I’m personally glad that the Week 9 slate is over and done. Losing six teams to byes is a royal pain for Fantasy players. What’s that? Week 11 does it again? Yuck. One thing I’ve never understood is the NFL’s thought process to the schedule. The same teams playing multiple primetime games in a row or within a few weeks (see point 4 below), the short turn around weeks, not giving teams a bye pre or post-London games, etc.
But that was last week. What are we looking forward to in Week 9?
1. Dez Bryant in New Orleans
The biggest news of the week was the Dez Bryant signing in New Orleans. My fellow Fantasy Footballers Writer, Nate Hamilton, dropped a great Dez Bryant Fantasy Reaction article highlighting the impact that Dez could make in New Orleans. You should definitely check out his article for a deeper dive. Signing on Wednesday, the Saints have already declared him inactive this Sunday. Moving forward, it won’t surprise me to see him play limited snaps as he’s eased into the offense over the next few weeks. I believe the Saints will be building him up for a playoff run. If you picked him up, I would honestly try to cash in on any perceived value, and I wouldn’t be trading for him in any leagues beyond those where I’m locked into the playoffs and he’s simply a bench stash.
2. Golden Tate in Philadelphia
Last week I highlighted the players changing teams at the league’s trade deadline. One of the players that we did not get to see yet is Philadephia Eagles newest WR, Golden Tate. With nearly two full weeks of practice time, I expect to see Tate receive a decent target share. His strength has historically been in the short-intermediate passing game, where he can use his after the catch skills to make plays. As a Tate owner, I’m interested in seeing how much work he will get out of the gate. I’ll be starting him as a flex option, but would not yet trust him as more than a WR3.
3. New Offensive Coordinators Making an Impact
The Arizona Cardinals fired OC Mike McCoy after their Week 7 blowout loss to the Denver Broncos. New OC Byron Leftwich is a holdover from the Bruce Arians regime and the Cardinals got an ugly win in his first game against the hapless 49ers. After a bye week, it will be interesting to see how much different this offense might look, as the team tries to get their offense out of the bottom of the league rankings. Many fantasy analysts are targeting David Johnson as a buy-low candidate with the change.
In Cleveland, the Browns new OC Freddie Kitchens isn’t making a system change but simply looking to execute better. The offense wasn’t terrible and was in most of the games until the end, with 6-of-9 games finishing within a TD difference. As highlighted in Matt Okada’s 10 Lessons Learned article, Duke Johnson owners are excited to see if Kitchens will continue to utilize one of the league’s most versatile RBs instead of holding him back like the previous regime.
4. Week of Blowouts?
The week of forecasted blowouts kicked off with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Thursday Night throttling of the Carolina Panthers. In addition to that 31-point drubbing, there are currently three other games with double-digit lines, with the Kansas City Chiefs leading the way with an astounding -16.5 line over the Arizona Cardinals. The Green Bay Packers are 10 point favorites over the Miami Dolphins, and both Los Angeles teams are big favorites over division rivals: Chargers -10 over the Raiders while the Rams are 9.5 point favorites over the Seahawks. On the flipside, there are still a few snoozers led by the Bills at Jets with a minuscule 36.5 over/under. Both defenses are being touted as great streaming options. Monday night marks the third consecutive un-inspiring MNF matchup when the Giants head west to play the 49ers. Week 10 will be the second appearance on MNF for both teams in less than five weeks. Both teams surprised fans in their respective first MNF appearances by playing tight games against superior teams. The 49ers lost to the Packers on a last-second Mason Crosby field goal, while the Giants scored in the final seconds to finish within a field goal of the Falcons. Unfortunately for fans, the Giants and 49ers are both in last place in their divisions, with a combined three wins.
5. Chiefs Coin Toss Win Streak
In the category of stats that no one realized anyone tracked, the Chiefs haven’t lost a coin-toss this season. Whether it’s been calling the correct choice or the opposing team getting it wrong, the Chiefs are 9-for-9 in 2018 regular season and 12-for-12 when including the pre-season. Apparently, the record stands at 14 by the ’04-’05 Lions and ’16-’17 Bears (which included an OT coin-flip).
The team is well aware of the streak. Will a coin-toss loss impact they their psyche or can they shrug it off as a fun run and continue their game-winning ways?