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DraftKings Fantasy Football Tournament Picks: NFL Week 9 Top High-Upside DFS Targets, Sleepers

Geoff Ulrich shares his top high-upside targets, stacks and contrarian options for this week’s main fantasy football slate on DraftKings.

Welcome to the weekly tournament plays article for Sunday’s main DraftKings fantasy football slate. I’m going to be focusing purely on high-upside plays and stacks that are likely to be lower-owned in the largest tournaments on the slate. There will be a lot of bust potential found here on most weeks, but big GPPs are generally not won by making the popular moves.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $3.5M Fantasy Football Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Entry]


Miami Dolphins vs. Houston Texans

Tua Tagovailoa ($5,800) — Brandin Cooks ($6,100) — Jaylen Waddle ($5,600)

This game features two teams who rank in the bottom 10 of the league in yards allowed per pass attempt and sack rate. Both quarterbacks should have a lot of time in the pocket and neither team is good at running the ball — both rank in the bottom 10 in rush attempts per game.

While the $5,000 price on Tyrod Taylor is intriguing, it’s easy for us to get up to Tua Tagovailoa, who enters this game averaging 43 pass attempts in his last three games. Tua is admittedly still not passing downfield a ton (he’s averaged 7.0 yards per attempt or less in two of the last three games) but the volume is what matters. He’s also picked up his running since returning from injury and has averaged 20 yards per game on the ground over the last three games. The Texans have ceded the sixth-most passing touchdowns, the most rushing touchdowns and the ninth-most fantasy points per game to the quarterback position, making Tua a fine starting point for lineups.

This game also has so much appeal because stacking is not only easy (we have two primary wide receivers to target) but also very cost effective. Both Brandin Cooks and Jaylen Waddle enter this game averaging right around nine targets per game and have a team target share of over 20%. Cooks enters this game with a 27.5 % team target share which is fourth-best in the league. He and Tyrod Taylor connected for 134 yards on just five catches in Week 1 and face a Dolphins secondary who had allowed the most receiving touchdowns to opposing wide receivers through Week 8 and the second most yards to the position as well.

From a stacking perspective, you have to love that Jaylen Waddle grabbed 12 targets last week for Miami, despite DeVante Parker ($5,300) being in the lineup. You could play both Miami wideouts, but if you want to limit exposure to this game to just three players, Waddle is the one we should continue to trust based on long-term target share and performance.

Just Missed: Patrick Mahomes ($7,800) — Travis Kelce ($7,000)


Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Green Bay Packers ($7,800)

It’s taken nine weeks, but the mood on Patrick Mahomes—who enters this game with a career worst 3.1% interception rate — has finally soured a bit in daily fantasy. Mahomes is trending toward ownership that could make him a nice contrarian option in GPPs, and it’s something we should be interested in. The game total for Packers-Chiefs has fallen to 48.0 on the DraftKings Sportsbook, but the Chiefs implied team total remains at 27.75, which is bigger than before Aaron Rodgers was ruled out.

The Packers defense has played better than expected this year (especially without two of their best defensive players), but they haven’t faced a murderers’ row of passing offenses this year either. Five of the eight teams they’ve faced this season rank in the bottom half of the league in passing yards per game, with New Orleans and Chicago ranking as the two worst passing offenses in the league. With Green Bay reeling a little internally, this could be a great get right spot for Mahomes and the entire Chiefs offense, whose skill players are trending toward low ownership projections in Week 9.

Just Missed: Tyrod Taylor ($5,000)

Running Back

Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals ($5,800)

Mitchell went off for us in this spot last week, going for 137 yards and a touchdown on just 18 carries against a supposedly strong Bears rush defense. The rookie is now averaging 6.77 yards per carry over his last two games and faces off against a banged up Cardinals team, who is allowing 4.9 yards per carry — the second worst mark in the league. Arizona gave up 137 yards on the ground again last week in their first loss of the season, and you know Kyle Shanahan is likely licking his chops, to try and expose this fatal flaw in his division opponent.

Mitchell has now taken well over 60% of the snaps at running back for the 49ers in their last three games, and he returned to a full practice early this week after sitting with some bruised ribs. Despite the great production, opponent and usage, he’s still available at a criminally low price and isn’t trending with a ton of heat in terms of ownership projections. I love doubling down on the bet that we get another big game from him in this spot as the price and sentiment is still in our favor to do so.

Just Missed: Devontae Booker ($5,900)

Wide Receiver

Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns ($7,600)

Unlike last week, where it felt like you had to pay up for one of the two popular wide receivers in Tyreek Hill or Davante Adams, this week at wide receiver, it feels like a good spot to look for some lower-owned potential. If you’ve read this column this year, you know I like targeting the Bengals talent when possible and Chase is set up this week to go well overlooked in a perceived bad matchup against Cleveland. The Browns pass rush is a thing, but they are a little banged up in the secondary (Denzel Ward is still not practicing in full) and they’ve allowed the seventh-most touchdowns and 10th most receiving yards to opposing wideouts.

Big names have found big plays against this offense, as Brandin Cooks, Tyreek Hill and Mike Williams all went for at least 90 yards and a touchdown in matchups against Cleveland. Chase only converted three of his nine targets into receptions last week, but he has an elite 25% target share and very low sentiment that could see him approach under 5% ownership in big GPPs. He goes from a semi-chalky target to a nice contrarian pay-up option for Week 9.

Just Missed: Justin Jefferson ($7,500)

Tight End

Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders at New York Giants ($6,200)

The Raiders offensive players are all trending which will make for a good fade situation — as it’s highly unlikely we’ll see all three receivers and a running back go for 20 or more fantasy points on the same team. The one player I do not want to fade from this group is Waller, who is coming off a two week layoff after missing Week 7 with leg injuries. The extra rest has clearly helped Waller, as he’s not even on the injury report for Week 9.

Waller averaged around 9.5 targets per game last year but has seen that mark fall off a bit in 2021 — he’s averaging just 7.6 through eight weeks. We likely would have seen some positive regression from Waller, but now with the release of Henry Ruggs, the move to last year’s level of targets may come quickly. Waller is going to be popular (as are most of the Raiders) but considering many DFS players won’t want to pair him, Josh Jacobs ($6,200) or Hunter Refrow ($4,800), who are trending toward being two of the most popular plays on the slate, Waller may actually set up as a solid leverage play when you insert him into lineups instead of his aforementioned teammates.

Just Missed: George Kittle ($5,200)


San Francisco 49ers ($2,800) vs. Arizona Cardinals

The 49ers have moved all the way to small favorites on the DraftKings Sportsbooks where they sit at -2.0 after opening around +3.0 for the week. Even if Kyler Murray ($7,800) plays, we saw what he was like last week without any mobility, and it was not good as he turned the ball over twice and also nearly lost a fumble. If Murray can’t play, then Colt McCoy would start, which would make this an even better spot to deploy a cheap San Francisco defense.

The 49ers have settled a bit after a poor start to the year on the defensive side, and haven’t allowed more than 325 yards in their last three games. They’re fifth in the league in yards allowed per pass attempt and have also upped their sack rate of late, which could be all the more vital with an injured Murray or a less mobile quarterback in his spot. If Murray gets ruled out, the sentiment on the 49ers DST will certainly rise, but they’re a good play regardless. They likely won’t be heavily owned at all, if Murray tries and guts it out at less than 100%.

Just missed: New York Giants ($2,700)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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