Top Seven Flex Options for Week 9: J.K. Dobbins to Continue Breakthrough
Week 9 is fast-approaching in the NFL and we’re passing the midway point of the regular season. Let’s break down my flex picks from last week. I talked up Boston Scott and Giovani Bernard last week as they were set to handle the starting workload for their respective teams. Scott had 17 touches but did little with them, finishing with just 9.9 PPR points. Bernard had 22.8 PPR points and scored a touchdown both on the ground and through the air. I’m expecting to see Miles Sanders and Joe Mixon back after both of these teams go on bye this week, so Scott and Bernard will be relegated to handcuff status. Melvin Gordon was another player I talked about in a revenge game narrative, but he was held to just 8 carries for 26 yards as Phillip Lindsay vastly outproduced him on the ground. Gordon did add 6 catches so he had an okay PPR day, but Lindsay is demanding more touches and that caps Gordon’s upside moving forward.
Jarvis Landry and Nelson Agholor made the list for me last week, but Cleveland was hit with an absurd combination of awful football conditions and neither guy really produced. Travis Fulgham had a great day with 6 catches for 78 yards and another touchdown, his fourth in five games. Jalen Reagor made his return but Carson Wentz has strong chemistry with Fulgham and he’s a must-start option until further notice – he won’t be in the flex article again. Finally, I was rising on Corey Davis with A.J. Brown limited in practice and Davis finished with 8 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown – he’s a viable flex play moving forward. Let’s dive into some intriguing Week 9 options.
Mark Ingram was out with an ankle injury last week that has continued to keep him out of practice for the Ravens. Rookie J.K. Dobbins stepped up with his best game of the season as he finished with 16 touches for 121 yards from scrimmage. Gus Edwards was still heavily involved, but both players had great production against one of the best run defenses in the NFL in Pittsburgh. You might be tempted to fade Dobbins against the Colts who have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game to RBs, but the Ravens’ rushing attack is clearly matchup-proof at this point. With Lamar Jackson keeping defenses off-balance and Greg Roman’s rushing schematics in play, this rushing offense is one of the best in the NFL. Dobbins should see another heavy workload with Ingram likely out again and he could finish as a top-15 RB this week, even in a tough matchup.
Welcome to the Kyle Shanahan show. The last time Shanahan’s 49ers took on the Packers, Raheem Mostert had a historic game with 29 carries for 220 yards and 4 touchdowns. It’s easy to forget, but Mostert was once unheralded and passed over by many teams, just like Hasty who went undrafted this year. With Mostert, Tevin Coleman, and Jeff Wilson all out this week, the backfield will come down to Hasty and Jerick McKinnon again. Hasty was underwhelming last week with just 12 carries for 29 yards and a touchdown, but that was his worst YPC of the season. The Packers have allowed the most fantasy points per game to running backs and allowed 4 touchdowns to Dalvin Cook last week. I’m not calling for a 4-touchdown game for Hasty, but he has massive upside in this matchup as the 49ers will be looking to establish the run early and often.
The Patriots have continued to make Damien Harris more involved in the offense and he had the best game of his career last week with 16 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown against the Bills. He has just 2 catches in 4 games, so he’s not exactly boosted in PPR formats, but his workload on the ground is encouraging. The Patriots are a team that wants to establish the run at all costs and I don’t think the Jets will be able to cope with the power RPO schemes with Cam Newton and this team’s running backs. With Harris continuing to earn more touches, he will benefit from a positive game script for New England in this game and should be a top-20 RB this week.
It’s been a rough start to Jeudy’s debut season, but he benefitted from Tim Patrick’s absence last week as he led the team with 10 targets and caught 4 passes for 73 yards. Drew Lock looked the best he has in a while last week and the Broncos take on the Falcons this week who have allowed the 2nd-most passing yards per game. Tim Patrick has continued to be limited in practice this week with that hamstring injury and it wouldn’t be shocking at all to see him miss another game. Even if he does play, Jeudy will face some weak Atlanta cornerbacks and his continually evolving chemistry with Lock could lead to a big second half of the season for the rookie wideout.
He’s baaaaaack. Antonio Brown is set to make his debut for the Buccaneers this week and I’d be thrilled to roll him out if I had him on my bench. Brown faces the Saints this week who have allowed the 9th-most fantasy points to wide receivers and he should take advantage of the plus matchup. It looks like Chris Godwin is going to miss this week, so the path is there for Brown to see a large snap share on Sunday. Bruce Arians was non-committal to a projected snap number for AB, but we know Tom Brady is going to be thrilled to play with him. Brown doesn’t need a ton of snaps to make a big impact and with bye weeks and injuries swirling around the fantasy world, you can start AB if you need to.
Cole Beasley has been one of the best-kept secrets of this fantasy season as he had scored double-digit PPR points in six straight games prior to a poor output of 4.4 PPR points last week against the Patriots. His matchup gets much easier this week as he faces D.J. Reed Jr. in the slot who has given up all kinds of yardage this season. John Brown’s return shouldn’t realistically siphon that many targets from Beasley, but it should help the Bills’ offense stay on the field and run more plays. The Seahawks have given up the most passing yards per game by far this season and I’m projecting a massive game for the Bills’ offense. Beasley is a strong WR3/flex play this week.
Todd Gurley continues to underwhelm as he’s rushed for under 3 YPC in three straight weeks and there could start to be a shifting of the guard in Atlanta. Brian Hill rushed for 55 yards on 11 carries last week and added another 2 catches for 9 yards. He’s clearly the better pass-catching option for Atlanta at this point as Gurley is averaging just 5.9 YPR compared to 6.9 YPR for Hill. The Broncos’ run defense has been stout so this may not be the best week to deploy Hill, but I firmly believe Gurley is on his way out as the starter with how inefficient he’s been. Keep a close eye on what Hill accomplishes this week.