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Inside the Matchup
Week 9
10/31/19; Updated: 11/1/19

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | HC Green



Sunday Early:



Sunday Late:

DET @ OAK | TB @ SEA | CLE @ DEN | GB @ LAC | NE @ BAL



- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)

49ers @ Cardinals - (Caron)
Line: SF -10.5
Total: 43.0

Passing Game Thoughts: If you’re looking for a passing game matchup to exploit this Thursday night, look no further than San Francisco tight end George Kittle who will be matched up against the defense that has conceded by far and away the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, the Arizona Cardinals. While it’s true that the hemorrhaging of points has subsided at least a bit over the past two weeks, this is still an absolute smash matchup for Kittle who is still easily the top target in the 49ers’ passing attack and should probably be considered the top tight end on the entire board for Week 9.

The only other 49ers receiver who we should be looking at in seasonal leagues this week is newly-acquired wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders who joined the team via trade following a successful tenure in Denver. Sanders had a nice debut for the 49ers, immediately establishing himself as the top wide receiver on the team as he played 82 percent of the team’s snaps despite not even getting a full week of practice in with his new team. Sanders caught four of the five targets, including a touchdown, and it appears as though his fantasy production might not be too inhibited despite going to one of the few teams in the league that might actually be more run-heavy than the Broncos were. Sanders can be considered a WR3/Flex in all formats, but he’s probably better suited to be successful in PPR leagues.

Week 9 does see quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo have one of the best matchups he’ll see on paper all season. The Cardinals have given up a league-most 20 touchdown passes and they’ve only intercepted two passes from opposing QBs all season, which is also tied for the worst in the league. Garoppolo would almost certainly be considered one of the best streaming options at the position this week if it weren’t for the 49ers’ ability to run the ball so effectively. The 49ers are currently double-digit road favorites which would seem to indicate that this could be another run-heavy gameplan, therefore Garoppolo’s upside might be very limited. Even still, he’s a viable bye week fill-in if you’re in need and he makes for a solid QB2 in two-QB or Superflex formats here in Week 9.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: Tevin Coleman’s four touchdown performance in Week 8 had the fantasy world talking and many believe that he might have now fully taken over the starting role in San Francisco. With Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert both questionable heading into Week 9, those beliefs might be proven true - at least for one game - and this would be a potentially excellent matchup for him if he’s given a full workload. Latavius Murray just got done punishing this Arizona defense this past week and Coleman would almost certainly be in line for a 20-plus carry game if it’s just he and Jeff Wilson who are active at running back this week. That kind of workload would make Coleman a borderline RB1.

If Breida is able to suit up, however, look for him to at least see a decent enough rushing share to affect Coleman’s upside. Coleman is still the player that we probably want to own, at least for now, but the matchup becomes significantly less tantalizing if there’s serious competition for touches. Pay close attention to the injury reports, particularly right before kickoff.

Value Meter:
QB2: Jimmy Garoppolo
RB1: Tevin Coleman (low-end, if Breida is inactive)
RB2: Tevin Coleman (if Breida is active)
WR3: Emmanuel Sanders
TE1: George Kittle
Bench: Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Deebo Samuel, Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, Richie James, Kendrick Bourne

Passing Game Thoughts: Things have gone from great to borderline abysmal for the Arizona passing game over the past few weeks and now they have the distinct pleasure of hosting one of the league’s most dominant defenses, the San Francisco 49ers.

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has now failed to throw for even a single touchdown in four of his past five games and while he’s shown tremendous rushing upside that few possess, he’s also not contributing consistently enough as a runner to warrant him being a strong fantasy starter right now, especially against a world-class defense like the 49ers have shown so far in 2019.

The lack of confidence we have in Murray right now also has to transfer over to his receivers. Larry Fitzgerald has been dreadful as of late, having caught just three of the seven total targets that have gone his way over the past two weeks. Fitz hasn’t scored since Week 3 and he hasn’t reached even 70 receiving yards in a game since Week 2. While we should expect that he gets closer to his five to six catches that he’s had for most of the season rather than the one or two catches he had in Week 7 and 8, it’s still true that Fitzgerald is a low-upside play who also has a not-so-great floor at the moment. Sure, you could do worse than him in a deep three WR PPR league or one where you’re looking for a Flex, but he’s just not a very exciting option.

Fellow slot wide receiver Christian Kirk is the player who we should be most excited about at the moment, and perhaps the only start-worthy option in this passing game at the moment. Kirk has been targeted at least eight times in all but one of his starts and he was targeted a team-high 11 times in Week 8 after returning from injury. He caught eight of those passes for 79 yards and seems to be taking his place as the top option in this passing game.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: The trade acquisition of former Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake makes things even more confusing in an already crowded and relatively unproductive Arizona backfield. Drake has not yet exceeded 45 rushing yards in any game this season and he didn’t score a single touchdown for the Dolphins through the first half of the season, but he does bring some pass catching ability that is an extremely important part of getting on the field for this pass-heavy Arizona offense. With Chase Edmonds listed as Out and David Johnson still questionable for Week 9 with an ankle injury, it’s possible that Drake leads the team in touches in this game. Even if he does, however, it still won't likely be a full workload as Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner could still see some playing time. Arizona has had some successful offensive games this season, but they’ve been far too inconsistent to trust Drake given that we don’t know his workload and that the Cardinals have to play against the red-hot 49ers defense that has shut down practically every offense they’ve come in contact with.

Johnson frustrated fantasy owners by barely getting on the field in Week 7, then was Out entirely for Week 8, but he was seen in practice on Wednesday for the first time since October 18, so there appears to be at least some hope that he’ll suit up for the Cardinals in this home division matchup against the undefeated 49ers. Even if he does play, though, we don’t know what the snap breakdown will be or if he’ll end up being sat down in the seemingly very likely scenario that the Cardinals find themselves behind multiple scores. Johnson is a very risky Flex play at best, unless we hear overwhelmingly positive reports coming out of practice that lead us to believe that he’ll be back to getting the dominant Johnson-like touch share that has made him a fantasy stud throughout most of his career.

Value Meter:
WR2: Christian Kirk (low-end)
Flex: Kenyan Drake (if David Johnson doesn’t play), David Johnson
Bench: Kyler Murray, Kenyan Drake (if David Johnson plays), Larry Fitzgerald, Damiere Byrd

Prediction: 49ers 24, Cardinals 13 ^ Top

Texans @ Jaguars (London) - (Green)
Line: HOU -1.5
Total: 46.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Facing a Raiders defense that had been carved up by Aaron Rodgers the week before, Deshaun Watson threw for 279 yards and three TDs -- including one after getting kicked in the eye -- against Oakland last Sunday. Up next he'll be seeing a familiar foe in the Jaguars, who held Watson to 159 yards passing and no TDs (he did run one in) when they squared off in Week 2. It's a continuation of Watson's struggles against Jacksonville, which held him to 187 passing yards per game last year and allowed just one passing score.

With Will Fuller (hamstring) out, DeAndre Hopkins caught a season-high 11 passes for 109 yards in Week 8. He's had some quiet days against the Jags as well recently, but he also had a monster game to close out 2018 with 12 receptions for 147 yards. I'd imagine the Jaguars will try to use A.J. Bouye to cover Nuk. How successful that'll be remains to be seen, though I wouldn't let it dissuade me from playing Hopkins as a WR1.

Kenny Stills caught just three passes with Fuller out, and Keke Coutee somehow found himself behind DeAndre Carter for snaps, which is not a good sign. Watson's season-long flirtation with the tight ends ramped up instead with Darren Fells catching six balls for 58 yards and two scores (that gives him five TDs this year). Jacksonville ranks 14th against the pass this year, and they made life rough on Sam Darnold (three INTs) last week, but Watson is in another stratosphere as a passer.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: Carlos Hyde bounced back from a tough game against the Colts to run for 83 yards on 19 carries. He's been a nice pickup for the Texans, though it feels like he could benefit from more touches as Hyde is the type of runner that grinds down opponents. Duke Johnson was ineffective as a runner but did catch four passes for 33 yards and a touchdown, his second of the year. Watson serves as a nice supplement to the ground game, too, having rushed for five scores in 2019.

If the Jaguars missed Marcell Dareus (core) last week you wouldn't have known it as they held Le'Veon Bell to 23 yards on nine carries. That, coming just one week after Joe Mixon ran 10 times for two yards against Jacksonville, shows a defense on the rise. It could be tougher sledding for Hyde, who ran for 90 yards in their first meeting.

Value Meter:
QB1: Deshaun Watson
RB3: Carlos Hyde
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins
Flex: Duke Johnson
Flex: Kenny Stills
TE1: Darren Fells (low-end)
Bench: Will Fuller (hamstring), Keke Coutee

Passing Game Thoughts: Gardner Minshew was selected 178th overall and was the 10th QB taken in this year's draft. If they redid it today, Minshew might go in Round 1. The rookie has impressed since being pressed into action, and last Sunday he dropped 279 yards passing and three TDs on the shell-shocked Jets. In seven starts, only the Saints have really shut him down, and back in Week 2 he passed for 213 yards and ran for 56 against the Texans. With injuries at seemingly every level, including J.J. Watt (pec), Houston may have trouble slowing down Minshew Mania.

It's possible Minshew will take the field minus one of his top targets as Dede Westbrook (shoulder) left Week 8 with a shoulder injury and might not play Sunday in London -- keep in mind both teams are off next week, which often leads to a more conservative approach medically. D.J. Chark (six receptions, 79 yards, one TD last week) is around, though, and Chris Conley (4-103-1) stepped up in Westbrook's absence. Chark is the top play, whereas Conley's value will be heavily dependent on Westbrook's status.

Houston's pass defense had little success against Derek Carr (285 yards, 3 TDs) last week, and now they'll be without the services of Watt, who was lost for the season to a pectoral injury. The Texans rank 28th against the pass this year, yielding 276.8 yards per game. Add to that some mitigating factors -- J-Ville plays well in London, there's an unusual start time, and with Nick Foles close to returning, this is Minshew's last chance to state his case for the full-time gig -- and I like this matchup for the Jags.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: Leonard Fournette continues to rack up the yards, compiling 136 combined yards (76 rushing, 60 receiving) in Week 8. For the year, the LSU product is averaging 132 yards per contest, but he still can't find the end zone with one total touchdown in 198 touches. Houston's run defense is stout (85.4 yards per game; fifth in the NFL) and held Fournette to a season-low 47 rushing yards in Week 2. Again, though, that was with Watt.

QB1: Gardner Minshew (low-end)
RB1: Leonard Fournette
WR2: D.J. Chark
WR3: Dede Westbrook (if healthy)
WR3/Flex: Chris Conley (if Westbrook doesn't play; low-end Flex if he does)
Bench: Nick Folk (shoulder)

Prediction: Jaguars 27, Texans 19 ^ Top

Vikings @ Chiefs - (Caron)
Line: N/A
Total: N/A

Passing Game Thoughts: The Vikings passing game should see a noticeable improvement with wide receiver Adam Thielen is expected to be back this weekend. Thielen being back in the lineup will essentially end the fantasy relevance of Olabisi Johnson who had an opportunity this past week but failed to produce much in what was a plus-matchup against a bad Redskins defense.

Thankfully, Stefon Diggs picked up the slack, producing his third-straight game of 140 or more receiving yards and he seems to really be hitting his stride after a slow start to the season. Diggs is a must-start at the moment and could easily finish as a top five wide receiver again this week even with Thielen making his return.

Thielen himself is a player who we should be confident in putting right back in our lineups as usual. He’s been limited in practice but he is getting out there enough to indicate that he’ll be good to go on Sunday. Thielen’s target share has actually been a bit down this year in comparison to where it was in 2018 but he’s scoring touchdowns at a blistering pace and he should be a locked-in high-level WR2 even against a Kansas City defense that hasn’t allowed a touchdown to an opposing wide receiver since Week 4.

Tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith were popular DFS plays in Week 8 against the Redskins but neither fired and they should be avoided in most formats.

Kirk Cousins is a borderline QB1 this week, assuming that Thielen is ready to play. He failed to throw a touchdown against the Redskins in Week 8 so he’s probably going to be off the radar of many fantasy owners but he had thrown 10 touchdowns in his previous three games with Thielen healthy and there’s little reason to believe that he won’t produce decent fantasy numbers here in Week 9.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: Dalvin Cook has been the most consistently-elite player in all of fantasy football this season. He’s exceeded 13 PPR fantasy points in every game this season while scoring a touchdown in all but one contest. He’s also exceeded 100 rushing yards in five of his eight games, making him an obvious must-start and perhaps a week-winner against a Kansas City defense that has been dreadful against opposing running backs this season. The Chiefs have given up the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing backs this season and they just got torched for four total touchdowns by the Packers duo of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams this past week.

With the Chiefs likely to see negative game script given that they’re missing their own quarterback, look for the Vikings to lean on them with the running game here in Week 9. This is a truly smash matchup and one that Cook owners should be licking their chops over.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kirk Cousins
RB1: Dalvin Cook
WR1: Stefon Diggs
WR2: Adam Thielen
Bench: Alexander Mattison, Olabisi Johnson, Kyle Rudolph, Irv Smith

Passing Game Thoughts: The Chiefs are likely to be without reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes again this week and that’s not a great sign for their passing game as a whole. While Matt Moore filled in admirably and certainly wasn’t the reason they lost to the Packers in Week 8, there was a noticeable lack of explosiveness in the Kansas City passing game with Mahomes sidelined.

Perhaps the one positive of Moore being behind center is that he seemed to key in on throwing the ball to his top three receivers. Tyreek Hill led the team with nine targets while Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce each finished with eight. No other Chiefs pass catcher was targeted more than four times.

Hill produced a decent enough fantasy day against the Packers as he caught six of his nine targets for 76 yards. He failed to score, but there’s still optimism that he’s being targeted as much as he is even though his average target distance will almost certainly be significantly lower with Moore at QB than it was with Mahomes.

Kelce turned in one of his best fantasy performances of the season as he finally got into the end zone for the first time since Week 2. Kelce hasn’t been the superstar difference-maker for fantasy that he has been in previous seasons, but he’s still an elite tight end who’s a no-brainer must-start in any matchup, even without Mahomes.

Watkins is the only other Kansas City pass catcher who we should have any interest in for now but it’s worth noting that he hasn’t exceeded 12 PPR fantasy points since his gigantic Week 1 outburst. He’s the third option in an offense that is not as explosive as it usually is at the moment, so he’s really only a deep Flex option.

Moore himself could be considered a low-end QB2 if you’re in a tough spot as we’ve seen the Vikings defense get exploited a few times this season for big fantasy days by opposing quarterbacks, but there are almost certainly better options on the waiver wire in single-QB formats.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: The Kansas City backfield continues to be a complete disaster from a fantasy standpoint and that doesn’t seem likely to change here in Week 9 as the Chiefs host the Vikings and their sixth-ranked fantasy defense against opposing running backs. Minnesota has only conceded one rushing touchdown to an opposing RB this season. They’ve been a little more giving to pass-catching backs but neither McCoy nor Damien Williams is seeing enough work in the passing game to give much hope from a fantasy standpoint.

There seems to be a huge gap right now in the consensus opinions among experts regarding McCoy and Williams but that might be exaggerated a bit. Williams actually out-snapped McCoy in the Chiefs’ Week 8 contest against the Packers so don’t be surprised if the fantasy output is a lot closer between these players than we saw earlier in the season. McCoy is still probably the stronger play overall, but neither is particularly great against the Vikings.

Value Meter:
WR1: Tyreek Hill
TE1: Travis Kelce
Flex: LeSean McCoy, Sammy Watkins
Bench: Matt Moore, Damien Williams, Darrel Williams, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson

Prediction: Vikings 24, Chiefs 20 ^ Top

Redskins at Bills - (Katz)
Line: BUF -10.0
Total: 37.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Case Keenum is by no means a good quarterback, but he is an unfathomably large upgrade on the alternative. As of Thursday, Keenum was still going through the concussion protocol. His status has huge implications for the fantasy assets in this game. Dwayne Haskins looked terrible last week and while I’m not closing the book on his career after a half of football, I am quite certain he is not ready at this juncture. If Haskins is forced to start, I don’t know how you can confidently deploy Terry McLaurin, as good as he has been. McLaurin has defied the odds and produced with Keenum, but he was unable to catch a pass once Haskins took over. Paul Richardson and Trey Quinn are well off the fantasy radar and no Redskins’ tight end is worth streaming. It’s an all-around bad situation. As it has been for weeks, the only member of this passing attack worth considering is McLaurin, but if Haskins has to start, you need to seriously consider other alternatives.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: With Chris Thompson out, the Redskins went with a heavy Adrian Peterson approach last week. He played 72% of the snaps against just 28% for Wendell Smallwood. Negative game script usually phases out Peterson, but Bill Callahan will not be denied his 34 year-old washed up runner. The Bills are a middling run defense, having allowed nine rushing touchdowns and 4.2 yards per carry. AP will touch the ball 12-15 times, which gives him a serviceable floor but his ceiling hasn’t existed since he left Minnesota. If Thompson were active, he would be worthy of a flex play in a game where he could rack of receptions. The Redskins are not using Smallwood the same way, which leaves him firmly off the fantasy radar.

Value Meter:
WR3: Terry McLaurin (if Keenum starts)
Bench: Case Keenum, Vernon Davis, Terry McLaurin (if Haskins starts)

Passing Game Thoughts: Josh Allen has been a borderline QB1 for three consecutive weeks. He’s thrown exactly two touchdown passes in each of those games and has rushed for at least 27 yards. The rushing yardage is important because Allen isn’t throwing for many yards. 219 is his highest number over the past month. The Bills are heavy favorites at home, which should result in more running that usual. That caps Allen’s upside, especially against a Redskins’ defense that is average against the pass, but sees the third most rush attempts against. The Redskins allow 16.2 fantasy points per game to opposing WR1s and they also allow 14.4 fantasy points per game to opposing WR2s.

Fantasy owners are starting John Brown as an every week WR3, but it will be difficult to capitalize on the Redskins’ struggles against WR2s since the Bills don’t really have one. Cole Beasley is technically their WR2, but he operates out of the slot. Beasley has scored in consecutive games and you can certainly do worse. The Redskins don’t give up much to the tight end and Dawson Knox is coming off a catchless game where he only ran 15 routes. Look elsewhere for a streamer.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: Devin Singletary severely out-snapped Frank Gore 68% to 29% last week, which seems to indicate a changing of the guard. However, the Bills were facing significant negative game script. In terms of carries, Gore had nine against Singletary’s three. With the Bills 10 point home favorites, positive game script is expected, which means more Gore. Given the volume of rushing attempts the Redskins see, Gore is a viable streaming option in a week where he might be able to fall into the end zone. Singletary is better used when the Bills will need to throw more.

Value Meter:
QB1: Josh Allen (low end)
WR3: John Brown
Flex: Frank Gore
Bench: Devin Singletary, Cole Beasley

Prediction: Bills 27, Redskins 3 ^ Top

Titans @ Panthers - (Green)
Line: CAR -4.0
Total: 41.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Through two full games it's hard to argue that the Titans offense hasn't been better with Ryan Tannehill, who passed for just 193 yards last week but had three TDs among his 21 completions. I'd call that efficient, though given how poor the Buccaneers had been against the pass it was actually a fairly small number of yards. Carolina should present a tougher challenge than his first two starts, and it might offer a better barometer of what Tannehill will be going forward.

What's still unclear is who Tannehill likes to throw to. Corey Davis and A.J. Brown put up 12 catches, 144 yards and a score in Tannehill's first start, but then only four grabs for 20 yards and a TD this past Sunday. Jonnu Smith has been the biggest beneficiary to date, hauling in nine passes for 142 yards and a touchdown; the question is will he stay involved whenever Delanie Walker (ankle) returns to action? Adam Humphries has seven catches for 64 yards as part of a forgettable first season in Nashville.

On the other side, Carolina allowed only 175 yards passing last week, below the 215.1 they've allowed this season, which is good for fifth in the NFL. That doesn't tell the whole story, however, as the Panthers were gashed by the 49ers' running game and only forced three incompletions and one INT on the day. They'll doubtless be looking to rebound against Tennessee.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: Derrick Henry was once again a one-man show in Week 8, carrying the ball 16 times for 75 yards against the NFL's No.1 run defense. That gives Henry 75-plus yards rushing in six of eight games this season. The going should be easier this Sunday against a Panthers defense that allowed 232 yards and five TDs to the 49ers in a blowout loss. Granted, San Francisco has a more versatile, speed-based running attack than the Titans, but you can bet they'll probe Carolina with Henry.

In theory, this seems like a game where the quicker Dion Lewis could be a factor. He's fallen off the map this season, though, and barring injury to Henry it seems unlikely that Lewis will do anything this year.

Value Meter:
RB1/RB2: Derrick Henry
Flex: Corey Davis (low-end)
TE1: Delanie Walker (low-end; if healthy)
TE1: Jonnu Smith (low-end; if Walker is inactive)
Bench: Ryan Tannehill, A.J. Brown, Adam Humphries

Passing Game Thoughts: Kyle Allen had led a charmed life, going 4-0 and not throwing a pick in his four starts, which prompted some to speculate he should be the quarterback regardless of Cam Newton's (foot) status. Welllllllllllllll… about that. Allen took a beating against the 49ers, getting sacked seven times and throwing three interceptions. He also completed just 19 of 37 passes for 158 yards. Ron Rivera has already announced that Allen will start Sunday, but it sure feels like the clock is ticking.

As has been the case most weeks since Allen took over, it was Curtis Samuel (11 targets) and D.J. Moore (nine) that saw most of the passes. Neither player did a lot with them, but their consistent opportunities are in stark contrast to Greg Olsen, who was been almost completely forgotten: in Allen's five starts, Samuel has been targeted 37 times, Moore has seen 34, and Olsen 22 (including four or less in three of his last four games).

Dual-threat back Christian McCaffrey also gets plenty of work in the passing game, and he currently leads the club with 39 receptions. Jameis Winston threw 10 times to his backs for no effect; I'd expect Allen to target McCaffrey a lot this Sunday with superior results. On the outside, while I like Samuel's upside more than Moore, the latter is a steadier producer and fantasy option. It's also worth monitoring Samuel's shoulder injury, even though it's not believed to be serious.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: As with Henry, McCaffrey is the only game in town when it comes to Carolina's running game. Even on the wrong side of a beat down, the MVP candidate racked up 117 yards on 14 carries and scored; he finished with 155 total yards. Jordan Scarlett actually saw more touches than Reggie Bonnafon, but I still think Bonnafon is the handcuff option to own.

Tennessee is allowing less than 100 yards rushing per game this season, which ranks 12th, and they've been even better recently, holding the Bucs tandem to 21 carries for 55 yards one week after limiting the Chargers backs to 39 yards on 21 carries. There's no scenario where McCaffrey won't be featured so he's a clear must start.

Value Meter:
RB1: Christian McCaffrey
WR2/WR3: D.J. Moore
Flex: Curtis Samuel
TE1: Greg Olsen (low-end)
Bench: Cam Newton (foot), Kyle Allen

Prediction: Panthers 23, Titans 13 ^ Top

Jets at Dolphins - (Katz)
Line: NYJ -3.0
Total: 42.0

Passing Game Thoughts: You will be hard pressed to find a quarterback that has looked worse than Sam Darnold this season - at least not one that still has a job. In Darnold’s defense, he is dealing with a league worst offensive line, subpar receivers, a historically bad head coach, a brutal schedule, and, oh yeah, mono. Things are about to open up for Darnold and it begins with a trip to Miami. The Dolphins have allowed 18 passing touchdowns this season while recording just two interceptions. They also just lost their top cornerback, Xavien Howard, for the season.

No wide receiver has faced a tougher stretch of cornerbacks than Robby Anderson. Only the Giants allow more fantasy points per game to opposing WR1s than the Dolphins. With multiple teams on bye and otherwise viable fantasy starting quarterbacks with tough matchups, Darnold is firmly on the streaming radar with Anderson as a huge upside play.

Jamison Crowder is on the docket as well, but the Dolphins have actually been decent against the slot, allowing 10.4 fantasy points per game to slot receivers. Crowder has lined up out of the slot 65% of the time.

Ryan Griffin is coming off a two touchdown game, but will immediately cede his role to Chris Herndon if the latter is able to return. Whoever starts at tight end for the Jets is nothing more than a streaming option.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: It has also been tough sledding for Le’Veon Bell, who hasn’t finished higher than RB18 since Week 2. The good news is the schedule turn applies to Bell as well. The Dolphins allow 20.1 fantasy points per game to opposing RB1s. While Bell’s target share has dipped as of late and the matchup is more conducive to downfield shots, this is, by far, the most touchdown upside Bell has had in a game this season. Bell leads all running backs in snap share at 98.3% and with the Jets projected to actually have positive game script, Bell could surpass 20 touches for the first time since Week 5. You were never sitting Bell anyway, but this is a week to start him with confidence.

Value Meter:
QB2: Sam Darnold (high end streamer)
RB1: Le’Veon Bell (mid-range)
WR2: Robby Anderson (low end)
WR3: Jamison Crowder
TE2: Chris Herndon or Ryan Griffin (high end streamer)
Bench: Ty Montgomery, Demaryius Thomas

Passing Game Thoughts: Somehow, Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a boon for the fantasy values of Dolphins’ receivers. He’s still not good, but he’s way better than Josh Rosen. Somehow, DeVante Parker has been a legitimate starting option for four straight weeks of WR2 or WR3 finishes. Preston Williams has also been a viable bye week fill in with 8.2 and 12.2 fantasy points in his last two games. Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns caught the touchdowns last week, but they are not seeing enough targets to be fantasy viable. The Jets allow 18.9 fantasy points to opposing WR1s and 11.6 fantasy points to opposing WR2s. You can certainly do worse than Parker and Williams if you’re looking to replace guys like Cooper Kupp and Tyler Boyd in your lineup.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: Following the trading of Kenyan Drake, the Dolphins were expected to employ a committee featuring Mark Walton and Kalen Ballage. I don’t know if there has ever been a less talented duo. As it turned out, there was no committee. Walton played 87% of the snaps and he should be treated as the clear starter going forward. If Walton is going to continue to see that level of volume, he is at least an every week RB3.

The Jets allow 19.7 fantasy points per game to opposing RB1s, which is largely buoyed by having allowed 10 rushing touchdowns as they only allow 3.3 yards per carry. The Dolphins are always projected to see negative game script, but at home against another bad team sets up as a spot where they may not get blown out. This bodes well for Walton’s chances of being useful.

Value Meter:
QB2: Ryan Fitzpatrick (streaming option)
RB3: Mark Walton
WR3: DeVante Parker
Flex: Preston Williams (bye week filler)
Bench: Mike Gesicki, Kalen Ballage

Prediction: Jets 24, Dolphins 20 ^ Top

Bears at Eagles - (Katz)
Line: PHI -5.0
Total: 42.5

Passing Game Thoughts: When’s the last time a coach had to give his failing quarterback a vote of confidence and that guy actually turned it around? Mitchell Trubisky’s days as an NFL starter are numbered but for at least one more week, he will remain under center. Trubisky has only thrown five touchdowns across five complete games and all five came in two games and he’s not running anymore. The good news is the Eagles have been getting torched through the air. They’ve allowed 16 passing touchdowns this season and four 300-yard passers. The Eagles are bottom five in fantasy points allowed to opposing WR1s meaning this could be a smash week for Allen Robinson, who is playing like an elite WR1 this season. ARob is displaying all the skills that made him a dominant force in 2015. After Robinson, every other Bears’ receiver is a random event. Taylor Gabriel is the most reliable and Trey Burton is a tight end that starts, but he hasn’t topped 20 receiving yards all season. Trubisky would be a strong streaming consideration if not for the risk he gets benched in game. Robinson is locked into lineups.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: David Montgomery broke out last week with 135 yards and a touchdown…or did he? It took him 27 carries to get there and one of his carries went for 55 yards. If not for that long play, he would have had 80 yards on 26 carries, which is hardly impressive. Do not overreact to Montgomery’s aberration. The Eagles only allow 3.9 yards per carry and their seven rushing touchdowns allowed are a product of being incapable of stopping the pass, resulting in teams finding themselves in position to score.

The way to beat the Eagles is through the air, which should, in theory, mean more Tarik Cohen. Cohen played just 21% of the snaps last week and Matt Nagy has proven to be a rather incompetent head coach. It would not surprise me if he decided to attack the Eagles’ strength – their rush defense – while attempting to hide his quarterback. Cohen saw a season low three targets last week and is firmly off the fantasy radar. Mike Davis was active last week, but he barely touched the ball. Montgomery’s volume keeps him in the starting conversation, but do not expect a repeat of last week.

Value Meter:
QB2: Mitchell Trubisky (high end)
WR2: Allen Robinson (high end)
Flex: David Montgomery
Bench: Tarik Cohen, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton

Passing Game Thoughts: Another week, another single touchdown game for Carson Wentz. He has now thrown for just one score in half his games this season. Wentz has also gone under 200 yards in the same number of games. The Bears’ defense has been far less imposing than last year’s version, but it has still only allowed seven passing touchdowns. Wentz is not a starting option this week and he is going to take Alshon Jeffery down with him. Jeffery hasn’t topped 76 yards all season making him a random WR3 event.

DeSean Jackson returned to practice this week and may finally return from his abdominal injury, but will reportedly have to play through pain the rest of the season. It is hard to imagine him being too effective, especially in a bad matchup.

Zach Ertz has been a major disappointment this year, although not unexpected. He was a product of volume last year and with the Eagles’ new weapons it was anticipated that volume would go away. Ertz is ceding snaps and work to the more talented Dallas Goedert. Given the state of the tight end position, I highly doubt you have a better option than Ertz, but if you somehow do, Ertz is not a must start. As for Goedert, he has emerged as a viable TE2, having now scored in back to back games. The Bears allow just 8.0 fantasy points per game to opposing TE1s, but they haven’t faced a team with two starting caliber tight ends. I still prefer Ertz, but the gap is narrowing.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: Miles Sanders has 21 total touches over his last three games, but has managed to produce in two of the three due to long touchdowns. He has been effective catching passes out of the backfield, but has still seen just three targets in each of the last three games. This backfield firmly belongs to Jordan Howard. His 23 carries last week were a season high and his 73% snap rate was the highest of any running back during the Doug Pederson era. Howard is the best runner on the Eagles and it is not close. The Bears only allow 3.6 yards per carry, but have allowed seven rushing touchdowns. If the Eagles get in scoring position, it will be Howard attempting to punch it in. He has become an every week RB2 due to volume.

Value Meter:
RB2: Jordan Howard (low end)
WR3: Alshon Jeffery
TE1: Zach Ertz (low end)
TE2: Dallas Goedert (streaming option)
Flex: Miles Sanders (home run play)
Bench: DeSean Jackson, Carson Wentz

Prediction: Eagles 24, Bears 20 ^ Top

Colts @ Steelers - (Swanson)
Line: IND -1.0
Total: 43.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The Colts enter Week 9 riding a three-game winning streak that includes a win over the Texans at home in Week 7 and an impressive 19-13 win on the road against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s 21.7 fantasy points rank 12th in the league, ahead of Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz, Drew Brees, Baker Mayfield, and Kirk Cousins. The former North Carolina State star is on pace to set career highs in completion percentage, attempts, passing touchdowns, and quarterback rating. While he is not performing quite at the level that Andrew Luck did last season, he still provides more than enough volume to support viable fantasy options in the passing game.

T.Y Hilton’s 11.0 points per game are just .6 off his pace from last season and .9 points per game off his best year as a pro. With five receiving touchdowns in six games, he is on pace to break his career-mark of seven touchdowns set in 2014.

The second wide receiver spot for the Colts has been a revolving door of Chester Rogers, Deon Cain, Parris Campbell, and Zach Pascal. Although he posted just one catch for six yards last week against the Broncos, Pascal played on a season-high 92% of snaps and could be a sneaky flex play this week should he get similar snap counts against the Steelers.

Tight end continues to be a frustrating position for fantasy owners with Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron splitting receptions. Ebron was the player to play in Week 7 with 70 yards and a touchdown, only to follow up with three catches for 26 yards in Week 8 while Doyle posted 4/61.

Pittsburgh does allow the 8th most points to opposing tight ends, making it possible for one of these guys to have a big game. But picking the right one has been an exercise in futility and frustration.

The Steelers rank in the middle of the pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and Rivers each topped 300 yards and against Pittsburgh, but only Rivers has completed the feat since Week 3 when the Steelers traded a first-round pick to Miami for Minka Fitzpatrick.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: Teams have found more success throwing the ball against the Steelers than running it. Pittsburgh gives up the seventh-fewest points to opposing running backs, and no running back has topped 80 yards on the ground.

The Steelers shut down Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler one week after limiting the tandem of Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards to 63 yards on 21 carries.

Head coach Frank Reich is committed to the run, and he will still look to establish something on the ground - just don’t be surprised to see Marlon Mack not have a great yardage total on the day.

An interesting matchup to watch in the trenches will be guard Quentin Nelson and center Ryan Kelly against defensive tackle Cameron Heyward and nose tackle Javon Hargrave. The success of Nelson pulling and sealing blocks on Heyward, along with Kelly’s ability to seal Hargrave on reach blocks will be essential factors for Mack to run the ball well.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jacoby Brissett (Low-End)
RB2: Marlon Mack (High-End)
WR1: T.Y. Hilton (Low-End)
WR4: Zach Pascal (High-End)
TE1: Eric Ebron (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Mason Rudolph led the Steelers to come-from-behind 27-14 victory over the Dolphins after shaking off a rough start that included an interception on his opening throw and many errant passes behind and short of his target.

The end stats look OK for Rudolph, but anyone who watched that game did not come away impressed with his performance. The Dolphins bailed him out with a bizarre cover-zero blitz on third and 20 with :30 seconds on the clock, and JuJu Smith-Schuster made an excellent grab on a touchdown throw that could have been a second interception on the night for Rudolph.

It was nice to see Rudolph proved enough juice to get Smith-Schuster over the 100-yard mark for the first time this season, and Diontae Johnson continues to make big plays for the Steelers.

The Colts rank in the middle of the pack in points allowed to quarterbacks with four of seven opponents topping 20 fantasy points. Bad quarterbacks like Joe Flacco, Marcus Mariota, and Derek Carr all failed to do much in terms of fantasy production, while Philip Rivers, Patrick Mahomes, and Deshaun Watson all posted 300 yards.

Considering Rudolph falls under the category of a not-good quarterback, it would make sense to avoid playing him in anything other than 2QB leagues.

Five different wide receivers, including DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills, topped 100 receiving yards against the Colts, and six different players managed to reach double figures. The Colts do not have a secondary known for shutting down wide receivers, so JuJu should be a decent No.2 wide receiver this week, and Johnson is another boom or bust play.
Teams have found some success throwing the ball to tight ends earlier in the season, but the return of linebacker Darius Leonard has appeared to shore up the defense in both run support and covering tight ends.

Vance McDonald is worth a play, especially for owners dealing with bye week issues, but temper expectations as he has done nothing since posting two touchdowns against the Seahawks in Week 2.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: The Steelers left the game with a collection of injured running backs to go along with their victory over the Dolphins. Benny Snell has a knee injury, and starter James Conner suffered an AC joint sprain that could keep him out for this game.

Conner will be monitored throughout the week, but early indications are he will be a game-time decision and a likely inactive. Jaylen Samuels returns to the team just in time after missing a few games with a knee injury. Should Conner be a no go, expect Samuels to be a heavily-used running back this week with low-end RB1 upside. He should be a huge target on waiver wires this week.

Like their counterparts, the Colts have yet to give up a 100-yard game this year, and only three players have reached the end zone on the ground. Outside of Austin Ekeler’s massive 30-point game to open the season, teams have not had much success passing the ball to running backs, with no player topping 30 receiving yards since Week 1.

Samuels’ volume is going to be key if Conner is out, but don’t expect a monster game. The Colts have been stout against the run with the return of Darius Leonard, who could make it tough for the Steelers to run the ball well on Sunday.

Value Meter:
QB2: Mason Rudolph (Low-End)
RB2: Jaylen Samuels (High-End)
WR2: JuJu Smith-Schuster (Low-End)
WR4: Diontae Johnson (High-End)
TE2: Vance McDonald (High-End)

Prediction: Indianapolis 24, Pittsburgh 17 ^ Top

Lions @ Raiders - (Caron)
Line: OAK -2.0
Total: 50.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Matthew Stafford has thrown three or more touchdown passes in three of his past four games, including 10 total scores over that span with 1,262 passing yards, making him one of the hottest quarterbacks in all of fantasy as of late. He doesn’t bring the rushing upside that most of the top options do and that limits his upside, but Stafford has been doing enough as of late to be trusted as a reliable starter in average matchups, but especially in matchups like the one he’ll face in Week 9.

The Raiders have given up the league’s most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks and that comes despite the fact that they haven’t been particularly susceptible to rushing production by opposing QBs. That plays right into Stafford’s hand, as he’s almost certainly going to be relied upon heavily again this week to sling the ball down the field in what could be an under-the-radar fantasy shootout. Stafford is a top five option at the position this week with a very high floor so unless you’re also rostering a Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson type of QB, the Lions QB should probably be in your lineup this week.

With Stafford being such a high quality fantasy option this week, that also means his top receiving targets should be highly sought after. The Raiders have already given up 10 touchdowns and over 1,300 yards to opposing wide receivers in just seven games this season and Kenny Golladay will be looking to make it three 100-plus yard fantasy days over his past four games if he can make it happen this weekend. Golladay is the target leader on the team and he also leads the team in both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He’s in a great spot to produce WR1 numbers this week.

We know that Marvin Jones had a gigantic blow-up game against the Vikings in Week 7, but that’s certainly been the exception as he’s only scored in one other game, which also happened to be the only other game that he went over 80 receiving yards. Jones has been acceptable most weeks and he does have upside to produce big fantasy numbers, he’s probably best suited as a low-end WR2 with upside this week.

One important note to consider is that while it was Golladay who smashed the fantasy scoreboard in Week 8 against the Giants, it was actually Danny Amendola who led the team in receptions in that contest with eight. He did the same thing in Week 7 against the Vikings when he caught another eight passes for 105 yard. Amendola had pretty much disappeared from Weeks 2 through 6 so it’s a little odd that he’s suddenly seeing such significant targets go his way, but Amendola does have some potential to be a bye week Flex fill-in in PPR formats.

The other player who’s in an interesting matchup this week is rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson. Hockenson hasn’t exceeded 32 receiving yards since his NFL debut game against the Cardinals when he lit up the Arizona defense for six catches, 131 yards and a touchdown. He hasn’t faced another defense that’s been terrible against opposing tight ends since then, however, and he gets to do that this week against the Raiders who rank third-worst in the league in fantasy points per game conceded to opposing tight ends. Hockenson isn’t a high-end play by any means and his floor is practically nothing, but he does have upside this week for a nice fantasy day and that’s more than most fantasy tight ends can say.

OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: The loss of Kerryon Johnson was expected to mean a significant uptick in usage for Ty Johnson in Week 8, but that simply didn’t happen. Johnson actually saw his touches go down in Week 8 despite the Lions being in positive game script and that means that we need to pump the breaks on him even being a usable fantasy asset at this time. Johnson did lead the backfield in snaps, but both Tra Carson and J.D. McKissic saw significant playing time. That’s enough to show that we simply don’t have a good enough grasp on the backfield to make any sort of definitive statements about which player - if any - is going to be useful in this backfield on a weekly basis. It’s an avoid overall, but Johnson probably has the safest floor of the bunch if you’re in an absolutely desperate situation.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matthew Stafford
WR1: Kenny Golladay
WR2: Marvin Jones
TE1: T.J. Hockenson
Flex: Danny Amendola (PPR only)
Bench: Ty Johnson, Tra Carson, J.D. McKissic, Marvin Hall

Passing Game Thoughts: With back-to-back multi-touchdown, 285-plus-yard passing performances, Oakland quarterback Derek Carr has to be considered to be a low-end QB1 option here in Week 9. He’ll get to face a Detroit defense that has given up the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season and perhaps more importantly, one that has given up back-to-back four-touchdown, 320-plus-yard fantasy days to the likes of Kirk Cousins and Daniel Jones.

Carr isn’t an incredible fantasy QB because the Raiders just aren’t a super high-volume passing offense and he doesn’t really have much for mobility, but this is a great matchup for the Oakland passing game and one that savvy fantasy owners will be looking to exploit.

The best wide receiver on the team continues to be Tyrell Williams who has somehow managed to score a touchdown in all five of the games he’s started this season despite only exceeding five catches once and only exceeding 100 yards once. That type of touchdown rate is almost certainly unsustainable unless he starts to see more volume, but this is the kind of game where Williams’ volume could increase. If the Lions get on the scoreboard early, the Raiders will likely lean more heavily on their own passing game which would certainly benefit Williams and his likelihood to score a touchdown in his sixth straight start.

Tight end Darren Waller also makes for a great start this week as he’s facing a Lions defense that ranks in the bottom-third of the league in fantasy points per game given up to the tight end position. They’ve given up touchdowns to opposing tight ends in back-to-back games and Waller has now himself scored three times over his past two games after being held scoreless throughout his first five starts. Waller is one of the top tight end options on the board here in Week 9.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: The heavy workloads have continued for rookie running back Josh Jacobs and it doesn’t appear that they’re going to be slowing down anytime soon. Jacobs has touched the ball at least 12 times in all but one game and he’s hit 17 or more touchdowns in five of his seven starts.

Jacobs should continue to see high volume in the running game as long as the Raiders don’t fall behind by a wide margin on the scoreboard and that doesn’t seem likely given Detroit’s porous defense. Jacobs is a low-end RB1 this week with high-end RB1 upside. It’d be nice to see him utilized a bit more in the passing game, but it’s hard to complain when your running back is seeing nearly 20 touches per game.

Value Meter:
QB1: Derek Carr (low-end)
RB1: Josh Jacobs
WR2: Tyrell Williams
TE1: Darren Waller
Bench: DeAndre Washington, Jalen Richard, Hunter Renfrow, Zay Jones

Prediction: Raiders 30, Lions 27 ^ Top

Buccaneers @ Seahawks - (Caron)
Line: SEA -6.0
Total: 51.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Yes, we all know that Jameis Winston turns the ball over far too many times. But can we forgive him when he’s also throwing for 300-plus yards in most games along with multiple touchdowns? Actually, that’s kind of the ideal situation if you’re a fantasy owner of either Mike Evans or Chris Godwin, who have both exploded into top-half fantasy WR1s so far in 2019.

Godwin has caught at least three passes in every game this season and his four 100-yard performances are incredibly impressive. He’s been targeted at least eight times in four straight games so this matchup against a good Seattle defense that has only given up three 100-yard days to opposing wide receivers shouldn’t be too concerning. Godwin continues to move all over the field, including playing out of the slot, where Cooper Kupp was able to expose this defense back in Week 5, and he’s a high-floor option with legitimate WR1 overall upside in any given week.

Evans has been a bit more shaky but his upside has been incredible this season as he now has two games with 190-plus receiving yards. He also scored five touchdowns in those two contests. Unfortunately, his other five starts have seen him held for under 65 yards three times and he only scored one time in those contests. The swings are extreme, but Evans has game-winning upside so he, too, is also a WR1.

Tight end O.J. Howard continues to miss time with an injured hamstring which will likely mean another start and heavy playing time for Cameron Brate. Brate disappointed in Week 8 but there just aren’t many tight ends who have much realistic upside on the waiver wire, so you could do worse than him if you’re in a pinch, but he’s not quite a top-12 option at the moment.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: The Tampa Bay backfield continues to be a nightmare for fantasy purposes and none of the three backs are worthy of much fantasy consideration at the moment.

If you’re looking for hope and some upside then you could look at Ronald Jones who somewhat surprisingly led the team in rushing attempts in Week 8, but he’s been held to less than 4.0 yards per carry in all but two games this season so don’t expect too much. This is an ugly “three-headed monster” type situation that just isn’t likely to generate much for fantasy production unless one of them goes down.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jameis Winston (low-end)
WR1: Chris Godwin, Mike Evans
Bench: Ronald Jones, Peyton Barber, Dare Ogunbowale, Cameron Brate, O.J. Howard

Passing Game Thoughts: Seattle’s Russell Wilson has slid back just a bit over his past two games in terms of fantasy production, but look for him to have a bounce-back game here in Week 9 as the Seahawks host a terrible Tampa Bay secondary that had given up multiple touchdown passes in five straight contests, including three straight against the likes of Terry Bridgewater, Kyle Allen and Ryan Tannehill. Wilson has a great floor in this game along with top-scoring QB upside so he may very well be the top-scoring player in Week 9.

If Wilson goes off then that means great things for his pass-catching weapons, particularly wide receivers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Metcalf quietly leads the entire NFL in targets in the end zone and he’s been able to score four times already this season. Metcalf hasn’t seen quite the overall target numbers to truly break out and become more than a touchdown-or-bust type of player yet this season, but his chances of scoring are high enough that he can be considered as a low-end WR2 or high-end Flex option, particularly in standard scoring leagues where his lack of total catches doesn’t hurt him quite as much.

Lockett is in a truly excellent spot to produce this week as he matches up against the Buccaneers secondary that has been poor at containing opposing slot receivers this season. Lockett is playing nearly two-thirds of his snaps out of the slot and possesses the high-end athleticism to make big plays on short passes. He’s been Wilson’s favorite target all season and there’s little reason to believe that won’t continue here in Week 9.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: Five straight 20-carry games for Chris Carson means that he’s one of the highest-floor options in all of fantasy football right now. Carson hasn’t yet had a huge, week-winning fantasy performance yet this season, however, and that won’t likely happen here in Week 9 as he faces a Tampa Bay defense that has surprisingly given up the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs so far this season. The Bucs haven’t given up more than 75 rushing yards to any one runner this season - including holding Christian McCaffrey to just 31 yards on 21 carries - and they’ve only given up four total touchdowns to the position. Only Todd Gurley and McCaffrey, who were both saved by multiple short touchdowns, have produced better than RB2 numbers against this run defense here in 2019.

This looks to be one of Carson’s toughest matchups of the season on paper, but the Seahawks are a team that won’t easily give up on the run. As long as they’re not being blown out on the scoreboard then Carson will likely see nearly 20 carries again this week which makes him a solid high-end RB2 even despite the tough matchup.

Value Meter:
QB1: Russell Wilson
RB2: Chris Carson
WR1: Tyler Lockett
WR2: D.K. Metcalf (low-end)
Bench: Rashaad Penny, Jaron Brown, David Moore, C.J. Prosise, Luke Willson, Jacob Hollister

Prediction: Seahawks 30, Buccaneers 24 ^ Top

Browns @ Broncos - (Caron)
Line: CLE -3.0
Total: 39.0

Passing Game Thoughts: It’s been a disastrous first half of the season for Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield and unfortunately things don’t get much easier as he and the Browns head on the road to face the Broncos here in Week 9. Denver has been one of the league’s best pass defenses so far this season, having conceded fewer fantasy points per game to opposing QBs than any team not named San Francisco or New England. The Broncos have held four of their eight opponents to zero touchdown passes, they’ve only given up two touchdowns once and they’ve held ever QB they’ve faced to fewer than 260 passing yards. Needless to say, this is not an ideal matchup for Mayfield and the Cleveland passing game, so he should probably be avoided in all but deep two-QB leagues.

The only Browns receiver who we should be looking at as anything other than a low-end PPR Flex play is wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. His struggles have coincided with Mayfield’s and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him held in check this week by Chris Harris, but Beckham has seen 18 targets over his past two games and he hasn’t been held to fewer than six targets in any game this season. His talent combined with that target share is always a potential recipe for fantasy production, so we’ll call him a WR2 in this matchup.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: If the Browns are going to go on the road and win this game against the Broncos, it’s likely going to be on the back of running back Nick Chubb. Chubb has been an absolute monster on the ground this season, having exceeded 85 rushing yards in five straight contests and he’s gone over 120 yards on the ground in three of his past four games. Most importantly, he’s been doing that even in games where the Browns haven’t been particularly competitive.

It’d be nice to see him utilized a bit more in the passing game, but Chubb’s seeing as many carries as practically any back in the league so there’s little to be worried about from a floor standpoint and his upside is the RB1 overall in any given week. He’s a strong play in just about any matchup, but especially one in which the Browns could be closer on the scoreboard than they typically have been.

Value Meter:
RB1: Nick Chubb
WR2: Odell Beckham Jr.
Flex: Jarvis Landry (low-end, PPR only)
Bench: Baker Mayfield, Ricky Seals-Jones

Passing Game Thoughts: With Joe Flacco expected to be out with a neck injury and rookie Drew Lock still not ready to be activated, the Broncos will turn to Brandon Allen who will be making his first NFL start. Allen, who was a sixth round draft back in 2016, has never taken an NFL snap and it seems very unlikely that the Broncos are suddenly going to allow him to be a relevant fantasy contributor. While it’s easy to diss Flacco, this is a clear downgrade at the position and one that we need to be aware of for every member of the Broncos passing game, particularly wide receiver Courtland Sutton who has been enjoying a breakout season here in 2019.

Sutton has seen at least six targets come his way in every game so far this season and while most inexperienced QBs tend to lock in on their top weapon and practically force-feed them the ball, the reality is that the depth and the overall quality of the targets that Sutton will be seeing here in Week 9 will almost certainly be worse than what he enjoyed while playing with Flacco. Because of that, we need to downgrade Sutton from a high-end WR2 to a low-end WR2.

No other player in this passing game should be considered for fantasy purposes even in deep leagues.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: If the game script allows for it, look for the Broncos to deploy a heavy workload for both of their top two running backs, Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. Both backs have seen double-digit carries in all but one game and that will almost certainly continue this week, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see those numbers closer to 15 to 18 carries each as opposed to 10 to 12 carries each given that the Broncos won’t be able to trust their passing game.

Of course, the Browns should also know that Denver will be looking to run the ball so there’s a strong possibility that they stack the box in an effort to force Allen to beat them through the air, but the Broncos are a hard-headed team that will probably continue to run the ball anyway. This could be an ugly game from a yards per carry standpoint, but it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see both Lindsay and Freeman produce viable fantasy numbers in this game.

Value Meter:
RB2: Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman
WR2: Courtland Sutton (low-end)
Bench: Brandon Allen, DaeSean Hamilton, Noah Fant

Prediction: Browns 23, Broncos 20 ^ Top

Packers @ Chargers - (Caron)
Line: GB -4.0
Total: 48.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The 2019 season didn’t start off great for Aaron Rodgers, but he’s been absolutely red hot over his past two games, throwing for an impressive 734 total yards along with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran in a touchdown and appears to be regaining some of the confidence that seemed to be missing early in the season. Oh, and it’s looking increasingly likely that he’ll be getting his top weapon back this week in wide receiver Davante Adams.

Adams has missed the past four Packers contests but still leads all Green Bay wide receivers in receptions - yeah, it’s been that bad. Needless to say, the Packers offense looks substantially more exciting with their top wide receiver back on the field and Adams should immediately be inserted back into lineups as a low-end WR1 if he’s on the field. The Chargers have only given up one 100-yard day to an opposing wide receiver so far this season but five different receivers have gone for at least 80 yards against them and most of those players were the perceived top wide receiver in their own perspective offenses.

If Adams is on the field, it’s probably time that we just give up on the rest of the Green Bay wideouts. None of them caught more than five passes in a single game with Adams sidelined so it’s pretty unlikely that they’re going to start catching more passes now that less targets are going there way. Jimmy Graham is the only other player in the passing game who we should really be looking at and this isn’t a particularly great matchup for him. The Chargers got beat for three tight end touchdowns by the Texans in Week 3, but have otherwise blanked opposing tight ends from scoring a single other touchdown this season. Graham is no longer a yardage monster so he’s probably not a start-worthy option either unless you’re in a really bad spot.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: He’s still splitting carries to some extent with Jamaal Williams, but Aaron Jones is in the process of being fully unlocked as a pass catching weapon and there’s nothing we love to see more than that from a fantasy asset. Jones now has an impressive 34 receptions on the season which leads the team and he’s scoring touchdowns at an extremely high rate both as a runner and as a receiver. The natural belief would be that the Packers would lean on Williams more in the red zone due to him being a more prototypical power back who can grind the ball into the end zone, but the Packers have taken a different approach, opting to give the ball to their smaller, more explosive back and it’s worked out marvelously.

Jones is an RB1 right now in fantasy no matter what the matchup is. His usage in the passing game has made him practically matchup-proof and he’s a strong start this week against the Chargers who rank inside the bottom 10 defenses in fantasy points per game given up to opposing running backs so far this season.

Jamaal Williams is also a low-end RB2 option right now for those who are hurting at the position, but he’s a very strong Flex play against the Chargers. Williams isn’t seeing as many touches as Jones is, particularly near the end zone, but he’s still scoring touchdowns. In fact, he’s scored four times over his past three contests and he’s contributed 11 receptions over that span.

Value Meter:
QB1: Aaron Rodgers
RB1: Aaron Jones
WR1: Davante Adams (low-end)
Flex: Jamaal Williams
Bench: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison, Allen Lazard, Jake Kumerow, Jimmy Graham

Passing Game Thoughts: Philip Rivers has been a prototypical “solid but nothing special” type of fantasy quarterback this season as he continues to produce acceptable fantasy numbers most weeks but he hasn’t really given his owners the boom weeks that would make him a viable fantasy QB1 in a tough matchup like the one he’ll face against the Packers here in Week 9. Rivers’ lack of mobility really lacks his fantasy upside but he does still throw the ball enough most weeks to be able to make a couple of his pass catching weapons interesting from a fantasy standpoint.

Wide receiver Keenan Allen is still the best option in this offense, though it’s becoming increasingly frustrating to start him as he continues to produce mediocre fantasy numbers despite a relatively high target share. Allen started the season off looking like a potential threat to be the highest-scoring fantasy wide receiver in the 2019 season but he’s since failed to reach even 65 receiving yards in a single game and he hasn’t scored a touchdown over that five game stretch. Sure, there have been some tough defenses mixed in there, but a player who has seen 21 targets over his past two games should be catching more than 11 passes for 104 total yards. Certainly there’s hope that he can still turn it around and Allen has been a notoriously streaky player throughout his career, but it’s tough to trust him as a WR1 at the moment.

Wide receiver Mike Williams has also been oddly unproductive with his targets, specifically his red zone targets as he’s failed to score a single touchdown so far this season despite being one of the league’s most-utilized red zone weapons. Williams was a monster in the red zone in 2018 so this would seem to be a statistical aberration rather than an indictment on his skills, but he hasn’t even reached 15 PPR points in a single game so far this season so it’s definitely understandable if you want to avoid putting him in your lineup in what could be a tough matchup against the Packers, but understand that it’s very possible that he breaks off a three touchdown performance in any game. You’ve been warned. Try to find a spot for him as your Flex if nothing else.

Tight end Hunter Henry continues to dominate and is a must-start against the Packers who rank in the top five in fantasy points given up to opposing tight ends so far this season.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: Yes, we get it - it’s been bad for Melvin Gordon owners since the former Pro Bowler returned. However, now is not the time to abandon hope. Gordon is still leading the backfield in carries by a wide margin since getting back on the field back in Week 5 and although he’s been fairly unsuccessful with his touches, he’s walking into a great matchup against a Green Bay defense that has given up the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs so far this season. There are plenty of high-quality backs on byes this week so Gordon is probably an RB2 in many lineups.

Austin Ekeler’s hype train has come to a screeching halt as the back has now failed to see more than five carries in each of the four games since Gordon returned to the starting lineup. Ekeler has mixed in two huge games due to his ability in the passing game, but he’s also given his fantasy owners a couple of duds with fewer than 10 total touches. Ekeler is a risky option given that his floor is essentially bottomless but he does have some upside in this game as the Chargers could find themselves behind on the scoreboard and needing to pass to stay in it.

Value Meter:
QB2: Philip Rivers
RB2: Melvin Gordon
WR2: Keenan Allen (high-end), Mike Williams (low-end)
TE1: Hunter Henry
Flex: Austin Ekeler (PPR only)
Bench: Justin Jackson

Prediction: Packers 27, Chargers 20 ^ Top

Patriots @ Ravens - (Swanson)
Line: NE -3.5
Total: 45.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The marquee matchup in Week 9 of the NFL season is the AFC battle between the undefeated New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens. The Pats enter the contest with the league’s No.1 ranked defense and No.1 ranked offense based on points scored per game. The Ravens boast the second-ranked offense with 30.6 points per game, with second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson making a serious claim for offensive MVP.

Although the Ravens boast some impressive names on the defensive side of the ball, Wink Martindale's defense ranks in the middle of the pack in yards and points allowed per game.

Tom Brady enters Week 9 as the No.10 ranked quarterback with 22.9 fantasy points per game. The ageless one is quietly on pace to post his best fantasy season since 2016 when he finished third overall behind Russell Wilson and Cam Newton. In the games in which the team needed him to score points because the defense did not score defensive touchdowns, Brady has come through with four games of 300 passing yards and double-digit passing weeks in five of eight games.

The wide receiving corps, led by Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett, rank 10th in the league in fantasy points per game. Edelman leads the team with 53 catches for 574 yards and four touchdowns on 79 targets, while Dorsett is second with 21 catches for 286 yards and four scores in just six games of action.

It will be interesting to see if newly acquired veteran wide receiver Mohamed Sanu will see an increase in targets from his five from last week and become the second-most targeted wide receiver behind Edelman.

Outside of a 374-yard, three-touchdown performance by Patrick Mahomes in Week 3, the Ravens defense has not allowed an opposing quarterback to throw for more than one touchdown in any game. Although Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield each topped 340 passing yards, the two combined for just one passing touchdown.

The Ravens bolstered their secondary with the acquisition of cornerback Marcus Peters from the Rams. Peters is not the best cover corner in man coverage, but he is a ball-hawking master in zone coverage, and his addition paid dividends last week in an impressive 30-16 road victory over the Seahawks.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: Sony Michel’s sophomore season has been less than impressive. The former first overall pick from Georgia does have six rushing touchdowns, but his 3.3 yard per carry average is well below his 4.5 from last season, and he continues to be a non-factor in the passing game.

James White has also been a disappointment for fantasy owners, with one touchdown in seven games. He is on pace to set a career-high in catches, but he too is struggling to run the ball and has yet to reach the end zone on the ground.

The Ravens rank 22nd in fantasy points allowed to the running back position, but those numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt. If you take out the outlier, three-touchdown game by Nick Chubb Week four, the Ravens allow 3.4 yards per carry and four rushing touchdowns in their other six games.

Defensive tackle Brandon Williams is one of the best run-stopping defensive linemen in the league. He is back and healthy, and will make it quite difficult for Michel to run between the tackles on Sunday Night.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady Low-End)
RB2: Sony Michel (Low-End)
WR1: Julian Edelman (Low-End)
WR4: Phillip Dorsett (High-End)
TE2: Ben Watson (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Lamar Jackson has been a fantasy football cheat code for most of the 2019 season. With 576 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns to go along with 1650 passing yards and 11 passing touchdowns, owning Jackson is like owning a top 12 quarterback and a top 24 running back in one player.

Jackson has four games of over 30 fantasy points, three games of over 100 rushing yards, and only one game of fewer than 20 points in seven games. Needless to say, he has been a monster and the person who owns him in your league is likely near the top in the standings.

As good as Jackson and the Ravens offense have been, they really have not been tested by a good defense. Like the Patriots, the Ravens enjoyed a cupcake schedule to start the season, with games against Miami, Arizona, Kansas City, and the Bengals. This will be the first big test for both teams, and it would not surprise us to see this matchup be a low-scoring affair between two good defenses.

The Patriots boast arguably the best secondary in the league and will play a ton of man coverage outside with linebackers spying Jackson in the run game. The ability of the Patriots linebackers to stop Jackson from scrambling is going to be the deciding factor of the game. If Jackson cannot run, chances are he is going to struggle with his young wide receiving corps matched up against Stephon Gilmore and the McCourty twins.

A big boost for the Ravens will be the return of speedster Marquise Brown, who has been out with an ankle injury. Brown possesses elite speed to stretch the field, which creates a mismatch for the Patriots on play action if safeties bite on the run.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: The Patriots have yet to give up a touchdown in the air or on the ground to an opposing running back. The Ravens boast a potent running game that ranks 12th in the league in fantasy points scored at the position.

If the Patriots shut down the Ravens run game and force Jackson to be them solely in the passing game, Baltimore is in for a long day and a likely loss.

A closer examination of the game log for New England reveals a bend but don’t break approach to the run game over the past four games. Franke Gore and Nick Chubb each topped 100 yards, Le’Veon Bell hit 70 yards on 15 carries, and the Giants did not have Saquon Barkley when the Pats below them out Week 6.

Yes, the Patriots own a historically good defense, but they can be run on, and don’t be surprised if the Ravens are the first team to score a rushing touchdown on Bill Belichick’s defense this year.

The injury report for the Patriots is filled with offensive players like Tom Brady, Rex Burkhead, and Julian Edelman. All of them were limited in practice this week but project to play. The loan defender on the list is safety Patrick Chung, who was limited with heel/chest injuries. Chung is expected to play as well.

Value Meter:
QB1: Lamar Jackson (Elite)
RB2: Mark Ingram (Low-End)
WR3: Marquise Brown (High-End)
TE1: Mark Andrews (High-End)

Prediction: Baltimore 20, New England 17 ^ Top

Cowboys at Giants - (Katz)
Line: DAL -7.0
Total: 48.0

Passing Game Thoughts: The week off was much needed for the Cowboys as injuries were piling up. Tyron Smith is back healthy and Amari Cooper, who played through a quad injury, should be fully recovered. The Cowboys already played the Giants once and Dak Prescott exploded for 405 yards and four touchdowns en route to an overall QB2 finish. Cooper posted a 6-106-1 line as well. The Giants have only allowed 13 passing touchdowns, but those numbers are a bit skewed as two of their last three opponents scored primarily on the ground. No team allows more fantasy points to opposing WR1s than the Giants’ 23.1. As a result, WR2s tend to not do much against them, but that shouldn’t scare you away from Michael Gallup, who rattled off 158 yards on seven receptions back in Week 1. The Giants just haven’t faced opponents with talented WR2s. Prescott, Cooper, and Gallup are all strong starts. Jason Witten is also a streaming option at a depleted tight end position. He hasn’t scored below 5.9 points all season, which is passable. Witten also has a knack for finding the end zone against the Giants, for whatever that’s worth.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: We can’t really look at Ezekiel Elliott’s opening week performance as he had just reported to the team a few days before the game. Fortunately, it doesn’t matter. Zeke is a locked in elite RB1 and you are obviously starting him against a Giants’ defense that has allowed 10 scores on the ground. Elliott started off a bit slow, but has touched the ball 28 and 33 times over his last two games. Everything plays in Zeke’s favor this week. The Cowboys are touchdown favorites against a bad rush defense.

Value Meter:
QB1: Dak Prescott (high end)
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott (high end)
WR1: Amari Cooper (mid-range)
WR2: Michael Gallup (mid-range)
TE1: Jason Witten (low end)
Bench: Tony Pollard, Randall Cobb

Passing Game Thoughts: When these teams first met, it was the ghost of Eli Manning making one of the last starts of his career. Daniel Jones has mostly looked awful, as expected, but he has shown a massive fantasy ceiling. He was the overall QB2 in his debut against Tampa Bay and was the overall QB1 last week against Detroit. In his other four starts, he was between QB19 and QB24. That’s more in line with what to expect against the Cowboys, who have only allowed six passing touchdowns all season.

The Cowboys also shut down slot receivers, allowing just 7.1 fantasy points per game to the slot. This is not ideal for Golden Tate, who has lined up in the slot 71.4% of the time. Tate is averaging 10 targets over his past three games without Sterling Shepard. The volume should be enough to keep him in play as a WR3. Shepard returned to full contact practice this week and is trending towards playing, but with the game Monday night, it is a gamble to start him if you don’t have a backup plan. Shepard will line up outside and see a lot of Byron Jones. Darius Slayton has been lining up outside and he caught just two passes last week, but both went for touchdowns. He is off the fantasy radar this week regardless of Shepard’s status.

Evan Engram has historically played quite well against the Cowboys. He was the top scoring tight end back in Week 1 with an 11-116-1 line. Look for Jones to lean on Engram, who leads all tight ends in routes run per team pass play.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

Running Game Thoughts: Saquon Barkley had a mediocre fantasy performance against the Cowboys in Week 1, but he did total 139 yards; he just didn’t score. Since returning from his ankle sprain, Barkley has been the RB9 and RB4 with touch counts of 21 and 27. The Cowboys have been strong against the run. They’ve only allowed seven rushing scores and four of them belong to Aaron Jones. Barkley’s touchdown upside is not as high this week, but he will be heavily involved in the passing game regardless. Barkley saw 10 targets last week and will continue to be a weapon out of the backfield.

Value Meter:
RB1: Saquon Barkley (high end)
WR3: Golden Tate
TE1: Evan Engram (high end)
Flex: Sterling Shepard (if he plays)
Bench: Daniel Jones, Darius Slayton

Prediction: Cowboys 30, Giants 20 ^ Top