Last week, I admitted that I failed to foresee Geno Smith tearing his ACL, leaving the door open for Ryan Fitzpatrick to come in and save the day. But I took what I learned from that experience and became a better man: a man so great that I was able to tip you off to the injury that would occur to Alex Smith (QB24), a man so intelligent that I was able to foretell Mark Ingram’s negative fantasy output in Week 8.
Ok, maybe I didn’t predict Smith’s injury or negative points for Ingram, but I did tell you to put both guys on the bench, which is all that matters.
The rest of my advice was pretty accurate as well, as long as you stuck with your gut and didn’t take my advice to play Brock Osweiler. I promise I won’t lobby for you to start another bum at quarterback this week. But I will give you some quality players to look to with a lot of fantasy studs enjoying their bye weeks.
As you know, I’m not here to give you the obvious advice (i.e. start Matt Ryan and Devontae Booker). I’m focusing on the less obvious plays that will win you the week. (Spoiler alert: I am telling you to start another incompetent quarterback this week. This time it’ll pay off, though. I swear.)
If you’re the type of person who needs to be reassured that Ezekiel Elliott will have a big day against the Browns, you can check out Nicholas’ Top-50 Flex Players for Week 9; he even has a new fancy guarantee. “But for your sake, you might want to think about buying a quality product from me” – the guy who leads Mr. Ferris in our fantasy pool. [mic drop]
A Stable Seven Fantasy Tips for Week 9
1) If they suit up, start both Packers “backs”
Nope, I’m not referring to Eddie Lacy and James Starks, because they’re definitely out of the lineup in Week 9; and I’m certainly not talking about Don Jackson and Aaron Ripkowski. I’m telling you to start Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery. Both players are listed as questionable, but both are on the right side of the label.
If they do suit up, they’ll have a matchup with the Indianapolis Colts who are only giving up 20.80 PPG to wide receivers (sixth-fewest).
“Then why are you telling me to start them, moron?”
I’m not sure I agree with the name-calling, but that’s a great question, my valued reader. The reasoning here is two-fold: first, that number is very misleading; and second, both of these players do more than catch balls.
The Colts actually possess the league’s 31st-ranked pass defense, and have recently been torched by Nick Foles and Brian Hoyer. It just so happens Foles and Hoyer leaned on their tight ends and running backs, for the most part. Since Green Bay doesn’t have a running back (more on that to come) or tight end threat, you can count on Aaron Rodgers – who is regaining his MVP form – looking to Cobb, who has received double-digit targets in three straight games, and Montgomery, who has double-digit catches in two straight games.
Remember when I said the Packers don’t have a running back? That’s mostly true. But they do have players who line up at the running back position. Those two players are Montgomery and Cobb. The former carried the ball nine times for 60 yards in the last game, while the latter toted the rock five times for 21 yards. I fully expect both to receive carries in this game, and the Colts defense is allowing 22.95 PPG to running backs (fifth-most).
If only one plays, then he will be a premier WR1 for Week 9. Even if both play, I would not hesitate to start either one. I see them both as top-20 plays at the WR position. As we learned last week, though, be sure to monitor their status right up until kickoff.
2) Thanks to matchups, start…
Colin Kaepernick – Ok, hear me out. The Saints are giving up 18.13 PPG to quarterbacks this season (tenth-most). Kaepernick isn’t beating anyone with his arm right now but his legs give him fantasy value. In his two starts, the polarizing quarterback has put up a combined 32.20 fantasy points, which is largely due to his 150 yards on the ground. The Saints are also allowing 26.00 PPG to running backs this season (second-most), and that’s ultimately what Kaepernick should be viewed as, a running back. He’s a low ceiling QB1 in this matchup.
Dennis Pitta – The Ravens tight end has been targeted 20 times over the last two games, and has received eight or more in five of seven games this season. Pitta hasn’t enjoyed much success with all those looks, turning them into just 335 yards and no TDs. However, he has a matchup against a Steeler defense that is allowing 8.29 PPG to tight ends (tenth-most) and will continue to receive the inflated targets with Steve Smith doubtful to play. Pitta won’t be a great TE1, but he’ll wind up a top-12 play.
Sammie Coates – With Big Ben likely back under center, Steelers receivers beyond Antonio Brown become relevant again. Coates is not listed on the injury report for Week 9, and appears to be fully recovered from his hand/finger injury. This week, he’ll get a beat up Ravens defense that’s allowing 27.19 PPG to wide receivers (third-most), and you can bet they’ll have all eyes on trying to slow Brown. Coates’ big-play potential makes him a WR2 with a big ceiling.
3) Thanks to matchups, bench…
Derek Carr – This season, the Broncos have only allowed one quarterback to be a top-12 performer (Cam Newton in Week 1) and are allowing a mere 12.02 PPG to the position on the year (fewest). The Raiders offensive line has held up this season, allowing a league-low nine sacks, but they also haven’t faced a pass rush of this caliber. Bench Carr. Cooper and Crabtree should be viewed as nothing more than decent flex options.
Marvin Jones – Not only has he not produced a double-digit fantasy output since Week 3, but he will be matched up against a tough Vikings secondary in Week 9. Minnesota is allowing a measly 14.16 PPG to wide receivers on the season, and are going to be very aggressive after dropping two straight games. Jones is a touchdown dependent WR3 this week. I’d find a better option.
Frank Gore – In spite of Gore being one of the most consistent fantasy running backs this season, he shouldn’t be trusted this week against a stingy Packer run defense. Green Bay is only allowing 12.40 PPG to running backs this season (fewest), and have surrendered more than 90 yards on the ground just once. There are plenty of better options at RB this week. Who are they? Keep reading!
4) Tim Hightower won’t be a one week wonder
Mark Ingram has now fumbled in back-to-back games, and his most recent one was scooped up and taken to the house. That led to Ingram watching the rest of the game from the sideline. In relief, Hightower was able to scamper for 102 yards against a tough Seahawk defense, which ranks seventh against the run.
Saints head coach Sean Payton has suggested that Hightower will split carries with Mark Ingram this week, but the former is the clear favorite to take the bulk of the touches.
In a matchup against the 49ers, who are allowing a league-high 26.71 PPG to running backs, Hightower should have you salivating. But, don’t get your hopes up too high. This is still the Saints, who refuse to dole out carries (22nd in rushing attempts). Value Hightower as an RB2 with a lot of upside, while Ingram will be a touchdown dependent flex option, if you’re needy.
5) No Ware, look West
Spencer Ware remains in the league’s concussion protocol and Jamaal Charles is now on the IR. That means Charcandrick West is the next man up at running back for a Chiefs team that has averaged 127.7 yards per game on the ground since its bye week.
This week, the Chiefs will take on the Jaguars, who are allowing an average of 28.15 PPG to running backs over their last two, and 18.66 PPG on the season (14th-most).
If Ware is held out of this game, West becomes a top-15 play for Week 9. If, by chance Ware does play, the Chiefs will be cautious with his workload, so West remains a solid RB2 option.
6) Despite a tough matchup, stick with Shady (if healthy)
Although the Seahawk defense is only allowing 13.80 PPG to running backs this season (fourth-fewest), they have now allowed more than 120 yards on the ground in two straight games and three of the last five.
Since Anthony Lynn took over as offensive coordinator, the Bills have averaged 180.3 rushing yards per week, and are now averaging 5.5 yards per carry on the season. LeSean McCoy sat out their Week 8 game against the Pats, and basically did the same in Week 7 against the Dolphins. It is crucial that you monitor his hamstring leading up to Sunday, but with McCoy back at practice, it’s likely that he’ll suit up.
The Bills will stubbornly pound away at the Seattle defense, and Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense aren’t going to race out to a big lead, forcing Buffalo to take to the air. Shady remains a top-ten play in Week 9.
7) Do not be fooled into starting…
Sam Bradford – Although he is playing the Lions, who are giving up 21.92 PPG to quarterbacks (second-most), the Vikings signal-caller hasn’t done anything to warrant our trust. A new offensive coordinator (Pat Shurmur) won’t change that, either. Bradford has thrown a touchdown in every start this year, but he only had multiple TDs in two games. Expect another safe day from Bradford, which will not result in him being a QB1. If you’re in a two quarterback league, though, he’s an ultra-safe QB2.
Tavon Austin – Yes, the Panthers are allowing 28.17 PPG to wide receivers (last), and Austin did just receive 15 targets in the Rams’ last game. But even with the inflated targets, Austin still only turned in 57 yards; a TD saved his fantasy day. The Panthers pass rush is showing some signs of life, and it’s awfully hard to trust Case Keenum. Leave Austin on your bench in this plus matchup.