Once again, we have 10 games on the main slate for DraftKings this week. As of this writing, four of those games have a projected total of greater than 50 points – with one sitting at a whopping 60 – while the game between the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills currently sits at just 37 points. Here are the four potentially high-scoring affairs for your reference.
- Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings, -4.5, 50
- Kansas City Chiefs @ Cleveland Browns, +8.5, 51.5
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers, -6.5, 54
- Los Angeles Rams @ New Orleans Saints, -1.5, 60
Interest will be high in all four of those contests, but it will likely be through the roof for the potential shootout in the Superdome. Let’s take a look at some of the players we like at each roster spot, starting with the quarterback position.
Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers ($6.6k)
There’s a pretty simple equation to justify selecting Cam Newton at signal caller this week: He has been en fuego, and he’ll be facing off with a Buccaneers squad whose defense has been resembling swiss cheese. For a cherry on top, this matchup has the second-highest projected total for the main slate of games.
Newton has scored 24.3 or more fantasy points in each of his last three outings, and he has seven total touchdowns over that stretch. While we can’t promise he’ll deliver another explosive outing, there’s nothing to suggest he won’t deliver a solid return versus the porous Buccaneers defense.
Alex Smith – Washington Redskins – ($5.0k)
If you prefer to save money at quarterback this week, you can save a ton by looking in the direction of Alex Smith. That’s not the only reason to roster him of course, as he also just so happens to have an appealing matchup on his plate versus the struggling defense of the Atlanta Falcons.
That said, there is some risk here, as Smith is averaging just 15.3 points per game. The Redskins are winning due to their running game and defense, so there hasn’t been much of a need to air it out. Could this be the week that changes? Time will tell, but Smith is one of the more intriguing contrarian options at QB in Week 9.
Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers ($7.8k)
We already touched on the struggles of the Buccaneers defense, so we’re naturally going to have interest in other Panthers besides Newton. Christian McCaffrey is the most appealing of the bunch, as he’s a threat on the ground and in the passing game.
McCaffrey is averaging 19.9 fantasy points per contest, and he has four outings in which he has dropped 20+. He sees a steady diet of carries on a weekly basis, and he has seen less than four targets in the passing game just once this season. McCaffrey is a workhorse back in a potential blow-up spot this week, and he makes a ton of sense for your lineups as a result.
Adrian Peterson – Washington Redskins – ($6.0k)
Entering the season, Colts owner Jim Irsay remarked that the team had Adrian Peterson, the 33-year-old wunderkind, is currently the NFL’s fifth-leading rusher with 587 yards. For the season, Peterson is averaging an impressive 5.7 yards per carry, and he is not showing any signs of slowing down. In fact, this past week was Peterson’s most impressive outing of the season.
He racked up 30.6 fantasy points against the Giants, which boosted his average output to 16.7 points per contest. Peterson has a shot at another solid day against a troubled Falcons defense. If you’re in the market for a mid-priced RB on Sunday, Peterson makes for an excellent choice.
Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns ($4.5k)
Back in Week 4, Nick Chubb exploded on the scene by carrying the ball three times for 105 yards and two scores. Curiously, Browns coaches would only provide him with six total carries over the following two weeks. Chubb has been provided with more work over the past two games, but his strange usage by the coaching staff remains one of the bigger head-scratchers of the season.
That should be a moot point moving forward, as the Browns have cleaned house. Perhaps interim head coach Gregg Williams will be the one to realize that Chubb needs to have the rock in his hands often. An explosive outing could be on the way, and we’re looking to buy low on Chubb in anticipation.
Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints ($7.6k)
When an NFL game has a projected total of 60 points, there’s a good chance that there’s a shootout a brewing. Said another way, points are in the forecast in New Orleans on Sunday afternoon, and we’re going to want some exposure to this tilt.
Based on the massive total, we’re going to lean towards the passing game for a potential bonanza, although there could be plenty of points to be found elsewhere if this game does in fact devolve into a track meet. Michael Thomas sees a ton of targets, he’s highly productive with them, and he should be a big part of the fun against the Rams. He’ll be in our lineups as a result.
Robert Woods – Los Angeles Rams ($7.0k)
Sticking with the same game, there are plenty of ways we can go to gain some exposure to the Rams offense. However, we’re going to lean towards the top target in the passing attack. On the season, Woods has seen 65 targets, good enough for tops in the Rams highly productive offense.
He has translated those targets into 46 catches for 672 yards and three scores, not to mention 12 plays of 20+ yards. Woods is averaging 18.7 fantasy points per contest, and he has a great shot at delivering that and then some on Sunday versus the Saints.
Kenny Golladay – Detroit Lions ($5.5k)
Kenny Golladay is currently the third-most targeted wideout in the Lions passing attack, and he’s about to start receiving even more opportunities. WR1 Golden Tate has been shipped out to the Philadelphia Eagles at the trading deadline, and Golladay will be one of the biggest beneficiaries.
Golladay is already one of the top young wideouts in the league, and his arrow is pointing up even further in the wake of the trade. He has a tough matchup at hand against the Vikings on Sunday, but his squad is going to have to be aggressive to keep pace with its high-powered divisional foe. This is another buy low opportunity in advance of a potential blow-up spot that we’ll be happy to take advantage of.
Sammy Watkins – Kansas City Chiefs ($4.9k)
This selection is going to require some homework. Tyreek Hill has tweaked his groin, and his status for this week’s tilt against the Browns is unclear as of this writing. If he’s out, we love ourselves some Sammy Watkins. If Hill’s a go, we still like Watkins at a bargain price, but we wouldn’t consider him a near must-play at that point.
Watkins exploded last week – 9/102/2 for 33.7 fantasy points – so there’s certainly a risk we’re chasing a big outing. However, it could also be a case of him finally beginning to gel in his new surroundings. We’ll assume that’s the case and look towards Watkins for some salary relief at wide receiver.
O.J. Howard – Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4.3k)
Ryan Fitzpatrick has been handed the keys to the Buccaneers once again, so things are about to get awfully interesting. Will he deliver one of those legendary Fitz-Magic outings which raises eyebrows? Or will he deliver one of the implosions that he has also been known for throughout his career?
Time will tell, but we’ll be looking for some exposure to Buccaneers pass catchers just in case Fitz-Magic erupts yet again. Tight end has been a challenging spot to fill this season, but O.J. Howard has been pretty consistent with double-digit fantasy points in three straight. We’ll look for him to make it four in a row on Sunday versus the Panthers.
Chris Herndon – New York Jets ($3.0k)
Two weeks in a row could be little more than an unexplained fluke, but three weeks in a row could very well be a trend that deserves our attention. Such is the case with Chris Herndon, an unheralded tight end for the New York Jets who has caught a touchdown in three consecutive games.
This could just be a perfect storm scenario, as the Jets pass catching corps has been decimated with injuries. That said, it’s clear that rookie Sam Darnold is looking Herndon’s way in the red zone. If you’re shopping for a cheap tight end with a solid shot at a score, you can do much worse than Herndon.
Houston Texans ($3.0k)
The Texans face off with the Broncos on Sunday in a classic meeting of two teams headed in the opposite directions. The Broncos have lost five of six and are treading water in the AFC West, while the Texans have moved to the front of the pack in the AFC South after ripping off five straight wins.
The Texans are playing well on both sides of the ball, and the defense seems to really be rounding into form. We’ll be looking for the Texans to continue their upward trajectory on Sunday with another win, and for the defense to be a big part of the fun.
Pittsburgh Steelers ($2.3k)
The Steelers and the Ravens already hooked up once this season, with the latter punching the former in the mouth while rolling to a 26-14 victory. At the time, the Steelers looked like a team that was in disarray, and the Ravens took full advantage of it.
The game served as a wake-up call of sorts, as the Steelers have won three straight since that point. The defense is playing much better, and we’ll look for them to return the favor versus a division rival in what should be a tight and hard-fought contest.