Winning in fantasy football required more than just a successful draft. To have a consistently successful team, managers must also, well, manage their rosters through injuries and bye weeks.
Week 9 may be the most significant bye week we've seen yet in 2019, as the Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints are all off. This means that players like Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Cooper Kupp and Todd Gurley will be unavailable.
Knowing which players to trust and which matchups are favorable will be important if any of your top performers are out this week.
Here, we'll run down the top players at each skill position and make projections for some of the most favorable matchups remaining in the week.
1. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Chargers
3. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars (London)
4. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders
5. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
6. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots
7. Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans (London)
8. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills vs. Washington Redskins
9. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs
10. Tom Brady, New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
Russell Wilson vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Though he did have some missteps against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 7, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has played at an MVP level for most of the season. He's thrown for 2,127 yards with 17 touchdowns and just one interception.
Naturally, Wilson is a weekly must-start.
However, Wilson should be especially productive this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have the league's second-worst pass defense. Tampa has allowed an average of 285.9 passing yards per game while allowing 14 touchdown passes and producing just five interceptions.
Expect Wilson to have a big day throwing the ball while also adding a bit on the ground. Though he is strictly a pass-first quarterback, Wilson will scramble when he has to. Against the league's first-ranked run defense (68.6 yards per game allowed), he may have to in order to supplement the ground game.
Projection: 325 passing yards, two TDs, 35 rushing yards, one rushing TD
1. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs
2. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers vs. Tennessee Titans
3. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
4. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
5. Le'Veon Bell, New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
6. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Chargers
7. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans (London)
8. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos
9. Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders vs. Detroit Lions
10. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Le'Veon Bell at Miami Dolphins
While the Buccaneers have the NFL's best run defense, another Florida team has one of the worst. The Miami Dolphins have allowed an average of 160.4 rushing yards per game, second-most in the NFL. Only the Cincinnati Bengals have been worse against the run, and they're on bye.
This is great for Le'Veon Bell owners and for the New York Jets—who will likely lean on Bell to take pressure off of turnover-prone quarterback Sam Darnold.
Bell is a regular must-start because of his receiving ability out of the backfield. This week, though, he should do plenty of damage on the ground. And for anyone concerned that last week's trade speculation may have affected Bell as it did safety Jamal Adams, there's no need to worry.
"I understand the whole business aspect of it," Bell said, per Michael Davis Smith of ProFootballTalk.com. "So I didn't take offense to it."
Projection: 110 yards rushing, one TD, 5 receptions, 40 yards receiving, one receiving TD
1. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars (London)
2. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
3. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks
4. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders
5. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
7. DJ Chark Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans (London)
8. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Minnesota Vikings
9. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs
10. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks
Kenny Golladay at Oakland Raiders
While the Oakland Raiders do not have the worst pass defense in the NFL, they do have one of the worst. Oakland has allowed an average of 285.3 passing yards per game, third-most in the NFL.
This is just one of the reasons why Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay is a terrific option in Week 9. The other is that the Lions have a floundering running game and recently placed starting back Kerryon Johnson on injured reserve with a knee injury.
As a team, the Lions have averaged just 96.9 rushing yards per game. With Johnson out of the lineup, they produced just 59 rushing yards against the New York Giants in Week 8.
Detroit will likely pass early and often against the Raiders, both because of the matchup and because that's what plays to the roster's strengths. As Matthew Stafford's No. 1 target, Golladay will benefit.
Projection: 7 receptions, 110 receiving yards, one TD
1. Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders vs. Detroit Lions
2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Minnesota Vikings
3. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Green Bay Packers
4. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders
5. Evan Engram, New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
6. Zach Ertz, Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles
7. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots
8. Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers
9. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers vs. Tennessee Titans
10. Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans at Carolina Panthers
Darren Waller vs. Detroit Lions
While the Raiders do not have the league's worst pass defense, the Lions do. Detroit has allowed an average of 289.7 passing yards per game. It has also allowed 14 passing touchdowns while producing just three interceptions.
This is a tremendous matchup for tight end Darren Waller, who has emerged as the top receiving threat in Oakland. He leads the Raiders in both receptions (46) and receiving yards (496). He has scored a touchdown in each of his past two games and should have a good chance to find the end zone again in Week 9.
Detroit will likely give Waller a lot of defensive attention. However, given the team's struggles in the secondary—and the departure of safety Quandre Diggs—actually containing him will prove difficult.
Projection: 6 receptions, 96 receiving yards, one TD