It’s getting to be make-or-break time for Fantasy Football managers. Week 9 signals that the Fantasy Playoffs are now just five weeks away. As is typical in this wild game we play, the landscape and prognosis for many NFL players around the league look very different at this stage than it did coming into the season. Managers need to be comfortable with letting go of the draft capital or free agent budgets that they might’ve invested in players in the past and focusing on making decisions based on the Fantasy Football strategy that is optimal for the present and future.
Hank’s Bank is once again here with the goal of helping you to do just that. From the weekly cash start to trade discussion and a free agent pickup, this article is packed with Fantasy football strategy nuggets to help you get the most out of Week 9 and beyond. BANK THAT!
Hank’s Bank Vocabulary Key
Asset: Trade Target
Transfer: Trade Away
Invest: Free Agent Acquisition
Loan: Weekly Streamer
Week 9 Banking
Cash: Damien Harris | RB | New England Patriots
With a lack of playmakers at the wide receiver positions, it became clear last week that the best offensive game plan for the Patriots is to prioritize running the football. Quarterback Cam Newton provides the ideal fit for this sort of offensive scheme given his own rushing abilities, and James White and Rex Burkhead offer interchangeable skillsets that thrive on screens, pitches, and bouncing the ball outside. That leaves the power run game up for grabs, and Damien Harris is closing his grip around a legitimate weekly role in the New England offense.
Harris has seen double-digit carries in three of his four games played this season, including 16 for 102 rushing yards and a touchdown last week. The Patriots battle a New York Jets team that comes into Monday night’s contest allowing the 8th-most Fantasy points per game to running backs. Everything lines up for Harris to have solid RB2 value this week.
Deposit: Amari Cooper | WR | Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys’ offense continues to go from bad to worse. Consequentially, Fantasy Football strategy is going to see a lot of Dallas players confined to benches in many leagues. With Andy Dalton guaranteed to miss Dallas’ Week 9 game against the Pittsburgh steelers after being placed on the COVID-19 list, Mike McCarthy’s team is once again scrambling at the quarterback position. Ben DiNucci will head back to the pine this week in favor of one Garrett Gilbert. The Fantasy Football value has been sucked right out of all Cowboys players, with top wideout Amari Cooper being no exception.
Cooper has long been a receiver who has thrived on a massive weekly target share to produce in Fantasy. While he held his own in Dalton’s lone start thus far against Washington in Week 7 with 7 targets, the floor fell out last week. Cooper earned 5 targets, but targets don’t mean much when there’s no guarantee the ball will even make it to you. Cooper along with CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Dalton Schultz all belong on your bench until further notice.
Asset: Terry McLaurin | WR | Washington Football Team
Nothing is really sexy about the Washington Football Team, especially on offense. As bad as the offensive line play is, Kyle Allen has not been terrible since taking over for Dwayne Haskins. With competent quarterback play, wide receiver Terry McLaurin’s Fantasy value is only that much higher on a week-to-week basis. McLaurin has yet to see fewer than 7 targets in any game this season and only once has finished with fewer than 60 yards receiving. He has two 100-yard games and a pair of touchdowns on his stat line as well.
Added bonus in acquiring McLaurin now comes in the form of a favorable schedule in the second half. Matchups against the Lions, Cowboys, 49ers, and Seahawks all stand out as teams who give up a healthy amount of Fantasy points to wide receivers. Don’t undervalue McLaurin’s WR1 appeal. Instead, look to implement a sound Fantasy Football strategy and trade for him to boost your team’s push for the playoffs.
Transfer: Ronald Jones II | RB | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Quite frankly, any astute Fantasy Football manager should’ve seen this coming. When the Buccaneers signed Leonard Fournette before the season, many analysts felt that he would usurp Ronald Jones as the lead back, even if not right away. Injuries have kept Fournette from truly claiming the top role for longer than expected, but now that he’s healthy, Jones becomes a major Fantasy Football strategy trade candidate.
Last week against the New York Giants, Fournette totaled 15 carries compared to just 7 for Jones. This came a week after the touches were almost identical in Fournette’s first real game of action in his return from injury. There are plenty of safer and more reliable options at the running back position that could be substituted in for Jones. With the Tampa Bay ball carrier not even guaranteed an RB2 floor anymore, look to deal him for a back with more stable week-to-week volume.
Invest: Zack Moss | RB | Buffalo Bills
The Bills had struggled to establish much of a rushing attack all season prior to last week’s game against the Patriots. All of a sudden, both rookie Zack Moss and second-year man Devin Singletary were finding holes, combining for 167 yards rushing for the game on 14 carries apiece. Moss had the bigger Fantasy day thanks to a pair of touchdowns, while both players averaged roughly 6.0 yards per carry.
The similar yards per carry numbers actually contradicts how the two have performed over the larger sample size. Moss missed several games due to injury but has been the more efficient back in almost every game he’s played. Last week’s game suggests that he is also the preferred red zone option for Buffalo going forward. Only owned in about 50% of ESPN leagues even after his Week 8 outburst, prioritize finding room on your roster for Moss as part of your Week 9 Fantasy Football strategy.
Loan: Houston Texans D/ST
Rare is the occasion that tactical Fantasy Football strategy involves the Houston Texans’ defense even being rostered, let alone streamed as a starting option. Week 9 is that once in a lifetime opportunity. The Texans have been horrendous defensively all season long, but at least none of the key contributors that were rumored to be on the move ahead of this past Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline departed. J.J. Watt, Zach Cunningham, and the rest of Houston’s defensive front will look to make life miserable this week for the Jacksonville Jaguars and rookie quarterback Jake Luton, who is starting in place of the injured Gardner Minshew. Rookies hardly ever play mistake-free football, and Luton will be trying to hide behind an overmatched offensive line. The Texans have top-8 appeal at the D/ST position for Fantasy this week.