It’s that time of the week where we all plan for our next opponents. It’s also another week of byes that could impact our teams the most. This week we have six teams on bye, and it’s probably the most pivotal week of the season so far.
The six teams on bye are the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants. That means some big players are also not available for our team.
Some of those players are QBs Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton and Carson Wentz. Then there’s RBs Marlon Mack, Joe Mixon, Saqoun Barkley, David Johnson, T.J. Yeldon, Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood. We’ve also got WRs T.Y. Hilton, A.J. Green, Alshon Jeffrey, Larry Fitzgerald and Odell Beckham Jr. Finally, there’s TEs Eric Ebron, Zach Ertz and Evan Engram all on byes. This may play a big factor in your decisions this week.
So let’s see how we can improve our lineups with so many important players not available.
- Alex Smith, Washington Redskins, 50.8 percent availability
- C.J. Beathard, San Francisco 49ers, 93.5 percent availability
- Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders, 84.6 percent availability
- Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans, 85.3 percent availability
- Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 94 percent availability
Smith hasn’t had the season like we all saw last year. That’s mostly because of the different players around him. The Redskins don’t have any great receivers like Smith had with him as a Chief. Smith has yet to throw for 300 yards this season. A game against the Falcons could help him bring in more yards, as long as he has healthy receivers to pass the ball too. That is mostly the reason why he and all the Redskins’ WRs are on the waivers, but their schedule looks to be a bit more favorable as the season comes along.
Beathard and Carr play each other on Thursday night and we are expecting it to be a shoot out for both sides. Each team’s defense has given the opposing QBs whatever they’ve wanted. That is something we have seen all season long, so regardless of whose available to each QB, there will be a lot of points put up.
Mariota is coming off a bye, which could be a good sign for the Titans. If you were a follower of Mariota last year, you would’ve known he has better games after his bye week. I added him last year and he helped me turn my season around, but it was already too late. This year is different because my season has already started to turn around, although I did lose one game because of Mariota. But this should be the week where we see him and the Titans open up the offense more and hopefully connect with WR Corey Davis more often.
Fitzmagic is back and he should be added back to your rosters immediately. It was only a matter of time until we saw this again. The Buccaneers’ offense hasn’t been great with Winston, so it can only get better with Fitzpatrick. He’ll put his Harvard education into the football game and maybe save their chances.
- Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders, 50 percent availability
- Doug Martin, Oakland Raiders, 48.3 percent availability
- Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers, 51.8 percent availability
- Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 43.8 percent availability
- Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans, 42.8 percent availability
The Raiders still don’t have one primary back, which is why you should add both Richard and Martin. Richard is more of the passing catching back like he has been all season long. Martin will be getting the carries, but both men are capable of doing both things. The one thing about the Raiders and their moves over the bye week, is that they can open up the offense much more than usual. That’s why I have Carr and both RBs on the list this week.
After the way the Packers-Rams game went last week, the Packers will probably give Aaron Jones a much bigger role. What was once a three RB attack, may now be two, thanks to TY Montgomery. Jones will still share carries with Jamal Williams, but look for the both of them to be productive against one of the biggest games of QB Aaron Rodgers’ career. If you haven’t heard by now, Rodgers will go head-to-head with New England Patriots’ Tom Brady in what everyone calls the G.O.A.T. vs G.O.A.T. I think Jones and Rodgers will both have great games.
How about Barber? Are you still doubting his abilities as a RB? I know it’s tough to think Barber won’t continue his good performance with a pass heavy offense that Fitzpatrick brings with him. But Barber could be able to get some good receptions and yards as the Carolina defense focuses on WRs Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson. It may be a risk pick, but if he can continue to do what he’s done in past weeks, then you may be the luckiest guy in your league.
Henry… Oh Henry! He finally did something good for the Titans in week 7. I do expect him and Dion Lewis to continue to get more involved in the offense. Like I said about Mariota, Henry is poised for a big second half. He may be called on more against the tough Dallas defense. Don’t forget he has the explosive ability to take off running for 50+ yards or more with the right blocking. Look for Titans to start a strong stretch of good games.
- Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers, 38.8 percent availability
- Taylor Gabriel, Chicago Bears, 38.7 percent availability
- Danny Amendola, Miami Dolphins, 53.8 percent availability
- Mike Williams, San Diego Chargers, 72.7 percent availability
- Jermaine Kearse, New York Jets, 87.1 percent availability
Goodwin may or may not be available in your league, but if he is… ADD HIM! He is the No. 1 WR on the Niners team and Beathard has found a real connection with him. Against the Raiders, he should continue to put up big numbers as he finds a way to get open and find his way into end zone.
Whether or not WR Allen Robinson plays this week against the Bills won’t make a difference for the Bears. This team has found their stride and are using RB Tarik Cohen a lot with Gabriel. Gabriel is also been one of the fastest guys on the field, which he continues to show week after week. He has earned the trust of QB Mitchell Trubisky on 3rd down plays, and even when he needs to get out of jam. Gabriel is a good add because if you have a PPR league, you know he’ll get you receptions.
Amendola didn’t really do much on the catching side of things last week, but he did throw for a TD on a trick play to RB Kenyan Drake. Amendola will replace a top option for QB Brock Osweiler as they face the New York Jets this week. With Wilson on IR, both Amendola and DaVante Parker will benefit in the passing game as we saw from last week’s game against Houston.
Williams and Kearse are this week’s risky picks.
Williams is on a team that has too many weapons for QB Philip Rivers to handle. The teams best WR, Keenan Allen, only has one TD on the season thus far. Mike Williams is sharing snaps with Tyrell William and both RBs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. Both the backs have heavy usage in the passing game too, which is something we have all seen this season. But with the tough Seattle defense, Williams should be the guy to get the least amount of attention, which results in a big game.
Kearse didn’t do anything for the Jets during the absence of Quincy Enunwa, but with Robby Anderson still banged up, Kearse should find a way to get some receptions and maybe even a huge game against the young, inexperienced secondary of the Miami Dolphins.
- Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons, 31.6 percent availability
- Ben Watson, New Orleans Saints, 65.7 percent availability
- Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers, 59 percent availability
- Chris Herndon, New York Jets, 99.4 percent availability
- Ed Dickson, Seattle Seahawks, 99.8 percent availability
Hooper is back from a bye week and is looking to have another great week with the Falcons. In the game against the Giants, he wasn’t asked to do much, but he should be a huge part of this weeks offense, as the Redskins are one of the worst teams to defend tight ends. I would hope this is the week we finally get to see Julio Jones in the end zone, but Hooper should also be expected to find his way there as well.
Watson, Herndon and Dickson all scored touchdowns for their teams, and we expect to see much of the same.
Like I said last week, Watson will benefit from the Ted Ginn injury. In fact, all three of these guys are benefiting from injuries to other players.
For Herndon, it’s been the Bilal Powell and Quincy Enunwa injury, combined with the lack of trust by the rookie QB Sam Darnold.
Dickson just returned from injury, but fits right in to what the Seahawks like to do on offense, as we saw in the big win against the Lions last week. QB Russell Wilson loves to find his tight ends. I picked Dickson up during the Seahawks bye knowing that I would need him for a week with Zach Ertz on bye.
McDonald isn’t really finding the end zone, but he is getting the yardage plays to help Pittsburgh convert the first down and advance the ball. He is looking for another big game against the Baltimore Ravens like he did the first time around, so keep an eye on him in your waivers this week.
Good luck to all the fantasy football players this week. Hope you can put together the best lineup to win your matchup in Week 9!