The Start’em Six
Adrian Peterson (Ari) at 49ers- Peterson will not be the player we all saw explode onto the scene in his first game with Cardinals, but he won’t be the lackluster producer he was with the Saints either. Even with Carson Palmer out, Peterson is a viable Flex start this week simply based on the volume. The 49ers have established themselves as one of the worst defenses in the NFL, so if there was ever a week to plug Peterson into your lineup, this is it. Whether it’s a standard or PPR league, Peterson is almost a must-start considering how many players have fallen victim to injury or underperformance in 2017.
Lamar Miller (Hou) vs. Colts- Miller hasn’t lit up the scoreboard this season, but as I mentioned last week, he’s been very consistent. We all know it’s been a very strange year in the NFL, so Miller is a must-start in Week 9 because of the tantalizing match-up and the guaranteed volume he’ll receive, especially now with Deshaun Watson out for the season. In a 2017 season in which offense is way down and injuries are way up, Miller is one of the safest options in Fantasy.
Amari Cooper (Oak) at Dolphins- Mr. Cooper is looking to bounce back in the second half of 2017, and what better way to propel his season than against the Dolphins’ poor pass defense. Yes, Cooper fell from grace after his monstrous performance in Week 7, but you must expect more volume and growing confidence as the season rolls along. In such a juicy matchup, and with Carr back at full strength, there’s no reason to bench Cooper unless you’re in an eight-team league with better options all around.
Kenyan Drake (Mia) vs. Raiders- As the newest hot toy on the waiver wire, Drake will get his first crack at a potential starting role in the Dolphins backfield. Word on the street is that Drake and Damien Williams will initially split carries. Neither option is very appealing in season-long formats but forced to choose one, I’d say Drake has much higher upside. He isn’t a must-start by any means, but plug Drake in if your one of many who needs help at RB or in your flex slot.
Derek Carr (Oak) at Dolphins- Since Carr’s come back from injury, he’s had one outstanding game, one dud, and one mediocre performance. I’ll give Carr some leeway for the dud since he wasn’t even supposed to come back in that game, but now he seems fully healthy. Like Amari Cooper, Carr should have big production against the weak Dolphins’ secondary. I expect both Carr and Cooper to connect many times in Week 9 because if there’s ever a game for them to go off like they did in Week 7, it’s this week.
Cameron Brate (TB) at Saints- Brate’s been a consistent producer in all Fantasy formats this season, and it’s about time he’s a must-start. Facing a Saints defense that’s stingy at both cornerback positions should allow Brate to see an uptick in usage and production for your Fantasy team.
The Sit’em Six
Will Fuller (Hou) vs. Colts- It’s a sad day when one of the biggest bright spots in the NFL falls victim to injury. With Watson gone, everyone’s value takes a hit, some more than others. Fuller could take a significant hit, and it’s very likely that he will fall back into the “boom or bust” pool, with emphasis on a bust. Watson helped bring Fuller’s game up and even if his targets remain at the level they’ve been, Tom Savage is no Deshaun Watson.
Kirk Cousins (Wsh) at Seahawks – Seattle was shredded by Deshaun Watson last week but you should but expect the Seahawks to bounce back at home after such a deficient performance. Cousins has done well overall in 2017, but the Washington team will be limping into today’s matchup with a host of injuries, especially to their offensive line, leaving them with a patchworked group protecting Cousins. He’s not the worst option for Week 9, but if you have an alternate play it might be wise to go that route.
Marcus Mariota (Ten) vs. Ravens- The Ravens are a Top 5 pass defense and Mariota hasn’t done much all year. He may give you a solid floor due to his running ability, but Mariota hasn’t displayed the high output games he did last year. Couple a solid Ravens secondary with the Titans’ ground and pound philosophy, and it doesn’t look promising for Mariota in Week 9. If you have a QB like Matthew Stafford on your roster, it’s best to go with the more favorable matchup.
Jay Ajayi (Phi) vs Broncos- Ajayi’s been rolling down dud lane lately, but maybe the trade to the Eagles is the change he needs to turn his season around. There’s no doubt he’ll benefit from the tremendously upgraded offense and offensive line, but you can be sure he’ll have his duds, especially against what is a strong Broncos defense. Besides, LeGarrett Blount and Wendell Smallwood will almost certainly cut into Ajayi’s touches. I’d wait a week for Ajayi to acclimate to his new team and see what his share of touches looks like.
Davante Adams (GB) vs. Lions- Adams has become a boom or bust type player now that Hundley is at QB. Even before Rodgers got hurt, Adams had more than a few duds. At this point, it’s difficult to trust Adams as anything more than a Flex option.
DeSean Jackson (TB) at Saints- Jackson was very consistent until last week. However, all along it’s been apparent that Jackson would eventually be a bust. Now Jackson faces a Saints secondary that’s held opposing WRs down for the most part. In standard leagues you can justify Jackson as a flex play; in PPR there are better options this week.