For each of the featured games, typically Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football slates, we will provide free analysis for the single-slate action on DraftKings and FanDuel. This will include team capsules, player rankings, comments and NFL DFS picks for today. There are loads of information and NFL DFS Showdown picks to get into for both DraftKings and FanDuel on this Week 9 Sunday Night Football slate featuring the Tennessee Titans at the Los Angeles Rams.
NFL DFS Showdown Picks: Week 9 Sunday Night Football
The big news for Tennessee of course is that Derrick Henry (foot) is likely to miss the next three months and potentially the rest of the season depending on how he recovers from surgery on his foot. Fullback Khari Blasingame (knee) and running back Darrynton Evans are the injured reserve and guard Nate Davis is also unavailable.
Shockingly Julio Jones is not on the injury report, though we are all aware of his hamstring issues and A.J. Brown (knee) is questionable but expected to play. For Los Angeles, Robert Woods (foot) and Matthew Stafford (back) both got in a limited practice on Friday but should be good for Sunday Night Football. Linebacker Von Miller joined the team at the trade deadline, though he is going to be a game time decision with an ankle issue.
Ryan Tannehill and the passing game are going to have their work cut out for them against the Rams defense. Over the last few seasons the Titans have been very efficient through the air, however, that was in large part due to the threat of Henry on the ground. Los Angeles has the 9th best overall DVOA with the 8th best rating against the pass and the 18th against the run so far this season. In half of the games this season Tannehill has 265+ passing yards, though he has only two multi-touchdown games and a pair of outings without an aerial score. In the red zone he is nimble and has three rushing scores. Tonight the pressure will be on him all game.
D’Onta Foreman was signed to the practice squad and he did play in six games for the Titans last year so he will have more familiarity with the offense than veteran Adrian Peterson who also was signed this week. This will be the fifteenth campaign for Peterson who has been nomadic over the last five seasons plying his craft with five different teams. This spring he turns 37-years old and while his best days are well behind him, he is going to be fresh tonight.
Jeremy McNichols will likely draw the start as the only running back on the roster who has played for Tennessee this season after Mekhi Sargent was released to make room for Peterson and Foreman. Compared to Henry, McNichols is considered the passing down back, though he is adequate in the rushing game. Tonight will mark the 26th game of his career despite being in the league for five seasons and playing for four franchises.
A.J. Brown and Julio Jones are going to need to have above average games if the Titans have any hopes for the upset tonight. Since Week 2, Los Angeles has allowed a wide receiver to top 60+ yards in seven straight games. All told, 10 different wideouts, two tight ends and one running back have reached this arbitrary milestone. This duo should at a minimum see half a dozen targets each and both are likely to flirt with double digits, depending on game flow. In games where this pairing was able to take the field together, the remaining wideouts collectively saw more than six targets only once in six games.
Anthony Firkser (17), Geoff Swaim (16) and MyCole Pruitt (12) have a near even split on tight end targets this season. There are no consistent trends to rely on either with this trio each seeing 7-8 targets in the last four games. Firkser did miss Weeks 2 and 3, but as we can see with the four week isolated timeframe that Swaim played about 60% of the snaps as the best blocker, with Pruitt not far behind at 45-50% and Firkser seeing action 30% of the time. Firkser and Pruitt are punt options on DraftKings coming in with a $2,000 discount compared to Swaim. On FanDuel only $500 separates the trio so let personal preference and overall popularity guide your decisions.
Los Angeles has allowed a league low eight sacks this season while Tennessee is getting just over two per game. The Rams have suffered only seven turnovers and the Titans have had 1.4 takeaways per tilt.
Six opposing quarterbacks have had multi-touchdown games against the Titans including rookie Trevor Lawrence who had one passing and one rushing score. Matthew Stafford should be able to pick apart this middle of the road passing defense while also relying on the Rams strong rushing game.
Darrell Henderson has been a steady contributor this season and while he has not surpassed 90 rushing yards in any game, he is in the top ten with 72.4 rushing yards per game along with 17+ receiving yards in six of eight appearances with seven combined touchdowns. Tennessee has been a bottom-five team against the rush this season which bodes well for another strong game from Henderson.
Sony Michel will likely see action on 20-30% of the snaps and while he is a red zone threat, over the last four games Henderson has 18 red zone opportunities compared to nine for Michel and of course coach Sean McVay loves to pass near the goal line as well.
Robert Woods was limited in practice this week with a foot injury, but is expected to take the field for Sunday Night Football. In the event he is out, that will consolidate the opportunities between Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson. Kupp is tied with Tyreek Hill with 90 targets and he is behind only Deebo Samuel with 115.5 receiving yards per game. He has been active on all three levels topping the leaderboard with 10 touchdowns, 15 20+ yard receptions and 41 first downs.
Keep in mind that veteran DeSean Jackson was released per his request which keeps this trio as the main focus in the passing game. Van Jefferson has 4+ targets in each of his last six games and is reasonably priced on both sites.
Tyler Higbee has 36 targets this season which is fourth on the team. Johnny Mundt is the only other tight end with a target and he has just one. One-third of Higbee’s opportunities have come in the red zone and while he has not topped 50+ yards since Week 1, he does have 4+ receptions in five games.
Each team averages just over a turnover per game, though that number likely will go up for the Titans without Henry rushing the ball 25+ times per game. The Rams lead the league with 25 sacks while Tennessee has the fourth most sacks allowed at three per tilt.
Sunday Night Football Single-Game NFL DFS Strategy
The rankings below are best utilized for building out single-entry and three-max lineups and for head-to-head and three-man formats. They provide a nice barometer for player value, but for those taking the MME approach, remember that correlation is key. This means matching a receiver or two with a quarterback in the Captain/MVP slot. This also works conversely with pairing a Captain/MVP pass catcher with their quarterback.
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Week 9 Sunday Night Football NFL DFS Rankings
Top 10 NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Cooper Kupp: Needs 100+ yards and a score to be worthwhile, fortunately he has 96+ yards and a score in six of eight games, with two touchdowns in four of those performances.
- Darrell Henderson: Solid salary and contributes in all facets of the game.
- Matthew Stafford: Big reason for the transcendent season by Kupp.
- Ryan Tannehill: Likely will have a hand in every score for the Titans. Nine rushing touchdowns in his last 15 games.
- A.J. Brown: Best remaining playmaker for the Titans, he has health concerns along with Jones.
- Adrian Peterson: Salary is nice, though also appropriate for someone likely to see 10-12 opportunities.
- Matt Gay: Only two from 50+ in his last 15 games, but he did make both. This season 14 of 15 on FGA and 27 of 28 on PATs.
- Julio Jones: In-game injury of his hamstring is in play, though it is nice that he does not have any designations tonight.
- Robert Woods: Just a tick below Julio with his slightly higher salary.
- Van Jefferson: Reasonable salary and decent opportunity for half a dozen targets have him rounding out the top ten.
Secondary NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Jeremy McNichols: Salary indicative of a lead back, will get the passing work but at best half the carries with Peterson and Foreman lurking in the weeds.
- Tyler Higbee: Targets are there, yardage is missing – still a threat in the red zone.
- Randy Bullock: slightly above average kicker with regards to accuracy, only 16 attempts from 50+ in last 66 games.
- Los Angeles D/ST: DraftKings is charging a premium for this matchup.
- Sony Michel: Hoping for a touchdown or mop up duty.
Lottery Ticket NFL DFS Showdown Picks
- Anthony Firkser, Geoff Swaim and MyCole Pruitt: Truly a three-way tie.
- Marcus Johnson, Chester Rogers, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Josh Reynolds: Rogers returns kicks, Reynolds in a “Remember Me?!” game and Johnson recently in the mix – all are behind Brown, Jones and the tight end.
- Tennessee D/ST: Meh.
- Ben Skowronek: First career targets last week with the departure of DeSean Jackson.
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