We’ve had some of our first fantasy relevant trades since last week. Emmanuel Sanders made his presence known early, while Sanu disappointed anyone who trusted him. In a bit of a surprise move, the Cardinals traded for Kenyan Drake. It’s yet to be known how severe the injuries of David Johnson and Chase Edmonds are, but we have to assume at least one of them is out for a prolonged time. As an aside, I would definitely stay away from whatever patchwork backfield the Cardinals put together against the 49ers on Thursday night.
I’m likely stating the obvious here, but if you’re lucky enough to have the Patriots D, keep rolling them out. I realize it seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve seen plenty of people who stashed a lesser D with a great matchup such as Jets vs Dolphins and are trying to decide between the two. I would rather trust the Patriots D to continue their dominance, than rely on lesser teams even if their matchup is incredible.
Byes this week: Bengals, Falcons, Rams, Saints
Start of the Week: Matthew Stafford at Raiders: Move over Matty Ice, Fratt Stafford is here to chug beer and throw touchdowns and he’s all out of beer. I’m old enough to remember when everyone was sure Lions OC Darrell Bevell would only run the ball and Stafford wouldn’t be fantasy relevant. Contrary to that popular pre-season belief, the Lions have passed on 58.59% of plays which ranks 18th in the league. With this being the case and Stafford playing his best since the Megatron days, Stafford is coming in as the 10th ranked QB on the season. While he did struggle against some better defenses this year, he beat up on lesser ones he’s faced. Look for him to continue his hot streak vs the lowly pass D of the Raiders.
Sam Darnold at Dolphins: I’m about as spooked starting Darnold as he is playing against the Pats. The ghosts of Darnold’s past haunt us anytime we commit to starting him. A lot must fall into place for fantasy players to consider starting him. This happens to be one of those weeks as Darnold plays against the Dolphins. It’s possible you stashed Darnold ahead of his upcoming soft schedule the same way people did with the Jets D. If that’s the case, it’s possible you have a decision to make between two QBs. I would start Darnold over:
Dak Prescott at Giants: Dak is back in week 9, coming off a bye, against a secondary that makes everyone they face look good. Furthermore, Daniel Jones has shown he can at the very least be competent enough to make a game out of this. What’s not to love here?
Carson Wentz at Chicago: It seems it’s been an eternity since Wentz was an MVP candidate and part of a Superbowl roster behind Foles, while injured. Now, Wentz is struggling and Foles is the one who is injured. Despite questionable play at times, Wentz isn’t entirely to blame for the Eagles, woes. Despite having one of the deepest rosters in the league, the Eagles have suffered enough injuries to field their own injured all-star team. Wentz’s schedule has been brutal as well, with this current stretch being especially tough. Things should open up for him down the road, but for now he’s too hard to trust against a stingy Bears pass D in Chicago.
Kyler Murray at 49ers: Kyler has lived up to the hype he was getting from the fantast community early in the pre-season. The caveat though, is he has only performed very well against lesser defenses, while struggling against better units. Of course, this is to be expected from a rookie QB. He’s on quite the cold streak lately, failing to even reach double digits the past two weeks. Unfortunately, he likely won’t turn things around this week against one of the best defenses in the league. Facing the 49ers is bad enough, but facing them on a short week, with no semblance of a run game available spells trouble for Kyler.
Gardner Minshew: Minshew mania has been a great time for everyone other than the Jags’ opponents. Despite not playing in the first game until after Foles’ injury, Minshew comes into this game as the 12th ranked QB in the league. Something we all definitely saw coming. Minshew gets a great matchup vs a Texans defense missing most of their starting secondary and Watt.
Start of the Week: Dalvin Cook/Alexander Mattison at Chiefs: Honestly, I might as well just rename this section the “RBs vs Chiefs this week.” I can’t emphasize enough just how bad the Chiefs are vs the run. Normally, I avoid having top-tier players such as Cook in my recommends as it’s obvious to start him every week and nobody needs to be told that. More of the point of this, is that Mattison could easily be a high end bye week fill in this week. The Vikings love running the ball and use both running backs plenty, so they each have immense upside against a run D more porous than a sponge.
Tevin Coleman vs Cardinals: The 49ers offense feels as though it’s 75% made up of running backs with a bit of Kittle sprinkled in. Kyle Shanahan is undoubtedly a genius at designing running plays. Somewhere, an old coach sheds a tear at how established the run is in San Francisco. Amazingly, despite the seemingly endless supply of RBs on this team, Coleman is the only one coming into this game healthy. Well, as healthy as an NFL RB can be 9 weeks into the season on short rest. Arizona was absolutely gashed by Latavius Murray last week, so expect Coleman to have similar results.
Derrick Henry at Panthers: Fun fact: Derrick Henry’s last 7 touchdowns as of week 7 were in order: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, and (you guessed it) 1 yard. I wasn’t a believer in Henry at all coming into this season. He almost never catches passes and last year he was awful until the very end of the season. He’s proved me wrong this year and while his incredible streak of short touchdowns is ripe for regression, he gets more than enough work to produce and gets a better matchup than last week.
David Montgomery vs Eagles: Matt Nagy told us he isn’t stupid 2 weeks ago, then made sure to tell everyone how right he was once again after more questionable calls this past week. One of the more egregious mistakes to me, is the way he uses Montgomery. Granted, film will show you that Montgomery is far from perfect, but given the right opportunities, he should be able to prosper like he did last week. Unfortunately, this Bears offense other than Allen Robinson is just completely unpredictable and massively underperforming under the guidance of a supposed offensively minded coach. The Eagles D is incredible against the run, while being one of the worst vs the pass, so this doesn’t look to be a repeat of last week’s explosion for Montgomery.
Mark Ingram vs Patriots: The most compelling matchup of the week is the Baltimore offense vs the Patriots D. While the Ravens are undoubtedly the best offense the Patriots have faced by far this year, I won’t believe any offense will do much of anything against them until I see it. Maybe Lamar Jackson can make something happen against the Patriots, but I’m not counting on Ingram to be the one to get much done. Especially when this game is in Foxboro.
Mark Walton vs Jets: I’ll be honest, I’m pretty scared recommending anyone from the Dolphins. Mark is definitely the first and maybe the last Dolphins player that will appear in a start/sleeper section from me, but their schedule is incredibly easy coming up, so who knows. The Jets are only slightly better than the Dolphins, just traded one of their best run stopping Dlineman, and Kenyan Drake’s departure frees up more touched for Walton. He’s not exactly exciting, but you could do worse for a bye week fill in.
Start of the Week: Allen Robinson at Eagles: As mentioned above, Allen Robinson is pretty much the only useful player on the Bears offense. The Eagles’ secondary is basically non-existent and Robinson is playing as well as almost any other receiver in the league. If only he could have a real QB for once in his football career.
Michael Gallup at Giants: Gallup has been a bit quiet since his fast start to the season, but he gets a prime chance to get things right again. Coming off a bye, against a division rival on primetime, look for Gallup to be a high-end WR2 in this game.
DJ Chark vs Texans: Well, if we’re gonna start Minshew, we might as well be starting his top receiver as well. The hottest thing since Baby Shark, DJ Chark is likely to be the waiver add of the year. He’s on pace for 78 catches, 1,320 yards, and 12 TD. Only 6 players have ever done this in their second year. This list is: Calvin Johnson, Allen Robinson, A.J. Green, Odell Beckham, Larry Fitzgerald, and Randy Moss. You may have heard of them.
Courtland Sutton vs Browns: Speaking of surprises this season, Courtland Sutton has been another player whose value far surpassed where he was taken. Unfortunately, Flacco hurt his kneck and Drew Lock is still on IR. Enter Brandon Allen. Allen has been in the league for three years, been through waivers three times, claimed off of waivers twice, and started in an NFL game zero times. This all adds up to too much uncertainty to be able to trust Sutton this week.
D.J. Moore vs Ten: Contrary to Chark and Sutton producing far above what it cost to get them, Moore has hardly lived up to the massive hype around him before the season. While he has had some decent games, it’s been a tough time for him with an injured Can, decent backup in Allen, and CMC rightfully handling the ball constantly. Moore has shown the ability to be efficient with the touches left over for him, but Allen is likely to struggle vs a tough Titans D, which means Moore is less in this case.
Michael Gallup at Giants: Gallup cooled down after a hot start to the season. Part of it though, was a knee injury that sidelined him for a few weeks. He’s since been back and while he hasn’t been as great since, the bye week should help him back to form. In a primetime game vs a division rival, look for Gallup to be a WR2 with upside.
Greg Olsen vs Titans: Olsen started the season looking better than ever. Unfortunately, he fell back down to earth in the last 4 games. While the Titans are a tough defense overall, they are weak against opposing tight ends. Look for Olsen to get back on track this week.
Mark Andrews vs Patriots: Andrews has been a bright spot in an otherwise bleak position this season. Especially because he was taken very late in drafts. As one of Lamar’s favorite targets, he has produced well this year. Unfortunately, he gets one of the worst matchups this week, along with Marquise Brown likely coming back to contend for targets.
Panthers vs Titans
49ers vs Cardinals
Browns at Broncos
Bills vs Washington
Jets at Dolphins
Jaguars vs Houston
Steelers vs Colts
Vikings at Chiefs
Titans at Panthers
Texans at Jags