Fantasy Football Rankings Week 9: Sleepers, projections, starts, sits

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Fantasy Football Rankings Week 9: Sleepers, projections, starts, sits

Byes are back, and sadly, so are plenty of injuries. The Week 9 fantasy football rankings will have more shakeups than we’ve seen of late. We do have Will Levis, Dalton Kincaid and Trey McBride impressing, but also the need for plenty of sleepers and game preview tidbits to help break down the ranks. Plus, Disney fun this week!

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WEEK 9 FANTASY FOOTBALL PREVIEWS

** BYES: DEN, DET, JAX, SF **

NOTE: You’ll see quite a bit of “Since Week 4,” and that’s because it’s good to look at recent performance versus year-long with defenses, etc., as in-season adjustments can change things. For example, the Broncos were the clear worst defense early on, but since Week 4, they’re midpack — not amazing, but much better than how they started.

Titans at Steelers, TNF (8:15 p.m.)

  • Since Week 4, the Titans’ run defense has been more vulnerable, shown in 4.6 YPC allowed — eighth highest.
  • The Titans force a turnover on just 6.8% of opponents’ drives — second-lowest are the Rams at 7.1%.
  • The Steelers have allowed the highest YPRR since Week 4 at 1.83 (vs. HOU, BAL, LAR, JAX) with the Commanders and Panthers tied for second-most at 1.79.
  • Joey Porter Jr. is now the top-graded corner in man coverage. He primarily plays the left (86%) with DeAndre Hopkins over there 44% of the time and 34% on the right.

Dolphins at Chiefs, 9:30 a.m., Germany

  • The Dolphins were dominating in Explosive Play% with 18.8 through Week 5 — next closest was the 49ers at 13.2% — but have just a 11.8% mark in their past three (vs CAR, PHI, NE).
  • Rashee Rice is running the second-most Chiefs wideout routes, just behind Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but he still hasn’t reached 65.0% of the routes or 19.0% of the targets, and has just one game with more than 12.0% of the Air Yards.
  • Jalen Ramsey graded as the top corner in his return, which should help Rashee Rice, as he plays mainly the slot, while MVS and Justin Watson spend the most time out wide (and to the right).

Vikings at Falcons, 1 p.m.

  • Only the Raiders backups and Browns trio have higher OffTGT% than Joshua Dobbs (16.2%). But Dobbs does have a higher Deep Throw% than Kirk Cousins did (11.3 to 8.0) with a similar FirstRead% (65.0 to 68.2).
  • Trey McBride and Marquise Brown have led the Cardinals in FirstRead% since Week 5 (28.6 and 27.4), while T.J. Hockenson and Jordan Addison have since Justin Jefferson got hurt (26.7 and 24.8).
  • With the Joshua Dobbs trade, Hockenson maintains his value, while Addison is relatively the same with a bit more volatility and K.J. Osborn might get a slight ding if Dobbs looks for Brandon Powell downfield a bit more, or even just funnels to Hockenson and Addison.
  • However, for this week’s consideration (and possibly longer if Hall impresses), Jaren Hall is an athletic quarterback and short-to-intermediate thrower — good placement — with deep-ball and sideline-throw concerns. I’d look for a more conservative approach this week, which shouldn’t hurt the receiving options a ton, but downgrade the upside for overall yards and scoring opportunities.

Cardinals at Browns, 1 p.m.

  • Browns allow the least passing YPG at 163.3, and Clayton Tune has placement and anticipation concerns. It’s a week to consider benching Cardinals until Kyler Murray (hopefully) returns next week.
  • Since Week 4, the Cardinals allow the highest Comp% Over Expectation (CPOE) at 9.2% — Panthers second 9.0%, Steelers third 6.7%, with the Cowboys lowest at -6.6%.
  • Even dealing with an injury, Jerome Ford played in Week 8 and saw seven of his 10 touches in the fourth quarter to help close out the game, rushing 7-for-35.
  • Without Deshaun Watson, Amari Cooper has 26.0 TmTGT% but is just 13-235-0 on 33 targets. David Njoku is the second-most used option with 22.0% and a line of 28-18-201-1.

Rams at Packers, 1 p.m.

  • Darrell Henderson has handled 61.8% of the touches the past two weeks, with Royce Freeman at 38.2.
  • Henderson is the only one of the two with targets and receptions (5-4-59), despite running 24 routes to Freeman’s 23.
  • Since Cooper Kupp’s return, Puka Nacua still has 32.5 TmTGT% (Kupp 33.3%) with a production line of 37-22-294-1 compared to Kupp’s 38-21-316-1.
  • Since Week 3, Jordan Love has the second-lowest Comp% (58.2 — PJ Walker 49.5%), fifth-lowest YD/ATT (6.0), sixth-lowest TD/INT (0.6) and ninth-highest OffTGT% (13.2).

Commanders at Patriots, 1 p.m.

  • Since Week 4, the Commanders (vs. PHI, CHI, ATL, NYG, PHI) have allowed the most passing YPG at 301.2 — Chargers second at 291.5.
  • The Patriots have the lowest Missed Tackles Forced rate at 0.08 and second-highest run stuff rate at 53.2% (since Week 4 — vs. DAL, NO, LV, BUF, MIA), with the Bears first at 58.0% (but just 22nd MTF% at 0.23 — they also traded for Montez Sweat).
  • J.C. Jackson is the seventh-worse-graded corner in man coverage (min. 100 coverage snaps), which is promising for Terry McLaurin and possibly Jahan Dotson.
  • Rhamondre Stevenson hasn’t topped 10 carries since Week 4 (at DAL) and has four games of 6.7 or fewer fantasy points, and zero over 15.5 — he had just five games of 6.7 or less last year (first two weeks, to boot) and seven topping the 15.5 mark.

Bears at Saints, 1 p.m.

  • The Saints are running the second-most Plays/G (70.0), with the Browns first (71.7).
  • While the Bears are first in Stuff%, they are also 10th toughest in rush defense DVOA, but 30th overall and for pass defense DVOA.
  • In Roschon Johnson’s first game back, he had 38.9 RBTouch% to 55.6 for D’Onta Foreman through the first three quarters. The Bears gave Darrynton Evans a bunch of fourth-quarter/garbage-time work. Johnson had 10 passing down snaps to nine for Foreman. The split could be even closer this week.

Seahawks at Ravens, 1 p.m.

  • The Ravens allow just 9.7% of drives to end in a touchdown — second lowest are the Jets at 12.8%, and the Panthers allow the highest rate at 30.8%.
  • The Ravens are first in overall defensive DVOA and pass defense DVOA, plus fifth in rush defense DVOA.
  • Kenneth Walker had 3-for-47 rushing in the first quarter and six rushing snaps to one for Zach Charbonnet, who had seven passing snaps to five for Walker. After that, Walker and Charbonnet had six touches and five rush snaps each with 18 pass snaps for Charbonnet and eight for Walker. There was a calf injury concern through the week for Walker, so no overreacting… yet… but Charbonnet could push into Walker’s touches for 30-40% of the share.

Buccaneers at Texans, 1 p.m.

  • The Buccaneers rate as the sixth-toughest EPA versus tight ends on the year and fourth-toughest since Week 4, holding T.J. Hockenson, Cole Kmet, Dallas Goedert, both Falcons (Kyle Pitts and Jonnu Smith) and all tight ends not named Dalton Kincaid to 4.7 points or fewer.
  • Opponents’ drives have ended in a turnover 18.9% of the time against the Bucs, a league-high, and the Steelers are second at 18.3%.
  • Since Week 3, the Buccaneers have been one of five teams (LAC, MIN, NYG, PIT) without a single game hitting the over — that’s five games for LAC, PIT, TB and six games for MIN, NYG.

Colts at Panthers, 4:05 p.m.

  • Since Week 4, Colts games combine for the highest total at 58.0 PPG, ahead of the Dolphins at 54.8, and allow the most opponent PPG at 31.8.
  • Also, the Colts are the only team with their games hitting the over four times (out of five). Six teams are tied at three out of five (ARI, CHI, DET, MIE, SF, WSH).
  • The Colts also allow the most opponent Plays/G (69.5), with the Jets second (68.9, tied with Seahawks), and they have the lowest rush defense DVOA (Cardinals second lowest).

Giants at Raiders, 4:25 p.m.

  • The Giants allow 4.8 YPC and a league-high 5.2 since Week 4 — they traded away Leonard Williams.
  • Since Week 4 (vs. SEA, MIA, BUF, WSH, NYJ) the Giants have the third-toughest PassEPA.
  • The Giants have two corners among the bottom 25 in coverage grades (Adoree Jackson and Tre Hawkins) with Deonte Banks 43rd lowest (min. 100 coverage snaps), giving Davante Adams a chance to bounce back.
  • Since Week 4, Josh Jacobs is third in RBTouch% (84.8), third in TmTGT% (17.7), and 12th in FPPG among running backs.

Cowboys at Eagles, 4:25 p.m.

  • The Eagles defense has the fourth-lowest run success rate against both man and zone-blocking concepts. The Browns are the only other team that stout against both — second against zone, third against man.
  • The Eagles are also first in rush defense DVOA (Titans second).
  • Since Week 4, Tony Pollard is just 33rd in FPPG (8.5) despite 63.2 RBTouch% (16th) and 12.7 TmTGT% (12th).
  • DeVonta Smith had his fourth double-digit fantasy score in Week 8, with four games under 7.0 points. Last year, he had five games with a total of 7.0 points or fewer.

Bills at Bengals, SNF (8:20 p.m.)

  • The Bengals had the league-worst 5.4 Explosive Play% entering Week 6 but jumped to 8.7% in their past two games.
  • In the past three games — which appear to be Joe Burrow getting back to 100% — Ja’Marr Chase has 39.6 TmTGT%, while Tee Higgins has 23.0% in the four games he was fully healthy (Weeks 1-3, 8).
  • The Bills have allowed just five double-digit wideout scores, with no receiver above 14.4 (Davante Adams) and never more than one in a game.
  • Three of James Cook’s past four games have amounted to 7.8 fantasy points or fewer, with just 8-7-77 receiving (after 14-11-115 in the first four).

Chargers at Jets, MNF (8:15 p.m.)

  • No team allows more passing yards per game than the Chargers at 297.4 — Jaguars are second at 263.5.
  • The Jets allow the fifth-fewest at 184.4 and they pass for the second-fewest at 164.3, with the Giants worst at 155.1.
  • The Jets also have the lowest YPRR allowed since Week 4 at 1.06, tied with the Ravens.
  • The Jets also allow the sixth-most receiving YPG to running backs, while the Chargers have given up a double-digit running back score in every game.

WEEK 9 FANTASY FOOTBALL SLEEPERS

These are sleepers (DuckTales and Darkwing Duck style — Woo-oo is worthy of the risk in most leagues, and Dangerous is if you need a Hail Mary). They will not mimic my rankings 100%. This is about chasing upside and often carries more risk — put simply, they are upside plays you might consider over a solid floor option.

Woo-oo Worthy

  • QB: Bryce Young, CAR
  • RB: Darrell Henderson, LAR; Jerome Ford, CLE
  • WR: Rashee Rice, KC; Tank Dell, HOU
  • TE: Jake Ferguson, DAL

Let’s Get Dangerous

  • QB: Derek Carr, NO
  • RB: Kareem Hunt, CLE; Zack Moss, IND
  • WR: Demario Douglas, NE; Jonathan Mingo, CAR
  • TE: Luke Musgrave, GB

WEEK 9 BUY LOW, SELL HIGH

Shifting to a BEST/WORST playoff schedule outlook, since we’re at the point of “buy lows” and “sell highs” being tough to find due to manager knowledge and limited options.

Best Playoff Schedules

  • QB: Kyler Murray, ARI; Geno Smith, SEA
  • RB: Bijan Robinson, ATL; Austin Ekeler, LAC; Jerome Ford, CLE
  • WR: DK Metcalf/Tyler Lockett, SEA; George Pickens/Diontae Johnson, PIT; Marquise Brown/Michael Wilson, ARI

Worst Playoff Schedules

  • QB: Tua Tagovailoa, MIA; Trevor Lawrence, JAX
  • RB: Saquon Barkley, NYG; Dameon Pierce/Devin Singletary, HOU; Javonte Williams, DEN
  • WR: Jaylen Waddle, MIA; Amari Cooper, CLE; Jaguars

FUN WITH RANKINGS!

Nicole and I saw the Aladdin musical on Saturday night, and that was after already finding a rock version of the best Disney movie song ever… see below. So, this week is just that. The best Disney animated movie songs of all time. I specified animated because once you start getting outside that realm, you enter into if Star Wars is truly Disney… plus, I’d have to find a spot for the theme to Pirates of the Caribbean, since it’s simply one of the best, ever!

Best Disney Movie Songs

ALL-TIME CHAMPION: DuckTales — DuckTales: Yes, it even counts since it was a movie (Treasure of the Lost Lamp — watch it, it’s great!) in 1990. This is the best song ever! But you already knew this.

  1. “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” — Mulan: The catchiest song of anything not named DuckTales. Oh, and this rock version is amazing.
  2. “A Whole New World” — Aladdin: I went back and forth with the top two, but I gave the edge to the upbeat/poppier song. If you argued for this classic — re-done by numerous artists — I wouldn’t complain.
  3. “Friend Like Me” — Aladdin: The Aladdin soundtrack is the best ever, proven by four songs in the Top 15! Robin Williams nailed this with perfection, so much so, that anyone doing a remake falls short… by a mile.
  4. “I 2 I” — A Goofy Movie: What other Disney song can you say is just a badass jam? You could put this song on a 90s hip-hop station, and no one would think twice.
  5. “Hakuna Matata” — The Lion King: It means, “No Worries!”… and means you’ll be singing along every time.
  6. “Prince Ali” — Aladdin: Just another fun song from Aladdin, including the amusing tossed-in lines throughout.
  7. “Under the Sea” — The Little Mermaid: Sebastian and his Jamaican accent make this song.
  8. “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” — The Lion King: Underrated. Something about this song is just catchy.
  9. “One Jump Ahead” — Aladdin: The one that kicks things off shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s an enjoyable song as Aladdin talks to us and himself at the same time.
  10. “Kiss the Girl” — The Little Mermaid: “Don’t be shy!” You know you like this song.
  11. “Let it Go” — Frozen: Forget the fact we heard it nonstop for over a year straight, it’s a dang good song.
  12. “How Far I’ll Go” — Moana: Maybe it’s because I enjoy watching my niece belt the chorus every time, or I’m just a Rock mark and enjoy (most) anything he’s in. I like this song!
  13. “The Bare Necessities” — The Jungle Book: Going back to an old classic. Had to have one or two in here.
  14. “Be Our Guest” — Beauty and the Beast: Another classic, and I’m sure people will argue it should be higher.
  15. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” — Toy Story: As a song itself, it feels out of place compared to the rest, but it’s as iconic as the first Toy Story and its animation.

Honorable Mention: “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, “Circle of Life”, “You’ll Be in My Heart”, “Part of Your World” — Essentially, the Disney ballads, and all pretty good, just not in the realm of my favorites, which I could listen to multiple times… over and over if it’s in my Top 5.


WEEK 9 FANTASY FOOTBALL PROJECTIONS

🚨 HEADS UP 🚨 These can differ from my rankings, and my ranks are the order I’d start players outside of added context, such as, “Need highest upside, even if risky.” Also, based on 4-point TDs for QB, 6-point rest, and Half-PPR

Projections Download Link — Saturday


WEEK 9 FANTASY FOOTBALL RANKINGS

🚨 HEADS UP 🚨

  • There is no perfect widget out there, sadly, still. I know many view this on your phone, but 1) use the rankings widget on a PC/laptop/etc. if possible or 2) open in your phone’s browser, especially for Android users, to get the scrolling to properly work.
  • ECR = “Expert” Consensus Ranking (which isn’t updated by everyone consistently, so take with a grain of salt).
  • Updated regularly, so check up to lineups locking.

(Photo by Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images)