Observer Fantasy Football Corner — Week 9
Must start: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions
George Kittle and Zach Ertz are both hurt and are out presumably till the end of the season. This has left fantasy owners scrambling for a new tight end, and the answer to that is T.J. Hockenson. Hockenson has established himself as TE-1 in Detroit and is currently averaging 12.4 points per game. This is not great, but Hockenson has been very consistent in putting up the same numbers. Hockenson is set to face Minnesota this week and has a favorable matchup going in. I advise picking up Hockenson and starting him due to the vast amount of injuries we have seen this season. Starting him is overall just a safe play.
Must sit: all of the Cowboys wide receivers
Since Dak Prescott went down, the Cowboys entire offense has gone to shambles. After only posting one touchdown over their last three games, the Cowboys have no answers. As a result of poor play from both Andy Dalton and Ben DiNucci, the Cowboys’ receivers have suffered immensely. At one point everyone was talking about how great it is to play all three and that they could put up immense points. That is not the case anymore, and I would avoid the Cowboys wide receivers until further notice. It is a shame this is the case for what is no longer the Cowboys’ strong suit.
Who to pick up: Matt Brieda, RB, Miami Dolphins (Owned in 20% of fantasy leagues)
Must start: Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots
It’s historically difficult to get a gauge on Bill Belicheck’s plans for his backfield, but Harris should be given plenty of opportunities with Sony Michel still on injured reserve despite being removed from the COVID list. Harris put together his best performance of the season in Week 8, rushing for triple-digit yardage for the second time this season and also producing his first score. The fact he did as well as he did without catching a single pass is also impressive. Even if Michel returns to take away some of his carries, a likely resurgence in the passing game combined with the fact that he’ll be playing the Jets make Harris a solid option.
Must sit: Ronald Jones II, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The return of Leonard Fournette to the Bucs backfield has been more trick than treat for Jones owners, who saw the league’s leading rusher during Fournette’s absence put up a paltry 23 yards each on the ground and through the air. Fournette received just over twice as many carries as Jones did against the Giants (15-7), out-snapping Jones by a wide 51-17 margin as well. Part of that may have been a frustration benching by head coach Bruce Arians after a Jones fumble (albeit one that Tampa Bay recovered), but it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that Fournette is the Bucs’ lead back for good. And on the fact that Tampa faces a stingy Panthers defense on Sunday afternoon, and Jones’ odds of a strong Week 9 performance don’t exactly look sky-high.
Who to pick up: Marvin Jones Jr., WR, Detroit Lions (Owned in 49% of fantasy leagues)
Must start: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens
With veteran RB Mark Ingram II out last week for the Ravens, rookie J.K. Dobbins carried a career-high 15 rushing attempts for 113 yards alongside a decent performance from fellow RB Gus Edwards against the Steelers. Ingram’s high ankle sprain should keep him sidelined for at least a couple more weeks, which might give Dobbins the chance to continue improving his yards as the Ravens battle the Colts in Indianapolis this week. Against the Steelers’ strong defense, Baltimore looked to keep the ball on the ground to rack up 264 total rush yards, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they continue to focus on running the ball against the top-ranked Colts.
Must sit: Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys star WR Amari Cooper was targeted by not Dak Prescott nor Andy Dalton, but third-string QB Ben DiNucci a pathetic one time for a 5-yard catch in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles. All hope for Andy Dalton’s return from the concussion suffered two weeks ago and improvement in the Cowboys’ offense shattered Tuesday morning as Dalton was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, so again be wary of this offense. If the DiNucci-Cooper pairing couldn’t do much against Philadelphia, I wouldn’t be too confident that they’ll be able to do much against the undefeated Steelers this weekend.
Who to pick up: Ryan Izzo, TE, New England Patriots (Owned in 0.1% of fantasy leagues)
Must start: James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Coming off a bye, Robinson will be rested and ready to go against a Texans defense that should not offer much resistance to the impressive rookie. The Texans defense ranks 31st in the league against the run, allowing 165.9 rushing yards per game. They are also giving up 31 points per game, third-worst in the NFL. With backup QB Jake Luton set to start and fellow running backs Chris Thompson and Ryquell Armstead out due to COVID-19 complications, Robinson is poised to carry a huge workload for the Jaguars in upcoming games. He does not have any single-digit point games this season. Expect that trend to continue for the rest of the season.
Must sit: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Taylor rushed for a measly 22 yards and only caught two passes for nine yards last week, and was significantly outperformed by fellow backs Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins. The Colts now face one of the league’s top rushing defenses in the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are giving up just over 100 rushing yards per game, good for seventh in the NFL. The Colts will most likely be playing from behind for the majority of this contest, meaningless carries and more passing attempts. Given the contested backfield and the difficult matchup, I would stay away from Taylor for the week.
Who to pick up: Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans (Owned in 52% fantasy leagues)