The final stretch is upon us. For many of you, the next week or two will either make or break your team. Bye weeks are the crucial part of the season and if you don’t have your regiments set up correctly you are almost guaranteed a big 'L'. If you are the one in your league sitting under .500 then this is your chance to go on the attack.
Usually around weeks 8 and 9 in the fantasy season is when we see the truly strong and talented teams doing well and getting wins. Just like most years, the teams with 3 solid RBs seem to be prevailing BUT don’t give up hope just yet. There is light from the darkness that is a losing record….. You can get better. Blow that roster up! Shake things up a bit and change the faces on your team. If it’s not working so far and the rest of the season looks tough match-up wise, then why stay in the position you are in?
Now is the time for change, to roll the dice and take chances. Let’s get you that 'W' this week....
BUY or SELL: Rest of season
LeGarrette Blount, PHI RB -
Mike: Sell - Before the Jay Ajayi trade I probably would’ve swung the other way just because if the Eagles are within the 10 yard line you know Blount is going to get a chance to pound it in the end zone. However, that entire situation gets extremely foggy with Jay in the mix now. I am not sure what you can get for him, but I don’t have much weekly confidence in him moving forward.
Devin: Buy: I think he could go back to his old TD hawking, playoff/late season/bad weather battering ram role. In a season where RBs are scarce who else (in deeper leagues) are you going to pick up that's better? Obviously his role could diminish, but it's possible Smallwood is banged up a little more than has been revealed. All this said, I'm not saying you should trade for Blount; just don't drop him.
Carlos Hyde, SF RB -
Mike: Sell - I think right now you can still cash in on Hyde because of the RB situation around the NFL. If you have a good batch of RBs and get something nice in return, do it. Matt Brieda fits the offense perfectly and he should continue to see a good majority of work. It may be a timeshare moving forward from game-to-game.
Devin: Buy- I'll consider this a long term investment and keep him around despite some current downturn. I want to see what Jimmy G brings to the table before I let this potential RB2 go.
Joe Mixon, CIN RB -
Mike: Sell - I hate the Bengals. There is talent spotted all over this roster and yet they can’t manage to handle it efficiently. Mixon is a stud, Ross has potential and Tyler Kroft is emerging as a pretty good TE. However, the coaching staff seem to be stuck in the same rut as the last few seasons. Unless some drastic news comes out, it looks like Mixon won’t produce like we all had hoped.
Devin: Sell- While I still think he deserves a roster spot, the upward trend we were seeing around week 3 has definitely plateaued. He’s one of those low floor/low ceiling guys as the coaching staff has seemingly decided to limit his touches to <15 side. I think Mixon is a freak athlete and I would love to own him in dynasty, I just don’t see him “breaking out” this season like we were hoping for a few weeks ago.
Doug Martin, TB RB -
Mike: Buy - The Tampa Bay schedule gets a lot easier moving forward and Doug Martin should only get better. He hasn’t been crazy good yet and still could be a pretty cheap buy considering what he could produce. At worst you are still getting a solid RB2 with RB1 potential for the ROS.
Devin: Buy- The Bucs couldn’t get anything going on offense and just looked plain horrible. But, Martin still secured 19 touches and proved 75 yards from scrimmage. I really think the touchdowns will start to come as he and the coaches get more comfortable with his role. I’d like to get a little more film on him before I go all in on him, but I really like what I’ve been able to see so far.
Doug Baldwin, SEA WR -
Mike: Sell - This decision is tough for me and it could honestly go either way. STATS: Doug hasn’t looked spectacular this year and Richardson is hawking TDs (2:5) left and right. The targets have been there which is really promising, but they aren’t producing big plays. Currently Doug only has two games with over 65 yards and 2 TDs on the season. The scariest fact is that against poor defenses ( 49ers, Packers and the Colts) Baldwin didn’t produce. If you can get a WR1 price, I would make the trade; if no,t then obviously hold him because the potential is there with the target share.
Devin: Buy - Let’s face it, Seattle can’t run the ball. Baldwin had 10 targets, and converted on 6 of those opportunities. While this didn’t translate into a ton of fantasy points for week 7 owners, he still has the blueprint for success each week. Unfortunately, we just saw his floor this past outing. He has two tough match-ups the next few weekends, but he always has the potential for great performances from sheer volume.
Demaryius Thomas, DEN WR -
Mike: Buy - Read! Despite the awful QB problem in Denver, D.Thomas continues to produce in PPR at least to the standard of a WR2/3 in 10-12 team leagues. I know he has yet to score a TD, but truthfully, it is only a matter of time and when he does he instantly becomes a top fantasy WR for the week. Don’t pay a big price for him, but if you can get him for a decent price, he is worth the spot. Denver has a pretty good end of season schedule too.
Devin: Sell- Coming off the bye week things were, on paper, looking up for the Denver offense. Siemian threw for 376 yards, and DT had a whopping 14 targets for 133 yards. The problem was TS threw it 50 times to achieve said yardage and has since started turning the ball over at an alarming rate. Unless the coaches and Siemian can pull something together to get this young QB more comfortable and in a flow, there will be more frustration and terrible performances for DT owners. I’m not saying he can’t bounce back, but I don’t like depending on unproven QB’s during the playoff push.
Alshon Jeffery, PHI WR -
Mike: Sell - He just isn’t living up to his draft position. Agholor is only 1 catch and 24 yards behind him for the season and with Jay Ajayi coming in there will be more mouths to feed as well as more running plays. Alshon will have his games, but if you looked at just his stats you could easily label him “boom or bust”. 3 of the next 5 defenses he will face have been pretty good against the pass and he could continue on the same path.
Devin: Sell- If I just listed 224 yards, 3 tds and 15 receptions over the last four games, you may think,”Hmm... not bad for my Wr3/flex." Well, too bad, those are Nelson Agholor stats. Admittedly, Jeffery is just a few (TD) receptions and yards behind. The problem is most people picked up NA off waivers a few weeks ago, where Jeffery was drafted as a confident start. I want to emphasize I’m selling on Jeffery as a WR2. I think he would be a great flex/match-up fill in but will not rise to the level many hoped for. Wentz is just too good at spreading it around and there are a lot of weapons on that team.
Jordan Reed, WAS TE -
Mike: Sell - I avoid Reed at all costs and the reason is pretty damn clear - injuries! He just can NOT stay on the field for a full game. When/if he does, he looks great BUT in fantasy, it is too hard to start a guy weekly that only plays a portion of the game. Vernon Davis is a weapon in that offense and can take Reed’s spot pretty easily when he is hurt. Try to sell Reed for his ceiling and grab Davis off the Waiver wire. Even when Reed has played, Davis has been relevant.
Devin: Sell- He was reached for and drafted early because of his huge upside and a perceived lack of depth at TE at the beginning of the season. However, this year it just hasn’t panned out as Reed can’t stay healthy. It has gotten to the point where the only Skins I’d feel comfortable starting are Cousins and Thompson.
Stefon Diggs, MIN WR -
Mike: Buy - I like the gamble! I am a fan of Diggs and believe when he is healthy he instantly becomes a WR1/2. Again, GAMBLE but I like to take a few chances with talent like this. He makes big plays when he is healthy and if the reports ring true and Teddy Bridgewater returns soon, then all the Minnesota players should see a bump.
Devin: Buy- This makes me nervous as hell, but I’m willing to throw a few chips in the Diggs basket.. He is incredibly talented and can really take a game over when healthy. He should have Bradford, or Bridgewater back in the next few weeks and it all seems like it's coming together at just the right time for a huge fantasy playoff surge.
Will Fuller V, HOU WR -
Mike: Buy - As I write this, it’s hard for me not to say 'sell' because I know people would pay for him on the current Watson/Houston hype train. However, the TD potential is undeniable now. Every week, the best defense player will line up on Hopkins and Fuller will have the opportunity for big plays and red zone targets. Obviously he can’t maintain this TD production, but it is impossible not to buy into the potential. 13 receptions and 7 touchdowns... Dilly Dilly!
Devin: Buy- This dude gets open deep and scores touchdowns. Watson is not afraid to air it out to him. He looks healthy and ready to score points for lucky owners. D-Hop helps draw the coverage away from him. He may not get a ton of volume, but he capitalizes on his opportunities.
Julio Jones, ATL WR -
Mike: Buy - Obviously Julio is not living up to his draft position, but unless you are stacked at WR, it is going to be hard to dish one of the top big play makers in the NFL. Plus, he only has 1 game this year with under 65 yards which is pretty ridiculous. If people in your leagues are shopping Jones you should put in an offer or two.
Devin: Buy- While he hasn’t been exemplary, he hasn't been a total team killer. In non-PPR formats it may be rough, but it could be worse. Julio can be streaky, but his talent and ability to score 40 any given weekend should give you hope. Matt Ryan's drop off in production combined with some nagging injuries have really held him back, but I really don't see him ending the season with just 1 touchdown.
Jarvis Landry, MIA WR -
Mike: Buy: Does the QB matter? NO. Does the defense matter? NO. Jarvis Landry is going to get HIS and by that I mean he is going to see the ball come his way a lot. Currently in 2nd in total receptions only behind Antonio Brown. In PPR formats, this is a no brainer. On his worst week he still had 5 receptions... high floor.
Devin: Buy (for now): This guy has 80 targets in 7 games and no more bye weeks. Some weeks will be cringey, but overall he will be a successful start. The next couple weeks should be profitable as he faces Oakland and the Bucs, but it'll be tough sledding later in the season. The Patriots have greatly improved this quarter of the season on D. He's also got 2 match-ups with the Bills and another with the Broncos. Hold now, sell later.
Put Me In Coach: Waiver wire adds
JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT WR - It is possible for receivers not named Brown to have had success in this offense. After a 10 target, 7 reception and 193 yard performance, we believe Juju being on the waivers any longer is a crime. We would feel pretty comfortable spending a portion of remaining FAAB on him. 29% owned.
Robby Anderson, NYJ WR - McCown is having a career resurrecting season and Anderson is becoming a beloved target. He is emerging as the NYJ WR to own. His great speed, big play potential and target share increase make him potentially a great waiver add. 27% owned.
Paul Richardson, SEA WR - Richardson has proven to be worthy of rostering in most 10-12 team leagues. He has 4 touchdowns in 8 weeks and should be a good bye week fill in at WR/Flex. 10% owned.
Alex Collins, BAL RB - Collins is THE guy right now in Baltimore even with some split carries the last few weeks. However, in week 8 we finally saw him get a full load of rush attempts and he produced. His future looks a little more foggy with Woodhead returning soon, but he has clearly carved out a role with the team. Roster him. 32% owned.
Marlon Mack, IND RB - Although Mack didn’t look especially powerful in the run attack this past week vs. CIN, the fact that he got double digit rush attempts and was involved in the passing game is a great sign that he should be a weapon in the offense moving forward. In a year with RBs going down left and right, Mack is surely worth a bench spot. 29% owned.
Matt Breida, SF RB - He is becoming the change-of-pace running back and looks comfortable in the SF offense. They look for him in the passing attack and he is still managing a few carries a game. Again, RBs with any value need to be added this year. 14 % owned.
Benjamin Watson, BAL TE - If you take out his week 5 performance against the Raiders you find yourself looking at one of the more consistent TEs in the league right now when it comes to fantasy. If the receptions aren’t there, he seems to make it up with bigger yard production or TDs. Watson is a great bye week fill in and even weekly start in 12 team leagues. 7% owned.
Vernon Davis, WAS TE - With Reed out week 9, Davis is poised for a great game. Cousins likes to feed him the ball and Davis is a respected veteran who knows how to capitalize on his touches. Even when Reed has been healthy, Vernon Davis has proven that he can still produce both on the field and in your fantasy lineups. 13% owned.
Strength of Schedule: Rest of Season/ Schedule Matchups
QB: 1.) Tyrod Taylor 2.)Jameis Winston 3.)Cam Newton 4.)Joe Flacco 5.)Ben Roethlisberger 6.) Philip Rivers 7.) Alex Smith 8.) Drew Brees 9.) Matt Ryan 10.) Marcus Mariota
RB: 1.) New Orleans 2.)Jacksonville 3.)Houston 4.)Tennessee 5.)Buffalo 6.)LA Chargers 7.)Chicago 8.)Tampa Bay 9.)Denver 10.) Patriots
WR: 1.) Pittsburgh 2.)Carolina 3.)Tampa Bay 4.)Denver 5.)Houston 6.)Seattle 7.)LA Rams 8.)Baltimore 9.)NY Giants 10.)Jacksonville
D/ST: 1.)Jacksonville 2.)Baltimore 3.) Detroit 4.)Pittsburgh 5.) New England 6.)Houston 7.) Denver 8.)Philadelphia 9.) Kansas City 10.) LA Rams
Unowned Young Guns: Potential and Predictions
Josh Doctson, WAS WR- Docston has found a place in the offense as a red zone target and potential WR2 on the team. Currently the Redskins offensive plan looks like a mess and I am not sure if even Coach Gruden knows what to do weekly. The offensive line is pretty poor and doesn’t give Cousins much time. Doctson is definitely worth a roster spot, but starting him at this point is still a gamble.
Mike Williams, LAC WR - With his size, it is hard not to see him used more over the last two weeks. However, there are 3-4 capable WRs on the Chargers team and Rivers rarely plays favorites. Williams got a season high 22 snaps and that should increase going forward. Worth a spot in deeper leagues, but right now he has little upside and a very low floor.
Corey Davis, TEN WR - The most talented WR in the class and also has a chance to immediately step into the WR1 role with the Titans. Clearly Matthews and Decker are not the answers they have been trying to be as of late and are more complementary pieces behind Davis. He had 6 receptions in his first pro game and honestly should produce like some of the better rookies we have seen in the last few years. Should be owned in all formats in our opinion and has the chance to be a weekly starter on your roster moving forward.
John Ross, CIN WR - Right now Ross strictly looks like a back-up to AJ Green if anything were to happen. We should see a better example of how the team plans to use him in the next few weeks, but right now he is the riskier option of these young guys.
Kenny Golladay, DET WR - Golladay is finally looking like he will return to action this week and should immediately be a part of the offense. The Lions have zero running game and rely heavily on Stafford throwing the ball a lot. Golladay is athletic and showed his potential in his rookie debut. He is worth rostering in most leagues with the bye weeks upon us.
Love Triangle: Complicated backfields to avoid
Philadelphia: Well, this whole situation just got completely messy. Before the trade deadline, Blount was a safe RB2/3 with the current state of NFL running backs. Now, who knows what will happen? Ajayi, Blount and Smallwood are all capable of handling touches.
New England: Rex is back in the mix, Dion Lewis is getting carries, James White lines up as a receiver and Mike Gillislee looks awful. Honestly, I am just steering clear of this trainwreck of a fantasy backfield. In PPR leagues most of the guys are worth rostering, but it is scary to start any of them outside of maybe J.White in a flex spot.
New York Giants: Each week seems to bring out a new Giants running back that could start. The carries are clearly going to be split moving forward and game flow should play a big part. With Perkins about to be back, the problem could get more chaotic. We wouldn’t feel safe starting any just yet.
Denver: There are a few factors at play here. The Denver o-line is terrible and every week it is evident. The runners have a hard time getting over the line of scrimmage and Siemian is constantly under pressure. Mix that in with the fact that each of the last three weeks Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker have seen increased rush attempts. Messy Messy.
Baltimore: Alex Collins looks good, maybe even great at times BUT everyone knows that the Ravens plan to use Woodhead as soon as he returns in week 11. Add that with Joe Flacco’s terrible season and you get 10 dump offs a game…. to Danny Woodhead. Javorius Allen will likely still see the ball a few times each game and the time share will truly begin.
Week 9 Rankings: Tiered Rankings
QB: Deshaun Watson, Drew Brees, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, Alex Smith, Tyrod Taylor, Carson Wentz, Matthew Stafford,
WR: DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, AJ Green, Mike Evans, Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, Doug Baldwin, Jarvis Landry, Tyreek Hill, Michael Crabtree
RB: LeSean McCoy, Mark Ingram, Todd Gurley, Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette*, Lamar Miller, Alvin Kamara, Christian McCaffrey
TE: Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce, Evan Engram, Jack Doyle, Cameron Brate, Jimmy Graham, Jason Witten
QB: Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins
WR: Demaryius Thomas, Kelvin Benjamin, Golden Tate, Alshon Jeffery, Pierre Garcon, Amari Cooper, Will Fuller V, Sterling Shepard*
RB: Devonta Freeman*, Carlos Hyde, Doug Martin, Adrian Peterson, Aaron Jones, Chris Thompson, DeMarco Murray*, Alex Collins, Tevin Coleman
TE: Vernon Davis, Austin Seferian-jenkins, Delanie Walker*, Jared Cook, Ryan Griffin, Tyler Kroft, Benjamin Watson
QB: Eli Manning, Josh McCown, Jared Goff, Joe Flacco*, Andy Dalton, Blake Bortles, Jacoby Brissett, Jay Cutler
WR: DeSean Jackson, DeVante Parker, Jeremy Maclin, Mohamed Sanu, Nelson Agholor, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Robby Anderson, Larry Fitzgerald, Marvin Jones Jr, TY Hilton, Ted Ginn Jr, Corey Davis* , Kenny Stills
RB:Jay Ajayi, Joe Mixon, CJ Anderson, Frank Gore, Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch, Ameer Abdullah, LeGarrette Blount, Orleans Darkwa, Frank Gore, Bilal Powell
TE: Austin Hooper, Coby Fleener, Tyler Higbee, AJ Derby, Martellus Bennett, Ed Dickson
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