Daily Fantasy Football Week 9: Top Picks, Lineup Advice for DraftKings, FanDuelNovember 2, 2018
Three games on the daily fantasy football main slate (Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints) have over/under totals of 50 or more points, per OddsShark.
DFS players will flock to these games for their lineups and rightfully so. In cash games, the choices in each contest are obvious (e.g. Rams running back Todd Gurley), but the trick is to differentiate lineups while still having exposure to all three games.
We'll take a look and cover five selections who may be on fewer than 10 percent of lineups for the most popular tournaments (the FanDuel Sunday Million and DraftKings Millionaire Maker).
Buccaneers TE O.J. Howard ($6,000 FD, $4,300 DK)
Not counting the Buccaneers' ugly 48-10 loss to the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay tight end O.J. Howard has amassed 54 or more receiving yards in every game. He's scored three touchdowns as well.
The Bucs are going to need to pass early and often to keep up with the efficient Panther offense, which should light up a Tampa Bay defense that allows the most points per game in the NFL.
Per Football Outsiders, the Panthers have allowed the second-most receiving yards to tight ends per contest (78.7). Given Howard's 2018 success, the potential game flow and Carolina's weakness against tight ends, Howard is a solid play.
Panthers WR Curtis Samuel ($4,600 FD, $3,500 DK)
Daily fantasy players will likely gravitate towards Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, running back Christian McCaffrey, wideouts Devin Funchess and D.J. Moore and tight end Greg Olsen. The Carolina wild card may be wideout Curtis Samuel, who saw a season-high 40 percent of snaps on Sunday vs. the Baltimore Ravens.
Samuel earned more playing time with wideout Torrey Smith battling a knee injury. Smith hasn't practiced all week and may be out again Sunday.
Samuel doesn't need many touches to make an impact. He's only touched the ball eight times this year but has a 25-yard catch-and-run and a 14-yard rush for touchdowns. Against a struggling Bucs defense, Samuel's speed and versatility could present significant problems.
Rams WR Cooper Kupp ($6,800 FD, $6,000 DK)
Rams wideout Cooper Kupp may be the fifth-most popular player on his team for DFS lineups behind Gurley, quarterback Jared Goff and wideouts Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods.
That's for good reason, as Kupp is coming off a two-game absence due to an MCL sprain and has been limited in practice all week.
However, head coach Sean McVay said Kupp should be good to go, so take advantage of his lowered salaries (and perhaps decreased interest) by picking him for tournaments. For the season, Kupp has 30 catches for 438 yards and five touchdowns in six games.
Saints WR Tre'Quan Smith ($5,100 FD, $4,200 DK)
Per Football Outsiders, the Rams rank ninth-worst in the league against deep passes, defined as those which travel 16 or more yards through the air. That could spell doom on the fast track of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where Saints wideout Tre'Quan Smith can take advantage.
The rookie caught touchdown passes of 62 and 35 yards in a 43-19 rout of the Washington Redskins in Week 5. He was also an excellent deep threat at UCF, where he caught 59 passes for 1,171 yards (19.8 yards per reception) and 13 touchdowns in his final year.
The Rams-Saints game has the week's highest over/under total at 59.5 points, per OddsShark. Smith is an excellent play due to his lower salaries industry-wide in addition to players potentially heading elsewhere for their Saints exposure (e.g. running back Alvin Kamara and wideout Michael Thomas).
Chiefs Defense/Special Teams ($3,900 FD, $2,700 DK)
Although the Chiefs' offensive players will undoubtedly be popular (and rightfully so), the best play here may be the Kansas City defense.
The Chiefs are eighth in adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders. Of note, edge-rusher Dee Ford has eight of the team's 24 sacks. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns are second in adjusted sack rate allowed and No. 1 overall in sacks allowed.
Granted, the Browns are under new leadership with ex-quarterbacks coach Freddie Kitchens running the offense following the firings of head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
However, the Chiefs pass rush may be so overwhelming that any changes Kitchens wants to make will be impossible to pull off.