I’m not going to sugar coat this: this week is going to be tough. I say that because we have 6 teams on bye this week, which is also known as bye week hell. Those six teams are Arizona, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, New York Giants, and Philadelphia. Go ahead and get any players on those 6 teams out of your lineups for this week. Let’s go ahead and jump into some quarterbacks and tight ends that have good and bad matchups for Week 9.
Alex Smith, WAS (vs. Atlanta)
Smith hasn’t been what he was last year (a stud for fantasy purposes), but Washington is winning, so he hasn’t had to do much outside of being a game-manager. That may change this week, though, as Atlanta’s high-powered offense is coming to town. They are also the best possible matchup for opposing quarterbacks, so Smith could be good play here. I’m not expecting huge numbers, but 250-ish yards and 2 touchdowns sounds about right. If you’re in a tough spot, look Smith’s way.
Joe Flacco, BAL (vs. Pittsburgh)
Flacco is another person you never want to put into your QB slot of your lineups, but I really like him this week. Pittsburgh is the 5th best matchup for opposing quarterbacks, and they will be angry after getting whooped up on by Carolina in Week 8. Flacco has also been slinging the rock more than usual on the season, as he is 2nd in the league in pass attempts. All of this equates to fantasy goodness, even if it looks ugly in doing so. I would put Flacco above Smith as a streamer, despite Smith having the better on-paper matchup.
Philip Rivers, LAC (at Seattle)
Rivers has been playing lights out this year, evidenced by his stat line on the season (69.1% completion percentage, 17-3 TD to INT ratio). That being said, we may need to pump the breaks in Week 9. Seattle is the toughest matchup for opposing quarterbacks, and they will be at home (hello, 12th man). I still think you can play Rivers, just don’t expect a monstrous game.
Hayden Hurst, BAL (vs. Pittsburgh)
Hurst is finally healthy, and I know the Ravens are stoked about that. He only saw 3 targets in Week 8, but he did catch 2 of them for 21 yards and a touchdown. Pittsburgh is the 3rd best matchup for opposing quarterbacks, and this game could be a high-scoring affair. If you’re struggling to find a replacement tight end this week, don’t be scared to thrust the rookie into your starting lineup.
David Njoku, CLE (vs. Kansas City)
I’m going with what seems like a cop-out answer… Njoku could be dropped by many this week due to his big ol’ zero he put in the stat sheet for Week 8. If he does get dropped, please pick him up. With Hue Jackson and Todd Haley out of the door in Cleveland (finally…), look for the stud tight end to be more involved on a consistent basis. They will need to play catchup often with Kansas City, who are 6th best matchup for opposing tight ends. Play Njoku with confidence.
Rob Gronkowski, NE (vs. Green Bay)
It’s tough to pick out a stud tight end with a bad matchup, but here we are. Gronk has been banged up often this year (what’s new), which could be the reason that he hasn’t been the beast of past years. He only has one touchdown on the season, and he may run into tough sledding in Week 9. Green Bay is the 7th toughest matchup for tight ends, so expectations may need to be tempered for everyone’s favorite fantasy tight end.
A Look Ahead to Week 10…
For Week 10, Baker Mayfield continues his sledding of good matchups when he squares off against Atlanta (best matchup for QBs). Alex Smith could come in handy yet again, as he gets the pleasure of facing Tampa Bay (2nd best matchup for QBs). Carolina is quietly the best matchup for a tight end, so fire up Vance McDonald for this potential shootout. Jordan Reed has been a bust this year, but he does get the 2nd best matchup for his position in Tampa Bay (and he saw 12 targets in Week 8…)
Best of luck to you all in Week 9. This could be a tough one for a lot of folks out there, but you can still get through this week. You can utilize the Fantasy Sharks Strength of Schedule tool yourself to find good and bad matchups for any part of the upcoming season (and any other position).
As always, don’t hesitate to ask me any and everything regarding fantasy football on Twitter (my Twitter handle can be found below). Until next time, Sharks!