The NFL Trade Deadline certainly featured more activity than we’ve seen before and plenty of defensive pieces were on the move. Roquan Smith was dealt from the Chicago Bears to the Baltimore Ravens. Bradley Chubb goes from the Denver Broncos to the Miami Dolphins. Even on the offensive side of the ball there was the surprising deal that sent T.J. Hockenson to another NFC North team in the Minnesota Vikings. As the deadline excitement subsides and some players stayed put, we begin preparations for the NFL DFS Week 9 main slate. The mid-week NFL DFS Watch List went live on Tuesday so don’t miss out on Howard Bender’s early DFS targets before his NFL DFS Playbook is released on Saturday, and be sure to stay on top of the NFL DFS Position Coaches as well. Let’s dig into the trenches for the NFL DFS D/ST picks for Week 9.
Be sure to check out the rest of the NFL DFS Coaches and DFS Watch List throughout the week!
NFL DFS D/ST TOP PLAY WEEK 9
Remember in last week’s article how I briefly mentioned how DraftKings was soft on D/ST pricing by maxing out the most expensive team at $4,000? Well they broke the mold this week with the Bills at $4,300. The good news is that very few people are likely playing the Bills as the most expensive D/ST on DraftKings and FanDuel. The Bills D/ST has been good, but not great. That could change this week against the Jets who have lost their identity since Breece Hall’s season-ending injury and they clearly do not trust Zach Wilson enough to really command this offense. Interception opportunities could be few and far between if the Jets are limiting Wilson’s pass attempts. But the Bills will have Tre’Davious White back this week so that’s good news, although he could be limited. There’s an okay floor here and there’s no doubt they’re possibly the safest option on the board. But we can probably save some salary and look elsewhere.
New England Patriots
A little bias? Perhaps. But this is a Bill Belichick defense against a rookie quarterback and for what it’s worth, all we heard last week was how Sam Ehlinger could play as a mobile quarterback. He only attempted 23 pass attempts, rushed for 15 yards, and lost a fumble. Now he goes on the road to New England, and keep in mind, this is an organization that Bill Belichick hates. He has this eternal, unresolved grudge against the Indy little horses and this is still a good defense that picked off Zach Wilson three times last week. Now we likely won’t see as many turnovers because the Colts likely don’t let Ehlinger whip it around the field. But the Colts offensive line is still in rough shape so the sacks should be there for this team. Bake in a little ankle injury to Jonathan Taylor and this is shaping up to be a great matchup for the Patriots defense. The Patriots are top ten in pressure rate, sacks, and turnover rate. As of Tuesday morning, the over/under had been bet down to 39.5 points and the Patriots are 5.5-point favorites.
I haven’t given the Vikings enough love this year, but they’re running away with the NFC North with a 6-1 record. The Commanders showed some life last week against the Colts and they may have found some pep in their step after news broke earlier this week that Dan Snyder is considering selling the team. But Minnesota still ranks top ten in sacks, turnover rate, and tackles for loss. In their last two games against Arizona and Miami, the Vikings yielded ten sacks and six turnovers. Perhaps the Vikings are better than we expected and the matchup this week is favorable, albeit on the road. The Vikings are 3.5-point favorites and the over/under is right around 43.5 points as of Wednesday.
NFL DFS D/ST MID-PRICE PLAYS WEEK 9
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I know a week or two ago I swore off writing up the Bucs, but I will give them one more shot, but this is dependent on practice reports and who is available for Sunday’s game against the Rams. Last week the Bucs were without Sean Murphy-Bunting, Carlton Davis III, Antoine Winfield Jr., and Akiem Hicks. And that was for a Thursday night game so I’m hopeful this defense is in better shape against the Rams with some extra rest. The Rams offense is a mess. They can’t run the ball. They can’t really throw it either. And Cooper Kupp might not be 100% for this game. Matthew Stafford has just three touchdown passes to go with six turnovers in his last five games. If everything aligns for the Bucs this week in terms of getting key pieces back in the secondary, then I have no problem deploying them in DFS.
I won’t go in depth on the Indianapolis Colts, but there’s some appeal here. For starters, the Patriots offense is unspectacular through the air. In three of their last four games, the Colts have held their opponents to 17 or fewer points and Mac Jones is a quarterback that hasn’t quite taken the necessary steps in his second year in the league. The ceiling isn’t tremendous for the Colts, but they probably return six-to-eight points in this matchup. Good, but not great.
NFL DFS D/ST VALUE PLAYS WEEK 9
With only 20 teams to work with on the main slate this week, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities to play Seattle on FanDuel although they are a mid-tier team over there. DraftKings has the Seahawks priced as the fourth-cheapest option in the D/ST pool. In their last matchup (at home) against Arizona, the Seahawks put up 14 fantasy points on the back of six sacks and a pair of turnovers. However, that game didn’t have DeAndre Hopkins in it, so he is obviously a factor we need to account for. But the Seahawks are top ten in sacks and tackles for loss and Kyler Murray is prone to making mistakes. The over/under in this game is quite high at around 49-50 points and the Seahawks are surprisingly underdogs, which I think is a mistake. I love the Tournament upside for this D/ST as long as Hopkins doesn’t go nuclear.
New York Jets
Hear. Me. Out. This is the cheapest D/ST on the board on DraftKings and I don’t hate the punt on FanDuel either. The Jets are massive underdogs (12-13 points depending on the book as of Wednesday). And the total is around 47.5 points. If the Jets were $500-$800 more it’s hard to justify. But especially on DraftKings if you have a roster that you love and you can only afford a $2,000 defense, then why not? I’m not saying the Jets are one of the first pieces you plug in. But if they’re all you can get on DraftKings then I don’t hate the play. They have a great secondary and even last week, their pass rush locked up six sacks against the Patriots. They’ve returned at least seven fantasy points in five straight games. At this price tag I’d be happy with at least four. I do take a little comfort knowing that 1. This is a home game for the Jets, and 2. It’s a divisional matchup so they know Josh Allen and the Bills better than most teams in the league do. It’s a position of variance and anything can happen in this matchup.
Now if neither the Seahawks or Jets do anything for you, then the Washington Commanders are in play as a pivot at home against the Minnesota Wikings. I don’t think the Commanders have a secondary good enough to contain Justin Jefferson, but if Chase Young (who returned to practice this week) is active, then I think the Commanders have some appeal against a quarterback prone to making mistakes.
NFL DFS D/ST FADES WEEK 9
Homefield advantage usually works in Miami’s favor. Their defensive splits are night and day. 14.5 points per game allowed at home, compared to 32.5 on the road. 335.8 yards allowed at home compared to 389.8 yards per game allowed away from South Beach. 11 sacks and seven forced turnovers at home, but only four sacks and zero turnovers on the road. Miami is on the road in Chicago this week to visit the Bears. Now if we’re being honest, the Dolphins have faced some talented offenses on the road. But I still don’t like paying a premium for them in this matchup. They might be in play on FanDuel at just $3,600 but there’s no way you can play them on DraftKings at $3,800. Miami’s a little beat up and it’s not a guarantee that Bradley Chubb suits up to play in his debut. Justin Fields has quietly been turning into a decent fantasy asset the last few weeks. He still isn’t throwing it at a reliable rate, but the Bears are calling more designed run plays for him as he’s rushed for at least 45 yards in six straight games while finding the end zone on the ground in his last two outings. The price is fine on FanDuel, but I don’t see this team putting up much production on either site this week.
NFL DFS Tools