For the most part, Week 9 was par for the course, but for Deshaun Watson and the Texans, it was an affirmation that this team is for real and will lead some to fantasy gold. On the road, in Seattle, Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller once again dominated through the air, and look to be this year’s heroic fantasy tale. When the season is finished, you’re going to see those guys on a lot of championship teams.
Oh, and Zeke Elliott is finally, possibly for real suspended maybe.
And Jay Ajayi got traded to the Eagles. Sorry, Wendell Smallwood and LeGarrette Blount.
So many teams are on bye: Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota, New England, Pittsburgh.
Start of the Week
Deshaun Watson is a god amongst men now, this much is known. He can travel across the country to take on the Seahawks (in Seattle) and walk away from the game as one of the top QBs of the week yet again. He’s a top 3 QB, and is looking at the no. 1 spot yet again with a divisional game against the Colts. He’s your start of the week, and if you have him in a 2-QB league, grats to your 2017 trophy.
Derek Carr: His broken back looks better every week, and even if he didn’t look phenomenal in Buffalo, he still threw for over 300 yards and last week he put up over 40 fantasy points. Now he plays Miami, who are allowing every opposing quarterbacks to look like a stud. Even Ryan Mallett, kinda. Best of all — they only have two interceptions on the year.
Matthew Stafford: How do you throw for 423 yards and not have a touchdown or a pick? Somehow, Stafford pulled this off, and should beat up on a Packers defense that’s going to be on the field for the majority of the game if their offense can’t get going. Seriously, 423 yards?
Tyrod Taylor: The Jets defense isn’t as terrible as people assume they are, but Ty-God isn’t picking on the bad teams as much as you want either. Still, this week you need QB help, and Taylor should be a lock as a top-12 QB with some damn high upside. You want to see Taylor throw for more than 165 yards against Oakland, but let’s hope his feet mitigates some of his low passing totals and gets him around QB 6-8 for everyone to be happy.
Carson Wentz: There’s a good chance Wentz is your second quarterback, and while he’s at home against Denver, why risk it? There’s a chance he plays fine, but he’s going to have to come down to earth sometime, and this could be the week. He’s a great Daily Fantasy contrarian play for that reason, though. Isn’t fantasy football grand!? Please look at this t-shirt while you consider sitting Wentz.
Marcus Mariota: The Ravens are giving up the sixth-fewest passing yards to opposing QBs and are in the bottom third of passing TDs allowed. The Titans offense hasn’t been astonishingly great through the air, and Baltimore is making a habit out of shutting down offenses, so stay away from Mariota unless you really need a QB this week with the byes being so nasty.
Andy Dalton: The Jacksonville Jaguars are going to be interviewed for season 2 of Mindhuneters after they tear poor Andy Dalton to shreds on Sunday. No man deserves this. Three Jaguars players are in the top 12 for sacks. Maybe Dalton will stop the bleeding by scoring a couple points, but… What if he doesn’t? This very well could be a negative game (watch him score 30 and not get sacked once).
WIDE RECEIVER STARTS
Marvin Jones: After a quiet start to the year, Jones is starting to come on strong against defenses that will be focusing on the primary receiver. Since Green Bay could be putting most of their attention on Golden Tate, Stafford could feed Jones early and often. Especially since the Packers aren’t likely to be on offense for long stretches of time.
Will Fuller: Coming from someone who regrets trading some of his shares of Fuller, it’s time to consider him a top 20 WR, if not higher. Will the regression come? It has to. But even if it does, it seems like Fuller’s basement is going to be high enough to make him must-start every week. He saw 8 targets against Seattle, which should ease some of the fears around his high-touchdown, low-volume games, so enjoy while you can.
Michael Crabtree: With 5 grabs for 83 yards against Buffalo, Crabtree continues to put up decent numbers (when Derek Carr is healthy). Against the Dolphins, he could have WR1 upside.
WIDE RECEIVER SITS
All Packers: Losing Rodgers, as expected, was truly a death knell for this passing offense. It’s over. New QB Brett Hundley is averaging 1.4 Yards per attempt. He threw for 87 yards and a pick, but ran for 44 and a touchdown. All is lost.
All Cardinals: Much like Rodgers and the Packers, for the Cards, losing Palmer, as expected, was truly a death knell for this passing offense. (It’s over.) Drew Stanton went 5/14 for 62 yards and an interception. He’s underwhelmed before, so who knows what Bruce Arians was thinking keeping him around. Fitzgerald, Nelson, the Browns (Jaron and John), are all in trouble.
Demaryius Thomas: If you’re an owner that has Will Fuller, Kenny Stills or Mohammad Sanu on your team, do you bench Demaryius Thomas next week at Philly? Probably not, but with Siemian looking worse every week, and Thomas’ production worse with Emmanuel Sanders not drawing coverage, it’s something to think about. You don’t want to bench your studs blah blah, but DT is a WR3 on the year. JuJu Smith-Schuster is having a better year than him.
Maybe there’s a squeaky wheel game coming?
RUNNING BACK STARTS
Ameer Abdullah: His 11 rushes for 27 yards could scare you away, but gameflow can lead to a big game from Abdullah. If the Lions get out to an early lead against the Pack, which they should, we may see the Lions run out the clock with Abdullah, and to a lesser extent, Theo Riddick. I want to believe. All they need to do is give him a few goal-line carries and everything is just fine.
Christian McCaffrey: Once again a top 20 PPR play with a high ceiling, McCaffrey actually set a franchise record for receptions only halfway through the season. If he gets into the end zone, it’s a great day. The guy has a fantastic basement.
Don’t ever play him in standard scoring leagues though.
Doug Martin: New Orleans is giving up their yards on the ground this year, allowing 4.9 YPC and over 130 yards per game. Martin’s been featured by the Bucs every week since he’s come back from serving his suspension, and he’s guaranteed at least 15 touches against the Saints. Roll him out confidently as an RB2 with RB1 upside.
RUNNING BACK SITS
Darren McFadden/Alfred Morris: Ezekiel Elliott is officially suspended and now we have no idea what’s going to happen next! Will McFadden get activated and spell Morris? Who will dominate touches? Will anyone dominate touches? Is the Dallas backfield a committee?
Matt Forte: It doesn’t matter who is running the ball — the Jets can’t get anything going. So, you have to depend on the RBs catching passes but there’s no volume. After a week when Powell got 14 rushes and 3 catches while Forte rushed 4 times and caught the ball 6 times for 45 yards, you have to see the the scaled tipping. Powell is out-touching Forte regularly now, and it’s totally unpredictable if he’s going to do anything other than catch 3-4 balls a game.
Adrian Peterson: Maybe Bruce Arians and the Cardinals got things right after their bye, but with Drew Stanton under center, how can you expect anything less than eight men in the box at all times, ready to stuff AP? It’s a sad situation. The comeback lasted for one game.
TIGHT END STARTS
Jack Doyle: The man has 32 targets over his last three games and finally had a huge performance, catching 12 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals. There’s no reason to expect Doyles target share (he had a whopping 36.8% share Week 8) to go down.
Cameron Brate: Tampa Bay’s other breakout TE has had six games in a row of double-digit PPR production. Brate has 22 targets over the last three weeks, with a low of 5 coming this week, but he should be in a shootout against the Saints. Play him. Also — enjoy him in daily fantasy.
Ben Watson: It’s a terrible week in a terrible season for tight ends, so let’s just throw Ben Watson out here as someone worth considering if you have Kyle Rudolph or Gronk on bye. He’s seeing a consistent 5-6 targets a week and could be a safety valve if Mallet steps in for Joe Flacco.
TIGHT END SITS
Eric Ebron: Times are desperate, I know. But do you know Darren Fells? He’s getting just as many touches at the TE position as Ebron, and doing a lot more with them. Ebron showed that he was still a human on a football team last week, but don’t put much stock into him until he puts a few games in a row together.
Austin Hooper: At some point, the Falcons are going to realize that they need to throw the ball to Julio Jones and they’re shift playmakers in the backfield if they’re going to repeat the success of last year. He has trouble putting two good games together in a row.
Jordan Reed: Theres a good chance Reed misses Washington’s Week 9 game against Seattle, so monitor his situation. Even if he does go, it may not be worth his limited snaps. Vernon Davis is worth benching as well.
SF QB Jimmy Garoppolo: The Niners gave up a 2nd round pick for ol’ Jimmy G, now we have to wonder if he’s going to play immediately. Probably not, and it’s unknown how well he’ll even do when he does suit up, but this could be a fantastic dynasty pickup. Who knows? Maybe he’ll play well and win someone a trophy with a late-season charge.
DAL RBS Darren McFadden/Alfred Morris: You had to get these guys a week or two ago, but if they’re still out there, you’ll possibly have at least 50 percent of a starting running back behind the pretty damn good Dallas offensive line for the next six weeks. Don’t start them this week, though (see above.)
BAL RB Alex Collins: It seems like after going through every option available, the Ravens ended up with Collins, who turned out to be the best offensive player on their team. We’ve said to pick him up a few times, but he’s still available in some leagues. Try to get him.
NYJ WR Robby Anderson: He’s strung three good games in a row together, and that’ll likely change this week against Buffalo, but Anderson has a sweet Tampa Bay matchup in Week 10, then he’s on a bye. After that, he has New Orleans and the Chargers in weeks 15 and 16, so he could be a decent end of year stash if McCown keeps playing like a top twelve QB.
PIT WR JuJu Smith-Schuster: We’ve mentioned him before, but now with Martavis Bryant on the outs with everyone in Pittsburgh, it’s Smith-Schuster time. Get him while you can, he could be Will Fuller 2.0 and exactly what Pittsburgh needs right now.