Fantasy Football: 5 Bold Predictions for Week 9

One of the things that makes fantasy football so captivating is the variance. Even throughout Cooper Kupp's historic, unflappable season, he was the top wideout for the week just three times in 2021. That means, on individual weeks, some very strange players may pop in terms of fantasy points at their positions.

That opens the door for some room to be "spicy" and make some fun predictions. In a landscape increasingly set ablaze by "hot takes," it can be difficult to understand the difference between a bold prediction -- based on a particularly strong spot for a team or player -- and a senseless take with the prayer of becoming correct based on variance.

Let's shoot for the former with five interesting spots to target during this weekend's NFL games.

Note: All predictions are for half-PPR formats (and FanDuel scoring for quarterbacks).

1. Quit Joshing Us: Allen Finishes Outside the Top-10 Quarterbacks Against the Jets

This might be the spiciest prediction of 2022 thus far.

Josh Allen is a superhero, but even Superman has to become Clark Kent sometimes. Sunday's game should be an interesting potential spot for it to happen.

The most obvious reason is the Jets' surprising defense. They're numberFire's second-best pass defense, allowing -0.02 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back. Even last week, Sauce Gardner and company held up their end of the bargain as Zach Wilson melted down.

Another reason? Wilson might not be able to keep pace at all against Buffalo, who are the top pass defense in our nERD ranks. The Jets ran for just 51 yards in their first game without Breece Hall, and New York's quarterback posted just 0.01 Passing NEP per drop back last week amid three ugly picks.

There are enough red flags here to not expect Allen's best week.

2. Making the Most-of-ert: Raheem Rebounds with 12+ Fantasy Points

Well, this take got a little less hot when the Dolphins traded Chase Edmonds to the Denver Broncos on Tuesday. It's still a bit of a burner.

In a dream matchup, Mostert fell flat in Detroit. He posted just 64 yards on 14 carries and secured just a single target. The Fins were waxing the Lions through the air, so it's not like Mostert was the top option, but managers expected a lot more. They should get it this week.

The Bears have numberFire's second-worst rush defense. They also have allowed the second-most rushing touchdowns per game (1.88) to opposing backs and just traded Roquan Smith. The path to failure against Detroit was that the Lions are also the second-worst pass defense, but Chicago is at least just the 10th-worst.

Raheem still played 64.1% of the snaps in Week 8, and that could go up with Edmonds' departure. He's a clear must-start option as one of the best overall backs forecasted for Week 9.

3. There Art Thou, Romeo: Doubs Posts His First 100-Yard Receiving Game as a Pro

As mentioned with the Dolphins, the Lions' passing defense was bad again on Sunday. It's always bad.

In fact, in terms of Passing NEP per drop back allowed, it's 13.8% worse than any other pass defense in the league. That's why I'm into Romeo Doubs as a no-doubt start this week.

Doubs is arguably Green Bay's number-one wideout. He even ran 4.3 more routes per game than anyone in the three contests prior to Allen Lazard's Week 8 absence. If the Packers want to progress as an offense for the rest of the season, they should look to tune up their passing game in this matchup that amounts to a junior varsity scrimmage.

Doubs is projected for 4.1 catches and 50.4 yards in this one, but I'm going way over that mark here. The Lions have allowed four 100-yard receivers in the past four weeks, and I'm taking the plunge that the rookie out of Nevada can make it a fifth in five games.

4. Evan-escence: Engram Keeps Momentum Rolling with Another Game in Double Figures

The unit that Detroit is 13.8% worse than? It's the Las Vegas Raiders. They're the silver medal for terrible pass defense.

Therefore, we can really expect some yards and points out of the Jaguars' pass-catchers at home, and a surprising feature piece of that group has been Evan Engram.

Engram cashed his first touchdown with Jacksonville last week, but it was coming from a mile away. He's posted at least 6 targets and 40 yards in each of the last four games.

It's not like the Raiders are a tougher test for wideouts than tight ends, either. Las Vegas is allowing 1.84 adjusted fantasy points per target to tight ends, which is the highest mark in the NFL. This is a group that didn't cover Travis Kelce in the endzone four times if you recall.

Engram is a great streamer or daily fantasy option at the position this week. He's got a pulse, yardage upside, and an easy matchup. That's a slam-dunk TE1 at present.

5. Walk the Plank: Tampa Bay's Struggling D/ST Finishes Outside the Top-12 Spots Versus the Rams

It's time to have a talk about the real issue with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it's not Tom Brady.

Brady's playoff run last year came in conjunction with numberFire's fifth-best passing defense (0.02 Passing NEP per drop back) and sixth-best rushing defense (-0.01 Rushing NEP per carry). Not only is this not a fringe-top-five unit at the moment, but it's also downright bad.

In the past three weeks, the Tampa Bay D/ST has allowed the 12th-most Rushing NEP per carry (0.12), and they've been ceded the 6th-most Passing NEP per drop back (0.22) in the league. The three offenses they've faced are the Ravens, Panthers, and Steelers. It's not going to get a lot easier moving forward with the last two.

Their opposing matchup this week is the Rams, but at this stage, I'll let my leaguemates deal with the Bucs' defensive woes. Tampa's pressure rate isn't stellar (29%), and the Rams' adjusted pressure rate allowed is just 24%, which is tied for the 14th-highest in the league.

It's not a good enough matchup to squeeze blood from a turnip as a streamer or in daily fantasy.