Fantasy Football Week 9 Rankings: Projections to Love and Matchups to Exploit

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IINovember 5, 2021

Fantasy Football Week 9 Rankings: Projections to Love and Matchups to Exploit

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    John McCoy/Associated Press

    With fantasy football stars, you sometimes have to temper your expectations. Even if a player should be started every week, it's possible a tough matchup could arise that may prevent him from putting up huge numbers.

    But sometimes these stars have favorable matchups against defenses that will likely struggle to stop them. And during those weeks, these players have the potential to single-handedly power your team to victory.

    Here's a look at some rankings for Week 9, along with a breakdown of several matchups that could lead to week-winning players.


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    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    1. Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen at JAX

    2. Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson vs. MIN

    3. Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford vs. TEN

    4. Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes vs. GB

    5. Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray at SF

    6. Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott vs. DEN

    7. Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert at PHI

    8. Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins at BAL

    9. Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts vs. LAC

    10. Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa vs. HOU


    Matchup to Watch: Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa vs. HOU

    Tua Tagovailoa shouldn't be started in fantasy every week, but when he's had a good matchup this season, he's often delivered. That will be the case Sunday, as the Miami Dolphins are hosting the Houston Texans, who are likely going to have trouble trying to stop Miami's offense.

    Last time out, Tagovailoa scored his second rushing touchdown of the season, and he could get into the end zone using his legs again Sunday. Houston is allowing 148.1 rushing yards per game (second-most in the NFL), so Tagovailoa will likely try to capitalize on that.

    Either way, expect Tagovailoa to air it out for some big numbers, especially if the Texans can score enough to keep the game close. He should be among the best streaming QBs in Week 9.

    Projection: 288 yards and two touchdowns, plus a rushing score.

Running Backs

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    John McCoy/Associated Press

    1. Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler at PHI

    2. New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara vs. ATL

    3. Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook at BAL

    4. Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones at KC

    5. Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott vs. DEN

    6. Los Angeles Rams RB Darrell Henderson Jr. vs. TEN

    7. Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon vs. CLE

    8. Pittsburgh Steelers RB Najee Harris vs. CHI

    9. Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb at CIN

    10. New England Patriots RB Damien Harris at CAR


    Matchup to Watch: Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler at PHI

    Austin Ekeler is a must-start fantasy running back every week, but he has the potential to end up as the top player at his position in Week 9 because of his favorable matchup. The Philadelphia Eagles are allowing 30.45 fantasy points to opposing running backs, the second-most in the league, per So Ekeler should be poised for a huge day.

    While Ekeler has put up huge fantasy numbers because of his involvement in Los Angeles' passing game, he's rushed for more than 66 yards only once this season. That could change Sunday, with the Chargers likely to rely more on the ground game in Philadelphia.

    It's going to be a big week for Ekeler, and fantasy managers who have him should be able to count on him to help carry their roster to victory.

    Projection: 172 total yards (104 rushing) and two touchdowns.

Wide Receivers

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    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    1. Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp vs. TEN

    2. Buffalo Bills WR Stefon Diggs at JAX

    3. Cincinnati Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase vs. CLE

    4. Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill vs. GB

    5. San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel vs. ARI

    6. Green Bay Packers WR Davante Adams at KC

    7. Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson at BAL

    8. Los Angeles Chargers WR Keenan Allen at PHI

    9. Dallas Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb vs. DEN

    10. Baltimore Ravens WR Marquise Brown vs. MIN


    Matchup to Watch: Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson at BAL

    Justin Jefferson is one of the top bounce-back candidates of the week after his quiet performance against the Dallas Cowboys last time out. He had only two catches for 21 yards (both season lows) in the Vikings' loss to the NFC East leader.

    Minnesota has a much better matchup for its passing attack to exploit Sunday, as the Baltimore Ravens are giving up an NFL-high 296.1 yards through the air per game. Not only that, but the Ravens offense is  also strong, so it should be a high-scoring game with plenty of offense on both sides.

    Jefferson could get back to putting up big yardage totals. Don't be surprised if he scores his first touchdown since Week 4.

    Projection: 112 yards and a touchdown.

Tight Ends

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    1. Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce vs. GB

    2. Las Vegas Raiders TE Darren Waller at NYG

    3. Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews vs. MIN

    4. Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki vs. HOU

    5. Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert vs. LAC

    6. Atlanta Falcons TE Kyle Pitts at NO

    7. Dallas Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz vs. DEN

    8. New England Patriots TE Hunter Henry at CAR

    9. Los Angeles Chargers TE Jared Cook at PHI

    10. Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee vs. TEN


    Matchup to Watch: Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert vs. LAC

    With Zach Ertz now an Arizona Cardinal, there are no other top tight ends to take away targets from Dallas Goedert in Philadelphia's offense. That was evident in Week 8, when Goedert was targeted a season-high seven times and had six receptions for 72 yards.

    Goedert should be a safe play every week moving forward, and he has the potential for some big games, including Sunday against the Chargers. With Los Angeles allowing 17.6 fantasy points per game to tight ends (third-most in the league, per, Goedert is in line to have a strong showing.

    Because of his level of involvement and the favorable matchup, Goedert is among the top tight ends in Week 9.

    Projection: 84 yards and a touchdown.