Free agent forecast: Week 9

Free agent forecast: Week 9

Roster Management

Free agent forecast: Week 9

Free Agent Auction
Bid (FAAB) Scale
$ $0 – $5
$$ $6 – $15
$$$ $16 – $25
$$$$ $26 – $40
$$$$$ $41+
Based on $100 cap,
12-team league.

Quarterbacks

1 Week Plug & Play/Grab & Stash

Josh McCown, New York Jets
McCown continued to reward fantasy owners who used him Sunday against the Falcons as one of fantasy football’s top streaming quarterbacks. He threw for 257 yards and two touchdowns. Over his last three games, McCown has averaged 273 yards passing with seven touchdown passes and three interceptions. He faces a tough Bills defense on Thursday night but with six teams on byes and waiver wires thinning out, he remains one of the best options left in many leagues for owners in need of a quarterback. Ride the hot hand.
Availability: Owned in ~ 25% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: McCown is a top streaming option for Week 9.

On the Radar: Jacoby Brissett (10%), Tyrod Taylor (60%)

Running Backs

Rock Star Free Agent

Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens
Collins rushed 18 times for 113 yards in the Ravens Thursday night 40-0 shellacking of the Dolphins. He also caught two passes for 30 yards. Baltimore’s backfield seems to change from week to week but Collins is averaging just under 6.0 yards per carry (5.97) on 80 carries this season. It’s important to note though that while Collins’ yardage total was impressive, he out-touched Buck Allen only 20-18. The Ravens were also way ahead in the second half for one of the few times this season. Add in that Danny Woodhead is expected back some time in the next month and it makes Collins a risky weekly start moving forward. He’s made the most of his opportunities this season though and Collins should get more carries moving forward. He’s worth adding in 12 or 14-team leagues. Just keep expectations in check. The Ravens offense is still the Ravens offense.
Availability: Owned in ~ 30% of leagues.
FAAB: $$-$$$
Forecast: Collins will be a low-end RB2/Flex play when the matchup is favorable.

1 Week Plug & Play/Grab & Stash

Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts
Mack continues to make the most of his opportunities. Against the Bengals Sunday, Mack gained 63 total yards and caught a touchdown pass. Mack is still being out-touched by Frank Gore but he has seven receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown in his last two games. This week the Colts face the Texans. You probably saw that the Texans can score some points now. The Colts will need to keep up on Sunday and that means Mack will make an impact as a receiver. He’s on the Flex radar in PPR leagues as a bye-week filler.
Availability: Owned in ~ 40% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Mack is a Flex option in PPR leagues.

Grab & Stash

Rex Burkhead, New England Patriots
Last week we recommended grabbing Burkhead as a stash for the second half of the season. He’ll be a hot name on the waiver wire this week after catching seven passes for 68 yards against the Chargers. He played a season-high 26 snaps. Burkhead missed four games with a hamstring injury but he’s finally healthy again. He’s going to split touches with James White, Dion Lewis and Mike Gillislee. However, as we mentioned last week, Burkhead is worth stashing in deeper leagues because Gillislee is struggling and Lewis has just been adequate. There’s a chance Burkhead’s role grows as the season progresses. The Patriots are on a bye, so this is a good time to add Burkhead if you have a roster spot.
Availability: Owned in ~ 10% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Burkhead will be on the Flex radar in competitive 12 and 14-team PPR leagues.

Danny Woodhead, Baltimore Ravens
We mentioned above that Woodhead is expected to return some time in the next month. The Ravens have a bye in Week 10. Woodhead (hamstring) is eligible to come off injured reserve after the bye week. He could play in Week 11 if everything goes well. However, even if Woodhead takes a little longer to return, he’s worth adding right now for owners in good shape to make the fantasy playoffs. Woodhead caught three passes for 33 yards in just under one quarter of play this season. He’ll be a major part of the Ravens offense once he’s healthy.
Availability: Owned in ~ 20% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Woodhead is a valuable stash for fantasy playoffs.

On the Radar: Matt Breida (10%), Jamaal Charles (30%)

Wide Receivers

Rock Star Free Agent

Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons
Sanu is still available in some leagues. He doesn’t have a big ceiling but Sanu is the epitome of a receiver owners can start in a pinch. Against the Jets, Sanu caught 6 of 7 targets for 74 yards and a touchdown. He now has 12 catches, 139 yards and a touchdown on 17 targets in two games since returning from a hamstring injury. Over that same span, Julio Jones has 12 receptions for 173 yards and a touchdown on 19 targets. While that stat makes Jones owners want to cry, it should also make you want to pick up Sanu.
Availability: Owned in ~ 60% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Sanu is a WR3/4 in PPR formats.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
Martavis Bryant wants to be traded out of Pittsburgh. He may get his wish. Bryant was inactive Sunday night. Smith-Schuster started and caught 7 of 10 targets for 193 yards and a game-changing 97-yard touchdown. He’s scored in each of his last two games. Bryant could still return to the team but Smith-Schuster’s role in the offense will continue to grow even if he plays in the slot. Antonio Brown will always dominate targets but Smith-Schuster adds a big-play element to the Steelers passing game that Bryant was supposed to provide. He’s one of this week’s top waiver wire targets.
Availability: Owned in ~ 40% of leagues.
FAAB: $$-$$$
Forecast: Smith-Schuster is a WR3/4 depending on Bryant’s status.

Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
The Giants are coming out of their bye week and Shepard is expected to return from a sprained ankle. He’ll be by far Eli Manning’s No. 1 receiver as long as he remains healthy. While Shepard isn’t a true No. 1 receiver, he should make a big fantasy impact by volume alone. Shepard already has at least five receptions in three games this season. Expect that number to rise with the Giants down to practice squad players and street free agents at the other receiver spots. Grab Shepard if he’s still available in your league.
Availability: Owned in ~ 40% of leagues.
FAAB: $$-$$$
Forecast: Shepard is a weekly WR3.

1 Week Plug & Play/Grab & Stash

Robby Anderson, New York Jets
Anderson has been productive in the surprising “Air Jets” offense led by McCown. On Sunday, Anderson caught all six of his targets and burned the Falcons secondary for 104 yards and a touchdown. He has 13 receptions for 215 yards and two touchdowns on 23 targets in his last three games. The Bills defense has been good overall this year but they do allow just under 14 receptions per game to opposing receivers. Anderson is worth starting this week if you need a receiver and he should be owned in a majority of competitive 12-team leagues at this point.
Availability: Owned in ~ 30% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Anderson is a WR3/Flex play for Week 9.

T.J. Jones, Detroit Lions
Jones caught 4 of 8 targets for 88 yards against the Steelers Sunday night. While Jones’ performance can be chalked up as a fluke performance, he’s now been targeted 17 times in his last two games. Rookie Kenny Golladay apparently has the worst hamstring injury in the history of the world. He’s been sidelined since Week 3, allowing Jones to take control of the Lions No. 3 receiver job. Jones may be a risky weekly starter but he’s seeing targets and gets a good matchup this week versus the Packers. He’s worth consideration in deeper leagues if you have receivers on bye weeks.
Availability: Owned in ~ 5% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Jones is a WR4 against the Packers this week.

Grab & Stash

Paul Richardson, Seattle Seahawks
Richardson had a big game against the Texans catching 6 of 7 targets for 105 yards and two touchdowns. He had a third touchdown called back because of a penalty. Richardson has scored three touchdowns in his last two games and he has five scores in seven games. Russell Wilson isn’t going to throw for 452 yards every week and Richardson’s value is tied to scoring but he’s showing a knack for finding the end zone. The Seahawks are on a bye this week. Richardson is a solid addition to for the rest of the season if you’re looking for receiver depth.
Availability: Owned in ~ 30% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Richardson is a weekly WR4/bye-week replacement.

On the Radar: Travis Benjamin (15%), Brandon Coleman (5%), Corey Davis (27%), Josh Doctson (40%), Tyler Lockett (40%)

Tight End

Rock Star Free Agent

Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts
Doyle had a monster game on Sunday catching 12 of 14 targets for 121 yards and a touchdown. Over his last three games, Doyle has 25 catches for 214 yards and two touchdowns on 32 targets. Doyle has clearly become Jacoby Brissett’s favorite target. He doesn’t have a ton of upside playing in the Colts offense but with the weekly targets Doyle is getting, he’s a safe weekly TE1. Grab him if you need a tight end.
Availability: Owned in ~ 50% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Doyle is a low-end TE1.

Injury Replacement

Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins
The leaves are turning. Christmas music will be on the radio soon. Jordan Reed is hurt. You can pretty much set your watch to it. Reed is dealing with a hamstring injury. He’s expected to miss Sunday’s game against the Seahawks. If history is any indicator, he’ll probably miss more time. Davis only caught two passes for 20 yards against the Cowboys but weather was a big factor. He’s produced in the past when filling in for Reed. Davis will have a big role in a Redskins offense that lacks weapons at receiver. He should be targeted heavily in fantasy leagues this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 15% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Davis is TE1 with Reed out of the lineup.

1 Week Plug & Play

Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
Higbee is a bit of a reach but it’s hard not to like any tight end against the Giants. New York has played seven games this season and its allowed at least one touchdown pass to a tight end in every one of them. Against the Buccaneers, the Giants defense gave up touchdown passes to two different tight ends (Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard). The Rams use three tight ends but Higbee has seen the most targets (27). If you play in a deeper league and are looking for a dart throw at tight end, Higbee has best matchup in Week 9.

Availability: Owned in ~ 1% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Higbee is a high-end TE2 given his favorable matchup.

On the Radar: Tyler Kroft (50%), Johnu Smith (3%)

Kickers

1 Week Plug & Play

Mike Nugent, Dallas Cowboys
Nugent is only a rental for the Cowboys until Dan Bailey returns from a groin injury. In his first game, Nugent connected on 4 of 5 field goal attempts in poor weather conditions. Nugent has always had accuracy issues from beyond 40 yards and his lone miss Sunday was from 49 yards, but he’ll get scoring opportunities kicking for the Cowboys offense. This week Dallas plays the Chiefs in a game that’s expected to be high-scoring. Grab Nugent if you’re looking for a short-term kicking option.
Availability: Owned in ~ 20% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: Nugent is a Top 10 kicker for Week 9.

On the Radar: Matt Prater (30%)

Defense/Specials Teams

1 Week Plug & Play

Tennessee Titans
The Titans are coming of their bye week and host a Ravens offense that may or may not have Joe Flacco. Even if Flacco plays, Tennessee’s defense is a strong streaming option this week. The Ravens scored 40 points Thursday night versus the Dolphins. That’s not the norm. Baltimore gives up the 13th most fantasy points to team defenses. The Titans haven’t been a great fantasy defense in 2017 but they’re worth considering at home this week against an inconsistent Ravens offense.
Availability: Owned in ~ 15% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: The Titans are a Top 15 fantasy defense for Week 9.

Detroit Lions
Brett Hundley’s first start didn’t go well for the Packers. He completed 12 of 25 for 87 yards and an interception. Green Bay is coming off its bye week, so Hundley should be better in his second start. Even so, the Lions defense is on the streaming radar against the young quarterback. Detroit’s defense is tough to run on allowing fewer than 90 rushing yards per game, so Hundley will have to beat them. The Lions defense has recorded double-digit scoring weeks in five of seven games this year. If you own the Steelers or the Vikings, the Lions defense is a good bye-week replacement.
Availability: Owned in ~ 50% of leagues.
FAAB: $
Forecast: The Lions are a Top 10 fantasy defense this week.

On the Radar: Dallas Cowboys (10%)

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