Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets
Projected Vegas Score: Bills 22.75, Jets 19.75
Quarterbacks- We have quite the showdown in primetime on Thursday night with Tyrod Taylor squaring off with Josh McCown. I think both of these are solid QB options for their prices, but the fact that this game is on Thursday knocks my interest on them. There's much better options on Sunday so I don't see a reason to use either of them in Thursday-Monday contests. If you need one if them for a Monday-Thursday lineup, I think I would lean towards McCown. He's been ultra consistent this season and he is a slight home underdog who should be throwing. Tyrod Taylor has pretty severe negative road splits, and now he's on the road on a short week.
Running Backs- LeSean McCoy is an elite option, what else is new? He's been a volume king over the last month for the Bills and I expect them to ride him on a short week. The Jets have been right around league average against RB's and I don't see a scenario where they can contain Shady. The Jets three-headed RBBC leaves a lot to be desired and I won't be considering any of them in DFS.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The Jets secondary took a big hit when news that Morris Claiborne won't play tonight. We aren't 100% sure if Kelvin Benjamin is going to play, and even if he does I'm not excited to use him. Jordan Matthews is the one guy to look at in the Bills passing game, but the fact that Tyrod is so much worse on the road moves me off him. I'm going to assume the Bills use Rookie Tre'Davious White on Robby Anderson, which is a big knock on Robby. White has ranked inside the top 5 by PFF this season and has been pretty much elite in coverage. You can use Robby as a partner with McCown in hopes he gets away from White on a few plays, and Jermaine Kearse and Austin Seferian-Jenkins are solid options as well.
Overall Outlook- I don't expect any huge fireworks in this game but it should at least stay close. If you're playing Thursday-Monday I don't think I'd consider anyone outside of Shady McCoy and if you have slots open from Monday-Thursday I would go contrarian with the Jets.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
Projected Vegas Score: Saints 28.5, Buccaneers 21.5
Quarterbacks- This game should have a bit more offensive firepower than the first one, with it taking place in the Coors Field of NFL DFS. After watching the Buccaneers/Panthers game I am concerned with Jameis Winston's injured shoulder and now I've heard rumblings that they could sit him out this week. I don't think I can trust him if he plays, but we can trust his opponent Drew Brees. Brees profiles extremely well here at home against a Bucs secondary that ranks 31st in passing DVOA. There could be a big performance incoming for Brees and the Saints in general, and I want to have exposure.
Running Backs- Doug Martin has looked decent since coming back from suspension but I think he will be hurt by the game script in this one. I can see the Saints jumping on top of the Bucs from the start which will cause them to employ a more pass heavy game plan. Mark Ingram was went over 100 all-purpose yards in 2/3 games without Adrian Peterson, the third being 99 yards. I'm curious to see if he will be affected in terms of playing time due to the two fumbles he had last week. I think he is still a great option in all formats, and I love Alvin Kamara in tournaments. Kamara's role has been secure since AP was dealt, and we saw him vulture a touchdown from Ingram early in the game last week. He's been getting the work and now there is a chance at increased work due to Ingram having those fumbles last week. Ingram is safer, but I have interest in both this weekend.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Mike Evans is going to be matched up with star Rookie CB Marshon Lattimore and honestly, I don't want to target him. He has absolutely blanketed opposition this season and with the status of Winston in the air, I'll pass. Desean Jackson also has a difficult matchup on the outside with Ken Crawley, who has been almost as good as Lattimore in coverage this season. If I'm looking to game stack this I think I would mainly be looking at the Bucs Tight Ends, they have the best matchup. But, I could see DJax as a boom or bust GPP option. If Ingram/Kamara/Brees weren't enough and you need more Saints, look no further than Michael Thomas. "Cant Guard Mike" as he's known on Twitter is in a massive blowup spot against this vulnerable Bucs secondary. He really hasn't gotten loose yet this season, and I think this is the spot for him to do it.
Overall Outlook- Saints, Saints and more Saints. I see no issue playing Brees and Thomas with one of the RBs, and if you really want to bring it back with someone you can use one of the Bucs TEs, Brate or Howard. I just think the Saints are going to smash in this spot and I want to have some GPP exposure to them.
Baltimore Ravens @ Tennessee Titans
Projected Vegas Score: Titans 23.25, Ravens 19.75
Quarterbacks- This is a pretty ugly fantasy game and I expect it to be fairly low scoring. Joe Flacco hasn't looked healthy to me this season, despite his outburst against the Dolphins last week. If he was at home, I might have some GPP interest, but I think I'll pass on him this week. Marcus Mariota should be more healthy this week and I like him at home, but the Ravens rank 2nd in passing DVOA and I think I like other spots more.
Running Backs- The Ravens running back situation has been pretty ugly for a while now with Alex Collins and Buck Allen. I don't really like either, but if forced to pick on I would go with Allen who should see some more passing game usage if they are down. DeMarco Murray is fully expected back healthy and that clouds up the situation with him and Derrick Henry. I like Murray, but the Ravens run defense is stout and the matchup could be better.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Jeremy Maclin has a good match with the Titans secondary that has surrendered 13 touchdowns already this season, I don't like Flacco but Maclin can be used in GPPs. The Ravens pass defense has been so good this season that it's scaring me off Mariota and all of his weapons.
Overall Outlook- This game is filled with some tournament options, but nothing too sexy.
Los Angeles Rams @ New York Giants
Projected Vegas Score: Rams 22.5, Giants 19
Quarterbacks- This is another one of the lower scoring games of the slate with the Rams traveling cross country to face the Giants. The Giants secondary takes a hit with Janoris Jenkins suspended, but I don't like my QB's traveling cross country for early start times and that will take me off of Jared Goff. Eli Manning hasn't been to blame for the Giants underwhelming season, but I don't want him against the Rams who rank 3rd in passing DVOA.
Running Backs- Todd Gurley has a legit shot to finish top three in fantasy points among Running Backs this season, given his prominent role in the passing game. The Giants rank just 24th in in rush DVOA and Gurley is a top option week in and week out based off volume alone. The Giants backfield has been a legit mess for the most of the season and I can't count on any of them with all of these other RB's in good spots.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Sammy Watkins gets a major upgrade with Janoris Jenkins now not playing. He has only had one big game so far for the Rams but he has been the victim of tough matchups for the majority of the season. With Jenkins out, this could be a spot for him to finally get going and he is in play for GPPs. Sterling Shepard is expected back for the Giants, but the one guy I like for this team is rookie Evan Engram. Engram has seen a 30% target share since the skew on injuries hit the Giants and he is one of the top TE options this week.
Overall Outlook- I really like Evan Engram and Sammy Watkins now because tournament viable.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Projected Vegas Score: Jaguars 22, Bengals 17.5
Quarterbacks- I think this game has the potential to get pretty ugly for the Bengals, with them traveling to Jacksonville. The Jags have the best secondary in the NFL, and they rank 1st in passing DVOA to back that claim up. Thus eliminating my interest in Andy Dalton. Blake Bortles has played perfectly in his role on this Jags team, which is basically to hide their weakness at QB. They want to pound the ball and play defense, and they should be able to do that in this one. I'll pass on Bortles in DFS.
Running Backs- As excited as I am to go all in on Joe Mixon, he's just a boom or bust GPP option this week on the road. The Jags rank 32nd in rushing DVOA, but I'm afraid the game script is going to kill Mixon this week. Leonard Fournette isn't in the best matchup, but we have to consider him a top DFS option once again. He's gone well over 100 all-purpose yards in each of the last three games and he should be healthy coming off their bye week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- This is going to be short and sweet...remember what I said about Andy Dalton and the Jags secondary? That's going to take them out of consideration for me, even A.J. Green. Remember what I said about Blake Bortles? That's going to take them out of consideration for me. I will say though, the Jags are getting back Dede Westbrook from injury this week and he looked absolutely amazing in the preseason, He was the top WR in college last season, and he has the pedigree. He put up a massive 288 yards on 13 catches in the preseason.
Overall Outlook- Fournette-Jags defenses stack is one of my favorite plays on the slate this week and I want to monitor Dede going forward.
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans
Projected Vegas Score: Texans 31.25, Colts 18.25
Quarterbacks- This is pretty much the game of the weekend in terms of ownership with Deshaun Watson squaring off with Jacoby Brissett. There has been some money coming in on the over in this game and I could honestly see the Colts putting up some points. I don't think I want to use Brissett, but in large field GPPs I guess I could see the flier. Deshaun Watson is going to absolutely shred this Colts defense and I honestly feel bad for them. Watson has the most deep ball touchdowns in the NFL and now lines up against the Colts secondary that has given up the most plays of 20+ yards this season. He's chalk, and a top option once again.
Running Backs- Marlon Mack out-snapped Frank Gore for the second straight week and he is is clearly taking over as the Colts primary back. I think Mack can be good, but I'm not sure about my confidence in him just yet, but he should see some increased passing game work in a game they should be trailing. I really like the idea of using Lamar Miller in tournaments as a leverage play off of Watson and his pass catchers. Miller quietly played over 80% of the snaps last week and the Colts run defense has been falling apart over the last 3 weeks.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Chalk city! The Texans pass catches are in an amazing spot, like Watson and obviously they are strong plays. DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller are both top options on the week. As for the Colts, I think we can look at both T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle when stacking this game. Hilton hasn't been amazing this season, but the Texans defense is banged up and he has positive splits playing indoors on turf. Jack Doyle is on pace to have the second most targets by a TE in Colts history and is clearly Brissett's favorite target. Like i said, I expect the Colts to put up points.
Overall Outlook- Obviously this game has some of the most fantasy juice this weekend. All the Texans and bring it back with Doyle or Hilton.
Denver Broncos @ Philadelphia Eagles
Projected Vegas Score: Eagles 25.5, Broncos 17.5
Quarterbacks- We have two opposite ends of the spectrum going head to head with possible MVP Carson Wentz taking on Brock Osweiler. Anyone want to play Osweiler? No? Oh, okay then. Moooooving on. Carson Wentz has been amazing from both a real life and fantasy perspective this season. I didn't think I would ever recommend a QB against Denver, but they are traveling cross country and from a GPP point of view nobody will play Wentz this week.
Running Backs- C.J. Anderson had his worst game of the season last week and I don't think I want to use him on the road against this vicious Eagles front seven that has played great over the last couple weeks. The Eagles made a splash at the trade deadline seemingly robbing Jay Ajayi from the Dolphins. Ajayi just furthers complicates their rotating group of backs, and I want to take a wait and see approach with Ajayi.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- This isn't a crazy statement, I can't trust any of the Broncos pass catchers with Osweiler slinging the rock. Alton Jeffery is in a tough matchup with the Broncos corners, so my go to partner with Wentz is going to be Zach Ertz. We know the story with Ertz, he's dominating the target share for the Eagles and he is one of the top TE options on the week.
Overall Outlook- I like the Wentz-Ertz stack in GPPs at low ownership but that's obviously a tourney only boom or bust play.
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers
Projected Vegas Score: Cardinals 20.75, 49ers 18.25
Quarterbacks- We have a real barn burner here between C.J. Beathard and Drew Stanton. The 49ers are one of the top match ups for opposing QB's but there's no way I'm trusting Drew Stanton with all these QB's in good spots. As much as I like C.J. Beathard, he hasn't shown anything in his first two starts to warrant heavy DFS consideration and now he has Jimmy G breathing down his neck.
Running Backs- If I could just X this game out as a whole I would, but I must provide this hard hitting analysis! I haven't been on the Adrian Peterson train all season and I don't think I'm hopping on it here. We saw Matt Breida steal passing game work and a touchdown last week and I think his involvement will grow going forward. I like Carlos Hyde, but I don't think he's anything more than a GPP option this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The only option I see in this game is Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is notorious for fading late in the season given his age, but the 49ers secondary is so bad I don't see how he doesn't have a big game. He is a GPP option and that's about it from this game with Pierre Garcon expected to see a heavy dose of Patrick Peterson.
Overall Outlook- This whole game should just read "meh".
Washington Redskins @ Seattle Seahawks
Projected Vegas Score: Seahawks 26.25, Redskins 18.75
Quarterbacks- Kirk Cousins fell victim to some late scratches last week as news broke on Sunday that the Redskins would be missing multiple offensive lineman. I'm a big believer in Kirk Cousins as Quarterback, but I'm not sure if I can recommend him in DFS against the Seahawks on the road. Russell Wilson has been a wizard for Seattle this season posting some monster games despite a poor offensive line and virtually no running game. He has historically positive home splits and he is a great tournament option again this week.
Running Backs- Chris Thompson has taken over as the Redskins primary back. playing over 60% of the snaps the last two weeks. I think this game profiles well for him given the Redskins should be taking, and he is a quality GPP option in full PPR formats. The Seahawks have literally no run game, it's all on the shoulders on DangeRuss.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Terrelle Pryor has pretty much been eliminated from use with Josh Doctson clearly passing him in terms of snaps and routes run. Jamison Crowder had his first big game of the season turning in a 9 catch 123 yard performance against the Cowboys. He's in play for large field GPPs, but I think we can look at Vernon Davis as a salary saver with the often injured Jordan Reed expected to miss this game. I wrote in my weekly takeaways article that Paul Richardson has clearly cemented himself as the 2nd option opposite Doug Baldwin for the Seahawks and both are in play this weekend. Jimmy Graham has had a solid last two weeks, and we have been attacking the Redskins with Tight Ends all season, making him one of the top TE plays of the week.
Overall Outlook- I really like the Seahawks in this spot and love pairing up Russ with Graham or Baldwin in GPPs.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Dallas Cowboys
Projected Vegas Score: Chiefs 25.5, Cowboys 25.5
Quarterbacks- This is probably game of the week 1A in terms of fantasy goodness with a Dak Prescott and Alex Smith showdown. Alex Smith has been great this season averaging just north of 20 fantasy points per game and he should be able to exploit the Cowboys secondary that ranks 19th in passing DVOA. Dak Prescott has been Mr. Consistency this season and he should see increased passing volume this week with Ezekiel Elliot suspended. The Chiefs defense has given up over 260 yards per game through the air this year and Dak is my favorite QB in week 9.
Running Backs- Kareem Hunt has reached 100+ all-purpose yards in every game expect for one this season and I'm expecting a big game from him this weekend. The Cowboys rank 30th in rushing DVOA and Hunt is an elite play in all formats. With Ezekiel Elliot finally expected to begin serving his suspension it will most likely Darren Mcfadden and Alfred Morris for the Cowboys with Rod Smith spelling them. I can't trust the Cowboys backs without seeing them first, and much rather would use their passing game options.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are both solid tournament options. especially when game stacking...can you tell I like this game? Tyreek Hill has some pretty drastic home/road splits and I think it's time to start believing in them. Hill fairs much better on the road, which happens to be where the Chiefs are this weekend. This is finally a Dez Bryant blowup spot, and I love pairing him with Dak. I noted above how bad the Chiefs defense actually has been this year, and Marcus Peters has not been the guy that we once knew. The supplementary Cowboys pass catchers are fine options in tournaments, but I'm pretty much all in on Dez at this point. Dez has seen solid red zone usage this season and he finally gets a matchup he can exploit.
Overall Outlook- This is probably the second best game this week and I do think it can go lower owned than the Texans Colts game. I'm all in on Dak/Dez this weekend and Hunt is almost a lock for cash games.
Analysis for the Sunday/Monday night game will be posted shortly!
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)