Todd Gurley doesn’t care about your fantasy team. Or your sports book. Or my fantasy article touting his epic TD pace. After highlighting said TD pace, Gurley took a knee inside the 5-yard line to ice the game for the Rams. Winning NFL games is the only thing he cares about.
But that was last week. What are we looking forward to in Week 9?
1. The Worst Week on the Schedule
Week 9 may be the absolute worst week on the schedule. Not only are we all scrambling with six teams taking the week off, but we are also subjected to a litany of poor and mediocre matchups. If ever there was a weekend to clean up that honey-do list, this could be it.
The poor week kicked off with Thursday Night’s Raiders at 49ers’ matchup. While San Francisco’s 3rd string QB surprised even the deepest dynasty league owners, it was not an exciting game. Many other games this week are set up to be snoozers with minimal excitement for fantasy owners (see: Jets/Dolphins, Broncos/Texans, and the Monday Night Snoozefest Titans/Cowboys). At least we have a few interesting divisional games (Lions/Vikings, Bucs/Panthers, Steelers/Ravens) and two expected shootouts (Rams/Saints and Packers/Patriots).
2. Old Faces in New Places
This will be the first chance to see a few of the recently traded players in their new colors. Unfortunately, players changing teams often do not produce consistent fantasy points. Additionally, players may even be inactive for the first game after the trade to give them time to get into the playbook. It also puts some players into the situation where you’ve lost that player for two weeks due to byes.
Amari Cooper should make his Dallas debut on Monday Night Football, but is anyone actually excited for this outside of Dallas fans? The 3rd lowest pass volume team in the league should not excite players.
In Houston, Demaryius Thomas was traded from Denver and will immediately get the chance to face his former team, assuming he is active. While Thomas was brought in after the Texans lost Will Fuller for the year, Thomas’ strength is being a target hog, not a field stretcher like Fuller, which puts his role in question with DeAndre Hopkins as the teams target monster.
Golden Tate was traded to the Eagles and immediately gets the week off, his second of the 2018 season. We’ll be looking for his impact in Week 10.
On the RB side, Ty Montgomery will now be catching passes from Joe Flacco instead of Aaron Rodgers. While it does get him out of a 3-way split in Green Bay, it does drop him into another crowded situation with Alex Collins and Javorious Allen. That assumes they will keep him at RB.
3. New Faces with Increased Opportunities
With the trades mentioned above, those players are all likely losing a bit of fantasy value for the rest of this season. However, the players moving up the depth chart are likely to make a greater impact for the rest of the season.
Amari Cooper has moved to Dallas, and Martavis Bryant and Jordy Nelson should be able to see…. never mind. In the first two games post-Amari Cooper, these two have COMBINED for 5 receptions, 59 yards on 9 targets and zero TDs.
Things are a little more exciting for Denver’s rookie WR Courtland Sutton. Sutton should immediately see borderline WR2 value for the rest of the season replacing the departed Demaryius Thomas. Denver is in the top half of the league in pass attempts per game and features one of the most condensed target shares.
The addition of Ty Montgomery likely only makes the Baltimore situation cloudier, but his departure clears up some of the mess in Green Bay. The removal of Montgomery clears a path for a two-headed monster between Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, both of which limit the others upside, but results in weekly flex options for the rest of the season.
4. Passing Volume Continues to Thrive
Last year, just three teams averaged over 38 passing attempts per game; New England 38.3, Pittsburgh 38.1 and New York Giants 38. This year, 11 teams are averaging over 38 passing attempts, including seven over 40. The top of the list is full of teams that you’d expect, but shockingly, Baltimore leads the way with 44.1 passing attempts.
5. Return of the Magic
Ryan Fitzpatrick was named the Week 9 starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As a fantasy football point producer, Fitzpatrick ranks 2nd in points per game, trailing only Patrick Mahomes. That average includes the 3 point Week 4 game in which he was benched and the partial game in Week 8. Fitzpatrick, in fewer games, still has more points than highly drafted pre-season QBs Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford. The big question is, can he sustain his early-season magic, or will he be the sloppy gunslinger we’ve seen over the years.