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Value Plays: Week 9

A comparison of the weekly positional rankings and the Top 200, this is an output of the players who could have unexpected big fantasy weeks.

This article will take a weekly look at players who could provide value in a given week. The basis for this value will be the difference between the Top 200 forward, a look at the top 200 players with the whole season in mind, and the weekly rankings. Both are from the Insider content. An emphasis will be on the players with the largest differences between the season outlook and this week only. Also, a preference will be given to differences for the higher ranked players. Some of these differences will be due to injury, the matchup of the week, or short-term situation. Now, let's look at this week's value players.


Dak Prescott

  • Top 200 ranking: 27
  • Weekly ranking: 5
  • Difference: +22

Prescott is coming off a shaky outing against the Eagles Sunday night.  The good news is that the Cowboys still won.  The bad news is that Philadelphia exposed some of the flaws of the rookie.  The game in Cleveland this week sets up for Prescott to have a bounce-back game.  The Browns are ranked 29th in keeping fantasy quarterbacks in check.  The only worry is that the game gets out of hand and the youngster hands the ball off the entire second half.  With Tony Romo nearing his return, this might be the best fantasy matchup for Prescott the rest of the season. 

Matt Ryan

  • Top 200 ranking: 6
  • Weekly ranking: 2
  • Difference: +4

Ryan is having a career year and finally (at the age of 31) looks like a seasoned veteran.  While Ryan, and most dome quarterbacks, play better at home than on the road, we like his matchup in Tampa Bay against the Buccaneers.  He will face the seventh-worst defense in holding fantasy quarterbacks under wraps.  With Julio Jones healthy, and Tevin Coleman still out, we like Ryan’s chances of having a big game on Thursday night.  Atlanta will want to atone for the Week 1 loss to the Buccaneers.  But, this game has the look of a shootout, much to the delight of Ryan’s fantasy owners. 

Running Back

Devonta Freeman

  • Top 200 ranking: 9
  • Weekly ranking: 4
  • Difference: +5

There are a couple of things working in Freeman’s favor this week.  First, he faces a weak rush defense in Tampa Bay.  The Buccaneers cede the 8th most PPR fantasy points to opposing running backs.  Opponents are averaging over 27 PPR points at the position per week.  Add in the fact that fellow running back Tevin Coleman is unlikely to play, and it is easy to see why hopes are high for Freeman this week. 

Matt Forte

  • Top 200 ranking: 16
  • Weekly ranking: 6
  • Difference: +10

The veteran ball carrier has enjoyed two consecutive big fantasy weeks and looks to extend the streak against the Dolphins.  Miami has given up some big games to opposing running backs.  Also, as the Jets are a mess on offense, Forte’s workload gets larger and larger.  In a week where there are several quality fantasy backs on bye, Forte is a strong option with a high floor. 

Christine Michael

  • Top 200 ranking: 17
  • Weekly ranking:  9
  • Difference: +8

Michael has played well while running with the starting unit.  He has been explosive and very quick through the hole.  The game against the Bills this week should provide the journeyman runner to rack up the yards and possibly a score.  Buffalo is middle of the pack as a rush defense.  With C.J. Prosise now healthy and Thomas Rawls due back in a few weeks, Michael’s role as the primary back may soon come to an end. 

Wide Receiver

Demaryius Thomas

  • Top 200 ranking: 17
  • Weekly ranking: 8
  • Difference: +9

We like the chances of both Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to have big games against the Oakland Raiders this week.  It seems that Oakland is involved in high scoring games every week due to their weak secondary and ability to put up points on offense.  With Denver searching for a running game, the pair of Broncos pass catchers could each have big games as Trevor Siemian is forced to throw the ball.  Oakland yields over 40 PPR fantasy points each week to opposing wide receivers.  We expect Thomas and Sanders to top that amount in this game. 

Jarvis Landry

  • Top 200 ranking: 11
  • Weekly ranking: 6
  • Difference: +5

Landry could have a big game against the ineffective Jets secondary this week.  New York is the third-best matchup for fantasy receivers, giving up an average 42.20 PPR fantasy points to receivers per week.  Landry should easily get the most pass targets of the Dolphins receivers and could top 25 PPR points against the Jets. 

Jordy Nelson

  • Top 200 ranking: 9
  • Weekly ranking: 4
  • Difference: +5

Nelson had a big game last week.  It was his first fantasy-viable outing in quite a while.  We have high hopes that the veteran pass catcher turned the corner in the game against Atlanta last week.  He gets the soft-as-a-pillow Colts defense, possibly without Vontae Davis, this week.  With Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery iffy for the contest, Nelson could see a full complement of targets again.  Even if the pair is back in the lineup, a healthy Nelson should abuse the Colts secondary. 

Tight End

Jack Doyle

  • Top 200 ranking: 19
  • Weekly ranking: 7
  • Difference: +12

Doyle has played very well in the Coby Fleener role for Indianapolis.  His red-zone prowess offers value even when Dwayne Allen is healthy.  But, with Allen sidelined at least another week, Doyle is sitting on a big game against the Packers this week.  The contest should be high scoring and provide plenty of opportunities for Doyle to light up the scoreboard.  Green Bay is a middle-of-the-road defense against opposing tight ends and will struggle to contain the Indianapolis weapons. 

Dennis Pitta

  • Top 200 ranking: 12
  • Weekly ranking: 3
  • Difference: +9

Pitta is the leader for NFL Comeback Player of the Year award and should win it after missing most of two consecutive seasons with a pair of hip fractures.  The game against arch-rival Pittsburgh should provide fantasy opportunity for the veteran tight end.  He has become Joe Flacco’s security blanket and will be utilized when the Steelers bring pressure.  Pittsburgh is in the bottom one-third of the league in guarding the tight end position.  With so many top tight ends on bye this week, Pitta makes for a solid start. 

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