Even in a world that’s growing more uncertain by the day, there remain a few things you can count on happening.
There’s taxes—also unfortunately.
Then there’s New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees throwing the football over the Mercedes-Benz Superdome—unfortunately for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 9.
As Rick Stroud reported for the Tampa Bay Times, Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith knows that Tampa’s 30th-ranked pass defense will have their hands full with Brees Sunday. “Well, he has definitely had a Hall of Fame career,” Smith said. “He is in our division. I’ve had to play him as a division foe twice a year. I can’t say enough about his skill set, not only physically, but mentally, too. He is a guy that can get (the Saints) into the right plays. He has seen it all. There is not anything new that you’re going to show him, and he’s a heck of a player.”
As if this wasn’t a tall enough order, the Buccaneers will be without veteran cornerback Brent Grimes, who will miss Week 9 with a shoulder injury. That means that second-year pro Vernon Hargreaves, who lost his starting job after struggling mightily earlier this year, will be pressed back into every-down duty.
To his credit, Hargreaves has improved of late after a terrible start to the season. But make no mistake—Brees won’t think twice about targeting him early and often.
That could mean a long day for the young cornerback—and a big stat line for Hargreaves’ IDP owners in leagues that require his position.
If you can’t acquire Hargreaves (or don’t want to, because you’re a contrarian), here are some other streaming options to consider in Week 9.
Kenneth Acker, Kansas City Chiefs (at Dallas Cowboys)
The Chiefs surprised many observers by benching Terrance Mitchell in favor of Kenneth Acker in last week’s win over the Denver Broncos. Head coach Andy Reid told Pete Sweeney of Arrowhead Pride the latter acquitted himself well in the start. “Well I thought he did some good things,” Reid said. “He’s got a few things he has to work on but he’ll do that. Back on the drawing board, but he did some things that were OK. He had a nice interception.”
Mitchell’s surprise demotion was a gutpunch for fantasy owners, as he was the highest-scoring cornerback in fantasy football over the first seven weeks of 2017—largely because he was being picked on weekly by opposing quarterbacks. Acker posted a very nice stat line of his own last week, riding six total tackles and that interception to a sixth-place finish. You know what they say—when one door closes, another opens.
James Bradberry, Carolina Panthers (vs. Atlanta Falcons)
Per Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer, veteran Panthers safety Kurt Coleman believes that Bradberry is more than capable of holding his own on Sunday in coverage against Julio Jones and the Atlanta Falcons. “I respect James for being James,” said Coleman. “You love (Josh Norman) because he would turn into Batman and go save Gotham City. And James can almost get into a player’s head because he won’t get rattled. It’s almost the opposite effect. If you beat him on a play, he’s lining right back up and coming right back at you. It’s not going to faze him.”
Even though James Bradberry is having a very solid season statistically (40 tackles, 1 sack, seventh among cornerbacks in fantasy points) the 24-year-old remains available in a surprising number of IDP leagues. He shouldn’t be – especially with Jones and the Falcons visiting Bank of America Stadium in a plus matchup Sunday.