In Week 8 we saw some big performances. There were three 400 yard passing games, one without a touchdown thrown (Stafford) while the other two had four each (Wilson, Watson). LeSean McCoy, Ezekiel Elliot and Melvin Gordon led the way for running backs with 132 yards or more. The wide receivers had perhaps their best week year to date with DeAndre Hopkins and Juju Smith-Schuster leading the way in yardage with 224 and 193 yard games. Even the tight ends got in on the act with Travis Kelce’s 133 yards and 1 TD performance along with Jack Doyle’s 121 yards and 1 TD for the Colts.
Week 9 is the week of the NFL trade deadline. Things got started on the offensive side of ball with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo being traded from the Patriots to the 49’ers. Then the following morning we saw Miami running back Jay Ajayi traded to Philadelphia, and we ended with Carolina receiver, Kelvin Benjamin being traded to the Buffalo Bills. We also heard the Ezekiel Elliot’s on again off again suspension is on again, though the NFLPA is now trying to get an injunction in the 2nd Circuit Court postponing the suspension until the appeal is heard by the same court.
Finally, on to my picks for Start ‘Em for Week 9. This was a tough week for picking both receivers and running backs outside of the guys who are must starts each week, though one of my picks, Will Fuller, is definitely heading in that direction. But I’ve come up with a solid list and hope to build off of last week’s success where I only picked one complete bust in Jay Ajayi, though a couple of others were saved by touchdowns. Here are my Week 9 picks…
Week 9 Bye’s: Steelers, Chargers, Browns, Vikings, Patriots and Bears
Will Fuller – Houston vs Indianapolis – (Draft Kings $7,000 / Fan Duel $7,800) – How can you not start Will Fuller when he is paired with Deshaun Watson? In four games played this year, he has at least one touchdown in each game and seven touchdowns total. The Colts have been surprisingly good against the run, and while I don’t expect the Colts to keep this game close, the Texans will continue to throw.
Sterling Shepard – NY Giants vs LA Rams – (Draft Kings $5,200 / Fan Duel $5,900) – Shepard may be double covered at times in this game, but he should be the most targeted wide receiver for the Giants. He is a risky start until we see his usage for the first time without Beckham and Marshall on the field, but with six teams on bye you may not have that luxury. I’m pretty confident he’ll be in the 11-16 point range in full PPR leagues.
Mohamed Sanu – Atlanta @ Carolina – (Draft Kings $5,300 / Fan Duel $5,800) – Sanu led the Falcons in targets against the NY Jets in Week 8 with seven. He turned them into a 6/74/1 performance. The Panthers are ranked third in the NFL against the pass, but their focal point, as with most teams, will be Julio Jones, and this season Jones’ targets are down. I’d expect Sanu to again be near the team lead in targets this week.
Jamison Crowder – Washington @ Seattle – (Draft Kings $4,900 / Fan Duel $5,600) – Crowder finally showed up in Week 8 with thirteen targets and 9 receptions for 123 yards. Whether it’s anything he did differently or if the coaching staff and Cousins finally just decided to throw him the ball remains to be seen. But with last week’s success I can’t imagine they’ll go away from him. Seattle’s defense is not the same as in previous years and Washington can make big gains in the passing game in this contest. I expect Crowder to have another good game.
Marvin Jones – Detroit @ Green Bay – (Draft Kings $5,600 / Fan Duel $6,000) – Green Bay’s secondary is better than in recent years, but Detroit has no running game so they will be throwing the ball often. Jones has been the main beneficiary of late and even Pittsburgh’s first ranked passing defense didn’t stifle him in Week 8. Both Jones and Golden Tate will receive lots of targets in this game and hopefully they can find the end-zone this week.
Doug Martin – Tampa Bay @ New Orleans – (Draft Kings $5,800 / Fan Duel $6,700) – Because New Orleans isn’t the quick strike offense they used to be, I think Tampa Bay can hang around in this game for a while. Martin had 18 carries for 71 yards against Carolina in Week 8 as Tampa played from behind the entire game. The Saints aren’t as good as Carolina against the run though, so Martin should have a chance for twenty carries this week and hopefully is able to get a touchdown.
Christian McCaffrey – Carolina vs Atlanta – (Draft Kings $6,500 / Fan Duel $6,100) – McCaffrey is more of a PPR back. Most of his points come in the passing game and now that the GM has traded away the Panthers’ best wide receiver I’d expect McCaffrey to get a few more targets. While Kelvin Benjamin was out with an injury a few weeks ago McCaffrey did see a significant rise in targets and starting with a floor of seven or eight receptions sounds like fantasy success to me.
Alex Collins – Baltimore @ Tennessee – (Draft Kings $4,600 / Fan Duel $5,900) – Collins appears to have put his fumbling issues behind him and now appears to be the lead back in Baltimore. He is coming off of an 18 carry and 100 plus yard game against the Dolphins’ solid rushing defense, and also caught his first two passes of the season for 30 yards. Coach Harbaugh has said that Collins has earned more playing time, and this week they will face the Titans who have the 10th best rushing defense to this point in the season. With a 20 carry workload Collins should finally find the end-zone this week and be close to another 100 yard game.
Carlos Hyde – San Francisco vs Arizona – (Draft Kings $5,200 / Fan Duel $6,500) – In a match-up I’m surprised the NFL has not moved to Sunday night football, San Francisco faces Arizona. Both will be starting a backup quarterback, one a rookie in his 2nd start and the other a veteran who has found little success when thrust into the starting role before. I would think this would be a low scoring affair with the 49’ers focusing on shutting down Adrian Peterson. Carlos Hyde should get plenty of work this week and find fantasy success against the Cardinals 14th ranked rushing defense. I’d expect 100 yards from scrimmage this week and 3 to 5 receptions.
Running Back Tandem
Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara – New Orleans vs Tampa Bay – (Draft Kings $ 7,600 – $6,300 / Fan Duel $7,900 – $6,600)
Since there is no rule against using the same tandem in consecutive weeks and this is currently the best tandem in the league, (Burkhead/White and Gore/Mack are the only others from Week 8 that come to mind) I’m using them again this week. It also helps that Tampa Bay hasn’t been very good to this point, though they do have Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David back in the lineup. The Saints now appear to finally be a running team and they have two backs capable of success each week.