Week 9 is the last of the “big” bye weeks for 2017
with Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota, New
England and Pittsburgh sitting down this weekend. Get through
this week and it should be smooth sailing to the playoffs. In
fact, after this week I suggest a strategy of “selling off”
depth to put out the best starting lineup you can for the final
sprint to the playoffs.
Weather should not be a major factor with only the Rams-Giants
game expected to see rain and windy conditions.
Kelvin Benjamin's move to Buffalo won't
immediately improve his fantasy value. He remains a WR3.
“The truth is like salt. Men want to taste a little,
but too much makes everyone sick.” – Joe Abercrombie
1) Over the past five weeks, four
“big name” quarterbacks have not played at a starter-worthy
level – Carr, Ryan, Roethlisberger and Mariota.
None of the group is ranked higher than No. 15 (Carr) or averaging
more than 19.4 FPts/G (at least two games). Ryan, last year’s
MVP, is averaging 18.8, “Big Ben” comes in at 17.1
and Mariota, without his running ability due to a leg injury,
is posting just 17 points a game. Start checking the matchups
for these guys. In Week 9 Mariota faces a tough Ravens’
pass defense (No. 3 vs QBs), Ryan goes up against Carolina (No.
5) and Carr plays against Miami (No. 11). None has a favorable
matchup. You certainly might need to use them because of bye weekends,
but they are no longer “plug and play” quarterbacks.
2) Deshaun Watson is more than three
points better than No.2 ranked Carson Wentz for the season and
six points better than anyone since Week 4.
Fact. Watson’s “worst” game was against lowly
Cleveland when he threw “just” three touchdown passes.
He has one of the best matchups possible in Week 9, facing the
28th-ranked Indianapolis Colts’ who are yielding, on average,
290 yards passing and have given up at least one passing touchdown
in every game.
3) This will be a particularly tough week
for running back production.
4) It might be time to jump back on the
Adrian Peterson bandwagon, at least for this week.
With the aforementioned dearth at running back, “AP”
at San Francisco, who own the league’s worst defense against
opposing running backs (27.5 FPts/G) would seem to be a good value.
Also worth a shot could be Orleans Darkwa vs. Los Angeles Rams,
who rank 28th (20.7 FPts/G) and Ameer Abdullah in Green Bay as
the Packers yield 22.3 points to opposing running backs.
5) The Cleveland Browns front office is
Absolutely. Here’s an example. The Browns wanted Bengals backup
McCarron. The Bengals were willing to trade the former Alabama
star and they came to an agreement on compensation. The Bengals
notified the NFL before the deadline, but the Browns found a way
to screw the deal up by notifying the league after the deadline.
Add this to their inability to find a starting quarterback over
the past two seasons and a trend becomes clear. They don’t know
how to run a football team in Cleveland and fantasy owners should
avoid all Browns players until someone is brought in who does.
Hey, maybe Bo knows how to manage a team.
“The most dangerous of all falsehoods is a slightly
distorted truth.” – Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
1) Houston’s tight end have benefited
from Deshaun Watson’s fantastic play.
Sorry, no. While DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller are posting
monster numbers and have scored 13 times, neither Stephen Anderson
nor Ryan Griffin have reached the end zone and they have caught
a combined total of 15 passes all season (216 yards). I’ll
bet a tight end gets called for the Texans on Draft Day 2018.
Imagine what a third pass-catching weapon for Watson would do
to their offense. Maybe Mike Gesicki from Penn State where head
coach Bill O’Brien once hung out.
2) Jimmy Garoppolo will be fantasy-worthy
The magic eight ball says no. In San Francisco, Garoppolo won’t
be surrounded by New England Patriots. He won’t have Bill
Belichick. He won’t have Rob Gronkowski. He won’t
even have Joe Staley (fractured orbital bone) to protect his blind
side for a while and right tackle is also a question mark. He’s
a long-term stash in a keeper league, but in single-season leagues
I’d let someone else pick him up.
3) Speaking of waiver claims, don’t go
overboard on Kenyon Drake or Damien Williams.
Drake and Williams are the two running backs who will inherit
the role of ball carriers in Miami. Despite the complaints from
head coach Adam Gase, Jay Ajayi was better than either of them
and he couldn’t produce. What makes anyone think Drake and
Williams will be any better? They will still be running behind
a weak offensive line. They will still have inconsistent quarterback
play. If you must claim one of them, Drake should get the first
shot at success.
4) Just traded Kelvin Benjamin should provide
better numbers than just traded Ajayi.
While it would seem that Benjamin has an easier path to being
No.1 at his position than Ajayi, I don’t believe that will
translate to better production. Benjamin will have no time to
develop a relationship with quarterback Tyrod Taylor as the team
has already had their bye. So he’ll have to work on learning
the plays as the team navigates through the season and develop
a rapport with his QB in the offseason. He’ll be a fine
decoy, however. Ajayi goes to a team which has shown balance on
offense and wants to preserve aging LeGarrette Blount. Ajayi is
also a better pass blocker than Blount (not really a high bar
to beat) and the name of the game in Philadelphia is protect Wentz.
Ajayi should see double-digit rushing attempts after their Week
5) Martavis Bryant is the “Terrell Owens”
Although both whined so much they lost their starting jobs while
playing for a team in Pennsylvania, Bryant can’t be T.O.,
because at least T.O. produced at an All-Pro level for many seasons
before whining himself out of a uniform. Bryant has never cracked
800 yards receiving in a season or double digit touchdowns and
his modicum of success was because other teams always double-teamed
Antonio Brown. Owens cracks 1,000 yards nine time, 10 touchdowns
in a season eight times and was a five-time All-Pro.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.