Welcome to Week 9! Hope you're ready for another week of Fantasy football dominated as much by who isn't playing as who is. In addition to the injuries — we learned Myles Gaskin (knee) will be out three weeks and Ezekiel Elliott might be limited with a hamstring injury, among others — there are also many teams around the league dealing with COVID
That's life playing Fantasy during this NFL season. Keeping up with it all can be tough, which is why you should subscribe to the Fantasy Football Today Newsletter here for the latest news and analysis right to your email inbox every morning. Tuesday's edition featured answers to some of the biggest questions our readers have ahead of Week 9, and we proposed those same questions to the Fantasy Football Today crew as part of our Week 9 survey. Here's how we're approaching some of the biggest storylines this week:
More Week 9 help: Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: All Positions | Starts & Sits, Sleepers & Busts | RB Preview | WR Preview | QB Preview | PPR Cheat Sheet | Non-PPR Cheat Sheet | Matchup Notes | Game Previews | Sleepers | Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: QB | Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: RB | Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: WR | Biggest Questions | Waiver Wire | TE Preview | Trade Values | Cut List | Winners and Losers | Believe It or Not
Who is your top waiver-wire target in Week 9?
- Jamey Eisenberg: DeeJay Dallas. I know it's risky because of the potential return of Chris Carson (foot) and Carlos Hyde (hamstring), but it sounds like both might be out again against the against the Bills. And Dallas did everything you can ask for from a Fantasy running back with his work at the goal line and involvement in the passing game. He also has a great matchup in Week 9. Dallas has top-10 upside if he remains the starter for Seattle.
- Dave Richard: Damien Harris, but he's already rostered in 61% of leagues. I think I'm more interested in Gus Edwards as a possible multi-week running back option over DeeJay Dallas, who might have an expiration date of Week 10 (Week 9 if Chris Carson comes back). There's no arguing over who's been more efficient between Edwards and Dallas ... or Edwards and Mark Ingram. The longer the 30-year-old Ingram is sidelined with seems like a high-ankle sprain, the better Edwards will be.
- Heath Cummings: It's probably Damien Harris, especially in non-PPR. He could have a monster game against the Jets. In full PPR, it may be Sterling Shepard if I'm not desperate for a running back.
- Chris Towers: I think it's probably Jordan Wilkins, given how widely available he is. Dallas is a worthy add, though the risk of Carson's return — he was a game-time decision Sunday — makes it a potential waste of FAB dollars you may not be able to afford at this point in the season. Edwards' value is also dependent on Ingram's health, but the fact Ingram didn't practice at all last week makes me think he's further away than Carson. And if you don't need help immediately, Cam Akers and DeAndre Washington could be great guys to sneak through who might be hot commodities this time next week.
Give me one buy-low and one sell-high candidate.
- Jamey Eisenberg: My buy low would be Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Don't worry yourself with Le'Veon Bell, Edwards-Helaire's time will come as the best running back for the Chiefs. And my sell high would be Antonio Brown. He could be awesome in Tampa Bay, or he could struggle to see many targets with Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski there. Sell now before he takes the field and potentially loses value.
- Dave Richard: I can't see Jordan Wilkins keeping Jonathan Taylor from getting a nice workload for the rest of the season; he's never been that good of a runner. So I'll check in on Taylor to see if I can get him for cheap. Meanwhile, T.J. Hockenson has been good but not producing crazy-high numbers on the regular ... but I bet someone will pay me a ransom as if he is because the tight end position is so thin. I wouldn't mind shipping him off for a starter at another position and then streaming tight end for the rest of the season.
- Heath Cummings: I'll buy low on Michael Thomas, as I think some people may be sour on him even once he comes back. I would like to sell high on Mike Evans. He's been all touchdowns and the Bucs have Antonio Brown coming and Chris Godwin coming back.
- Chris Towers: I've been banging the "Buy low on Marquise Brown" drum for weeks, and I'm not going to abandon it now that he's publicly griped about his targets. However, you'll read more about him later, so I'll go with D.J. Moore here. He's coming off his worst game of the season and the perception seems like it could be even lower than it has been at any point before this. Moore's usage shifts depending on the defense the Panthers are playing, but he still has plenty of value in any role. Despite the frustration, he's on pace for 1,244 yards and six touchdowns. And as for a sell-high candidate, I'd be looking to move JuJu Smith-Schuster coming off his best two-game stretch of the season. He's still being targeted on almost exclusively short passes, and continues to play second fiddle to whichever of Chase Claypool or Diontae Johnson Ben Roethlisberger decides to lean on that week.
What do I do with Ezekiel Elliott? Where do you rank him rest of season? Who is the worst running back you would trade him for?
- Jamey Eisenberg: You have to keep starting Elliott based on his workload, and hopefully they keep working him in the passing game. For the rest of the season, he's still a top-15 running back and a top-30 overall player. If I could trade him, I'd look for someone like James Robinson, Josh Jacobs or buy low on Edwards-Helaire with the hope he does better with the Chiefs than Elliott does with the Cowboys.
- Dave Richard: This is a good week to put Elliott on the bench if you've got good enough running backs to replace him. See how it works out — it would have been a good decision in any of the previous three weeks, and this week he plays the Steelers. He's a No. 2 rusher for the rest of the way. If I could turn him into David Johnson I would seriously think about it.
- Heath Cummings: He's a top-10 running back. I think this offenses (and Elliott) will get better if and when Andy Dalton settles in. I would trade him for James Robinson.
- Chris Towers: Faced with what looks like a crisis situation with Elliott, I can understand the impulse to want to do something, anything, to try to fix it. You probably shouldn't trade Elliott. That's where I'll start. You'd be selling him at the absolute lowest point of his career, and things won't get worse than this. I'm viewing him as more of a No. 2 Fantasy RB rest of season, so if someone was willing to offer a legitimate No. 1 back — maybe someone like Chris Carson or James Robinson — then you can do it. But otherwise, you're probably best just hanging on to Elliott and hoping they can improve enough to make this more like a run-of-the-mill bad offense than the Jets-ian mess it's looked like of late. And hopefully they will start targeting him in the passing game more, as Elliott has two or fewer targets in three of his last four games. That's been a big hit to his value.
What do I do with Jonathan Taylor? What do you expect rest of season?
- Jamey Eisenberg: I'm still confident in Taylor as the main running back in Indianapolis, but I'll be concerned if Jordan Wilkins gets more work in Week 9 against Baltimore again. Taylor drops from a top-15 running back to a top-25 guy, but I would try to buy low if you can. Better days are still ahead for Taylor — he just has to prove it.
- Dave Richard: I expect him to eventually get moving. Wilkins is coming off a career game but has otherwise been an average NFL running back. In two weeks, don't be surprised to see Taylor moving better after the handoff. Hold him if you have him, trade for him on the cheap if you don't.
- Heath Cummings: You've got to hold at this point unless someone gives you a surefire starter in return. I don't love him this week, but I expect him to be a No. 2 running back the rest of the season.
- Chris Towers: As with Elliott, Taylor's value probably isn't going to get much lower than it is right now. Maybe Wilkins just takes this job and runs with it, but Frank Reich said he was playing the hot hand Sunday, and Wilkins got off to a hot start. Taylor hasn't been great, but he's certainly got the potential to have some hot hand games himself. You probably won't want to start Taylor in Week 9 against the Ravens, but if he returns to being the No. 1 back in that game, you'll feel good about him being a No. 2 back moving forward — and I still believe the upside is a lot higher than that.
How does Chase Edmonds project going forward and what could his role look like when Kenyan Drake eventually returns?
- Jamey Eisenberg: I love him in Week 9 against Miami and for however long Drake is out, and he should be a top-10 running back in all leagues in that stretch. When Drake returns, look for Edmonds to be at worst what he was before Drake got hurt, which is a strong flex play in PPR. But if he flashes while Drake is out, maybe the Cardinals lean on him instead of Drake as the lead running back.
- Dave Richard: I don't think Edmonds will ever be "the guy" for the Cardinals. My guess is the coaching staff views him as too small. But man, he is fast and is good as a receiver out of the backfield. This time without Drake is a massive audition for Edmonds — if he plays really well without getting hurt, he could turn Drake into a part-time player (or worse).
- Heath Cummings: He's a top-five running back for me this week and much like Jamaal Williams and Giovani Bernard he'll be must-start until the starter returns. I'd expect he goes back to being a PPR flex once Drake returns, but there's a small chance he earns the starting role in Drake's absence.
- Chris Towers: Things looked a lot brighter for Edmonds before Monday, when Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters Drake's injury wasn't as severe as it initially seemed, and "he's really made good progress." The Cardinals official website reports Drake is still unlikely to play in Week 9 against the Dolphins, but it may not be much longer than that. Edmonds looks like a must-start back for this week, but when Drake is healthy enough to play, I expect him to return to being the lead runner. I know that isn't what you want to hear, and others certainly disagree, but the Cardinals have given no reason to believe Drake's job is in any kind of jeopardy, and I doubt an injury would change that. Edmonds will still be a useful, high-upside flex option when Drake returns.
Is Marquise Brown headed for a squeaky wheel game? Will he ever live up to the boom in his boom/bust profile?
- Jamey Eisenberg: I sure hope so, and it would be great if Lamar Jackson just threw him the ball seven-plus times every week. Put the ball in his hands as often as possible. Baltimore's offense is fine as is, but increasing the touches for a premier playmaker can't hurt. I'm excited about Brown this week against the Colts.
- Dave Richard: To believe in Brown is to believe in Lamar Jackson as a thrower, and right now Jackson is making too many mistakes. His mechanics are sloppy, his footwork is sloppy and the Ravens might be content with letting the offense become more run-heavy rather than leaning on Jackson's arm 30 times per game. Brown will live up to the boom once Jackson becomes a more disciplined passer.
- Heath Cummings: Yes, he'll definitely boom again. When? Who knows? I'll probably just keep starting him as a No. 3 or flex because of FOMO.
- Chris Towers: I sure hope so. Brown tweeted (and then deleted) criticism of the team's offense — "What's the point of having souljas when you never use them (Never!!)" — and John Harbaugh acknowledged Brown's frustration and praised his play Monday. Brown is actually getting a decent amount of targets overall, though just two Sunday against the Steelers was obviously disappointing. The problem for Brown is he's been used more as a deep threat this season, and he and Jackson just haven't been able to connect on enough of those big plays yet. There's going to be a stretch where Brown hits on four or five big plays over a couple of games and puts up huge numbers, and if they try to force him the ball a bit more after this, all the better.
What do you expect Antonio Brown's impact to be in Week 9?
Note: Chris Godwin (finger) practiced Friday and has a pretty good chance of playing, according to Bruce Arians, though he may still be a game-time decision.
- Jamey Eisenberg: If Godwin plays then I expect Brown's impact to be minimal. But if Godwin is out then Brown could be a borderline starter in all leagues. Tom Brady will likely try to feature Brown in his first game, and it would be fun to see him in a prominent role. But I wouldn't be too excited if Godwin is on the field.
- Dave Richard: I have a hunch he's going to be a significant factor. This talk about Brown playing 10 to 30 snaps seems silly. If he's still even 80% of what he was in Pittsburgh, it's better than what we've gotten out of Scott Miller most weeks. The Bucs need a downfield threat — Brown will be exactly that. I wouldn't oppose him as a low-end No. 2 receiver.
- Heath Cummings: I don't know why anyone would think they know right now. I expect very little for Week 9 and I don't plan on ranking him among my top 48 receivers until we see that he's in game shape.
- Chris Towers: It's going to largely depend on Godwin's status as he returns from surgery on his finger. There's no guarantee Godwin will be back in time for Week 9 against the Saints, but if he is, I wouldn't expect much from Brown. I know everyone remembers Brown's performance in his only game with the Patriots last season, but the Bucs have a lot more weapons in the passing game than those Patriots did, and this year's Saints aren't last year's Dolphins. Brady has been spreading the ball around a lot, leading to some disappointing performances from Godwin and especially Evans, and I have a hard time believing they'll force the ball to Brown with one week of practice. He's a flex option for Week 9, one who might just be overhyped if he's not going to have a chance for a full snap share.
Who would you pick up at TE for this week with Kittle out?
- Jamey Eisenberg: Eric Ebron would be the No. 1 tight end to look for short-term. Check for Dallas Goedert and Austin Hooper, in that order, for the long-term. And then Jordan Reed would be next if healthy since he should step into Kittle's role with the 49ers.
- Dave Richard: Eric Ebron tops the list against the beleaguered Cowboys defense. Behind him is Logan Thomas, who you hope finds the end zone against a Giants defense that has had tough times with tight ends lately. After those guys? Jordan Reed would be a contingency option provided he's healthy with 49ers teammate Ross Dwelley a low-end replacement for him. Trey Burton and Dalton Schultz figure to be better.
- Heath Cummings: If Jordan Reed is in, I want him. If Jordan Reed is out, I want Ross Dwelley. If you miss them I'm looking for Jimmy Graham
- Chris Towers: I wrote about the Kittle injury when the news broke Monday, and my first suggestions were to try to buy low on Andrews or to add Goedert on waivers. The problem is, Andrews may not be available this week for your team and Goedert is on a bye in Week 9. So I would make Ebron the priority on waivers with the Cowboys on the schedule this week. If you can't get him, Trey Burton's role near the end zone — two rushing touchdowns over the last two weeks — makes him an interesting add and I like Logan Thomas' skill set and improving play.