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Risers, Fallers, and the Week 9 Hot Seat for Fantasy Football

With just six weeks left in the fantasy football regular season, every win counts. Identifying risers and fallers to help guide difficult lineup decisions can help keep our teams on the right path toward the playoffs. As always, I’ll also name one player on the hot seat. If they don’t turn things around soon, we may be sending them to free agency.

Week 9 Risers, Fallers, and Who is on The Hot Seat


Zach Charbonnet, Running Back, Seattle Seahawks

It’s not uncommon to see a rookie running back emerge as a fantasy riser during the back half of their first season. We are starting to see Charbonnet follow this trend. In Week 8, Charbonnet played more snaps than Kenneth Walker for the first time all season. As the Seahawks now sit atop the NFC West, it’s conceivable we see Charbonnet take hold of the majority of work moving forward.

It seems as if every week head coach Pete Carroll is raving about Zach Charbonnet. Against a tough Cleveland Browns defense, Charbonnet totaled 64 yards on just seven touches including 10.6 yards per carry. Unfortunately, the ceiling is a bit capped for the rookie in PPR formatting as Geno Smith tends to look to DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and his receivers to move the ball downfield.

Additionally, Kenneth Walker ranks third in red zone rush attempts, as well as second inside the 10 and first in rush attempts inside the 5-yard line. That may be Walker’s specified role for the rest of the season, but if Charbonnet begins to see some of those touches, he could be a league-winner. For now, though, Charbonnet looks like he is starting to establish a solid flex-level floor with the potential to serve as a solid RB2 for a fantasy playoff push.

Trey McBride, Tight End, Arizona Cardinals

Most fantasy football managers continue to stream the tight end position. In doing so, finding a riser and consistent producer makes things a lot easier, even if just for a few weeks. Trey McBride is looking like a major riser ahead of Week 9 after his big Week 8 breakout.

In the wake of Zach Ertz ending up on Injured Reserve, McBride stepped into a full-time role playing a season-high 83% of the Cardinals’ Week 8 snaps. He led the team in targets (14), receptions (10), and yards (95) which are all career-highs. He also found the end zone for the first time this season.

McBride has a tough Week 9 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. However, after trading away Joshua Dobbs earlier this week, we should see Kyler Murray back at quarterback soon. In Week 9, though, it could be rookie Clayton Tune or veteran Jeff Driskel under center. There’s an argument to be made that McBride will remain a focal point of the passing game, with negative game scripts, regardless of who is throwing the ball.

If not in Week 9 for your team, McBride will be a must-start Weeks 10 through 12 against the Falcons, Texans, and Rams. They all rank in the top half of the league in points allowed to tight ends. The Texans and Rams are inside the top 10.

Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys

It took a few weeks, but Brandin Cooks looks to be a riser ahead of Week 9. The Dallas Cowboys rank inside the top 10 of rush attempts per game this season. However, they rank 18th in total rush yards. Their run game has yet to reach its full potential, but the Cowboys have begun to succeed through the air. In fact, Dak Prescott exited the team’s bye and totaled 304 passing yards with four touchdowns through the air.

Brandin Cooks’ volume isn’t worth raving about, but his efficiency as of late is worth investing in. In six games played this season, Cooks has exactly four targets in five of them. Over his last two games, he’s hauled in seven of eight targets for 85 total yards and two touchdowns.

Up next for the Cooks and the Cowboys is the Philadelphia Eagles defense in Philly. In one of the biggest rivalry games in football, anything can happen. It’s worth noting though, the Eagles defense has allowed the most receptions and second most yards, touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this season. After battling injuries early on, this is a great week for Cooks to emerge as the second pass catcher behind Ceedee Lamb in Dallas’ offense.


Jameson Williams, Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions

Listing Jameson Williams as a faller is a direct result of the Lions acquiring wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones prior to the NFL trade deadline earlier this week. For 2023 redraft leagues, it’s safe to say you can cut Williams before Week 9 if you haven’t already. He has just six catches on 15 targets for 71 yards and a score. He’s clogging up your bench.

For dynasty purposes, if you spent a first-round pick on Williams last season, you’re unlikely to receive similar compensation back for him in a trade. It’s best to hold for now, but it may be worth seeing who is interested in him. The Detroit Lions are 3-1 since Williams’ return to the field. He didn’t record a single catch in their blowout 38-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens two weeks ago. I’d hate to label him a bust so early in his career, so let’s just call him a faller for now.

James Cook, Running Back, Buffalo Bills

Considering James Cook a faller is also a result of a recent transaction. The Buffalo Bills are adding Leonard Fournette to their backfield after weeks of rumors indicating so. Cook’s season thus far is a fine return on investment as he ranks RB26 on a points-per-game basis. Plenty of fantasy managers drafted him as a potential RB1 dark horse, but that is simply not the case.

James Cook has not logged 15 or more carries in a game since Week 3. He only has one game of 20 or more touches and is averaging just 13.2 touches per game over his last six. Cook’s upside relies on his receiving work, but he is on pace for just 46.75 receptions up until this point.

Enter Leonard Fournette who, as recently as last season, ranked inside the top three in receptions (73) amongst running backs. He may serve as the primary red zone back, as well, given his size advantage. Fournette is a versatile option that could serve as a key piece to a playoff-contending Buffalo Bills offense. As a result, any chance of Cook rising up to post RB1 or even steady RB2 numbers is an extremely shaky concept moving forward.

The Week 9 Hot Seat

The Entire Green Bay Packers Offense

Typically, I’m spotlighting one player to put on the hot seat. Placing the entire Packers offense on the Week 9 hot seat feels very appropriate, though. After scoring 100 points over the first four weeks, with 18 or more points in each game and an average of 25 per, the Packers’ offense has declined rapidly with just 40 total points in their last three games. I don’t think I need to tell you they’re on a three-game losing streak as a result.

Jordan Love is taking up the most space on the Week 9 hot seat. The heir to Aaron Rodgers looked to be the real deal, especially for fantasy football. He went from ranking inside the top-five quarterbacks over the first four games to QB26 on a points-per-game basis from Weeks 5 through 8. He ranks behind Gardner Minshew, Desmond Ridder, and Baker Mayfield in that span. Love is now a shaky start in Superflex leagues

As for the skill position players, Aaron Jones’ RB1 ceiling is gone as he continues to battle a hamstring injury. In his place, A.J. Dillon’s production as a lead-back is underwhelming, to say the least. He has just one touchdown and a 3.1 yards-per-carry average. Watson continues to be a boom-or-bust option with just six catches for 66 yards on 13 targets over the last two weeks after 116 yards and a touchdown in his first two games. Finally, after a hot start to the season, Romeo Doubs remains a high-volume option who’s been saved by a touchdown in each of the last two weeks.

I’m not starting any Green Bay Packers in Week 9 unless absolutely necessary. They have a good shot to put up points at home against a Los Angeles Rams team that allows 23.0 per game. I need to see it to believe it.

Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | Half-PPR by Position | Flex Rankings | Positional Ranks w/ K & DST | Dynasty | Superflex Dynasty

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