For instance, the Packers put up 27 points and could have put up more if it hadn’t been for a Ty Montgomery fumble. Change two of their rushing touchdowns to passing scores (one was originally a Jimmy Graham catching touchdown) and give Aaron Rodgers the ball with two minutes to go and he was the elite play he was supposed to be.
Kareem Hunt also didn’t smash as I’d hoped, although it’s hard to scoff at 17 fantasy points.
The good news is the Steelers defense was respectable, James Conner was a monster and Tyler Boyd was a terrific play as well. Those were my best plays of the week, but they got bogged down by Rodgers failing to wreck at low ownership and a few other calls not going my way.
It’s onward and upward come week nine, where I have a lineup I love for FanDuel GPPs:
QB: Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers ($8.6k)
I’m not getting cute at quarterback this week. I’m tempted by Ryan Fitzptrick’s cheap price tag ($7.1k) and there are a lot of guys to consider at quarterback, but Newton is on fire, at home and has the best matchup on the board.
Tampa Bay has been a funnel for opposing quarterbacks in 2018 and they go into a tough road matchup ranking dead last against the position. You’ve been able to roster opposing quarterbacks all year and it’s almost always worked out. Newton has been very reliable with 18+ fantasy points in every single game this year and a staggering five games of 24+.
Newton has been an elite DFS option basically all season and right now he’s on a tear with multiple scores in each of his last six games. He’s got a good supporting cast and an amazing matchup, so I’m going to refrain from getting in my own way here and plug him in.
RB: Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs ($8.5k)
I vouched for Hunt as an elite pivot from Todd Gurley last week. He wasn’t a direct replacement, but he was plenty fine with 17 fantasy points. I think he’s a great option against a Browns defense that ranks 27th against fantasy running backs. They’ve only gotten worse (30th over the last four weeks) and the Chiefs seem unstoppable.
As a key cog in what makes KC so good, Hunt feels like an amazing pivot off of Gurley (gulp) yet again.
Fade Gurley at your own risk, as always. But $11.2k is too restrictive for me in GPPs. Gurley is worth using in cash games, but let’s keep in mind the Saints have actually been really good against the run and they host this game. Is a shootout coming? Probably, but don’t be shocked if Gurley isn’t quite as good as you’re accustomed to seeing.
Even if he is, Hunt is an elite pivot and I can’t fade him at a still palatable price tag.
RB: Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints ($8k)
The same goes for Kamara. He’s not the same high upside back with Mark Ingram in the picture, but he showed last week against a good Vikings defense (23 fantasy points) that he can still ball out.
Kamara is going to be a huge part of what could be a back and forth gem. Stacking this game is obviously a fine NFL DFS strategy, but I’m opting to spend elsewhere and just get my favorite option. That’s Kamara, who still has a big role and faces a Rams defense that struggles more against the run than against the pass.
While stacked, the Rams have still allowed five rushing scores on the year and gave up chunk plays on the ground to Aaron Jones last week. They also rank 24th in receptions given up to the running back position. They’ve honestly done a solid job against pass-catching backs otherwise, but this might be a spot where those catches turn into big time production.
WR: Kenny Golladay – Detroit Lions ($6.2k)
The Lions traded Golden Tate out of town, so right away we’re going to see both Golladay and Marvin Jones see more looks in the passing game. Minnesota is not an easy test on the road, but the Vikings have still given up some production to wide receivers on the year.
I expect Detroit to be playing from behind in this one, so either of the Lions’ receivers are going to be on my radar. Golladay started hot and has fizzled since, so I think there’s a chance the Lions go back to him more. Don’t be shocked if he has a huge game.
WR: D.J. Moore – Carolina Panthers ($5.3k)
I mentioned Moore a few weeks back and he didn’t deliver for me. Carolina has since increased his role gradually and he’s starting to look like he’s worth another crack. It doesn’t hurt that I love Cam Newton this week or that the Buccaneers rank 30th versus wide receivers in 2018.
Moore is risky and won’t be chalky, but he’s dirt cheap and is seeing his role expand. It could all come together at the perfect time in an amazing matchup.
WR: Courtland Sutton – Denver Broncos ($5.5k)
This is another trade situation where the holdovers are going to see a lot of action. Emmanuel Sanders obviously stands to benefit from Demaryius Thomas (revenge narrative!) being traded to Houston, but the Broncos have been vocal about getting their talented rookie more involved.
Sutton has the talent to really break out and most would not disagree that Denver should be throwing the ball a ton in this one.
TE: Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers ($6.2k)
I’m into Cam Newton this week, so basically all Panthers options are on the table. I certainly like Olsen, who has scored in each of his last two games and faces a Tampa Bay defense that has been awful against tight ends.
The Bucs have been awful against the pass in general, but they rank 31st against the position and look like a great defense to target this week.
Scared of too many Panthers? Consider O.J. Howard against Carolina (dead last vs. TEs) or David Njoku (vs. Chiefs – 27th vs. TEs).
FLEX: Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers ($7.9k)
Here’s another Panthers stud for week nine. I know, it’s possible I’m getting carried away with this matchup, but it looks so good on paper. The Bucs have not been quite as bad against fantasy rushers, but they still rank just 23rd against running backs in 2018. They’ve also given up a good amount of production to backs in the passing game, too.
I just think this is a crush spot for the Panthers and I don’t think it’s just a game where only Cam Newton goes nuts. Newton should be able to find both Olsen and Moore, while there should be enough left over for McCaffrey to also feast as a runner and receiver.
The Bucs have given up 30+ points in five of their games in 2018 and week nine doesn’t seem to be trending toward a much different result. Mike Evans and Tyreek Hill are fantastic pivots here if you want to lower your Panthers exposure.
DEF: Pittsburgh Steelers ($3.8k)
The Bears get Nathan Peterman and are the top option, but at $5.4k they are just too expensive. I also don’t mind the Houston Texans, but again, they’re quite pricey. I’m dropping down to the Steelers, who will face a very beatable Ravens offense in a big AFC North clash.
Baltimore got the best of the Steelers the first time around, but I like Pittsburgh to get the win in a game that projects as a defensive battle. A few sacks and a couple of turnovers plus a low score allowed makes the Steelers a solid try this week. In a similar price range, the Seahawks shape up as a solid option as well.
There are really only a handful of games I love this week and it’s largely down to the Rams/Saints, Buccaneers/Panthers and Chiefs/Browns.
I don’t really anticipate the Browns keeping pace with KC, which leaves Hunt as my only real “must have” option from that game. You can still use Cleveland players but I probably won’t be. The other games, you can attack both sides and if you use Fitzmagic you’re going to open up a good amount of salary.
You just need to take sharp stances this week. My first one is just biting the bullet and paying for Cam, who is my top fantasy passer for week nine. If he crushes like I think he will and it trickles down the way I’m hoping, it’s going to be a fun week.
Whether you’re with me on this entire lineup or simply use a handful of my NFL DFS picks, I wish you luck. Enjoy the games!