The King’s Week Nine Advance Scout: Peering ahead, plus Waiver Advice
-The first of two six-team bye weeks will be upon us in Week Nine. The Bengals, Colts, Eagles, Giants, Jaguars and Cardinals will all be idle. Of course, this means a heavy march to the waiver wire and starting players who are not ideal in your lineups. But before you start thinking “woe is me” about not having the services of A.J. Green, Joe Mixon, Andrew Luck, Zach Ertz, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquan Barkley and more, remember many other owners and maybe even your upcoming opponent is facing the same predicament. This is when your Fantasy acumen and savvy gets truly tested. Earn your postseason berth, don’t fret about who is unavailable.
-Derek Carr lost what was supposed to be his prime weapon when Amari Cooper was traded, yet in his first game without him, he threw for three TD passes and no interceptions vs. Indianapolis. He’s at home again this upcoming Thursday vs. San Francisco, and is only owned in 15.4 percent of ESPN leagues. He’s a worthy waiver add if you need to replace Luck or Carson Wentz. The 49ers’ pass defense is ranked eighth in the NFL in yards allowed per game, but Carr’s head coach has maintained faith in him and the San Francisco secondary is not nearly as respectable as the rank may indicate. Also, get one more good game out of Jared Cook before you consider trading him, as the inconsistency will continue to be maddening.
-The Carolina Panthers once again showed us there are no defenses to fear in Fantasy anymore after torching the Ravens. Ben Roethlisberger and JuJu Smith-Schuster disappointed in Week Eight, and both that duo and the Baltimore defense will be looking to bounce back in Week Nine. Have you noticed the Ravens defense is ranked 25th in yards per game? Roethlisberger had his worst game of the year in Week Four at home against the Ravens, throwing for one TD pass and one interception. I say he puts that outing and Sunday’s performance behind him and he’ll make a nifty DFS play. I will also take the over (47.5).
-Case Keenum gets the “revenge game” against the Texans in Week Nine, but it’s not looking good. as the passer has thrown an interception in every game this season. Houston ranks third in the league with 25 sacks, so the mistake-prone QB—who has been expectedly exposed as a journeyman-type—will have to get rid of the ball quickly. That should mean flat passes to RBs Phillip Lindsay and Devontae Booker. The latter is owned in 11.6 percent of leagues and should be considered a bye week sub to grab off the waiver wire. Booker totaled 101 yards from scrimmage in Week Nine. Lamar Miller should also be locked in for this potential third consecutive 100-yard game against Denver’s 26th-ranked run defense. Also keep a watch on the recovery of Keke Coutee (hamstring), as he is now needed more with Will Fuller out for the season.
-Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has been demonstrating incredible efficiency lately, with three consecutive games of three TD passes with one total interception during that span on 43 completions. Tyler Lockett has caught six TD passes in seven games, despite only totaling 80 receiving yards more than one time. David Moore, who is only 2.7 percent owned, will be a very popular waiver pickup this week after he totaled 97 yards and scored for the third consecutive week against Detroit. With such limited volume, it would seem Wilson, Lockett and Moore cannot sustain this sort of TD production as a trio. But with the Seattle running game humming, Wilson, a play-action master, will continue to pick his spots against opposing secondaries, especially as his pass blocking has improved vastly in recent weeks. He’s not going to finish as a Top 5 QB again, and Wilson’s rushing production has been disappointing, but ride with the TD wave as long as you can. You can at least get one more week out of him against a Chargers defense that has 10 sacks, second-lowest total in the league, without Joey Bosa. Doug Baldwin (2-26 Sunday), however, is not getting open downfield or gaining as much yardage after the catch as usual, as he has recently returned from knee problems. Don’t buy low on Baldwin because of health concerns, but consider selling on Lockett while streaming Wilson for at least adequate, and sometimes impressive production going forward. He’s making the most of his throws. Lockett may simply not be able to sustain his current TD pace, so you should at least shop him to see what you can get while his value may be at his highest.
-The early line on Titans-Cowboys is 42, but I will take the over as Dallas returns home with new acquisition Cooper set to make his Dallas debut. Tennessee’s pass defense ranks third in the NFL, but Dallas ranks fourth and the Titans’ defense will spend too much time on the field. The Cowboys will make it a point to get Cooper involved right away in what could be a blowout victory. Consider Dak Prescott as a streamer despite what the matchup says on paper.
-D.J. Moore totaled 90 receiving yards on Sunday, his best number so far, and is owned in 10.4 percent of leagues. Add him from the waiver wire this week before the Panthers host Tampa Bay if you need WR help. If Torrey Smith misses another game, that only enhances his upside in the obviously friendly matchup.
-Since his historic 219-yard outing in Week 5, Isaiah Crowell has rushed for 104 yards in three games. But you have to get him back into your lineup in Week Nine against the Dolphins, who have been getting ripped apart by feature backs recently. Lamar Miller and Kerryon Johnson both soared over 100 yards against Miami in the past two games, and if Miller can do it ( I am still not fully convinced by his recent two-game resurgence) then Crowell can, too. He’ll be a viable bye week replacement and a good guy to slide in for DFS purposes.
-More waiver considerations for Week Nine: Don’t waste a pickup on Dontrelle Inman, the Colts are on a bye and he has teased us before, only to remain mediocre. … If Marquise Goodwin was dropped in your league this past week, scoop him back up. He is boom or bust, but has more big-play potential with the Raiders next and Tampa Bay in Week 12. … Don’t overspend on DeVante Parker, as one good game is not enough to erase all the previous disappointments. But if you do get him, he’ll be a nice streamer in Week Nine against the Jets. … It’s time to cut Jordan Reed. Even against the Falcons, he may disappoint. Alex Smith has no rapport with him. If I am wrong about him this week, it will be just one quality outing before he reverts back to bust form. He’s actually stayed healthy, but has not scored since Week One and his season high in yardage is 65. … Courtland Sutton is owned in 12.1 percent of leagues. Even if Demaryius Thomas is not traded, the rookie could start to see a bigger role in the passing game soon. I have no reports to back that up, but call it a hunch based on experience. … Hold onto Tre’Quan Smith. He may re-emerge at home vs. St. Louis in Week Nine.