Whether you've played Daily Fantasy on Yahoo before or are giving it a try for the first time, this weekly column will take a look at the DFS landscape, revealing whom I like building lineups around, stars to fade, undervalued plays and bargain-bin options to help you construct a better team.
Lineup building blocks
Saquon Barkley ($30) @ Las Vegas Raiders
Barkley led the NFL in rushing yards (128) last week despite his team finishing with the fewest passing yards (-9) in NFL history. He saw a whopping 41 opportunities and has moved to second among running backs in expected fantasy points per game. New York’s offense should get a boost with the return of (a hopefully healthier) Daniel Jones as well as tackles Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal.
The Giants get a Raiders defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs and the second-most EPA/rush. Barkley is a building block on a DFS slate missing many of the usual top options.
CeeDee Lamb ($35) @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Cowboys came out of their bye using far more motion and finally made Lamb the focal point of their offense. It resulted in their best performance of the season. He led all receivers with a 41% target share and scored twice against a Rams secondary that hadn’t allowed a touchdown to a receiver since Week 1. Considering how well Dallas played, and how disappointing Tony Pollard and Michael Gallup have looked, Lamb figures to continue to be targeted heavily moving forward.
He gets a favorable matchup this week against a pass-funnel Eagles defense that’s the toughest in the league against the run but allows the most fantasy points to wide receivers. Opponents are also averaging the second-most pass attempts versus Philadelphia this season. Lamb is a strong DFS building block in Week 9.
Alvin Kamara ($31) vs. Chicago Bears
Kamara has relied on volume over efficiency this season unlike the rest of his career, but fantasy managers aren’t complaining. He leads all RBs in expected fantasy points per game and somehow has seven more receptions than any other running back despite missing the first three games of the season. Kamara gets to play indoors this week against a Bears defense allowing the most receiving yards and the most receiving touchdowns to running backs this year. The Saints are more than touchdown home favorites and have one of the highest implied team totals this week, making Kamara a top DFS option.
Star to Fade
Cooper Kupp ($31) @ Green Bay Packers
Kupp is coming off back-to-back quiet games, which would normally mean a good time to target him. But Matthew Stafford’s thumb injury is a real issue. The quarterback looks like a game-time decision, and he’ll be compromised at best. Backup Brett Rypien has gotten just 5.9 YPA with a 4:8 TD:INT ratio throughout his career and would be a major downgrade. The Rams had the lowest pass rate over expectation over the last three weeks even before Stafford’s injury. The Packers are vulnerable against the run but have held slot receivers to the 10th-fewest fantasy points in the league.
Jonathan Taylor ($27) @ Carolina Panthers
Taylor had 94 rushing yards at halftime last week, and then oddly saw just one carry afterward. Shane Steichen explained the lack of usage as a product of game flow, but it’s safe to expect a correction in Week 9. Zack Moss continues to play well and will take touches but expect a heavier workload from Taylor moving forward. He finally has his legs under him after getting a late start to the season, and don’t forget — this is one of the three best running backs in football.
Taylor gets a Panthers defense this week allowing the second-most fantasy points to running backs, the second-most rushing touchdowns and by far the most EPA/rush. Colts’ matchups are averaging the most combined snaps per game, so Taylor is a strong fantasy DFS play in Week 9.
Davante Adams ($21) @ Las Vegas Raiders
Adams remains one of the league’s best receivers and should benefit from Las Vegas cleaning house. A new coach and play-caller can’t hurt, and the same could be said about Jimmy Garoppolo being benched. Aidan O’Connell was a sack machine during his first start but impressed during the preseason. It's a small sample, but Adams has a 25% target share from AO'C this season compared to 12% for Jakobi Meyers. The Raiders get a home matchup against a Giants defense that’s been defending the run far better lately, so expect 10+ targets for a frustrated Adams. He’s undervalued with a DFS salary falling outside the top-10 wide receivers.
Chuba Hubbard ($16) vs. Indianapolis Colts
Hubbard acted as Carolina’s clear lead back coming out of the team’s bye and with a new play-caller last week. He had 15 carries to just two for Miles Sanders, who returned healthy but saw limited snaps and ran the wrong route on a fourth down. Hubbard has been the better back all season while ranking top 10 in rush yards over expectation and more than doubling Sanders’ broken-tackle rate. Hubbard also led the league with three carries inside the five-yard line last week, when he finished top 10 in RB fantasy usage. Hubbard gets a shaky Colts run defense this week allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs and an NFL-high 15 rushing touchdowns.
Bryce Young ($20) vs. Indianapolis Colts
Young played the best game of his career coming out of the bye and with a new play-caller last week. He took too many sacks but continues to show real growth after a shaky NFL start. He gets a home matchup that should be fast-paced (the Colts lead the league in no-huddle rate) against an Indy defense that’s yielding the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Young is a sneaky DFS play at the minimum this week.