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Top daily fantasy football plays for Week 9 of the NFL season

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With Week 9 of the NFL season upon us, we take a look at some of the best values to be found on Draftkings and FanDuel, and some players worth fading. 

NFL: Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation will be bringing you the top daily fantasy options each week through the regular season and into the playoffs. We have a small sample size of which offenses look good to target and others we should avoid until further notice. As for who should be in your lineups, here are the top value plays of the week, with an eye toward low ownership and high upside.

Quarterback

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($7,000 DK, $8,300 FD)

Interestingly, Brees has not been smashing at home the way he has during his career. Only once in his three home games this season has he topped 20 DraftKings points. That trend should end in spectacular fashion this week. The Buccaneers rank last in DVOA against the pass and Brent Grimes is in danger of missing his second straight game. Brees should get his home groove on in a big way.

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys vs. Kansas City Chiefs ($6,700 DK, $8,200 FD)

It will be fascinating to see if Friday’s decision to allow Ezekiel Elliott to play will crater Prescott’s ownership level, as players who were counting on Prescott having to shoulder all the offensive load abandon him. That would be great news for those who stay on the Prescott ship, as he put up huge numbers in the three weeks before playing in a monsoon last week. Hopefully that poor number will also depress his ownership, because Kansas City has been blown up by quarterbacks on the regular this season.

Alex Smith, Chiefs at Cowboys ($6,500 DK, $7,900 FD)

With the Cowboys offense back to full strength, this game has shootout written all over it. Even before Elliott was reinstated, the game had the highest point total of the weekend. When forced into shootouts this season, Smith has consistently risen to the occasion, topping 25 DK points in four of eight games. Figure it will be five of nine by Sunday night.

Jameis Winston, Buccaneers at Saints ($5,800 DK, $7,700 FD)

Another quarterback who should benefit from his opponent putting up points, Winston has shown he can flourish in a shootout. Two weeks ago, in a back-and-forth game against the Bills, Winston threw three touchdowns, despite playing with an injured shoulder. Playing in the offense-friendly Superdome should lead to another big number.

Discount Darling: Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans ($5,200 DK, $6,500 FD)

With the Texans reeling after the DeShaun Watson injury, the script for this game has flipped, and the Colts are primed for a key divisional upset. If, as expected, the Texans cannot move the ball on offense, Brissett could get a ton of possessions in which to pile up passing stats. His price no longer reflects his opportunity.

Avoid: Tom Savage, Texans vs. Colts ($4,600 DK, $6,000 FD)

I know he’s cheap. Don’t do it. The man has never thrown a TD pass in his NFL career. Really, just don’t.

Also consider: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks; Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams; Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

Running back

Alvin Kamara, Saints vs. Buccaneers ($6,300 DK, $6,600 FD)

The Buccaneers are not only dreadful at stopping the pass in general, they are among the worst defenses in the league at stopping pass-catching running backs. Opposing backs get at least five catches a game against Tampa, and Kamara has at least three receptions in every game this year. On DK, where receptions are a full point, Kamara is in a dream spot.

Lamar Miller, Texans vs. Colts ($6,200 DK, $7,500 FD)

The Texans’ passing game is dead in the water with Savage replacing DeShaun Watson, and that actually raises the profile of Miller, who should be looking at upward of 25 carries against a dreadful Colts run defense. The Texans have to abandon much of the offensive game plan that utilized their mobile quarterback, so expect a simplified, run-oriented attack, with Miller leading the way.

Chris Thompson, Washington at Seattle Seahawks ($6,100 DK, $6,700 FD)

With Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder likely out and the rest of the wide receivers having to face the lockdown Seahawks secondary, Thompson suddenly becomes the focal point of the offense. Even Rob Kelley is in danger of missing the game, which would put Thompson’s usage through the roof. The volume might be Thompson’s highest of the season, and he has made the most of his chances so far.

Adrian Peterson, Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers ($5,600 DK, $6,800 FD)

Like Miller, Peterson is going to be called upon to help hide a quarterback out of his depth. The Cardinals have publicly acknowledged they plan to feed Peterson early and often to take the pressure off Drew Stanton. When Peterson was the bell cow two weeks ago, he smashed. Facing the winless 49ers provides another great chance for Peterson to go off.

Discount Darling: Marlon Mack, Colts at Texans ($4,100 DK, $5,700 FD)

If, as expected, Savage cannot get the Texans’ offense moving, the Colts could spend a great deal of time in the Houston end of the field. Those opportunities are going to eventually translate into scores, and Mack is a much better bet than Frank Gore to capitalize.

Avoid: Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers ($6,600 DK, $7,100 FD)

Like the offense around him, Freeman is just not getting it done this season, topping 10 DK points just once in the past three games. The Panthers have been stout against the run all season, lowering Freeman’s upside even further.

Also consider: Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers; Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals; Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens.

Wide receiver

Michael Thomas, Saints vs. Buccaneers ($7,200 DK, $7,600 FD)

With the Saints’ passing game drawing the best matchup in the league, and with Brent Grimes expected to miss another game, Thomas is in position to post his best game of the season, and maybe his young career. There’s simply no one to cover him. Thomas has only topped 20 DK points once this season, but he’ll never find a better spot than this one to explode.

Tyreek Hill, Chiefs at Cowboys ($6,700 DK, $7,700 FD)

Hill is far and away the top receiver option for the Chiefs, and with the Cowboys among the better defenses in the league at stopping the tight end, Hill becomes an even better target for Alex Smith. This game is expected to be a closely contested shootout, which virtually guarantees a massive output from Hill, who went off for 28 DK points just two weeks ago in another road shootout with Oakland.

Devin Funchess, Panthers vs. Falcons ($5,400 DK, $6,100 FD)

Thank you, trade week! Salaries were set before the Panthers traded Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo, so the No. 1 receiver in a pass-oriented offense is priced like a No. 2. Now, whether Funchess rises to the occasion here is another matter — he’s been fairly volatile since Greg Olsen went down. But at this price, and with his target share about to rise, he’s a good bet to crush value.

T.Y. Hilton, Colts at Texans ($4,900 DK, $6,600 FD)

We generally only like Hilton at home on the fast track in Indy. But he has a tremendous chance to burn a shell-shocked defense that has allowed 40-plus points twice in the past three weeks. Again, this is where the new game script works into Hilton’s hands, as the Colts should have extra possessions to try and pile up points.

Discount Darling: Paul Richardson, Seahawks vs. Washington ($4,700 DK, $5,800 FD)

Josh Norman is not expected to defend Richardson, which only raises the profile of a receiver who went bananas last week against the Texans. Richardson now has three touchdowns over his past two weeks and matched his season-high with seven targets last week. He is way too cheap for his current level of production.

Avoid: Will Fuller, Texans vs. Colts ($7,000 DK, $7,800 FD)

Fuller is the most touchdown-dependent receiver in the league and his new quarterback literally does not have a touchdown pass in his career. Without his scores, Fuller is a WR3 priced as an elite WR1. Wait for his price to come back down, and wait to see if he still has a viable role in the Tom Savage offense.

Also consider: Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys; Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals; Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans

Tight end

Jimmy Graham, Seahawks vs. Washington ($5,000 DK, $6,100 FD)

Graham comes into this game absolutely on fire with four touchdowns over his past three games and five straight games with double-digit DK points. This week he gets a matchup with a defense that has been destroyed by tight ends all season, allowing the most yards to the position. His price still feels too low for the production.

Cameron Brate, Buccaneers at Saints ($4,500 DK, $6,000 FD)

Brate may have lost a little of his touchdown upside with the emergence of O.J. Howard, but he is still a vital cog in this offense and will be called upon against the Saints, who will look to take Mike Evans away in a potential shootout. Brate has been seeing 8-9 targets a week on the regular, and his dip in production last week should hold his ownership down.

Jack Doyle, Colts at Texans ($4,300 DK, $5,700 FD)

Doyle’s price skyrocketed after his dream game last week, and that might have the effect of lowering his ownership. But at $4,300, he’s about where he should be, given the massive number of targets he’s receiving. He’s still a great bet to 3X or 4X his salary, and there could be extra red-zone opportunities here if the Texans’ offense struggles as expected.

Vernon Davis, Washington at Seahawks ($4,100 DK, $5,400 FD)

Jordan Reed is expected out and Earl Thomas is confirmed out. Those are two tremendous pieces of news for Davis, who has been racking up yards all season and should see a major uptick in targets with Reed and Jamison Crowder not expected to play.

Discount Darling: Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens ($3,400 DK, $4,500 FD)

Delanie Walker is going to be a game-time decision and even if he plays, he’s likely to share time with Smith to keep himself from aggravating his bone bruise. Smith has shown a knack for finding the end zone and the Ravens give up a ton of production to tight ends. If Walker is ruled out, Smith is a tremendous value play.

Avoid: Travis Kelce, Chiefs at Cowboys ($6,700 DK, $7,000 FD)

The Cowboys are among the better teams in the league at limiting the tight end position. There is simply way too much value at the position to commit this kind of salary in a bad matchup.

Also consider: Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles; Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys; Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati Bengals

Defense

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers ($3,500 DK, $4,900 FD)

Seattle Seahawks vs. Washington ($3,500 DK, $5,000 FD)

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Denver Broncos ($3,300 DK, $5,200 FD)

Los Angeles Rams at New York Giants ($3,100 DK, $4,800 FD)

Discount Darling: Colts at Texans ($2,000 DK, $4,000 FD)