Eight weeks of the 2019 fantasy football season are in the rearview.
Show of hands: Who’s sinking, and who’s still swimming?
Either way, Week 9 looms as massively important—not to mention, a little tricky to navigate. Four teams, including the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints, are on a bye. The trade market has reshaped different areas of the NFL landscape. The injury report keeps on growing.
Things are happening, and we’re here to help make sense of them all with a positional guide to the 14-game schedule.
1. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Chargers
4. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
5. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders
6. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots
7. Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
8. Tom Brady, New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
9. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs
10. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks
The Bucs are 31st in passing yards allowed per game. They’ve given up the eighth-most fantasy points to the position, per Yahoo Sports. If Daniel Jones, Kyle Allen and Ryan Tannehill can all pass for multiple scores against this unit, it may be impossible to set Wilson’s Week 9 bar too high.
If you haven’t moved Matthew Stafford back into your Circle of Trust, what’s the holdup? He has 706 passing yards with seven touchdowns against two interceptions over the last two weeks. He has thrown for at least 291 yards and three touchdowns in four of his seven outings. His passes are generating a career-best 8.4 yards per attempt.
While a tough matchup might occasionally trip him up, he can roast an exploitable one. Look for precisely that when he draws an Oakland defense allowing the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and surrendering 708 yards and eight touchdowns with zero interceptions its last two times out.
Sleeper: Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders vs. Detroit Lions (26 Percent Owned)
Recommending Derek Carr is rarely, if ever, a comfortable undertaking. But you know when it makes some sense? When he’s facing a defense that allowed 300-plus yards and four touchdowns to the last two quarterbacks it faced—and especially when said signal-callers were Kirk Cousins and Daniel Jones.
The 28-year-old quietly had his strongest start of the season in Week 8, throwing for 285 yards and three scores without an interception.
With Tyrell Williams back in action, Zay Jones getting comfortable and Darren Waller enjoying a breakout, Carr has more weapons around him than you might think.
1. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs
2. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers vs. Tennessee Titans
3. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
4. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Chargers
5. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
6. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
7. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans at Carolina Panthers
8. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos
9. Le’Veon Bell, New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
10. Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders vs. Detroit Lions
Sharing a backfield with Aaron Rodgers should be a fortunate position for any fantasy rusher. Aaron Jones is starting to make the most of it.
He’s doing just enough on the ground to keep defenses honest, but he’s shining brightest as a pass-catcher—it helps to have a Hall of Fame quarterback, right? Jones just had his third game this season with at least six receptions, when he turned eight targets into seven receptions for 159 yards and two scores.
The 24-year-old now has 11 touchdowns through eight weeks, eight on the ground and three through the air. Considering he now gets a crack at a Chargers defense that was just ripped apart by rookie David Montgomery (147 scrimmage yards, one touchdown), Jones should be in line for another huge day.
Don’t look now, but Leonard Fournette might be making his leap. The volume that made him a solid option before is still there (league-leading 163 carries), but his newfound efficiency could be his key to fantasy stardom (career-high 4.9 yards per carry). He’s also rapidly approaching personal bests in receptions (35) and receiving yards (263).
It would help if he found the end zone every now and again—he’s scored once all season—but he’s still the fifth-best fantasy performer at the position without the touchdowns.
Sleeper: Mark Walton, Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets (34 Percent Owned)
If you’re looking for depth among the streaming options, this is not the position for you. Hence, the rationale for this throw-something-at-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks recommendation of anyone connected to this Dolphins offense.
But with Kenyan Drake gone and a favorable matchup on the horizon (New York allows the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs), maybe Mark Walton can make something happen. He’s averaged 13.3 touches over the last three weeks. At some point, that volume has to matter, right? Right?
1. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
2. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
3. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks
5. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Minnesota Vikings
6. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders
7. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks
8. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs
9. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
10. DJ Chark Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
Mike Evans is awesome. Usually.
Theme-park rides don’t switch between highs and lows the way his 2019 season has. His peaks have been incredible. He has two different games with at least 190 receiving yards and multiple touchdowns, including Sunday’s 11-catch, 198-yard, two-score eruption.
Evans also has a game with zero catches and another with two for 28 yards. Catch passes from Jameis Winston, and it will be like that sometimes.
But the good games are potential matchup-winners, and this could be one of them. The Seahawks are generally sturdy against the pass, but they’ve struggled with elites like Cooper Kupp (nine receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown), Odell Beckham Jr. (six for 101) and Julio Jones (10 for 152). Evans should be next in line.
Once a fixture on the fantasy radar, Demaryius Thomas has spent the past few seasons on its fringes or off it altogether. But he might be creeping his way back into streamer discussion, or at least stream-him-against-the-Dolphins discussion.
He’s still waiting on his first touchdown or his first 70-yard effort of the 2019 season. But he has seen 27 targets over the past four weeks, and if that volume holds true against Miami, he feels almost destined for at least a decent showing.
1. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
2. Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders vs. Detroit Lions
3. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Minnesota Vikings
4. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Green Bay Packers
5. Evan Engram, New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
6. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Chicago Bears
7. T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders
8. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers vs. Tennessee Titans
9. Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers
10. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots
If you can get an over/under prop bet on George Kittle against Arizona, hammer the over. It almost doesn’t matter what the number is.
The Cardinals have been gouged by tight ends all season. Last week was only the second in which they haven’t allowed a touchdown to the position. Even then, they’re still at eight scores allowed through eight games. That’s music to the ears of Kittle owners who have received a little of everything other than touchdowns (one) from the star tight end this season.
Speaking of positional stars, Hunter Henry is playing like he’s making up for lost time. Considering all the games he’s missed to injury, he kind of is.
The 24-year-old has been red-hot since his Week 6 return (18 catches for 244 yards and two scores), and now he gets a Green Bay defense that allowed four touchdowns to tight ends over its past two games.
Sleeper: Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans at Carolina Panthers (19 Percent Owned)
Jonnu Smith has found his key to fantasy relevance: Tannehill.
Through the first six weeks, Smith had six catches on eight targets for 92 yards. In the two games since Tannehill has taken over, he has nine receptions on 10 targets for 142 yards and a score. Given the state of this position, any sign of life can’t be overlooked.
1. Jason Myers, Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2. Robbie Gould, San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
3. Matt Prater, Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders
4. Dan Bailey, Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs
5. Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Chargers
6. Brett Maher, Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
7. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots
8. Ka’imi Fairbairn, Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
9. Josh Lambo, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
10. Joey Slye, Carolina Panthers vs. Tennessee Titans
1. San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals
2. Buffalo Bills vs. Washington Redskins
3. New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
4. Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5. Carolina Panthers vs. Tennessee Titans
6. Denver Broncos vs. Cleveland Browns
7. Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
8. Philadelphia Eagles vs. Chicago Bears
9. New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
10. Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Chargers