NFL Week 9 Cash Pool: Below are the players that I consider to be viable plays on DraftKings in Cash Games (H2H, Double-Ups, 50/50s). This article is updated throughout the weekend with a final update at 12:00 PM EST on Sunday to account for surprise inactives and late-week news.
In: Julio Jones, Justin Jackson
Out: Christian McCaffrey, Diontae Johnson, Antonio Gibson
Josh Allen ($7,000): The savior of Buffalo has accumulated the sixth-most FPPG at the quarterback position in 2020 and draws a home spot in the nut matchup against Seattle this week. Josh Allen and The Bills were able to sneak a win past a pathetic Patriots team last week with only 18 pass attempts. That will not be possible in a likely shootout with leading MVP candidate Russell Wilson, playing at the peak of his powers. Allen went from averaging 33.08 FPPG over the first four weeks of the season, to averaging only 17.06 over his last four. Allen will have to put the team on his back to have a chance in the highest totaled game (55) of Week 9.
Justin Herbert ($6,800): Ever since Anthony Lynn paid the team doctor to puncture Tyrod Taylor’s lung prior to The Chargers’ Week 2 game, Justin Herbert has been nothing short of an offensive revelation. The rookie phenom has quietly averaged the fifth-most FPPG at QB this season with one of the most appealing floor/ceiling combinations of any player at the position. Herbert has scored no-less than 19.7-points in any of his six starts and has gone for 26+ in 3/6 games. The Raiders are a plus matchup for opposing quarterbacks; Herbert should continue rolling in this week.
Jake Luton ($4,900): The Jaguars will be without Gardner Minshew this week and Jake Luton, a sixth round rookie out of Oregon State, will get the start. Fresh off a weeks-worth (bye) of extra prep-time, Luton gets the opportunity to show what he can do in The NFL against a Texans team that went from giving up the third most FPPG to QB this season, to the most FPPG to QB over the past four weeks. Reports out of Jacksonville are that the strength of Luton’s game, is strength itself. Luton is equipped with a cannon and his 85th percentile throw velocity is a definitive upgrade on Gardner Minshew’s (37th percentile). The Texans will be without key pieces to their defensive line this week which only bolsters a trench-advantage that The Jaguars would have already had. Luton is an unathletic, unproven rookie playing in his first NFL game. His fantasy floor is extremely low, but at $4,900 on DraftKings, the spot is good enough that he could find his way to easily hitting value if you pay up at the right spots with the salary you save by plugging him in.
QB Positional Notes: To be very clear, I am not usually the type of NFL DFS player who takes shots on dirt-cheap, punt-play QBs in cash. That being said, I’m finding myself alarmingly drawn to builds that include Jake Luton this week. In an ideal world, I’d find a way up to Josh Allen. Quarterback is a major choice-point this week and it will come down to whether or not you can stomach playing Luton/Lock in cash. I prefer Luton > Lock, hence why he is not in the pool.
Christian McCaffrey ($8,500): Fantasy Football’s #1 asset appears set to retake the field after a seven week absence. The Panthers are expected to activate CMC from IR in time for Sunday’s road matchup against The Chiefs, Week 9’s second-highest-totaled game (53). Mike Davis’ recent production has plummeted after he went from averaging 25 FPPG in his first three starts, to only 9.9 FPPG over his last three. The Panthers played it safe by waiting an extra ten days to activate CMC. Matt Rhule and The Panthers coaching staff would be wise to lean on the best player on their roster by giving him a full workload. UPDATE: Matt Rhule is reportedly going to take things slow with McCaffrey this week and give Mike Davis work, alternating drives. CMC is too expensive to play in cash with the other options we have this week.
Dalvin Cook ($8,200): After producing a slate-destroying 51.6-point performance last week, Dalvin Cook will likely be the highest owned running back in all formats of DFS this week, cash included. The Lions have been unable to stop opposing RBs all year, conceding the second-most FPPG to the position in 2020. Cook is a plug-and-play home favorite RB (-4) on a team with a top five implied team total (28) on the slate.
James Connor ($6,900): James Connor is my favorite RB play on DraftKings in Week 9. He’s touched the ball 18-times or more in every game over the last six weeks and every game of the season except for Week 1. The Steelers are on the road, which traditionally, has lowered the efficiency of their passing game during Ben Roethlisberger’s tenure. As two touchdown favorites (-14) against a collapsing Dallas team that has given up the tenth most points to opposing RBs over the last 4 weeks, The Steelers will look to lean on the run game in Week 9. Pittsburgh has a top five implied team total on the slate (28), and Connor is top ten in red zone rush attempts at the RB position in 2020.
Chase Edmonds ($6,800): Over the past four weeks, Chase Edmonds has produced three games with 15 or more fantasy points, strictly in the role of Kenyan Drake’s backup and Cardinals go-to passing downs back. Now, with Kenyan Drake sidelined, Edmonds should see his role expand in a home matchup against Miami. Reports out of Arizona are that Kenyan Drake should be back from injury sooner rather than later, but there is a non-zero chance that the hyper-talented Chase Edmonds holds onto the starting job for the duration of 2020.
Josh Jacobs ($6,300): After handling a massive 31-attempt workload in Week 8, Josh Jacobs once again seems poised to be the offensive focus of the Las Vegas Raiders. Despite Jacobs disappointingly seeing only 1-target last week, his role in the receiving game has largely been consistent in 2020; Jacobs has seen three-or-more targets in 6/7 games this season. The Chargers’ run defense has been getting worse. They’ve given up the sixth-most FPPG to RB over the past four weeks. Jacobs’ biggest red flag as a cash game play is that he is a road underdog facing a team with an offense that is good enough to force the Raiders into a pass-heavy game script.
Justin Jackson ($4,900): Justin Jackson is a part-time player. He has yet to play on more than 59% of snaps in a single game this year. Despite that, he’s made the most of his opportunities, touching the ball 20-times in two of his last three games. He’s seen five or more targets in three consecutive games. As a home favorite RB in a soft matchup, Jackson is a viable path to salary relief.
RB Positional Notes: I think nearly everybody who is playing DraftKings cash this week will have rosters constructed with 3 running backs priced above $6,000. I don’t see any paths to getting away from that. Mark Ingram seems unlikely to play which could draw J.K. Dobbins into the cash pool by Sunday. Still, Cook and Connor are essentially locks and fading Edmonds isn’t an idea I’m keen on either.
Stefon Diggs ($7,400): Leading the NFL in targets, Stefon Diggs is in great position to pay off his exorbitant Week 9 salary on DraftKings. While he can’t be considered a value at $7,400, the matchup and game environment is eye-popping. Seattle has given up the most FPPG to opposing WRs this year by a large margin. Diggs has seen 28-more targets than the next closest skill-player on The Bills. Capitalizing on the connection between him and Josh Allen will be key if Buffalo has any chance of stealing this game from Seattle.
Julio Jones ($7,200): With Calvin Ridley out, Julio Jones projects to see a massive share of the Falcons team targets. In the three games that Ridley missed last year, Julio saw 16 targets-per-game. The Broncos lack the personnel to matchup with Jones and are without their top cornerback, AJ Bouye.
Keenan Allen ($7,000): Keenan Allen has finally been priced up after being the best value at WR on DraftKings for two consecutive weeks. Even at $7,000, Allen still profiles as a strong play averaging the third-most targets per game (10.7) in The NFL. While his floor is undeniably high, his ceiling is quite a bit lower than comparable players in his price range, such as Stefon Diggs and Tyler Lockett.
Tyler Lockett ($6,800): Even though it was DK Metcalf out-targeting Tyler Lockett 15:5 last week, Lockett still leads Seattle in targets on the year. Between the two Seahawks stud receivers, Lockett draws a superior matchup against Buffalo’s alleged “slot-funnel,” defense while Metcalf will be battling Tre’davious White on the perimeter. Lockett is a dicey play for cash. The spot sets up well, but over the past five games, Lockett has produced under 10 fantasy points in 3/5, and over 40 fantasy points in 2/5. The boom-bust nature of Tyler Lockett makes him my least favorite, viable cash play in this range.
Jerry Jeudy ($4,700): Coming off of a career high 10-targets, The Broncos would be wise to continue featuring Jerry Jeudy in their passing game. The Falcons are a pass funnel defense, top-12 against the run and bottom-five against opposing WRs. Converting some of raw talent that Jeudy is clearly flooded with, into on-field production, should be a primary focus of Drew Lock in the second half of 2020.
John Brown ($4,600): John Brown has struggled to stay consistent as The Bills WR2 after being supplanted by Stefon Diggs this offseason. Still, Brown has a solid opportunity to bounce back this week in a home matchup vs. the worst team in the NFL at guarding opposing WRs. Brown should see his usual 85-90% snap share this week, but is more of a matchup/game environment play, than a secure volume/target share play.
Laviska Shenault ($4,200): The Jaguars dynamic rookie is an enticing play in Week 9. Shenault was averaging 6.75 tar/pg in the four weeks prior to Week 7, where he saw a career-low, three-looks in the passing game. With Jake Luton set to replace Gardner Minshew and reportedly push the ball downfield more aggressively, Shenault is a good bet to bounce back against a team in Houston that is allowing the sixth-most FPPG to WR this season. Keelan Cole ($4,000) is in consideration as well, though I prefer Shenault. The Texans are allowing the second-most pts/tar to slot receivers and Cole has seen 87.5% of his targets in the slot this year.
WR Positional Notes: How does one fit three <$6,000 RBs into their lineup AND fit Stefon Diggs without tanking the other five roster spots? That is a question I’ve been trying to answer all week. There is an abundance of “value plays,” at WR this week, I’m just not convinced that many of them will actually pay off their theoretical value. Jerry Jeudy is a stand out to me. I’m taking a stand against Diontae Johnson (aka Glass Bones) in cash this week, a player I’m expecting to be relatively popular on DraftKings at only $5,000.
Evan Engram ($4,300): Evan Engram has seen 19-targets and 3-attempts over the last two weeks. Golden Tate is in danger of being benched for social media antics, which theoretically, would boost Engram’s already-growing role in the offense another level higher. The most serious issue with Engram as a fantasy play is that The Giants are always a threat to score zero touchdowns in a given week which severely caps his ceiling.
Hayden Hurst ($4,100): Revitalizing his career in Atlanta, Hayden Hurst has seen 6+ targets in four of his last five games. While news has reportedly been “good,” about Calvin Ridley’s foot injury, Ridley missed three consecutive practices this week and should be considered closer to doubtful than questionable. Hurst could see more looks in scoring position as a result of Ridley’s expected absence.
Irv Smith Jr. ($2,900): Strictly a punt-play, Irv Smith Jr. represents the lowest possible spot you can look to save salary at tight end this week. Smith Jr. has seen his role in the offense grow in recent weeks, playing on 79% of snaps in each of his last two games and seeing 5-targets in two of his last three. One target is also within his range of outcomes.
TE Positional Notes: None of these players are priorities. Tight End in 2020 continues to be a depressingly hard-to-predict guessing game that I’ve had my fill of. I prefer Hurst of the group for the $200 savings off Engram and the better game environment between the two.
Priority Plays: Josh Allen, Dalvin Cook, James Connor, Hayden Hurst
Fades: Drew Lock, Keenan Allen, Diontae Johnson
Cash Game Results 2020:
Week 1: 185.1 Points. 87% Win Rate (83.3% of 78 H2Hs, 100% of 22 DUs)
Week 2: 161.9 Points. 91.3% Win Rate (90.3% of 103 H2Hs, 100% of 12 DUs)
Week 3: 112.1 Points. 17.7% Win Rate (21% of 119 H2Hs, 0% of 22 DUs)
Week 4: 139.50 Points. 81% Win Rate (77.9% of 104 H2Hs, 100% of 17 DUs)
Week 5: 143.68 Points. 31.1% Win Rate (35.9% of 103 H2Hs, 0% of 16 DUs)
Week 6: 138.12 Points. 32.45% Win Rate (35.9% of 103 H2Hs, 0% of 11 DUs)
Week 7: 199.40 Points. 37.5% Win Rate (32.5 % H2Hs, 91.6% of 12 DUs)
Week 8: 112.66 Points.55.5% Win Rate (61.9% of 105 H2Hs, 0% of 12 DUs)