15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 9

A bomb was dropped on the fantasy football world on Monday morning.

"Titans’ RB Derrick Henry suffered a potentially season-ending foot injury during Sunday’s 34-31 win over Indianapolis, sources reported ESPN. Henry is undergoing an MRI today to determine the full extent of the damage."

That was a tweet sent from ESPN's Adam Schefter. And it was...shocking.

Henry hurt his foot in the middle of Tennessee's game on Sunday, but he was able to re-enter the contest and play. He carried the ball 28 times -- something that's been common for the monster back -- and he was even doing so during the overtime period.

So this injury isn't just a surprise because it's happening to the highest-scoring running back in fantasy football. It's a surprise because it didn't seem like a big deal when it happened.

Now, as fantasy managers, it's time to react.

Add Jeremy McNichols and Adrian Peterson

No one can simply step in and replace Derrick Henry, who's reportedly going to be out 6 to 10 weeks. I mean, Henry was averaging over 27 rush attempts per game. Teams often divvy that type of workload up between two or three backs.

I'd now expect the Titans to now do the same.

Jeremy McNichols is the player who was on the Titans' Week 8 roster who'll step up and see more work, especially in the passing game. McNichols actually has a 10.6% target share on the season, and he's seen games where that share spiked, enabling him to have decent PPR outings.

The Titans also signed Adrian Peterson on Monday, and I'd assume he sees early-down and goal-line work in the offense. Keep in mind, too, that Peterson has never been much of a pass-catcher, so he complements the way Tennessee's used McNichols fairly well.

Both players should be added off the waiver wire this week. McNichols is my preferred option because the majority of leagues feature points per reception, but in standard formats, there's definitely an argument for Peterson.

Buy Leonard Fournette

Regular Season Lenny had a bummer of a game in Week 8, where he carried the ball just 8 times for 26 yards. He did see five targets, but he wasn't able to do a whole lot with them.

This transaction is to just say that Leonard Fournette is still a high-end option at running back. He's seen a double-digit percentage target share in all but one game this season, and his running back rush share is still a solid 65% on the year. It was a tough matchup in Week 8 against a Saints team that's been one of the best at stopping running backs in fantasy football not just this year, but over the last few years, as well.

The other thing to keep in mind is that Tampa Bay has been a little above expectation in pass-to-rush touchdown ratio this year. To put that another way, they've thrown for significantly more touchdowns than they've run for (25 to 7), giving them one of the highest pass-to-rush touchdown ratios in the league.

We should expect that given the team's personnel, but after four passing touchdowns to zero rushing touchdowns in Week 8, moving forward, that number likely won't skew so heavily towards the pass. At least, that's what we've seen historically. That'll end up helping Fournette in the long run.

Add Jordan Howard and Boston Scott

Week 8 didn't go as planned for those of you who added Kenneth Gainwell after Miles Sanders' ankle injury. If you look at the box score, you'll see a pretty big split in the Philadelphia backfield, with Gainwell, Boston Scott, and Jordan Howard seeing 13, 12, and 12 touches, respectively. The problem is that Gainwell's work largely came when the game was out of hand -- 12 of his 13 rush attempts came in the fourth quarter of the Eagles' blowout win against Detroit.

Gainwell failed to see a target for the first time all season, too, thanks to Philly playing with a severe positive game script.

That script allowed both Boston Scott and Jordan Howard (Remember him?) to come through with top-15 fantasy performances at the running back position in Week 8. Scott was a little more involved than Howard given he saw the only Philadelphia backfield target of the game, but both players were involved in the first half, with Scott getting the start and Howard playing a bit in the second quarter.

Let's call this what it is, though: unsustainable. The Eagles won't be facing the Lions each week, so we can't expect them to play with a lead as they did on Sunday. With that being said, Boston Scott is a decent add off the waiver wire given he played as the starter, and Howard is worthy enough in deeper formats.

Don't automatically drop Gainwell, either. Philadelphia didn't have to play catch-up as we've seen in the past, so Gainwell, a strong pass-catcher out of the backfield, wasn't needed. That could change as early as Week 9 against the Chargers.

Oh, and remember that Miles Sanders will be back. He was a 15 Transactions buy candidate the week before his injury because Philadelphia's remaining schedule is really good. I'd still put him in that bucket, especially since the coaching staff may see the result of Week 8's matchup and decide to utilize their running backs more.

Hold or Buy Devonta Smith

The last few weeks have been tough for DeVonta Smith. He's averaged just 6.2 PPR points per game over his last three, and he's coming off a game against Detroit where he caught just 1 of his 3 targets for 15 yards.

If you want some good news, he's at least still seeing a healthy target share in the offense. During this three-game stretch, his target share per game has been 21.5%, which isn't far off from his season-long 22.8% share.

Now, clearly, a high target share for a wide receiver in a Philadelphia offense won't be the same as one in, say, a Tampa Bay one. I'm merely showing that he's been involved, and that's a plus.

If you have Smith, the next couple of weeks could be rough. The Eagles get the Chargers in Week 9 and then the Broncos in Week 10, two teams that look good against wide receivers according to my schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed methodology.

After that, though, they don't have a single tough matchup for wide receivers in adjusted points allowed through the end of the fantasy season. And in Weeks 15 and 17, Philadelphia will face Washington, a team that currently ranks as the most advantageous matchup for opposing wide receivers.

You may not want to start Smith over the next couple of weeks, but he's got a chance to be quite usable down the stretch. He's a hold, but you could even consider buying if you're looking ahead.

Buy Brandon Aiyuk

Context is important with every transaction, and that's no different here: don't trade anything for Brandon Aiyuk. He still hasn't been consistently productive, and he's still only seen 10.8% of San Francisco's targets on the season.

But the peripherals! They're getting better!

Aiyuk played 87.5% of the 49ers' snaps on Sunday, marking a season high. He saw 25.9% of the team's targets, another season high. And he converted his 7 targets into 45 receiving yards which, you guessed it, was a season high.

The fact that he didn't blow up statistically is a good thing for anyone looking to trade for him. His managers may not see the upward trend in usage and just look at production, but that's not the proper way to evaluate these things.

Usage is everything, and as long as Aiyuk's workload is trending in the right direction, we should be willing to send off some bench assets to acquire him. After all, we've seen him be a highly productive receiver in the past.

Why not take a chance?

Add Carlos Hyde

There's a chance we don't see James Robinson in Week 9 because of a heel injury suffered in Week 8, but it does sound like it's not super serious. That's great news.

You'll still want to add Carlos Hyde this week just in case, though, since he gobbled up 9 of Jacksonville's 11 non-Robinson running back rushes to go along with an impressive 15.7% target share. If Robinson misses time, Hyde could be a decent flex play based on volume alone, even in a tough matchup against the Bills.

Add Jaret Patterson

Antonio Gibson wasn't on Washington's Week 8 injury report for the first time in weeks, so of course Week 8 was the week where he hit a season-low 36.4% running back rush share. Of course.

Washington has a bye in Week 9, so hopefully Gibson will be able to rest up and get healthy for the rest of the season. It's still worth adding Jaret Patterson because he handled half of Washington's running back rushes against Denver this past Sunday. If Gibson's injury continues to linger, and if Washington keeps losing, there may not be any reason to utilize Gibson towards the end of the year.

Hold Michael Carter

I think the initial reaction to a monster Michael Carter game would be to sell him. He posted 32 PPR points against the Bengals, and he's not going to do that again this season. At least more than likely.

But are people really out searching for a New York Jets running back?

In a hypothetical world, sure, you should sell Michael Carter. He's seen a 25.3% target share per game over his last two contests, which has resulted in 23 targets. There's almost zero chance he's able to maintain that pace.

No sane fantasy manager is making that assumption, though. And, to be honest, even if we accept that the receiving volume will dip -- which we should -- he still can and should be usable from here on out.

Since Week 2, Carter's averaged a running back rush share per game of 68.5%. Before these last two weeks where he's seen an inflated target share, he was getting roughly 9% of New York's targets. It's not like his usage was zero.

The Jets have been far less of a dumpster fire offensively of late, too. They scored a grand total of two offensive touchdowns across their first three games this year, but they've scored 11 in the 4 games since.

We want attempts and targets in fantasy football. Carter's getting those. So despite coming off a big game, because the market likely isn't going to be there for him, it's probably best to hold instead of selling just to sell.

Add Jamal Agnew

Jamal Agnew was featured on last week's Late-Round Podcast sleeper episode, and he came through with a 6-catch, 38-yard, 1-touchdown game against Seattle. The Jaguars have now been without wideout D.J. Chark for three weeks, and in those contests, Agnew has an average target share per game of 20.8% while leading the team in targets. The volume alone means he needs to be on your radar.

Buy Jarvis Landry

If you're looking for an inexpensive, boring, moderately productive wide receiver, Jarvis Landry is your man.

He's been back from an injury for two weeks, and in those contests, he's seen 18 targets and a 28.6% target share per game. He hasn't been super productive in fantasy with just 18.7 total PPR points in those contests, but Cleveland was also facing Denver and Pittsburgh, two teams that at least have the talent defensively to stop opposing offenses. One of those games was with backup Case Keenum, too.

The Browns also continue to score their touchdowns on the ground at a pace that'll be tough to maintain. Their pass-to-rush touchdown ratio is just 0.50, tied with Chicago for the lowest mark in the league. The smallest ratio we've seen over the last decade of football is 0.59, and the average is 2.23 across those 10 seasons.

If and when Cleveland's pass-to-rush touchdown ratio regresses, it'll benefit the pass-catchers on the team. Landry should be able to give you WR3 type numbers as long as he stays healthy, and sometimes that's fine to have for deeper rosters.

Add Pat Freiermuth

Pat Freiermuth saw 20% of Pittsburgh's targets without Eric Ebron in the lineup on Sunday, and he turned that into 4 catches for 44 yards and a score. He now has back-to-back games with at least an 18% target share, playing at least 60% of Pittsburgh's snaps in both contests. Those games just happen to coincide with JuJu Smith-Schuster's season-ending injury.

Freiermuth's not running routes at the same rate as a Chase Claypool or Diontae Johnson, but he's a big-time red-zone threat who should continue to see opportunity with Smith-Schuster out. He's a priority for teams who need tight end help this week.

Sell Noah Fant

Noah Fant's been having a low-key strong year. He's top-10 in PPR points per game at the tight end position, and he's seen nearly 20% of Denver's targets throughout the season.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous about both Jerry Jeudy and Albert Okwuegbunam being healthy again.

In Week 8, with both Jeudy and Albert O back and running routes, Fant saw his lowest target share since facing Pittsburgh in Week 5. He also ran a route on just 70% of Denver's drop backs, his lowest rate of the season.

That route participation is key. With Okwuegbunam healthy during Weeks 1 through 4, Fant averaged a routes per drop back rate of 76.3%. That shot up to 88.3% without Albert O, and then it came crashing back down in Week 8 with his return.

It may be tough for Fant to post a 20% target share -- a number we started getting used to from him -- moving forward. If you can pair him with a bench asset to upgrade the tight end position, it's not a bad idea.

Buy Derek Carr

Trading for quarterbacks -- especially non-elite ones -- in fantasy football typically isn't advisable, but some of you might be in a tough spot right now at the position. Derek Carr may be able to help.

Carr's provided fantasy managers with top-15 numbers at the position this year, and he should see a boost in production over the next handful of weeks given Vegas' schedule. Check this out: over the team's next seven games, the only opponent that ranks in the top half of the league in adjusted fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks is Dallas. The Raiders have plus matchup after plus matchup.

It wouldn't be a surprise to see Carr as a top-10 option over the next month and a half as a result.

Add Taysom Hill

Jameis Winston tore his ACL on Sunday, so he's done for the season. Taysom Hill's been out for a few weeks with a concussion, but he could be back in Week 9.

If that's the case, Hill becomes a really intriguing fantasy football option. He started four games last season, and in those contests, he averaged over 21 fantasy points per game while scoring no fewer than 17.5 points. He was QB13 or better in weekly scoring in each start.

As we know, Hill's not getting it done in fantasy because of his arm. It's because of his legs. He's got the cheat code element to his game -- during his four starts, he averaged over 52 rushing yards per game while finding the end zone on the ground 4 times.

In Week 9, the Saints get the Falcons. Atlanta's one of the better matchups for quarterbacks in the league.

Sign me up.

Add the Miami Dolphins Defense

The Dolphins check a lot of boxes as a streaming defense this week.

According to FanDuel Sportsbook, Miami's a seven-point favorite over Houston, so they should be playing with a positive game script. Meanwhile, Houston's been a top-10 team for opposing defenses when looking at adjusted fantasy points allowed.

We'll see what happens with Tyrod Taylor, but even if he starts, Miami should be a strong enough waiver wire option this week.