Fantasy News & Analysis

NFL Week 9 DFS Cheat Sheet: Five recommended plays for all contests

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14) catches a practice pass before playing the Detroit Lions at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons QB Marcus Mariota: The signal-caller has earned a 67.6 PFF grade and should be ready to rip up the Los Angeles Chargers’ awful run defense (53.2 PFF run-defense grade). 

Carolina Panthers WR D.J. Moore: The Cincinnati Bengals secondary has been destroyed by injuries, and Moore (70.8 PFF receiving grade) is coming to town.

Miami Dolphins RB Jeff Wilson Jr.: The recently acquired Wilson (74.9 PFF rushing grade) has a chance to start in Week 9.

Estimated Reading Time: 9 mins

NFL Week 9 action is here. Here are five recommended plays to help you win big in DraftKings GPP and cash game competitions.


  • The Atlanta-Los Angeles 49.5-point over/under is tied for the week’s highest game total on BetMGM.
  • Atlanta has a 23.25-point implied team total.
  • PFF’s ownership projections put Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota at a 3.0% expected rostership rate, 13th-highest on the Sunday slate. He is a contrarian GPP tournament option.
  • Mariota racked up 12 rush attempts in Week 2 and has averaged 6.0 rush attempts per game since.
  • His 280 total rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns are both top-seven marks at the position.
  • Per PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart, Los Angeles is allowing 1.88 rushing yards before contact, the most in the NFL. 
  • The table below ranks, in parentheses, Los Angeles’ run-defense statistics among NFL teams
PFF Rushing Grade Missed Tackles Stops Tackles for Loss/No Gain Avg. Depth of Tackle % of Negatively Graded Plays
53.2 (13th-worst) 37 (14th-most) 91 (12th-fewest) 31 (T-11th-fewest) 4.35 (16th-most) 65.5% (6th-highest)
  • Los Angeles has not forced a fumble against the run.
  • Defensive tackle Jerry Tillery (back) is unlikely to play after missing practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
  • The table below ranks Mariota, in parentheses, among NFL quarterbacks with at least 25 rush attempts
Missed Tackles Forced/Rush Att. Yds After Contact/Rush Att. Runs of 10+ Yards Stuff Rate
0.11 (T-No. 5) 2.2 (No. 6) 11 (T-No. 5) 5.6% (No. 4)
  • Mariota has converted three-of-four goal-to-go rush attempts for touchdowns.
  • PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart projects wide receiver Drake London (83.4 PFF receiving grade) to face backup cornerback Michael Davis (59.1 PFF coverage grade) on 27-of-53 offensive snaps and gives London an excellent 88.8 matchup advantage rating. 
  • Davis has allowed a 75.0% catch rate, starting in relief of J.C. Jackson (injured reserve). 
  • It is possible Los Angeles head coach Brandon Staley asks cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. to shadow London, but Samuel has frequently been asked to track No. 2 wide receivers. Regardless, London's 83.4 top-five PFF receiving grade among 82 NFL wide receivers with at least 25 targets communicates his talent superiority over Samuel, whose 62.5 PFF coverage grade ranks 43rd among 69 NFL cornerbacks with at least 200 coverage snaps


  • Carolina sits as a 7.5-point road underdog against Cincinnati, which should facilitate a pass-heavy game script for No. 1 wide receiver D.J. Moore.
  • The Cincinnati Bengals’ secondary has been decimated by injuries over the past two weeks. 
No. 1 Chidobe Awuzie (likely torn ACL) No. 2 Eli Apple (hamstring) Slot Mike Hilton (finger) No. 4 Tre Flowers (hamstring)
Wed. Practice Designation Did Not Participate Limited Participant Did Not Participate Did Not Participate
Thu. Practice Designation Did Not Participate Full Participant Did Not Participate Did Not Participate
Fri. Practice Designation Unknown (Likely DNP) Unknown Unknown Unknown
  • Per Ian Hartitz’s Week 9 WR/CB shadow matchups and biggest mismatches article, Cincinnati had been asking Awuzie to shadow No. 1 wide receivers while Apple shadows the No. 2. Cincinnati may ask Apple to shadow Moore, but Moore is a far superior player.
  • The table below ranks Apple, in parentheses, among 69 NFL cornerbacks with at least 200 coverage snaps
PFF Cov. Grade Catch % Allowed Forced Inc. % Passer Rating Allowed Rec. Yds Allowed/Cov. Snap Open Tgt %
39.5 (69th, last) 65.5% (25th-highest) 6.9% (19th-lowest) 108.1 (T-14th-highest) 1.13 (T-25th-highest) 51.7% (T-22nd-highest)
  • Moore and starting quarterback P.J. Walker amalgamated over the past two weeks. The table below ranks Moore, in parentheses, among 46 NFL wide receivers with at least 10 targets in Weeks 7 and 8
PFF Rec. Grade Explosive Pass Plays  Contested Catch % Yds/Route Run Tgts per Route Run %
79.9 (No. 8) 7 (T-No. 3) 66.7% (T-No. 14) 3.62 (No. 3) 34.4% (No. 3)
  • Moore’s 21 targets, 13 receptions, 221 receiving yards, two touchdowns and nine receiving first-downs gained are all top-five marks.
  • Cincinnati backup rookie cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt (47.8 PFF coverage grade) has played 38 snaps this year. Fellow rookie cornerback Jalen Davis has not made his NFL debut. 


  • Detroit versus Green Bay offers a week-high 49.5-point over/under.
  • Detroit has a 23.0-point implied team total.
  • Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (75.8 PFF receiving grade) is recommended in both cash games and GPP tournaments. 
  • PFF’s ownership projections have him at a 5.3% rostership rate — just the 20th-highest rate on the Sunday slate. 
  • PFF’s WR/CB matchup chart projects St. Brown to face Green Bay Packers slot cornerback Rasul Douglas on 28-of-37 receiving snaps.
  • From Weeks 4-8, both Douglas’ 52.8 PFF coverage grade and 1.41 receiving yards allowed per coverage snap ranked 17th-worst among NFL cornerbacks with at least 100 coverage snaps, and his four missed tackles tied for the third-highest sum.
  • St. Brown was missing plays due to an ankle injury in Weeks 5-7 but rocketed back up to a 40-snap showing in Week 8. 
  • Detroit general manager Brad Holmes traded away 2020 Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson just before the NFL’s trade deadline.
  • Hockenson’s 8.2-yard average depth of target was St. Brown’s (5.4-yard average) primary competition for short-area targets. 
  • Both wide receiver Josh Reynolds (back) and running back D’Andre Swift (ankle/shoulder) are questionable to play. 
  • St. Brown’s 30.8% targets per route run rate is No. 3 among 82 NFL wide receivers with at least 25 targets. Given Hockenson’s absence and the injury designations for Swift and Reynolds, that rate is likely to rise. St. Brown has a chance to push for a league-high target total in Week 9. 
  • St. Brown’s 2.16 yards per route run ranks 12th among qualifying NFL wide receivers
  • Detroit’s offensive line had been pummeled by injuries early in the year, leading to a 59.1 PFF pass-blocking grade. After their Week 6 bye, Lions blockers have improved to a 66.9 PFF pass-blocking grade.
  • St. Brown is the No. 2 player on Josh Hermsmeyer’s Week 9 Air Yards Buy-Low Model


  • The Miami Dolphins are 4-point road favorites against the Chicago Bears. The game offers fantasy managers a 45.5-point over/under.
  • Miami general manager Chris Grier sent a 2023 fifth-round draft pick to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for fifth-year veteran running back Jeff Wilson Jr. 
  • Miami head coach Mike McDaniel, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, worked as San Francisco’s run game coordinator (2018-2020) and offensive coordinator (2021) for the first four years of Wilson's career. 
  • McDaniel has worked with, or under, current San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan for 13 years of his 17-year career.
  • McDaniel has successfully implemented the famed Shanahan run game in Miami, leaning heavily on outside zone, inside zone and power concepts. 
  • The table below ranks, in parentheses, the frequency with which Miami and San Francisco employ various run game concepts among NFL teams
Run Game Concepts Outside Zone % Inside Zone % Power %
Miami Dolphins 35.0% (T-No. 6) 23.0% (No. 12) 8.0% (T-No. 18)
San Francisco 49ers 35.0% (T-No. 6) 17.0% (No. 21) 10.% (T-No. 11)
  • Though Miami running back Raheem Mostert played well enough to overtake Chase Edmonds (55.4 PFF rushing grade) for the No. 1 role, Wilson is a slightly more productive rusher than Mostert. 
Miami Dolphins RBs PFF Rush Grade Rush Att. – Yds – TD – Fum. Yds/Rush Att.  Missed Tackles Forced Rushing Yds After Contact/Rush Explosive Rushes
Jeff Wilson Jr.  74.9 92 – 468 – 2 – 1 5.1 0.13 2.9 13
Raheem Mostert 72.2 101 – 452 – 1 – 0 4.5 0.19 3.1 14
  • Mostert has the edge as a pass-catcher, though. 
Miami Dolphins RBs PFF Rec. Grade Rec./Tgt. – Yds – TD – Fum. Missed Tackles Forced Receiving Explosive Pass Plays Yds After Catch/Rec. Per-Route %: Tgts – Yds
Jeff Wilson Jr.  48.5 10/13 – 91 – 0 – 1 2 1 7.2 11.5% – 0.81
Raheem Mostert 57.4 13/19 – 97 – 1 – 0 6 2 6.5 11.3% – 0.58
  • While Wilson has hardly been an iron man, Mostert has suffered two high-ankle sprains, two Grade 2 MCL sprains, a patellar tendon sprain, a broken arm, a meniscal tear and cartilage damage since 2018, among other injuries. 
  • Given Wilson’s familiarity with the rushing scheme and the 30-year-old Mostert’s lengthy injury history, it would make sense for McDaniel to immediately deploy Wilson as the featured rusher, with Mostert operating as a change-of-pace/passing-down specialist.
  • Miami’s offensive line earned a 28.0% PFF run-blocking matchup advantage rating over Chicago’s defensive line in PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart, good for the third-best matchup edge of the week. 
  • Chicago’s team 40.5 PFF run-defense grade, 45 missed tackles and 66.0% negatively graded run-play rate are all bottom-five marks.
  • PFF ownership projections put Mostert ($6,000) at an extremely chalky 16.9% rostership rate this weekend, sixth-highest on the Week 9 slate. Wilson garnered just a 3.0% rostership rate. 
  • The unknown usage element brings both pitfalls and leverage. Consider Wilson. a difference-making running back option in GPP formats. He should only be thought of as the utmost differentiator pick in cash games. 


  • Seattle boasts a helpful 23.5-point implied team total despite being 2-point road underdogs to Arizona this week. 
  • Perhaps due to his ongoing patellar tendon strain or his career-long failure to clear 60 receiving yards against the Cardinals, Seattle wide receiver D.K. Metcalf (75.6 PFF receiving grade) is projected to have just a 4.6% rostership rate this weekend, per PFF’s ownership projections. The typically chalky wide receiver is a top-tier candidate for both GPP and cash game usage.
  • Arizona has played musical chairs with its perimeter cornerbacks due to poor play and injuries. On the whole, Arizona’s team 49.5 PFF coverage grade is second-worst in the NFL. 
  • The table below ranks Arizona’s pass coverage statistics among NFL teams
Catch % Allowed NFL Passer Rating Allowed Rec. Yards Allowed per Coverage Snap Explosive Pass Plays Allowed %
74.1% (7th-highest) 107.4 (7th-highest) 6.67 (9th-highest) 15.6% (6th-highest)
  • Arizona’s explosive pass play allowed rate is Metcalf’s ticket to paradise, as starting free safety Budda Baker (ankle, 63.6 PFF coverage grade) failed to practice on both Wednesday and Thursday. Even if active, which he is unlikely to be, Baker would be hobbled. 
  • Backup Chris Banjo (65.5 PFF coverage grade) is a career special teamer who has just eight coverage snaps to his name this year. Over the course of his nine-year career, Banjo has played triple-digit coverage snaps in a season just twice.
  • Cornerbacks Byron Murphy Jr. (63.0 PFF coverage grade), Marco Wilson (47.5 PFF coverage grade) and Antonio Hamilton (67.5 PFF coverage grade) have started for Arizona over the past two weeks. Among 72 NFL cornerbacks with 40-plus coverage snaps during that span, Murphy Jr.’s 137.5 NFL passer rating allowed is seventh-highest, Wilson’s six first downs allowed is tied for fifth-most and Hamilton’s 3.17 receiving yards allowed per coverage snap is the highest mark.
  • Hamilton’s 6.5% explosive pass play allowed rate places fourth-highest.
  • Metcalf has 10 explosive pass plays, tied for 23rd among NFL 30 NFL wide receivers with at least 50 targets, but the three following statistics indicate the big plays are on their way. Metcalf’s 74 receiving yards after contact ties for a top 15 figure, his 2.03 yards per route run is a top-12 mark and his 26.6% targets per route run rate ranks top five. 
  • Metcalf is the No. 4 player in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Week 9 Air Yards Buy-Low Model.

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