It’s hard to believe we’re already at the midway point of the season, but I feel confident that the second half of the year should be even more fun than the first. In Week 9, the Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Washington Football Team will be on bye. With plenty of high-level fantasy football options on those teams, particularly the Buccaneers, let’s take a look at where we can find value at each position. So far, there has been tons of news to dissect this week, and the writeup on these rankings will focus on the most up-in-the-air players at each position. These rankings will be updated throughout the week and will reflect the latest injury news and more.
NFL Week 9 Quarterback Rankings
Kyler Murray: It sounds like the Cardinals are expecting Murray to play despite not practicing this week, although it’s still somewhat up in the air. If Murray is unable to go, we expect Colt McCoy to get the start and limit the upside of the offense considerably. Even if Murray does play, I’d bank on his rushing output being limited by the ankle injury. He’s outside the top 3 and should be considered a mid-range starter this week.
Taysom Hill: The Saints are going to be without Jameis Winston for the remainder of the season after his torn ACL. Taysom Hill is back at practice following his concussion and is expected to be the team’s starter moving forward. Given his rushing baseline, Hill profiles as a top-12 quarterback right out of the gates. A matchup against the Falcons is a great way to reintegrate him into the offense, and he is my favorite streamer this week.
Jordan Love: The Packers are going to be without Aaron Rodgers this week after he tested positive for COVID-19, and that makes Jordan Love the team’s starter as they head into a road matchup against Kansas City. Love has seven career passing attempts in the NFL, so it’s hard to know what we’ll see from him, and he’s off the radar for me in redraft leagues. Davante Adams and Aaron Jones have moved down in my rankings, and I would not start any other Packers players.
NFL Week 9 Running Back Rankings
Adrian Peterson and Jeremy McNichols: With Derrick Henry set to miss at least the rest of the regular season, the Titans’ offense will look drastically different moving forward. Both Peterson and McNichols need to be owned in fantasy leagues, and both are top-30 RBs for me this week. Peterson will likely see more carries and has a better chance to score, but McNichols is the better PPR option as he’s a very talented pass-catcher who will benefit from a positive game script.
Michael Carter: The Jets’ rookie running back is starting to break out impressively, and he scored a whopping 32.2 PPR points last week. The Colts allow the fewest rushing yards per game this season, but Carter is too heavily involved in the passing game as well – he has 17 catches over his last two games. He’s a locked-in RB2 with a low-end RB1 upside this week.
Devontae Booker: Saquon Barkley was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and is expected to miss another game this week, leaving Booker as the starter. Booker is averaging 15.9 PPR points per game in four starts this season and has been a very reliable top-20 RB. You can fire him up with confidence against the Raiders, who rank 18th against fantasy RBs this season.
Note: Christian McCaffrey, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and David Montgomery are eligible to return from the Injured Reserve this week. It’s unclear if any of the three will play, so for now, Chuba Hubbard, Darrell Williams, and Khalil Herbert are solid RB2 plays. I’ll update my rankings if we hear more about any of those players.
NFL Week 9 Wide Receiver Rankings
Davante Adams: With Aaron Rodgers out this week, expectations have to be adjusted for the Packers’ top wideout in Adams. The Chiefs’ secondary has been playing better lately, and they’ve only allowed the 20th-most fantasy points to WRs. Adams is still a borderline WR1 this week, but it’s hard to project him for much more than that as we don’t know what to expect from Jordan Love.
A.J. Brown: Your initial reaction to the Derrick Henry news is likely that the Titans will throw the ball more this week, and they will. However, I have significant concerns about this offense as a whole moving forward. Henry demanded opposing defenses to stack the box against him, and the Peterson-McNichols combo doesn’t accomplish nearly the same effect. With Julio Jones banged up, the Rams’ secondary will very much be keyed in on Brown, making this a difficult spot for him this week.
Michael Pittman Jr.: The Colts’ top wide receiver is in the midst of an impressive second-year breakout and deserves to be discussed among the best players at his position. Pittman Jr. has scored four touchdowns over his last four games and found the end-zone twice last week. Pittman should have another big performance against a Jets’ secondary that has been burned for big plays all season.
NFL Week 9 Tight End Rankings
Kyle Pitts: I got a little ahead of myself on the Kyle Pitts hype, and the rookie tight end really struggled last week. The indefinite loss of Calvin Ridley is not a good thing for Pitts as the offense as a whole is going to suffer, and the Saints’ defense is one of the best in the NFL. Pitts should still be in your starting lineup, but I’ve adjusted my fantasy expectations for him.
Mike Gesicki: I had significant concerns about Gesicki heading into this season, but he’s averaging 14.5 PPR points per game since a goose egg in Week 1 and is the TE2 in fantasy over that span. Gesicki isn’t going anywhere, even with DeVante Parker back in the lineup, and he should exploit a matchup against Houston, who is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends.
Dan Arnold: Now a top-ten tight end until further notice, Arnold has scored double-digit PPR points in two of his last three games and is emerging as a favorite target for rookie Trevor Lawrence. Perhaps the Jaguars knew what they were doing when they sent C.J. Henderson for him. Regardless, he should be in your lineup moving forward, even against a stout Buffalo defense.