Week 9 Monday Night Football
Greetings Gamers! We are wrapping up another exciting week of fantasy football as we crest into the second half of the season. This game has the second lowest projected total of the week behind only the dumpster fire that is the Buffalo Bills hosting the Chicago Bears. There are still contests to play and fun to be had so let’s get into the good stuff!
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Tennessee Titans at Dallas Cowboys -6.5 / 41.0
Tennessee Titans 17.3 implied points
Quarterback – Marcus Mariota will be at the helm of the team with the second lowest implied point total this week, ahead of only the Buffalo Bills (14.0) who are facing the Chicago Bears with Nathan Peterman as their quarterback.
The former Heisman Trophy winner checks in right next to the dregs of the position for Week 9 alongside Case Keenum, Brock Osweiler, the aforementioned Nathan Peterman, Sam Darnold and then at least ahead of situational players such as Lamar Jackson and Taysom Hill.
While we do not think of the Cowboys as a top notch defensive unit – they do have the #5 rushing defense according to Football Outsiders DVOA metric, but they falter against the pass at #23 on the season. The last two weeks they have held firm against Blake Bortles and Alex Smith allowing a combined 29 for 51 327/2/1… so about what we are expecting as a mediocre single game from Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes.
The Titans last played in Week 7 losing to the Los Angeles Chargers in London in a 20-19 heartbreaker. We know that Mariota has once again suffered from a variety of maladies, but the extra week of not getting his ass kicked (suffering 19 sacks in six games with Blaine Gabbert getting taken down an additional three times), but the three, YES THREE passing touchdowns against five interceptions are certainly not going to be offset by his rushing prowess which has garnered an outstanding 185 yards (aka he has been running for his life, literally) with one score and one fumble lost.
Dallas has allowed 195 or less passing yards to four of the seven quarterbacks they have faced (Cam Newton in Week 1 and Russell Wilson in Week 3, in addition to Bortles and Smith). So the one thing that the former University of Oregon signal-caller has going for him is the fact that he is one of two starting quarterbacks in the single game contest player pool.
Running Back – Dion Lewis has outsnapped Derrick Henry 2-to-1 over the last four games and that should continue with Tennessee expected to be playing from behind as underdogs by nearly a full touchdown. As mentioned above, the Cowboys have been solid against the run from an efficiency standpoint as well as from a fantasy perspective allowing the 20th most fantasy points to opposing RBs with just 20.8 carries for 73 yards per game and 8.3 targets for 6.6 receptions and 49.1 yards per game.
Chris Carson was the only 100+ yard rusher thus far with 102 on the ground and 124 total yards and Adrian Peterson (99/8), Alfred Blue (46/73) and Saquon Barkley (28/80) are the other three backs with more than 100+ combined rushing/receiving yards against this unit.
Lewis is at least active in the passing game so on DraftKings in the full-PPR scoring system he does have 33 targets for 29/199/0 on the season – this is more or less a bust on FanDuel with the half-PPR format as he has contributed just 73/277/1 on the ground.
Derrick Henry has not been much better with 84/271/1 on the ground and a paltry 8 targets for 6/49/0 and you can find an article on ESPN.com where the Titans’ brain trust is holding out hope that FB Jalston Fowler can help “unleash” Henry. To that I say “Did the Titans forget they fired “Exotic Smashmouth” architect Mike Mularkey after their playoff appearance last season?”
Wide Receiver – fun fact… Tyreek Hill and George Kittle combined have more receiving yards than the entire Tennessee roster and Michael Thomas and Eric Ebron have more combined targets. If you are in the mood – and heck we need to roster at least one Titan, I rank them as Corey Davis, Tajae Sharp and Taywan Taylor.
Tight End – ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE… with just 31 targets on the season going to this position and just five over the last two games to “leaders” Jonnu Smith and Luke Stocker combined – this is lottery ticket time.
Defense/Special Teams – here is a positive of sorts, the Cowboys have allowed at least three sacks in 5 of 7 games this season (11th most) and while the Titans only have 15 themselves, that is double the Fightin’ Jon Grudens. Since Dallas does not throw the ball much and when they do it is mostly short passes, they have only ceded four interceptions on the season. We need some Monday Night Magic to make this play worthwhile.
Dallas Cowboys 23.8 implied points
Quarterback – Dak Prescott has topped 183 passing yards just three times this season and even the addition of Amari Cooper is not likely to turn things around. Tennessee has been solid with the #17 Football Outsiders DVOA against the pass, but they are a little shaky against the run at #23. On the season Prescott has been decent on the ground with a 40/236/2 line which is comparable to the Titans RBs. Yikes! On the full slate, Dak Attack appears to be solid with a QB14-17 projection – at least until we remember that there are six teams on a bye.
Running Back – Ezekiel Elliot should approach 85-90% for his popularity level in the single game contests and he is a fine play on any other slate where he is included as the RB3-5 in this week’s projections. Tennessee has been vulnerable to opposing rushing game plans with a #23 DVOA and though they have allowed just two 100+ yard running back efforts since the beginning of the 2016 season (Melvin Gordon 196/65/1 combined in Week 9 2016 and Todd Gurley 118/158/2 combined in Week 16 2017) we can join The Masses in rostering Elliott.
Wide Receiver – while the Titans are allowing the 11th most fantasy points to opposing wide recievers this season, only Cole Beasely has topped 200 yards on the season as the leading Cowboys option with 43 targets for 33/350/2. The likely pecking order will be putting names into a hat and drawing out options from Beasely, new addition Amari Cooper and just so we have more than two options let’s included Allen Hurns (28 targets 13/158/1) and rookie Michael Gallup (22 targets for 10/190 and his first NFL touchdown last weekend).
Tight End – if you want a salary saver, since Jason Witten is not in the player pool – and hell, he would be an option if we got him for a buck – sadly we will most likely be without fourth year veteran Geoff Swaim (DOUBT-knee/MCL) who has garnered nearly all of his career stats this season with 24 targets for 19/205/1 (career totals to date 35 targets 28/299/1). This leaves us with Rico Gathers, Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz who have combined for 15 targets on the season. With Swaim playing 90% of the snaps, it is hard to tell which of this trio is most likely to have an edge – keep an eye on news for any nuggets on Monday.
Defense/Special Teams – on the season the Titans have allowed 22 sacks – 11 of which came against the Ravens in Baltimore during Week 6. They have just 8 total giveaways and have yet to cede a return touchdown. That said, hell yeah the Cowboys are in play and make for a nice pairing at home with Ezekiel Elliott in all formats this week.
Summary – for this game we have two approaches with such a low touchdown total… play in the H2H, double/triple/quintuple-ups and single entry 50/50s looking to “play it safe” with Elliott, Prescott and the Dallas D/ST (include kickers on DraftKings) in the hopes that our foes get too cute. Or we can try and get cute ourselves in the hopes of capturing a random 2-TD game from a tertiary wide receiver or backup tight end.
Awesemo’s Showdown Rankings provide an additional look at how to value the player pool – from Alex himself and he is in the middle of quite a Showdown heater on Draftkings >>> premium members click here
Single Game Ranking (taking into account projected production, pricing and popularity)
- Ezekiel Elliott (by far the best option taking the field on Monday night – Dallas fired their offensive line coach Paul Alexander coming out of their bye week – but that should not impact Elliott from being our top option… along with 90% of the other entries in the single game tournaments)
- Dion Lewis (he will find his way onto A TON of our opponents’ rosters, so I want to make sure I have him on most of mine to “get ahead” of those not playing him on DraftKings with the full-PPR scoring)
- Dak Prescott (has been held below 200 yards passing in four of his seven games, the 40/236/2 on the ground cushion some of that drudgery)
- Marcus Mariota (as I have said seemingly a million times in these prime time write-ups – he is one of two starting QBs in the player pool)
- Cole Beasley (will benefit with Geoff Swaim likely out, don’t worry about the addition of Amari Cooper but do worry a little about the potential coverage attention from DB Logan Ryan – we can bet that the 6th year veteran is longing for those New England Super Bowl days)
- Corey Davis (wow, this player list has already thinned out dramatically – at least Davis does have raw talent and there is a chance he will get a couple of red zone opportunities – please note that he has been limited this week in practice with a hamstring injury, but is expected to play without limitiations)
- Dallas D/ST (ideally the extra week has allowed them to work on some new pressure techniques/stunts to use against Marcus Mariota)
- Brett Maher (has seen at least two FGAs in each of his last six games and he is 16 for 18 on the season and a perfect 12 of 12 on PATs)
- Ryan Succop (while the PATs have been few and far between with the veteran kicker nailing all seven attempts on the season – he has had four games without an extra-point opportunity – he has had 2+ FGAs in every week save Week 6 against Baltimore when he did not receive a single point scoring opportunity)
- Amari Cooper (perhaps the change of scenery will do him some good – and we know that Jerry Jones will want to see his new acquisition in action)
- Tajae Sharpe (9 of his 24 targets and nearly half of his receiving yards came in the last game where he was solid with a 7/101/0 stat line)
- Derrick Henry (we can hope that he falls into the end zone – but his 322 TOTAL YARDS ON THE SEASON are quite depressing)
- Tennessee D/ST (see the writeup above, we are looking for a lottery ticket return touchdown)
- Taywan Taylor (just two targets in each of his last two outings – here is one of the guys that could randomly break the slate)
- Michael Gallup and Allen Hurns (coin flip for this duo that will now be competing for limited opportunities with Amari Cooper)
- Jonnu Smith and Luke Stocker (roll the dice and hope you come up lucky)
- Rico Gathers, Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz (damn, single game slates make for strange bedfellows)
- Darius Jennings (9 kickoff returns for a 36.7 yard average and a 94 yard touchdown)
- Rod Smith (hey, maybe he will get his second career touchdown – though former Denver Bronco Rod Smith is probably just as good of a play)
As always, you can reach out to me in Awesemo.com Premium Slack or on Twitter @EMacDFS if you have any questions.
Good Luck Gamers! ~ EMac
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