Our trek through November football begins with the arrival of Week 9. Join me, dear Razzballers, on the lovely Mayflower as we voyage across the ocean in search of greener pastures and kinder kings. Perhaps if your season hasn’t gone as planned, you instead find yourself sailing behind us in the Nina, Pinta, or Santa Maria as you chase your fellow league-mates for playoff spots. And if the season has truly been a disaster, you may have already died of scurvy, pneumonia, or tuberculosis before we left the port. Indeed, the campaign’s midpoint is looming, and the decisions that lie ahead could be the ones that make or break your pursuit of a championship. This week, we’ll touch on 10 players in particular, including bold opinions on Derek Carr, and DK Metcalf. Week 9 start vs. sit begins right now.
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START: Derek Carr. DC seems to be finding a groove in New Orleans. Each of the last three weeks, Carr has thrown for 300-plus yards and at least 17 fantasy points. He has ranked inside the top-15 fantasy quarterbacks each of the last four games and now draws the Bears at home, who are allowing the sixth-most yards per attempt (7.1) to go along with a whopping 17 passing touchdowns and 2,098 air yards — both of which rank second-last in the NFL. Carr is a top-10 option in Week 9.
SIT: Daniel Jones. Although there shouldn’t be too many owners tempted to play Jones this week, if you are considering it, please stop. Jones returns from injury on the road against the Raiders, which is hardly a challenge, but he hasn’t played since Week 5. Even then, he finished as a top-20 quarterback just once in five games. Avoid.
CONCERNED ABOUT: Gardner Minshew. Some are recommending Minshew this week, as he should be gifted with a relatively clean pocket against the Panthers. However, Jared Goff and Tua Tagovailoa are the lone quarterbacks to turn in QB1 production against Carolina this year and Minshew’s underlying metrics aren’t pretty.
START: Zack Moss. Although his workload is declining in favor of Jonathan Taylor each week, Moss still saw 12 touches last week and converted that into 14.0 half-PPR points and an RB14 finish. In Week 9, Moss faces arguably his most favorable matchup of the season against a Panthers run defense surrendering the third-highest yards after contact per carry in the league. If forced to deploy him as such, Moss is a serviceable RB2 to stream this week.
HAT TIP: Darrell Henderson Jr. Over the last two weeks, Henderson has combined for 34 touches on 30 carries and four receptions but has found the endzone just once. Against the Cowboys in Week 8, Henderson garnered 15 touches and didn’t find the endzone, but still translated that to an RB22 finish in half-PPR thanks to 85 scrimmage yards. He will split touches with Royce Freeman, but the matchup against the Packers this week is enticing enough to view Henderson as a worthy Flex play.
SIT: Rhamondre Stevenson. The Patriots lead back has totaled 18 half-PPR points the last two weeks and went through a stretch from Weeks 3-5 where he combined for just 14. Stevenson draws the Commanders in Week 9, who aren’t the same elite front they were a couple of years ago but have been playing well across the last three to four weeks. It’s tough to see this being the week Stevenson pops.
START: Rashid Shaheed. I nearly led with the name below, but due to his injury designation, I elected to shift to Shaheed last minute. It’s a risky play most wouldn’t recommend, but he’s a worthy stack with Carr in an offense that looks to be hitting its stride midseason. Shaheed carved up the Colts for 153 yards, one touchdown and 23 half-PPR points (WR4) last week. The Bears won’t fare much better, and Shaheed and Carr will connect for at least one deep ball in this matchup.
HAT TIP: Josh Downs. Contrary to what many pundits expected out of Downs, he has been a consistent part of the Colts offense this season. He has received five-plus targets in seven of eight games, including at least six in four consecutive matchups heading into Week 9. In those four games, he posted 315 yards and two scores. On top of that, Downs has been a top-35 fantasy receiver in five of the last six contests (WR32, WR18, WR30, WR4, WR29) and will now be guarded by Carolina’s Troy Hill this week.
SIT: DK Metcalf. This one hurts because there’s really no one I love watching more when he’s cooking than Metcalf. But feelings aside, Metcalf is just the WR27 this season and has finished outside of the top 25 fantasy receivers in each of his last two games. He has yet to produce a top-20 finish in half-PPR this season. In Week 9, he’ll be guarded by Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Stevens, who anchor a Ravens pass defense allowing the fewest yards per attempt (4.6) in the league by a significant margin.
START: Logan Thomas. Will he boom or bust this week? Thomas’ weekly finishes through Week 8: TE8, TE13, TE50, TE5, TE22, TE6, TE13. He’s always a risky play, but my best is he booms this week. His previous two performances have been strong, backed by 10 receptions on 14 targets. Although Thomas saw just one target in Week 6, he had a season-high 11 in Week 5. That leads me to believe Week 6 was the outlier and he should garner another six-plus targets in Week 9 as the Commanders continue to huck the ball at will (albeit against the Patriots).
SIT: Kyle Pitts. Unless you like hurting yourself and crying brings you comfort, I don’t see any reason to do this to yourself. Many owners will be tempted due to Drake London’s cloudy status. Let the baseline numbers speak for themselves, and don’t overthink this one. Arthur Smith and this staff simply don’t know how to maximize Pitts’ remarkable talents.