With the NFL trade deadline passing, an epic World Series bout going seven games, and Halloween celebrations galore, there has been no shortage of excitement this week. Week 8 was brimming with unpredictability which can now be considered the norm this season. Baltimore and Philadelphia both enjoyed huge blowouts, while Cincinnati and Seattle both edged out their opponents in seesaw nail-biters! Although fantasy studs like Russell Wilson, LeSean McCoy, Ezekiel Elliott, and Travis Kelce were among the top scorers of the week, lesser-known names including Jack Doyle, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Will Fuller and Paul Richardson also donned monster performances that helped owners win their matchup. The NFL trade deadline also passed, which generally creates very little hoopla compared to other sports but did see a generous amount of players changing teams that could significantly impact fantasy football rosters. The moves for Kelvin Benjamin and Jay Ajayi will certainly affect rosters for this upcoming week, while San Francisco’s acquisition of Jimmy Garoppolo will be more week-to-week.
Hopefully your team is not “six-feet under” in your league. Whether you are battling for a playoff bye or staying alive for that last playoff spot, take a dive with me as we prepare for Week 9. With six teams on bye (Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota, Pittsburgh and New England) it may be slim pickens on your roster this week. Although the weather is cooler and windier, the forecast looks clear of rain thus far but keep a close eye as the weekend approaches. In this week’s “Dive,” we will also celebrate Halloween with a few fun references.
QB Deshaun Watson, Houston
Houston rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson was second on the depth chart to Tom Savage to begin the season. After starting Week 2 and 3 and showcasing his talent, he was the surefire starter and began making waves on the fantasy radar. After scoring 17 touchdowns over the last four games, Watson has become a high upside QB1 and a must-start in most matchups. He even threw four touchdowns against the notorious Seattle secondary, “Legion of Boom.” Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman praised the rookie quarterback by saying, “My God, Houston’s so lucky. By next year he’s going to be a Top 5 quarterback in this league, and that includes the two big dogs [Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers]. He makes you dig to the deepest part of your competitive juices to beat him.” With a sweet home matchup against division rival Indianapolis, who has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, Watson is in for another thriller for Week 9.
Week 9 projection: 250 passing yards, 25 rushing yards, 2 TD
RB Lamar Miller, Houston
Let’s stay in Houston! Running back Lamar Miller does not receive much hype each week, but has been solid enough to stay on top of the depth chart. Although he has only run for at least 4 yards per carry twice this season and topped 100 total yards once, he remains the primary running back on a top offense and in line for a solid outing this weekend against Indianapolis. Two of Miller’s best games last season with more than 100 rushing yards came against Indianapolis. Through Week 8, Indianapolis has given up the third-most fantasy points and most touchdowns to opposing running backs, so look for him to “carve” up Indianapolis this weekend!
Week 9 projection: 100 total yards, TD
WR Ted Ginn Jr., New Orleans
Ted Ginn Jr. ”rose from the dead” this season and has earned the coveted role as secondary wide receiver in the high octane New Orleans offense. He has a chance to eclipse career highs this season, and his workload does not seem to be in jeopardy despite the return of Willie Snead. With a home matchup against Tampa Bay, who has surrendered the most points to opposing wideouts. Consider Ginn Jr as a WR3 or flex this weekend.
Week 9 projection: 75 receiving yards, TD
TE Jack Doyle, Indianapolis
“Jack O’ Lanterns” won’t be the only jack shining this week! Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle has been on a tear lately. Averaging more than 70 receiving yards per game and scoring two touchdowns over his last three games, Doyle may be a great TE2 especially if your starting tight end is on bye or injured. In fact, Doyle had a career night in Week 8 with 12 catches for 121 yards and a score. If he’s available on your waiver wire, then grab Doyle for another strong performance this weekend.
Week 9 projection: 50 receiving yards, TD
D/ST Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona defense was highly ranked and taken early in most drafts before the season. After a very subpar start, most owners told their defense to “R.I.P.” and dumped them. After re-energizing during its Week 8 bye, it should “feast” on the San Francisco offense, which has been allowed nine sacks, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries and a touchdown in its last two contests as well as 10th-most points to opposing defenses this season. Arizona’s defense may be on your waiver wire as its ownership percentage has dropped, so consider them in Week 9.
Week 9 projection: 11 points