The Secret Stars weekly article isn't suggesting the lineup you should use this week, rather its purpose is to identify players who represent extreme value at their current salaries for the week. Selecting these players will give you an opportunity to use such players as Todd Gurley and Patrick Mahomes in your lineups. Here are our Secret Stars for Week Nine:
QB Jared Goff $6,000 @ NO – Heavy exposure to the likely shootout between the Rams and Saints is a must in Week 9 lineups. There is a huge 60-point Over/Under assigned to this game and both teams should attack via the pass against struggling secondaries. New Orleans ranks 30th in DVOA pass defense and second against the run, so the Rams should attack through the air with Todd Gurley doing damage as a receiver once again. Cooper Kupp (knee) is expected to return and Goff averaged 345.5 passing YPG over his first five starts this year with Kupp in the lineup. The Saints have given up 331.3 passing YPG and a 130.1 passer rating over 3 home games this season and Drew Brees is sure to produce on the other side, forcing Goff to log more pass attempts.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick $5,500 @ CAR – In just over a quarter of play, Ryan Fitzpatrick produced 194 yards, two TDs and posted a nearly perfect 154.9 passer rating last Sunday. He's earned the starting job over a struggling Jameis Winston and should have a decently long leash in a road game at Carolina. Despite solid play from top CB James Bradberry, the Panthers rank 26th in DVOA pass defense. They rank 25th in DVOA pass defense against No. 2 receivers and 29th against opposing TEs, while Fitzpatrick's favorite targets have been speedster DeSean Jackson and breakout second-year TE O.J. Howard. Mike Evans will tangle with Bradberry and could get neutralized to a degree, but FitzMagic will find a way to produce in this divisional matchup.
RB Adrian Peterson $6,000 vs. ATL – We'll have to watch the Redskins injury report this week with both Chris Thompson (ribs) and Kapri Bibbs (shoulder) very much questionable for a juicy matchup at home. One of those backs will serve as a great option in PPR formats if the other is inactive, but Adrian Peterson is looking at an increased workload regardless. The Falcons league-worst defense can be attacked at all levels, and is giving up the most receptions (70) and receiving yards (619) to opposing RBs this season. Atlanta's also coughed up seven rushing TDs to backs and Peterson is the unquestioned focal point of a run-heavy Washington offense. With the Redskins defense playing great, positive game flow could allow AP to see 20-plus carries as he has the last two weeks.
RB Latavius Murray $5,100 vs. DET – Provided Dalvin Cook (hamstring) remains out in the Vikings' final game before a Week 9 bye, Latavius Murray will be a great mid-tier option. Minnesota used several ball carriers in a loss to New Orleans on Sunday night, but Murray maintained a stranglehold on goal-line work, punching in his fourth TD over his last three appearances. With the Vikings hosting arguably the worst run defense in the league (Detroit ranks 30th in DVOA rush defense), Murray is in line for another solid outing in terms of yardage and another potential score or two. He's averaging 5.38 YPC in his last three starts and deserves to be a focal point in this matchup.
WR D.J. Moore $4,300 vs. TB – The Panthers offense has “weapons all over the field” in the words of Cam Newton, and those weapons could all produce against the Bucs league-worst pass defense. Tampa has allowed the most passing TDs (20) with just one interception and ranks dead last in DVOA pass defense. The Bucs' Tampa 2 style defense leaves them vulnerable over the middle and they lost slot CB Vernon Hargreaves (shoulder) for the season. M.J. Stewart was starting in the slot, but he's questionable now. D.J. Moore continues to see more work in the Panthers offense and his individual matchup is superior to that of Devin Funchess on the outside.
WR T.J. Jones $3,000 @ MIN – Because of their struggles in run defense, Lions games have followed a similar script. Minnesota should help this game turn into a back-and-forth passing affair considering the Vikings average the third-most pass attempts (42.6) per game. Minnesota is allowing the third-most pass plays of 20-plus yards (34) this season and Detroit has a better bet of hitting explosive plays over the middle, provided Xavier Rhodes is back on the outside to contain Kenny Golladay or Marvin Jones. With Golden Tate traded to Philadelphia, T.J. Jones should step in as the Lions primary slot receiver. The Vikings lost rookie slot CB Mike Hughes (knee) for the year and Jones should have little trouble hitting value if this contest follows a negative game script.
TE O.J. Howard $4,300 @ CIN – As mentioned above, the Panthers are vulnerable in coverage of TEs with LB Thomas Davis approaching retirement. Tampa has two capable TEs and with Fitzpatrick at the helm, O.J. Howard is looking at a more accurate passer when receiving his usual 5-10 targets. The athletic second-year Alabama product is getting healthier each week as he works back from an MCL tear and caught the second of Fitzpatrick's two TDs to produce a nice 16.8 DK points last week, hitting double-digit DK points for the third consecutive game.
FLEX Duke Johnson Jr. $3,800 vs. KC – With HC Hue Jackson and OC Todd Haley fired, the Browns offense could look a lot different this week. Running backs coach Freddie Kitchens has been promoted to OC and he obviously has familiarity with what Duke Johnson can bring to the table as a pass-catching back. The Chiefs (-8.5) are almost certain to lead throughout this contest and their defense has been far worse on the road this year. In comeback mode, Johnson should catch his fair share of targets against a KC defense that's allowed the second-most receiving yards (551) to opposing RBs this season.
D/ST SEA $2,500 vs. LAC – The Seahawks defense is nowhere near what it once was, but is improving and welcomed back excellent LB K.J. Wright (ankle) for his first action of the season last week. The Seahawks held Detroit to just 237 passing yards on the road and has held the mighty Rams to 183 passing yards in their last home game. There is still an ample home field advantage for Seattle and if Melvin Gordon (hamstring) doesn't play, the deficiencies of the Hawks run defense could be less glaring. Despite his solid play this season, Philip Rivers has always been prone to interceptions given his lack of arm strength and tendency to throw into tight windows.
Here's our lineup this week:
· QB Drew Brees $6,100 vs. LAR
· RB Alvin Kamara $7,300 vs. LAR
· RB Adrian Peterson $6,000 vs. ATL
· WR D.J. Moore $4,300 vs. TB
· WR Michael Thomas $7,600 vs. LAR
· WR Cooper Kupp $6,000 @ NO
· TE O.J. Howard $4,300 @ CAR
· FLEX Phillip Lindsay $5,500 vs. HOU
· DST VIkings $2,900 vs. DET
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