It’s Week 9. You know who to start and who not to. But we still look for validation and need confirmation that we are making the right call and not overlooking some crucial data point that was posted on Twitter or mentioned in a Podcast. On top of that, if you’re like me, you most likely do not have another healthy alternative and have to start your players regardless of matchup. Injuries are a bitch my friends, but we will get through it together. Here are my recommended sits for the week, which I won’t write much about because they really don’t help anyone because your team is probably also decimated by injuries:
- PHILLIP RIVERS, QB LA CHARGERS vs. Seattle Seahawks: SEA allowing 13.0 Fantasy Points per Game to opposing QBs (1st)
- BEN ROETHLISBERGER, QB PITTSBURGH STEELERS @ Baltimore Ravens: BAL allowing 15.2 Fantasy Points per Game to opposing QBs (5th)
- JAMES CONNER, RB PITTSBURGH STEELERS @ Baltimore Ravens: BAL allowing 12.1 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs (1st)
- ALEX COLLINS, RB BALTIMORE RAVENS vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: PIT averaging 13.2 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs (3rd)
- KENNY GOLLADAY/MARVIN JONES JR, WR DETROIT LIONS vs. Minnesota Vikings: MIN averaging 18.8 fantasy points per game to opposing WRs (2nd)
- COREY DAVIS, WR TENNESSEE TITANS @ Dallas Cowboys: DAL averaging 19.2 fantasy points per game to opposing WRs (4th)
CAM NEWTON, QB CAROLINA PANTHERS vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
30.4 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
RULE OF THUMB: Start any and all QBs against the Tampa Bay DST. By now, it is no secret that the Bucs defense is very bad. They are currently allowing 26.2 Fantasy points per game to opposing QBs (1st in NFL), 2330 passing yards allowed (4th in NFL) and 20 passing TDs (1st in NFL). Here are some notable Fantasy Points allowed by week:
- Week 1: Drew Brees 30.0 Fantasy Points (QB2)
- Week 3: Ben Roethlisberger 25.0 Fantasy Points (QB9)
- Week 4: Mitchell Trubisky 43.0 Fantasy Points (QB1)
- Week 6: Matt Ryan 28.0 Fantasy Points (QB4)
- Week 7: Baker Mayfield 21.0 Fantasy Points (QB8)
- Week 8: Andy Dalton 20.0 Fantasy Points (QB11)
The Bucs DST also ranks 27th against #1 WRs (Devin Funchess), 31st against #2 WRs (DJ Moore), 26th against Tight Ends (Greg Olson) and 29th against pass catching running backs (Christian McCaffrey). Newton can also gain yards with his legs, so look for him to have his best week of the season.
JARED GOFF, QB LOS ANGELES RAMS @ New Orleans Saints
23.6 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Jared Goff came hot out of the gate this season, averaging 25.0 fantasy points in his first 4 games, only to come back down to earth, with 16.5 fantasy points per game in his last 4 games. He should get back on track this week, facing a New Orleans secondary allowing 24.7 Fantasy Points per game to opposing QBs, which is the 3rd most in the league. Cooper Kupp should be back from injury this week and will lineup across from PJ Williams, who is allowing a 139.1 QB Rating on the year. He is also allowing a 114.0 QB Rating when covering the slot. Expect a big day from Kupp. Here are the Fantasy Points allowed by week:
- Week 1: Ryan Fitzpatrick 42.0 Fantasy Points (QB1)
- Week 3: Matt Ryan 36.0 Fantasy Points (QB2)
- Week 7: Joe Flacco 20.0 Fantasy Points (QB11)
- Week 8: Kirk Cousins 22.0 Fantasy Points (QB8)
The Saints Defense is ranked 32nd against #1 and #2 WRs (Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods) and are ranked 30th against pass catching running backs (Todd Gurley). Goff should be in for a big day.
ALEX SMITH, QB WASHINGTON REDSKINS vs. Atlanta Falcons
21.1 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Alex Smith is never going to wow you with fantasy production, but when the matchup is right, he can be a useful asset. The Redskins face a decimated Falcons secondary this week, who is allowing 24.8 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs (2nd in NFL) and 17 passing TDs (5th in NFL). Here are some notable fantasy performances:
- Week 2: Cam Newton 29.0 Fantasy Points (QB7)
- Week 3: Drew Brees 41.0 Fantasy Points (QB1)
- Week 4: Andy Dalton 26.0 Fantasy Points (QB9)
- Week 5: Ben Roethlisberger 23.0 Fantasy Points (QB7)
- Week 6: Jameis Winston 33.0 Fantasy Points (QB1)
- Week 7: Eli Manning 21.0 Fantasy Points (QB8)
The Redskins wide receiving core is badly banged up, but Smith should be able to put up a solid line this week. Start him with confidence.
JOE FLACCO, QB BALTIMORE RAVENS vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
16.3 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Joe Flacco isn’t exactly lighting it up, with 137 fantasy points on the season, which puts him at QB16. However, the Ravens are throwing a ton, with 342 pass attempts, or 42.7 times per game, which is 1st in the NFL. This week, they will square off against a porous Pittsburgh secondary, who is allowing 22.5 Fantasy Points per Game to opposing QBs (5th in NFL) and 17 passing TDs (7th in NFL). Flacco is not in anyone’s circle of trust as time after time, he continues to disappoint in a favorable matchup, but this could be a premier game for him.
ADRIAN PETERSON, RB WASHINGTON REDSKINS vs. Atlanta Falcons
16.0 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Adrian Peterson is not human and I’m pretty sure he never has been. He continues to play through injury and old age to defy the odds and churn out meaningful and useful fantasy production. Peterson is averaging 26.0 touches and 18.5 fantasy points per game in his last 2 games. He is also averaging 22.0 fantasy points per game when he gets at least 19 touches. The Atlanta Falcons DST is allowing 26.2 Fantasy points per game (2nd in NFL) and 7 rushing TDs (5th in NFL) to opposing RBs. Adrian Peterson has not and will not be much of a factor in the passing game (1.8 targets per game), but the Falcons defense has struggled badly against pass catching running backs:
- 87 Targets against (1st)
- 70 Receptions allowed (1st)
- 619 receiving yards (1st)
Chris Thompson is inactive for Week 9, which means Kapri Bibbs could be a super sleeper this week since he has shown he can handle pass catching duties (Week 7: 4-43-1). Week 9 should be a huge dose of AP.
NICK CHUBB, RB CLEVELAND BROWNS vs. Kansas City Chiefs
13.6 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Nick Chubb has 36 carries in his last 2 weeks (5th in NFL) but has only seen 5 Targets and is averaging 4.0 YPC (13th in NFL). There has been silent hype on Chubb this season and enthusiasm to see what he is capable of. This may be the contest that will bring it out in him. The Kansas City DST is allowing:
|25.9 fantasy points per game (3rd)||71 Targets against (4th)|
|882 rushing yards allowed (7th)||56 Receptions allowed (3rd)|
|7 rush TD (7th)||551 Receiving yards allowed (2nd)|
The only concern here is Kansas City’s offense getting up big and forcing Cleveland to abandon the run. If that happens or it doesn’t, Duke Johnson could be a sneaky DFS flex play this week. Duke has been targeted 28 times (16th in NFL), or 3.5 targets per game and has run 21.4 routes per game (12th among RBs) this season. Johnson could find extended opportunities in this one. This entire backfield should be in play this week.
ISAIAH CROWELL, RB NEW YORK JETS @ Miami Dolphins
10.8 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Isaiah Crowell is hard to start and hard to stomach. Then, literally out of no where he goes off on 15 carries for 219 yards and 1 TD in Week 5 against the Broncos. A glimmer of hope, only dies out after not exceeding 40 yards from scrimmage or 8 fantasy points in any of his last 3 games. The Miami Dolphins DST is allowing:
- 24.8 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs (4th in NFL)
- 1001 rushing yards (3rd In NFL)
- 7 rush TDs (5th In NFL)
The Miami Dolphins are allowing 4.6 yards per carry on the ground (8th in NFL) and Crowell may get a full workload this weekend. He is very hard to trust, but could pay dividends if you have to throw him in your flex spot this week.
LAMAR MILLER, RB HOUSTON TEXANS @ Denver Broncos
11.3 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Lamar Miller has been underwhelming to say the least, averaging 16.5 touches and 10.2 fantasy points per game through his first 4 games. But something has changed as he is averaging 19.3 touches (8th in NFL) and 15.0 fantasy points per game in his last 3 games. The Denver Broncos DST is allowing:
- 22.3 Fantasy Points per Game (10th in NFL)
- 5.3 Yards per Carry (3rd in NFL)
He is seeing the 11th most snaps in the NFL among RBs and is playing on 68% of the offensive sets. His fantasy production appears to increase the less snaps he plays and the Texans are currently carrying momentum in Week 9 after winning their last 5 games. This offense is dialed in and Lamar Miller may be to. Look for him to get 20 plus touches this weekend and should have a solid game.
ROBERT WOODS/BRANDIN COOKS/COOPER KUPP, WR LA RAMS @ New Orleans Saints
12.9/10.9/11.8 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
I know it’s a cop-out to recommend all 3 WRs on a team, but a white-hot offense squaring off against a collectively bad defense is the stuff that dreams are made of. This is more of a DFS play, as everyone will be starting the Rams receivers this weekend. The New Orleans Saints DST is allowing:
- 33.1 Fantasy Points per Game to Opposing Wide Receivers (1st in NFL)
- 1,516 Yards Allowed (4th in NFL)
- 12 TD Allowed (2nd in NFL)
- Ranked 32nd against #1 WRs
- Ranked 32nd against #2 WRs
- Ranked 30th against Pass Catching RBs
While the Saints secondary is only ranked 7th against slot receivers, Cooper Kupp will line up across from PJ Williams who is allowing a 139.1 QB Rating this season, which is the 10th highest rating in the league. On top of that, Williams is allowing a 114.0 pass rating when lining up in the slot, which is the 11th worst mark. Kupp should have a big day in his first game back since leaving early Week 6.
DEVIN FUNCHESS, WR CAROLINA PANTHERS vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
12.8 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Funchess is averaging 7.0 targets per game this season, but is only running 35.8 routes per game (35th in NFL). He has yet to top 77 receiving yards or 18.0 fantasy points in a game, but The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense is virtually a practice squad, allowing:
- 31.1 Fantasy Points per Game to opposing Wide Receivers (2nd in NFL)
- 115 Receptions Against (4th)
- 13 TDs (1st)
We are still waiting to see the breakout potential from Devin Funchess, but Cam Newton may soon bring it out as he is having a career year, throwing for multiple scores in all but Week 1. This may be the game where Funchess breaks out of his shell.
JARVIS LANDRY, WR CLEVELAND BROWNS vs. Kansas City Chiefs
14.9 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Jarvis Landry is being targeted 10.6 times per game this season (3rd in NFL) and is running 43.6 receiving routes per game (2nd in NFL). The Kansas City Chiefs Defense is allowing a respectable 23.8 Fantasy Points per Game to opposing WRs (17th), but the Chiefs are ranked 26th against slot receivers. Landry will lineup across from Kendall Fuller, who is allowing a 122.1 QB Rating (8th in NFL) when lining up in the slot. KC DST has been pretty solid against WRs as of late, but they can be beat through the slot. Look for Landry to pounce this week.
AMARI COOPER, WR DALLAS COWBOYS VS. Tennessee Titans
11.6 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
I was a huge supporter of Amari Cooper coming into the preseason as a potential sleeper and a bounce back candidate. Up until now, he has vastly underperformed, with 2 games of 22+ fantasy points, while he failed to exceed 3 fantasy points in his other 4 games. Derek Carr may have been the best option for Amari Cooper to blossom, being a non-mobile QB who stays in the pocket, but I think it may be time to come to a realization that maybe Amari Cooper is the problem and he is unable to get open. Cooper is only being targeted on 14% of his receiving routes, which is 69th in the NFL among Wide Receivers who have run at least 150 routes this season. If he’s not being targeted, he is probably not open.
Either way, this should be a great week for Cooper to get back on track. The Cowboys should try to get Cooper involved early and often in this one to get him going. The Tennessee Titans defense is allowing 26.1 fantasy points per game to opposing WRs (10th). Expect a healthy dose of targets for Cooper in his first week in Dallas.
Keep an eye out for the rookie Michael Gallup this week, who lines up across from Malcom Butler and is allowing a 140.6 QB Rating this season and has been one of the Top 7 worst cover corners in the league this season.
GREG OLSEN, TE CAROLINA PANTHERS vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
10.8 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Since Olsen’s return from injury, Olsen is only averaging 5.3 targets and 11 Fantasy points per game in 3 games. This may be his comeback week, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense is averaging:
- 11.6 fantasy points per game against opposing Tight Ends (1st in NFL)
- 574 receiving yards against (3rd in NFL)
- 4 TDs allowed (6th)
The Carolina Panthers are in the bottom 10 in the NFL for targets to Tight Ends, but that should change this week, as we can expect a big volume outing for Greg Olsen.
OJ HOWARD, TE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS @ Carolina Panthers
10.3 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
OJ Howard has been targeted 5.6 times per game in his last 3 games. In that span, he has also ran 29.6 receiving routes per game, which is 8th in the NFL among Tight Ends. He is also averaging 15.0 fantasy points per game in these 3 weeks.
He is becoming the go to Tight End option in Tampa and should be in line for a big day against a Panthers defense, who is allowing 10.8 fantasy points per game to opposing Tight Ends (4th) and 45 receptions to TEs (4th). With Ryan Fit-Magic under center, look for Howard to eclipse the 100 yard mark for the first time this season. He should get some run on Sunday.
JIMMY GRAHAM, TE GREEN BAY PACKERS @ New England Patriots
13.3 PROJECTED FANTASY POINTS
Jimmy Graham is the 7th most targeted Tight End in the NFL, seeing 6.3 targets per game. Graham is also running 38.8 routes per game, which is 1st in the NFL among Tight Ends. But he is only averaging 10.1 fantasy points per game, which is 12th among Tight Ends. He should be in for a big day, facing a Patriots defense who is allowing 10.1 fantasy points per game to opposing Tight Ends, which is 7th in the league. Big day coming for Graham.
Visit Fantasy Rundown for additional start/sit and weekly ranking articles.