Fantasy Football Likes/Dislikes: Week 9

In an effort to aid you in your lineup-setting endeavors, I’ll be providing a weekly glimpse into my rankings; meaning, I’ll be highlighting players I like or dislike more compared to the expert consensus rankings as listed on FantasyPros.com or who I simply like or dislike for that given week. My ranking at the time of the writing will be alongside the player’s name. Needless to say, that ranking will likely change as the week progresses.

Bear in mind that I start this writing earlier in the week, so Expert Consensus Rankings will likely be different by the time of publication. These cannot be held against me – only used for credit.

While I do acknowledge that kickers are people too, neither they nor D/STs will be included.

Finally, these cannot be held against me – only used to give credit when credit is due.

As always, feel free to reach me on Twitter for any queries before the slate and I’ll try to get back to you.

*Note that half PPR scoring applies.

Week 9 Fantasy Likes

 

Deshaun Watson

HOU @ JAC – QB3

This ­is actually one of the games I’m looking forward to the most this week, mainly because of Watson and James Robinson. It would be better if Gardner Minshew were healthy. Still, Watson has a prime opportunity to break out. Jacksonville has surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and has allowed the third-most passing yards over the last three weeks. It will be difficult for me to keep Watson out of my Top 3 quarterbacks.

Ben Roethlisberger

PIT @ DAL – QB10

Big Ben’s numbers have been largely lackluster at the halfway point of the season. I want to start him this week, though. The Cowboys deploy one of the worst defenses in the league week in and week out. They’ve surrendered 17 touchdowns through the air while intercepting only three passes through eight games. With Carson Wentz, Joey Burrow and Jared Goff on bye, Roethlisberger makes it into my Top 10.

James Robinson

JAC vs. HOU – RB5

Much of Jacksonville’s offensive success this year belongs to none other than my man Jimmy Robinson. He should be included as a must-start at this point, but I can’t stop declaring my man-crush on the undrafted stud.

I do fear that Houston’s defense will stack the box in an effort to contain Robinson since Jake Luton is expected to take the reins under center. That fear isn’t much of a fear, though, as Houston hasn’t been able to stop anyone on the ground. Opposing running backs average 151 rushing yards per game when they face the Texans. Robinson is a Week 9 lock and a lock for my Top 5 running backs.

Antonio Gibson

WAS vs. NYG – RB12

I know J.D. McKissic stunts Gibson’s ceiling. I don’t care; I just can’t quit Gibson. Even with McKissic and Peyton Barber siphoning touches away, Gibson stands in seventh place at the position for broken tackles on carries alone. He’s broken one more tackle than Josh Jacobs, who has out-carried Gibson 147-84.

He’s a fantastic ball-carrier and it would behoove Washington to give him more touches. His first game versus the Giants left something to be desired. His second look at them will bring much more satisfactory results. He’s a No. 1 RB in my book. If you want to start him over a guy like Ezekiel Elliott then you have my support. Zeke will be discussed later on.

JuJu Smith-Schuster

PIT @ DAL – WR21

It’s risky liking and starting Smith-Schuster any given Sunday/Monday/Thursday. Even so, I’m all-in on the Steelers this week. Big Ben, James Conner, JuJu, Diontae Johnson (if healthy), Chase Claypool, Eric Ebron. I’ll start them all and deal with the consequences later. The main worry is that the Steelers offense won’t be on the field long enough to make as meaningful of an impact as we want them to. That won’t keep me from starting them.

Jakobi Meyers

NE @ NYJ – WR47

It doesn’t feel good to include any Patriot as a “like,” except for when they’re playing the Jets. The Jets are what some might call a “free square.”  Meyers is a sneaky start in Week 9 assuming Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry remain sidelined.

The second-year receiver led the Patriots last week with six catches on 10 targets for 58 yards. He has now scored at least 10 PPR points in two straight contests. You won’t regret it if you go back to the Meyers well. I also like his teammate – Damien Harris.

T.J. Hockenson

DET @ MIN – TE4

I was including Hockenson before Matthew Stafford was placed on the Reserve/Covid-19 list. I still like Hockenson despite Stafford’s availability being in question. Of course, expectations have to be tempered if Stafford has to sit.

Remember, though, that Kenny Golladay is not expected to be active with a hip injury. Thankfully, Chase Daniel serves as a capable backup who brings a veteran presence to the huddle. Hockenson remains in my Top 5 tight end rankings for now as that safety valve option for Daniel.

Noah Fant

DEN @ ATL – TE6 

Starting pass-catchers when they face the Atlanta Falcons is a foregone conclusion for the most part. While Fant’s 47 yards didn’t jump off the page in Week 8, he paced the Broncos in catches (7) and was second behind Jerry Jeudy in targets (9). With a player of Fant’s talent, there’s potential for a Top 5 positional finish here.

Week 9 Fantasy Dislikes

 

Drew Brees

NO @ TB – QB17

I understand that Michael Thomas might finally return and it’s not that I’m completely ruling out Brees as a starter. I do hope there are better options in your fantasy lineups, though, like the aforementioned Ben Roethlisberger? The Buccaneers don’t mess around on defense despite Monday night’s relative little hiccup against the Giants.  Brees possesses too low a ceiling for my liking.

Philip Rivers

IND vs. BAL – QB22

Rivers went off last week and has now strung together a couple of high-quality passing performances. After throwing four touchdowns through his first five contests, Rivers has thrown six touchdowns over his last two. It’s a safe bet that his little hot streak will cease in this dual between two of the best defenses in football. It helps that Marlon Humphery will be held out because of Covid, but Rivers belongs on fantasy benches despite the recent success.

Ezekiel Elliott

DAL vs. PIT – RB13

I’ll be clear right off the bat – you’re probably starting Elliott this week. That being said, I am ranking him outside of RB1 territory. Pittsburgh’s defense is a powerhouse and will be intent on stuffing Elliott since Garrett Gilbert and/or Cooper Rush don’t pose much of a threat. In his last three games, he’s averaged a meager 61 total yards on 17.6 touches. Volume is the only reason we’re keeping Elliott in our lineups.

Melvin Gordon

DEN @ ATL – RB24

It should be clear to the general public by now that Phillip Lindsay is the best and most consistent running back in Denver. Furthermore, the Falcons are a pass funnel defense, meaning opposing offenses excel through the air but are largely stifled in the running game. Matter of fact, Atlanta has yielded the fifth-fewest rushing yards to the position to date. Lindsay’s presence and the tough matchup mean I’ll be lower than the consensus on Gordon in Week 9.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling

GB @ SF – WR53

It’s disappointing how little MVS has contributed with Allen Lazard out of commission. Green Bay’s offense focuses on Davante Adams and the running game with some Robert Tonyan sprinkled in. Everyone else is hardly ancillary. I’m fading MVS until further notice.

Curtis Samuel

CAR @ KC – WR43

Samuel has been on a tear over the last couple of weeks, including a two-score effort a week ago. I’m banking on lightning not striking again in this one. Samuel is seeing about seven touches per game, which includes 2.7 carries per game.

He hadn’t found the end zone in his previous five outings and has suddenly scored three times over his last two games. He can’t score every week and the volume isn’t consistent enough for him to be a reliable weekly consideration.

The game script favors Carolina as far as the passing game is concerned, admittedly, although Christian McCaffrey’s return looms large and Kansas City is one of the Top 5 fantasy defenses versus wide receivers in 2020. Can we keep him in as a flex play? Sure. I’m just not risking him as a WR2, which is what many might think of him.

Dalton Schultz

DAL vs. PIT – TE21

Will Garrett Gilbert or Cooper Rush spark a fire in this Dallas offense? That’s unlikely, especially in this matchup. Given the untrustworthy quarterback play and the fact that he’s up against one of the five best tight end defenses in football, I’m staying away from Schultz. I’d rather give a nod to someone like Logan Thomas or Jordan Akins.

Jordan Reed

SF vs. GB -TE20

Reed was activated from Injured Reserve last week, just in time to take over for George Kittle. Kittle broke his foot in Week 8 and is at risk of missing the remainder of the regular season. Kyle Shanahan is optimistic that Reed will be ready for Thursday’s matchup with the Packers.

I’m not risking it, though. Green Bay has defended the tight end position well so far and I want to see if Reed looks rusty at all following his six-week hiatus. That being said, he’s absolutely worth a waiver-wire pickup if you’re needy at tight end.

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