As we drift into the second half of the season, you’re probably starting to pay more attention to your season-long fantasy football roster as you try to put yourself in good position to reach the playoffs.
So while you take care of that, let us help you out some with DFS.
Here’s our Week 9 “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: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings ($6,700)
Cousins has been on fire of late, throwing for eight combined touchdowns over his last three games. The Vikings QB also rarely shoots himself in the foot, as he’s completed 72.1 percent of his passes on the season and only has thrown one interception since Week 3. Cousins is primed for another big outing Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, who feature a rather porous defense. The veteran signal-caller also should benefit from the expected return of Adam Thielen, who was sidelined for Week 8 with a hamstring injury.
Running Backs: Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders ($6,500); Mark Walton, Miami Dolphins ($4,500)
The Raiders opted for more of an aerial attack last week, but they could lean more on Jacobs this Sunday against the Lions. Detroit has allowed the most fantasy points per game to running backs this season and has allowed 120 rushing yards or more in five of seven contests this season. Oakland currently has a question mark at center entering Week 9, but the rookie running back still should be able to shine.
We’ll be honest, starting any Dolphins player is a risk. That said, Walton now is the clear-cut feature back in South Beach in wake of Kenyan Drake heading to the Arizona Cardinals. Not to mention, the New York Jets have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to RBs this season. Walton also is a capable dual-threat, which could set the stage for a bevy of touches this Sunday in Miami.
Wide Receivers: Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks ($7,500); Allen Robinson II, Chicago Bears ($6,800); Robby Anderson, New York Jets ($5,500)
Lockett quietly has been one of the more productive and consistent wideouts this season. The fifth-year pro is averaging nearly six catches per game and undoubtedly has become Russell Wilson’s new favorite target. Seattle will be hungry to avenge its Week 8 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, and it shouldn’t have a ton of trouble doing so against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who’ve only allowed less than 20 points in a game once this season.
Robinson really has been the only bright spot for Chicago’s offense this season. He continues to post a fairly high volume of receptions each week, and Sunday should be no different when the Bears go up against the Eagles, whose secondary is flat-out abysmal. Conversely, Philadelphia features a rather stout run defense, which might force Mitchell Trubisky to look Robinson’s way early and often in the City of Brotherly Love.
Anderson really is a bang-or-bust fantasy player. His stats this season are pedestrian at best — 21 catches for 309 yards with one touchdown — but we’re going to take a chance on him this weekend. Why? Well, the Dolphins are terrible are pretty much everything, and Anderson is more than capable of ripping off multiple chunk plays against one of the league’s two remaining winless teams.
Tight End: T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions ($3,700)
Hockenson has quieted down a bit after his stellar professional debut, but he’s looking like a good play Sunday. The Raiders have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to tight ends this season and are coming off a game in which they allowed two touchdowns to 33-year-old Darren Fells. The Lions received little from their RBs in their first game this season without Kerryon Johnson, so Matthew Stafford should continue to post a high number of pass attempts, some of which should go Hockenson’s way.
Flex: Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs ($4,900)
Watkins was solid in his first game back from injury, catching five passes for 45 yards against a tough Green Bay Packers secondary. The Vikings defense will present a stiff challenge to the struggling Chiefs this Sunday, but we’re banking on Watkins seeing an increase in targets as Minnesota zeroes in on Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.
Defense: Buffalo Bills ($3,800)
Case Keenum still is in the league’s concussion protocol, which likely signals Dwayne Haskins Jr. getting the nod Sunday. A ferocious Bills defense squaring off against a rookie quarterback in Buffalo? Yeah, this one is a no-brainer.
Thumbnail photo via Steven Bisig/USA TODAY Sports Images