Free Agent Forecast: Week 9

Free Agent Forecast: Week 9

Fantasy football roster management tips, strategy and advice

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.


Marcus Mariota, Titans
Rock StarMariota completed 18-of-22 passes for 270 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions against the Jaguars Thursday night. He has now thrown 10 touchdown passes to just one interception over his last four games. Take away two poor performances against the Lions and Texans and Mariota has been a solid starting option this year. Mariota doesn’t have a ton of weapons but he’s one of the hottest fantasy quarterbacks going right now. With a schedule that has the Chargers, Packers, Colts and Bears coming up before Tennessee’s bye week, this is the time to grab Mariota if he’s still available on your waiver wire.
Availability: Owned in ~ 55% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Mariota is a starting option when the matchup is favorable.

On the Radar: Ryan Fitzpatrick (20%)

Running Backs

Charcandrick West, Chiefs
Rock StarSpencer Ware left Sunday’s game with a concussion. West replaced him and rushed for 52 yards on 14 carries (3.7 YPC). There’s a chance we won’t see Jamaal Charles again this season. If Ware doesn’t get cleared to play this week West will have an elite matchup versus the dreadful Jaguars rush defense. West should be one of the top waiver wire targets this week with Ware’s status uncertain and Charles out indefinitely.
Availability: Owned in ~ 5% of leagues.
FAAB: $$$
Forecast: West is an RB2 this week if Ware is out.

Mike Gillislee, Bills
Rock StarGillislee got the start against the Patriots with LeSean McCoy inactive. He ran for 85 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries (7.1 YPC). It wasn’t a heavy workload because the Bills fell behind early but Gillislee made the most out of his opportunities. The Bills are hoping the week off will give McCoy enough time to rest his hamstring and he’ll be able to return against the Seahawks. If he can’t, Gillislee will get another start and likely handle a heavier workload. Even if McCoy returns, he’s already dealing with a hamstring injury and it’s only Week 9. Gillislee should be owned now given McCoy’s shaky long-term status.
Availability: Owned in ~ 50% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Gillislee should be owned as insurance for McCoy.

Antone Smith, Buccaneers
Injury ReplacementJacquizz Rodgers suffered a sprained foot late in Sunday’s loss to the Raiders. Smith replaced him as the Buccaneers lead back. Rodgers isn’t likely to play Thursday night against the Falcons. Smith, Peyton Barber and newly signed Mike James will be the running back options for Tampa Bay. Smith out-snapped Barber 22-3 last week, so he should have the upper hand for touches if Rodgers is out. Smith isn’t a dynamic runner by any means but he is a good receiver. One thing in Smith’s favor is he could catch some passes if the Buccaneers are playing from behind.
Availability: Owned in ~ 1% of leagues.
Forecast: Smith is a Flex option if Rodgers is out Thursday night.

Tim Hightower, Saints
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashMark Ingram was benched against the Seahawks after losing a fumble in the first quarter. Hightower replaced him and ran for 102 yards on 26 carries (3.9 YPC). This is a situation to monitor. Ingram has struggled this year and the Saints coaching staff has faith in Hightower. Saints coach Sean Payton said he expects Ingram to bounce back but ESPN reported the team will use a committee going forward. The 49ers run defense is so abysmal that two backs can rack up fantasy points against it. San Francisco is giving up 163 yards per game on the ground. Both Ingram and Hightower should have big games on Sunday.
Availability: Owned in ~ 2% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Hightower is a Flex play this week and a nice stash for the rest of the year.

Derrick Henry, Titans
Grab & StashWith DeMarco Murray battling a toe injury, Henry put up his best fantasy performance of the season against the Jaguars. He rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Henry also added four receptions for 37 yards. There’s no doubt Henry is a stud but he simply can’t get touches because Murray has been so good this year. Murray’s toe injury isn’t believed to be serious. Before Thursday’s game Henry had only received 10 carries one other time. Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Henry will remain a game flow running back. In other words, he’s a Ferrari sitting in the garage. Henry is arguably the most valuable handcuff in fantasy football right now. Should something happen to Murray he would instantly become an every-week RB1. Grab Henry and stash him on your bench. He could win a lot of fantasy titles this year if he’s the Titans starting running back late in the season.
Availability: Owned in ~ 40% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Henry is a valuable bench stash should something happen to Murray.

Dion Lewis, Patriots
Grab & StashLewis returned to practice last week. The Patriots have a 21-day window to active him off of the PUP list from the day he first practiced. New England is heading into its bye week. Obviously, conventional wisdom says Lewis will return for Week 10 against the Seahawks barring a setback. James White has been solid in the Patriots pass-catching back role but Lewis will certainly push him for playing time when healthy. It’s hard to predict Lewis’ role for the rest of the season in terms of fantasy production but given his numbers in the Patriots offense last year, he’s worth adding if you have the roster space.
Availability: Owned in ~ 25% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Lewis will be a factor in PPR leagues over the final month of the season.

Rob Kelley, Redskins
Grab & StashFilling in for an injured Matt Jones, Kelley chugged his way to 87 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries (4.1 YPC). The average wasn’t great but Kelley served as the clear lead back with Jones nursing a knee injury. Kelley isn’t spectacular. He’s a straight-ahead runner who doesn’t make defenders miss but Kelley will continue to get the call as long as Jones is out. He has a tough matchup coming out of the bye against the Vikings. He’s purely a depth pickup at this point.
Availability: Owned in ~ 20% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Kelley will add some depth to your bench if you need RB help.

On the Radar: Peyton Barber (1%), Alfred Blue (10%), C.J. Prosise (1%), Terron Ward (1%)

Wide Receivers

Quincy Enunwa, Jets
Rock StarEnunwa makes the list for the second straight week. . He was targeted a team-high 11 times; catching four passes for 93 yards. Enunwa has gone over 70 yards receiving and scored in each of the last two games. Brandon Marshall will still eat up targets in the Jets offense but Enunwa is emerging as a productive No. 2 option with Eric Decker out for the season. He should be owned in a majority of leagues at this point.
Availability: Owned in ~ 50% of leagues.
FAAB: $$-$$$
Forecast: Enunwa is a WR3/4.

Jamison Crowder, Redskins
Rock StarCrowder continues to have a strong season. He hauled in 9-of-13 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals. Crowder now has 16 receptions for 215 yards and a score on 22 targets in his last two games. He has at least six receptions in four games this season. Crowder has also scored a touchdown in four different games. You can do worse than a receiver that has 13+ points five times this year (20+ the last two weeks) in PPR leagues.
Availability: Owned in ~ 40% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Crowder is a WR ¾ in PPR leagues.

Rishard Matthews, Titans
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashThere’s bad news, good news and more good news when looking at Matthews. The bad news is Matthews’ fantasy value is heavily touchdown dependent. He hasn’t caught more than four passes in a game this year and he’s recorded over 40 receiving yards just twice. The good news is Matthews has scored a touchdown in three of his last four games. He’s also caught four passes in each of those games. The more good news is Tennessee’s upcoming schedule mentioned above that features the Chargers, Packers, Colts and Bears. Matthews has some favorable matchups on deck starting this week versus the Chargers. With Mariota playing well, Matthews is on the map in deeper leagues.
Availability: Owned in ~ 7% of leagues.
Forecast: Mathews is a WR4 this week vs. the Chargers.

Mohamed Sanu, Falcons
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashJulio Jones was held to just three receptions for 29 yards against the Packers. Jones left the game briefly in the first half and wasn’t even targeted again until late in the fourth quarter. Sanu led the Falcons in receiving with nine catches for 84 yards and a touchdown on a team-high 10 targets. It was Sanu’s best fantasy performance since Week 1. Sanu has a chance to make it two strong games in a row when he faces whatever the Buccaneers are pretending to call a pass defense Thursday night. Tampa Bay’s defense just gave up 513 yards passing to Derek Carr and two 100-yard receivers. Sanu is a solid start this week if you need him.
Availability: Owned in ~ 40% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Sanu is a WR4 this week vs. the Buccaneers.

J.J. Nelson, Cardinals
Grab & StashWith the Cardinals receivers banged up Sunday, J.J. Nelson had a big fantasy day. Nelson caught eight balls for 79 yards and two touchdowns on a team-high 12 targets. In his last two games Nelson has 11 receptions for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 19 targets. Michael Floyd has struggled this year and now he’s dealing with a hamstring injury. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Nelson is now a starting receiver; meaning he has replaced Floyd in three-receiver sets. Nelson could be a valuable fantasy asset over the final month of the season.
Availability: Owned in ~ 2% of leagues.
Forecast: Nelson is a stash in deeper leagues.

On the Radar: Tyreke Hill (1%), Russell Shepard (3%), Kendall Wright (3%)

Tight Ends

C.J. Fiedorowicz, Texans
Rock StarFiedorowicz has emerged as a weekly fantasy starter at tight end. He caught five passes for 43 yards and a touchdown against the Lions. Fiedorowicz now has at least five receptions and two touchdowns in his last three games. He doesn’t have a huge ceiling but Fiedorowicz faces the Jaguars and Raiders coming out of the bye – two defenses that struggle to cover tight ends. Now is the time to grab Fiedorowicz if you need help at tight end.
Availability: Owned in ~ 10% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Fiedorowicz is a low-end TE1 most weeks.

Eric Ebron, Lions
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashEbron returned to the lineup on Sunday after dealing with knee and ankle injuries and made an immediate impact. He caught seven passes for 79 yards. Ebron has at least five receptions in three of the five games he’s played this season. Ebron has the Vikings and then a bye week, so he should be fully healthy for the final month and a half of the season. The Vikings lock down receivers, so Ebron should be a focal part of Detroit’s offense this week, especially in the red zone. He’ll be a low-end TE1 for the remainder of the year if he can stay on the field.
Availability: Owned in ~ 20% of leagues.
Forecast: Ebron is a low-end TE1 when the matchup is favorable.

On the Radar: Cameron Brate (30%), Vernon Davis (45%), Austin Hooper (2%)


Matt Bryant, Falcons
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Falcons are scoring a ton of points and this week they get to play the dumpster fire disguised as the Buccaneers defense. Bryant has made five field goals in his last two games. He’s put up double-digit fantasy points five times this season. Factoring in extra points, Bryant should have plenty of scoring opportunities this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 60% of leagues.
Forecast: Bryant is a Top 10 kicker this week.

On the Radar: Caleb Sturgis (15%)

Defense/Specials Teams

Carolina Panthers
1 Week Plug & PlayThe Panthers defense has struggled this season but apparently the bye week did them some good. Carolina’s defense sacked Carson Palmer eight times, picked him off once and returned a fumble for a touchdown on Sunday. It should be two strong games in a row for the Panthers defense when they travel to LA to take on the Rams. The Rams allow the most fantasy points to team defenses. Case Keenum is hanging by a thread. That thread could snap on Sunday versus the Panthers.
Availability: Owned in ~ 60% of leagues.
Forecast: The Panthers are a top fantasy defense this week.

On the Radar: Dallas Cowboys (15%)


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