This week, I’m looking at the most overlooked players at various positions in daily fantasy football. Do some research on each suggestion on these players and then spice your DFS lineups with two or three of these options. Select
Because NFL starting lineups have only 1 quarterback and 1 tight end, you’ll find fewer players who aren’t highlighted. That’s really true of the quarterback position. That being said, some QBs have solid matchups, but get less attention than others.
Sleeper receivers always exist, given the way the NFL is played these days. Running backs are spottier when it comes to finding hidden gems. Still, a couple of lesser-touted runners are likely to put up good stats each week. The lists below reflect the best of those likely options.
Fade the Most-Played QBs in 2015
Everyone knows that starting Tom Brady, Andy Dalton, and Philip Rivers is a good idea by this point in the season. Tom Brady is going to be started by a huge number of DFS owners, which means he should be faded in the big weekly contests.
Andy Dalton is more interesting, because he had a bad Week 8 showing. One week is nothing in fantasy football, so most people will look at Weeks 1-7 instead of the recency bias of Week 8. He might have a slight dip. The fact Dalton was not very good last year helps.
Philip Rivers is even more interesting. He lost his best receiver, Keenan Allen, for the season with a lacerated kidney. Savvy owners are likely to take into account that fact when making out lineups. And yet, he’s had such great numbers the last few weeks, many owners are likely to use recency bias to keep playing him. Expect to see his draft percentage dip from the skilled players (not used to DFS), but expect the casual fan to continue playing him.
Eli Manning and Drew Brees are coming off huge games. Manning plays the Bucs Defense and Brees plays Tennessee, so expect those players to have high draft percentages. For that reason, they should be faded in the Millionaire Maker type events.
Overlooked Fantasy Quarterbacks
Derek Carr continues to put up solid weeks. This week, he plays Pittsburgh, which has given up some big numbers this year. They shut down Andy Dalton last week, which means they might get respect from DFS gamers in Week 9. But Le’Veon Bell is Out and Ben Roethlisberger is back, so expect the gameflow to dictate a passing affair. If the Raiders get behind, the Carr-to-Cooper dynamic could spell big numbers for the Raiders 2nd-year passer.
Jay Cutler plays San Diego and he’s going without Matt Forte. The Bears are likely to have to favor the pass more than they usually do. Alshon Jeffrey appears healthy again. The Bears plays the Chargers, whose defense has been pretty torchable in 2015. This is a game for Smoking Jay Cutler to produce.
Andrew Luck is the contrarian pick in Week 9. He’s looked awful of late, on a pace for 24 interceptions. He plays the Broncos Defense, which just shut down Aaron Rodgers to 70 yards–a career low. No one is likely to start Andrew Luck. But he is starting to get healthier after fracturing a rib earlier in the season. No one (most of all fantasy owners) have any clue who his favorite receiver is: Donte Moncrief or Andre Johnson. The team just changed its offensive coordinator. They are home and desperate to win. Only a half-season ago, Andrew Luck was the top-rated passer in fantasy football. This is a last stand game with a coaching change. It’s a good place to take a shot on a high-volume, high-talent passer whom no one else is likely to start.
Kirk Cousins is two weeks removed from his dramatic comeback win. On a team that is likely to get overlooked, Cousins might have been forgotten a bit during his team’s bye. With the Redskins playing the 7-0 New England Patriots, the Skins are going to throw-throw-throw the ball. Kirk Cousins should have a big day.
Sleeper Running Backs for Week 9
Chris Ivory has had a disappointing set of games recently. He’s been injured enough that it has affected his play. Slowly, Ivory’s been recuperating. This week, he and the Jets play the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags give up a lot of fantasy points to runners, while the Jets are looking to get off the schneide after a disappointing result versus the Patriots.
Doug Martin is coming off a Bye Week and is set for a matchup with the New York Giants. Last week, the Giants lost to the Saints, 52-49, in the season’s biggest shootout. Against the Bucs Defense, Manning and the suddenly-rejuvenated Giants passing game should be gold. To compensate for that mismatch and keep their rookie QB from throwing the ball away, expect the Buccaneers to run Doug Martin and Charles Sims a lot. Doug Martin is the key to the Bucs beating the Giants.
Danny Woodhead is no stranger to daily fantasy owners. That makes him less of a sleeper candidate than others on this list, but there are reasons to suspect he’ll get liberal usage in Week 9. Philip Rivers’s favorite receiver, Keenan Allen, is out for the year. Antonio Gates is still rounding into form from injury. Malcom Floyd, Stevie Johnson, and Dontrelle Inman are going to have to pick up the slack. I’m not sure if that’s a good combination, so expect to see Danny Woodhead get an inflated set of targets. While he might carry expense, Woodhead should outperform that expense, especially against a lousy Bears Defense.
Tevin Coleman is a deep sleeper. The Atlanta Falcons play the San Francisco 49ers, who are reeling at 1-6 this year. They just replaced Colin Kaepernick with Blaine Gabbert, who barely beat out Brandon Wheedan as the worst NFL quarterback ratings last season. The Falcons should crush the Niners, whose offense either will struggle to move the ball, or turn the ball over altogether. Devonta Freeman is starting to pile up the carries. Tevin Coleman is fully healthy again. Expect liberal usage of Coleman in the 2nd Half of a blowout.
Good DFS Picks at Receiver
The list of solid daily fantasy picks at the wide receiver position is always large. This is where fantasy lineups tend to distinguish themselves. Below is a pick-list of players who sit in the sweet spot of fantasy value: not too obvious that everyone starts them, but not too much of a projection to be high-risk.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings at home vs St. Louis Rams
Willie Snead, WR, New Orleans Saints at home vs Tennessee Titans
Eric Decker, Wideout, New York Jets at home vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Reuben Randle, WR, New York Giants @ the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Rishard Matthews, WR, Miami Dolphins @ the Buffallo Bills
Deep Sleeper: Dontrelle Inman had a nice 4th Quarter earlier in the season when Keenan Allen got hurt late in the game. Last week, Malcom Floyd filled in nicely for Allen as the #1 receiver, but we all know the fantasy player Floyd is. Given a week for the Bears to gameplan for Malcom Floyd as the #1, expect to see him stifled. Instead, Philip Rivers will have to look for another receiver. Dontrelle Inman is the likeliest choice.
Overlooked Tight Ends in Week Nine
Vance McDonald and Blake Bell were lost in the shuffle after the San Francisco 49ers traded Vernon Davis. In the long term, Blake Bell is a sleeper tight end. The 6’6″, 251-lb former college quarterback was selected in the 3rd Round of the 2015 NFL Draft, so he is the project TE who’ll make dynasty lists in 2016. Vance McDonald is the only healthy veteran tight end on the roster this week. With Blaine Gabbert checking down all day, expect to see Vance McDonald post solid stats.
Jordan Reed is no longer in the overlooked category, but he is in the underpriced realm. He’s a top tight end, so long as he’s on the field for the Washington Redskins. Jordan Reed has become a security blanket for Kirk Cousins. In Week 9, the Skins play the Patriots, so they’ll be throwing to catch up, in all likelihood.
That is the list of overlooked NFL players I see in the Week 9 daily fantasy football lineups. Don’t just take my word for it. Do your own analysis, then draft a handful of these to go along with bona fide studs.