Now is when the fun starts. We are eight weeks into the season and if your trade deadline hasn’t expired yet, it is time to start wheelin’ and dealin’.
It is around this time of the season that I recommend selling off your depth in hopes of beefing up your lineup for the stretch run. At this point, if you are holding two top tier options at quarterback or tight end you need to try to ship one of them.
Based on average draft position guys like Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, and Matt Stafford were likely drafted as backups. If you were able to pair one of them up with guys you are always starting, then there is no reason to have one of these top 10 options sitting on your bench. Check in with the Russell Wilson and Eli Manning owners. They might be in panic mode.
The same goes for tight ends. Based on ADP, it would not be a far-fetched scenario to have Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker, or Tyler Eifert paired with Jimmy Graham. Look around, I am sure Graham would be an upgrade for someone’s team in your league.
Week 9: Workin’ the Wire
Remember when Rocky fought Josh McCown in Rocky IV? Or maybe you remember in 2013 when McCown went on a three game tear with the Chicago Bears in which he threw for 352, 355, 348, to go along with 8 touchdowns. With Cleveland playing catch up more often than not there will be plenty of garbage time for McCown to rack up stats. If you don’t believe me ask Blake Bortles owners.
Cody Kessler has cleared concussion protocol and has a chance to play in Week 9. From a fantasy standpoint I like McCown more than Kessler, but at 0-8 it would make sense for them to see what they have in Kessler. The bottom line is still the same. The Browns are going to be trailing and whoever is playing quarterback will have a shot to put up some stats.
With no new names breaking onto the scene in Week 8, it is time to dig deep for the Week 9 waiver claims at the tight end position. When the Steelers signed Ladarius Green in the offseason, there was some excitement about the prospects of a vertical threat tight end playing in such a prolific, high-powered offense. However, that buzz disappeared when word came out that Green would start the season on the injured reserve list. Green started practicing last week with no limitations and has a chance to be back on the field in Week 9. Although no one is sure exactly what his role will be, it would be wise to get a jump on your opponents and scoop him up now in case he comes out on fire.
For the next one, we are venturing into 1% owned territory. Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper is someone you can turn to this week if you are facing the bye week blues. Jacob Tamme is going to miss Thursday’s game so Hooper should be in line for some targets. In replacement duty on Sunday he caught five balls for 41 yards.
Marcus Mariota @ SD
Mariota is playing the position as well as anyone in the league right now. Over his last four games he has thrown 10 touchdowns with just one interception. I know he doesn’t get any fantasy points for this, but having completion percentages of 69, 71, 60, and 82 speaks volumes about his accuracy and decision making.
Dak Prescott @ CLE
Prescott looked shaky at times Sunday, but turned it on when he had to. The return of Dez Bryant gives him a weapon that could take this passing attack to the next level. Prescott hasn’t scored fewer than 17 points since Week 1. Every quarterback not named Ryan Fitzpatrick has scored at least 18 fantasy points against the Browns defense. Based on the current track records I would say Dak is safe for a floor of 17-18 points. I keep waiting for the wheels to come off this rookie, but I don’t see it happening this week.
Ben Roethlisberger @ BAL
As of now it is too early in the week to know for sure if large Ben is going to play Sunday against the Ravens.
Or so the media the says.
The truth is, Ben is a cyborg. He was able to practice on Monday, so I would be shocked if he isn’t out there Sunday. Now I can already hear fantasy owners…
“Well, maybe I will wait and see how he bounces back from the injury. They will probably just run the ball a ton and he won’t put up any stats.”
Don’t make that mistake. Last year, in a game in which he was slated to be the back up, he was forced into duty early and ended up throwing for 379/3/1. He is a machine.
This is obviously one to watch. Maybe I am wrong and he will sit out this week. But I just don’t see him missing a division game against the Ravens. If he plays he will produce top 10 numbers.
Eric Ebron @ MIN
Ebron suited up for the first time in a month and promptly set his season high in targets, receptions, and yards. I don’t know if it was dictated by scheme, but Stafford looked his way 10 times on Sunday. After looking invincible through the first six weeks of the season, the Vikings defense has shown some chinks in their armor over the last two games.
Kyle Rudolph vs. DET
In previous years Rudolph’s fantasy worth hinged on his ability to score a touchdown. In Week 9 against the Lions he will have a great chance to find the end zone. The Lions have allowed a tight end touchdown in six of their eight games. With Rudolph being the Vikings best red zone threat, my money will be on him getting a score this week. Even if he doesn’t find the end zone, his yardage totals have been more consistent than previous years. He has posted 55+ yards receiving in four games.
Derek Carr vs. DEN
Now it is not every year you get the opportunity to bench a quarterback the week following a 500+ yard performance in their previous game. However, this is the second such occurrence for this season. Back in Week 5, I sat Matt Ryan after his 503 yard effort the previous week.
So what is the common denominator to provoke such a response?
In Week 8, Rivers was the first quarterback to throw for multiple touchdowns on them, and they have yet to allow a quarterback to throw for more than 267 yards. Even as good as Carr is spinning it, I can’t see him doing much more than a 260/2 type of game against this defense.
Russell Wilson vs. BUF
I don’t want to be too drastic, but it is almost to the point where Russell Wilson can be dropped. He has one game this season with more than 13 fantasy points. I mean the man hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in his last three games. To make matters worse he has yet to have a game this year in which he has rushed for more than 16 yards. Okay, I need to stop this roast, his mother or wife might be reading this.
I give him credit for playing through the myriad of injuries he has sustained this year, but it is clearly impacting his level of play.
Jack Doyle @ GB
After posting back to back weeks of double digit fantasy points, Doyle left his owners high and dry coming up with just 36 yards in Week 8. It wasn’t a good sign that Luck threw the ball 35 times and only three of them were ticketed for Mr. Doyle. With the return of Donte Moncrief, Doyle is back to being the third or fourth option in the passing game. Another point working against Doyle is that the Packers have been tough on opposing tight ends all season. They have yet to allow a touchdown or more than 65 yards receiving to the opposing tight end yet this year.
Julius Thomas @ KC
Don’t look now, but Thomas has scored touchdowns in back to back weeks. Before you blindly ride the streak and slot him into your lineup you might want to take a quick glance at his yardage totals over the last four games (spoiler: 28 is the high). It is safe to say that Thomas is touchdown dependent, and the fact that the Chiefs have only allowed one tight end touchdown all season does not bode well for Thomas’s fantasy prospects in Week 9. I like riding streaks, especially at the Blackjack table, but I am staying away from Thomas in this game.
Hunter Henry vs. TEN
Okay, okay, maybe I was a bit overzealous on HH after his 6/83/1 game against the Broncos. I mean it was his third touchdown in as many games, there was a lot to be hyped about. Ultimately, as long as old man Gates is still running around Henry’s upside will be capped.
In an unrelated note, it has come to my attention that Hunter Henry looks like what Justin Bieber would look like if Bieber couldn’t sing and grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Good luck this week. Hit me up on Twitter @barkballin with any questions.
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Major League Fantasy Football Show: Join Ej Garr, Corey D Roberts, and Bryan Luhrs live Sunday November 6th, 2016 from 11am-12:30pm EST for episode #75 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. This is a live broadcast and we take callers at 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the hosts. We will be breaking down key matchups, discussing fantasy start/sit, some DFS, and handicapping as well.
Bryan is the owner os Real Deal Dynasty Sports, a writer with MLFS, and a frequent guest on our radio shows.
You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”