Fantasy Football Week 9: Flex Rankings, Waiver-Wire Targets and Projections

Justin Hussong@@HeatChecksHussContributor IIINovember 2, 2015

It's time to get back on the DeAngelo Williams train with Le'Veon Bell done for the season.
It's time to get back on the DeAngelo Williams train with Le'Veon Bell done for the season.Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

If your fantasy football team managed to escape Week 8 free of any injuries, get in your car right now. Drive to Las Vegas, and don't make any stops along the way that don't include bathroom breaks or buying lottery tickets.

In the wake of all Sunday's carnage, we are all left searching for answers and replacements. That means we will be paying extra attention to the flex position and the waiver wire. If we have to patch up our Week 9 lineups with Band-Aids and duct tape, so be it! When the fantasy football gods hit, we must hit back.

We will also hit you with some projections and rankings, and we'll shed light on potential injury replacements you may want to keep an eye on. But first, here is your full slate of NFL action in Week 9.

Week 9 NFL Schedule
Thursday, November 5Time
Cleveland at Cincinnati8:25 p.m.
Sunday, November 8
Green Bay at Carolina1 p.m.
Washington at New England1 p.m.
Tennessee at New Orleans1 p.m.
Miami at Buffalo1 p.m.
St. Louis at Minnesota1 p.m.
Jacksonville at N.Y. Jets1 p.m.
Oakland at Pittsburgh1 p.m.
N.Y. Giants at Tampa Bay4:05 p.m.
Atlanta at San Francisco4:05 p.m.
Denver at Indianapolis4:25 p.m.
Philadelphia at Dallas8:30 p.m.
Monday, November 9
Chicago at San Diego8:30 p.m.


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Flex Rankings and Projections

Week 9 Flex Projections
1Darren McFadden, RB, DAL11.9
2Dion Lewis, RB, NE10.2
3Danny Woodhead, RB, SD10
4Travis Benjamin, WR, CLE9.3
5Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN9.3
6Michael Crabtree, WR, OAK9
7Antonio Andrews, RB, TEN8.7
8Gary Barnidge, TE, CLE8.1
9Davante Adams, WR, GB8
10James Jones, WR, GB7.7
11Jordan Reed, TE, WAS7.4
12Dexter McCluster, RB, TEN7.4
13Rueben Randle, WR, NYG7.3
14Brandon LaFell, WR, NE7.3
15Duke Johnson Jr., RB, CLE7.2
16Malcom Floyd, WR, SD7.2
17Allen Hurns, WR, JAX7.1
18Charles Sims, RB, TB7
19Marvin Jones, WR, CIN6.9
20Ted Ginn Jr., WR, CAR6.9
Yahoo Sports

Boom: Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Tim Ireland/Associated Press

Quick disclaimerany players who were typically drafted as surefire WR/RB/TE starters were omitted from these rankings.

The first one who sticks out to me on the list is Allen Hurns all the way toward the bottom. Is that a serious projection for a guy on a five-game touchdown streak? I understand his last two games have been subpar, but come on.

Hurns owners aren't thinking twice about their flex player this weekhe is the man without question. Coming off a bye, he has a sneakily decent matchup with the Jets defense that might not be as mighty as once thought. Derek Carr just ripped them for more than 300 yards and four touchdowns, so Blake "The Garbage Man" Bortles should have no trouble putting up at least some numbers.

This perennial sleeper is also a true DFS darling that could lead you to an easy victory on FanDuel or DraftKings. Despite five consecutive weeks in the end zone, he still gets undervalued. The always-reliable DraftCrunch lineup optimizer agrees.

The only thing to worry about with Hurns is if Bortles will be somewhat accurate or if he will come out firing like a depressed Jags fan playing some postgame 2 a.m. darts at the local pub. Hurns is second in the NFL to teammate Allen Robinson in yards per catch at 16.6, and he will be facing a defense that's getting torched right now and has surrendered 483 yards and six touchdowns in the last five quarters.

I'm all in. Beam me up, Allen.

Bust: Antonio Andrews, RB, Tennessee Titans

Patric Schneider/Associated Press

A few things factor into this prediction.

First, the Titans aren't capable of sustaining drives. This is especially true with Zach Mettenberger calling the shots, but things should be slightly better when Marcus Mariota likely returns in Week 9. The Titans have 36 points over the past four games combined. What reason is there for optimism?

Secondly, the Titans haven't had a 100-yard rusher under Ken Whisenhunt. Is Antonio Andrews a real threat to end that streak? It's doubtful.

The Titans are also facing the New Orleans Saints in Week 9. Do you really trust Ken Whisenhunt to have his team in a position to be running the ball much against Drew Brees coming off a 511-yard, seven touchdown performance? No, you don't.

Finally, David Cobb is expected to finally make his long-awaited debut for Tennessee this week, and he could immediately vault to the top of the depth chart.

This backfield is in shambles, largely because of Whisenhunt. He hasn't put any of his four running backs in position to succeed. Bishop Sankey was the first running back taken in the 2014 draft, and Whiz has him returning kicks. Dexter McCluster was signed to a hefty deal to return kicks for Tennessee prior to last season, yet he has at times been the starting running back. It's backwards and disgusting.

Avoid all Titans running backs unless Cobb grabs the job by the throat.

Boom: Brandon LaFell, WR, New England Patriots

Tim Sharp/Associated Press

LaFell made his inauspicious debut two games ago, and he promptly dropped more passes than teenagers drop iPhones.

Mike Reiss @MikeReiss

Photo: Brandon LaFell hard on himself for drops, saying he gives himself a grade of "F" for his performance. https://t.co/fVPhOmlho4

Things were much different in Week 8, as the drops clearly didn't deter Tom Brady from targeting his newly healthy wideout. LaFell caught four passes for 47 yards, and more importantly vaulted clear over Danny Amendola on the depth chartwhich was actually shocking given Amendola's recent hot stretch.

Nevertheless, LaFell is a legitimate playmaker when lined up on the outside in this offense, and his production will only increase. Don't think twice about running him out there on the Buccaneers in Week 9. I'd bet he finds the end zone this time.

Bust: Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers

Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

Sunday was an interesting turn of events in the Chargers backfield. Coming off a two-touchdown performance, the butterfingered Melvin Gordon out-touched Woodhead 23-5. Even Darren Oliver got six touches.

Given how much San Diego has invested in Gordon, it's troubling news for Woodhead owners that he had a game like this. Every pass Philip Rivers throws to Gordon puts a tiny chink in Woodhead's armor. Gordon led the Chargers in receptions with five in Week 8, even though he did next to nothing with them.

Without looking too much into one game, Woodhead is extremely boom-or-bust to begin with. The 2-6 Chargers giving their rookie 23 touches could be an early signal that they're ready to prepare for the future.

If you're in a PPR league, Woodhead is still worthy of consideration. In standard leagues? Not nearly as much.

Waiver-Wire Targets

David Cobb, RB, Tennessee Titans

Weston Kenney/Associated Press

Now in Week 9, it's not too easy to find a diamond in the rough on the wire. All the Stefon Diggs, Charcandrick Wests and Gary Barnidges are mainstays in your opponents' lineups by now.

The Titans' revolving door in the backfield is nauseating to watchas we've already coveredand David Cobb might be the man to put an end to that. He is a shifty, bruising runner who might be able to force Ken Whisenhunt's hand.

It's definitely worth a shot if Cobb is still lurking on your waiver wire. There are only so many chances you'll have coming down the stretch to scoop up a potential starting running back.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Ed Zurga/Associated Press

Don't forget how well Williams did during Le'Veon Bell's early two-game absence. How does 204 yards and three touchdowns sound?

Now with Bell likely out for the rest of the season, Williams will look to pick up right where he left off.


ICYMI: Le'Veon Bell "badly tore" his right MCL. Likely to miss rest of 2015 season. https://t.co/4Zmn2W7pvO https://t.co/Ps7ZufJTUw

Whoever used Williams for Weeks 1-2 in your league probably chucked him back in the ocean catch-and-release style once Bell returned from his suspension. Make his trash your treasure if at all possible.

Williams ripped off 110 yards on 13 touches after Bell went down against the Chiefs in Week 8, showing no signs of rust. Don't have any qualms about running him out there the rest of the year.

Mike Davis, RB, San Francisco 49ers

Billy Hurst/Associated Press

A perfect storm of unfortunate events may be forming that results in Mike Davis as the Niners' starting running back.

Reggie Bush reportedly tore his ACL after slipping on some inconveniently placed concrete in Week 8, while starter Carlos Hyde might be preparing to sit out another week and possibly more.

Pro Football Spot @pfspot

The Sacramento Bee reports Carlos Hyde (foot) could be held out through the 49ers' Week 10 bye. #NFL

Bleacher Report NFL @BR_NFL

Report: 49ers fear Reggie Bush has a torn ACL https://t.co/rIDSSVp7gi https://t.co/PM7Z3XEXc8

We know Mike Davis can run the ball effectively after a successful career in the SEC for South Carolina, and Colin Kaepernick is not capable of carrying an offense without the help of his running mates.

The caveat is that Davis actually exited the Week 8 game as well with a hand injury, leaving after rushing 10 times for a paltry four yards against the Rams' ferocious defense.

The Niners might have no choice but to dial up 15-20 touches for Davis against the Falcons in Week 9, so if you are in need of a plug-and-play, look no further.


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