The Fantasy Footballers’ Rankings Audit & Podcast Highlights for Week 9
Welcome in, #Footclan! It’s (almost) football time!
We’re hot on the heels of a dominating blowout on Thursday Night Football, where we saw Aaron Rodgers terrorize San Francisco with bombs to superstar Davante Adams and the frustratingly unpredictable Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The makeshift 49ers, meanwhile, looked as ugly as expected with nearly every starter absent for the primetime showdown. Btw, kudos to whoever started Richie James. With TNF on the books, we’re eager to move on to an exciting new slate of games in Week 9 of the National Football League!
As a reminder, this article is a weekly installment where I’ll review the Fantasy Footballers’ player rankings and highlight a few specific players per position that deserve extra attention. I’ll also recap important moments from the past week’s Fantasy Footballers’ podcast episodes with links to each episode provided. So be on the lookout every week for this series!
Also, please keep in mind that the Footballers’ rankings are constantly being updated whenever any breaking news is released. So always refer to their rankings page or click on a specific player below to see their latest rankings!
With that out of the way… let’s go already!
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
It’s been a tale of two Allens. The third-year QB was electric to start the year, finishing as a QB1 in the first four weeks. In fact, he was the No. 3 QB in three of those games! But the flames cooled immediately afterwards, and Allen has now had four consecutive weeks as a QB2. It appears his production is dependent on the matchup as his competition was evidently tougher in October.
This week, though, should be a return to fantasy glory when he battles a Seahawks defense that has allowed the 2nd MOST points to opposing QBs. The surefire barnburner has a projected implied scoring total of 54.5 points, i.e., the HIGHEST total this week. As mentioned on Thursday’s show, you’re going to want a piece of this game. The gang believes in the Stallion’s comeback as he’s their consensus QB5. He’s also a top-4 candidate and Andy’s Start of the Week. Allen will surely bounce back in what has the makings of a shootout in Buffalo.
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
For those of you that don’t know, I’m born and raised from Hawaii. Being from such an isolated place without a local team can make it hard to be an NFL fan as the closest team is literally 2,500+ miles away. Our only participation with the league is the oft-ridiculed Pro Bowl, and they even took that away from us. But we’ll always support our own. We latched onto Marcus Mariota in Tennessee and willingly followed him to Vegas after he was predictably usurped. We hoisted Manti Te’o on our shoulders before awkwardly dropping him after his scandal went public. We shed a proud tear after every successful kick made by Ka’imi Fairbairn. And now, we’re putting all our eggs in the Tua Tagovailoa basket.
Tua Tagovailoa gets BLASTED on his first dropback of his NFL career. #Rams recover the fumble.
Welcome to the NFL.pic.twitter.com/tRNjBOZvof
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) November 1, 2020
That said, it pains me to admit that the basket unraveled last week in a horrendous starting debut that was disguised with stellar defensive plays. Against the Rams, he completed just 12 of 22 passes for a meager 93 yards and a TD, finishing as the QB28. His upcoming matchup against the Cardinals’ middling defense should make things easier for Tagovailoa, but I’d personally recommend stashing him in deeper leagues and playing someone else like Kirk Cousins or Drew Lock, the former being Mike’s “Full Stream Ahead” pick while the latter is a sneaky top-12 option. Both guys are also currently ranked lower than Tagovailoa. If he balls out on your bench, then have comfort knowing that you’ll have a solid starter next week when he faces the Chargers 30th ranked defense. Time waits for no man, but we can wait another week for Tua.
Running Back Rankings
Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals
Mike Davis. Kareem Hunt. Boston Scott. Jamaal Williams. Giovani Bernard. These backup RBs have performed phenomenally this year when thrust into the spotlight. Others like Alexander Mattison, however, have failed miserably. Speaking of Minnesota, disgruntled managers may recall starting Vikings RB Mike Boone during last year’s fantasy championship, only to suffer through a soul-crushing dud that made it difficult to withstand victory. No, I’m not still bitter about that, why do you ask?
Anyways, that should not be the case this week for the Cardinals’ Chase Edmonds. The longtime understudy in Arizona just recently racked up 145 total yards against Seattle, and that’s with only 12 measly opportunities (carries + targets). Those 12 opportunities were sadly the most he’s had this year, and the second-highest of his career. He saw the most looks against the Giants last year after then-lead RB David Johnson left the game early. In that match, Edmonds erupted for 150 total yards and three TDs, finishing as that week’s clear RB1. He was also on the field for 94% of the snaps, a dramatic increase to his average 41% that he’s seen this year.
With “lead” back Kenyan Drake already declared out, Edmonds is in a smash spot against a generous Dolphins defense. He’s the ‘Ballers’ consensus RB5 and Jason’s Start of the Week. Don’t overthink this one; start Edmonds if you’re lucky enough to have him.
Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s been difficult trying to predict Leonard Fournette‘s usage in the Buccaneers backfield. After lead back Ronald Jones fumbled a handoff in Week 2, Fournette was given the rock and demolished all expectations with 116 total yards and two TDs. So he would clearly be anointed as the new starter by coach Bruce Arians… right? WRONG! He saw nearly half the opportunities in the following game for a disastrous 22 scoreless yards. However, after returning from injury, Fournette has seen similar usage to Week 2, indicating that his slump games may have been due to nagging injuries. Last week against the Giants, Fournette saw his highest snap count and carries after Jones fumbled the ball.
71 total yards
8.6 fantasy points (half PPR)
4.6 fantasy points
This is Strike 2 after he fumbled a handoff in Week 2.
Will Arians wait for Strike 3, or is it Fournette time? https://t.co/W05NBFibIn
— Peter Chung (@FF_Hypeman) November 3, 2020
Will Fournette continue to see an upward trend in touches, or will history repeat itself with Jones regaining his lead role? The crew has him as their consensus RB21, though Jason is the least enthused at RB24. I believe Fournette will see similar usage with nearly 20 opportunities against the Saints, though they are definitely not an ideal opponent as they’re the fourth hardest matchup for RBs. It helps his case that Jones — who is the consensus RB26 — already performed mediocrely against them in the season opener and has been declining in production. With a formidable divisional matchup on the deck, Fournette is a risky gamble this week until we have clarity on Tampa Bay’s RB room.
Wide Receiver Rankings
Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens
Do you hear that? It’s the sound of a squeaky wheel that’s about to get greased with targets. Speedster Marquise Brown has had a rough season thus far with only ONE finish as a WR2, though he needed 10 targets and a TD to do so. The rest were all much, much worse. He’s coming off another quiet performance where he saw a criminally low two targets, though he, fortunately, converted his only reception for a TD — just his second this year. But as I mentioned in this week’s Day Trader article, he’s getting adequate air yards and has a great schedule ROS. And we have the beloved “squeaky wheel” narrative in play, although last week’s “revenge game” storylines were all busts. Brown’s upside is simply too tempting to ignore, which is why he’s Mike’s Start of the Week despite being the consensus WR22. Hollywood’s boom-bust nature could hamper your lineup with single-digit fantasy points, but he could just as well win you your matchup if he goes off. Are you going along for the ride?
Antonio Brown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Here. We. Go. We are about to witness one of the greatest receivers of the modern era catch passes from possibly the greatest quarterback in history. The fantasy world is dripping with anticipation to see how Antonio Brown performs this week against the Saints. But will the headline read, “Mr. Big Chest Proves He’s Still The Best!”, or “Brown Crowned King Clown With Down Performance”? Hopefully neither because they’re both terrible, but I digress.
The problematic All-Pro last played on the gridiron under Tom Brady and the Patriots, where he was peppered with eight targets and produced four receptions for 56 yards and a TD. He even had a five-yard carry because why not? Keep in mind, Brown signed with the team just EIGHT DAYS prior to kickoff. And as Jason pointed out when making him his Start of the Week, the two have a peculiar bond as Brady welcomed the controversial wideout into his home to live with him and his family. Fun fact: the last time Brown played against the Saints was in 2018, where he and Ben Roethlisberger connected for a whopping 14 of 19 targets for 185 yards (!) and two TDs. I know, different team, different QB, different year… but it’s still an encouraging factoid for skeptical GMs.
Brown is the ‘Ballers consensus WR24, just two spots after his “squeaky” cousin. But like with Hollywood, I’m a believer that MBC will also be heavily targeted by an enraptured Brady who’s overly excited to show off his shiny new(-ish) toy. Brown appears fully on board. Even his normally critical coach added some juice to the hype. The smart move is to wait at least a week before plugging him into your lineups because there are too many questions. The fun move, however, is to believe the hype and confidently start him so you can smugly Tweet, “if you didn’t start AB, then you don’t deserve to have him,” while you watch him go nuclear on Sunday Night Football. Your move, #Footclan.
Here is Antonio Brown at his first #GoBucs practice. Last week he was limited to meetings/training while clearing NFL protocols and finishing 8-game suspension.
"Everybody else was walking but he was going full speed." — Bruce Arians. Pool video is provided by the Buccaneers. pic.twitter.com/XiwV7U290W
— Grace Remington (@GraceRemiWTSP) November 4, 2020
Tight End Rankings
Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers
The TE landscape is awful unless you have Travis Kelce or Darren Waller. Otherwise, it’s basically a TD-dependent crapshoot. No one exemplifies that more than Steelers TE Eric Ebron. He’s had only two games where he caught a TD. Had he not scored in those weeks, then he would’ve been held to single-digit fantasy points in EVERY GAME this year. To further demonstrate how vital scoring is for TEs, Ebron was the TE3 in both games he’s scored in. Otherwise, he was as low as the TE34 (twice), which explains his poor consistency grade. This week, he’s Mike’s Start of the Week and the consensus TE13 in an advantageous matchup against the hopeless Cowboys. While Ebron is always a goal-line threat, so are WRs Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and JuJu Smith-Schuster, the latter of whom surprisingly leads the team in red-zone targets. Plus, they’ll proceed to deploy RB James Conner, who has the seventh most red-zone rushes in the league. The matchup is undoubtedly juicy, but with so many players demanding a piece of the action, there may not be any meat left for a less-targeted option like Ebron.
Biggest Takeaways from the Week 9 Podcasts
Monday (Week 8 Studs & Stinkers + The Pick-6 Plan, It’s Christmas Time)
We kick off the week a bit differently this time, with Andy, Mike, and Jason arguing about whether “It’s Christmas Time”:
— Fantasy Footballers (@TheFFBallers) November 2, 2020
The boys then share their favorite Monday Punday submissions at 04:20. Next is a recap of last Sunday’s games on the Weekly Rewind at 10:00. The ‘Ballers then discuss all their Fantasy Studmuffins at 18:45, before commiserating on the Stinkers of the Week at 41:50, including an impromptu breaking news alert regarding Cooper Kupp‘s injury and its fantasy implications at 56:45.
Tuesday (Week 9 Waivers + Full Stream Ahead, On-Air Trade)
In this episode, the gang starts the episode with an on-air trade between Jason and Producer “Owl” Borland:
Plus @jasonffl with an on-air trade right as the show started…
— Fantasy Footballers (@TheFFBallers) November 3, 2020
The guy then recap the Monday Night Football dud between the Buccaneers and Giants at 05:45, before moving on to the News & Notes at 13:10. We then come to the juiciest part of the episode: the Week 8 Waivers at 22:05. We wrap up the episode with their choices for Defense Streamers at 50:20 and QB Streamers at 52:30.
Wednesday (Let’s Talk Trades + Week 9 Buy or Sell, TON of Info)
The ‘Ballers jump start this episode with the Buy or Sell segment at 05:20, discussing intriguing players like Will Fuller V, Marvin Jones Jr., and J.K. Dobbins. They move onto the News & Notes at 14:35, before chewing over the ROS outlook for numerous players on the Let’s Talk Trades segment at 24:15. They conclude the episode with the Thursday Night Breakdown at 46:15.
Thursday (Starts of the Week + Week 9 Breakdown, Boom Boom!)
Thursday’s episode starts with the Taking It Up To 100 segment at 02:45, where the guys plant their flags on rising stars Robby Anderson, Henry Ruggs III, and Darnell Mooney. That’s followed by the News & Notes at 06:50. The ‘Ballers then talk about the upcoming matchups in the Fantasy Forecast at 12:00, including Andy’s Almost Upset of the Week and a beautiful Matt Nagy impression:
Andy nailed his impersonation of Mike impersonating Matt Nagy as Gob from 'Arrested Development'
— Fantasy Footballers (@TheFFBallers) November 5, 2020
We then get to the meat & taters of the episode at 51:10 — the ‘Ballers Starts of the Week! And don’t forget Jason Moore’s Iron-Clad Locked and Loaded 100% Guaranteed Boom-Boom Kicker of the Week at 01:03:20!
Friday (Week 9 Matchups + Bad Jokes, Luton Free Zone)
The ‘Ballers kickstart this episode with a recap of the TNF “drubbing” at 02:45, followed by a segue to the FootClan Fridays segment at 05:40. They then discuss the News & Notes at 06:55 before detailing the Fantasy Forecast for the remaining Week 9 matchups at 14:55. The episode culminates at 58:25 with their can’t-miss segment, Prop It Like It’s Hot!
Have a great weekend #Footclan and let’s crush all our matchups! If you haven’t done so yet, make sure you check out the awesome Week 9 DFS Podcast by Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg) and Matthew Betz (@TheFantasyPT). And as always, remember to tune in Sunday for Mike’s live stream where he provides last-minute updates to help you make those crucial roster decisions!