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Battle Royale 9.23

Lex is a matchup researcher who focuses his play on Underdog’s Battle Royale contest

Welcome to Week 9!

If you are new to this contest or just want to get a bigger picture of the first two years of the contest, here is my review of the top Battle Royale rosters in 2021 and 2022.

For this week, I’ll be hitting on some of my thoughts on each position and updating some trending stats. Let’s get started!

Looking at Week 9

Flip flopping back to a week similar to Week 7, we are missing a ton of the elite QBs/offenses on this slate. Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts will likely go very early as the clear top-level guys but this also makes it a great week to scroll down and look for overlooked QBs and skill players who wouldn’t normally catch your attention on weeks with all the best offenses available.

QB:

Notable QBs missing from the slate: Patrick Mahomes, Tua Tagovailoa, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Trevor Lawrence, Jared Goff;

Hurt: Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, Deshaun Watson, Justin Fields

Top 6 QBs by ADP: Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, Derek Carr, Sam Howell, CJ Stroud

Notes:

  • Derek Carr vs CHI: Offense finally showed some life last week vs IND and now gets a home dome matchup with a defense that just struggled mightily with Herbert’s Chargers. Chicago’s defense isn’t bad but will presumably face the same struggles with AK as they did with Ekeler, and Carr has several weapons to beat their average secondary with. A drop and a couple of missed throws were the difference between a better score for Carr and Olave last week, but this is another spot to bet on the TDs concentrating on Carr and the passing offense. This slate is pretty starved for QBs, so a Carr stack with Olave and/or Kamara has as much juice as anything else on this slate.
  • Mac Jones vs WAS: I felt better about this one prior to Kendrick Bourne tearing his ACL, given that Jones has so few legitimate NFL weapons to throw to. But, WAS pass defense has really struggled, and he still has a couple big bodied TEs that can take advantage, as well as an RB that he can be stacked with considering Stevenson’s pass game role. Jones has shown that on the rare week, he has the ability to put up a strong score, and on a week lacking options at QB, this would be a week he’s worth the risk in the last round.
  • CJ Stroud vs TB: A couple of down weeks have pushed his stock down, but this is a nice time to jump back on board in a matchup that generally forces an uptick in pass attempts. TB is a solid Bowles-led defense that could force turnovers on the young rookie, but they are also prone to throws over the top which Stroud can take advantage of through Collins and Dell.
  • Gardner Minshew @ CAR: As JM has voiced, the Colts are going to have weeks they pop all year, so on a week lacking so much talent, Minshew and the Colts offense should be kept top of mind. All of the main Colts weapons are stackable with Minshew, and Thielen is the ideal runback as well.
RB:

Notable RBs missing from this slate: Christian McCaffrey, Travis Etienne, Derrick Henry, Raheem Mostert, Isiah Pacheco, Austin Ekeler, Breece Hall, Joe Mixon, James Cook, David Montgomery, Jahmyr Gibbs, Javonte Williams

This slate is pretty ugly at RB, with lots of guys missing and with a couple of either questionable roles or unideal matchups. Kamara being the 1.01 this week is shocking until you see the rest of who’s available. I think there is a clear tier break after Kamara, Saquon, and Taylor, but there are still some others at the back of drafts that carry some upside on a bleak week.

Notes:

  • Colts RBs @ CAR: The workload split is still a little confusing, but the matchup is one of the best, and one of them could still put up a significant score despite both receiving usage. Again, the slate is so starved for talent that the workload split is not as worrisome as it might be on a different week. Taylor has been one of my top targets in drafts thus far.
  • Rachaad White @ HOU: The HOU defense forces you to play in front of them and take a lot of underneath throws, meaning White could continue to rack up catches here. There are some concerns with Edmonds back, but this game should stay competitive throughout and White is still looking like the clear top guy.
  • Rhamondre Stevenson vs WAS: NE’s pass-catching situation is looking pretty gross, which could potentially force some extra looks his way this week. This game environment/opponent sets up better for NE to have the ability to run more throughout the game. WAS has already given up a lot of points in 2023 and just shipped off two of their best defensive linemen for picks.
  • CLE RBs vs ARI: I’d probably save these guys for the barren Early Only slate or 12-person drafts, but a great matchup will likely lead to a nice slate-considered score for Ford or Hunt here. ARI looks to be starting Tune in his first game vs this tough CLE defense, so there should be plenty of opportunities to go around for these backs.
WR:

Notable WRs missing from this slate: Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Stefon Diggs, JaMarr Chase, Tee Higgins, Keenan Allen, Garrett Wilson, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, Deandre Hopkins, Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Courtland Sutton

As you can see above, this slate is down a significant amount of the familiar top WRs. Most of the guys drafted this week are players who went largely undrafted last week. The PHI-DAL environment is the most attractive to drafters on this slate given the QBs and top weapons on both being taken early, but this is definitely another slate to scroll down and look for guys being overlooked.

Notes:

  • Chris Olave vs CHI: Continuing to take Olave feels like banging your head against a wall hoping for a different outcome, but he’s still every week just a couple of plays off from big days (bad throws or drops). In the dome at home against a below-average defense looks like another strong setup, especially on a week without so many top guys.
  • Nico Collins, Tank Dell vs TB: The Falcons are the only team to not have a 90+ yard WR against TB, and Collins and Dell have shown already this year their ability to burn a defense for 100-yard days. HOU should throw above their baseline expectation this week against this typical Bowles-led defense.
  • Chris Godwin @ HOU: HOU can be burned deep, as evidenced by Rashid Shaheed, but in general this matchup sets up much better for how Godwin is used than Evans. Godwin’s usage has been trending up and his overall metrics show a much healthier receiver than the guy last year returning from a torn ACL.
  • Adam Thielen vs IND: It still feels weird to see Thielen going so early in drafts, but the matchup sets up well for what he does for CAR, and if IND is able to score as expected against this CAR defense, Thielen sets up the best to benefit from elevated passing volume. Thielen has between 8-14 targets in every game after Week 1.
  • Michael Pittman, Josh Downs @ CAR: CAR has allowed 6 WR TDs in the last 4 weeks, and both of these IND WRs have benefited from Minshew at QB given his different skill set from ARich. Pittman has 5 games of 11-14 targets, and Downs has 4 games of 7-12 targets.
  • Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers vs NYG: Neither of these feels great after that abhorrent MNF performance from Garoppolo, but McDaniels has been fired, Adams is losing his mind to the media with the QB play, O’Connell might start, and the Giants defense, while improved of late, is still allowing solid WR production. Meyers takes a hit with O’Connell compared to how often Jimmy G looked his way this season, but Adams should get a target boost and was only a couple of awful throws away from a huge game vs DET. Adams would probably be a first round pick this week if those throws were better, so this is a discount I’m willing to jump on here given the talent available.
TE:

Notable TEs missing from this slate: Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Evan Engram, Sam LaPorta, Dalton Kincaid

TE is shaky this week with the main guys missing, and Hockenson losing his QB. Andrews-Lamar pairing will likely be increasingly harder to get as the week progresses. Hard to envision a separator score at the position this week from anyone (outside of maybe Andrews), so the main important thing to look for in the depths of the position this week is who has the best paths to getting in the endzone. 

Notes:

  • David Njoku vs ARI: Njoku has seen 8 and 9 targets in the last two weeks.
  • Luke Musgrave vs LAR: Questionable role and offense, but the Rams have allowed 4 TE TDs in the last 5 weeks.
  • Kyle Pitts vs MIN: MIN has been a quickly improving defense throughout the year under Flores, but London is questionable and Heinicke could be a boost to the passing game.
  • Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki vs WAS: NE just lost its best WR in an already weak and injured WR room. Both could get more looks as a result. Henry has already had several nice games this year and WAS has been easier to attack through the air.
  • Cole Kmet @ NOR: Just received 10 targets in Bagent’s second start.
  • Juwan Johnson vs CHI: This hasn’t worked out once this year, and on a fuller slate I wouldn’t even suggest it, but he’s shown in his career his ability around the endzone and he’s finally healthy again. CHI has allowed strong TE production this year, and Johnson is a guy Saints coaches have continuously raved about over the past couple of years. There are solid games for him to come.
  • Logan Thomas @ NE: He has 11, 1, 6, and 8 targets in his last four games.

Underowned Combos:

  • Derek Carr + Alvin Kamara + (Chris Olave/Rashid Shaheed)
  • Mac Jones + Hunter Henry/Mike Gesicki
  • CJ Stroud + Tank Dell + Chris Godwin/Rachaad White
  • Gardner Minshew + Michael Pittman/Josh Downs + (1 RB) + Adam Thielen
  • Jalen Hurts + Devonta Smith + Jake Ferguson
  • Kareem Hunt/Jerome Ford + David Njoku

Notable Stats

These are some notable stats from rosters appearing in the top 5 of the contest so far this season.

1st place performance:

  • 31 of the 44 teams had at least one flex player score 30+ half-PPR fantasy points
  • 20 of the 44 teams had all flex players score at least 20+ half-PPR fantasy points
  • 40 of the 44 teams had all flex players score at least 15+ half-PPR fantasy points

Stacking and Correlation:

  • 24 of 44 had a QB paired with just one teammate
    • WR (18), TE (4), RB (2)
  • 7 of 44 had a QB stacked with two teammates
    • WR-RB (4), WR-WR (2), WR-TE (1)
  • 5 of those 31 QB stacks had a runback (Opposing player)
  • 43 of 44 had at least one game correlation
  • 13 of 44 had two different game correlations

FLEX usage:

  • 149 of 220 top-5 rosters have had two RBs, meaning they chose RB at FLEX over WR and TE.
  • 70 of the other top 5 rosters all used WR at FLEX, meaning there’s only been one instance of double-TE to ever finish top-5 (2023 W7: Kelce/Andrews). 

Hope this helps you get started with the contest and ship that first place! Good luck everyone!