- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
49ers @ Cardinals
- (Caron) Line: SF -10.5 Total: 43.0
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Redskins at Bills
- (Katz) Line: BUF -10.0 Total: 37.0
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.
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.
Titans @ Panthers
- (Green) Line: CAR -4.0 Total: 41.5
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.
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
Jets at Dolphins
- (Katz) Line: NYJ -3.0 Total: 42.0
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.
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.
Bears at Eagles
- (Katz) Line: PHI -5.0 Total: 42.5
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.
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.
Colts @ Steelers
- (Swanson) Line: IND -1.0 Total: 43.0
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
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.
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
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
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.
Lions @ Raiders
- (Caron) Line: OAK -2.0 Total: 50.5
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Patriots @ Ravens
- (Swanson) Line: NE -3.5 Total: 45.0
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
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.
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
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
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.
Cowboys at Giants
- (Katz) Line: DAL -7.0 Total: 48.0
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
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.
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.