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TNF and Week 9 Fantasy Football Preview

A look at some fantasy football options of the week.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday Night Football:

Oakland Raiders:

-Raiders aren’t a team that you typically think of when you think Fantasy football, but this week they have some playable options. Facing a bad 49ers defense TE Jared Cook, QB Derek Carr, and WR Jorday Nelson all could hit value. The Raiders defense might even be in play given that the 49ers will start either a banged up C.J. Beathard or a 2017 UDFA Nick Mullens at QB. I’d avoid the Raiders running game, though in a PPR league Jalen Richard may catch the ball enough to take a shot on.

San Francisco 49ers:

-There is not a good reason to play a single 49ers player tonight. If you have George Kittle I guess you can fire him up as there aren’t likely to be any other good options on the waiver wire. I just wouldn’t expect much from Kittle given the situation. In addition to the uncertainty at the QB position the 49ers are dealing with banged up running backs and wide receivers as well. Avoid this situation as much as possible. The Raiders are typically a defense you want to attack, it’s just there isn’t any reason to be confident that these 49ers players can reach value.


Who to start:

Ryan Fitzpatrick:

-Fitzpatrick is back to being the starting QB in Tampa and given the volume in this offense he’s worth rostering in all fantasy formats. It’s not a great match-up as the Panthers have played solid defense (especially at home), but the Buccaneers can’t run the ball. Fitzpatrick will probably need to throw 40-50 times in this game. Tampa Bay also takes more deeper shots than any other team in the league, so it can lead to some big TDs and chunk plays. If you have a league that rewards you for length of TDs, Fitzpatrick has extra value to you.

Joe Flacco:

-I’m never a big fan of playing Joe Flacco, but in a week with 6 quarterbacks on a bye, sometimes you will need to make some tough calls. Flacco faces a Steelers secondary that generally has struggled this year. Also with Alex Collins potentially out the Ravens may need to rely on the pass even more this week.

Alex Smith:

-Look I think there are serious concerns about Alex Smith and the Redskins passing attack, but if he’s going to have a big week it will be this week (or next versus the Bucs). Since Nick Foles struggled vs the Falcons week 1, Atlanta has given up five of six 300 yard passing games. With the lone exception being Ben Roethlisberger throwing only 250 in a blowout. In their six games since week 1 only Eli Manning failed to throw for 3 or more TDs versus the Falcons. I don’t see my self playing Smith in season long or DFS, but the logic is there to support it.

Who to avoid:

Mitch Trubisky:

-Trubisky continues to put up decent fantasy production each week, and has had some monster weeks this year, but this is a week to avoid. Buffalo has been a really good pass defense this year, limiting even top quarterbacks like Tom Brady. With the Bears likely to get up early this week, Trubisky will likely see reduced usage, limiting any chance at a good game.

Matt Ryan:

-Ryan is always a dangerous QB and Atlanta has plenty of weapons to work with, but this is not a favorable spot for the Falcons. The Redskins defense is clearly one of the best units in the league. They have only allowed more than 17 points twice this season and have only allowed a 300 yard passer twice as well. Ryan has also struggled in his two road games this season, putting up well below average numbers.

Dak Prescott/Marcus Mariota:

-This is just a game I completely want to avoid. The Titans offense has been frankly terrible this season and Marcus Mariota just isn’t 100% healthy. While Dak has played better of late and they just added a weapon in Amari Cooper, this doesn’t figure to be a great match-up for him. The Titans have a good passing defense and the Cowboys figure to slow this game down with Zeke. There is just no real upside for Prescott in this game and this is something I’m looking to completely fade with the exception of Elliott.

Running backs:

Who to play:

Kenyan Drake:

-Drake is really showing that he’s the Dolphins best all-around weapon and needs additional usage. He’s making big plays both on the ground and through the air and should start being featured more and more. In a game versus the Jets that figures to have the Dolphins ahead, Miami should rely more on their running game.

Latavius Murray:

-Murray has gotten good usage the past three weeks and has rewarded the Vikings with positive production from the running back position. The Lions have struggled versus the run this year, so there is a decent chance Murray could have another good game. He doesn’t have much passing game involvement, but he has a decent shot at 100 total yards and 1 or 2 TDs.

Kapri Bibbs:

-Assuming he’s healthy and Chris Thompson is out this game, Bibbs becomes a very interesting fantasy option. The Falcons are allowing over 70 yards per week to opposing running backs through the air. While Peterson will still be featured running the football, this is the perfect week for the Redskins to rely on their pass catching backs more. If Thompson is healthy then he’s a must play, but if he misses Bibbs has a chance for a big game.

Who to avoid:

LeSean McCoy:

-It keeps getting worse for the Bills offensively and because of that McCoy’s fantasy value has tanked completely. Buffalo is doing everything possible to get it in McCoy’s hands, but it’s not enough to make him that relevant from a fantasy perspective. This week is even worse than most given how good the Bears defense is.

Mark Ingram:

-While Ingram has seen a couple favorable game scripts that has allowed him to get decent usage, this game vs the Rams doesn’t project for that. It’s likely to be an Alvin Kamara game, meaning Ingram will see limited touches.

Tevin Coleman:

-Despite Freeman being injured, Coleman hasn’t seen a major bump to his usage. He will likely have a few decent fantasy weeks, but Atlanta is trying to utilize their rookie Ito Smith as well. On top of that running backs have been completely shut down versus the Redskins this year. They have faced some of the biggest names on the year and really none of them have done much of anything fantasy wise.

Wide Receivers:

Who to play:

Devin Funchess/D.J. Moore:

-The Buccaneers have one of the league’s worst secondaries and the Panthers will look to attack them in a variety of ways. Funchess is still the top receiver on the team, and this could be a nice bounce back week where he sees 10+ targets. Moore had a breakout game this past week and should be featured going forward. Moore has big time play-making ability and against this secondary he can exploit it for a huge game. The target volume is less secure, but he’s still worth taking a shot on.

Kenny Golladay/Marvin Jones:

-With Golden Tate an Eagle now, that is a lot of extra targets per game that should flow to the Lions other starting receivers. I’d suspect Golladay to be the bigger beneficiary long term, but Jones might have the advantage in this week’s match-up versus the Vikings. Jones had a huge Thanksgiving game versus Minnesota a year ago, and he’s coming off a 10 target game versus Seattle.

John Brown/Michael Crabtree:

-The Steelers secondary has played better of late, but it’s still beatable. John Brown torched them in their first match-up and Crabtree is getting pretty good volume to get excited about. It’s likely one of these two have a decent game and both might end up viable this week.

Courtland Sutton:

-With DeMaryius Thomas traded, there is a big role coming for the rookie receiver. Sutton has already seen decent usage, and now he could get an extra 3-5 targets a game. This is a good match-up versus a soft Texans secondary, so I’d expect Sutton to have a bit of a coming out party in this contest.

Who to avoid:

Josh Doctson/Paul Richardson:

-I know I mentioned Alex Smith above, and receivers are putting up huge weeks versus the Falcons, but I just can’t trust the volume of this play. Even with Jamison Crowder out, Doctson and Richardson are getting 5 or 6 targets a week and most of them have been pretty short targets. All of those could go up some in this match-up, but probably not enough to make them really fantasy viable. Best case scenario is one of these two hit for like 7 catches 75 yards and a TD, but it’s far from a guarantee.

Tyreek Hill:

-Typically I wouldn’t advocate avoiding Hill, but I question using him this week. He is coming off a groin injury last week and while he returned fully to practice, I have a hard time believing that the Chiefs will trot him out there for a full complement of snaps if this is a blowout like expected. Hill could be shutdown by halftime, so if you have some depth at WR this could be a time to use it.