If this article had been published on Thursday as opposed to Friday, I totally would have had Nick Mullens, Raheem Mostert, Pierre Garcon, and the San Francisco 49ers D/ST listed among my Week 9 streamers. OK, that is a lie. But it goes to show how valuable weekly streamers are in fantasy football. Finding the right player in the right matchup goes a long way towards weekly success. In this column, I pick out one player at each position who should outperform his current expectation based on matchups. In each case, these players are available in way too many leagues given their potential upside. Here are my Week 9 streamers.
Week 9 Streamers
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
Despite a season-high six NFL teams having a bye week, there are still some intriguing streamer options out there. Alex Smith, Joe Flacco, and Baker Mayfield all face opponents who rank in the top-six in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. All three are also available in at least 25 percent of leagues. You can make the argument that all three possess a higher floor, but in my opinion, none have the upside of Ryan Fitzpatrick this week.
has been reinserted into the starting lineup following Jameis Winston’s woeful 2018 performance. Winston is tied for a league-worst with 10 interceptions thrown despite starting just four games. Fitzpatrick does carry a bit of risk. He was benched in Week 4 in Chicago due to ineffectiveness, just six days after throwing three interceptions of his own against Pittsburgh. But the veteran’s upside is massive. He has finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback in all three games that he has started and finished. That potential simply cannot be ignored despite a road matchup against the Carolina Panthers.
Carolina has played solid pass defense this season. They have only allowed one opposing quarterback to finish as a QB1 this season. However, they have allowed multiple touchdown passes in each of their last six games. They have also not been challenged down the field as much as they figure to be this weekend. Because of his previous demotion, Fitzpatrick is still available in 39 percent of leagues. He is currently active in only 28 percent. Even though he faces a difficult matchup, I believe Ryan Fitzpatrick finishes as a fantasy QB1 this week and makes for an excellent streaming option.
Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos v. Houston Texans
Devontae Booker’s inclusion here is a bit dependent on the health of backfield mate Royce Freeman. Freeman missed last week’s game with a high ankle sprain and has yet to practice this week. If Freeman fails to suit up Sunday, Booker would be a beneficiary. That was the case last week when he saw season-highs in touches (13) and snaps (32). Booker finished as a low-end RB2 in both standard and PPR scoring last week and can once again finish in that neighborhood this week when his Denver Broncos host the Houston Texans.
The Texans have played well of late and their defense has been a big reason. But they are still susceptible to running backs who catch passes out of the backfield. Houston has allowed a league-high five touchdown receptions to opposing running backs. Booker could be in line for a huge day if he can find the end zone. His 101 yards from scrimmage were 11th best at the position a week ago. Booker is owned in just 55 percent of leagues and is currently being started in just 20 percent of leagues. If Freeman sits, I believe Booker should be trusted as a Flex play who has top-20 upside in this matchup.
TreQuan Smith, New Orleans Saints v. Los Angeles Rams
TreQuan Smith has only had one game where he has scored than 7.4 PPR points. That is not good. But Smith is becoming more involved in the Saints’ offense. Since Ted Ginn was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury, Smith’s snap percentage has increased in each subsequent game. This is a good sign heading into Week 9. Smith should be on the field quite a bit once again when the New Orleans Saints host the Los Angeles Rams.
Smith’s increased snap count has not always resulted in fantasy points, and many fantasy owners will hold his last two games against him. But I would caution against that. Those two games came on the road against difficult opponents. The Baltimore Ravens rank dead last in the NFL in yards allowed per target to opposing wideouts. Receivers average just 6.91 yards per target against the Ravens. The Vikings are a bit more generous at 7.96 but still rank within the bottom half of the league. The Los Angeles Rams, however, give up 9.18 yards per target.
Smith has favorable individual matchups as well. Cornerback Marcus Peters has plenty of name recognition, but he has been routinely torched this season and currently ranks outside the top-100 cornerbacks according to Pro Football Focus. Troy Hill, Smith’s other likely matchup, has allowed 280 yards and two touchdowns over his last three games. I like Smith’s chances regardless of which corner lines up against him. Smith is owned in only 54 percent of leagues and active in just 20 percent. This game has all the makings of a good old-fashioned shootout. As fantasy owners, we should want as much skin in this game as possible, and TreQuan Smith is the most readily available source of that potential production. He should be among the top Week 9 streamers in all formats.
Chris Herndon, New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Here is your random stat of the day: 16 different tight ends caught touchdown passes last week. Only seven of those players scored at least 10 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues, but the 16 who scored were the top 16 fantasy tight ends. The moral of the story is that when it comes to tight ends more than any other position, we are looking for a cheap score. With that in mind, I am once again turning to Chris Herndon of the New York Jets.
Herndon is far from a safe play. He, like so many others at the position, is tremendously touchdown-dependent. The rookie has just 161 receiving yards on the year. But he has scored in three straight, finishing as a top-15 fantasy tight end in each one of those weeks. This has been a particular weakness of Miami’s defense in recent weeks. The Dolphins have allowed a whopping five touchdown passes to opposing tight ends in their last three games. They have only allowed 108 receiving yards to the position during that span, so Herndon’s floor is very shaky. But if I am betting on a streamer to score a touchdown this week, it is Chris Herndon. He is still available in 66 percent of leagues.
Miami Dolphins v. New York Jets
New York Jets’ rookie quarterback Darnold has had his moments but has struggled of late, particularly on the road. In his last three road games, Darnold has failed to eclipse 170 passing, a 50 percent completion percentage, or one touchdown pass in any of them. Darnold is also tied for the NFL lead with ten interceptions. I expect his struggles to continue when the Jets travel to Miami to face the Dolphins.
Miami does not generate much pressure on the quarterback, but they have forced 14 turnovers this season. The Dolphins forced three turnovers in their Week 2 victory over the Jets, so there is a little bit of positive history there. Miami’s defense should keep New York in check and produce a solid fantasy day. Their D/ST unit is owned in just 46 percent of leagues and active in 32 percent. They are a potential top-five defense this week and should be picked up and started where possible.
Brett Maher, Dallas Cowboys v. Tennessee Titans
Despite six NFL teams having a bye, there are plenty of Week 9 streamers available. It is interesting to note that the three teams who have allowed the most field goals this season (New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Indianapolis Colts) are all on a bye this week. There really are any number of kickers to choose from, but I will select Brett Maher of the Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas has been a much better scoring offense at home as opposed to on the road. The Cowboys average nearly 29 points per game on their home field. That number is more than twice the output of their average road game. They have also kicked an inordinate amount of field goals at home. Maher has converted ten field goals in just three home games. He has also made all 18 of his total kicks at home. Tennessee leads the NFL in red zone defense, allowing a touchdown on just 33.3 percent of trips. I expect Maher to be plenty busy on Monday night. Owned in just 42 percent of leagues and active in only 26 percent, Brett Maher is my top streamer this week at the always popular kicker position.
Tajae Sharpe, Tennessee Titans at Dallas Cowboys
Tajae Sharpe is Tennessee’s second-leading receiver heading into the second half of the season. That distinction does not carry the cachet that it would on most teams, as Tennessee’s offense has struggled to find any sort of consistency. But Sharpe has been better than most people realize. Sharpe ranks among the top-30 wide receivers in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. That number is an indicator of Sharpe’s value on a per-play basis. If he sees more opportunities, the results should follow. Such was the case two weeks ago when the third-year pro recorded his first career 100-yard game. His seven receptions in that game tied a career-high, and his nine targets were the most he has seen since his NFL debut in September 2016. Sharpe will try to build on that performance on Monday night when the Titans travel to take on the Dallas Cowboys.
Sharpe has a very winnable matchup this week. He runs nearly half of his routes from the slot, where Dallas is most vulnerable. Per Football Outsiders, the Cowboys rank just 28th on passes over the middle and 30th on short passes. Sharpe is owned in a mere 16 percent of leagues and is active in just five percent of lineups. If you are in a bye week crunch or are otherwise looking for a deep sleeper, Tajae Sharpe could be a nice plug and play this week. He also may be an option for those looking for a boost on Monday night to get them over the hump in their weekly head-to-head matchups.
Mick Ciallela has been writing for FantraxHQ since July 2017. He has also written for Bleacher Report. He is a lifelong sports fan and has been an avid fantasy sports player for many years. Mick was the Overall Champion of both the 2016 Football Challenge – Roto and 2017 Play 3 Football contests hosted by CDM Sports. Mick was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York and currently resides in New London, Connecticut.
Ready to amp up your Fantasy Football game even more? Check out The Fantasy Black Book Show, where Joe Pisapia, Scott Bogman, and The Welsh bring the goods every week.
Fantrax is one the fastest growing fantasy sites in 2018. With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at Fantrax.com.