In this article, we take a look at the smaller slate of games for Week 9 in an effort to give you options that we think can help you get the most out of your lineup. We are looking to maximize your lineup by giving you a few cheaper options that can help you to get your lineup loaded up in other areas.
We give consideration to the script of each of the games to determine how these games will likely play out. We also evaluate the play of the wide receivers and tight ends and how they will match up with the defenses they will face. We also look at players that are injured, or those coming back from injury. We then target plays that we like and a few that we don’t.
With the help of our defensive guru Aaron Rudnicki, let’s take a look at players that we both like and a few that we would avoid this week.
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Tennessee @ New Orleans ($3,100)
Bischoff: Changes were made to the coaching staff in Tennessee this week, and there’s hope that it has a positive impact on Green-Beckham’s role in this offense. The Saints aren’t stopping anyone from having success throwing the ball, and this week’s script leads to the Titans having to throw the ball a lot while behind in this game. At his price, Green-Beckham should get to GPP value as he needs just one big play to get there, although he is a risky play with a low floor.
Rudnicki: While the rookie has yet to show much with just 7 catches on the year, he should be headed for a much bigger role this week. #1 WR Kendall Wright suffered a sprained MCL last week that could keep him out, and there really isn’t much else in this WR group. The Saints were just involved in a game that saw 13 touchdown passes, so their defense is obviously suspect and the Titans will likely need to throw early and often to try and keep pace.
Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants @ Tampa Bay ($4,100)
Bischoff: Randle is here because of his price and the offense he plays combined with this week’s matchup. The Buccaneers are struggling to keep receivers out of the end zone and the Giants are doing a nice job of getting their playmakers into position to score. Randle looks to have a higher floor in Week 9 with nice upside for cash game and tournament play.
Rudnicki: Randle was one of the only players who didn’t score a touchdown in last week’s game with the Saints. Tampa has had issues in the secondary all year with 17 passing TDs allowed, however, so the Giants should be able to keep things rolling again this week. Randle should be a relatively safe play with upside due to the matchup.
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay vs. New York Giants ($6,800)
Bischoff: Evans has disappointed in some matchups that were favorable earlier this season, but Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has made strides in this offense, and it’ll help to get Evans to produce more consistent numbers week to week. This is a great matchup for Evans and one that he should take advantage of to be a solid play in Week 9.
Rudnicki: Evans has been one of the more frustrating players in the league this year for daily players. He’s had two huge games, but has been a disappointment in the rest. The matchup this week looks very favorable though as the Giants just got shredded by the Saints for 7 passing TDs last week. There is a chance that CB Prince Amukamara could return from his injury this week, but Winston has shown steady improvement and Evans should be able to take advantage of one of the worst pass defenses in the league.
Brandon Lafell, WR, New England vs. Washington ($3,200)
Bischoff: Lafell has seen 15 targets in two weeks since he returned from his foot injury. He’s realistically the No. 2 wide receiver in this potent offense and this week the Patriots go up against a very banged up secondary at home. At his price he’ll be in a bunch of my lineups because it’s not if, it’s when with Lafell.
Rudnicki: Lafell is slowly emerging as a weapon in the Patriots offense, but the targets are there for him to have a huge game very soon. He looks to be clearly ahead of Danny Amendola, who only saw 34 snaps and 1 target last week. Washington’s stats against the pass aren’t terrible but their secondary depth has been depleted by injuries recently and they couldn’t handle the bigger WRs they faced in their past two games.
Malcolm Floyd, WR, San Diego vs. Chicago ($3,900)
Bischoff: Floyd is a big-play weapon in an offense that just lost its most productive pass catcher. He scored two touchdowns in Week 8 and he is likely the healthiest receiving option on the roster right now. There is a lot of volume to go around with Keenan Allen out for the year, but it’s unrealistic to think that Floyd will see a giant increase in targets. I see receiver Stevie Johnson seeing an increase in targets, but it will be Floyd stretching the field and in the red zone. This looks to be a very high scoring game, and I see Floyd as a very attractive option in Week 9.
Rudnicki: The season-ending injury to Keenan Allen figures to create a huge opportunity for someone to soak up all those targets he was getting. While Floyd won’t get all of them, he does look to be one of the healthiest options the Chargers have right now so he should become a primary target against the Bears this week. Chicago has been burned by big play WRs the past couple weeks, and Rivers to Floyd should be a productive combination this week.
Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh vs. Oakland ($5,500)
Bischoff: There are no doubts about the quick strike power of the Steelers offense and Bryant is a big reason here. The Steelers lost running back Le’Veon Bell in Week 8 and while they’ll get production from backup running back DeAngelo Williams, it is likely that the passing offense carries the load going forward. Looking at the game script, it is easy to see a high scoring game with multiple big plays and that favors Bryant at this price.
Rudnicki: The Steelers offense got Ben Roethlisberger back last week, and lost Le’Veon Bell. That should allow Bryant to see a lot more work in the offense as the clear #2 option behind Antonio Brown. The Raiders have only allowed 1 TD to an opposing WR in their last 2 games, but they are giving up plenty of catches and yards. With the Raider offense heating up, this has the makings of a shootout and Bryant looks like he will play a big role.
Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville @ New York Jets ($5,300)
Bischoff: Second-year wide receiver Allen Hurns is not so quietly having a fantastic season, in fact, he has scored a touchdown in five straight games. Yes, it is the Jets and they present significant challenges as to what they do on defense. However, the Jaguars can make plays, especially if they throw away from cornerback Darrelle Revis, which is exactly where Hurns will be in this game. I’d expect the Jaguars running game to be stagnant in this one which means that the passing game is going to have to make plays in Week 9.
Rudnicki: The Jets matchup looks very tough given the talent they have on that side of the ball, but Derek Carr and the Raiders just had their way with them so maybe they aren’t as tough as they look. In any event, the Jets defensive front should be able to keep the Jaguars running game in check so that means the Jaguars will have to rely heavily on their passing game. Assuming the Jets try to keep Revis on Allen Robinson most of the time, that should matchup Hurns with Antonio Cromartie who has struggled last week with 2 TDs allowed.
Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland @ Pittsburgh ($4,900)
Bischoff: Vegas likes this game to be high scoring with a point total of 48, and I’d expect this game to go over. Crabtree has been targeted 35 times over the past four weeks, catching 22 passes for 299 yards and scoring twice. Clearly he is benefitting from the coverage rookie receiver Amari Cooper is drawing, and he’s become a reliable option for quarterback Derek Carr. The Steelers secondary isn’t particularly impressive and I suspect that Crabtree will have plenty of opportunity in this high scoring game.
Rudnicki: Cooper draws most of the attention from defenses each week, but it’s Crabtree who has been doing more damage on the field of late. He looked great against the Jets last week, and should remain a focal point against a suspect Steelers secondary this week.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver @ Indianapolis ($7,300)
Bischoff: This matchup might be the juiciest of all of the players here. The Colts are struggling in the back end of their defense and it is highly likely that Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas draws Colts cornerback Vontae Davis in this game. That leaves Sanders running shallow crossers against linebackers and generating yards after the catch, but it also matches him up against much lesser cornerbacks and I’d expect a big game from Sanders against the Colts.
Rudnicki: Sanders had a quiet game against the Packers last week as Demaryius Thomas and the running game carried the load. He should bounce back against a Colts defense this week that wasn’t really tested a week ago, but has issues at corner behind their #1 Vontae Davis who should be matched up with Thomas for most of the game.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Tampa Bay vs. New York Giants ($2,800)
Bischoff: The first thing to monitor here is the injury report as Seferian-Jenkins has missed multiple weeks with a shoulder injury, but reports currently look promising. If he is able to go he looks like a punt play at this price because the Giants have struggled to match up with opposing tight ends in 2015. The Buccaneers have made great strides on offense (although it has been volatile) and the return of Seferian-Jenkins would be a tremendous boost for the passing game.
Rudnicki: Obviously you need to monitor the practice reports and health status of Seferian-Jenkins, but if he’s able to suit up this is a matchup that he should feast on. The Giants have been extremely generous to opposing TEs all year, so grab him if the injury reports are positive.
Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay @ Carolina ($6,800)
Bischoff: The Packers offense looks a bit out of sorts which is extremely odd for one of the most consistent offenses in the NFL over the past few years. Cobb has been targets 28 times over the past four weeks, catching 16 passes for 132 yards and zero touchdowns. That’s as bad as it gets for a player of Cobb’s abilities in this potent offense. This week he gets Panthers cornerback Josh Norman and that’s been a bad matchup for any receiver in 2015.
Rudnicki: Cobb continues to be a non-factor for the Packers with four disappointing games in a row. Now he gets to face off against one of the best defenses in the league in the Panthers, along with star CB Josh Norman. The Colts did have some success against them late last week, but this is not a matchup that should be conducive to big stats from any of the WRs.
Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota vs St. Louis ($5,300)
Bischoff: This looks like a bad matchup all-around for the Vikings offense as the Rams defensive front has been dominant, both against the run and versus the pass. It’s going to be tough sledding for the Vikings, but the Rams have given up a bunch of runs of over 20 yards and I’d expect Vikings running back Adrian Peterson to be heavily involved here. With Diggs, it is all about volume. I can see the Vikings trying to get the ball out quickly because of the pressure the Rams defense can bring to bear, and that favors Diggs, but it’s tough to see a big game that warrants selecting at this price.
Rudnicki: The incredible run for Diggs has to end at some point and a matchup with the Rams seems like a pretty likely spot. They have only allowed 3 TDs to opposing WRs all year and just one WR (Antonio Brown) went over 100 yards against them. With their pass rush, the Vikings will probably want to rely even more heavily on Adrian Peterson this week.
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago @ San Diego ($6,700)
Bischoff: The Chargers have done a very nice job of keeping No. 1 wide receivers quiet in 2015, particularly due to the emergence of cornerback Jason Verrett as a lockdown type in the secondary. The Bears will move the ball on offense, but I wouldn’t expect big production from Jeffery in this game. There are changes with the Bears offense with running back Matt Forte out with a knee injury and that hampers the overall effectiveness of the unit as a whole.
Rudnicki: Jason Verrett has earned a reputation as one of the shutdown corners in the league this year, and this week he figures to match up primarily with Jeffery. There aren’t many WRs who are playing better right now as he has 18 catches for 263 yards and 2 TDs over the past two weeks. The absence of Matt Forte, however, figures to hurt the running game and allow the Chargers to slide a safety over to Jeffery’s side of the field.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington @ New England ($4,500)
Bischoff: The Patriots defense has almost erased opposing tight ends in 2015, shutting them down on a week-to-week basis. This isn’t the week to play Reed, especially with his price bolstered by a big performance before the bye week.
Rudnicki: Reed is coming off a huge outing against Tampa in Week 7 before the bye when he posted 11 catches and 2 TDs. He should find things much more difficult this week though as the Patriots have given up very little to opposing TEs this year. Perhaps they have been helped by some easier matchups, but Charles Clay, Jason Witten, and Jordan Cameron have all been kept in check by them.
Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego vs. Chicago ($4,700)
Bischoff: This looks like a contrarian thought process because of the opportunity Gates will see in a potent offense and a juicy matchup, but it’s not all that enticing when looking at how the Bears have fared versus tight ends in 2015. They’ve held together nicely against tight ends, partially because wide receivers have lit up them up on the outside. I’d expect a healthy dose of receivers Malcom Floyd and Stevie Johnson in this game.
Rudnicki: Gates is going to get a lot of interest this week given the injuries to Keenan Allen and Ladarius Green, but the Bears have been surprisingly effective against tight ends this year. The only TE to have a strong game against them was Jimmy Graham back in week 3. Their rookie safeties have been playing well but veteran Antrel Rolle could also give them a boost this week, and teams have generally had more success working against their ineffective corners.
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