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D'Onta Foreman and Tyler Boyd (for his late touchdown that didn't matter) were some of the fantasy heroes from this column last week. With six teams on a bye in Week 9, we must search for more unsung heroes — that's what the FLEX position in fantasy is all about. Missing players like Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb never helps anyone, but I'm here to help you (I hope).
The NFL trade deadline made things a little more interesting as we'll now have to see how players like Chase Edmonds, Jeff Wilson and Nyheim Hines fit with their new teams/backfields. They'll all be important, but none will make this week's FLEX plays until we see how they do.
So with that said, let's talk about a few players whom we kind of know what they're about. Let's get it.
DeVonta Smith - WR, Eagles @ Texans
I had Smith in this column for Week 8 and he didn't deliver, despite a monster day in the passing game from Jalen Hurts. It's ok — it was just an A.J. Brown day; that happens with star wide receivers. Although Smith had a quiet day with five receptions for 23 yards, he still saw eight targets so he's very much involved. Even with that down game, he's still been the WR18 since Week 2 and the Eagles have already had their bye week.
The Texans enter Week 9 with the sixth-best defense against receivers in fantasy, but don't let that fool you, they have the worst fantasy defense against running backs. So why start Smith? The Eagles will want to make sure they jump out to a lead much like they did against the Steelers in Week 8 and they'll continue to use the passing game to get there.
Gerald Everett - TE, Chargers @ Falcons
I'll throw a tight end in here every once in a while when I really like the matchup. For Week 9, I have Everett ranked as my TE5, so he should definitely be in your TE slot. With Mike Williams already out and the combination of Keenan Allen/Josh Palmer on the fence, Everett could find himself as Justin Herbert's top target. In his last game against the Seahawks, he caught 5-of-9 targets for 63 yards. Furthermore, the Falcons defense is the eighth-worst against tight ends in fantasy this season. With both defenses struggling as of late, the over/under of 49 suggests that this will be a high-scoring game. The Falcons are coming off of a game in which they gave up 34 points to the P.J. Walker-led Panthers. Herbert and company will present a bigger challenge and Everett will be a part of it.
Khalil Herbert - RB, Bears vs. Dolphins
Let the good times roll — Herbert is improving every week. He's coming off a game against the Cowboys (who have the seventh-best defense in the NFL) where he rushed 16 times for 99 yards and a touchdown. The Dolphins are coming off a victory against the Lions where they let D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams combine for 23 touches, 109 yards and three touchdowns. Both Herbert and David Montgomery have a chance to succeed against a Dolphins' defense that's middle of the pack when it comes to defending backs in fantasy. The Bears will look to run the ball more than the Lions did, but if they get behind you could see Herbert factoring into the receiving game even more.
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Romeo Doubs - WR, Packers @ Lions
Doubs has been underwhelming since Week 4 but showed some signs of life in Week 8 against the Bills. The rookie hauled in 4-of-7 targets for 62 targets and a beautiful touchdown catch. Injuries and uncertainty for Packers receivers Allen Lazard and Christian Watson may make it inevitable for Doubs to be Aaron Rodgers' top target in Week 9.
The Lions, who tout the fifth-worst defense against receivers in fantasy, just let up 20 receptions, 294 yards and two touchdowns to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle in Week 9. That duo is a different animal, but the Lions will be vulnerable to the pass. Like last week the Lions are 3.5-point underdogs in a game that has a high over/under (49.5), so expect them to keep pace — and keep the Packers throwing.
Rondale Moore - WR, Cardinals vs. Seahawks
On last week's “keep it open/closed” segment of Fantasy Football Happy Hour (on Peacock), Moore was a player I wanted to keep the tab open for and a 7/92/1 stat line was why. Moore is the clear WR2 in a Cardinals' offense that's always playing from behind. In Week 8, Moore played 58 percent of his snaps from the slot and it was part of the reason for his success. In Week 7 when he only registered a catch for 31 yards, he played only 13.7% of his snaps in the slot. Seahawks rookie cornerback Tariq Woolen is a big reason why the team is the third-best against receivers in fantasy, but he'll be on the outside against DeAndre Hopkins. At nickel back they'll have Coby Bryant, who has a 110.3 quarterback rating against him. Bryant also has a 79% completion rate against him in the past two games. Bryant and Moore should see a lot of each other and Moore should be on pace for another solid day.
Devin Duvernay - WR, Ravens @ Saints
Rashod Bateman will be out for a few weeks with a foot injury so Duvernay will continue to man the Ravens WR1 role. He only had six touches in Week 8, but they went for 64 yards and a touchdown. The Ravens' willingness to use him in multiple roles increases his value as well. Duvernay can be seen lining up out wide, in the slot, in the backfield and on returns. If Marshon Lattimore isn't able to return, that's certainly a plus for the Ravens' offense. It would benefit the Ravens to have Duvernay involved as much as possible as he averages 2.3 touches and 35 yards per game in the Ravens' losses but averages 4.8 touches and 52 yards per game in the Ravens' five wins. Duvernay has a chance to take advantage of his opportunities on Monday Night Football.