears +8.5, BetMGM)
Play to: 18.5 (-110)
Aggregate projection: 22.4 rush yards
Hill has a 20% designed rush rate over their last two games. As Freedman noted in his prop article this week, the Saints OC Pete Carmichael is bullish on getting Hill involved.
Hill has now averaged “5.6 carries for 32.4 yards with medians of five carries and 20 yards” in 24 games under Carmichael, all of which he’s played as a non-QB.
Let’s double-dip from this game. The Saints seem likely to use Hill lots again, either to help salt the game away or to provide a spark if Derek Carr struggles.
Play to 13.5 (-120)
Aggregate projection: 14.4 attempts
Swift has gone over 13.5 attempts in four of his last five games. Last year, the Eagles ran Miles Sanders 18 and 21 times in two games against Dallas, and this week we also have a situation where backup Kenneth Gainwell is in the doghouse.
Swift is projected for over 14 carries this week on Fantasy Life. I think there’s a good chance he will go over this mark quite easily in Week 9.
💰 Putting it all together: +549, BetMGM
You can tail our group parlay at BetMGM, where you can get up to $1,500 paid back in bonus bets when you sign up for a new account here!
🔼 Week 9 Ladder Plays
Ladder bets are where you spread your unit allocation over different milestones. The idea is to access bigger payouts while maintaining some exposure to the higher probability outcome lines as well. The Week 9 ladder targets are below.
📈 Jonathan Mingo, WR - Panthers
I’ve been high on Mingo since he landed in Carolina. He was a great yards-after-the-catch (yac) accumulator in college (16.5 ypc) and landed in a weak WR room.
He hasn’t broken out yet, but it’s clear the Panthers want him to develop. He’s averaged a 96% route rate over his last two games, with a 17% (or better) target share in two of his last three starts.
The Colts are 26th in yards per pass attempt against and have allowed the ninth-most yards to opposing WRs. Mingo went for 50+ last week and plays a weaker secondary who has allowed four WRs (in 8 games) to go for over 100 yards.
✈️ Davante Adams was almost traded to the Jets. But they didn’t answer the phone.
🤣 Mike McDaniel is a national treasure. He needs a world tour.
💰 Need more picks & plays? We’re up 19.4 units in the last 30 days, and have over 40 FREE bets waiting for you.
🔒️ Is Sam Howell’s job safe? Check out this report.
😡 Arthur Smith isn’t here to make friends. He loves playing the heel right now.
🥂 Kyler is returning soon. Very soon.
🔨 Best Bets for Week 9. Because who doesn’t want a few more to add?
🤔 Could this familiar WR face return to action? A comeback seems possible.
🗺️ This is how you show up to a game in Germany. Well played.
Everyone knows the best plays. Jalen Hurts, Alvin Kamara, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce. But what about the sleepers no one else is on? Those are the guys that can vault you to the top of the leaderboard. In this weekly piece, Pete will go treasure hunting for Hidden Gems that you can draft in Battle Royale contests on Underdog Fantasy and in DFS contests.
This is legitimately one of the grossest main slates I’ve ever seen.
But ultimately, that doesn’t matter.
We aren’t trying to score the most points, we are simply trying to score more points than our opponents who are all competing with us on the same, QB-desolate playing field.
While there aren’t as many gold star, “scroll the eff down” plays as there were last week, there are still a handful of contrarian spots to target in DFS contests this week.
📚 Week 9 Hidden Gems Stack: Patriots
QB Mac Jones (ADP: 36)
WR Demario Douglas (ADP: 35.8)
TE Hunter Henry or Mike Gesicki (ADP 35.9)
Wait, wait, wait. Before you click away, let me explain.
After Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson come off the board, it’s a miasma of lukewarm QB plays who all project similarly.
As always, this means we should largely be fading QBs 3-6 (Dak Prescott, Derek Carr, and Sam Howell) who get drafted in nearly 100% of contests and instead scroll down to QBs with similar projections who are drafted far less frequently.
The Patriots are decimated at pass catcher with Kendrick Bourne on IR and DeVante Parker in concussion protocol, but this is an undeniably great spot for the passing game at home vs. the Commanders.
Even before waving the white flag at the NFL trade deadline and shipping off two top defenders, the Washington defense has been getting carved up by opposing offenses.
As Lord Reebs points out here, every single QB to face them since the season opener has been a top-10 scorer at the position and scored more points than they had averaged entering the matchup.
In addition, Matthew Freedman notes that they’ve also given up the second most fantasy points allowed to WRs (35.9 points per game).
That’s where WR Demario Douglas comes into play. The rookie is the best stacking option with Jones after running 80% of the routes and logging a respectable 20% target share over the past two weeks:
I also like stacking Jones with one of his TEs, Hunter Henry or Mike Gesicki. Both are averaging around 10% of the targets the past two weeks, but should see an uptick in usage with Bourne out of the picture.
You can also mix Rhamondre Stevenson into your Jones stacks as well, thanks to his solid target share.
The field isn’t going to want to touch any of these players, outside of maybe Stevenson, so the risk/reward proposition here is very good considering how juicy the matchup is for the Patriots passing game.
Take advantage of these hidden gems AND get a 100% deposit match of up to $500 when you sign up for Underdog here with promo code LIFE!