Fantasy Football

2017 Fantasy Football Week 9 Preview: Lament Overflow


There’s no such thing as an easy game in the NFL. They are all battles; no matter how supposedly weak the opponent is. With the Texans at home to play the Colts, I did not envision that the Texans could play this game on auto-pilot. That was even before Thursday.

The Aaron Rodgers injury in Week 6 really wounded my enjoyment of the 2017 NFL season. I didn’t think it could get worse.

I took for granted that a rookie from Clemson would keep a fascinating atmosphere alive and make something out of this accursed season. Deshaun Watson did that. Last week in Seattle I felt like this was a terrific panacea for all the great lost players of the 2017 season. And he was.

Watson, in his first eight weeks minus a bye, already surpassed important rookie records. It was mesmerising and intoxicating entertainment to watch this prodigy at work. And now, it’s all gone until 2018.

I had the pleasure of owning Watson in Fantasy Football in a couple of leagues. To me, that was just a fringe benefit compared to the sheer enjoyment of watching him play one of the most demanding positions in sports at an outstanding level.

Come back healthy and well Deshaun. May your return in 2018 give us more of that energetic style that is an inspiration to all.

2017 Fantasy Football Week 9 Preview

Bye Weeks: Bears, Browns, Chargers, Vikings, Patriots, Steelers

With a heavy heart, it brings us to the rest of it. Move on we must. The season hinges on other hopes. The best of the rest I dare not mention out of fear of the jinx. Yes, it’s come to that – irrational perceptions of dread.

Feature Game: Chiefs (6-2) at Cowboys (4-3)

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The Chiefs return to Dallas for their first ever visit to AT&T Stadium for a regular season game. The last time the Chiefs played in Dallas was in 2005; a 31-28 victory for the Cowboys. Larry Johnson of the Chiefs scored 35.1 (38.1 ppr) fantasy points in that game. Jason Witten (3rd season) played in it too and had a 7-93-1 statline. The photo above is from over a decade ago in the old Cowboys Stadium.

It was a big game then and it’s a big game now. The Cowboys will have (surprise, surprise) Ezekiel Elliott in the starting lineup. He has more overturns than a fat sausage at a tailgate party. No matter what, you can put your 20 and 46 jerseys back in the drawer – for at least another week.

The Chiefs will ride this game with their own early down weapon in Kareem Hunt. His production has slowed into a cruise level in recent weeks, but I expect he starts making the end zone again very soon. This matchup certainly appears favorable for that.

This game could really be shaped by measures like third-down conversions and ball control. I can see it build up slowly from run in the first half, to passing in the second. That means Travis Kelce and Jason Witten will see nothing less than their upper floor of targets throughout.

The Chiefs will be without second level receiver Albert Wilson, therefore…

Sleeper: Demarcus Robinson, WR, Chiefs

High OU Game: Buccaneers (2-5) at Saints (5-2)

The Bucs are probably the best team with a losing record like this entering Week 9. It is clear that Winston has lost some of his sharpness due to recent shoulder injuries and perhaps playing through them has hurt the team. It’s four straight losses the Bucs bring to the SuperDome.

Yet fortune has smiled on the Saints even with Drew Brees not as sharp of late. A rare game last week; where he does not throw at least one touchdown pass. The clock is ticking for Brees to get to another Super Bowl and a very opportunistic defense may help him get there. The Saints are riding five straight wins.

Yes, the Saints defense, although still containing some inconsistencies, are far, far better than we’ve seen in recent years.

So looking at why this Saints defense is so much improved is due in part to players making a big difference and stepping up. For instance, Kenny Vaccaro at safety is playing the best football of his career and Cameron Jordan up front is causing all kinds of trouble for opposing offenses. It’s not just individuals. The coordination and communication is so much more, well, natural looking.

As for this game, the Bucs should rely on Doug Martin to soften that harsh pass rush of the Saints. Ultimately, the game flow should get into a passing frenzy as the defenses wear down in the second half. The Saints might not go after it with a “Ted Ginn” style game, but instead with flashpoint area receiving of Thomas, Coleman and Kamara with some outside routes. We await Snead to gain involvement, at least just a little more, and it could be in this game.

The Bucs will probably go to the wides. It’s not a Cameron Brate kind of game. More suitable for O.J. Howard I suspect.

Sleeper: Adam Humphries, WR, Buccaneers

Sunday Night Football: Raiders (3-5) at Dolphins (4-3)

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Although the Dolphins enter this game with a positive record, it disguises the fact that this team is in some disarray. First of all, Jay Cutler is still the same quarterback. Loves to emulate the free-wheeling Dan Marino style, but doesn’t have the anywhere near the accuracy.

Derek Carr, for his part, is slipping into those similar levels. However, Carr’s team comes equipped with better offensive weaponry with Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. I rank them above Jarvis Landry and Devante Parker.

As a result of the Ajayi trade this past week, both the Raiders and Dolphins have swiss army backfields. I expect both sides will loosely rely on the run, but overall this game belongs to the quarterbacks and receivers.

Sleeper: Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins

Monday Night Football: Lions (3-4) at Packers (4-3)

The Packers off a bye week at least had an advantage to get Brett Hundley better prepared for his adventure. There’s a long way to go and the Packers will just ride this until they hit a wall.

I’m still concerned about the Packers fantasy players who rely on a skill passer for fantasy strength. I hold optimism for the coaches to keep the team at a competitive level and ultimately your skill Packers should be fine.

As for the Lions, they are actually a solid team. They lost a winnable game against Pittsburgh last week and on the whole look fairly decent defensively. They once again come near the top of the Stream-o-Matic chart, by creator Tyler Thompson. Tyler is regularly featured on The Fantasy Edge.

Look for Aaron Jones to carry another 20+ times in this game, with perhaps more involvement from Ty Montgomery in passing situations. Montgomery gives the Packers some added plus for deceptive looks to confuse a defense, so that may come into play on Monday night.

Matt Stafford is one touchdown pass away from joining the 200 club. Only 30 quarterbacks since the merger have made that milestone, so I expect the ESPN booth will make mention when and if it happens. If it does, it will come in his 117th game.

Sleeper: Theo Riddick, RB, Lions

Players to watch

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Corey Davis, WR, Titans (vs Ravens)

The 5th overall draft pick in 2017 returns to the field after weeks of hamstring problems. The Titans are ready to unleash this giant who comes complete with amazing speed. With Delanie Walker out, Marcus Mariota will have a more than suitable target to make up the difference.

Kenyan Drake/Damien Williams, RB, Dolphins (vs Raiders)

I’m hoping this just turns out to be a competition. It’s an opportunity for either to sieze the day (or Sunday Night). It might be what Adam Gase is hoping for too. The game script unfortunately looks like an airshow, but plenty of fantasy samples should still make their way into the lab after the game.

Jay Ajayi, RB, Eagles (vs Broncos)

Oh yeah, him. “Well, as an owner…” a phrase which is kinda like a student bus pass if you want to take a free shot of criticizing. Anyway, as an owner, I’ll take it, but I’m really not enthused. I think he might bust more. Or become more bust. I figure if I take the low expectations, especially since first up are the Broncos, it will look better after the game.

Brock Osweiler, QB, Broncos (at Eagles)

Oh yeah, him. Well, it’s just good to know that he’s not still in Houston during these troubled times. I just don’t think this offensive line could pss protect a good quarterback, let alone a bad one. All you can do is try.

Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants (vs Rams)

One hardest teams hit by injury this year is clearly the Giants, but they get one back. Shepard will finally take some load off Evan Engram. Shepard should be able to gain enough share of targets, without harming Engram’s production. The Rams are one of the most difficult opponents in the league to beat right now.

In the booth on Sunday

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Jim Nantz, Tracy Wolfson, Tony Romo

CBS Early

Broncos at Eagles: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Ravens at Titans: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Colts at Texans: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Bengals at Jaguars: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton

CBS Late

Chiefs at Cowboys: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo

Fox Early

Falcons at Panthers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Rams at Giants: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber
Buccaneers at Saints: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman

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Fox Late

Redskins at Seahawks: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis
Cardinals at 49ers: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston

Check out the rest of our 2017 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

About Richard Savill

Richard is an NFL Fantasy Football Writer and Editor of Fantasy Six Pack. Host of The Fantasy Edge Podcast. FantasyPros Contributor. Member of the FSWA. Richard is known for his "outside the box" insight into NFL fantasy football. Winner of the 16-Team 2015 FSWA challenge.

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