NFL Week 9 Underdog Pick ‘Ems

by Ahaan Rungta · Analytics & Advanced Metrics

This is Week 9 NFL Underdog Pick ‘Ems! This is your spot for finding the best-value weekly spots to pick whether players will go higher or lower than their projection. As usual, if you want weekly audio content for pick ‘ems, including getting in early on some lines that will move early in the week, check out the Pick ‘Em Power Hour every Wednesday and Friday with us hosts, Ahaan S. Rungta (@AhaanRungta) and Trevor Tipton (@FFCULater).

We are coming off a near-sweep of our picks in Week 8. Trevor missed his two-pick by just a few Patrick Mahomes passing yards in a game where we got late news of the quarterback playing with an illness. Ahaan cashed a three-pick 5x payout entry to keep the show in the winning column.

If you would like to tail our plays or create your own, join Underdog today with promo code UNDERWORLD for a 100% deposit match up to $100 USD upon entry. Here are our picks for Week 9.

Ahaan’s Week 9 Picks

Logan Thomas (WSH) HIGHER than 3.5 receptions

The veteran tight end has been underrated in his new role for the Commanders. Thomas needs to be used in a game where Washington is a road underdog in New England. Logan Thomas has cleared this projection in four of his six healthy games, averaging 6.2 targets per game. The Patriots rank No. 5 in run stop win rate. Therefore, Washington cannot just grind clock with their run game led by Brian Robinson Jr.

Even though the Patriots have suffered defensively over their last four weeks in the absence of Matthew Judon and Christian Gonzalez, they’ve held their own against most top-options and instead have given up volume to short-route pass-catchers. In that span:

In this matchup, that would translate to a potentially tough outing for the outside wide receiver Terry McLaurin.  However, the volume is certainly up for grabs for the tight end, Thomas, whose 6.7-yard average depth of target ranks No. 23 among NFL tight ends. With slot wide receiver Curtis Samuel ruled out again, Thomas should eat, and this projection is too low.

Jalen Hurts (PHI) HIGHER than 0.5 rush+rec TDs

In Week 8, the Eagles fumbled on the “tush push” at the goal-line for the first time this season. Philadelphia is going right back to it this week. With the Eagles’ implied team total set at 24.75 points, the No. 4-highest on the slate, Vegas has no worries about their offense clicking on all cylinders in this divisional rivalry game. Hurts’s eight rushing attempts inside the five-yard-line leads all NFL quarterbacks. Additionally, he has scored in five of his eight games so far.

Recommended: 0.50u on the two-pick entry

Very few teams have an answer to Hurts and his offensive line near the paint. Dallas is probably not going to come up with the appropriate response either after already ranking No. 23 in run stop win rate this season. We are getting great value on Hurts to find paydirt at pick ‘em, a rarity this season.

Trevor’s Week 9 Picks

Derek Carr (NO) HIGHER than 254.5 passing yards

Derek Carr of the New Orleans Saints has thrown for over 300 yards in his last three outings. He has a career completion percentage of 64.6-percent and has thrown for over 35,000 yards in eight seasons. This week, Carr is facing a Chicago Bears defense that is ranked No. 29 in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game. There are several reasons why Carr is likely to throw for more than 254.5 yards against the Bears. 

First, Carr has a wealth of weapons at his disposal. The Saints have one of the best wide receiver trios in the league with Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, and Rashid Shaheed. Olave is a sensation who has already caught 44 passes for 517 yards while having a staggering 1,061 air yards. Thomas is a former All-Pro receiver who is returning from a season-ending injury last year and has really come on as of late. Shaheed is a speedster who has averaged 12.61 yards per target and a 17.4 aDOT. Now with a fully healthy Alvin Kamara added to this list of weapons this is one of the best groups in the NFL. 

Chicago Bears Defense

Second, the Bear’s defense is in shambles. We just received news that they will now be missing Tremaine Edmunds this week. Chicago has given up the No. 4 most yards and the No. 2 highest catch rate to receivers this season while being No. 31 in pass DVOA. Now, we add in New Orleans who is averaging 70 plays a game with a 58-percent passing rate while running a No. 3 best play time average of 25.6 seconds/snap. 

Carr is playing at home in the Superdome which will present problems to the Bears’ defense with the crowd noise. Carr has multiple games with over 50 pass attempts this season. We project this one to be another air raid for the Saints.

Rashid Shaheed (NO) HIGHER than 31.5 receiving yards

Rashid Shaheed, the New Orleans Saints’ second-year wide receiver, has been a breakout star this season. He is averaging 46.6 receiving yards per game, which is 15.1 more than his pick’em for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. Above you can see my breakdown of the Bears defense and why we like New Orleans at home in this game. 

Shaheed is currently leading the NFL with 20.83 yards per reception while averaging 12.61 yards per target. These numbers combined with a staggering 17.4 aDOT and a team leading 10.5-percent designed plays projects him to have more than 31.5 receiving yards this week. Rashid has 24 targets in his last five games while coming off a 153-yard performance against the Colts. PlayerProfiler projects Shaheed for 55.9 yards this week against the Chicago Bears. Make sure to grab this pick’em now before it moves even higher this week. 

D’Andre Swift (PHI) HIGHER than 13.5 rushing attempts

One of the premier matchups of Week 9 brings us the Dallas Cowboys against the Philadelphia Eagles. This is a battle for the NFC No. 1 overall seed. We believe the Eagles will use Swift to keep the ball out of the Cowboys hands this week. The secondary for Philadelphia has not been good this season at stopping opposing passing attacks. They made a move before the trade deadline adding Kevin Byard of the Titans to try to help slow down opposing teams. 

D’Andre Swift has finally shown us the running back we all believed he had the potential to. Since Week 1 Swift has only missed this higher one time. Swift currently has 45-percent of the Eagles rushing attempts this season and that includes Week 1 where he saw only two. The game script for the Eagles this week will be to keep the ball out of Dak and company’s hands and use their offensive line and running game to do so.  

Recommended: 0.50u on the three-pick entry

The Dallas defense has been mediocre at best against the run this year. Multiple teams No. 1 running backs have had more than 14+ rushing attempts vs them this season. Lane Johnson is also finally healthy, and this is a big boost to the Eagles O-line. Swift has had six out of his last seven games go higher than 13.5 rushing attempts and even has 28 in one game. We expect the Eagles to lean into their strength this week and use Swift to open up the play action pass against Dallas while slowing the game down with his rushing attempts.

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