Sunday - Jan 17, 2021

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START/BENCH: Week 9

At this point in the 2020 season, more than a few fantasy managers probably feel like Kyle Shanahan — and not in a “I’m a millionaire head coach of an NFL team” way.

San Francisco has gone from a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV to a .500 team that has been absolutely wracked by injuries. The latest happened in last Sunday’s loss to the Seattle, when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) and tight end George Kittle (foot) suffered injuries that appear to have effectively ended their season.

It was a knockout punch for whatever hopes San Francisco may have had for a deep playoff run.

More than a few fantasy managers have been put in a similar boat by injuries this year. Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey and New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas haven’t seen the field since Weeks 2 and Week 1, respectively.

That’s the No. 1 overall running back and wide receiver. Two Top 5 picks.

And a whole lot of seasons shot to hell.

However, there are fantasy managers who haven’t been hit hard by injuries. And others still who have overcome the ones that have struck their squads — or at least enough so to stay on the fringes of playoff contention.

For those fantasy managers, there’s still much work to be done. Games to be won.

Lineups to set.

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS

Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (vs. Carolina)

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (vs. Indianapolis)

Russell Wilson, Seattle (at Buffalo)

Kyler Murray, Arizona (vs. Miami)

Josh Allen, Buffalo (vs. Seattle)

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (at San Francisco) 

ROLL THEM OUT

Derek Carr, Las Vegas (at Los Angeles Chargers): If this game follows a Chargers-esque script, Los Angeles will race out to a 20-point lead— and then the Chargers will collapse and allow a 350-plus yard passing day to Carr before Las Vegas eventually pulls it out at the end.

Drew Lock, Denver (at Atlanta): Lock threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns last week against the Los Angeles Chargers, and Sunday the second-year pro faces a Swiss cheese Atlanta defense that has allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks so far this season in Sharks League Scoring.

Cam Newton, New England (at New York Jets): The notion of starting Newton in a critical fantasy matchup doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence. But if he’s ever going to get it done for fantasy managers, Monday night’s matchup with the winless Jets is the time.

Deshaun Watson, Houston (at Jacksonville): Watson gets back from the bye with a prime chance to make a run at being put back on the studs list — reeling Jacksonville has surrendered the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2020.

SIT THEM DOWN

Drew Brees, New Orleans (at Tampa Bay): Tampa Bay is one of the best defensive teams in the NFL, and it held Brees in check when these teams met back in Week 1 — just 160 passing yards and two scores in a New Orleans win at the Superdome.

Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina (at Kansas City): It’s not hard to imagine Carolina being forced to throw to keep pace with high-flying Kansas City Sunday. It’s harder to imagine him having substantial success doing so.

Lamar Jackson, Baltimore (vs. Indianapolis Colts): Jackson hasn’t been the elite fantasy option managers were hoping for in 2020, and this week he gets the worst fantasy matchup for quarterbacks in 2020. Frankly, he should probably be pulled from the “Studs” list. Got to live in the now, man.

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee (vs. Chicago): Tannehill was held to a rather pedestrian 233 passing yards and two scores with an interception in a decent matchup last week with Cincinnati. This week brings a Chicago team giving up the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.

About Gary Davenport

A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and Pro Football Writers of America who resides in Columbus, Ohio, Gary has been featured on a number of fantasy websites and in nationally circulated publications. These publications include the USA Today Fantasy Football Preview and the magazines distributed by Fantasy Sports Publications Inc., for whom Gary is a both a contributing author and associate editor. Gary is an nine-time FSWA Award finalist and three-time winner who has been a finalist for that organization's Fantasy Football Writer of the Year award each of the last four years. He won the honor in 2017 and 2019. Gary also appears regularly on Sirius XM Radio (including live from Radio Row at Super Bowl XLIX) and over-the-air stations across the country. Gary was one of the co-founders of, and Head Writer at, Fantasy Football Oasis before joining Fantasy Sharks as an IDP Senior Staff Writer in 2011. He knows football. Or so he's heard.