Fantasy Football: What To Watch For In Week 9

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Hey there #Footclan, and welcome back to the weekly series, “What To Watch For“. Each week we take a look at the schedule and the matchups and point out some interesting things that we all should pay attention to. These can be something simple or those ongoing burning questions we have in the back of our minds. Let’s take a look at Week 9.

Will Jay Ajayi be the “Guy” in Philadelphia?

In a fun and crazy trade deadline Tuesday, the Eagles acquired running back Jay Ajayi in exchange for a 2018 4th-round draft pick to the Dolphins. After a breakout 2016 campaign with Miami, Ajayi has struggled mightily to copy his success in the team’s first seven contests. He’s produced only 3.4 yards per carry while persistent knee soreness and swelling may be playing a role in his limited results so far in the passing game.

While these knee issues aren’t expected to keep Ajayi out of action as he heads to Philly, familiarizing himself with the Eagles’ offensive playbook may prove more limiting to his first initial usage. If Ajayi is able to put in a few practices this week and build a rapport with his QB Carson Wentz, it would seem more likely than not that he’ll be active come Sunday, but LeGarrette Blount remains the favorite to lead the backfield in touches in Week 9.

For Ajayi, he goes from carrying all of the workload to a timeshare with Blount, rookie Corey Clement, and pass-catcher Wendell Smallwood. The Eagles provide a better offensive line than Ajayi ran behind in Miami, so while the carries might dip a bit, his efficiency could rise and eventually take over that lead role in the weeks to come once he gets more comfortable with the playbook.

Will Devin Funchess turn into Devin S. Scrumptious?

Devin “Bunches of” Funchess is now set to take over as Carolina’s No. 1 wide receiver after Kelvin Benjamin was traded to the Bills on Tuesday for a 2018 3rd round pick as well as 7th round pick. I believe the physical similarities between Devin Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin likely contributed to Carolina’s decision to trade Benjamin, though Funchess hasn’t been nearly as efficient as his former teammate. Benjamin caught 32 of his 51 targets for 475 yards and two touchdowns, while Funchess has hauled in 33 of his 58 targets for 357 yards and three touchdowns.

The 2015 second-round pick out of the University of Michigan may provide a similarly intimidating presence in the red zone, but their respective track records suggest Benjamin is far superior in every other regard. The trade won’t necessarily have a huge impact on Funchess’s workload as a whole, as he’s already averaging 7.3 targets per game and has produced just 6.2 yards per each target. He’s established himself now as a weekly fantasy starter. Kelvin Benjamin’s 6.4 targets per game will likely be divided between a number of players, including Russell Shepard, Curtis Samuel and, eventually, Greg Olsen, who will be returning from the IR in the next couple weeks from his foot injury. I also expect to see a lot more of Christian McCaffrey either catching from behind the line or lined up in the slot at times. He leads the league in RB catching targets for the season according to Pro Football Focus.

Can we see a repeat shootout with the Seattle Seahawks against the Redskins?

Despite giving up 35 points last week, the Seahawks D/ST put up double-digit points, as they totaled five sacks, three interceptions, and a touchdown. The Redskins allow the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing D/STs and are decimated on the offensive line. What does this stat line mean? We are gonna see more of a lopsided score come to fruition Sunday in the late afternoon time slate.

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

With OL Duane Brown coming over from the Houston Texans, it’s time to go all in on a surging Seattle offense and on-fire QB Russell Wilson. With a step-up in Russell’s gameplay, extending plays, and finding all three of his wide receivers as of late in Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, and Paul Richardson, the Seattle Seahawks are playing in full stride and look to take advantage of the weakened Redskins defense. With little to no run-game for the Seahawks, Wilson has a great shot to take the top QB1 spot with how much yardage he’s put up in the passing game. This week can separate him from the rest of the competition, including Alex Smith and future Hall of Famer, Tom Brady who has his bye week this weekend.

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The Denver Broncos have a new starting quarterback in Week 9

Let’s get ready to put on our working boots and clothes because this week it’s gonna get dirty with what we are about to talk about. Yes, I’m one of two Denver Broncos’ homers that write for the Ballers, but let’s be 100% honest, the Broncos suck this year at offense and is leaving too much on the plate of its stout defense that John Elway has put together in recent years.