A whopping six NFL teams are on byes this week, which means your season-long fantasy football lineup probably is a mess.
Rather than try to pick up the pieces, why not just head over to the daily fantasy realm? A full Week 9 lineup once again is ripe with juicy matchups for you to exploit.
Below is our “optimal lineup” for DraftKings’ main Sunday slate (early afternoon and late afternoon games), which allots a $50,000 budget for a roster of nine players.
Quarterback: Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams ($6,000)
Yes, the New Orleans Saints’ defense has improved somewhat and plays better at home. But there should be tons of points in this marquee matchup, and Goff is coming off a three-touchdown performance against the Green Bay Packers last Sunday. He’s a solid QB1 at a relatively cheap price.
Running Backs: Christian McCaffrey, Carolina PanthersÂ ($7,800); Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears ($6,200)
No team in football allows more points per game than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (33.3). That bodes very well for McCaffrey, the most dangerous player in Carolina’s offense who has a chance to put up monster numbers in PPR formats.
Another PPR stud, Cohen gets an enticing road matchup against the Buffalo Bills, who just gave up 10 receptions out of the backfield to New England Patriots running back James White.
Wide Receivers: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints ($7,600); Devin Funchess, Panthers ($5,600); Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos ($3,900)
The Rams have a loaded front seven but are a little more vulnerable in their secondary, and we expect Thomas, who’s averaging 8.3 catches per game, to be the primary beneficiary of Sunday’s shootout in the Superdome.
McCaffrey is the Panthers’ workhorse, but Funchess is right behind him. While Carolina’s No. 1 wideout cooled off a bit last Sunday with just three catches for 27 yards, he should bounce back in a big way against the Bucs’ porous secondary.
The biggest winner of the Demaryius Thomas trade? You could argue it’s Sutton, who should be in line for a lot more targets with the Pro Bowl receiver out of the picture. The Houston Texans present a tough matchup, but Sutton is too good to pass up at this dirt-cheap price.
Tight End: O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4,300)
We’re rolling with Howard for the second straight week, and with good reason: He put up solid numbers early in the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center and has a sneaky good matchup in the Panthers, who have given up the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.
Flex: Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns ($4,500)
Chubb has amassed 38 touches in two games since Cleveland traded away Carlos Hyde, and he should find plenty of room to run versus a Kansas City Chiefs defense that’s allowed double-digit fantasy points to 13 (!!!) different running backs this season.
Defense: Chicago Bears ($4,100)
Here’s a simple formula for choosing a defense: Pick whatever unit is playing Nathan Peterman. The abominable Bills QB will be forced back into action Sunday against Chicago, so you know what to do.