Fantasy Football Week 9: Matt Camp's Fantasy Big Board
Whether it's in fantasy or reality, sometimes the best plan is to stick with what works.
Downgrading Deshaun Watson with a tough opponent in the Seattle Seahawks last weekend was logical, but in the end, the matchup didn't matter much, as the Houston Texans rookie's outstanding fantasy season continued with another huge performance. In addition to Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V came through with monster games despite facing the toughest defense against fantasy WRs over the four previous weeks. You won't think twice about starting any of those players for the rest of the season.
The Washington Redskins haven't produced any reliable fantasy options besides Chris Thompson. Even though his super-efficient start was impossible to keep up, he remains one of the best options at RB in fantasy football because he's so active as a receiver despite a minor role in the ground game. The origin of the volume doesn't matter as long as he continues to get it.
The trade deadline will create new plans regarding a few players in changing situations. Jay Ajayi may not get an immediate boost in his first week with the Philadelphia Eagles, but for the rest of the season, his value should rise from an RB3 to an RB2.
As discussed in this week's B.S. Meter, Cam Newton's play had hindered Kelvin Benjamin's production with the Carolina Panthers. The WR will have a chance to be a more consistent fantasy producer with Tyrod Taylor as his QB in Buffalo, which could also open up more targets for Devin Funchess in Carolina.
Here's the first look at points-per-reception (PPR) rankings for Week 9. These will change throughout the week and up to Sunday's action as we get more information about injuries and limitations, so make sure to bookmark this page for my full rankings in both PPR and non-PPR formats.
I present my top 100 players (minus quarterbacks) for the week as a way to help determine your flex spots. You may favor a certain position or player based on his role and/or your scoring rules.
As an additional tiebreaker, here are the teams I like this week based on their matchups:
- Houston Texans (vs. Indianapolis Colts)
- New Orleans Saints (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- Kansas City Chiefs (at Dallas Cowboys)
- Seattle Seahawks (vs. Washington Redskins)
Week 9 Top 100 PPR Rankings
Better Than Usual
Tyrod Taylor, BUF (at NYJ)
While it's hard to expect a lot out of Kelvin Benjamin with his first game as a Bill coming just two days after joining the team, Taylor has played well enough with a less-than-stellar receiving corps for most of the season. The key to Taylor's Week 9 production is this matchup against the New York Jets. Over the last four weeks, they allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to QBs on 1,118 yards and 10 TDs.
Taylor's running ability is always a nice bonus, as he has at least 38 rushing yards in three games, including 53 yards in Week 7. Taylor was the No. 7 fantasy QB over the last two weeks.
Carson Wentz, PHI (vs. DEN)
While Wentz is an MVP candidate, he's coming off one of his worst games of the season despite facing what seemed to be a great matchup with the San Francisco 49ers. Last week, the Niners held Wentz to 211 yards, two TDs and an interception on 18-of-32 passing to go with just seven rushing yards. The 49ers are winless (0-8), so the Eagles still didn't have a problem taking the game. It won't be that simple against the Denver Broncos, which will provide a brutal matchup.
In seven games, no QB has thrown for more than 238 yards when facing the Broncos, and after Philip Rivers got them for three TDs in Week 1, no QB had more than two TDs in any other contest. Last week, they limited the Kansas City Chiefs' Alex Smith to 202 yards and a TD. In the last four weeks, QBs have had just 513 yards and four TDs in three matchups with the Broncos. It's tough to sit Wentz, but as with any QB who's facing Denver, expectations should be lowered.
Andy Dalton, CIN (at JAC)
Dalton had a prime matchup with the Indianapolis Colts last week and managed just 243 yards and two TDs on 17-of-29 passing in a 24-23 home win. That should have been a game Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals dominated, yet they struggled to get by one of the worst teams in the league. It's another example of why Dalton is nothing more than a mediocre QB. That's why you shouldn't bother using him with a trip to Jacksonville coming up in Week 9. Only the Baltimore Ravens have allowed fewer fantasy points per game to QBs in the last four weeks.
Jared Goff, LAR (at NYG)
Goff and the Los Angeles Rams had a Week 8 bye but come off a Week 7 shutout over the Arizona Cardinals. In that victory, Goff completed 22 of 37 attempts for 235 yards with a TD and an interception. He also gained 13 rushing yards and scored a nine-yard rushing TD. For the most part, Goff has played well in favorable matchups, which, statistically speaking, is what he has in Week 9 against the New York Giants.
In the last month, the Giants allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to QBs in matchups with Russell Wilson, Trevor Siemian and Philip Rivers. They allowed 986 yards and seven TDs over that span. The Giants will be without starting CB Janoris Jenkins due to a team-mandated indefinite suspension, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. Goff has a chance to take advantage of a fractured opponent that's going nowhere, so he's worth a look if you're stuck due to the bye weeks.
Week 9 Quarterback Rankings
|1||Deshaun Watson (HOU)|
|2||Drew Brees (NO)|
|3||Russell Wilson (SEA)|
|4||Dak Prescott (DAL)|
|5||Matthew Stafford (DET)|
|6||Carson Wentz (PHI)|
|7||Alex Smith (KC)|
|8||Derek Carr (OAK)|
|9||Jameis Winston (TB)|
|10||Marcus Mariota (TEN)|
|11||Tyrod Taylor (BUF)|
|12||Matt Ryan (ATL)|
|13||Jared Goff (LAR)|
|14||Cam Newton (CAR)|
|15||Kirk Cousins (WAS)|
|16||Josh McCown (NYJ)|
|17||Andy Dalton (CIN)|
|18||Trevor Siemian (DEN)|
|19||Blake Bortles (JAC)|
|20||Brett Hundley (GB)|
|21||Jacoby Brissett (IND)|
|22||Jay Cutler (MIA)|
|23||Joe Flacco (BAL)|
|24||Eli Manning (NYG)|
|25||Drew Stanton (ARI)|
|26||C.J. Beathard (SF)|
Better Than Usual
Aaron Jones, GB (vs. DET)
The Green Bay Packers will try to regroup from an ugly 26-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints, which came before their Week 8 bye. One thing they shouldn't change is Jones' role after he picked up 131 yards and a 46-yard TD on 17 carries. He also had three catches for seven yards on five targets against the Saints. Ty Montgomery had just one reception for nine yards on two targets and four carries for six yards while playing just 12.7 percent of the snaps.
The Packers have shown plenty of trust in Jones, and he's responded by turning into the team's best back in both fantasy and reality. He led the backfield in touches, yards and snaps over the last four games, including a pair of outings with at least 80 percent of the snaps and at least 125 rushing yards.
Expect his heavy workload to continue against a Detroit Lions defense that's giving up the seventh-most fantasy points per game to RBs in the last four weeks. Keeping Jones busy should relieve some of the pressure on Packers QB Brett Hundley in his second career start.
Jay Ajayi/LeGarrette Blount, PHI (vs. DEN)
When the Philadelphia Eagles made the trade for Ajayi, it further signified their Super Bowl intentions, as they sit with the best record in the league (7-1). Their incumbent back, Blount, is averaging 4.7 yards per carry, but from a talent standpoint, Ajayi can offer more in pass protection and as a receiver. He'd been stuck running behind a poor offensive line on a bad team in Miami, hence his 3.4 yards per carry. Ajayi should have much more success in Philadelphia, but it may not come right away.
Even without considering the difficulty of the matchup, the Eagles may not ask Ajayi to do too much in his first game with the team, especially since Blount had done well enough to carry the rushing attack. Because the Eagles have a two-and-half game lead on the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East, they have enough of a cushion to avoid rushing Ajayi into a big role.
Regardless, the matchup is a concern for both players. Denver limited RBs to the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game in the last four weeks with just 270 rushing yards on 78 carries and no TDs. Even though Blount scored in Week 8, he has just 77 yards on 30 attempts in his last two outings, so between a tough matchup and Ajayi's presence, it's a week to downgrade Blount. Ajayi can't be counted on for much, either.
Jonathan Stewart, CAR (vs. ATL)
Coming into Week 8, Stewart rushed for just 295 yards on 99 attempts without a rushing TD. In last week's 17-3 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he got that elusive TD on a one-yard run but had just 34 rushing yards on 11 attempts, which was his third-worst output of the season.
Do not boost Stewart's value based on the fact he went a yard forward at the right time. He doesn't have a catch in the last three weeks and has just six for 44 yards on the season. Even though the matchup with the Atlanta Falcons is average, Stewart continues to run like a below-average player.
Alfred Morris, DAL (vs. KC)
With Ezekiel Elliott likely to start serving his six-game suspension in Week 9, owner/GM Jerry Jones revealed who will take the RB's place during an interview with 105.3 The Fan. According to Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News, Jones said "Morris will get more carries, but Darren McFadden and Rod Smith will get more work, too." If you're taking Jones at his word, Morris is worth a look with a favorable matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Over the last four weeks, RBs have the ninth-most fantasy points per game when facing Kansas City due to 534 yards and three TDs on 103 carries in addition to 18 receptions for 108 yards. The Cowboys rank fifth in rushing attempts per game (30.7) and second in rushing yards per game (150.6). Any Dallas RB should be considered a big drop-off from Elliott, so you can take a shot on Morris as a sleeper with the hope Jones was telling the truth.
Week 9 Running Back PPR Rankings
Better Than Usual
Golden Tate/Marvin Jones, DET (at GB)
The Detroit Lions couldn't secure a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8, but they had a strong game through the air to make Tate and Jones' fantasy owners happy. Matthew Stafford threw for 423 yards with Tate accounting for 86 yards on seven receptions and Jones posting 128 yards on six receptions. Both played are averaging more than 13 fantasy points in PPR formats in their last two games, so both appear to be viable plays at the same time.
That's especially true for their Week 9 matchup in Green Bay. Even with a bye last week, the Packers allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to WRs over the last month in contests with the New Orleans Saints, Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys.
In the last three games, Ameer Abdullah led the Lions with just 112 yards on 35 carries, so they need to rely on their passing attack. It should be a busy night for Tate and Jones in this plus matchup.
Alshon Jeffery, PHI (vs. DEN)
Jeffery hasn't been a reliable fantasy WR despite Wentz's outstanding play, but his skills were on display when he hauled in a 53-yard TD on one of his two receptions for 62 yards (eight targets) in a 33-10 win over the San Francisco 49ers. Jeffery has had just one game with more than five receptions and just three contests with at least 60 yards.
He's tough to sit because it feels like he can still go off at any time, although that shouldn't be the mindset you take for Week 9 when the Denver Broncos visit Philadelphia. No team has given up fewer fantasy points per game to WRs over the last four weeks (three games). During that span, Denver limited WRs to 10 receptions for 159 yards and a TD on 25 targets. While Wentz and Jeffery should provide a nice test, this secondary is up to the challenge. Downgrade Jeffery and hope for the best.
John Brown, Jaron Brown and J.J. Nelson, ARI (at SF)
Trying to figure out what Arizona Cardinals WR to use outside of Larry Fitzgerald was tough enough when QB Carson Palmer was healthy. It was also worth a shot since Palmer was playing so well, but that philosophy feels foolish with Drew Stanton now taking over for the injured Palmer (broken arm) and with his first start coming this weekend in San Francisco.
John Brown looked like the hot hand heading into Week 7 with five receptions for 89 yards and two TDs on 11 targets in the previous two games. He finished the shutout loss to the Los Angeles Rams with one reception for six yards on four targets. Jaron Brown has just six receptions for 106 yards on 12 targets in the last three games. J.J. Nelson posted six receptions for 119 yards on 12 targets over the last three contests, although that includes a goose egg in Week 6.
Trying to figure a secondary receiver to use besides Fitzgerald was a calculated risk when Palmer was starting. Now, it's an unnecessary risk with Stanton, even in a solid matchup with the San Francisco 49ers.
Ted Ginn Jr., NO (vs. TB)
Ginn's small hot streak ended in Week 8 in New Orleans' 20-12 victory over the Chicago Bears. He had two receptions for 68 yards on four targets, which might be enough to discourage those who believed Ginn's recent uptick in fantasy production was more fluky than sustainable. Willie Snead didn't matter much, as he didn't record a target while playing 6.6 percent of the snaps. Ginn played 60.7 percent of the snaps, which is the fourth time he's been over 60 percent this season.
Opportunity knocks for Ginn in Week 9 with a superb matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Even with Newton's struggles last week against the Bucs, they check in with the ninth-most fantasy points allowed to WRs in the last four weeks. Because Ginn still appears to be way ahead of Snead, and Tampa Bay's secondary is so bad, you should give Ginn another chance. Expect redemption Sunday.
Week 9 Wide Receiver PPR Rankings
Better Than Usual
Jack Doyle, IND (at HOU)
Even though the Indianapolis Colts are a mess and QB Andrew Luck still appears no closer to a return from his shoulder injury, Doyle's solid season continued in Week 8 with his best performance. With so much made about opponent Tyler Kroft and the Cincinnati Bengals, Doyle was the star of the afternoon with 12 receptions for 121 yards and a TD on 14 targets. Over the last three weeks, Doyle has 25 receptions for 215 yards and two TDs on 32 targets.
While his big game helped, Doyle does have at least five receptions in five outings this season, and he leads the team with 42 receptions. Doyle comes into this week with his fantasy value at what might be a career high and a chance to keep his strong play up in a favorable matchup with the Houston Texans.
In the last four weeks, TEs have had the fourth-most fantasy points per game when facing the Texans. Doyle has every chance to remain the most reliable target for QB Jacoby Brissett when a matchup like this calls for it.
Tyler Kroft, CIN (at JAC)
Kroft looked primed for a big day when he faced a maligned Indianapolis Colts defense in Week 8, but he disappointed with five receptions for 46 yards on six targets. Once again, we learned that trusting Dalton is never easy to do, even with the matchup in his favor.
Putting that trust back in Dalton and Kroft isn't easy to do with the Bengals' matchup in Jacksonville. The Jaguars pass defense is one of the best in the league, which is why TEs have struggled against it. In the last four weeks (three games), TEs have just 12 receptions for 78 yards and a TD on 22 targets against the Jaguars. The TE position isn't deep, especially with six teams on bye, so sticking with Kroft is understandable even if expectations aren't high.
George Kittle, SF (vs. ARI)
Kittle has been unable to follow up on what looked like a breakout performance in Week 5 when he hauled in seven of nine targets for 83 yards and a TD in Indianapolis. That game was the last Brian Hoyer started before being yanked in favor of C.J. Beathard a week later. Over the last three games, Kittle has had just seven receptions for 84 yards and no TDs on 14 targets.
Kittle will have to play at least one more game with Beathard as the starter, so even though the Arizona Cardinals have been vulnerable when it comes to TEs, Beathard has not been good enough for owners to rely on any member of the 49ers receiving corps. Plus, the Cardinals limited Kittle to two receptions and 35 yards on three targets with Hoyer still playing in Week 4.
Vernon Davis, WAS (at SEA)
According to John Keim of ESPN.com, head coach Jay Gruden doesn't expect Jordan Reed to play in Week 9 after he left early in Week 8 with a hamstring injury. That opens the door for Davis to provide more production in Reed's absence, which has worked out well in the past. Reed last sat in Week 3 against the Oakland Raiders, but the Redskins still got five receptions for 58 yards and a TD from Davis in the victory.
In fact, the only other Redskin with at least 50 receiving yards in four games this season is Chris Thompson. While that's an impressive feat for Thompson and Davis, it's a big indictment of the rest of Washington's receiving corps. Davis is second on the team with 312 yards even though he was blanked in Week 1 and Reed has missed just one game so far in 2017. This weekend's matchup with Seattle is a mediocre one, which means Davis could be a viable option, assuming Reed has to sit.
Week 9 Tight End PPR Rankings
|1||Zach Ertz (PHI)|
|2||Travis Kelce (KC)|
|3||Evan Engram (NYG)|
|4||Jimmy Graham (SEA)|
|5||Cameron Brate (TB)|
|6||Austin Seferian-Jenkins (NYJ)|
|7||Jack Doyle (IND)|
|8||Jared Cook (OAK)|
|9||Vernon Davis (WAS)|
|10||Tyler Kroft (CIN)|
|11||Delanie Walker (TEN)|
|12||Jason Witten (DAL)|
|13||Benjamin Watson (BAL)|
|14||Ed Dickson (CAR)|
|15||Ryan Griffin (HOU)|
|16||Nick O'Leary (BUF)|
|17||Martellus Bennett (GB)|
|18||A.J. Derby (DEN)|
|19||Austin Hooper (ATL)|
|20||George Kittle (SF)|
|21||Eric Ebron (DET)|
|22||Tyler Higbee (LAR)|
|23||Julius Thomas (MIA)|
|24||Jonnu Smith (TEN)|
|25||O.J. Howard (TB)|
|26||Marcedes Lewis (JAC)|
|27||Nick Boyle (BAL)|
|28||Josh Hill (NO)|
|29||Stephen Anderson (HOU)|
|30||Darren Fells (DET)|
|31||Jermaine Gresham (ARI)|
|32||Coby Fleener (NO)|
|33||Gerald Everett (LAR)|
|34||Virgil Green (DEN)|
|35||Demetrius Harris (KC)|
Best Streaming Option
Arizona Cardinals (at SF)
The San Francisco 49ers traded for their QB of the future in Jimmy Garoppolo, but they'll stick with rookie C.J. Beathard for at least one more week as their starter, which is great news if you have or can grab the Cardinals defense.
In Beathard's two starts, the 49ers allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing defenses thanks to nine sacks, two interceptions, three lost fumbles and a TD. Over those two games, their offense mustered just 20 points in a pair of losses. Back in Week 4, the Cardinals held the 49ers to just 15 points with three sacks and one interception against Brian Hoyer. Beathard should provide an even better matchup for Week 9.
Ownership percentage: ESPN 30.4; Yahoo 37
Week 9 Defense Rankings
|1||Jacksonville Jaguars (JAC)|
|2||Philadelphia Eagles (PHI)|
|3||Houston Texans (HOU)|
|4||Los Angeles Rams (LAR)|
|5||Arizona Cardinals (ARI)|
|6||Cincinnati Bengals (CIN)|
|7||Buffalo Bills (BUF)|
|8||New Orleans Saints (NO)|
|9||Seattle Seahawks (SEA)|
|10||Tennessee Titans (TEN)|
|11||Carolina Panthers (CAR)|
|12||Detroit Lions (DET)|
|13||Atlanta Falcons (ATL)|
|14||San Francisco 49ers (SF)|
|15||Oakland Raiders (OAK)|
|16||Denver Broncos (DEN)|
|17||Baltimore Ravens (BAL)|
|18||New York Giants (NYG)|
|19||Miami Dolphins (MIA)|
|20||New York Jets (NYJ)|
Best Option Widely Available on the Waiver Wire
Ka'imi Fairbairn (vs. IND)
Avoiding Fairbairn would have been an understandable move in last week's game against the Seahawks in Seattle. He still hit five extra points and a field goal in the 41-38 loss. Even though Houston's offense has been good, Fairbairn has been a bit unlucky with just two field-goal attempts in the last three games. He's yet to miss a field goal this season on 11 attempts and should get more chances with a favorable matchup against the Indianapolis Colts.
Ownership percentage: ESPN 10.1; Yahoo 10.0
Week 9 Kicker Rankings
|1||Ka'imi Fairbairn (HOU)|
|2||Wil Lutz (NO)|
|3||Harrison Butker (KC)|
|4||Jake Elliott (PHI)|
|5||Matt Prater (DET)|
|6||Mike Nugent (DAL)|
|7||Blair Walsh (SEA)|
|8||Ryan Succop (TEN)|
|9||Greg Zuerlein (LAR)|
|10||Graham Gano (CAR)|
|11||Matt Bryant (ATL)|
|12||Giorgio Tavecchio (OAK)|
|13||Steven Hauschka (BUF)|
|14||Justin Tucker (BAL)|
|15||Adam Vinatieri (IND)|
|16||Phil Dawson (ARI)|
|17||Josh Lambo (JAC)|
|18||Chandler Catanzaro (NYJ)|
|19||Cody Parkey (MIA)|
|20||Mason Crosby (GB)|