Free Agent Forecast: Week 9

Free Agent Forecast: Week 9


Free Agent Forecast: Week 9


Rockstar Rock Star Free Agent
Injury Injury Replacement
Grab & Stash Grab & Stash
1 Week Plug & Play 1 Week Plug & Play
Dumpster Dive Dumpster Dive
Free Agent Auction
Bid (FAAB) Scale

$ $0 – $5
$$ $6 – $15
$$$ $16 – $25
$$$$ $26 – $40
$$$$$ $41+
Based on $100 cap,
12-team league.

Given the diverse scoring systems and sizes of fantasy leagues, producing a weekly list of free agents that satisfies the masses can be challenging. For the most part, the column will hone in on players who are available in at least 35% of all fantasy leagues. If you play in a small league (8 teams), chances are there may be better players to pick up than you see listed here. If you play in a large league (16 teams), the majority of the players highlighted may already be on a squad; however, expect to find hidden gems, as well.


Eli Manning, Giants
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Colts defense just got ripped by Ben Roethlisberger for 522 yards and six touchdowns. Eli Manning and the Giants had the bye week to adjust the offense to life without Victor Cruz. Manning has run hot and cold this year but he has three games with at least 248 yards passing and five games with multiple touchdown passes. Expect Eli to have one of his better fantasy days of the season Sunday against a Colts defense allowing 253 yards per game through the air.
Availability: Owned in ~ 72% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Manning will throw for 250+ yards and at least two touchdowns.

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
1 Week Plug & PlayTannehill didn’t have a great fantasy day against Jacksonville but he’s still worth considering if you need a quarterback this week. The Chargers are hurting in the secondary and Tannehill was red hot coming into last Sunday’s game. In his previous three contests Tannehill had thrown six touchdown passes and for at least 244 yards in each game. Tannehill is also rewarding fantasy owners with his legs. In his last four games Tannehill has rushing outputs of 35, 49, 48 and 48 yards. Look for Tannehill to rebound this week against the Chargers.
Availability: Owned in ~ 58% of leagues.
Forecast: Tannehill will post borderline QB1 numbers this week.

Robert Griffin, Redskins
Grab & StashRG3 is close to returning. He’ll either be back this week against Minnesota or after Washington’s Week 10 bye. Granted, Griffin wasn’t exactly lighting it up before he got hurt but if you’re looking for quarterback help, he’s worth grabbing. Washington has weapons and there’s a chance Griffin returns and puts up big numbers over the final six or so games. There isn’t a lot left on the waiver wire right now in many leagues and Griffin is one guy who is still out there. If you need a quarterback, it’s down to him and the Brian Hoyer’s of the world.
Availability: Owned in ~ 40% of leagues.
Forecast: Griffin will be a valuable spot starter once he returns.

On the Radar:  Kyle Orton (25%), Mike Vick (5%)

Running Backs

Denard Robinson, Jaguars
Rock StarRobinson followed up his 127-yard performance against Cleveland with an impressive 108-yard outing versus a stout Miami rush defense. Any worries that Robinson was a one game wonder can be erased. While the Jacksonville coaching staff may have some concerns that Robinson can carry the ball 25 times a game, he’s clearly the Jaguars primary runner going forward. The days of watching Toby Gerhart run up the backs of his offensive linemen in Jacksonville are over. If Robinson is still on the waiver wire in your league, he should be a top priority.
Availability: Owned in ~ 70% of leagues.
FAAB: $$-$$$
Forecast: Robinson is a weekly flex play.

Robby Rainey, Buccaneers
Injury ReplacementDoug Martin is on the trading block but even if he stays in Tampa, he’s dealing with an ankle injury right now. That could propel Rainey into the starting lineup this week against Cleveland. Rainey is an average talent but he catches passes and the Browns allow 143 yards per game on the ground, so it’s a favorable matchup should he get the start. Charles Sims is the preferred Buccaneers back to pick up off the waiver wire for the long haul but he likely won’t be ready to play this week. If Martin either is traded or out and you need a starting running back, Rainey is a one-week stopgap.
Availability: Owned in ~ 41% of leagues.
Forecast: Rainey will be a strong flex play if Martin is out this week.

Jeremy Hill, Bengals
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashGiovanni Bernard hurt his hip against Baltimore and while the injury isn’t expected to be serious, look for Hill to get plenty of work this week versus Jacksonville. Hill should be owned in a majority of leagues anyway. However, with Bernard likely to be less than 100 percent against a team in Jacksonville the Bengals could get up on early, the rookie could see around 20 carries. If you need a flex play this week, don’t hesitate to use Hill.
Availability: Owned in ~ 60% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Hill will rush for 70+ yards and a score.

Charles Sims, Buccaneers
Grab & StashSims is on IR with a designation to return and he’s eligible to come off the list this week. Sims has already resumed practicing. The Bucs are hoping Sims will be back on the field by Week 10. He’ll have a big role in the Buccaneers offense down the stretch. It’s being reported that Tampa Bay is fielding trade offers for Martin because the team is so high on Sims. The rookie is a terrific receiver and regardless of what happens to Martin, he should be given every opportunity to jump-start the Buccaneers ground game. Sims should be targeted in all leagues this week. He has a chance to be a big fantasy factor overt the final two months of the season.
Availability: Owned in ~ 3% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Sims will emerge as a RB2/flex play in PPR formats over the final month of the season if he stays healthy.

Jonas Gray, Patriots
Grab & StashWe first mentioned Gray a couple of weeks ago as a player to watch in New England’s backfield. He’s since emerged as Stevan Ridley’s replacement in the Patriots big back role. Gray was activated off the Patriots practice squad two weeks ago against the Jets and on Sunday got his first real opportunity versus Chicago. Gray ran hard, finishing with 86 yards on 17 carries. Shane Vereen is still clearly the top fantasy running back in New England but Gray is starting to carve out a role for himself as well. Reports say the Patriots would like to add another running back via trade. Even so, Gray is worth adding right now and stashing.
Availability: Owned in ~ 15% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Gray will be a hit-or-miss flex play if the Pats don’t trade for another running back.

Lorenzo Taliaferro, Ravens
Grab & StashBernard Pierce was a healthy scratch again on Sunday. It appears his on again; off again career in Baltimore is finally come to an end. Taliaferro was the No. 2 running back behind Justin Forsett against Cincinnati on Sunday. He rushed for 27 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries. Taliaferro also added 42 yards receiving. Taliaferro didn’t get a lot of touches and it’s hard to depend on him scoring twice every week but he’s worth owning. The rookie is entrenched as Baltimore’s No. 2 back for the long-term.
Availability: Owned in ~ 15% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Taliaferro is a desperation flex play whose fantasy value will increase if Forsett goes down.

On the Radar: Anthony Dixon (48%), Theo Riddick (3%), Juwan Thompson (4%)

Wide Receivers

Brandon LaFell, Patriots
Rock StarIt took LaFell a couple of weeks to get going but he’s given Tom Brady a weapon at receiver that didn’t exist in New England’s offense earlier in the season. Against Chicago LaFell caught 11 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets. Over his last three games, LaFell has 19 receptions for 276 yards and three scores. As Brady and LaFell continue to get more comfortable with each other, he’s emerging as a dependable weekly WR3.
Availability: Owned in ~ 62% of leagues.
FAAB: $$$-$$$$
Forecast: LaFell is emerging as a weekly fantasy starter in all formats.

Martavis Bryant, Steelers
Rock StarBryant has burst upon the scene the last couple of weeks to help provide a spark to Pittsburgh’s passing game. Over that span, Bryant has seven catches for 123 yards and three touchdowns. Some owners may be weary on jumping the gun with Bryant. However, Bryant showed similar playmaking ability in college at Clemson, he was just overshadowed by Sammy Watkins. Bryant has always had a knack for going up and coming down with the ball, especially in the red zone. Bryant is an intriguing, young player with a lot of upside. He might still be a year away from really making a fantasy splash but at this point in the season when waiver wires are thin, Bryant is worth a shot if you need receiver depth.  
Availability: Owned in ~ 7% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Bryant is on the fantasy radar with the talent to turn into something special.  

Mike Evans, Buccaneers
Rock StarEvans is still only owned in about 60% of leagues but he’s producing solid numbers in PPR formats. Evans has caught at least four passes in every game he’s played this season. He’s eclipsed 50 yards receiving in his last four games and scored twice over that span. Evans should post even better numbers over the second half of the season. Not only is he more familiar with the NFL game, there are reports that Vincent Jackson could be traded, which means Evans would see more targets. Regardless of what Jackson’s future holds, Evans should be owned in more leagues. He’s going to be a valuable receiver down the stretch.
Availability: Owned in ~ 58% of leagues.
FAAB: $$$
Forecast: Evans is on his way to being a weekly WR3.

Stedman Bailey, Rams
Injury ReplacementNow that Brian Quick has been lost for the season, Bailey will start opposite Kenny Britt. Bailey is a good route runner with excellent hands who could be a sleeper if Austin Davis keeps playing well in St. Louis. Bailey was a stud in college at West Virginia but he hasn’t done much in his two seasons in the NFL. Now Bailey has an opportunity to play with the first-team offense for a prolonged period and show if his potential can translate to results. He’s a guy to watch over the next couple of weeks.
Availability: Owned in ~ 1% of leagues.
Forecast: Bailey will emerge into a WR4/5.

Allen Robinson, Jaguars, Jaguars
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashRobinson has made the Forecast a bunch of times. He has the tools to develop into a premier NFL receiver once Blake Bortles gets some starts under his belt and the Jaguars get an offensive line that can protect him. This year we’re already getting a taste what the talented Robinson can do. Over his last six games, Robinson has caught at least five passes in a game five times. He’s scored in consecutive weeks and Robinson is clearly Bortles favorite target, seeing 37 targets in his last four games. Robinson has emerged as a weekly start in PPR formats.
Availability: Owned in ~ 40% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Robinson will catch at least five balls for 60+ yards against the Bengals.

Andrew Hawkins, Browns
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashHawkins has been red-hot over his last two games where he has 12 catches for 200 yards and a touchdown. Hawkins should continue his hot stretch this week against the struggling Buccaneers. Tampa Bay is allowing 286 yards per game through the air. Hawkins has been one of the more underrated receivers in PPR leagues this year. He has at least five receptions in five games this season.
Availability: Owned in ~ 38% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Hawkins will put up WR3 numbers this week.

Andre Holmes, Raiders
Grab & StashHolmes continues to be one of the bright spots on the winless Raiders. In his last four games, Holmes has scored four touchdowns and gone over 69 receivers three times. On Sunday, Holmes scored in garbage time but fantasy football doesn’t discriminate. The bottom line is Holmes has produced strong fantasy numbers in three of his last four games. There are bigger names sitting on many fantasy rosters that can’t say the same.
Availability: Owned in ~ 60% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Holmes is a talented but inconsistent WR4.  

Donte Moncrief, Colts
Grab & StashMoncrief got a chance to play against Pittsburgh with Reggie Wayne inactive and he made the most of his opportunity. Moncrief caught seven balls for 113 yards and a touchdown. Even more encouraging is Moncrief saw a team-high 12 targets with Wayne out of the lineup. The bad news is Moncrief is only the third receiver on the Colts behind Wayne and T.Y. Hilton. The good news is Moncrief has clearly passed Hakeem Nicks on the pecking order in Indianapolis, so if you own Nicks, drop him for Moncrief.
Availability: Owned in ~ 3% of leagues.
Forecast: Moncrief’s arrow is pointing up but at this point he’s just a hold because he’ll have to fight for targets with Wayne coming back.

On the Radar: Kenny Britt (8%), John Brown (17%), Kenny Stills (22%), Robert Woods (10%)

Tight Ends

Larry Donnell, Giants
1 Week Plug & PlayDonnell had a strong start to the season, highlighted by his Week 4 blowup against Washington when he caught seven passes for 54 yards and three touchdowns. Donnell then went two games with only one catch before resurfacing against the Cowboys. Donnell’s resurgence likely had to do with Cruz’s injury. Expect Donnell to continue to be a big part of New York’s offense going forward and for that two-game hiccup to be the exception, not the norm. Donnell faces a Colts defense this week that just allowed Heath Miller to go over 100 yards. He should post another strong fantasy day.
Availability: Owned in ~ 72% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Donnell will post 60+ yards receiving and a score.

Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
Grab & StashRudolph was dropped and long forgotten by most when he had surgery to repair a sports hernia after Week 3. However, Rudolph is close to returning and he’s available in 70 percent of leagues. The Vikings have a bye in Week 10 and are hoping to have Rudolph back for their Week 11 game against Chicago. Regardless, Rudolph is expected back before fantasy playoffs and he’s a big weapon in Minnesota’s offense. Even if you own a Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham, grabbing Rudolph as a second tight end for the playoffs would be a nice luxury.
Availability: Owned in ~ 30% of leagues.
Forecast: Rudolph will be a fantasy factor over the season’s final month.

On the Radar: Jace Amaro (20%), Chase Ford (1%), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (7%), Tim Wright (28%)


Randy Bullock, Texans
1 Week Plug & PlayBullock is 6-for-6 in field goal attempts over his last two games. The Texans offense has been moving the ball but doesn’t always finish drives. Houston will certainly have to move the ball this week against Philadelphia. The Eagles front seven has played better of late but the Eagles still have issues in the secondary. The Texans should be able to mount enough drives to give Bullock scoring opportunities on Sunday.
Availability: Owned in ~ 11% of leagues.
Forecast: Bullock will score double-digit fantasy points this week.  

On the Radar: Shaun Suisham (45%)

Defense/Specials Teams

Cincinnati Bengals
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Bengals have been a fantasy disappointment this year. Cincinnati’s defense only has 11 sacks and nine interceptions through seven games. Injuries and the loss of Mike Zimmer have taken its toll on the Bengals. That shouldn’t matter this week though. The Bengals get to take out their frustrations on Blake Bortles and the Jaguars. Bortles may become a great quarterback someday but right now he’s a turnover machine being sacked behind an awful offensive line. Bortles leads the NFL with 12 interceptions. He’s likely to add to that total on Sunday.
Availability: Owned in ~ 58% of leagues.
Forecast: The Bengals defense will record at least three sacks and cause a couple of turnovers.

Kansas City Chiefs
1 Week Plug & PlayLike the Bengals, the Chiefs defense has been a fantasy disappointment for the most part this season. Kansas City did have a strong outing last week with seven sacks, an interception and a touchdown against St. Louis. Look for the Chiefs defense to reward fantasy owners two weeks in a row. On Sunday Kansas City gets to feast on the Jets dysfunctional offense. Mike Vick is likely to start and even though he can still make plays with his legs, Vick turns the ball over almost as much as Geno Smith. It’s likely to be another long day for the Jets offense at Arrowhead Stadium.
Availability: Owned in ~ 60% of leagues.
Forecast: The Chiefs will field a Top 10 fantasy defense.

On the Radar: Minnesota Vikings (30%)


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