2018 RotoWire FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship – Week 9

We are a traumatic eight weeks through the NFL season and the RotoWire FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship continues to chug along! My once red hot selections are starting to cool after peaking at second place ranking among RotoWire experts. I’ve dropped to 13th out of roughly 60 RW experts, putting some side bets in jeopardy. Let’s turn this train around!

Do you think you’re more on top of the trends than the rest of us? Prove it via the RotoWire FanDuel Fantasy Football Championship!

As a reminder, here are the rules: we’re running a $10 contest in each of the first 10 weeks of the season, where the top 150 finishers double their money. Compete against fellow RotoWire readers as well as three experts: Kevin Payne, Jeff Erickson and Derek VanRiper. Beating all three experts in one week earns you a ticket to Week 11’s championship round, where the top 120 scores earn a prize and the top score gets $1,000 and a two-year RotoWire subscription. (I’m good friends with Kevin, Jeff and DVR — you can do this!!!)  Sign up for this week’s contest here.

As I whined about above, the experts here at RotoWire have been running a parallel contest. Joe “alphacool” Bartel took home the victory last week, in part thanks to a 35.7-point performance from Steelers’ RB James Conner (stay home, Bell). The overall leaderboard through eight weeks can be found here. The current top 10 are as follows:

  1. Joel Bartilotta (joelbartilotta)  1091.88
  2. Darin Brown (dasabre)  1090.52
  3. Joshua Fathollahi (jashfath)  1080.98
  4. Joe Bartel (alphacool)  1079.86
  5. Eric Caturia (etcat30)  1071.00
  6. Benjamin Donabedian (jd0505)  1070.96
  7. Andrew Laird (kingmorland)  1068.56
  8. Chris Smith (smithca28)  1059.92
  9. Adam Wolf (rotosomething)  1057.20
  10. Herb Ilk (joecomma)  1050.96

And yours truly is 13th (kencrw) with 1041.38.  I’ll be honest, I have a t-shirt side bet with RW CTO Herb Ilk (curently 10th) — that’s all I really care about.  Angry mano-o-mano battles are sometimes more compelling than large tourneys.  I’m coming after you, Ilk!

Before this week’s recommendations, a quick reminder to check out RotoWire’s lineup optimizer, the best place to go to begin to work out your lineup. It looks to be another high-scoring week, with four games having over/unders north of 50. Note: the Raiders, 49ers, Titans, Cowboys, and the big whopper, Packers and Patriots, all have played in or will play in primetime games this week. And six teams are on bye: Cardinals, Bengals, Colts, Jags, Giants and Eagles.  The pickings are slim.


Top-shelf Studs

RB Kareem Hunt: Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns

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FanDuel Price: $8,500

Yes, this space has recommended Hunt before.  But I can’t ignore one of the main rules of fantasy:  play whoever is facing the Browns.  This is an even more traumatic week in Cleveland than usual, with both HC Hue Jackson and OC Todd Haley asked to collect their things and leave the building.  I don’t see former DC and noted hot head Gregg Williams turning around this ship anytime soon.  The Chiefs are favored -8.0, but I’m expecting an early blowout with game flow dictating lots of second half runs for Mr. Hunt.  The Browns rank 28th against the rush (which is probably more relevant than my babbling above).

WR Adam Thielen: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

FanDuel Price: $8,900

I know what you are saying: “Whoa, K-Train, you’re really going out on a limb here (heavy sarcastic voice)”.  I’ll be honest, I’m far more focused on finding stud bargain players so I can afford top-shelf, reliable studs like Thielen, the number one WR in fantasy.  The Detroit Lakes, MN native is averaging an extremely reliable 21.4 FanDuel fantasy points per game over his last four contests. Sure, the Vikes will also pound the Lions via the running game (see below), but I’m expecting some delicious red zone targets for the 6’2″ undrafted star.

Mid-price options

QB Russell Wilson: Seattle Seahawks vs Los Angeles Chargers

FanDuel Price: $7,00

This is a case of playing the hot hand, as Wilson has averaged 21.7 fantasy points over his past three contests.  The passing volume is low, but the Seahawks still look to Wilson’s arm when they enter the red zone.  The Chargers’ D is coming off patsies from the past four weeks: 49ers, Raiders, Browns and Titans.  In other words, its been quite some time since they’ve faced a top-shelf veteran QB and I expect them to be rusty. Frankly, with that soft schedule, the LAC Defense should be embarrassed to be ranked only 17th.

RB Philip Lindsay: Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns

FanDuel Price: $6,700

The speedy, undrafted rookie could arguably be Denver’s most potent weapon.  He’s coming off an 18.7 point performance against the admittedly poor KC defense.  But with Demaryius Thomas now playing for the Texans, I’m expecting more targets for Lindsay (and Sutton).  I’ve got Lindsay and Latavious Murray (also $6,700, facing DET’s last place rush defense).

WR Sammy Watkins: Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns

FanDuel Price: $6,700

As of this writing, Tyreek Hill was listed as questionable for Sunday’s contest due to a groin injury.  That same injury resulted in only four targets for Hill last week and he limited in practice on Thursday.  Look for Mahomes to again look to Hill’s counterpart, Sammy Watkins, who’s coming off a two TD, 107 yard performance.  Yes, the K-Train might be chasing points, but I can’t stress this enough, the Chiefs are playing the Browns. And $6,700 is a pretty delicious price.


QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers

FanDuel Price: $7,100

It’s the FitzMagic Hype Machine ridiculous?  Yes it is. But $7,100 for a high upside QB on a team with no running game is just too tempting to pass up.  Cam Newton is the chalk play, with many expecting the Panther’s to light it up versus the terrible Buccaneer passing defense.  That means Fitzy will be chucking-and-ducking to keep up and I just can’t resist the cheap price tage.

TE OJ Howard: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers

FanDuel Price: $6,000

See the FitzMagic logic above.  Howard’s price is being deflated due to a knee issue resulting in poor play earlier this season.  But over the last three weeks he has two TD’s, 13 receptions and 197 yards.  More importantly, Carolina has also given up the most fantasy points to TE’s over season-to-date.

Pricey Star to Avoid

WR Antonio Brown: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens

FanDuel Price: $8,800

Brown is obviously solid, but he’s coming off dream match-ups with CLE, CIN and ATL. This week he’s facing the Ravens’ 2nd best ranked pass defense, a squad that’s given up the fourth least amount of fantasy points per game to WR’s.  Also, while I know Big Ben is playing, I’ve got to assume the fractured finger on his non-throwing hand might cause some problems.  At this price, I want everything to be pointing in a positive direction, and that simply isn’t the case for AB in Week 9.

That’s it for Week 9 — enjoy your Sunday!!!