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DFS: Week 9 top lineup picks and stacks

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By TJ Hernandez, 4for4

Special to Yahoo Sports

Whether you are playing in the biggest tournament of the week on Yahoo or prefer to play in smaller GPPs, there are some general positional strategies that you can implement in any size tournament. These concepts include stacking, finding pivots off of popular players, and looking for leverage in other spots. While it’s important to implement these into your lineup-building approach, the foundation of any tournament lineup is a solid core — usually players you would use in cash games.

Stacks to Target

QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens ($36)

WR Marquise Brown, Ravens ($23)

This stack is a top-three ceiling combination, according to 4for4’s Stack Value Reports, but accounts for just 29 percent of salary compared to about 34% for the top two stacks. While Lamar Jackson doesn’t have the dream matchup of someone like Josh Allen this week, the Ravens have an implied total of 27.5 points, the fourth-highest on the slate.

In addition to Jackson’s rushing ability, his upside is emphasized against a Vikings defense that can be taken advantage of with the deep ball. According to SportsInfoSoultions, only three defenses have faced a higher rate of deep passes (20+ air yards) and it’s on those passes that Minnesota has struggled — they rank 19th in QBR allowed on deep balls but 11th on intermediate passes and sixth against passes under 10 air yards.

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Marquise Brown pops as one of this week’s top breakout candidates based on recent usage, leading all pass-catchers in expected fantasy points over his last three games. In that span, his 26% target share is ninth in the league and his 154 air yards per game leads the league.

QB Justin Herbert, Chargers ($33)

WR Keenan Allen, Chargers ($23)

TE Dallas Goedert, Eagles ($20)

Los Angeles travels to Philadelphia for one of two games on the slate (BAL/MIN) with a total of at least 50 points — the spread is just -1.5, suggesting shootout potential. The concern with that shootout potential is that both defenses funnel fantasy points to running backs. While both defenses have been good against the pass, they both show vulnerabilities against the underneath passing game, hence the pass-catchers in this stack.

Keenan Allen leads the Chargers with 25% of team targets and saw 32% of targets in Week 8 coming out of their bye. Allen ranks 17th in the league in routes run from the slot, where Philadelphia is middle-of-the-pack in yards per target allowed. Meanwhile, Mike Williams has seen his target share decline in recent weeks, coinciding with a huge leap in average target depth. Unfortunately for Williams, teams throw deep against the Eagles at the second-lowest rate of any defense in the league.

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For many of the same reasons that Allen should excel against Philadelphia, Dallas Goedert premiers as the underneath option who can succeed against the Chargers. While LA ranks first in schedule-adjusted points allowed to wide receivers, they are 21st against tight ends. With Zach Ertz out of Philadelphia, only three tight ends have more targets than Goedert over the last two weeks.

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert
Dallas Goedert has been on the upswing since the Zach Ertz trade. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Since both of these defenses filter points to running backs, the backs from this game will be featured heavily in tournaments, so this stack could offer some leverage off of a very popular Austin Ekeler, although Ekeler is viable as an addition to this trio for a full game stack.

RB Devontae Booker, Giants ($15)

TE Darren Waller, Raiders ($23)

One of the most prominent stacks in top tournament lineups this season has been running backs with an opposing pass-catcher. While the Giants are small favorites, New York is at home against a Raiders defense ranked 26th in schedule-adjusted points allowed to running backs. Booker is one of four backs with at least 80% of his team’s backfield touches over the last week and he ranks as a top-two value at his position according to 4for4.

Darren Waller is expected to return to action this week with a salary that is $5 lower than his opening week one. The Giants rank 22nd in schedule-adjusted points allowed to wide receivers but typically limit deep passes. While Waller is technically a tight end, nearly 60% of his routes come while lined up in the slot or out wide, and his 10.9-yard average depth of target better attacks the Giants defense than the high target depths of Bryan Edwards and Zay Jones, who should be starting with Henry Ruggs no longer on the team.

Contrarian Plays to Target

RB Darrel Williams, Chiefs ($14)

After losing out on some goal-line work to Derrick Gore in Week 8 on national TV, DFS players will likely fade Darrel Williams despite his favorable matchup. Even with Gore involved last week, Williams still accounted for nearly two-thirds of Kansas City’s backfield touches. With Aaron Rodgers out for the Packers, the Chiefs are favored by seven points, which should set up a good game script for Williams, who projects as a top-five running back value on 4for4.

TE Kyle Pitts, Falcons ($21)

After the Falcons put up a dud in Week 8, Pitts will likely go overlooked in what could be a popular salary tier at his position (Waller, Andrews, Gesicki, Goedert). The Saints play well against tight ends but are a bottom-five defense against wide receivers; Pitts has run 82% of his routes while lined up wide or in the slot, essentially playing as a WR. The Falcons' tight end is especially intriguing in a mini-correlation with Alvin Kamara.

Cash Game Strategy

With Derrick Henry out for most of the season, Cooper Kupp off the main slate, and Davante Adams catching passes from Jordan Love, there isn’t a top-tier salary player that we have to try to jam into cash lineups this week.

  • QB: Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Jordan Love

  • RB: Austin Ekeler, Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliott, Devontae Booker, Cordarrelle Patterson, Elijah Mitchell

  • WR: Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill, DJ Moore, Brandin Cooks, CeeDee Lamb, Jarvis Landry, Emmanuel Sanders, Kadarius Toney

  • TE: Darren Waller, Dallas Goedert, Mark Andrews, Mike Gesicki, Travis Kelce, Albert Okwuegbunam

  • DEF: Chiefs, Dolphins

This article originally appeared in its full form on 4for4.com

TJ is a former full-time poker player who has been playing fantasy football for more than a decade. After online poker was outlawed, TJ ended his poker career and dedicated himself to fantasy football. His background in poker statistics and analytics translates to success in both daily and season-long fantasy football.

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