How was everyone’s Halloween? Lots of treats for your fantasy teams, we hope. Of course, only two teams were off on byes in Week 8, so planning your lineups shouldn’t have been too tricky. The real scare comes next week, with four teams out of action.
Okay, okay … no more hokey Halloween references. Navigating the bye weeks is serious business, so we’ll avoid the cheap holiday lines (until later this month, when we’ll talk about all the fantasy studs we’re thankful are not on a bye).
So let’s take a look at the four teams that are off in Week 9 and see if we can’t come up with some winning options if there are players you’ll be missing.
Week 9 byes: Buccaneers, Seahawks, Lions, Football Team
What you’re missing
Buccaneers: Okay, so if your QB1 is Tom Brady, you’ll have to muddle through Week 9 without him. Then again, if your QB1 is Tom Brady, you’ve probably clinched a playoff berth already, and you can roll the dice this week with just about anyone as a one-week replacement. Brady leads the league in passing yards and TD passes. And since one-third of his TD passes have gone to Mike Evans, he’s another fantasy stud who will be missed. Leonard Fournette isn’t the most consistent fantasy performer, but he’s a regular starter in most formats.
Seahawks: The Russell Wilson injury has stymied the production of Seattle receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Given their recent struggles, fantasy managers might not miss them as much this week as they otherwise might have.
Lions: The fantasy world has patiently been waiting for Lions RB D’Andre Swift to blossom into an impactful fantasy player, and it’s finally happening. Swift has 195 scrimmage yards in the last two weeks - which is why this is bad timing for his bye week.
Football Team: Not much to miss from Washington’s offense, which has been held to 33 points over the last three games. Terry McLaurin is their best fantasy option. But while he’s had three games with over 100 receiving yards, he’s averaged under 50 yards in the other five contests.
Week 9 waiver options
Some fantasy squads might be deep enough to have a satisfactory fill-in on their bench when it comes to bye week replacements. If not, you’ll need a short-term waiver add -- and it’s not about fighting for the hottest waiver-wire candidates. You want a stand-in who happens to have a favorable matchup in your week of need.
Here are some Week 9 options:
Here’s one you’ll need to monitor during the week, but Fox’s Jay Glazer reported Sunday that Cardinals QB Kyler Murray might miss Week 9 due to an ankle injury. If that’s the case and Colt McCoy has to start against the 49ers, why not give him a shot? He’ll have all those shiny Arizona weapons at his disposal. … Jameis Winston would have been worth a look this week against the Falcons, who allow the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. But with Winston likely done for the season, the return of Taysom Hill from injury is just in time. It’s at least worth seeing what Hill can do as the starter this week. … And if you want to roll the dice this week, have some fun with Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben hasn’t been fantasy-relevant all season, and the Week 9 opponent, Chicago, has a decent pass defense. But the Steelers are money on Monday night, so this may be the week Roethlisberger puts up some nice numbers.
Fantasy managers jumped all over Eagles rookie Kenneth Gainwell last week when news broke that Miles Sanders was going on injured reserve. But it was veteran Jordan Howard, activated from the practice squad, who had a big game for the Eagles in their blowout of Detroit. Look for Howard to see plenty of action in Week 9 as Philly tries to keep the ball out of Justin Herbert’s hands. … With the Texans getting blown out by the Rams Sunday, we didn’t get to see which of their running backs, Phillip Lindsay or David Johnson, would get the bulk of carries following Mark Ingram’s trade to New Orleans. Houston should have more chances to run the ball this week against a Dolphins defense that allows 27 FPPG to running backs. We’ll say Lindsay gets the bulk of the carries. … Speaking of Mark Ingram, he’ll face a favorable matchup against the Falcons run defense. Alvin Kamara is still the main weapon in New Orleans, but don’t be surprised if Ingram becomes a popular goal-line option for the Saints.
Rondale Moore hasn’t been the fashionable addition fantasy managers had hoped he’d be, mainly because the Cardinals have so many weapons on offense, but Moore gets his second shot at the 49ers this week. In Week 5, Moore had 97 scrimmage yards against San Francisco. … From Rondale to Randall -- as in Randall Cobb. He was a popular add last week when Green Bay was without Davante Adams and Allen Lazard--and he came through with a pair of touchdown grabs. Cobb should continue to produce even with Adams back, especially against Kansas City’s porous pass defense. … Van Jefferson is still the third option for Matthew Stafford behind Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, but the Rams this week are facing the Titans, who allow the most FPPG to wide receivers. Jefferson is available in most leagues, and he should have a strong week.
Minnesota’s Tyler Conklin has just one touchdown on the season, but he might be worth a flier as the Vikings face the Ravens, who have allowed the most FPPG to tight ends. … The Bills play the Jaguars, who have allowed the fourth-most FPPG to tight ends. Dawson Knox is still out, so Tommy Sweeney gets a chance to shine. … A lot of fantasy managers have given up on Robert Tonyan this year. If he’s available, this week’s matchup against the Chiefs could provide a glimpse of what the Packers' tight end did last season.
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