Fantasy Football: Week-Ahead Stash Candidates for Week 9

Fantasy football is all about being a step ahead of your competition, and this weekly column aims to help you achieve that in a couple of ways.

First, I will identify players who could ultimately provide some value for your teams before they become hot waiver-wire adds. This will save you from spending an exorbitant amount of your free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) or using a high waiver priority on them, ultimately allowing you to save each of these for when you most need it.

Second, I'll dig through the data and player trends to illustrate why these players will be worth taking up a spot on your roster. I'm going to try to find the diamonds in the rough that inevitably emerge each and every year so that you don't have to sweat over whether or not you claimed them on waivers -- because you will already own them!

My goal each week is to provide you with starting and flex-caliber players at each of their respective positions. That means I'm looking for top-12 quarterbacks, tight ends, and defenses, as well as top-36 running backs and wide receivers. If I've done that, then I've done my job.

So let's take a look at this past week!

Player Positional Ranking Half-PPR Points
Matthew Stafford 5 24.4
Jamaal Williams 11 17.1
Auden Tate 33 9.0
Darren Fells 2 20.8
Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST 4 13.0

Another great week and my first time hitting every position in the same week! Matthew Stafford continued his streak of great play by putting up nearly 350 yards passing and 3 touchdowns. Jamaal Williams and Darren Fells also had stellar days as each scored a pair of touchdowns, putting them in the top ten of their respective positions.

Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

ESPN Ownership: 61%

Over the course of his career, no player has been more up and down than Jameis Winston. I mean, what other quarterback can put up double-digit points in a game in which he turns the ball over four or five times? Not many.

Winston's fantasy finishes have ranged from 7.1 points up to 30.3, truly displaying the low-floor, high-ceiling combo he offers. Winston is able to make up for his mistakes by collecting an enormous amount of passing yards. He is currently fifth in the league in passing yards per game with a 296-yard average. Winston is also averaging 336 yards per game over his past five games, during which he's the QB5 in fantasy.

Furthermore, with weapons like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to throw the ball to, Winston always comes with a high ceiling. Over those same five games noted above, Winston has thrown multiple touchdown passes in all but one contest. His ceiling is also evidenced by the fact that he's finished as a top-four quarterback twice this season. In fact, his only two finishes outside the top 15 came back in Weeks 1 and 2.

In Week 10, Winston and company will host the Arizona Cardinals in Tampa Bay's first true home game since Week 3. The Cardinals offer opposing quarterbacks the best matchup in fantasy football, so while Jameis may make a mistake or two, he's bound to have a great game regardless.

Gus Edwards, RB, Baltimore Ravens

ESPN Ownership: 3%

Earlier this season I touted Gus Edwards as a sleeper because of how much Baltimore runs the ball. Not only that, but Baltimore also had an extremely favorable schedule to start the season. I thought that Edwards also had a chance to eventually usurp free-agent addition Mark Ingram, either by way of injury or poor performance.

A hint of an Edwards takeover showed itself in Week 6 when Edwards saw more snaps than Ingram in a (surprisingly) competitive game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Ravens will face that same Bengals team again in Week 10, giving Edwards the potential to get another decent share of the workload.

Additionally, Edwards still has yet to find the end zone, which is surprising given his 234 yards this season. Based on the touchdown per yards average over the last five seasons, Edwards should have almost two more touchdowns than he currently has in 2019. While not an excessive amount, it still signifies that regression should be headed Edwards' way.

Finally, Edwards is ranked fourth (48.1%) in Rushing Success Rate -- the percentage of his carries that increased Baltimore's expected point total -- among running backs with at least 25 carries. This efficiency shouldn't be surprising as Edwards finished third in the NFL in Success Rate last year. Should Edwards take on a larger role with Baltimore, he could be a valuable asset for fantasy owners.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings

ESPN Ownership: 31%

There's no two ways about it, the first half of Kyle Rudolph's season was terrible. While he wasn't expected to be a major producer this year, recording six catches for 36 yards in the first five games of the season is not what many had in mind. However, since Kirk Cousins made a public apology on his podcast prior to Week 5, the Minnesota Vikings' passing game has been revitalized.

Over the last three weeks, Rudolph has 11 receptions for 111 receiving yards, along with one touchdown scored. That's good enough to put him at TE10 in that same span in half PPR leagues (yeah, that's how bad the tight end landscape is).

Rudolph, just like every other streaming tight end, is entirely dependent on scoring touchdowns. That said, the Vikings will get to visit the Dallas Cowboys in Week 10. Dallas has allowed the sixth-most points to opposing tight ends. A favorable matchup may be all Rudolph needs to give you some fantasy value.

Baltimore Ravens, D/ST

ESPN Ownership: 36%

In Week 10, the vaunted New England Patriots will have a bye so everyone who has gleefully been playing them will need to find a fill-in option. So why not use the defense of the team that the Patriots are playing this week?

With newly-acquired Marcus Peters, the Baltimore Ravens defense saw new life against the Seattle Seahawks back in Week 7. Since getting blown out by the Cleveland Browns in Week 4, the Ravens defense has recorded an interception in each game. They also haven't allowed more than 350 yards of total offense or more than 23 points in each of those games.

As I mentioned earlier, the Ravens will face off against the Bengals in Week 10, and Cincinnati just demoted Andy Dalton in favor of rookie Ryan Finley for the foreseeable future. If that's not enough to warrant streaming the Ravens, I should mention that the Bengals have given up an average of three sacks per game over the past three weeks.