Welcome to Week 9 of the NFL! We are finally starting to see some usable sample sizes and learning how coaches will be using their players in high leverage situations. Also the BYE weeks add an extra dynamic when it comes to roster construction and recency biases.

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Projections | Game Logs | Scoring Calendar | Points Allowed by Position

Who’s Hot?

Let’s look at the last three weeks of the season to find some players who are scorching hot right now.

Note that the three players who have scored the most fantasy points in the L3 weeks are ALL on bye (David Johnson, Rob Gronkowski, A.J. Green). Checking in at #6 on that list is Melvin Gordon. You might not realize how good Gordon has been lately, because he’s been good all season long. Gordon is a touchdown machine with 10 of them through the first eight games of the season. He’s dominating the touches for the Chargers and he’s earned 29, 29 and 30 touches over the last three games. Gordon is risky since his fantasy output is so closely tied to his touchdowns but he should be in-line for enough usage to pay for himself.

We are in full-fledge resurgence for Golden Tate who has scored 60.3 DraftKings points in the last three weeks (WR7). Compare that to the 32.4 DraftKings points he scored in the first five games combined. It’s been a plethora of targets that has gotten Tate back on track, with 31 looks over the last three weeks. Tate becomes much more valuable on sites with a full point per reception.

Who’s Not?

In the way that Tate has flourished in the last three weeks, it’s his teammate Marvin Jones who has fallen off the face of the earth. After a scorching start to the season (102.9 DraftKings points in the first five games), he’s only scored 29 DraftKings points in the three games since. Both Lions receivers are in a tough matchup with Minnesota, so they are really a GPP play at best.

If there’s someone to breakout of his slump, it’s likely to be Brandon Marshall. It’s been a really bad three week stretch for Marshall who has combined for 10 catches, 207 yards and zero TDs. The good news is that he’s still seeing the vast majority of targets for the Jets and he’s going to face a Miami secondary that allows the 5th most fantasy points to opposing WRs.

Injury Report

Keep a real close on that Kansas City injury report. Jamaal Charles just had knee surgery, so he’s definitely out and Spencer Ware is currently in the league’s concussion protocol. If he misses this game, expect Charcandrick West to see a heavy workload. After taking over for Ware last week, West gained 52 yards on 14 carries. QB Alex Smith has also been ruled out on a injury-laden Chiefs squad, so they may lean on the running back position no matter who is next in line.

Another decimated team is Tampa Bay who has little options at RB for the Thursday Night game. With a recent foot injury to Jacquizz Rodgers and Doug Martin already sidelined, the Bucs are expected to feature Antone Smith. Smith only has five carries this season but will be thrust into an intriguing matchup with Atlanta. If you’re playing the Thursday slate, this situation will be volatile as Tampa Bay could opt for a committee approach and ride the hot hand.

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Matchups Matter

Man, this drives me crazy, but I really like Terrance West this week. His carries are all over the place with 8, 23, 11, and 21 over the last four weeks. He’s really dependent on a good game script but this matchup with Pittsburgh is too good to pass up. The Steelers have allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing RBs. The Ravens are coming off a bye so they should be well-rested and well-prepared. The upside is 20+ carries, 100+ yards and a TD while the floor is literally ten carries for 12 yards. Expect a large range of possible outcomes, but you have to consider him if you can stomach it.

After Nick Foles took over last week, TE Travis Kelce led the team in targets (5) while converting on three of them including a TD. Kelce finished with 26.10 DraftKings points, his best game of the season. I expect Foles to rely heavily on Kelce again this season in a game with a 45.5 point total. I am a bit concerned about the matchup with Jacksonville who has allowed the fewest points to opposing TEs. However, I think that number is a little misleading. The Jags haven’t really played anyone with a feature TE.

Cheap Fliers

Eric Ebron returned to the Lions for the first time since Week 4 and promptly posted seven catches (on 10 targets) for 79 yards. His large frame will make him a redzone target for the rest of the way. Few teams throw the ball as often as the Lions, so expect Ebron to earn his fairshare of targets this week against Minnesota. There will probably be few receiving options who can earn this many targets at this price tag.

I don’t care what HC Doug Pederson says about who the lead back in Philadelphia is, because it’s already Darren Sproles. Last week, Sproles exploded for 15 carries after earning 14 combined the four weeks prior. He ran great between the tackles for 86 yards (5.7 YPC) and added five receptions. He’s always going to be involved in the receiving game so even if he sees eight carries he’s going to be one of the better value options on the slate. Finally, the Eagles are one of the better DST options of the week against NYG so Sproles and the Eagles D could make for an interesting “Double Dip”.

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