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Week 9 Flex Rankings for Fantasy Football

Week 9 of the NFL season is shaping up to be a difficult one for fantasy managers to navigate. First off, there are six teams on bye this week. That immediately knocks nearly 20 percent of potential Flex options out of this week’s player pool. I usually rank upwards of 300 players in each week’s Flex rankings column. I did not even get to 250 this go around.

In addition, the league’s trade deadline was this past Tuesday. Plenty of fantasy-relevant players now have new homes, but will they have an immediate impact? We should keep in mind what occurred just two weeks ago when Christian McCaffrey was dealt from Carolina to San Francisco. While we all saw what he was capable of last week, his first week as a 49er was rather pedestrian. McCaffrey had just 62 scoreless yards on 10 touches in a Week 7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. It took him a few days to get fully acclimated to San Francisco’s scheme, and I would expect many of the players who were recently dealt to encounter a similar learning curve.

Several of the trades that took place will provide opportunities for players to fill in for their departed former teammates. But again, it remains to be seen if these players will be able to fully replace the production of their predecessors. And of course, the list of injured players heading into the week is quite long. That is always a tricky situation, and this week figures to be no different. With so much uncertainty heading into Week 9, fantasy managers must be flexible (pun intended) with how they manage their rosters and starting lineups. Here are my current Week 9 Flex rankings which should help you make those tough lineup decisions.

Running Back Notes

Jonathan Taylor is dealing with an ankle sprain suffered in last week’s loss to Washington. Fantasy managers have already been disappointed with Taylor’s performance to this point in the year, and this will not help matters. Taylor had a rushing touchdown in 11 consecutive games last season. But he enters Week 9 with just one score on the year, which took place way back in Week 1. He has also failed to eclipse 80 rushing yards in a game since that Week 1 effort. With Taylor iffy at best for Sunday and the Colts trading away Nyheim Hines, Deon Jackson could be in line for a sizable workload this week. Jackson was the Colts’ lead back in Weeks 5 and 6 while Taylor was injured, and filled in admirably. He was the overall RB9 over that stretch.

I currently have Taylor and Jackson ranked as though Taylor will play, with Taylor as my RB12 and Jackson as my RB46. But this is a very fluid situation. Taylor has yet to practice this week, so keep an eye on his status throughout the week. I cannot imagine a scenario in which I would bench Taylor if he is active. Jackson is a bit trickier, primarily because New England has been a top-three fantasy defense against the running back position. They have only allowed one rushing touchdown to enemy backs this year. The volume alone would probably be enough to consider Jackson a solid Flex option if Taylor cannot go. Indianapolis acquired Zack Moss in the Hines deal, but I do not expect him to be much of a factor this week, regardless of Taylor’s status.

The running back situation in Atlanta is a bit murky as well at the moment. The Falcons designated Cordarrelle Patterson to return from injured reserve, and he practiced on Wednesday. It is not yet known if he will be active for this week’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers. This is a prime matchup for whichever player leads Atlanta’s backfield. The Chargers have permitted the second most fantasy points to opposing running backs this year. They have given up the fourth-most rushing yards to the position despite being the eighth-lowest in rushing attempts allowed. Their 6.05 yards per carry allowed is far and away the highest mark in the NFL. For now, I currently have Tyler Allgeier ranked ahead of both Patterson and Caleb Huntley. But this is another situation that may change between now and Sunday depending on Patterson’s status.

Gus Edwards is questionable heading into Baltimore’s Week 9 matchup with the New Orleans Saints with a hamstring injury. If only there was a way anyone could have guessed that giving a player 27 carries in five days after that player hadn’t played in an NFL game in 21 months could have resulted in a soft tissue injury… not that I’m bitter or anything. Anywho, Kenyan Drake would stand to benefit the most if Edwards cannot suit up on Sunday. Drake’s results have been all over the place over the last month. His rushing yardage totals in his last four games are as follows: 26, 119, 5, 62. I currently have him as my RB35, and he would likely vault into Flex territory if Edwards is out. However, he is far from a slam dunk Week 9 Flex play.

James Conner may or may not play on Sunday. Also, the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. He got in a limited practice on Wednesday, which is normally good news. However, that was the case last week as well, and he ended up missing a third straight game. I have him ranked as if he will start on Sunday against Seattle, but I hedged a bit with my ranking of Eno Benjamin. Conner is an RB2 and Benjamin an RB3 for me in 12-team leagues. If Conner does indeed play, I will probably drop Benjamin a few spots down in my rankings. I currently have Benjamin 82nd overall, so he is already a borderline Week 9 Flex option as it is. He would probably not be a viable start this week in 12-team leagues if Conner is active.

Wide Receiver Notes

Are you excited about a wide receiver who hasn’t surpassed three catches in a game being a probable top-100 Week 9 Flex play? Well boy, are you in luck! DeAndre Carter is in line for an increased workload due to multiple injuries among Chargers wide receivers. Mike Williams is expected to miss multiple weeks with an ankle injury. Meanwhile, many of us expected Keenan Allen to be close to 100 percent following the team’s Week 8 bye. However, that does not appear to be the case. Allen reportedly aggravated his hamstring injury in workouts during the bye week. I ranked Allen as if he will play, but his status for Sunday’s game is tenuous at best. Carter and Michael Bandy would join the returning Josh Palmer (concussion protocol) in three-receiver sets if Allen is out this week. Palmer would easily be the top option among the trio.

Michael Thomas appears no closer to returning than he has been in recent weeks for the Saints. He has not played since Week 3 and has not yet practiced this week. Chris Olave should continue to operate as New Orleans’ top wideout for the foreseeable future. The news is slightly more optimistic for slot receiver Jarvis Landry. Landry did get in a limited practice on Wednesday. I am not yet confident enough in his health to consider him a must-start this week. However, if he can be medically cleared, I would be very tempted to start him this week despite him missing over a month’s worth of action. Baltimore has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts, and the poor play of slot cornerback Damarion Williams is a major reason why.

Williams has covered 144 routes this season per Pro Football Focus. Opposing quarterbacks have targeted Williams on 22 percent of those routes. That number is the third-highest among all qualified cornerbacks. And they have done so for good reason. Williams has given up the fifth-most yards per route run (1.85) among qualifiers, which has resulted in the third-most fantasy points (0.46 in PPR formats) allowed. I would probably start Landry if he is active this week based on the matchup and the overall lack of Flex options. If he cannot play, Tre’Quan Smith and Marquez Callaway would pick up most of the slack behind Olave. Smith would be my preferred choice, as he has manned the slot on 66 percent of snaps this season, with almost all of those coming in Landry’s absence.

I want to rank Kadarius Toney higher than I initially have. Really, I do. But I just cannot get there yet. We know the upside he possesses, and there are few places better than Kansas City for a wide receiver to do damage. However, Toney has barely played this season, last seeing action in Week 2 as a member of the New York Giants. He will also have to get a firm grasp on the Chiefs’ playbook, which is no easy task. Head coach Andy Reid has said that he will try to work Toney into the Week 9 gameplan and that it will be a gradual process. That does not exactly inspire confidence in his role this week. I would not expect much out of Toney in this game, but I understand those who may be looking to swing for the fences depending on their other options.

Tight End Notes

The Detroit Lions traded tight end T.J. Hockenson to the Minnesota Vikings this week. Minnesota made the move in large part because of Irv Smith’s ankle injury. Smith is likely to be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season with the ailment. Hockenson enters Week 9 as the overall TE5 on the year and is one of just four tight ends who have averaged at least 10 fantasy points per game. Smith and Johnny Mundt combined for 47 targets through seven games, so not all hope is lost for Hockenson. Having said that, it may take a week or two to fully integrate Hockenson into the offense. I would probably play Hockenson this week, but he is not the no-brainer start that he normally is. In addition to the questions surrounding his Week 9 role, Washington has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this year.

One of the tight ends I currently have Hockenson ranked ahead of is Raiders tight end, Darren Waller. Waller has not played since early in Week 5 when he suffered a hamstring injury. I generally try to avoid starting players coming off lengthy layoffs due to injury. And his Week 9 opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars, has given up the eighth-fewest fantasy points (sixth-fewest among teams who are playing this week) to opposing tight ends. However, we know the black hole that the tight end position has generally been this season. If Waller can play on Sunday, he will likely be a top-10 option at tight end.

Week 9 Flex Rankings for Fantasy Football

More Week 9 Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | Flex Rankings

1Austin EkelerRB1LAC@ATL
2Derrick HenryRB2TEN@KC
3Alvin KamaraRB3NOBAL
4Tyreek HillWR1MIA@CHI
6Josh JacobsRB5LV@JAC
7Aaron JonesRB6GB@DET
8Cooper KuppWR2LAR@TB
9Travis EtienneRB7JACLV
10Stefon DiggsWR3BUF@NYJ
11Justin JeffersonWR4MIN@WAS
12Dalvin CookRB8MIN@WAS
13DeAndre HopkinsWR5ARISEA
14Travis KelceTE1KCTEN
15Kenneth Walker IIIRB9SEA@ARI
16A.J. BrownWR6PHI@HOU
17Dameon PierceRB10HOUPHI
18Rhamondre StevensonRB11NEIND
19Tee HigginsWR7CINCAR
20Davante AdamsWR8LV@JAC
21Jonathan TaylorRB12IND@NE
22Amon-Ra St. BrownWR9DETGB
23Miles SandersRB13PHI@HOU
24Leonard FournetteRB14TBLAR
25Mark AndrewsTE2BAL@NO
26Jaylen WaddleWR10MIA@CHI
27Mike EvansWR11TBLAR
28Raheem MostertRB15MIA@CHI
29Chris GodwinWR12TBLAR
30D.J. MooreWR13CAR@CIN
31Chris OlaveWR14NOBAL
32Tyler LockettWR15SEA@ARI
33DK MetcalfWR16SEA@ARI
34D’Andre SwiftRB16DETGB
35D’Onta ForemanRB17CAR@CIN
36Tyler BoydWR17CINCAR
37Gabe DavisWR18BUF@NYJ
38Terry McLaurinWR19WASMIN
39Christian KirkWR20JACLV
40Devin SingletaryRB18BUF@NYJ
41Brandin CooksWR21HOUPHI
42James ConnerRB19ARISEA
43DeVonta SmithWR22PHI@HOU
44JuJu Smith-SchusterWR23KCTEN
45David MontgomeryRB20CHIMIA
46Michael PittmanWR24IND@NE
47Curtis SamuelWR25WASMIN
48Dallas GoedertTE3PHI@HOU
49Drake LondonWR26ATLLAC
50Jakobi MeyersWR27NEIND
51Keenan AllenWR28LAC@ATL
52Garrett WilsonWR29NYJBUF
53Kyle PittsTE4ATLLAC
54Adam ThielenWR30MIN@WAS
55Romeo DoubsWR31GB@DET
56Jamaal WilliamsRB21DETGB
57Rondale MooreWR32ARISEA
58Josh PalmerWR33LAC@ATL
59Michael CarterRB22NYJBUF
60Tyler AllgeierRB23ATLLAC
61Darnell MooneyWR34CHIMIA
62Zach ErtzTE5ARISEA
63Antonio GibsonRB24WASMIN
64Robert Tonyan Jr.TE6GB@DET
65Marquez Valdes-ScantlingWR35KCTEN
66Zay JonesWR36JACLV
67A.J. DillonRB25GB@DET
68Darrell HendersonRB26LAR@TB
69Gerald EverettTE7LAC@ATL
70Robert WoodsWR37TEN@KC
71Devin DuvernayWR38BAL@NO
72Josh ReynoldsWR39DETGB
73Allen Robinson IIWR40LAR@TB
74Tyler HigbeeTE8LAR@TB
75Clyde Edwards-HelaireRB27KCTEN
76Hayden HurstTE9CINCAR
77Damien HarrisRB28NEIND
78Brian RobinsonRB29WASMIN
79Evan EngramTE10JACLV
80Sammy WatkinsWR41GB@DET
81Allen LazardWR42GB@DET
82Olamide ZaccheausWR43ATLLAC
83Mack HollinsWR44LV@JAC
84Eno BenjaminRB30ARISEA
85Dawson KnoxTE11BUF@NYJ
86Kalif RaymondWR45DETGB
87Kenyan DrakeRB31BAL@NO
88Hunter RenfrowWR46LV@JAC
89Alec PierceWR47IND@NE
90Mecole HardmanWR48KCTEN
91T.J. HockensonTE12MIN@WAS
92DeAndre CarterWR49LAC@ATL
93Marvin JonesWR50JACLV
94Khalil HerbertRB32CHIMIA
95Taysom HillTE13NOBAL
96Terrace Marshall Jr.WR51CAR@CIN
97Julio JonesWR52TBLAR
98Mike GesickiTE14MIA@CHI
99Caleb HuntleyRB33ATLLAC
100Rachaad WhiteRB34TBLAR
101Isaiah McKenzieWR53BUF@NYJ
102Isiah PachecoRB35KCTEN
103Parris CampbellWR54IND@NE
104Noah FantTE15SEA@ARI
105Tyler ConklinTE16NYJBUF
106Darren WallerTE17LV@JAC
107Chuba HubbardRB36CAR@CIN
108Tyquan ThorntonWR55NEIND
109Phillip DorsettWR56HOUPHI
110K.J. OsbornWR57MIN@WAS
111James RobinsonRB37NYJBUF
112Tre’Quan SmithWR58NOBAL
113Juwan JohnsonTE18NOBAL
114Demarcus RobinsonWR59BAL@NO
115Nyheim HinesRB38BUF@NYJ
116Nick WestbrookWR60TEN@KC
117Jerick McKinnonRB39KCTEN
118Hunter HenryTE19NEIND
119Dontrell HilliardRB40TEN@KC
120Foster MoreauTE20LV@JAC
121Sony MichelRB41LAC@ATL
122Cole KmetTE21CHIMIA
123Will DisslyTE22SEA@ARI
124Chris MooreWR61HOUPHI
125Gus EdwardsRB42BAL@NO
126Van JeffersonWR62LAR@TB
127Cade OttonTE23TBLAR
128Rex BurkheadRB43HOUPHI
129Marquise GoodwinWR63SEA@ARI
130Chase ClaypoolWR64CHIMIA
131Samaje PerineRB44CINCAR
132Jeffery Wilson Jr.RB45MIA@CHI
133Isaiah LikelyTE24BAL@NO
134Laviska Shenault Jr.WR65CAR@CIN
135Logan ThomasTE25WASMIN
136Deon JacksonRB46IND@NE
137Nelson AgholorWR66NEIND
138Brock WrightTE26DETGB
139James ProcheWR67BAL@NO
140Brevin JordanTE27HOUPHI
141Denzel MimsWR68NYJBUF
142Cam SimsWR69WASMIN
143Jarvis LandryWR70NOBAL
144Braxton BerriosWR71NYJBUF
145Alexander MattisonRB47MIN@WAS
146Ronnie RiversRB48LAR@TB
147Trent SherfieldWR72MIA@CHI
148Austin HooperTE28TEN@KC
149Boston ScottRB49PHI@HOU
150Mike ThomasWR73CINCAR
151J.D. McKissicRB50WASMIN
152Kendrick BourneWR74NEIND
153Jamycal HastyRB51JACLV
154Marquez CallawayWR75NOBAL
155Malcolm BrownRB52LAR@TB
156Damiere ByrdWR76ATLLAC
157Jonnu SmithTE29NEIND
158Ben SkowronekWR77LAR@TB
159Jordan AkinsTE30HOUPHI
160Cordarrelle PattersonRB53ATLLAC
161Justice HillRB54BAL@NO
162Kenneth GainwellRB55PHI@HOU
163Russell GageWR78TBLAR
164Corey DavisWR79NYJBUF
165Michael BandyWR80LAC@ATL
166Dante PettisWR81CHIMIA
167Shi SmithWR82CAR@CIN
168Tommy TrembleTE31CAR@CIN
169DeVante ParkerWR83NEIND
170Chigoziem OkonkwoTE32TEN@KC
171Equanimeous St. BrownWR84CHIMIA
172Cody HollisterWR85TEN@KC
173Samori ToureWR86GB@DET
174Quez WatkinsWR87PHI@HOU
175Elijah MooreWR88NYJBUF
176Michael ThomasWR89NOBAL
177Cameron BrateTE33TBLAR
178Kylen GransonTE34IND@NE
179Khalil ShakirWR90BUF@NYJ
180Greg DortchWR91ARISEA
181C.J. UzomahTE35NYJBUF
182Travis HomerRB56SEA@ARI
183Amari RodgersWR92GB@DET
184O.J. HowardTE36HOUPHI
185Ameer AbdullahRB57LV@JAC
186Robby AndersonWR93ARISEA
187Kadarius ToneyWR94KCTEN
188Rashid ShaheedWR95NOBAL
189Skyy MooreWR96KCTEN
190Noah GrayTE37KCTEN
191Dwayne WashingtonRB58NOBAL
192A.J. GreenWR97ARISEA
193Armani RogersTE38WASMIN
194Mo Alie-CoxTE39IND@NE
195Johnny MundtTE40MIN@WAS
196James CookRB59BUF@NYJ
197Ian ThomasTE41CAR@CIN
198Colby ParkinsonTE42SEA@ARI
199Zach PascalWR98PHI@HOU
200Donald ParhamTE43LAC@ATL
201Jelani WoodsTE44IND@NE
202Ty JohnsonRB60NYJBUF
203Geoff SwaimTE45TEN@KC
204Craig ReynoldsRB61DETGB
205Josiah DeguaraTE46GB@DET
206N'Keal HarryWR99CHIMIA
207Parker HesseTE47ATLLAC
208James MitchellTE48DETGB
209Keelan ColeWR100LV@JAC
210Trent TaylorWR101CINCAR
211Durham SmytheTE49MIA@CHI
212Joe FortsonTE50KCTEN
213Patrick RicardRB62BAL@NO
214Adam TrautmanTE51NOBAL
215Christian WatsonWR102GB@DET
216D’Wayne EskridgeWR103SEA@ARI
217Jamal AgnewWR104JACLV
218Scotty MillerWR105TBLAR
219Jason MooreWR106LAC@ATL
220Nick VannettTE52NOBAL
221Kevin WhiteWR107NOBAL
222Dan ArnoldTE53JACLV
223Jack StollTE54PHI@HOU
224Mitchell WilcoxTE55CINCAR
225Avery WilliamsRB63ATLLAC
226Tre' McKittyTE56LAC@ATL
227Reggie GilliamRB64BUF@NYJ
228Chris ConleyWR108TEN@KC
229Tylan WallaceWR109BAL@NO
230Darrel WilliamsRB65ARISEA
231Josh OliverTE57BAL@NO
232Dax MilneWR110WASMIN
233Cedrick WilsonWR111MIA@CHI
234DeSean JacksonWR112BAL@NO
235Jeff SmithWR113NYJBUF
236Justin WatsonWR114KCTEN
237Jonathan WilliamsRB66WASMIN
238Quinton MorrisTE58BUF@NYJ
239Zack MossRB67IND@NE
240Jake KumerowWR115BUF@NYJ
241DeeJay DallasRB68SEA@ARI
242Brandon PowellWR116LAR@TB
243John BatesTE59WASMIN
244Zander HorvathRB69LAC@ATL
245Zamir WhiteRB70LV@JAC
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