Fantasy Football Rankings: Week 9 Matchups to Consider
We’ve entered the back-half of the fantasy regular season and the time for fantasy managers to make their run to the playoffs starts with Week 9! Every Thursday, I’ll take a look at players at each position to consider before finalizing your lineup for the week.
If I’m in or out on a player for this week, I’ll let you know who I’d prefer them to play them over or an alternative I’d play instead.
Justin Fields (CHI) vs Miami
It seems the Bears’ offense has turned the corner, and that has directly correlated with the emergence of Justin Fields as a viable starting option at QB for fantasy managers. Since Week 6, Fields has posted three straight top-8 QB finishes and back-to-back finishes as the QB5. It’s no coincidence that Fields’ best fantasy days have come when he’s run the ball effectively. As Ryan DeVaney notes in his Things We Learned in Week 8 article, Fields’ ability to run provides a great floor for his fantasy output. He’s posted at least 60 yards in the last three weeks.
Week 9 presents an interesting matchup for the Bears’ offense to continue their hot streak. The Dolphins’ defense has given up 27 points in half of their games this season, but their play against opposing QBs hasn’t yielded consistent high-end fantasy output. Since Week 4, the highest QB fantasy finish the Dolphins have allowed is QB11. Fields will have to work to keep up with Miami’s high scoring, so I’d be putting him in my lineups until we see the fire go out.
Justin Herbert (LAC) at Atlanta
Another QB Justin with a good matchup for Week 9. Herbert hasn’t provided fantasy managers with the consistent top-12 finishes we saw to end 2021 where he put together eight straight weeks in that range. To be fair, Herbert hasn’t had all of his passing weapons for most of the season. What may be encouraging is that the Chargers have started to pass the ball at the volume we saw during his great run last year, throwing it over 50 times in both games before their bye.
The Falcons’ defense presents a chance for Herbert to get just his fourth finish inside the top-12 QBs in a given week. Atlanta just gave up a huge day to the Panthers and they are trending toward missing their top corner, A.J. Terrell, for the second-straight week. If Herbert is the elite QB the league perceives him to be, this is a week he has to be dominant even without his best-receiving options.
Tyler Allgeier (ATL) vs LA Chargers
Fantasy managers finally got to see Tyler Allgeier get work in the passing game in Week 8 which led to the best fantasy output in his career. Allgeier has progressively gotten more work since Cordarrelle Patterson went on IR after Week 4 with 17 total opportunities last week against Carolina.
As Kyle Borgognoni points out in this week’s Pace of Play article, Atlanta remains one of the lowest teams in terms of plays run, and they run the ball on neutral plays at one of the highest rates in the league. That would seem great for Allgeier going forward, except he’s losing rushes to Caleb Huntley, and Cordarrelle Patterson has been designated to return from IR.
The Chargers present a favorable matchup for RBs, where they’re giving up 26 points to opposing players at the position. However, if the Falcons fall behind early, fantasy managers may be relying on Allgeier to be more involved in the passing game. I’d shift elsewhere if you have a chance, but this may be the last chance managers have to use Allgeier in their lineup with any confidence of a workload.
D’Onta Foreman (CAR) at Cincinnati
Back-to-back weeks inside the top 15 for D’Onta Foreman is what we all expected after the Panthers traded Christian McCaffrey right? Week 8 saw Foreman get to take the lead role as the bell cow in Carolina and it led to an RB5 finish behind three rushing TDs. Foreman may be on an offense that fantasy managers aren’t sure if they can trust, but he’s shown that when he’s given the ball consistently, he can be at the minimum a flex option week to week.
Being in the top 15 a third-straight week is absolutely in the range of outcomes for Foreman facing a Bengals’ defense that just gave up over 100 yards and two TDs to Nick Chubb on Monday night. Cincinnati has given up 100 total yards to an opposing RB in two of the last three weeks. Foreman is a player I’m willing to bet on until I see him not produce in his newfound lead-back role.
Kurt would play Foreman over: Leonard Fournette (RB13)
Isiah Pacheco (KC) vs Tennessee
The Sunday morning mad dash for Pacheco didn’t quite pay off for fantasy managers ahead of Week 7. However, teams do tend to get rookies more involved in the offense following their bye week. Even though the fantasy output wasn’t ideal, Pacheco did see more snaps and carries than Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the Chiefs’ win over the 49ers.
Kansas City doesn’t have an ideal matchup if you’re looking for Pacheco to break through this week. Tennessee has only allowed more than 20 points to an opposing team’s RB position once this season but has given up top-24 RBs in back-to-back weeks. Putting Pacheco into your lineup for Week 9 is a hopeful bet on a TD and him continuing to see an uptick in production.
Rondale Moore (ARI) vs Seattle
It’s been a long year and a half for believers in Rondale Moore, but Week 8 was a bit of proof that the belief in him was warranted. Nate Henry points out in his Snap Count Observations from Week 8, Moore is being preferred in the Cardinals’ offense over the team’s recent addition of Robbie Anderson. Moore hasn’t seen less than 85% of snaps since his return from injury in Week 4 and is producing a third of the team’s yards from the WR spot during that stretch.
The first time the Cardinals played Seattle this season, Moore’s production wasn’t great, but he did see 10 targets, and that was before DeAndre Hopkins’ return to fix the offense. Moore should continue to see work out of his more natural position in the slot and needs to be considered in fantasy lineups as a flex until further notice.
Gabe Davis (BUF) at NY Jets
It’s been feast or famine for fantasy managers with Gabe Davis this season. Davis has seen three weeks inside the top 15 and three weeks outside the top 60. While Davis didn’t have a great fantasy scoring output, AJ Passman points out that he saw one of his highest target rates on the season, which should be encouraging for managers relying on Davis down the stretch.
It might not be the week for a “get right” game for Davis as they take on the Jets. Surprisingly, New York sits in the top 10 against opposing fantasy WRs but has still allowed a top-24 WR finish in three straight weeks against much less convincing offenses than the Bills. Davis may just be one of those guys fantasy managers keep in their lineup for the big weeks and know it’s a coin flip if they’re going to be happy they played him.
Kurt would play Davis over: Tyler Lockett (WR13)
Kurt would prefer: Christian Kirk (WR22)
Devin Duvernay (BAL) at New Orleans
Week 8 saw Duvernay re-enter the top 24 WRs for the second time this season. The absence of Rashod Bateman for the majority of the Ravens’ Thursday night win in Tampa Bay definitely played a role. As Lauren Carpenter notes in the Waiver Wire article for this week, with Bateman expected to miss multiple weeks with a foot injury, the door is wide open for Duvernay to remain a leading target for Lamar Jackson. What’s interesting is Baltimore worked to find a way to get Duvernay the ball in multiple ways, giving him carries that produced his 4th TD on the season.
Duvernay will have his work cut out for him if the Saints’ star cornerback Marshon Lattimore returns to the field this week. Even without Lattimore, the Saints are coming off a dominant shutout of the Raiders, who didn’t make it past midfield in Week 8. Despite the tough matchup, Duvernay’s necessity in the offense, especially if Mark Andrews is still banged up, makes him a great flex option in Week 9.
Dallas Goedert (PHI) at Houston
Consistency is not something you see much at the depleted TE position, but Goedert has been a gem for fantasy managers. What’s most encouraging about Goedert’s production is that he’s not reliant on getting into the end zone like most TEs, but is genuinely a piece of the passing game in Philadelphia. Goedert is seeing 20% of the Eagles’ targets and hasn’t had a week where he’s been thrown to less than four times.
The biggest drawback to Week 9 for Goedert could be Philadelphia getting too far ahead and deciding to grind the game out in the 2nd half. Houston has done a good job against opposing TEs this season, only giving up two top-8 TE performances on the year. Regardless, fantasy managers can’t not play Goedert.
Kurt would play Goedert over: Zach Ertz (TE3)
Evan Engram (JAX) vs Las Vegas
There’s nothing a fantasy manager loves to see more than their TE taking on the Raiders. Everyone knows about the Travis Kelce four-TD game in Week 5, but the Las Vegas defense has given up three top-5 TE fantasy performances this season and is giving up a top-12 TE in 57% of their games.
Evan Engram has become a huge part of the Jaguars’ offensive game plan. He’s been a top-10 TE in three of the last four weeks and is seeing 21% of the team’s targets in that stretch. Engram may still be on your league’s waiver wire and could be a solid flex play if you’re hit hard with players on bye.