Welcome to the 2023 Fantasy Football Week 9 Vampire League Starters article.
I'm back on the winning train after falling off for one week, and my newest prize is Travis Etienne, which forced me to make an interesting roster move. My opponent had no one outside of Etienne I was interested in taking from them, so I had to make the difficult decision of sending them back to either Kenneth Walker or James Cook. I decided to send away Cook, which hurts (I love watching Cook play), but that was the best choice to make for my team. That is sometimes the sucky side of being a successful vampire because sometimes you face a trashy team and are forced to send them a valuable player.
For those of you keeping track at home, My team is 5-3 with Jalen Hurts, DeVonta Smith, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Walker, and now Etienne. I would have a better squad with Cook still on my team if I had been smart and started running back in my flex, so I would've had a crappy back to send my opponent, but we all make mistakes.
I hope you other vampires had walked away with a victory last week; if not, let's get you back on track with a victory in Week 9 and load up your team before the playoff push arrives. This season is flying by quickly, and we are just five weeks from the fantasy playoffs. Football season doesn't ever seem long enough.
2023 Fantasy Football Week 9 Vampire League Starters
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Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints
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There were a few weeks in the past when I thought Derek Carr could be a valuable starter, but the Saints' annoying red zone packages for Taysom Hill have scared me away from starting Carr. But he has proven that he can still produce fantasy production despite his team's weird obsession with Hill.
Carr has regained his skill in the Saints' last three games, averaging 21.9 fantasy points, 321.3 passing yards, and 1.3 touchdowns. He has a tremendous matchup against the flaming trash can that is the Chicago Bears, and their defense can barely tie their shoes, let alone stop a surging quarterback on a hot streak.
The Bears allow 18.8 fantasy points, 269.8 passing yards, and 2.1 touchdowns per game to quarterbacks this season. I wouldn't be surprised if Derek Carr ends up in the top five among quarterbacks in Week 9 because that is how dysfunctional the Bears are.
Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns
We were all wondering how long it would take for Hunt to re-acclimate himself in the Browns' offense. Well, I think it's safe that Hunt has accomplished that task, averaging 44.3 yards and 1.3 touchdowns in the Browns' last three games.
When Hunt resigned with the Browns after Nick Chubb's injury, I assumed, like others, that Hunt would be the lead back in the future, but that hasn't been the case. The other wrinkle is that the Browns aren't using Hunt as the primary pass catcher as in past seasons. Interestingly, Hunt has become the primary red zone back, which makes him an exciting starting option in Week 9, especially with his great matchup against the Cardinals.
The Cardinals allow the third-most fantasy points to running backs this season. They allow 27.6 fantasy points, 109.6 rushing yards, and one touchdown per game to running backs.
Zack Moss, Indianapolis Colts
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Who else is surprised that Zack Moss still gets significant touches with Jonathan Taylor returning to the Colts? He is averaging 61.5 rushing yards and 0.5 touchdowns in the Colts' last two games with Taylor back in the lineup. Yes, Moss's snap counts have decreased weekly as Taylor gets up to speed, but Moss is a very efficient runner. He has a remarkable 16.8 percent broken tackle rate and an insane 80 percent positive run rate, which bodes well for Moss in his terrific matchup against the Panthers.
The Panthers allow the second-most fantasy points to running backs this season, averaging 30.7 fantasy points, 126.7 rushing yards, and 1.6 touchdowns. This might be the last week vampires can count on Moss, so you better use him before he is gone.
Nico Collins, Houston Texans
When we vampires have a tough week, it's time to flash up the Nico Collins signal in the sky and hope he saves us in Week 9. Collins has been getting solid yardage (49.7 yards) over these past three weeks but hasn't been able to ring in a touchdown. Well, he has a fantastic matchup against the Buccaneers that should allow him to stroll into the end zone.
The Buccaneers allow 38.3 fantasy points, 188.1 yards, and 0.8 touchdowns per game to wide receivers this season. Collins is currently the 18th-highest-scoring wide receiver in fantasy football this season, so it would be wild to sit him in a very tough week with a fantastic matchup. Always remember never to be too cute when setting lineups, especially a vampire lineup.
Rashid Shaheed, New Orleans Saints
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Since Week 9 is shaping up to be a tough week in the wide receiver department, I'm looking for boom-or-bust options to catapult my team into victory. Rashid Shaheed was one of the top names on my list, and as I researched him, I realized that he wasn't as risky of an option as I had first thought.
Shaheed is averaging 4.8 targets, 83.3 air yards, and 59.9 yards this season, and his consistency has taken a considerable step forward in recent weeks. He is averaging 13.6 fantasy points during the Saints' last three games. He has the perfect matchup against the Bears in Week 9 to keep consistency while having a week-winning performance for Vampires.
The Bears allow 36 fantasy points, 156.3 yards, and 1.1 touchdowns per game to wide receivers this season. Despite trading for Montez Sweat, the Bears' defense is far away from being a decent unit, so fire up this fantastic burner against a terrible defense.
Dalton Kincaid, Buffalo Bills
I've been writing these vampire articles for a few years, and I've never written so much about rookie tight ends as much as I have this year. A new week and a new rookie tight end who has become a significant target in their offense, and this week's rookie is Dalton Kincaid.
The Kincaid breakout is happening right now; he is averaging 6.5 receptions, 70 yards, and 0.5 touchdowns in his last two games. That's good enough for me to start him against the T-bone juicy matchup against the Bengals.
The Bengals allow the second-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. Actually, with the Broncos being on bye in Week 9, that makes the Begnals the number-one matchup for tight ends this week. They allow 15.1 fantasy points, 61.1 yards, and 0.5 touchdowns per game to tight ends this season. Cincinnati has struggled recently with stopping tight ends, allowing 23.9 fantasy points to tight ends over their past two games. So, let's ride with another young rookie tight end with tons of upside in Week 9.
Treylon Burks, Tennessee Titans
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Rashid Shaheed is my safe boom-or-bust option for this week, then Treylon Burks is my risky boom-or-bust option in vampire lineups in Week 9. Burks is considered a long shot for a few reasons. First, he just returned to the team from a knee injury, and he didn't haul in a single reception in Will Levis' explosive debut. So why am I suggesting starting Burks?
Well, I will admit that this is more wishful thinking on my part because there aren't many stats that support my argument, and all I'll have is narrative-based reasoning for starting Burks. Levis looked fearless in throwing the ball around and deep, which plays well into Burks' strong suits, so hopefully, Levis will take his gunslinger ways in Week 9.
Burks has a fantastic matchup against the Steelers, who allow the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. They allow 39.7 fantasy points, 195.2 yards, and one touchdown per game to wide receivers. It's hard to see the Steelers' secondary getting back on track since they'll be without Minkah Fitzpatrick, which means softer coverage for Burks to break out.
New York Giants
The Giants' defense has been a decent unit, averaging 11.7 fantasy points since Week 5. There is good news for the Giants' defense: Daniel Jones will be returning to the team, so hopefully, he can keep the offense on the field longer to rest up the defense. Hopefully, the extra rest will lead to more turnovers and sacks for the defense, which should be plenty against the crumbling and falling Las Vegas Raiders in Week 9.
The Raiders have fired the head coach and general manager this week, and they are leaning towards starting rookie quarterback Aidan O'Connell over Jimmy Garoppolo. Chaos is surrounding the Raiders, and they will not shake off before kickoff in Week 9. The Giants' defense should have plenty of opportunities for turnovers because the Raiders' external team issues will likely cause issues on the field as well.
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