BJ VanderWoude: DeAndre Hopkins has earned his spot as the top wide receiver on the main slate for week 9, but his price has exploded across the industry. Julio Jones has only one touchdown on the season. Mike Evans has yet to have a 100+ yard receiving game. AJ Green has two 30+ point games, but he also has four games of less than 13 points. Michael Thomas has only two touchdowns and has yet to have a 100+ yard receiving game. Which of these players represent the best PP$ play in cash games for week 9? Are owners better of looking at the next tier of wide receviers this week, and perhaps moving forward?
Justin Bonnema: Julio Jones’s salary is the lowest it has been on FanDuel since 2011 and the lowest it has been on DraftKings since 2014. The crowd won’t touch him given his abysmal year-to-date stats and the impending matchup against the Panthers, who have been consistently tough to beat. I’m happy to pounce on both the likely low ownership and low price of an elite player who ranks top-5 at his position, and hope that the coach makes good decisions at some point. The same goes for Michael Thomas. I keep getting burned by him and maybe someday I’ll learn, but this is the best matchup he has had all year and the crowd will likely be scared off by his lackluster performances (which have not been lackluster in real life). Of the five you mentioned, Jones and Thomas are the two I’m chasing, and I hope the crowd ignores this tier of receivers.
Phil Alexander: With the exception of Hopkins who will be popular despite his price in a matchup against the Colts abysmal secondary, all of the receivers mentioned have some contrarian appeal this week. Yes, Jones is struggling, but he's still one of the best wide receivers on the planet and he torched a pretty similar Panthers defensive backfield (in terms of personnel, not play) for a 12-300-1 line last season. Evans ownership will be down after he bombed last week and will plummet further if Fitzpatrick is announced as the starter for Tampa Bay. But when we last saw Fitzpatrick in Week 6, Evans was fine (8-95-1). Green will be low-owned because he receives the Jacksonville treatment this week. His outlook is bleak, but Green is more than capable of getting over on even the best cornerbacks. If forced to choose one, I'd take the discount on Jones, but as the question alludes to, there is a value pocket the next tier down with Dez Bryant, Tyreek Hill, Demaryius Thomas, and even Devin Funchess (now that Kelvin Benjamin has been traded) in great matchups.
Jason Wood: Michael Thomas hasn't done enough to warrant my confidence, yet he's the answer to this question. Julio Jones is attractive this week, but he hasn't looked right all year and the Panthers defense is legitimate. Mike Evans has to worry about an unhealthy starting quarterback. A.J. Green is one of my favorite options on this slate, but he's edged out by Thomas. Thomas is still the Saints most talented receiver, no matter how inconsistent his statistics look week to week. And the Saints are at home against a god awful defense.
Devin Knotts: DeAndre Hopkins is the guy if you can afford him as he is in the best matchup of the group going up against an Indianapolis secondary that has been horrendous so far this season and is 30th defending the pass. A.J. Green is in a tough spot going up against Jacksonville, Mike Evans is going up against rookie Marshon Lattimore who has been tremendous so far this season, so the only other guy I would be interested in at the top is Michael Thomas. I will likely have one of these guys as there are not a lot of great running back options this week that I have to pay up for.
James Brimacombe: All of these wide receivers are viable every single week regardless of the matchup. Ownership will always be high on the big names and for me I think it is a good week to fade these five names at the position and look to the likes of Dez Bryant and Tyreek Hill in a Kansas City/Dallas stack. If I did have to pick one of the five wide receivers listed I would go with Michael Thomas to have a breakout game against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers struggle against the pass and have allowed 100+ receiving games to Deonte Thompson 4/107/0, Larry Fitzgerald 10/138/1, and Stefon Diggs 8/173/2.
Chris Feery: Michael Thomas is my top choice from this group. While he hasn’t delivered the upside that we were all expecting this year, he’s in an excellent spot this week against an atrocious Buccaneers secondary. The Saints have flipped the script this year, as they’ve been running the ball well and playing some nice defense outside of the first two weeks of the season. There’s nothing to suggest that they won’t be continuing with that successful formula, but it’s hard not to see Drew Brees taking a good amount of shots downfield against the Buccaneers before they call the dogs off. While it’s far from a given, the stars align for a solid game from Thomas this week.
Justin Howe: As Other Justin says, I hope the public ignore this group, specifically Hopkins. I don’t feel like paying up for him – this looks like a good week to stay balanced in cash – and I certainly don’t feel like losing across the board because I faded his 32 points and 45% ownership. When the dust settles, I think I’ll have only Thomas in my cash lineup, though of course my GPP portfolio will be full of them. Each one has a clear path to 25+ points, and all but Hopkins will come discounted with scattered ownership. They’ll probably tilt most tournaments, in fact.
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