Home / frontfantasy / Week 9 Fantasy: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down
Gabby Hutter/Los Angeles Rams

Week 9 Fantasy: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

For our complete Week 9 rankings, subscribe to Fantasy Consigliere, and listen to The Fantasy Consigliere Podcast for added insights ahead of the weekend.




Thumbs Up of the Week: Derek Carr (@ JAX)

Last week was probably rock bottom for Carr and the Raiders with a shutout loss to New Orleans, and the on-paper matchups versus Jacksonville doesn’t really suggest a bounce back on Sunday. However, I get the feeling the passing attack will breakout with Darren Waller (hamstring) hopefully back, and Davante Adams can go off after being held to one reception for three yards in Week 8. We’ll have to keep an eye on the forecast with possible rain, but I have Carr as a top-12 play.


Thumbs Up: Justin Fields (v MIA)

Increased running numbers in terms of both attempts and efficiency has helped Fields turn into a strong starting option despite a slow start—as he’s rushed 34 times for 230 yards and two touchdowns over the past three weeks. Maybe the addition of edge defender Bradley Chubb will make Miami a more intimidating matchup, but they’ve allowed the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, and the Bears have will likely need to score points to pull off an upset. The arrow is pointing up for Fields with matchups against the Dolphins, Lions, and Falcons before Thanksgiving.


Thumbs Up: Aaron Rodgers (@ DET)

Green Bay lost again last week, but there were signs of life offensively—including playing through the running backs and Romeo Doubs seemingly getting his confidence back. Although Rodgers hasn’t had a big game this season (225.0 passing yards per game), he’s thrown for multiple scores in six of his past seven appearances, and the Lions are a team that he’s owned throughout his career (52:8 touchdown-interception ratio).


Thumbs Up: Jared Goff (v GB)

In a week where there are a bunch of quality low-end QB1 or high-end QB2 options, Goff is another one worth considering after Detroit’s passing attack got back on track against Miami. Last year, the Lions played very well versus Green Bay, and their quarterback completed at least 70% of his passes with multiple scores in both games. Goff having D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown healthy helps make up for the loss of T.J. Hockenson (traded to Minnesota).


Thumbs Down of the Week: Ryan Tannehill (@ KC)

Six teams being on a bye and not many quarterbacks having a difficult matchup makes it a challenge to find “Thumbs Down” options for Week 9, but Tannehill—even facing the third-worst pass defense in the NFL—is someone I’m not overly excited about on Sunday night. While Tennessee winning both of Tannehill’s regular season starts versus the Chiefs is notable, it’s been mostly Derrick Henry going off, and the veteran quarterback having an injured ankle makes it less likely he does damage on the ground.


Thumbs Down: Mac Jones (v IND)

Jones had another head-scratching interception last week, and the Colts are a defense that got him for a couple of picks in the 2021 matchup (which Indy won 27-17). Because of that, I’m not sure Jones is completely safe from another in-game benching, and he’s yet to throw for multiple scores in a game this season. As stated, there are enough borderline QB1/QB2 options this week that you shouldn’t have to risk starting Jones.


Thumbs Down: Sam Ehlinger (@ NE)

On the other side of the Colts-Patriots matchup, Ehlinger—who played well in his first career NFL start—will have a much more challenging matchup for his first career road start versus a New England team that typically handles inexperienced quarterbacks. The rushing production can be a factor for Ehlinger, but he was limited to 15 yards on six attempts (with a lost fumble) last week, and the floor is extremely low for him.


Thumbs Down: Joe Burrow (v CAR)

If you have Burrow, you’re likely starting him as a QB1 option. That said, the first game without Ja’Marr Chase (hip) didn’t go as planned, and Carolina—in the top ten for yards per attempt allowed through the air (6.9)—isn’t exactly a cupcake matchup. I’d recommend looking elsewhere in DFS lineups with Tee Higgins set to draw coverage from Jaycee Horn and the depth for Cincinnati behind Higgins and Tyler Boyd failing to make an impact on Halloween.


Running back


Thumbs Up of the Week: AJ Dillon (@ DET)

Again, the Packers got the running game going against the Bills last week, and Dillon had perhaps his most efficient game of the season with ten carries for 54 yards (plus a nine-yard reception on his lone target). I would think Green Bay will stick to featuring their one-two punch in the backfield, so Dillon is a quality RB2 play against a Detroit defense allowing nearly two rushing touchdowns per game and the third-most rushing yards per game in the league (154.9).


Thumbs Up: Isiah Pacheco (v TEN)

Pacheco might be getting overlooked coming out of the bye, but he made his first career start in Week 7 for what turned out to be a 44-point explosion for Kansas City, and there’s a chance his role is further expanded for the rest of the season. I’m not concerned about Tennessee allowing just one rushing touchdown on the year, as Pacheco should benefit from plenty of favorable boxes and misdirection with all the weapons Kansas City has following the addition of Kadarius Toney. He’s a low-end RB2 for me.


Thumbs Up: Kyren Williams (@ TB)

We might not know the status of Williams (ankle) until Sunday, but he went through a pre-game workout last week, and I’m assuming the rookie will be the lead back for Sean McVay’s offense whenever available. Tampa Bay has fallen all the way down to the bottom ten in terms of rushing yards per game allowed (132.4) and yards per carried allowed (4.8), so Williams would be worth an immediate start as a FLEX option if deemed healthy enough to return.


Thumbs Up: Kenneth Gainwell (@ HOU)

Gainwell has not made much of an impact this season, and the Eagles have committed to Miles Sanders as their clear lead back with 17.6 touches per game through seven weeks. Still, I get the feeling that Gainwell could have a nice game on Thursday night, and the Texans just allowed Dontrell Hilliard to turn nine touches into 95 total yards behind another 200-yard performance by Derrick Henry. For desperate owners, Gainwell is worth a flier.


Thumbs Down of the Week: James Conner (v SEA)

Overall, the run defense for Seattle this season seems to make them a favorable matchup for opposing runners. There has been a significant turnaround over the past few weeks, though, as Eno Benjamin (15 carries for 37 yards), Austin Ekeler (nine carries for 31 yards and a touchdown), and Saquon Barkley (20 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown) were all contained on the ground. Perhaps a fresh-legged Conner can put up numbers if he’s back from his rib injury, but I’d consider him a risky RB2.


Thumbs Down: David Montgomery (v MIA)

A lost fumble last week might open the door for Chicago to give more work to Khalil Herbert—who already had more carries (16) than Montgomery (15) versus Dallas—so the ceiling and floor are both lowered for the starter taking on a Miami defense that ranks No. 6 in the league against the run. We could also see new wide receiver Chase Claypool get some designed touches near the goal line with the Bears hoping to show their investment was worth it, and I have Montgomery as more of a FLEX than RB2.


Thumbs Down: James Robinson (v BUF)

Robinson will certainly see increased playing time (22% in his team debut) as he gains familiarity with New York’s offense, but this weekend is another brutal spot for a matchup versus the Bills. Even beyond this week, the Jets then have a bye before taking on the Patriots again, so you might have to wait until the end of the month to get Robinson in lineups as anything more than a touchdown-dependent FLEX option.


Thumbs Down: Darrell Henderson Jr. (@ TB)

Kyren Williams not being activated this weekend would present an opportunity for Henderson to re-establish himself in the Los Angeles backfield, but do we think missed practice due to illness is the only reason for the Rams to start undrafted rookie Ronnie Rivers last Sunday in a huge spot versus San Francisco? My guess is that LA wanted to see if Rivers could provide a spark, and Henderson might be stuck as a change-of-pace option with Sean McVay saying he was satisfied with how last week’s starter ran behind a struggling offensive line.


Wide receiver


Thumbs Up of the Week: Christian Kirk (v LV)

The hot start for Kirk has cooled off with 40 or fewer receiving yards in three of the past four weeks, but Jacksonville would be wise to make him a bigger part of the game plan to complement what they’ve gotten out of Travis Etienne Jr. in the backfield. When the offense was playing at a high level early in the season, Kirk saw 9.0 targets per game, and he should avoid coverage from top perimeter cornerback Rock Ya-Sin. I like Kirk as a strong WR2.


Thumbs Up: Romeo Doubs (@ DET)

It’s impossible to watch Doubs play football and not see the raw talent he has, so a highlight touchdown grab last Sunday night might be what’s needed for him to explode with increased confidence over the second half of the year. Allen Lazard (shoulder) being out again would set up Doubs to be the No. 1 target for Aaron Rodgers, and the Lions just allowed Miami wideouts to combine for 56.3 fantasy points in Week 8.


Thumbs Up: Allen Robinson II (@ TB)

Last year’s 38-3 loss to the Bucs (when he was still with Chicago) was a burn-the-tape game for Robinson and the offense, but he caught ten passes for 90 yards on Todd Bowles’ defense in 2020, and it’s clear Los Angeles made him a priority coming out of the bye with a season-high seven targets. Cooper Kupp (ankle) being at less than 100% won’t result in any less attention paid to him, so Robinson should see a bunch of single coverage and typically thrives versus man-to-man schemes. I’d start him as a definite top-24 option at the position.


Thumbs Up: Rondale Moore (v SEA)

The Seahawks have done a remarkable job corralling him to limit the yardage, but Moore has combined to catch 17 passes (for 100 yards) in two career matchups versus the NFC West foe, and increased usage out of the slot last week is a huge boost to his outlook. The Cardinals also got Moore involved as a runner with a couple of rush attempts in Week 8, and playing at least 86% of the team’s offensive snaps in every game this season gives him a high floor—particularly in full PPR leagues.


Others: Robert Woods (@ KC), Quez Watkins (@ HOU)


Thumbs Down of the Week: Michael Pittman Jr. (@ NE)

Pittman looked to be on his way to a WR1 campaign after a 9/121/1 line in the opener, but he’s not found the end zone since—averaging just 9.7 yards per reception over that span. Now playing in a less pass-happy offense with Matt Ryan no longer starting, Pittman has a capped ceiling for Indy, and he was taken away by Bill Belichick last year with one reception (on five targets) for seven scoreless yards against New England. I have him in the WR3 ranks.


Thumbs Down: Brandin Cooks (v PHI)

The Eagles arguably have the best pass defense in the NFL, and Cooks—after not being traded at the deadline—has seen just 6.2 targets per game over the past five games after combining for 22 targets over the first two weeks of the season. Basically, I don’t see a big game for Cooks happening versus Darius Slay and James Bradberry on Thursday night with Philadelphia allowing a stingy 5.4 yards per attempt through the air.


Thumbs Down: Garrett Wilson (v BUF)

Wilson saw increased snaps on the outside last week, and it resulted in six receptions for 115 yards with chunk gains of 54, 23, and 18 on the day. However, the rookie could be faced with top cornerback Tre’Davious White (knee) on the perimeter this weekend, and I’m not sure we should suddenly be confident in him as a start after one productive outing with Zach Wilson under center after averaging 25.0 receiving yards per game over Wilson’s first four starts of 2022.


Thumbs Down: Marvin Jones Jr. (v LV)

He saw an end zone target last week in London, but Jones was held without a catch for the second time this season, and his playing time has dropped to 56% and 54% over the past two games. The veteran drawing coverage from the aforementioned Rock Ya-Sin makes it a difficult matchup despite looking promising on paper, and I’d recommend taking a shot on one of the Kansas City wideouts in the same range of consensus rankings.


Others: Chase Claypool (v MIA), Curtis Samuel (v MIN)


Tight end


Thumbs Up of the Week: Noah Fant (@ ARI)

Tight ends facing the Cardinals are always worth considering as a start, and Fant had his best showing of the season against them with six receptions for 45 yards last month. An unselfish offense for Seattle has held back Fant’s overall production, but his highest two snap rates have come over the past two weeks (73% and 72%)—providing some added confidence in him as a top-15 play for Week 9.


Thumbs Up: Austin Hooper (@ KC)

Kansas City possibly selling out to stop Derrick Henry should create major play-action opportunities for Hooper to capitalize on, and you have to think he’ll find the end zone at some point with no scores through two months. Furthermore, the 28-year-old may have Ryan Tannehill look to him when pressured instead of trying to escape and run on his injured ankle, so he’s a decent flier in a potential high-scoring game.


Thumbs Up: Brevin Jordan (v PHI)

Defending opposing tight ends might be the only obvious weakness for Philadelphia, so Jordan—with four targets in each of his past four appearances—can be an undervalued DFS play on Thursday night. O.J. Howard (50% of the snaps played last week) is also worth a shot with higher touchdown potential for Houston.


Thumbs Down of the Week: Dawson Knox (@ NYJ)

Speaking of touchdowns, they are a major part of Knox’s appeal in a high-powered Buffalo offense, but he’s yet to find the end zone in four career matchups versus the Jets. As less of a big-play threat compared to last season, Knox is outside the TE1 ranks for this week.


Thumbs Down: Hunter Henry (v IND)

Henry went for lines of 4/54 and 4/61/1 in Bailey Zappe’s start this season, but he’s gone for yardage totals of 20, zero, eight, 13, 12, and 22 in games started by Mac Jones—not to mention zero touchdowns. Based on some of the struggles for New England’s passing attack and the increased involvement of Rhamondre Stevenson as a pass-catcher, I wouldn’t put a ton of stock into Henry’s 6/77/2 line against Indy in 2021.


Thumbs Down: Tyler Conklin (v BUF)

Although he was able to snap out of a slump last week with 79 yards and two touchdowns, Conklin is in the same boat as Garrett Wilson in that fantasy owners probably shouldn’t overreact to one encouraging performance after a stretch of limited production with Zach Wilson at quarterback. Buffalo is a matchup to avoid, so Conklin could disappoint for those chasing fantasy points from Week 8.