15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 9
At this point of the season, you know the general direction your fantasy football team is heading. You know if you've got to make high-risk moves in order to make a late-season run at the playoffs, or if you can sit back, relax, and do a little bit of planning.
It's sort of like when a friend comes and visits for the weekend. If they're crazy, then, well, get your body ready. Prepare for some boozing and indigestion.
But if they're more of the "Let's hang out and play games and watch a movie" type of friend, then you can chill out a bit. You don't have to worry about what's coming in the short-term as much.
OK, that may be a dumb analogy, but you know what I'm talking about.
Because of where we're at in the season, each transaction is a little more unique. Some of the listed moves are going to be geared toward the playoffs, while others are going to be focused on the playoff push. So, as is usually the case, context is key. Don't be a headline reader. (Though I realize anyone reading this rambling of an intro is likely the demographic that'll read the rest of the article in detail.)
Let's dig into Week 9's transactions.
Buy Miles Sanders
Miles Sanders has now missed three games due to injury this year, so it's very possible that fantasy managers are frustrated. It's also very possible that Sanders teams aren't doing all that well since he was an early-round pick. And with an Eagles bye week upcoming, those bad teams may be in need of a win right now.
That's your opportunity to pounce. Because when Sanders has been on the field, he's produced. He's finished in the top-20 in weekly running back scoring in four of five games played, and when active this year, he's handled over 80% of the team's running back rushes per game to go along with a 13.4% target share. Those are both high-end numbers.
After Philly's bye this week, they get the Giants, Browns, Seahawks, Packers, Saints, Cardinals, and Cowboys through the end of the fantasy football season. That's a tough schedule in real football, but it should bring some high-scoring affairs for the Philly offense. Not only that, but the only team among that group that's been exceptionally well at stopping running backs this year is New Orleans.
With Sanders likely returning after the bye, this all makes him a sneaky trade target this week.
Sell James Robinson
If you've been a 15 Transactions reader this season, then you know I'm big on James Robinson. I don't have his poster on my office wall or anything, but I'm probably one step away from it.
Hopefully this doesn't get my truther card taken away, but there are reasons to try and sell Robinson this week. It doesn't have anything to do with his peripherals -- he's seen almost 95% of Jacksonville's running back rushes this year, which is by far the highest running back rush share we've witnessed dating back to 2011. On top of that, he's got a 12.7% target share.
The usage is elite.
The situation is not. Gardner Minshew is banged up, so the Jags are likely going to go with Jake Luton, a sixth-rounder from 2020's draft. Maybe Luton ends up being an upgrade, but it wouldn't be wise to just make that assumption. If he's worse than Minshew, then we have to worry a bit about the scoring opportunities Robinson may see. The same can be said for any Minshew replacement.
The schedule is another factor here. On the season, Jacksonville's had four top-10 matchups -- favorable matchups -- in seven games. That's according to my adjusted fantasy points allowed numbers. Robinson's faced just one team ranked lower than 18th, which came in Week 1 against the Colts. He finished with just 10 PPR points in that contest.
Over the next two weeks, he does get the two best matchups in adjusted points allowed, when the Jaguars face the Texans and Packers. Both of those games, though, could be happening with a very questionable quarterback under center.
And once those matchups are over, Robinson will face the Steelers (23rd-best matchup for running backs), Browns (19th), Vikings (24th), and Titans (7th). For Weeks 15 and 16 -- the two most important fantasy football weeks of the season -- Jacksonville will face Baltimore (26th) and Chicago (27th).
The arrow isn't exactly pointing up.
It's probably not a bad idea to sell Robinson now, and while negotiating, use the upcoming matchups -- the ones against Houston and Green Bay -- to your advantage. Remind the league manager that Robinson's already had his bye.
He should still be productive moving forward, don't get me wrong, but there are plenty of concerns. Now might be the time to let him go.
Add Jakobi Meyers
Over the last two weeks, Jakobi Meyers has a 27.3% and 43.5% target share in the New England offense. It's a run-heavy scheme, but because those target shares have been so high, he's tallied 16 total targets. With Julian Edelman sidelined, Meyers should be usable, especially against the Jets this week.
Hold Josh Jacobs
After a huge Week 1 performance against the Panthers, Josh Jacobs hasn't done a whole lot in fantasy football. In fact, since the first week of the season, Jacobs ranks 23rd in running back PPR points per game (minimum four games played). He's averaged fewer points per game than Jonathan Taylor and David Montgomery.
Part of the Jacobs decline has been a lack of receiving usage. We had this problem last year with him, but after handling over 21% of Las Vegas' targets in that Week 1 contest, Jacobs has averaged a target share per game of 9.3% since. He's also not finding the end zone a whole lot, scoring twice (both in the same game) from Week 2 through Week 8.
Now, to be fair, Jacobs faced two of the toughest matchups against running backs already this year, having gone up against New Orleans and Tampa Bay. The only game where he finished outside the top-30 in running back scoring was against the Bucs.
So we know he's got a floor. And, according to his rest-of-season schedule, you could argue more of a ceiling is coming. The Raiders get the Chargers and Dolphins in Weeks 15 and 16, which are two neutral to positive matchups when looking at adjusted fantasy points allowed to running backs. In between, they'll get the Jets and Chiefs, too. Overall, the schedule is a little bit better than what he's faced during the front half of the season.
It's probably not a time to go after him, though. His receiving usage isn't really trending up, and that's still a concern to his profile.
Buy Jalen Reagor
We finally got to see Jalen Reagor back on a football field on Sunday night, and all things considered, he looked pretty good. He had a 23.1% target share (teammate Travis Fulgham was at about 27%, for the record), and while he only finished with 16 receiving yards, he did see a solid-enough 75 air yards.
As I mentioned with Miles Sanders above, the Eagles have a really favorable schedule moving forward. In fact, five of their final seven opponents during the fantasy football season rank in the top-11 in adjusted fantasy points allowed to wide receivers.
This is all why both Reagor and Fulgham were buys in last week's 15 Transactions column. It's just that with a relatively average performance and a bye week upcoming, you may be able to get a slight discount.
Drop Joshua Kelley
It was looking promising at the start of the season for Joshua Kelley, and then when Austin Ekeler was hurt, things looked even better. But he's been pretty dreadful. Kelley's failed to score a touchdown since Week 1, and he's yet to see a weekly running back rush share rate north of 40% since the Ekeler injury. Worst of all, this past week, Kelley's running back rush share fell to a season low 18.4% after Troymaine Pope got more run.
You can send him to the waiver wire in most leagues.
Add Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown
Cam Akers tallied his highest running back rush share since Week 1 on Sunday against the Dolphins, largely because Darrell Henderson suffered a thigh injury in the first half of the game. Henderson's last touch came in the early parts of the second quarter, and from that point on, Akers out-attempted teammate Malcolm Brown nine to seven through the end of the game. If Henderson were to miss time, both Akers and Brown would get a nice bump in usage. Brown seems like the player who would see receiving work given how they've utilized him so far this year, but Akers is the higher-upside talent among the two. I'd prefer Akers for that reason alone.
Hold Lamar Jackson
The big question surrounding Lamar Jackson in fantasy football right now is, quite simply, "What the hell happened?"
After finishing with a top-15 performance in 14 of 15 games last year, Jackson's finished with just 3 top-15 outings in 7 games this season. He was by far the best quarterback in fantasy a season ago, and now he's almost not even a QB1.
I'll say it again: what the hell happened?
For starters, Jackson's running the ball less frequently. In 2019, he averaged 11.7 rushes per game. This year, that number's 9.4. He's seeing 0.7 fewer yards on each of his attempts this season, too.
On the passing front, not only is his touchdown rate down, but his yards per attempt has dropped, his completion percentage has dropped, and his deep-ball numbers have dropped.
Individually, these statistical dips haven't been super dramatic. For instance, Jackson's completing 37.8% of his 15-plus air yard throws this year versus 39.5% last year. He's seen 27.4% of his passing yards come from deep passes, when that was closer to 31% last year.
There's a lot of that happening.
What's really changed is that Baltimore isn't converting like they did a season ago. Like, we knew regression was coming. Math told us that this would happen. There was no way Jackson was going to maintain his 9.0% touchdown rate from last year, and Baltimore was likely going to score fewer touchdowns in 2020 than they had last year.
For simple proof, just look at how they've converted each drive. In 2020, 25.3% of the Ravens' drives are resulting in touchdowns, with 17.7% of them ending in field goals. Last year, those numbers were 34.9% and 16.9%, respectively.
I don't think anything's broken. I think this is just what the Ravens are.
That doesn't mean you should give up on Jackson in fantasy football. There's a very straightforward reason he's a "hold" this week and not a "sell": the upcoming schedule. Specifically, the playoff schedule.
In Weeks 14 through 16 -- the fantasy football playoffs -- Baltimore gets the Browns, Jaguars, and Giants. That means Jackson will face two of the five easiest opponents according to adjusted fantasy points allowed, and then a completely average enemy in the Giants.
So even though this new norm -- the regressed version of the Baltimore Ravens -- is a little annoying given the price you likely paid to get Lamar Jackson in fantasy, at least he should come through with strong performances in the fantasy football playoffs.
Sell Damien Harris
Damien Harris had his best outing of the season on Sunday against Buffalo, carrying the ball 16 times for 102 yards and a touchdown. The problem? He still only played 30.8% of the team's snaps. And he's had a grand total of two targets in his four games since returning from injury. That's not the type of running back usage you want to -- or can -- rely on each week.
Add Jordan Wilkins
Jonathan Taylor hasn't really lived up to the hype, but he really didn't look like himself in Week 8. Maybe it's due to an ankle injury that he's evidently dealing with, but whatever the case, Jordan Wilkins should be on your radar. Wilkins played over half of Indianapolis' snaps on Sunday, and he saw over 55% of the Colts' running back rushes, ending the day with over 20 PPR points. If Taylor does miss time, Wilkins should see a good bit of early-down work, but do be aware that the Colts face the Ravens in Week 9, so the matchup isn't great. Don't go HAM trying to get him off the waiver wire.
Buy D'Andre Swift
The Lions ended up running D'Andre Swift six times against the Colts, and he finished the day with just one rushing yard. He did have three catches on four targets, but 5.3 PPR points isn't going to cut it.
That down performance came with a lot of good, though. Swift saw his highest running back rush share (54.5%) of the season, and he played by far the most snaps in the Lions' backfield with a 62.3% snap share. That was easily his season high.
The Swift manager may not realize how encouraging Swift's usage actually was in Week 8's game given the crappy bottom-line performance. That makes him a great buy-low option.
Add DeeJay Dallas
DeeJay Dallas was the top running back for the Seahawks on Sunday thanks to a bunch of backfield injuries, and he really came through. He handled 90% of Seattle's running back rushes, toting the rock 18 times while catching all 5 of his targets. That gave him a top-five weekly performance at the running back position.
It's early in the week, so there's no telling how this backfield will look by Sunday. That's why Dallas should be added when waivers run. And who knows? Maybe Dallas now ends up with a bigger role in the offense once Chris Carson is back.
Sell Todd Gurley
Your boy has not figured out Todd Gurley this year -- this isn't the first time he's been a 15 Transactions sell.
It's just so hard to assume Gurley will keep up this touchdown-scoring pace. He's averaging one rushing touchdown per game this season, and despite that, he's still outside RB1 territory on the season in points per game. How? Well, he's averaging fewer than 70% of Atlanta's running back rushes per game, and he's only seen a 6.5% target share this season.
Those numbers also hit rock bottom in Week 8. Against Carolina, Gurley had a 60% running back rush share to go along with zero targets, both season lows.
He's scoring touchdowns, and he is getting opportunity to score touchdowns. Only Ezekiel Elliott and Derrick Henry have more goal-line attempts. That's great. I just worry about the declining backfield market share to go along with that touchdown reliance. That's a bad combination for a fantasy football running back.
Add Kirk Cousins
The fantasy football streaming Gods weren't very kind to us this week -- there are very few quarterback options who are widely available on waiver wires. Fortunately, Kirk Cousins is rostered in just 28% of Yahoo! leagues, and he's not in a terrible spot. The Lions-Vikings game this week has a 53-point over/under over on FanDuel Sportsbook, and Minnesota's a 3.5-point favorite. That gives them a pretty good implied team total.
Detroit's been fairly average against quarterbacks when looking at adjusted fantasy points allowed, but they are coming off a game against Indianapolis where the ghost of Philip Rivers threw for 262 yards and 3 scores against them. They're beatable, and during a week with so few streaming options, that's good enough.
Add the Washington Football Team's Defense
The Washington Football Team defense is available in 84% of Yahoo! leagues, and they get a projected low-scoring Week 9 matchup against the Giants where the Football Team is a favorite. Washington ranks sixth in the league in pressure rate this season, and should have no trouble taking advantage of a turnover-friendly quarterback. They're a strong streaming choice.