Week 9 was full of surprises, which included the performances by some players. Perhaps Week 10 will follow a more conventional path, perhaps not. There are four teams on a bye and plenty of injury landmines out there, leaving you wondering who to start. That’s why this column is here, to shed some insight and offer a few bold suggestions of who will provide a good return and who should stay on the bench. But before that let’s look back and see how I did in Week 9. Let me just say, I continued the streak of suggesting someone should be a sit and giving them the inspiration to explode.
For transparency purposes we’ll measure quarterbacks and tight ends against Top 12 finishes (QB1 and TE1) and we’ll measure running backs and wide receivers against Top 24 finishes (RB1-2, WR1-2). All finishes come from Fantasy Pros PPR scoring leaders lists found here.
Start Week 9:
QB: Derek Carr, QB19 miss. Carr had one of his worst games as the Raiders were flat in New York.
RB: Damien Harris, RB31 miss. Harris didn’t get the volume expected, ending up an RB3.
WR: Diontae Johnson, WR22 hit. Look, it was close and not as great as hoped for, but Johnson finished in WR2 range.
TE: Dan Arnold, TE13 miss. Arnold is the best option in the Jaguars’ passing game, that just wasn’t quite good enough.
Sit Week 9:
QB: Trevor Lawrence, QB28 hit. Lawrence is struggling, as is the Jaguars’ offense.
RB: David Johnson, RB38 hit. Johnson isn’t the focal point of the Texans’ rushing offense despite being named the “starter.”
WR: DeVonta Smith, WR2 miss. Hurts and Smith connected for a huge touchdown. It was a boom week, so I guessed wrong.
TE: Cole Kmet, TE5 miss. Justin Fields was a bit stronger as a passer and for a rare time this season, it was Kmet that seemed to be the focus. He greatly improved on his 5.2 points per game average.
Start: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
About: Wilson is set to return from a pretty gruesome finger injury that required surgery. He missed three games, during which time Geno Smith filled in and the Seahawks went 1-2. The team is now 3-5, facing a tough battle with the Green Bay Packers. I get why you’d want to be cautious. But I believe in Russ. During the first four weeks of the season, when he was healthy and played a full game, Russ was QB10. He’s motivated and the stakes are huge. I think he returns as a QB1 in Week 10.
Sit: Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
About: I get it, the 49ers haven’t been winning but Jimmy G. has been all right. In fact, the past two weeks he’s been QB1 overall. So, you’re probably wondering why I have him here. That’s fair. I like the 49ers weapons, and I think the team is under pressure to win now or see the season slipping away. That’s probably even more true for Jimmy G., who has Trey Lance and his legion of fans breathing down his neck. In a Prime Time, game against an angry Rams team, I’m betting on Aaron Donald, Von Miller and Jalen Ramsey. Jimmy should be fine, a Superflex option as a QB2, but I don’t think he cracks the Top 12 this week.
Start: D’Ernest Johnson, Cleveland Browns
About: This is about opportunity. Kareem Hunt is on IR, Nick Chubb and Demetric Felton tested positive for COVID and Johnson is the last RB standing. I don’t think Chubb gets cleared, so I expect Johnson to lead the charge for the Browns, a run-first team. And we know he can handle the load. In Week 7, when he was put in a similar position, Johnson finished as RB4. I think he does it again despite a touch matchup with the Patriots.
Sit: Adrian Peterson, Tennessee Titans
About: I get it, Peterson is a Hall of Famer in waiting and one of the best to ever play the game. He’s also the grinder for the Titans’ rushing game with Derrick Henry on the shelf. He was fine in Week 9 as the Titans won the game, but if he hadn’t gotten a touchdown it would have looked even worse. As is, Peterson was only RB35. He’s got a role, but he’s an RB3 for me at best.
Start: Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
About: Antonio Brown is in a walking boot and Rob Gronkowski still has back and rib issues. Neither are expected to play. Yes, I know Godwin had an ankle issue that held him out of practice Wednesday, too, but I expect him to play. And with those other receivers out, I expect him and Mike Evans to be great. The Buccaneers and Tom Brady are facing a Washington defense that has been beyond suspect on the back end. Godwin is WR9 on the season, averaging 18 points per game. Don’t over think it.
Sit: Elijah Moore, New York Jets
About: I was as excited as anyone to see Moore break out big in Week 9. I think he’s going to be a great prospect and Week 9 was just a taste of what’s to come. HOWEVER, heading into Week 10 with Corey Davis back and the Jets facing the Buffalo Bills, I’m not confident that time of what’s to come begins Sunday. I like Moore long-term, I’m not confident he gets the volume to be Top 24 this week.
Start: Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers
About: We’ve known for a few years that tight end is a volatile position. It doesn’t take a lot to vault someone into the Top 12. Freiermuth has been gaining traction all season. He’s TE15 for the year but it’s the past two weeks that have really cemented his breakout. Over that period, as the Steelers have won back-to-back games coming out of their bye, Freiermuth is TE1. I think his hot streak continues the rest of the season as he ends up a TE1 and one of the better dynasty assets at the position moving forward.
Sit: Noah Fant, Denver Broncos
About: I like Fant’s talent and I’d like to see him do well. I just don’t think you can rely on it. He’s TE9 on the season, but averaging just 10.9 points per game, 12th best. If you look closely at his game logs, it’s been even more hit-or-miss than that. Now Albert Okwuegbunam is back, creating competition at tight end, and Jerry Jeudy has returned, giving the Broncos three receivers to feed. That’s in addition to a couple running backs and still part of an offense that isn’t particularly high-volume. I like the player but I’m not confident he returns TE1 value.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.