Week 9 is upon us and after a week with no teams on bye, we have four teams getting the week off including the Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers, and Jacksonville Jaguars. On top of that we have teams like the Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers, and New York Jets all off the main slate. That may sound like an absolute nightmare for this slate which is limited to just 10 games this week. So this one is quite similar to Week 7 from just a couple weeks ago. However, that slate was very profitable for a few members of the Fantasy Alarm legion so let’s run it back on this 10-gamer. Here are the D/ST’s to consider for Week 9’s action as we turn the calendar to November.
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NFL DFS D/ST Top Tier Picks
A lot of people will be off the Browns this week. Truthfully, the last few slates have been a little rough for the most expensive D/ST. The Browns are coming off a tough loss to Seattle last week, but they’re back home with the Cardinals coming to town. Kyler Murray remains on IR. If the Arizona Cardinals wanted to preserve him, maybe it’s in their best interest to spare him from having to stare down Myles Garrett. Prior to the Joshua Dobbs trade, head coach Jonathan Gannon even acknowledged that either Clayton Tune or Kyler Murray would get the start so it’s not even a sure thing Murray is activated for this matchup. If Tune gets the start, then we have a rookie quarterback making his first start on the road against a difficult pass rush. This game features one of the lowest implied total on the slate at 37.5 points and the Browns are hilariously favored by eight points so the Cardinals currently have an implied team total of 14.75 points. That may shift if Murray is declared the starter, but this is a good spot for the home team early in the week.
With just 10 games on the slate, and a lot of good teams not available to us, I’m willing to play the Atlanta Falcons even after they were just torched by Will Levis in his debut last week. The Falcons host the Minnesota Vikings who won’t have Justin Jefferson nor Kirk Cousins. To go along with that, Minnesota can’t really run the ball and they just acquired Joshua Dobbs, but they’ll still start Jaren Hall in this matchup, who came on in short relief last week and lost a fumble. Now to signal even more that the Vikings have mailed it in this year, they traded Ezra Cleveland to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday. According to Pro Football Focus, Cleveland has allowed just one sack in his last 366 pass blocking snaps. He’s one of the best interior offensive linemen in the league and the Jags got him for a day three draft pick. Now not everybody may be sold on the Falcons D/ST. But I view this as a similar matchup to Week 1 when they hosted the Carolina Panthers. This will be a rookie quarterback making his debut and he proved he was prone to mistakes even in limited snaps. Now if you want to hang your hat on anything regarding Hall, he was Puka Nacua’s teammate in college and Nacua has surprised us all so far this year. But I’m willing to spend the salary on Atlanta this week. I love the price tag more on DraftKings than FanDuel, but given the landscape of this slate, I’m fine playing them on both sites if you have the salary.
NFL DFS D/ST Mid-Tier Pick
Truthfully, given how ugly this slate is shaping up, I do not even think that highly of Philadelphia in their divisional matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. However, they have a few things going in their favor. For starters, there’s still talent on the defense even if they did drastically under-perform last week against Washington. They only have two takeaways in their last five games, but they did just hold the Miami Dolphins offense to 11 points and 244 yards on offense just two weeks ago. This game does have a high total, but the birds are playing at home. Moreover, they have not been an easy group to run on and that bodes well for them because Tony Pollard just has not been very efficient of late with just 159 rushing yards in his last four games. If you want to either pay up or pay down on this slate, I wouldn’t blame you. The mid-range is somewhat of a barren wasteland this week, but I’m at least intrigued by the Eagles in this matchup where they could be a low-owned contrarian play.
This one is pretty simple as Jon Impemba made a great point in the NFL DFS Discord on Wednesday when discussing the ugliness of this slate. But the Patriots did a great job getting after Tua Tagovailoa last week and the defense has stepped up sans Matthew Judon and Christian Gonzalez. This week the Patriots will be tracking down Sam Howell, who has a lot of variance to his game. Sam Howell takes about five sacks per game on average, and a lot of them are his fault. He tends to hold the ball too long and gives the play too much time to develop and he gets taken down plenty. His completion percentage also drops about six percentage points on the road and he throws for 42 less yards per game away from home as well. The Patriots are currently home favorites (-3.5) in this matchup with an implied total of 40.5 points. The price is pretty tasty on both sites.
NFL DFS D/ST Value Picks
The Vikings are a great value on FanDuel in comparison to their price tag on DraftKings. I wrote up the Falcons but won’t completely ignore the Vikings in this matchup either. Despite the benching, or rather preserving his health last week, Ridder is still listed as the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons. In the last 10 quarters of football where Desmond Ridder was under center, the Falcons have just three touchdowns. They scored two touchdowns in as many quarters with Taylor Heinicke. Arthur Smith just refuses to play the better quarterback. The beauty of this spot for Minnesota is that we know Ridder is turnover prone with six interceptions and six lost fumbles in basically 7.5 games this year. Minnesota’s defense has stepped up lately allowing 40 total points in their last three games with 10 sacks and seven takeaways in that span. Against a turnover-prone quarterback like Ridder, there’s potential here despite being the away team.
We’re going to have to take some risks in this spot. Overall, this slate is pretty ugly. The Seahawks have 26 sacks in seven games but remember, 11 of those came in one game against the New York Giants. Overall though, I do like how Seattle is trending. Over their last four games against the Browns, Cardinals, Bengals, and Giants they’ve allowed just 50 total points and 274 yards per game in that span. But Seattle’s secondary has been tough to throw on so if Baltimore is going to beat them, it should be on the ground. Devon Witherspoon has seen 35 targets as a rookie with just 15 receptions allowed and a 53.2 passer rating. Now to mention, Seattle recently acquired Leonard Williams to bolster the defensive line and hopefully be a big body to just close any holes that open for opposing running backs. It’s not ideal that the Seahawks have to travel cross country for a 1:00pm ET game. But this defense looks to be getting better each week and the acquisition of Williams could pay dividends immediately. If you need a cheap D/ST for Tournaments, I’m fine utilizing Seattle if it means spending up elsewhere, even if they are sizable underdogs.
NFL DFS D/ST Fades
As of Wednesday night, I’m not overly excited about the Las Vegas Raiders, arguably for the same reasons I was off the San Francisco 49ers last week. The Raiders just played on Monday night and have had a short week of preparation for this matchup. This defense has definitely played better at home in a small sample size this year. However, the short week is turning me off and it sounds as if Daniel Jones will be back for the New York Giants this weekend. Andrew Thomas also practiced prior to last week despite ultimately being ruled out. The hamstring injury has derailed his season a bit but if he can go in this matchup that can neutralize the Vegas pass rush a little bit. This game does have a low implied total at 37.5 points and the Raiders are slight favorites, but I could see them struggle in this matchup as the Giants offense gets healthier. Keep an eye on the Giants injury report heading into the weekend because I may change my tune on the Raiders
The Commanders defense took a clear hit earlier this week at the NFL Trade Deadline. Both Montez Sweat and Chase Young were shipped out. So what once was a formidable pass rush for Washington obviously won’t look the same for this game. The implied total sits at 41 points roughly and the Patriots are favored by a field goal. I’m not in the business of playing road underdogs who just traded two talented pieces from their defensive line. Despite 25 sacks in eight games, the Commanders are allowing 27 points per game and 374.1 yards of offense per game. The Patriots aren’t world beaters by any means but the offense has put up 63 points in their last three games and Emmanuel Forbes, Washington’s first-round pick in 2023, has struggled mightily in his first year in the league, but fortunately for him, the Patriots don’t have an elite wide receiver to embarrass him all game. Alas, this isn’t a great spot for Washington as they’ll likely need to lean on their offense to win this matchup.