Look for Josh Allen to Bounce Back in Week 9

Nick Mensio
·21 min read



Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em is geared toward season-long leagues but can also be used for daily fantasy purposes.

QUARTERBACK

Start of the Week: Josh Allen vs. Seahawks -- A legitimate MVP candidate four weeks into the season, Allen has taken a few steps back in the four weeks since. Weeks 1-4, Allen was the overall QB3 in fantasy, but Weeks 5-8, Allen was the QB23. Allen has a 4:4 TD:INT mark as a passer over his last four games and just one rushing touchdown in that span. His completion rate has also plummeted after a scorching-hot start. But Week 9 presents a major bounce-back spot. The Seahawks are dead last in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, 30th in pass-defense DVOA, and 28th in adjusted sack rate. Seahawks-Bills has the highest total of the weekend at 55.5 points, and a 2.5-point spread suggests a back-and-forth affair. Stefon Diggs and John Brown are in premier smash spots on the outside. In relief last week, Nick Mullens completed 72% of his passes at 9.52 yards per attempt with two touchdowns and zero picks on 25 throws. Kyler Murray hung the overall QB1 performance on the Seahawks the week before. Allen has disappointed over the last month but should be stapled to Week 9 fantasy lineups.

Starts

Tom Brady vs. Saints -- The overall QB10 in fantasy points per game on the year, Brady has shredded the competition after a slow Weeks 1-2 where he averaged 228 yards with a 3:3 TD:INT mark. Since Week 3, Brady has 17 touchdowns to one interception as fantasy’s QB7. Brady struggled badly in the Week 1 loss to these Saints and was still the QB10, but he’s settled right in with his new team while New Orleans is 26th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Every quarterback to face the Saints has registered a top-15 fantasy week, including Nick Foles and Teddy Bridgewater over the last two weeks since New Orleans’ bye. Saints-Bucs has a 51.5-point total, fifth-highest of the week, and Tampa’s implied total of 28.5 points is the week’s fourth-highest. Brady is a rock-solid QB1 with upside getting an injection of pass-catching talent in Antonio Brown. Chris Godwin (finger) may also be back after missing Week 8.

Matt Ryan vs. Broncos -- After a blow-torch hot start to the season, Ryan has five 0-1 touchdown games over his last six and is just the overall QB17 in fantasy points per game on the year. However, Ryan is averaging the fourth-most yards per attempt of his career and is due for some better touchdown luck over the second half of the season. Missing Calvin Ridley (foot) would hurt, but Julio Jones has been incredible over the last couple weeks and is enough to carry this pass offense on increased targets. The Broncos are 23rd in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and just got flamed by Justin Herbert last week before the Chargers collapsed late in true Chargers fashion. This game features a strong 50-point total, and Atlanta’s implied total of 26.75 points is the seventh-highest of the week. Ryan is a strong two-QB league start and usable streamer underneath the roof. Denver lost stud DL Shelby Harris to the COVID-19 list.

Cam Newton at Jets -- The overall QB7 in Weeks 1-3 before contracting COVID-19, Newton has been the QB30 in the three games since returning to the lineup. Newton has a 0:5 TD:INT mark as a passer in that span with just two touchdowns on the ground after rushing for four touchdowns in his first three games. The matchups have been somewhat tough against the Broncos, 49ers, and Bills, but Week 9 presents a terrific chance to bounce back against a horrid defense. Newton is dangerously close to being benched if the mistakes and turnovers continue, but the Jets should be a smashable spot. New York is 28th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, 31st in pass-defense DVOA, and 25th in adjusted sack rate. The Jets have also surrendered the ninth-most rushing yards to quarterbacks. Newton clone Josh Allen has done most of that damage with 11-61 and 14-57-1 rushing lines against Gang Green. This game doesn’t have a whole lot of fantasy appeal with a 42.5-point total, the third-lowest of the week, but Newton deserves one more shot as a QB1 against a horrendous defensive unit.

Sits

Lamar Jackson at Colts -- A major 2020 disappointment at the season’s midpoint, the reigning MVP is the mere QB12 in fantasy points per game. The Ravens are playing at the ninth-slowest pace and have run the 10th-fewest offensive plays while running the ball at the highest clip. Jackson is on pace for 35 fewer rushing attempts and close to 400 fewer rushing yards this year. And after leading the league with a 9% touchdown rate as a passer last season, Jackson sits at 6.3% this year. His numbers are down across the board. Jackson now draws a Colts team that is No. 2 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, No. 4 in pass-defense DVOA, No. 3 in opponent plays per game, and No. 3 in rushing yards allowed to Jackson’s position. This game’s 47-point total is the fifth-lowest of Week 9. Jackson hasn’t lived up to expectations at all and has already squandered easier matchups than this one. He has as much raw upside as any quarterback in fantasy, but it hasn’t really been happening this year. L-Jax is a QB2 this week.

Ryan Tannehill vs. Bears -- Tannehill is coming off arguably his worst game of the season, a stunning Week 8 loss to the Bengals where Tannehill went 18-of-30 for 233 yards and a 2:1 TD:INT mark. He was the QB13 for the week but remains firmly inside the top-12 for the season as the overall QB9 through eight weeks. The bad news is Tannehill gets a tougher home draw against a Bears Defense that is No. 1 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and No. 5 in pass-defense DVOA. Tennessee will also be playing down in pace against the Bears’ third-slowest paced offense. This game’s 46.5-point total is the fourth-lowest of Week 9. Tannehill can very easily post a respectable week, but the ceiling isn’t really there for a boom performance. Tannehill is likely to flirt with just 26-32 pass attempts in a slowed-down contest.

Drew Brees at Bucs -- The overall QB16 on the year, Brees has produced more than two touchdown passes in a game just once this season and has been more of a floor than ceiling fantasy play. He’s averaging the second-lowest yards per completion of his illustrious career, constantly dumping the ball off to Alvin Kamara and letting his stud running back do all of the work. Brees should get Michael Thomas (hamstring, ankle) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID) back for this tilt with the Bucs, but Tampa Bay is No. 5 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, No. 1 in pass-defense DVOA, and No. 3 in adjusted sack rate. In the Week 1 tilt with this Bucs defense, Brees averaged a hideous 5.33 YPA and totaled just 160 passing yards as the overall QB24. The Saints play at the fifth-slowest pace and run the ninth-fewest offensive plays.

RUNNING BACK

Start of the Week: Chase Edmonds vs. Dolphins -- Kenyan Drake (ankle) hasn’t practiced this week and looks like he’s going to miss at least one game, even if the Cardinals say his injury isn’t as serious as originally feared. On a per-touch basis, Edmonds has been the far superior player this season and now gets a chance to lead this backfield. We could conceivably see Edmonds play over 80% of the snaps against Miami. Edmonds is averaging a robust 6.1 yards per carry and will be an RB1 moving forward for however long Drake is out and could even steal his job if he plays well enough. The Dolphins are 23rd in fantasy points allowed to running backs and dead last in run-defense DVOA. Arizona’s implied total of 26.5 points is the eight-highest of the week, and coach Kliff Kingsbury runs the ball at the 10th-highest clip. The top RB fantasy stash will be very popular in DFS and a cinch top-12 season-long play.

Starts

Le’Veon Bell vs. Panthers -- In Bell’s two games with the Chiefs, Clyde Edwards-Healire has set season-lows in playing time (53%, 50%) and carries (8, 6) while Bell has played 33% and 26% of the downs, eliminating Darrel Williams from the offense. Bell’s touch counts (6, 9) haven’t been anything to write home about, but the Panthers present an opportunity to get both backs double-digit touches. Expect CEH to remain the lead back, but Bell is going to make the gap closer than Williams ever did. CEH is more of an RB2 now moving forward. Bell is an RB3/FLEX but gets a boost to RB2 status for this one with the Chiefs as 10.5-point home favorites. Kansas City’s implied team total of 31.5 points is the highest of the weekend. The Panthers are 29th in fantasy points allowed to running backs and 26th in run-defense DVOA.

David Johnson at Jaguars -- The Texans are coming off their bye week. Johnson is seeing RB2 usage but isn’t quite seeing workhorse action with Duke Johnson (five Week 7 targets) cutting into his pass-game work. When promoted, interim coach Romeo Crennel suggested Duke could play even more moving forward, but that hasn’t been the case at all two games into Crennel’s tenure, as Duke has played 27% and 29% of the snaps. David has averaged 19 targets in Crennel’s two games at the helm and now catches a Jaguars Defense that is 28th in fantasy points allowed to running backs and 23rd in run-defense DVOA. In their Week 5 matchup, David amassed 103 yards on 19 touches. D’Andre Swift (14-116-2) had his best game of the year against Jacksonville the following week. Johnson is a rock-solid, if unexciting, RB2 with the Texans settled in as 7.5-point favorites. Houston is implied to score 29 points.

Justin Jackson at Raiders -- In the first game without Austin Ekeler (hamstring, IR) in Week 5, it was Jackson who played 59% of the snaps to Joshua Kelley’s 35% clip and out-touched the rookie 20-12 while seeing six targets to Kelley’s one. Jackson looked like the far superior player against the Saints. After the Chargers’ bye, it was Kelley who played 47% of the snaps against Jacksonville in Week 7. Jackson was in on 38% of the plays. The script flipped back to Jackson in Week 8 at Denver, playing 47% of the downs and handling 20 touches. He’s been targeted 17 times over the last three games. Kelley (24%), meanwhile, played behind even Troymaine Pope (29%), and coach Anthony Lynn said he thinks Kelley is playing timid after some fumble issues. Jackson is the back to have in L.A. until Ekeler returns, and he now catches a Raiders team that is 27th in fantasy points allowed to running backs and 31st in run-defense DVOA. The Chargers run the ball at the eighth-highest clip. And Jackson’s role in the pass game raises his floor significantly as a solid RB2. Raiders-Chargers sports a healthy 53-point total as a pick’em.

Sits

Jonathan Taylor vs. Ravens -- After touching the ball 28 times in Week 2, the first game without Marlon Mack (Achilles’), Taylor has averaged just 15 touches over the last five weeks. And in Week 8 against the Lions, Taylor (34% of the snaps, 13 touches) took a back seat to Jordan Wilkins (51%, 21) while both Wilkins and Nyheim Hines combined for three touchdowns. Taylor has been a pretty big disappointment over the last month-plus and now may find himself in a three-man RBBC. Taylor is battling a bit of an ankle issue, which may be more of an excuse than anything, and can’t be trusted as anything more than an RB3 right now. This game has a meager 47-point total and projects to be one of the slower contests of the weekend. Wilkins earned a bigger role with his Week 8 performance, and the Ravens are No. 3 in fantasy points allowed to running backs and No. 1 in run-defense DVOA. Indy’s implied to score 22.25 points.

Ezekiel Elliott at Steelers -- In the first two games without Dak Prescott, Elliott played season-low 61% and 66% snap rates, posting empty 12-49 and 12-45 rushing lines in a pair of blowout losses. His snap share was back up to 78% last week against the Eagles, which is still below his early-year norm, but he still did nothing in the box score with a 19-63 effort. He saw 10 targets in Week 6, catching eight, but Zeke has been targeted just four times total over the last two contests. Elliott is the overall RB46 in half-PPR across Weeks 6-8. He’s going to be very TD-dependent running behind an injury-ruined offensive line and facing stacked defensive fronts. Either Garrett Gilbert or Cooper Rush will start Week 9 against the Steelers. It’ll be Dallas’ third QB since Prescott’s injury. Elliott is in danger of being shut down in a lost season. Dallas is implied to score a Week 9-low 14 points against the undefeated Steelers.

Ronald Jones vs. Saints -- Jones fumbled in the second quarter last Monday night against the Giants and was benched for about two quarters, playing just 24% of the snaps to Leonard Fournette’s 73% share. Fournette now has the early-down and pass-game edges over Jones, setting himself up for RB1 usage. Playing behind Fournette and against a Saints Defense that is much stronger against the run than the pass, Jones should be demoted to RB3/FLEX status. New Orleans is No. 4 in fantasy points allowed to running backs and No. 4 in run-defense DVOA. In the Week 1 date against the Saints, Jones posted 17 carries for 66 scoreless yards (3.88 YPC), and that was before Fournette was even acclimated in the offense. It would be a shock if Jones approached 17 carries in this spot despite the attractive nature of this game.

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WIDE RECEIVER

Start of the Week: Chase Claypool at Cowboys -- Since his four-touchdown explosion in Week 5, Claypool has a combined 10-114-1 receiving line on 14 targets, but the rookie has been playing about 75% of the Steelers’ offensive snaps as Big Ben’s WR1. He’s coming off nine targets last week at Baltimore and now gets a much easier draw against a Dallas defense that has lied down in a lost season. The Cowboys are 27th in fantasy points allowed to wideouts. Travis Fulgham (6-78-1), Jalen Reagor (3-16-1), Terry McLaurin (7-90-1), Christian Kirk (2-86-2), and Darius Slayton (8-129) have all met or exceeded expectations over the last month versus Dallas. With James Washington eliminated from the offense in recent weeks, the Steelers have settled on Claypool and Diontae Johnson outside with JuJu Smith-Schuster in the slot. Claypool is dripping with upside, and nobody on the Cowboys’ back end can match him. Volume is the only real concern here, as the Steelers (-13.5) could straight up railroad Dallas.

Starts

John Brown vs. Seahawks -- Brown has battled a knee issue for the last month-plus and has a combined 5-63-0 receiving line across four games since Week 2. But Brown returned to a full practice Thursday and has resumed his full snap share the last couple weeks. Coming off tough draws with the Chiefs and Patriots, this Buffalo pass offense gets a smash spot against Seattle. The Seahawks are 30th in pass-defense DVOA and dead last in fantasy points allowed to wideouts. Brandon Aiyuk (8-91-1), Kendrick Bourne (8-81), DeAndre Hopkins (10-103-1), Christian Kirk (5-37-2), and Larry Fitzgerald (8-62) have all crushed expectations in the two games since the Seahawks’ bye. Stefon Diggs is a high-upside WR1, and Brown is on the high-ceiling WR3 radar for this potential shootout featuring a 55.5-point total.

Jerry Jeudy at Falcons -- With Tim Patrick (hamstring) out last week against the Chargers, Jeudy led the Broncos in air yards and targets (10), but the rookie caught just four of those for a season-best 73 yards. With just one score on the year, Jeudy is in a breakout spot this week in Atlanta. Patrick practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday, suggesting he could be returning against the Falcons. But Jeudy should remain an essentially every-down wideout in one of the better passing environments of the weekend. Atlanta is 28th in fantasy points allowed to wideouts and 29th in pass-defense DVOA. D.J. Moore (2-55), Robby Anderson (5-48), Curtis Samuel (4-31-1), Kenny Golladay (6-114), Marvin Jones (5-80), Danny Amendola (3-62), Justin Jefferson (9-166-2), and Adam Thielen (3-51-1) have all produced usable fantasy numbers over the Falcons’ last three games. Jeudy is a WR3/4 with potential for his best box score to date.

Marvin Jones at Vikings -- After looking washed at 30 years old Weeks 1-6, Jones has come to life a bit over the last two weeks, totaling 8-119-2 on 13 targets Weeks 7-8. Now Kenny Golladay (hip) is out, putting Jones in the WR1 spot against a Vikings secondary that is 31st in fantasy points allowed to wideouts. Minnesota is dealing with serious injuries at cornerback. Mike Hughes is on I.R., and all three of Cameron Dantzler (concussion), Mark Fields (chest), and Holton Hill (foot) all missed practice Wednesday and Thursday. Jones is in position to see eight-plus targets with Golladay sidelined. He averaged seven targets per game Weeks 1-2 when Golladay was out. Jones is a boom-bust WR3 with upside in a beatable spot.

Sits

Marquise Brown at Colts -- Hollywood doesn’t have a 100-yard game since Week 1 and is coming off a one-catch effort last week against the Steelers, but Brown did make that catch “count” for a three-yard score. Afterwards, Brown took to Twitter to express frustration with his role in a since-deleted tweet. The Ravens are just throwing the ball at the lowest clip in the league while running the 10th-fewest plays. There just isn’t a lot of volume in this pass game, and Lamar Jackson hasn’t been nearly as good as last year’s MVP season. Brown’s floor is insanely low, and he now gets a tough draw against a Colts zone defense that limits big plays. Indy has surrendered just two pass plays of 40-plus yards. The Colts are No. 4 in pass-defense DVOA and No. 3 in opponent plays per game. Brown can score from anywhere on the field, but he’s just really difficult to trust right now, especially in a game with a 47-point total.

Amari Cooper at Steelers -- Cooper found his way on this list last week against the Eagles and predictably did nothing with a 1-5-0 receiving line on five targets with Ben DiNucci throwing him the ball. DiNucci has been benched after one start, but Andy Dalton is still out with a concussion, and Dallas will be starting either AAF all-star Garrett Gilbert or practice squad callup Cooper Rush under center. It’ll be the Cowboys’ fourth quarterback of the season. The Steelers have sprung leaks in the secondary this season, but Pittsburgh’s D/ST is a far better one-for-one play than any Cowboys skill player. Dallas is implied to score a week-low 14 points.

Darius Slayton at Washington -- Since Sterling Shepard returned from I.R. in Week 7, he’s seen 18 targets, and Slayton has posted 2-23-0 and 5-56-0 receiving lines on 12 targets as the deep threat in a Daniel Jones-led offense that can’t produce big plays with Jones throwing the ball. Slayton is playing over 90% of the snaps, but Jones is just too bad to overcome. Washington is No. 2 in fantasy points allowed to wideouts and No. 2 in pass-defense DVOA. When these two teams met in Week 6, Slayton went 2-41-1 on just four targets, his second-fewest of the season, and that was with Shepard still out. Slayton is a touchdown-or-bust WR3/4 in a game with the lowest total of the week at 41.5 points.

TIGHT END

Start of the Week: Noah Fant at Falcons -- Looking as healthy as he’s been since an early-season ankle injury, Fant played a three week-high 78% of the snaps last week against the Chargers and nabbed a season-high seven passes for 47 yards on nine targets. Fant is an every-week TE1 with upside who now draws a Falcons Defense that is dead last in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. T.J. Hockenson (5-59-1), Irv Smith (4-55), Kyle Rudolph (3-47), and Robert Tonyan (6-98-3) have all had success against Atlanta over the last month. The Falcons are a true pass-funnel defense, coming in at 29th in DVOA against the pass and No. 8 versus the run. Fant should start seeing positive touchdown regression and gets a friendly dome game.

Starts

Evan Engram at Washington -- Third in the league in targets among tight ends and third in routes, Engram is starting to see glimmers of hope over the last couple weeks. He leads the Giants with 19 targets over the last two weeks, producing 6-46 and 5-61 receiving lines. Engram now draws a Washington team that is 25th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends. The Football Team has clamped down opposing wideouts but gets beat regularly in the middle of the field and just recently lost stud SS Landon Collins to a season-ending Achilles’ tear. Engram’s usage is headed in the right direction, but he needs Daniel Jones to start playing better.

Logan Thomas vs. Giants -- Sixth among tight ends in routes run, Thomas is starting to find a bit of a groove with 3-42-1 and 4-60-1 lines on a total of eight targets over the last two weeks. The targets leave a bit to be desired, but Thomas has settled in as the No 2 or 3 option in this offense behind Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson. Rob Gronkowski (4-41-1) and Richard Rodgers (6-85) have both had productive games against the G-Men over the last two weeks. Thomas is a low-floor TE1 option but is in the top-12 conversation at a very weak position.

T.J. Hockenson at Vikings -- Fantasy’s TE4 on the year, Hockenson has 50 yards and/or one touchdown in every game this season. He’s not blowing the doors off in the box score, but tight end is just so weak that Hockenson’s 5-50 weeks with four touchdown grabs on the year makes him a no-brainer play. And now Kenny Golladay (hip) is out for the Lions, elevating Hockenson’s target floor. In the two games without Golladay Weeks 1-2, Hockenson went 5-56-1 and 4-62, catching all nine passes thrown his direction. The Vikings are 20th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends and 18th in pass-defense DVOA. This game has a strong 52.5-point total.

Sits

Tight end is a crapshoot, and all we’re looking for are tight ends who can find the end zone and/or see volume in terms of targets. Predicting touchdowns is the hardest thing to do in football. Just finding a tight end who is on the field enough and runs plenty of routes is difficult enough. It’s why having Travis Kelce is such an advantage in fantasy.