Fantasy Football Week 9: Jameis Winston, Devonta Freeman ready to go, but surprise inactive for Leonard Fournette leaves you scrambling

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UPDATE: Leonard Fournette's ankle injury is all healed, but he is a surprise inactive for Week 9, as we learned Sunday morning he has been suspended for violating team rules. This came entirely out of nowhere, and leaves Fantasy players scrambling to find a replacement. 

Chris Ivory is the obvious replacement, and if you can add him, he's worth adding. He played 38 snaps in Fournette's absence in Week 7, rushing the ball 17 times for 47 yards and a touchdown. T.J. Yeldon was the more productive back in Jacksonville in that game, rushing for 122 yards on nine carries and a score, but should run behind Ivory with Fournette sidelined. He is a desperation play, while Ivory is more in the low-end No. 2 conversation against the Bengals. 

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The past NFL week was one of the more tumultuous in recent memory, as season-ending injuries, trades and yet another courtroom decision served to shake up the landscape. That sets up an intriguing Week 9 from a fantasy perspective, one that will see some new faces unexpectedly step to the forefront. With plenty to break down, let's dive into who's trending toward suiting up heading into Sunday morning:

Quarterback

  • As was the case the last two weeks, the Buccaneers' Jameis Winston heads into Sunday morning battling an AC joint sprain in his throwing shoulder. However, he's fully expected to start after turning in limited practices Wednesday and Thursday and capping off the week with a full session Friday. Winston has provided markedly different results in the two games he's played with the injury, following up a 384-yard effort in Week 7 with a season-low (for a full game) 210 yards against the Panthers in Week 8. While a Superdome date has almost always produced fantasy gold for opposing offenses in past seasons, it's worth noting that the Saints have been much improved against the pass over the first half of 2017, ranking in the top half of the league in fantasy points allowed in standard scoring formats to quarterbacks (16.29).
  • The Ravens' Joe Flacco (concussion) is officially listed as questionable for Sunday's contest against the Titans despite turning in three full practices this week. Flacco will be 10 days removed from having suffered his injury in a Week 8 Thursday Night Football win over the Dolphins, and as per early Sunday reports, is expected to play barring any last-minute setbacks.
  • The Dolphins' Jay Cutler (ribs) turned in three full practices this week and is fully expected to start Sunday night versus the Raiders as per early Sunday morning reports. Factoring in the expected return of Devante Parker (ankle), the trade of running back Jay Ajayi and a matchup against a Raiders defense that's ranked in the bottom half of the league in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks in standard scoring formats (18.50), the Dolphins' passing game could take center stage in Week 9.
  • The week-to-week ordeal for Andrew Luck's fantasy owners is finally over, as the three-time Pro Bowler was declared out for the season Thursday. Those in keeper and dynasty formats holding Luck shares will have to carefully monitor his progress, or lack thereof, moving forward, while the Colts offense will presumably be helmed by Jacoby Brissett the remainder of the season. Brissett's limitations and inexperience will continue to cap the fantasy prospects of all Colts pass catchers to an extent, but the fact that the starting job is now his to lose the rest of the way in 2017 could lead to a more confident and productive player.
  • The Texans' Deshaun Watson became the second high-profile arm to hit injured reserve Thursday, although his designation came completely unexpectedly. The standout rookie suffered a non-contact right knee injury in practice that ultimately was diagnosed as a torn ACL, short-circuiting what was shaping up to be one of the most impressive first-year campaigns in recent memory. Watson should be close to or at full health by training camp 2018. In the interim, Tom Savage, who lasted all of one half as the top quarterback in Week 1 before being pulled for Watson, will take over behind center. His presence will dampen the fantasy prospects of DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, but it's conceivable that the time on the bench observing Watson could pay dividends for Savage in his surprise second go-around as a starter.

Running Backs

  • The biggest news of the week at the position stems from the courtroom as opposed to the trainer's room, as Ezekiel Elliott will be in uniform after all for the Cowboys' Week 9 tilt against the Chiefs. Despite not seeing his appeal granted until Friday, he should have no restrictions on playing time Sunday. Those who nabbed either or both Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden off the wire mid-week might be wise to stash them, considering Elliott's request for an injunction is scheduled to be heard early next week.
  • The Falcons' Devonta Freeman turned in three limited practices throughout the week while nursing a shoulder injury, but doesn't carry an injury designation heading into Sunday's matchup against the Panthers. He doesn't sport the brightest fantasy outlook in Week 9, however, as Carolina has allowed just 66.6 yards per game to running backs on 3.6 yards per carry, and Freeman saw backfield mate Tevin Coleman tally two more rushing touches than him in Week 8.
  • Rob Kelley (ankle) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Seahawks after turning in three limited practices this week, with early Sunday morning reports indicating that he'll play but won't see a full starter's workload. Kelley has been battling the injury for approximately three weeks and has produced just 35 yards on 15 carries in his last two games. He'll also be facing a Seattle defense that's allowed just 59.2 rushing yards per game and 3.0 yards per carry over the last four contests.
  • The Cardinals' Andre Ellington (quadriceps) is officially listed as questionable after turning in three limited practices this week. Coming off a bye, Ellington is expected to take the field Sunday against the 49ers, as per early Sunday morning reports. His biggest role is likely to come in the passing game, as Adrian Peterson projects for the majority of the rushing workload.
  • The Ravens' Terrance West (calf) is out once again in Week 9, leaving the Baltimore running attack in the increasingly capable hands of Alex Collins and Javorious Allen.
  • The Seahawks' C.J. Prosise (ankle) is officially listed as questionable despite working back to a full-speed practice Friday, and he's been labeled as a game-time decision by head coach Pete Carroll. J.D. McKissic would project as the passing-down back once again in Week 9 against the Redskins if Prosise can't suit up.

Wide Receivers

  • The Broncos' Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) is questionable to take the field against the Eagles after a trio of limited sessions this past week. Sanders is optimistic about his chances of returning to action in Week 9, and early Sunday morning reports indicate that he's expected to play. If he were ultimately unable to suit up, Bennie Fowler would presumably step in opposite Demaryius Thomas versus Philadelphia. Whatever starting duo lines up for Denver, they'll be hampered by the fact that they'll see their targets coming from the arm of Brock Osweiler.
  • The Dolphins' DeVante Parker (ankle) was able to turn in three full practices this week but is listed as questionable Sunday night against the Raiders. However, reports out of Miami are that he is expected to suit up and start.
  • The Giants' Sterling Shepard no longer carries an injury designation after shaking his ankle injury during the bye week.
  • The Titans' Corey Davis (hamstring) will also make a return to the field in Week 9 against the Ravens after last seeing action in Week 2, although head coach Mike Mularkey has already stated the rookie won't see a full workload.
  • The Redskins' Jamison Crowder (hamstring) is out against the Seahawks on Sunday after missing practice all week. With Jordan Reed (hamstring) also sidelined, a number of Washington pass catchers stand to potentially benefit, including Chris Thompson, Josh Doctson, Ryan Grant and even forgotten man Terrelle Pryor.
  • The Ravens have a pair of wideouts with questionable designations, but both are expected to play as per late Saturday night reports. Jeremy Maclin (shoulder) was able to turn in three limited practices this week, while Mike Wallace (back) sandwiched two full practices around a limited session.
  • The Cowboys' Cole Beasley (concussion) is listed as questionable against the Chiefs, despite progressing to a full practice by Friday after not participating to open the week on Wednesday. As per early Sunday morning reports, he's expected to take the field Sunday.
  • Meanwhile, teammate Dez Bryant has no injury designation after starting Week 9 prep with a limited practice Wednesday due to a knee ailment. Full practices Thursday and Friday ensure he'll be on the field for what projects as one of the highest scoring games of the week and against a Chiefs defense allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers (26.50) in standard scoring formats.
  • The Lions' Kenny Golladay (hamstring) is listed as doubtful for Monday night against the Packers after only managing a sole limited session this week, which came Saturday. Golladay last saw the field in Week 3, and his continued absence would afford the emerging TJ Jones (17 targets, seven receptions, 121 yards the last two weeks) extended work once again.
  • The Jaguars' Marqise Lee (knee) is questionable for Sunday's matchup against the Bengals after only managing a limited practice this week, but he will play as per late Saturday night reports.
  • The Chiefs' Albert Wilson (hamstring) is out against the Cowboys in Week 9. His absence will afford Demarcus Robinson a starting opportunity alongside Tyreek Hill against a Dallas defense allowing 21.43 fantasy points per game in standard scoring formats to wide receivers.
  • The Niners' Pierre Garcon (neck) was placed on injured reserve this past week, leaving San Francisco with a starting receiver duo of Aldrick Robinson and Marquise Goodwin. Both players have excellent downfield speed, although Robinson has a slightly thicker frame to handle work between the numbers. Tight end George Kittle could also see a nice uptick in volume with Garcon sidelined for the balance of the campaign.
  • Adam Humphries (ribs) is questionable against the Saints in Week 9 despite working back to a full practice by Friday. If he's ultimately unable to suit up, rookie Chris Godwin would bump up a notch on the depth chart and serve as the third receiver versus New Orleans.
  • The Bengals' Tyler Boyd (knee) remains out in Week 9.

Tight Ends

  • Eagles Zach Ertz (hamstring) is questionable for Sunday's contest against the Broncos after a pair of limited practices to close out the week. However, as per early Sunday morning reports, head coach Doug Pederson has confirmed that Ertz will suit up versus a Broncos defense allowing an AFC-high 10.43 fantasy points per game to tight ends in standard scoring formats.
  • The Titans' Delanie Walker (ankle) is questionable after managing just a sole limited practice this week. Walker's injury is a bone bruise, so he could potentially be limited in his downfield routes if he does suit up. Promising rookie Jonnu Smith would be poised for extended run if Walker either sits or is limited.
  • The Redskins' Jordan Reed (hamstring) is out for Sunday's game versus the Seahawks, as is position mate Niles Paul (concussion). The dual absences set up well for Vernon Davis, who impressed in Reed's stead last season and will likely absorb close to 100 percent of the tight end snaps in Week 9.
  • The Ravens' Nick Boyle (toe) is questionable for Sunday's contest versus the Titans after missing practice all week. Meanwhile, teammate Maxx Williams (ankle) carries the same designation despite putting in three full sessions.
  • The Packers' Martellus Bennett (shoulder) is doubtful for Monday night's matchup with the Lions after missing practice all week. His absence would leave Green Bay's tight end reps in the hands of Lance Kendricks and Richard Rodgers.

Kickers

  • The Cowboys' Dan Bailey (groin) remains out for several more weeks, leaving Mike Nugent, who racked up 15 points in his Week 8 debut against the Redskins, as a viable streaming option in what should be a high-scoring affair versus the Chiefs.
  • The Bengals' Randy Bullock (back) is questionable for Week 9 versus the Jaguars, and he could well be a game-time decision after a pair of missed practices this week. Marshall Koehn, who Cincinnati signed Saturday, would step in if Bullock is unable to go.

Key Defensive Players

  • The Seahawks' Earl Thomas (hamstring) is out after missing all three practices this week, while teammate Kam Chancellor (ankle) is questionable after logging two limited practices and one full session.
  • The Chiefs activated Tamba Hali (knee) from the Physically Unable to Perform list Saturday and he's expected to play versus the Cowboys on Sunday. His presence could be particularly timely, considering that position mate Justin Houston (knee) is questionable after a pair of limited practices and one missed session this week, while Dee Ford (back) is out after missing practice all week.
  • The Bucs' Brent Grimes (shoulder) will miss his second consecutive game in Week 9. However, teammate Robert McClain (concussion) has been cleared to play against the Saints. Tampa also has a trio of players on their front seven – Kendell Beckwith (knee), Robert Ayers (ankle) and Chris Baker (ankle) – carrying questionable designations.
  • The Packers' Morgan Burnett (hamstring) won't carry an injury designation into Monday night's matchup versus the Lions after turning in two full practices to close out the week. Green Bay also placed Kentrell Brice (ankle) on injured reserve this past week.
  • Meanwhile, Packers linebackers Ahmad Brooks (back) and Joe Thomas (ankle) are listed as doubtful and out, respectively.
  • The Rams' Cody Davis (thigh) was placed on injured reserve this week as well.
  • The Cardinals' Karlos Dansby (finger) is questionable versus the 49ers.
  • The Falcons' Duke Riley (knee-meniscus) is out after missing practice all week.
  • Ditto for the Bengals' Kevin Minter (elbow), who is out against the Jaguars.
  • The Broncos' Todd Davis (ankle) is questionable versus the Eagles after three limited practices this week.
  • The Texans' Dylan Cole (hamstring) is out for Sunday against the Colts.
  • The Colts' Vontae Davis (groin) is out despite a pair of full practices this week.
  • Indianapolis will also be without John Simon (neck) in Week 9.
  • The Giants' Jonathan Casillas (neck) and B.J. Goodson (ankle) are both out versus the Rams. The same applies for Olivier Vernon (ankle), who once again missed practice all week. Finally, Janoris Jenkins will log a self-inflicted absence due to a team suspension.
  • The Raiders' Cory James (knee) is questionable versus the Dolphins on Sunday night, as is teammate Nicholas Morrow (ankle).
  • The Seahawks' Bobby Wagner (hamstring) is questionable versus the Redskins despite working up to a full practice Friday. Teammates Sheldon Richardson (oblique) and Jeremy Lane (groin) carry the same designation after missing multiple practices this week.
  • The 49ers' Reuben Foster (ribs) is questionable for Sunday's matchup against the Cardinals but is expected to play as per early Sunday morning reports.
  • The Bengals' Michael Johnson (back) is questionable versus the Jaguars.
  • The Raiders will once again be without cornerbacks David Amerson (foot) and Gareon Conley (shin) versus the Dolphins on Sunday night.
  • The Redskins' list Bashaud Breeland (knee-MCL) as questionable versus the Seahawks.
  • The Lions' Ezekiel Ansah (knee) is questionable after three limited practices this week.
  • The Dolphins' Andre Branch (groin) is questionable versus the Raiders on Sunday night despite a full practice Friday.
  • The 49ers' Solomon Thomas (knee-MCL) is out against the Cardinals after missing practice all week.
  • The Texans' Johnathan Joseph (shin, quad) is questionable against the Colts after a pair of limited practices this week.
  • The Ravens' Jimmy Smith (Achilles) is questionable despite a pair of full practices to close out the week, while secondary mate Lardarius Webb (concussion) carries the same designation despite having followed Smith's practice pattern.
  • The Eagles' Ronald Darby (ankle) is questionable against the Broncos after three limited practices this week and appears headed for a game-time decision.
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