The Observer’s Fantasy Corner Week 9
Week 9 is already here, and after some devastating injuries to the likes of Derrick Henry and Jameis Winston, fantasy owners are scrambling to fix their teams. Don’t worry, we are here to help at Fantasy Corner and will be taking a look at what players can help give your team similar production!
Must Start: Derek Carr, QB, Las Vegas Raiders
Coming off the bye week, Derrek Carr wants to continue his red hot season against a mediocre Giants team. While the Giants’ defense has been their bright spot, their secondary has let up a tremendous amount of big plays through the air, which Carr thrives at. Carr has been consistent this season and is averaging 18.8 points per game which puts him at QB14. Carr is rostered in 55.5% of leagues, which means if you owned someone like Jameis Winston, who is set to miss the rest of the regular season, Carr would be a solid addition to your team. Play Carr with confidence this Sunday and expect him to break his season-high 24 points this game.
Must Sit: Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
When healthy, Dalvin Cook is a top-three running back. However, he has been battling an ankle injury all season and was held to just 7.8 points against the Dallas defense. The Vikings are a mess and are set to face the Baltimore Ravens coming off their bye week. The Ravens currently have the league’s fourth-best rush defense, and while Cook should be in your starting lineup every week, I advise you to play it differently and bench him. Things will get better for the former FSU running back in Week 10 when they face the Los Angeles Chargers, who have a tough time stopping the run, but for now, sit Cook and see how the Vikings try to revive their offense.
Who to Pick Up: Hunter Henry, TE, New England Patriots(Rostered in 66.7% of leagues)
Must Start: Michael Carter, RB, New York Jets
If you had Mike White leading the Jets to their second win of the season over the red-hot Bengals on your week 8 bingo board, congrats. The third-year quarterback, starting his first NFL game, has hopes running high again in New York. Of more relevance for fantasy managers, however, is White’s lead back Michael Carter. Considered a steal in the fourth round of this year’s draft, Carter has established himself as an intriguing fantasy option. Of even more relevance for PPR leagues, Carter has caught 8 and 9 passes out of the backfield in the two games that White has started, giving him a relatively high floor for the rest of the season. A quick turnaround for this week’s matchup with the Colts isn’t ideal, but Carter offers enough upside that he should be starting in your lineups, especially with the rash of RB byes and injuries (looking at you, Derrick Henry owners).
Must Sit: Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos
Sutton falls on my must-sit list for two reasons. First, his production has been steadily declining this season, mirroring the play of both Teddy Bridgewater and really the entire Broncos offense. Sutton saw only four targets last week in what should have been a good matchup with Washington as Denver failed to get much going through the air, relying on a ground game to pull out the win. The second reason Sutton belongs on your bench this week is based on his matchup. He will be shadowed by Dallas’ ball-hawking rookie Trevon Diggs for the majority of the game, limiting his upside and likely causing Bridgewater, one of the more conservative quarterbacks in the league, to avoid throwing his way at all. Sutton will continue to produce later this season, but he’s unlikely to break out of his slump in this week’s matchup.
Who to Pick Up: Adrian Peterson, RB, Tennessee Titans (Rostered in 0.1% of leagues)
Must Start: Mike Gesicki, TE, Dolphins
This should be obvious, as Gesicki is a tight end that should be starting every single week, but he doesn’t seem to be getting the attention that he deserves. Some might be scared away by his mere 4 targets this past week, but his matchup is considerably better this week and he has scored over 15 points on 4 occasions this year. Take this as a message to not only start Gesicki this week, but for the rest of the year, without hesitation. You could try and play matchups if you’re fortunate enough to have another top 10 TE, but Gesicki’s production will likely slot him just below the elite TE tier by the end of the year.
Must Sit: Marquez Callaway, WR, New Orleans Saints
Following along with my theme this week, this could be a decision that lasts through the end of the year, and Callaway could even be a drop candidate. The preseason hype has not turned into much outside of one solid performance, even with Michael Thomas still not making it to the field. Now, especially with a backup/third string QB at the helm in New Orleans, there can’t be many expectations for Callaway outside of a couple catches per game. The only way he could provide another solid week is by way of a touchdown or two, which is entirely unpredictable considering his red zone production thus far.
Who to Pick Up: DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins
Must Start: Cordarrelle Patterson, RB, Atlanta Falcons
The kick-returner/wide receiver turned running back has been on a tear since Week 2, and he has continued electric play in the two weeks following the Falcons’ bye in Week 6. He is averaging 19.2 points per game in PPR formats, a huge number for someone who was not really on anyone’s fantasy radars prior to the season. While his rushing numbers — his season-high is 60 rushing yards — are relatively pedestrian, he has made up for it in the receiving game with at least five targets in every game since Week 2. He has seven total touchdowns on the year, and with Falcons’ star receiver Calvin Ridley stepping away from the game for mental health reasons, Patterson is sure to see even more of a share of Atlanta’s offensive touches. Patterson is a must-start going forward and could be key in helping your fantasy team make a playoff push.
Must Sit: Jared Cook, TE, Los Angeles Chargers
At a position that was incredibly thin to begin the season, Cook provided some hope for fantasy managers that missed out on the top 3-5 tight ends. He has, however, become completely touchdown-dependent and very inconsistent from week to week. He only has three double-digit PPR performances all year, and when he doesn’t find the end zone he is averaging just 5.9 fantasy points. Unfortunately for those managers that picked Cook up early in the year with the hope that he would flourish alongside QB Justin Herbert, this just hasn’t been and won’t be the case. Cook should remain on your bench and you should look for TE help elsewhere as the playoffs approach.
Who to Pick Up: Ty Johnson, RB, New York Jets (Rostered in 5.3% of leagues)