Ten members of the Footballguys DraftKings staff compiled value-based rankings for Week 9 of the NFL season. Those results are shown below with the highest ranking at the top. Each position is ranked as follows: (A dash indicates that player was not ranked).
Quarterback - Top 8
Running Back - Top 12
Wide Receiver - Top 12
Tight End - Top 8
Defense - Top 5
To determine the average ranking, any player not ranked received a value of the lowest rank for that position, plus 1 (LR+1). For example, the Top 8 quarterbacks are ranked by each staff member. If one staff member did not rank a particular quarterback, but others did, the ranking for that quarterback is 8+1 or 9. Instead of displaying a 9 in the table, a dash is used to show that player was not ranked, after average rank was obtained.
The value-based, collaborative results provide a window into which players are the best options for this week's slate of games. I'll explain why certain players are ranked as they are and also provide additional commentary volunteered by various staff members.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: QUARTERBACK
|Andrew Luck||IND||at GB||6700||3||7||1||1||1||8||6||-||2||1||3.9|
|Dak Prescott||DAL||at CLE||6100||2||4||3||5||-||4||2||4||5||2||4.0|
|Drew Brees||NO||at SF||7200||5||1||4||3||5||-||-||8||1||3||4.8|
|Cam Newton||CAR||at LA||7000||8||5||6||4||-||-||-||2||8||7||6.7|
|Matt Ryan||ATL||at TB||7100||7||2||-||-||-||-||-||-||3||-||7.5|
|Marcus Mariota||TEN||at SD||5900||-||6||-||-||-||6||7||3||-||-||7.6|
|Tyrod Taylor||BUF||at SEA||5000||4||-||-||-||-||-||5||7||-||-||7.9|
|Trevor Siemian||DEN||at OAK||5100||-||8||-||-||8||1||-||-||-||-||8.0|
|Ben Roethlisberger||PIT||at BAL||6600||-||-||-||8||3||-||-||-||-||-||8.3|
|Matthew Stafford||DET||at MIN||5600||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||6||-||8||8.6|
Aaron Rodgers ($7,800) and Andrew Luck ($6,700) are the two most popular value picks this week. Rodgers has 7 touchdown passes in the last two games (vs CHI and at ATL) with decent yardage numbers on top of it. This week's matchup vs Indianapolis is a favorable one, especially looking at the Colts who are fourth worst in DK points allowed to opposing quarterbacks in the last four games. Green Bay has questionable talent, at best at running back, which has caused them to pass far more often than they were earlier in the season. Rodgers has attempted 45, 42, 56 and 38 passes in the last four games. If that trend continues he could light it up against a Colts team who has struggled against the pass, especially on the road.
If Rodgers isn't your answer for cash game lineups, take a look at his opponent this week in Andrew Luck. Luck is a full $1,100 cheaper than Rodgers and there's a decent chance that he could be involved in a back and forth battle with Green Bay. Vegas over/under numbers project 54 total points, which is good news for Luck and Rodgers. Luck has at least two touchdown passes in four of his last five games, plus the Packers have allowed three different quarterbacks to total three touchdown passes in games against them this year. If you're looking for a piece of the action from this game, and can't afford Rodgers, Luck is a decent option.
The consensus also likes Colin Kaepernick ($5,600) at home vs New Orleans. If you're looking to cut down on spending at the quarterback position, Kaepernick is a good option. The Saints have allowed a quarterback to pass for 300+ yards in four of their seven games. If that's not enough, Kaepernick is also prone to running the ball as evidenced by his back to back games of 66 and 84 yards respectively on 17 total carries.
Aaron Rodgers is back on the scene, in both volume and in dynamism. His path to both yardage and touchdown success couldn't be clearer than in a home date with what the Colts call a defense.
The Browns aren't quite the must-target matchup they seem to be, but Prescott is awfully cheap and has been creating big plays of late. He doesn't need a ton of them to reach cash value, either.
Bradford has been playing poorly, but he’s priced at the QB minimum, at home, against a Lions defense that has allowed over 20% more fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks than the league average.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: running back
|Ezekiel Elliott||DAL||at CLE||7900||3||2||4||2||1||1||-||5||4||2||3.7|
|Melvin Gordon III||SD||TEN||6300||7||1||2||4||4||2||8||4||8||1||4.1|
|Theo Riddick||DET||at MIN||4900||1||5||1||1||8||11||5||1||7||4||4.4|
|Devontae Booker||DEN||at OAK||6400||8||-||3||7||2||7||-||6||5||5||6.9|
|Le'Veon Bell||PIT||at BAL||7700||10||9||5||5||-||5||12||2||3||8||7.2|
|Devonta Freeman||ATL||at TB||6700||5||3||-||-||-||-||6||-||2||-||9.4|
|Matt Forte||NYJ||at MIA||6500||6||6||-||-||6||6||-||12||-||10||9.8|
|Frank Gore||IND||at GB||4500||-||12||6||-||9||10||-||-||-||6||10.8|
|Jonathan Stewart||CAR||at LA||5200||-||7||9||-||10||-||-||8||-||-||11.2|
|DeMarco Murray||TEN||at SD||7600||-||-||-||-||3||12||-||-||6||-||11.2|
|Darren Sproles||PHI||at NYG||3900||-||11||12||-||-||-||10||-||10||-||12.1|
|Mark Ingram II||NO||at SF||4800||11||-||-||8||-||-||-||-||-||-||12.3|
The news of Spencer Ware likely not being cleared from his concussion protocol should make Charcandrick West ($4,400) a chalk play this week. This news wasn't evident at the time the consensus provided their rankings, otherwise West would be much higher on this list, if not the number one overall value play. We saw the Titans carve through Jacksonville last week, which has many people thinking West can do the same, especially in the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium. West has not produced much this year, because he hasn't been needed. When thrust into action in 2015, he came through when called upon, scoring four rushing touchdowns in backup duty, including three games in a row with 20+ carries and a touchdown each game. He also has been a big contributor as a receiver, as most Chiefs running backs are. Things may be a bit different with Nick Foles under center instead of Alex Smith who is out with a concussion. Smith loves to throw check down passes and wheel routes to his backs. Foles played well in relief last week, so there's reason for optimism that the Chiefs game plan and execution will be similar to what it has been with Smith under center.
Ezekiel Elliott ($7,900) at Cleveland is an appealing matchup. Cleveland is fourth worst in DK points allowed to running backs in the last four games. Elliott sees the vast majority of touches in the Cowboys offense, making him the primary beneficiary of the ground game. It's not a stretch to imagine Elliott reaching 3x or 4x value this week.
Theo Riddick ($4,900) is on the rise, yet his price tag is still relatively cheap. He has scored in back to back weeks and has 5 touchdowns on the season. His involvement as a rusher has been steady since Week 2, never dipping below double digit carries. He has over 60 total yards in five of the six games he's played in this season, with over 80 yards in three games. To paint this picture even brighter, he has 34 receptions in 6 games (5.6 per game). On average, Riddick scores 18.9 DK points per week, which is quite high given his price. This week is more of a challenge against Minnesota on the road, but it's difficult to ignore his numbers. The Vikings are dealing with several injuries on defense, which has taken some of the luster off their strong performance in the first quarter of the season. Consider him a decent option this week if you're looking to spend higher in other areas.
Theo Riddick - He's suddenly a high-usage back and it only took a massive wave of RB injuries to make him one. In any event, Riddick has registered 33 rushes and 24 targets over his last 3 games. The worrisome matchup doesn't affect him as much as it would a traditional, inside-out runner; Riddick's game is relatively matchup-proof.
Le'Veon Bell should dominate the Steelers offense even more so than usual as Ben Roethlisberger mends. The matchup isn't great, but Bell laughs at your idea of matchup limitations. He's a workhorse of the highest order, and his upside in unmatched in this slate.
Even if Antone Smith only plays the Charles Sims to Peyton Barber’s Doug Martin on Thursday night, he should near 4x the minimum salary with full PPR scoring. Given Smith’s usage last week, there’s upside for him to emerge as the lead back in a plus matchup (that also happens to be a revenge game).
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: wide receiver
|Michael Thomas||NO||at SF||5500||5||8||3||2||1||5||11||7||5||2||4.9|
|Antonio Brown||PIT||at BAL||8900||6||6||2||1||2||-||-||2||4||5||5.4|
|Demaryius Thomas||DEN||at OAK||6000||-||2||1||9||5||1||-||9||12||1||6.6|
|Golden Tate||DET||at MIN||4700||2||7||6||-||4||12||-||4||-||3||7.7|
|Donte Moncrief||IND||at GB||5800||-||-||-||3||-||-||-||6||6||8||10.1|
|Dez Bryant||DAL||at CLE||7400||-||12||9||-||9||-||-||3||3||-||10.1|
|Emmanuel Sanders||DEN||at OAK||6300||10||1||7||10||10||-||-||-||-||-||10.3|
|Mohamed Sanu||ATL||at TB||4100||-||10||-||-||-||-||2||-||-||-||11.6|
|Brandin Cooks||NO||at SF||7500||-||-||-||-||11||-||-||-||2||-||11.7|
|Brandon Marshall||NYJ||at MIA||7300||-||-||-||-||3||-||-||-||-||-||12.0|
|Rishard Matthews||TEN||at SD||3800||-||-||-||-||-||-||5||-||-||-||12.2|
|Allen Hurns||JAC||at KC||4900||-||-||-||6||-||-||-||-||-||-||12.3|
|Kelvin Benjamin||CAR||at LA||6800||-||-||-||7||-||-||-||-||-||-||12.4|
|Marvin Jones Jr||DET||at MIN||5600||-||-||-||-||-||7||-||-||-||-||12.4|
|Julio Jones||ATL||at TB||9600||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||9||-||12.6|
|T.Y. Hilton||IND||at GB||7600||-||-||10||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||12.7|
|Jordan Matthews||PHI||at NYG||5700||-||-||12||-||-||-||-||11||-||-||12.7|
|Allen Robinson||JAC||at KC||6900||-||-||11||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||12.8|
There's 37 differerent wide receivers ranked in the Top 12 by the consensus this week. Only one was ranked by all ten participants, Michael Thomas. At $5,500, Thomas is an excellent bargain who can pay big dividends. The matchup against San Francisco is appealing, especially considering his price tag. Thomas has been a consistent source of production, catching at least 6 passes or scoring a touchdown in six of his seven games this year.
Antonio Brown is back after having a bye last week, plus it looks like Ben Roethlisberger will return to give Brown a much-needed boost. Brown's price of $8,900 is manageable, considering it has been in the upper $9,000's earlier this year. This is a road game for the Steelers at rival Baltimore and it's been known that Roethlisberger's home/road splits are indeed very real. The matchup isn't the best for Brown, but the addition of Roethlisberger puts him back into the conversation of being a top flight receiver.
Adams is coming off back to back games of 13 and 12 receptions, plus 2 touchdowns, to give him 5 scores for the year. The Packers are expected to be among the top scoring options this week and there's no indication that his teammate Randall Cobb (hamstring) will return for this game against the Colts. Even if he does, how effective will he be? This all points to another productive game for Adams.
Donte Moncrief is someone to watch, especially if T.Y. Hilton is not fully 100% after injuring his hamstring. Moncrief was able to score a touchdown last week in what was otherwise an average game, but he was targted nine times. He could wind up being Andrew Lucks' top target in a game that is projected to exceed 50 points.
Like Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery has been a key contributor for the Packers recently, however he missed last week's game with a kidney illness. His availability this week is leaning towards him returning. Had this news been known sooner, his place would likely be much higher in the consensus rankings. Consider Montgomery a storng option this week and take the chance on a Rodgers, Adams, Montgomery super stack, especially if Cobb is out or limited.
Donte Moncrief could be poised for a big week. Indianapolis will likely be playing from behind against the depleted Packers secondary and T.Y. Hilton is less than 100% after injuring his hamstring last week.
Davante Adams continues to work as Aaron Rodgers' most voluminous target. That even held true in Week 7, when the team's entire WR depth chart was healthy. Don't hold your breath for another 10+ catches, but don't rule it out - and don't forget that he only needs about 60% of that to hit cash value.
Donte Moncrief could be the steal of the week. He's absurdly gifted and more productive than one might expect in this shaky offense, and T.Y. Hilton could miss Sunday's game or be limited. In that case, Moncrief shoots near the top of the value list.
Brandon Marshall is the ultimate competitor. In his first game in Miami after playing their last season he went for 128 yards on 7 receptions. He has been quiet the last few weeks, but had a tough matchup last week going up against Joe Haden. This is a great spot for Marshall as he should be underowned and have big upside.
Tyrell Williams - Travis Benjamin’s knee injury is starting to sound like a problem, but even if Benjamin is a full go, Williams is in a great bounce back spot against Tennessee’s abysmal cornerbacks.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: tight end
|Greg Olsen||CAR||at LA||6200||4||-||3||4||2||5||-||6||2||5||4.9|
|Eric Ebron||DET||at MIN||3100||-||-||-||2||-||2||1||3||-||3||5.6|
|Delanie Walker||TEN||at SD||4600||-||8||5||-||5||-||-||2||8||7||7.1|
|Austin Hooper||ATL||at TB||2500||1||-||-||-||-||-||4||-||7||-||7.5|
|Jason Witten||DAL||at CLE||3700||6||-||-||-||7||4||-||-||-||6||7.7|
|Charles Clay||BUF||at SEA||2700||-||-||-||8||-||-||5||4||-||-||8.0|
|Coby Fleener||NO||at SF||3400||-||3||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||8.4|
|Julius Thomas||JAC||at KC||3200||-||4||8||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||8.4|
|Jack Doyle||IND||at GB||3600||-||5||-||-||-||-||8||-||-||-||8.5|
|Virgil Green||DEN||at OAK||2600||-||7||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||8.8|
Kyle Rudolph ($4,000) is the top tight end value play this week, despite Sam Bradford and the Vikings offense struggling lately. The reason - the Lions are the worst team against tight ends, giving up 8 touchdowns to the position this season. They have allowed a tight end touchdown in seven of eight games and Kyle Rudolph is next on the list.
Dennis Pitta has 28 targets over the last three games, but he hasn't found the end zone. He's due for a breakout game, but it hasn't happened yet. This could be a tight battle against Pittsburgh with points at a premium, so the chances of a score this week aren't as high. He is still expected to be a big contributor on offense, which could still yield positive results even without a touchdown.
Antonio Gates at home vs Tennessee is an option to consider, especially if Hunter Henry (concussion) is unable to go, which is what it looks like at this point. Gates was able to find the end zone last week at Denver in a tough matchup, which makes this week's home game more appealing.
Travis Kelce is another tight end to consider, especially with Jeremy Maclin dealing with a groin injury that could limit his involvement. Kelce was a big part of the Chiefs offense against the Colts in Week 8, even after Nick Foles replaced Alex Smith (concussion). This week it's looking like it will be Foles once again under center and we know he's comfortable throwing the ball to Kelce. Add Jacksonville into the equation and this could be a productive game for Kelce and the Chiefs offense.
Charles Clay - Clay is unimpressive and won't draw much chalk, but he's a nice candidate for salary relief. He's drawn 20% of Tyrod Taylor's targets over the last 3 weeks and only needs a few catches to reach value.
Kyle Rudolph remains too cheap for a red zone target hog facing the league’s worst defense against tight ends.
DRAFTKINGS CONSENSUS RANKINGS: Defense
|New Orleans||NO||at SF||2300||-||1||5||-||-||-||-||-||-||4||5.2|
|NY Jets||NYJ||at MIA||2800||-||-||-||-||4||-||-||-||-||-||5.8|
This week's top defensive play is Kansas City ($3,500). They are at home, where they are prone to make big plays, with a positive matchup (vs Jacksonville). All ten consensus participants ranked the Chiefs in the Top 3 with eight #1 rankings.
If you want to buck the trend and go with a contrarian pick at defense, take a look at Carolina ($3,400) on the road at Los Angeles. Carolina is coming off an 8-sack game that could've been nine if not for a face-masking call on Carson Palmer on yet another would-be sack. If the defensive line continues to play at a high level, the entire rest of the defense improves. If the battle of the trenches goes the Panthers way, it will be hard for them to lose. Look for them to tee off on Case Keenum this week.
Minnesota ($4,000) returns home after two road games (losses). The Vikings are a much better defense at home, but they are dealing with some injuries, particularly Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr, Andrew Sendejo, Xavier Rhodes and Marcus Sherels that could keep them from being their normal, disruptive selves. The Vikings have been a productive defense on DraftKings, which makes them a popular pick, but there's some concern that their last two, less than stellar games, could continue even at home.
Dallas ($3,400) at Cleveland is another potential play this week. Cleveland has struggled at 0-8 and Dallas has held opponents to 20 points or less in five of their seven games. This has the look and feel of a Cowboys romp and if that's the case, look for Cleveland to be passing more, which often leads to more turnover chances. Advantage Cowboys.
Kansas City is a talented, big-play defense and they face the imploding Jaguars at home. This one is too easy.
Denver - The Raiders offense is somewhat humming along, but Denver makes for a fine GPP play, teasing lowered ownership but a high reward in a home matchup.
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