Exclamation Point! - Yahoo DFS Week 9

A dive into some of the top cash and tournament picks for Yahoo DFS.

Welcome to the Exclamation Point!, an analysis of stand-out cash and GPP options for consideration on Yahoo Daily Fantasy Sports. Yahoo presents a variety of options to suit the fancy of any DFS player out there, and we are looking to arm you with the information needed to build winning lineups no matter what type of player you are. Last week we saw the chalk come crumbling down as injuries and rough outings were widespread. This week, the slate is relatively small with six teams out on bye, and pricing is tight with limited super-value options like we have seen in recent weeks. There are a few spots you can save at, and a few that you should pay up for, so let’s jump right into the break-down.




Aaron Rodgers is back to a familiar spot at the top salary among quarterbacks for this slate. After a slow start to the season plagued by inaccurate passing and interceptions, Rodgers has turned things around in his past couple of games with seven touchdowns and 572 passing yards while completing over 71% of his passes. The Packers have been the most pass-touchdown heavy offense in the league, scoring as they are T-2nd worst with only two rushing touchdowns compared to being T-3rd best with 17 passing touchdowns. Their running game is literally non-existent due to injuries, forcing Rodgers to make it all happen himself—including tucking and running himself when needed as shown by his 60-yard rushing performance last week. This week he faces a Colts defense that has allowed multiple passing touchdowns in each of their last five games. Their team total is mammoth this week at 30 points as this point spread has creeped all the way up to 54 as of Thursday night. Rodgers at home with multi-touchdown upside in an offense that literally has no running back is tough to avoid, even at a top-tier salary. Rodgers tops out Footballguys Interactive Value Chart for overall projections and H-Value, so try to get as much exposure as you can in all formats.


Andrew Luck is also in quite the good spot as he pans out to be the quarterback likely to play catchup to the Packers as Luck’s Colts come into this 54-point total matchup as a full touchdown underdogs. Luck has been the king of garbage time scoring this season as one third of his passing yards and half of his touchdowns have all come in the fourth quarter. This game presents a similar opportunity as he very well may be playing from behind against a weak Packers secondary. The Packers have been a pass-funnel defense all season as their rushing defense has been stout while their secondary has played very poorly. Quarterbacks opposing the Packers have the 8th highest Quarterback Rating this season, and the Packers have allowed three touchdowns in three of their last five games. Luck has multiple touchdowns in five straight games now, and he has a great shot at that again this week. While he is taking a ton of hits (31 sacks, league high), the poor offensive line is making him more mobile as Luck has rushed for over 50 yards twice this season, including a 60-yard rushing performance last week and five of his eight games with over 20 total rushing yards. While Luck’s upside may not quite be on the level of Aaron Rodgers, he does come at a slight discount and will be lower owned all around, making Luck a fine pivot option in all formats.


Colin Kaepernick will always be a risky play, but does have some upside this week in a juicy matchup against the Saints. As a passer, Kaepernick is about as bad as they come. He has yet to complete over 50% of his pass attempts as starter this season, while barely over 20% of his pass attempts have went for at least 10 yards. Kaepernick’s value proposition definitely comes from his rushing ability, as nearly 50% of his fantasy scoring has come from rushing. The probable absence of Carlos Hyde is what really makes Kaepernick in consideration here, as he averaged over nine yards per rush for 84 yards on the ground in that game without Hyde on the field. For the 49-ers to have a chance at keeping up here, Kaepernick will have to make plays with his legs and find the end zone himself. The juicy matchup and affordable salary with rushing upside make Kaepernick a viable tournament option.


This one will be wholly dependent on who gets the start, as there has been no clear QB1 named yet between Cody Kessler and Josh McCown. As of Thursday though, Kessler has been practicing in full with the first team with most reports suggesting he will play due to the atrocious performance of Josh McCown in a great matchup against the Jets last week. If Kessler does go, he looks to be in a good spot against a beat-up Dallas secondary that has now lost both Morris Claiborne and Barry Church. Terrelle Pryor has been playing very well this season, and the Browns should the rookie Corey Coleman back as well. Cleveland is fully expected to be playing from behind in this game, meaning that Kessler should be unleashed to try and make something happen through the air. He is the cheapest quarterback available on this slate at Yahoo, so all it takes is mediocre success for him to his value here. Should Kessler be named the clear starter, his salary alone puts him in play as a value option in all formats due to the tight pricing this week.




When thinking about your cash game rosters, let’s just keep things simple and start by plugging in Ezekiel Elliott this week. There is very little reason to fade Elliott in cash games as he will be the highest owned player at any position on this slate due to the premium matchup against Cleveland. The Cowboys are expected to have the lead in this game as they are favorited by a touchdown, meaning that Elliott should be in line for a substantial workload as Dallas looks to pound time off the clock. Elliott is the only running back in the league with at least 15 carries in every game this season. He is averaging five yards per carry and hauling in receptions at over 21 yards a piece. The Browns have given up an average of 193 rushing yards per game over the past three weeks. What more justification is needed to plug in Elliott this week? Elliott stacks up to be a home run play as he tops the Footballguys Interactive Value Chart for total points and H-Value. Try to pay up for him, as barring injury, he should have no problem paying off this top tier salary.


With the status of Spencer Ware looking grim combined with Jamaal Charles being placed on season-ending IR, Charcandrick West is in line for the feature back role for the Chiefs this week. West has seen limited action this week, but he has proven to be a dual threat back capable of hauling in receptions while being productive on the ground. West started a number of games in the backfield last season finishing with five total touchdowns while averaging four yards per carry and over 10 yards per reception. Much of the allure for West this week comes from the sheer lack of depth that the Chiefs have at running back right now. West should easily see the vast majority of snaps and get the majority of carries in an offense that likes to run the ball. With Alex Smith likely to sit, the run game could be even more heavily relied upon as they ease Nick Foles into things. West has a sub-$20 salary and stacks up to be one of the higher owned options on this slate as there will be a need to save salary to afford exposure to the higher priced options available.


Le'Veon Bell is a threat to be the highest scoring back each and every week he suits up. Bell has had over 100 total yards in every game he has played this season (only David Johnson has also accomplished this) with an average of 147 total yards per game. Bell is averaging five yards per carry with 344 rushing yards through four games. He has a ridiculous 30 receptions for 245 receiving yards on top of that, yet despite gaining over 38% of the Steelers’ total offensive yards in games he has started, Bell has yet to score a touchdown. It is only a matter of time before Bell finds the end zone, and with Ben Roethlisberger on track to start this week, the game plan could heavily favor Bell as they try to ease Roethlisberger back into things. The Ravens have been stout against opposing running backs, but Bell is as matchup-proof as they come. With Ezekiel Elliott likely to eat up the ownership at running back this week, Bell will make for an intriguing tournament option. One very unique roster composition could be paying up for both Bell and Elliott and filling in the gaps with values elsewhere.


Theo Riddick is in an interesting spot this week against the stout Vikings defense. While the Vikings have a ton of talent on that side of the ball, they were gashed last week by Jordan Howard to the tune of over 200 total yards and a touchdown. Prior to last week, the Vikings had not allowed a single back to rush for more than 56 yards with only one rushing touchdown. However, the Vikings have been hurt by pass-catching backs this season as they are allowing an average of over 11 yards per reception and two receiving touchdowns—good for the 8th most receiving yards (380) allowed to running backs. Passes from the backfield is the specialty of Theo Riddick, as he has hauled in the 2nd most receptions (34) and most receiving touchdowns (4) among running backs this season. While Riddick only rushed 11 times for 56 yards last week, he led the team in targets with 11 for eight receptions and 77 yards plus a touchdown. Riddick definitely would have more value on a full PPR site, however at this bargain salary in a week where value is relatively hard to come by on Yahoo, Riddick serves as a viable salary-saving for tournament rosters. He is tough to consider in cash games due to the floor of facing the Vikings defense that looked elite through their first six games.



Jarvis Landry is a volume guy who, albeit his targets have dropped a bit in recent weeks, is still extremely involved in the Dolphins offense. From a share perspective, Landry still has nearly double the targets of any other player on the team and has either led or tied for the most targets on a weekly basis. The Achilles Heel here is Landry’s lack of touchdowns. Despite leading receivers in red zone looks this season, Landry has only found the end zone one time, resulting in just over 5% of his total fantasy points coming from touchdowns this season. Landry is the 15th most targeted wide receiver in the league catching the ball at over a 70% rate (1st among top-25 most targeted receivers). The volume suggest that Landry should be due for more than a single touchdown, and he has a great shot at it in this matchup against a Jets team that has allowed the league’s highest average points per week to wide receivers. His salary is up there, but Landry has his best shot of the season to find the end zone this week, which with his volume should mean he easily pays off in cash games.


Donte Moncrief gets a premium matchup in the highest total game of the week as he squares off against a depleted Packers secondary. Moncrief just barely missed having a massive game last week, having a 40-yard touchdown pass called back in addition to being overlooked on a wide-open route in the end zone. While it looks like T.Y. Hilton may suit up this week since he practiced in full on Thursday, he should not be at 100% and always has a chance to burn you similar to last week. Dollar for dollar, Moncrief is by far the best play of any option in this offense, and one of the best values at wide receiver on the week. He is an excellent option to hit value for cash games, and has plenty of upside for GPP consideration.


This game will be full of fantasy production with plenty of touchdowns to go around, and Jordy Nelson could be a prime candidate to find his way into the end zone. Despite lower-than-expected targets, receptions, and yardage, Nelson has seen very consistent usage in the red zone this season with at least two red zone looks in all but one of his games. Nelson is tied for a league-leading six touchdowns from his meager 31 receptions. Nelson’s production this season has been held back by the struggles of Aaron Rodgers, but as of the last couple weeks, it looks like the Packers are sliding out of their slump as Rodgers has thrown for seven passing touchdowns and 576 yards across that span. Nelson should draw a much more favorable cornerback matchup this week with Colts star cornerback Vontae Davis likely to sit with a concussion. Given the matchup, touchdown upside, and question marks around the health of his teammates, Nelson is stacking up to be a solid play. If both Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery were to sit out, Nelson is an excellent cash game play. If both suit up, ownership and workload security will both gravitate away from Nelson, making him more of a tournament option.


Demaryius Thomas is another receiver who should be able to take advantage of an injured secondary this week as the Oakland Raiders recently lost one of their best cornerbacks in Sean Smith. Despite his drop in production due to the downgrade at quarterback, nobody can say Thomas has lacked consistent volume as he has seen 10 targets in each of the last three games with seven targets in each of the four games before that span. Thomas has caught between four and six balls for 35 to 100 yards in every game this season. He has yet to have an explosive performance, but has very few clunkers with only two games of single digit fantasy production. Thomas has a great matchup against the Raiders this week, and he is priced a dollar below counterpart Emmanuel Sanders. While the ceiling may be lower than it once was, Thomas has a solid floor with a good shot to hit value in cash game rosters this week.



The saga continues with tight ends against Detroit as they face Kyle Rudolph. The Lions allowed a season high 10 receptions to the tight end position last week, with the Texans’ C.J. Fiedorowicz finding the end zone to re-ignite the touchdown streak after Detroit finally failed to allow one the week prior. The Lions have been atrocious to this position, and playing the tight end facing them has paid off each week this season. Rudolph has had five or more receptions in four of his last five games. With Sam Bradford struggling and a new offensive coordinator taking the reins, look for the Vikings to scheme easy completions from shorter, quicker routes. Rudolph fits the bill perfectly there, and his price has thankfully stayed down due in part to a low yardage total (31) last week. On a week with many top tight ends on bye, Rudolph is a guy who should be one of the highest owned at the position, playable in all formats due to his value and upside. 


The pickings are slim this week at tight end with names like Gronkowski, Reed, and Eifert on bye. Greg Olsen is really the only top-tier option available. The floor fell out from under Olsen last week in a very tough matchup against the Cardinals. Expect for him to bounce back this week against a Rams defense that really has not been tested by an elite, healthy tight end this season. While Olsen is pricey at the top of his position, he should have his usual high floor and a good shot at hitting cash game value if you have the leftover salary for him.




The Chiefs have been hot as of late, ranking as the 4th highest scoring fantasy defense across the past three weeks driven by their league-low 15 points per game allowed during that span. The Chiefs draw a dream matchup this week as they take on the Jaguars at home as more than a touchdown favorite. The Jaguars have allowed at least two sacks and a turnover in all but one of their games this season, with multiple turnovers in half of their games. Blake Bortles has looked awful this season and really struggled with ball security as he is tied for the 3rd most interceptions (nine). Bortles’ struggles combined with a non-existent Jaguars rushing attach (ranked 30th) should make the Chiefs defense the highest owned defense of the week. With plenty of upside and a high floor, they are in play in all formats as the Chiefs are the top overall play according to the Footballguys Interactive Value Chart.


The Seahawks should be a popular defense this week as they get the Buffalo Bills at hom as a touchdown favorite with only a 44-point total. Seattle has been less dominant this year than in the past, but they still rank near the top of the league in overall defense allowing the 2nd fewest points per game and 6th fewest yards per game. The Seahawks rank T-3rd in sacks at 22 while ranking 2nd in assisted tackles, showing that they have had a knack for flocking to the ball this season. Over the past four weeks, Seattle ranks The Bills should again be without their primary offensive weapon in LeSean McCoy, and their offensive line has actually allowed the 7th most sacks this season with 19. While interceptions may be hard to come by here, expect for Seattle to rack up some sacks and keep the point total low here. Their ceiling will not be huge, but they should offer low ownership and enough of a floor to warrant cash game exposure.


Since when does it make sense for a defense to actually drop in price after leading in fantasy scoring the week before? According to Yahoo, this makes perfect sense as the Broncos defense dropped $1 in price this week. The logic is of course due to their road matchup against a red-hot Oakland offense that put up 30 points and 626 total yards against the Buccaneers last week. Oakland has only allowed one defense this season to score more than four fantasy points against them, while holding half of their opponents to one or fewer fantasy points. The Raiders have allowed the fewest sacks and only three interceptions this season, furthering the case for the Broncos to not be in play. However, this is the Denver Broncos defense we are talking about. With the price down and ownership likely to be low, the Broncos make for an excellent tournament option with their always high upside with this being arguably the most talented defensive unit in the league.


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