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Fantasy stars like Christian McCaffrey, Amon-Ra St.Brown, and Travis Etienne are all on bye this week, leaving fantasy managers with some choices to make in their lineup. This weekly article is meant to make those lineup decisions a little bit easier. You can always listen to The Footballguys Fantasy Football Show, which releases episodes every weekday - also, check out the free Week 9 Player Rankings.
START: Sam Howell @ NE - (Listen at 40:00)
- Avg Fantasy Points: 18.6
- Opponent vs QBs: 15th
- Week 9 Rank: QB8
- Projected Points: 18.3
On the surface, the Patriots look like a bad matchup for quarterbacks, but they've had a ton of injuries in their secondary. They have allowed two or more passing touchdowns in three of their last four games and quarterbacks to throw for at least 249 passing yards in five of eight games (O 241.5 Pass yds). Howell has been a Top-8 fantasy quarterback in three of the last four weeks - including an overall QB1 finish in week 8. He's the QB5 in PPG since Week 5 and QB10 on the season. Howell has been able to find the endzone easily. Over the last four weeks, he's thrown nine touchdown passes while averaging 268 passing yards.
SIT: Geno Smith @ BAL
- Avg Fantasy Points: 14.4
- Opponent vs QBs: 1st
- Week 9 Rank: QB17
- Projected Points: 14.5
The Ravens have been excellent against quarterbacks, allowing just six passing touchdowns all season and only two in the last three games. There's little upside in terms of yardage, either. Only one quarterback has surpassed 242 yards in the air against Baltimore. While Geno Smith may be on a bit of a hot streak (two touchdowns in two consecutive games), he has yet to surpass 16 fantasy points in either of those matchups. In fact, Smith has averaged 13.6 fantasy points over his last five outings. Sit Geno Smith against a strong Baltimore defense.
SLEEPER: Dak Prescott @ PHI
- Avg Fantasy Points: 16.7
- Opponent vs QBs: 28th
- Week 9 Rank: QB9
- Projected Points: 18.1
Opposing passing offenses are forced to throw, on average, 41 times per game against the Eagles. If the Cowboys get into a shootout with Philadelphia, we should see Prescott's typical pass attempts (33) take a big jump up. Prescott is fresh off a 304-yard, 4-touchdown performance, and the Cowboys have won two in a row. The last time the Cowboys and Eagles matched up against each other, Prescott finished the week with 347 passing yards and 3 touchdowns en route to a fantasy QB1 overall finish in Week 16 of 2022.
START: Jake Ferguson VS LAR - (Listen at: 53:00)
- Avg Fantasy Points: 8.7
- Opponent vs TEs: 16th
- Week 9 Rank: TE8
- Projected Points: 9.3
I can't stop streaming Jake Ferguson. He's had four or more receptions in three of his last five games while also hitting 47 or more yards in those same three games. He's the TE15 in points per game, which means he's always hovering around starter-quality numbers. The Eagles aren't exactly a soft opponent against tight ends, but they have allowed three big performances to Logan Thomas, TJ Hockenson, and Hunter Henry - all of whom caught at least five receptions and a touchdown. Should the passing volume for the Cowboys see an uptick, as expected, Ferguson has a good shot at a very productive game.
SIT: Michael Mayer VS NYG
- Avg Fantasy Points: 4.6 (Since Week 2)
- Opponent vs TEs: 5th
- Week 9 Rank: TE19
- Projected Points: 4.6
Michael Mayer had a quick flash-in-the-pan performance in Week 6 when he caught 5 receptions for 75 yards. Since then, Mayers has 3 catches for 32 yards over a two-game span. Now, he faces a tough opponent with a backup quarterback throwing the ball to him. I wouldn't put much stock in Mayer this week; keep him on your bench if you can.
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