The Week Nine Fantasy Football Stock Report
DeShaun Watson is back in a big way. Unfortunately, Will Fuller isn’t. Watson hadn’t quite looked like his studly self for most of this season until Thursday Night’s explosive performance. Fuller, a large part of the Texans success through the air, exited the game with a knee injury, which was later confirmed to be a torn ACL. Rookie Keke Coutee got a burst of steam that was quickly silenced by the Texans trade for Demaryius Thomas on Tuesday. While the current version of Thomas is not anywhere near the speedy playmaker that Fuller was, he provides another much-needed passing game weapon for Watson. He’s a QB1 against the Broncos this Sunday in Mile High.
With Royce Freeman sidelined for a few weeks, Phillip Lindsay gets a chance to further ingrain himself as the lead back for the Broncos. Freeman is a between-the-tackles bruiser when healthy and was seen as a potential Fantasy monster this year, but Lindsay has outperformed him all season. Devontae Booker gets a boost as well and he impressed enough on Sunday to be considered a Flex play. Lindsay also excels in the passing game, adding to his upside. Consider him a high-end RB2 while Freeman is out. Expect a workload drop when he returns, but Lindsay should remain a viable Fantasy starter.
Since his seven reception, 76 yard-game to open the season, Larry Fitzgerald hadn’t totaled more than 40 yards until last Sunday. He also hadn’t scored a TD. Both of those things changed in Week Eight, with Fitzgerald recording his first TD and first 100-yard game on a season high eight receptions. With Byron Leftwich now calling the plays in Arizona, Fitzgerald has new life. That is a welcome concept for his Fantasy owners, who were likely on the verge of dropping the perennial stud. Assuming Josh Rosen doesn’t fully implode, he’s a definite WR3 option with upside for more if he keeps getting peppered with targets.
Jack Doyle returned to action and turned in a six catch, 70-yard, one score outing. He hadn’t played since Week Two and in that time watched Eric Ebron perform like the Lions thought he would when they drafted him 10th overall in 2014. The concern was that Doyle might take a back seat to Ebron, but it appears that both will be heavily involved. With only T.Y. Hilton as a legitimate pass-catching threat, targets are up for grabs and this offense should absolutely support two TEs. Doyle and Ebron are both back end TE1 options.
Without the dynamic weapons he enjoyed in Kansas City, Alex Smith is back to being a vanilla Fantasy option. He’s had three straight games with under 200 yards, no more than two TDs in a game and more than 40 attempts just once. Smith has a few exploitable matchups coming up in Weeks Nine and 10, but the injuries to the wideouts in Washington have further dimmed his potential. He’s nothing more than a bye week desperation play and a boring, low upside Two QB starter.
Matt Breida is a very talented back with an RB2 ceiling, but his health and workload are holding him back. He’s only had a yards per carry average under four in two games this year, the last two. While Breida has had double digit touches in all but two games, his season high is 16, which came on Sunday. He’s been questionable to play for the last month and injuries could be taking a toll on his performance. Breida has also not been a factor in the passing game, which further caps his upside. He has grossly outplayed Alfred Morris, but Raheem Mostert could be a problem if Breida’s injuries linger. In the midst of bye weeks, he’s still in play as a starting option when active. Unless he starts getting workhorse touches, though, he’s going to remain a low-end RB2 option.
Nelson Agholor already had a down arrow entering this week and Tuesday’s trade for Golden Tate further hurts his value. Tate’s presence will also dent the target share of Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery, but no one will be impacted more than Agholor. He has just two games with more than 49 yards and only one TD that came in Week Two. He simply hasn’t been able to recapture the success he had with Carson Wentz last season. With Tate in town, Agholor becomes no better than the fourth option in Philadelphia’s passing attack.
The New Orleans comeback hasn’t gone exactly as planned for Ben Watson. He originally left after setting career highs across the board in the 2015 season but he is now 37 years old. He’s still involved in the passing attack (except last Sunday), but it isn’t translating into meaningful Fantasy production. Given that the Saints run one of the most high-powered offenses in the league, there is always a chance that Watson randomly delivers a Top 10 performance for the position. He’s basically a warm body that you can plug into your lineup and most likely not take a zero, just don’t expect much more than that.