We’ve hit the midway point of the NFL season as we head into Week 9. There’s only eight weeks left, and the Fantasy playoffs start in Week 14 in most leagues. It’s almost over. And it’s gone by fast.
We’ve had some stars shine in the first half of the season, including Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Michael Thomas, Cooper Kupp, Austin Hooper, Darren Waller, Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson. And, of course, the Patriots DST, among many others.
On the other hand, we’re hopeful the second half brings better things for guys like Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, Le’Veon Bell, Joe Mixon, Odell Beckham, Robert Woods, Zach Ertz and O.J. Howard. There are plenty of other players you can mention as well.
It should be a fun finish, and hopefully your Fantasy teams are doing well. I’m looking forward to a great Week 9, including some awesome matchups with CHI-PHI, MIN-KC (hopefully Patrick Mahomes is healthy) and NE-BAL. Other games will be great for Fantasy purposes, including NYJ-MIA, and hopefully this is the game the Jets main players show up, as well as Mark Walton delivering as a surprise starter.
The middle of the NFL season can be a grind. But this is also when the fun begins, as well as the push toward the Fantasy playoffs. Good luck.
Editor’s Note: Projections are provided by SportsLine.com. Projected points are for PPR leagues.
Start of the Week
This might be Gardner Minshew’s last start of the season, and if it is, I’m expecting him to go out with a big performance against the Texans in London. He should be considered a top-five Fantasy quarterback going into Week 9.
The Jaguars have a bye in Week 10, and Nick Foles (collarbone) could return as the starter for Jacksonville in Week 11. That hasn’t been determined yet, but that’s the first game Foles would be eligible to return.
Minshew should make that decision harder if he plays as I expect against Houston this week. The Texans, who just lost standout pass rusher J.J. Watt (pectoral), have been bad against opposing quarterbacks all season, especially of late.
Four quarterbacks in a row have scored at least 24 Fantasy points against Houston, and the Texans allow 293.4 passing yards for the season, with 19 total touchdowns and just three interceptions to opposing passers. Minshew only had 17 Fantasy points at Houston in Week 2 in his first NFL start, but he’s a different quarterback since then.
He’s scored at least 20 Fantasy points in five of his past six games, with his lone hiccup a tough outing against New Orleans in Week 6. He just scored a season-high 29 Fantasy points against the Jets in Week 8, and he should light up this defense.
It would be great if the Jaguars stuck with Minshew as their quarterback for the rest of the season because he’s been a quality Fantasy starter. But even if this is his final start in 2019, he should deliver a big performance against the Texans in London.
I’m starting Minshew over: Lamar Jackson (vs. NE), Tom Brady (at BAL), Jacoby Brissett (at PIT), Carson Wentz (vs. CHI), Philip Rivers (vs. GB)h was Frank Gore in Week 9. Michel has at least 17 carries in four of his past five games.
- Sam Darnold (at MIA): Darnold was actually a winner at the NFL trade deadline, simply because the Jets didn’t trade Le’Veon Bell or Robby Anderson. That should help Darnold be a quality streaming option this week. Every opposing quarterback against the Dolphins has scored at least two touchdowns, and the worst performance against Miami this season was Case Keenum‘s 19 Fantasy points in Week 6. As long as Darnold is healthy with his injured thumb, he’s worth using as a streamer this week.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs. NYJ): Fitzpatrick should be considered a streamer in deeper leagues this week against the Jets. It’s obviously risky to trust any member of the Dolphins, but Fitzpatrick does have multiple touchdowns in his past two games against Buffalo and Pittsburgh. Now, he also has three interceptions over that span, but this is a favorable matchup against the Jets at home, especially after New York just traded Leonard Williams to the Giants. I have no problem using Fitzpatrick as a starter in a two-quarterback or Superflex league this week.
- Jimmy Garoppolo (at ARI): Garoppolo has not been a good Fantasy quarterback this season with only one game with more than 20 Fantasy points, which was Week 2 at Cincinnati. But if there was ever a week to trust him it’s here against the Cardinals, who are No. 31 in Fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Only two quarterbacks have failed to score at least 22 Fantasy points against Arizona, and the Cardinals allow 27.3 Fantasy points per game to the position.
Brady’s been a solid Fantasy quarterback this year, but he does have two duds on the road this season, including a four-point outing at Buffalo in Week 4 and a 13-point outing at the Jets in Week 7. He doesn’t have a good track record at Baltimore, averaging just 17.3 Fantasy points per game in three trips there in the regular season in his career. This season, the Ravens have allowed one quarterback to score more than 17 Fantasy points, which was Patrick Mahomes in Week 3 in Kansas City with 32 points. Now, you can argue that Baltimore hasn’t faced a lot of top-tier quarterbacks, but the Ravens did just limit Russell Wilson to 15 Fantasy points in their last game in Week 15. I have Brady ranked as just a low-end starter this week.
- Jaylen Samuels (vs. IND): James Conner’s status will either make Samuels a sleeper option as a flex or a must-start running back against the Colts. Conner is dealing with a shoulder injury suffered in Week 8 against the Dolphins, and Benny Snell (knee) is also banged up. If Samuels is the starter against the Colts, he could be a top-10 Fantasy running back in all leagues. The Steelers have had a running back score a touchdown in four games in a row, with six total touchdowns scored from the position over that span.
- Adrian Peterson (at BUF): In three games with Bill Callahan as the interim head coach, Peterson has at least 81 rushing yards in each outing, as well as two games with at least 11 PPR points. He should have fresh legs since he last played Thursday night in Week 8 at Minnesota, and Buffalo has allowed a running back to score in four games in a row, with six total touchdowns scored from the position over that span.
- Frank Gore (vs. WAS): Gore has been quiet in each of the past three games, but I expect him to be at least a flex option this week against Washington. The Redskins have allowed a running back to score in two of their past three games, and Buffalo should be playing with a lead in this matchup, allowing Gore the chance for additional volume. Devin Singletary is worth using as a flex this week as well, especially in PPR.
- Tra Carson (at OAK): You’re probably better off avoiding the Detroit backfield altogether with four running backs likely sharing the ball — Carson, Ty Johnson, Paul Perkins and J.D. McKissic. But Carson might be the best of the bunch since he led the team in carries (12) in the first game without Kerryon Johnson (knee) in Week 8 against the Giants. Now, Ty Johnson did play more snaps, but it seems like the coaching staff might prefer Carson as the main runner, which could be good against the Raiders. Oakland has allowed a running back to score in three games in a row.
- Tarik Cohen (at PHI): I mentioned this last week when I recommended Singletary as a sleeper that the Eagles struggle with pass-catching running backs, and Singletary had four catches for 30 yards and a touchdown on six targets. Five running backs have already caught at least four passes against the Eagles this season, and I Cohen has been better for Fantasy when the Bears have been chasing points, which I expect to happen here. Cohen has scored at least 10 PPR points in three of Chicago’s four losses this season.
I said last week that Montgomery would have the best game of his rookie season, and he did with career highs in carries (27), yards (135) and catches (four). He scored a touchdown and added 12 receiving yards on five targets, but that was a great setup for him against the Chargers, who have struggled against the run. I’m expecting regression for Montgomery this week against the Eagles, who are tough against the run. Ezekiel Elliott in Week 7 is the lone running back with more than 63 rushing yards against Philadelphia, including matchups with Devonta Freeman, Kerryon Johnson, Aaron Jones, Le’Veon Bell and Dalvin Cook. Montgomery could find the end zone, but I don’t expect this game to be pretty for him. Hopefully, you started him with confidence in Week 8 as suggested, but this is a week you might want to avoid him on the road against the Eagles.
- DeVante Parker (vs. NYJ): Parker has scored at least 11 PPR points in four games in a row, and he’s scored a touchdown in three of those outings. He continues to be the No. 1 receiver for the Dolphins, and he has a favorable matchup this week against the Jets, who just allowed three touchdowns to the Jaguars receivers in Week 8. Parker is a high-end No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week, while Preston Williams can also be considered a sleeper in deeper leagues.
- Danny Amendola (at OAK): Amendola has stepped up the past two games with 16 catches for 200 yards on 19 targets, and his production has coincided with Detroit losing Kerryon Johnson (knee) and struggling to run the ball. We’ll see if this continues for Amendola, who also played well in Week 1 at Arizona (seven catches for 104 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets) before disappearing for the next four games. But he’s worth buying into as a No. 3 receiver in PPR, especially for Week 9 at Oakland, since the Raiders are No. 27 in Fantasy points allowed to receivers.
- Chris Conley (vs. HOU): Conley should be considered the No. 2 receiver for the Jaguars this week with Dede Westbrook (shoulder) likely out, and he’s played well of late. In his past two games against Cincinnati and the Jets, Conley has seven catches for 186 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets. He gets a great matchup against Houston in London in Week 9, and the Texans allow the most Fantasy points to opposing receivers for the season. Conley should be considered a high-end No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week.
- Diontae Johnson (vs. IND): Johnson just had his best Fantasy game of the season in Week 8 against Miami with five catches for 84 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. He’s now scored a touchdown in the last three full games he’s played with Mason Rudolph, and hopefully that connection this week against the Colts, who have allowed eight receivers to either score or gain at least 70 receiving yards in their past five games
- Emmanuel Sanders (at ARI): Sanders scored in his first game with the 49ers last week against Carolina, finishing with four catches for 25 yards on five targets. I’m hopeful he’ll get more targets moving forward, including this week against the Cardinals on Thursday. Hopefully, Sanders won’t see too much of Patrick Peterson on the other side of the field, but I like Sanders as a high-end No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week. Arizona has allowed six receivers to either score or gain at least 80 receiving yards in the past four games.
We had Beckham in this spot last week with his matchup against the Patriots, and he struggled, catching five passes for 52 yards on seven targets. I’m putting him back here again with another difficult matchup against the Broncos and likely cornerback Chris Harris. So far, Harris has helped shut down the following receivers: Allen Robinson (four catches for 41 yards on seven targets), Davante Adams (four catches for 56 yards on four targets), D.J. Chark (four catches for 44 yards on eight targets), Keenan Allen (four catches for 18 yards on six targets) and T.Y. Hilton (two catches for 54 yards on six targets). All of those receivers were held to single digits in PPR, which is hard to do. Beckham still has one touchdown on the season and only one game with more than 56 receiving yards since Week 2. He’s just a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in most leagues this week.
- Dallas Goedert (vs. CHI): Goedert continues to outplay Zach Ertz, and he’s worth buying into as a low-end starter in deeper leagues. In his past three games, Goedert has 12 catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns on 17 targets, and he’s scored at least nine PPR points in each outing. By comparison, Ertz has eight catches for 112 yards and no touchdowns on 19 targets over that same span. I’m still starting Ertz over Goedert based on upside, but Goedert is worth using this week against the Bears in deeper leagues.
- T.J. Hockenson (at OAK): Hockenson hasn’t scored in his past three games, but he’s worth taking a chance on this week against the Raiders, who are second in the NFL with six touchdowns allowed to tight ends this year. In the past two weeks, Jimmy Graham and Fells have combined for three touchdowns against the Raiders. Hockenson is a low-end starter in all leagues this week.
- Cameron Brate (at SEA): Brate was a disappointment last week at Tennessee with O.J. Howard (hamstring) out, scoring just six PPR points. But I would stick with him again this week, especially since it appears like Howard will be out again.Brate still had six targets against the Titans, and he has a good matchup this week against the Seahawks, who allow the fourth-most Fantasy points to opposing tight ends.
Which Ebron is going to show up this week? The one who had four catches for 70 yards and a touchdown on five targets against Houston in Week 7? Or the one who had three catches for 26 yards on four targets against Denver in Week 8? He’s averaging just 4.3 PPR points in three road games this year, and the Steelers have been hit or miss against tight ends this season. They struggled with Will Dissly in Week 2 (22 PPR points) and Hunter Henry in Week 6 (30 PPR points), but they also limited George Kittle (11 PPR points) and Mark Andrews (nine PPR points). Based on Ebron’s track record on the road and inconsistent play, I would consider him just a low-end starter at best this week.
Cowboys (at NYG) — 12.2 projected points
- Eagles (vs. CHI)
- Browns (at DEN)
- Seahawks (vs. TB)
Texans (at JAC) – 6.8 projected points
- Brett Maher (at NYG)
- Jason Myers (vs. TB)
- Nick Folk (at BAL)