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2023 Fantasy Football: NFL Week 9 Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale Picks

If you are new to Battle Royale, check out our strategy guide. 

Slate Overview

This slate is crazy to put it simply, it’s even worse than Week 7. Five of the 10 games are projected for 40 or fewer points, with only one game above 45. Touchdowns will be scarce, so that will be a major focus of the process this week. Let’s dive into position by position.

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When the QB4 in ADP is Derek Carr, you know it’s tough times at quarterback.

Here are the clear tiers that majorly impact each draft room.

Tier 1: Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson

Tier 2: Dak Prescott

Tier 3a: Derek Carr, Sam Howell, C.J. Stroud, Gardner Minshew II

Tier 3b: Baker Mayfield, Daniel Jones, Bryce Young, Geno Smith

Carr is simply QB4 because somebody has to be, but he feels more like a QB7-8. That’s an easy fade given his near 16 percent rostership (if a player is always drafted, they are 16.6 percent rostered).

I much prefer the quarterbacks going after who project relatively similar and have excellent stacking options at lower rostership, except for Daniel Jones, who would very likely need rushing to get there, leaving minimal correlation.

If one of the top three do not separate themselves, the optimal lineup will have a late quarterback who did enough, and a stud positional player instead of the elite quarterback. Build lineups to optimize for both scenarios.

Running Backs

Alvin Kamara is the 1.01, and rightfully so. According to sportsbooks, his likelihood to score a touchdown is the highest among all RBs (and on the slate) by a decent margin. He also has been catching an absurd amount of dump-offs from Carr. His yardage prop is also up there in a tier with Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs.

Next, I have a tier of Barkley and Jacobs, the latter being underdrafted. They play similar workhorse roles, and both teams have shown they will give the running backs high volume if the circumstances allow for it. Sportsbooks agree, setting their props similarly. Jacobs has slightly higher touchdown equity, while Barkley has slightly more yards projected.

Jonathan Taylor is overvalued compared to his projection, but he does have long-run potential, giving him a high ceiling – it’s a risky play, though. Zack Moss remains highly involved, and Steichen has publicly said Moss isn’t going anywhere.

Chuba Hubbard and Rhamondre Stevenson are excellent scroll-down options to get. They both have solid matchups, with usage trending in the right direction. Sportsbooks project them similarly or better than Gus Edwards and Kenneth Walker, who go well before both.

Aaron Jones is a very interesting option. At some point, he should return to the guy we all know, so be early to that party than late. It’s certainly a risky play, but with top-heavy payouts, he’s a sharp pick to bounce back.

Wide Receivers

A.J. Brown has been unstoppable and absolutely should be the first receiver off the board. Don’t overthink it.

CeeDee Lamb should be second, but he is in a tier below Brown. He’s been excellent lately and the matchup is perfect, but I don’t want to fall victim to too much recency bias. Given the shallow pool of receivers, his ADP makes sense.

I do not believe Matthew Stafford plays this week, which significantly hurts Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua. Regardless, I don’t think their ADPs should be so far apart. Sportsbooks give them essentially the same chance to score, and Nacua has been outproducing Kupp the past few weeks. If Stafford is magically able to go, both get a huge upgrade.

Davante Adams has left a sour taste lately, but the opportunity is there and he should be going higher. It can’t get much worse with Aidan O’Connell than we saw from Jimmy Garoppolo last week. If Adams had caught the two long open touchdowns, he would probably be going in Round 1. In Week 4 when O’Connell played, Adams had 13 targets, five red zone targets, eight catches, 33-percent target share and 148 air yards.

Further down, Devonta Smith is being wildly overdrafted compared to his production, projection, usage and matchup. The following players are great lower-rostered options: Zay Flowers, DJ Moore, Josh Downs, Marquise Brown and Christian Watson.

Tight End

Mark Andrews is far and away the best tight end option on the slate, and you could argue that he should be going even higher. There are few, if any, tight ends here that can match his production if he has a good game. With a lack of other elite positional options, the opportunity cost of Andrews ADP is lessened.

T.J. Hockenson is projected to take a major hit with the quarterback change. Sportsbooks have him as the seventh most likely to score on the slate, thanks to Minnesota’s very low team total. Things could be a disaster for the Minnesota Vikings until there is some continuity at quarterback.

Dalton Schultz is flying under the radar after a poor outing last week. Sportsbooks agree, having him tied with Dallas Goedert for second in touchdown equity and only two fewer projected yards. He should be going higher.

The rest of the market seems relatively efficient. I’m not buying the Trey McBride emergence with a new quarterback against a truly elite defense. David Njoku and Logan Thomas are solid options with low rostership based on projections. After Thomas, the viable players dry up very quickly.

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