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Week 9 Flex Rankings for Fantasy Football

It has been a wild week in the NFL, to say the least. The NFL trade deadline came and went on Tuesday with little fanfare. The resulting moves had a miniscule fantasy impact compared to some of the other news stories of the week. There was a ton of news off the field, and some on the gridiron as well. Plenty of fantasy ramifications came about from both sets of stories, so there is a lot to cover. Four teams are on bye this week, but there are plenty of big names that fantasy managers will have to replace this week. Three of the top-20 running backs and five of the top-20 wide receivers in total fantasy points are out of action this week. So let’s get to the news and notes along with my Top-250 Week 9 Flex rankings.

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Running Back Notes

The biggest piece of news from last week’s action was the loss of overall RB1 Derrick Henry. The Titans star is likely out for the rest of the regular season following foot surgery. Henry was practically lapping the field in terms of fantasy production. He has more than twice as many fantasy points as Melvin Gordon, who is currently the overall RB16 in half-PPR scoring. There is simply no replacing the King, but we have no choice but to plug and play the best we can. Tennessee signed Adrian Peterson and D’Onta Foreman this week, and Peterson will likely get a fair share of early-down work going forward. Speaking of nearly lapping the field, Peterson’s 3,192 career carries are nearly 1,500 more than the next-highest active running back (Mark Ingram, 1,693). There is some serious tread on those tires.

For fantasy purposes, I am more intrigued in the near term by Jeremy McNichols. The fifth-year back out of Boise State has bounced around a bit, as the Titans are his fourth NFL team. But McNichols has been a solid receiver out of the backfield this season. He has caught 21-of-27 targets and averaged nearly 10 yards per reception. McNichols has not had a carry since Week 5, but that is sure to change this week. Tennessee’s opponent, the Los Angeles Rams, has allowed the eighth-most receptions and receiving yards to opposing running backs. Combine that with the long layoff that Peterson will have to come back from, and McNichols is my preferred option in this matchup. I consider McNichols a low-end RB2, while Peterson is an RB4. If you must use Peterson as a Week 9 Flex, try to temper expectations out of the gate.

For the moment, I ranked the two Titans running backs just ahead of the two Carolina Panthers running backs. However, I would like to offer the following caveat. Christian McCaffrey returned to practice this week, so I felt it was worth it to include him. But to be honest, I am not expecting him to play on Sunday. The New England Patriots allow a healthy 159.1 all-purpose yards to opposing running backs. Chuba Hubbard would be a decent bet to approach 100 total yards if McCaffrey misses another game. He has averaged 21.4 opportunities in his five starts. If CMC is indeed out, Hubbard would get bumped up to somewhere in the mid-RB2 range. I will update these rankings on Sunday morning, but you can always comment below or on Twitter with any pressing questions you have between now and then.

James Robinson is currently my RB23, but that will likely change for better or worse on Sunday. Robinson left last week’s game with a heel injury. It was a tough break for fantasy managers in what was an excellent matchup. Carlos Hyde stepped in and parlayed 17 opportunities into 72 scoreless yards. Robinson missed Wednesday’s practice, but his injury does not appear to be severe. Hyde also showed up on the injury report with a calf injury, though he did participate in practice. The matchup for either back is not ideal against the Buffalo Bills, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. If Robinson plays on Sunday, he will be a volume-driven RB2. I would be hard-pressed to recommend Hyde even if the Jaguars sit Robinson, though your other options may dictate your course of action.

More fantasy football fun for Week 9: Waiver Wire | FAAB Guide | Start & Sit | Loves & Hates | Stock Watch | Sleepers & Streamers | D/ST Streamers

Wide Receiver Notes

Two weeks ago, we all considered Calvin Ridley, Henry Ruggs, and Odell Beckham Jr. solid fantasy plays. Now Ruggs’ NFL career is likely over, and we have no idea when we will see Ridley or OBJ on the football field. Some issues are much more important than football, whether it be real life or fantasy. Still, it is crazy to think that a fantasy manager could have very easily drafted all three wideouts. I suppose you can add Michael Thomas to that list, though the Saints wideout does have a physical ailment he is also dealing with. My utmost respect goes to players like Ridley and Thomas who have publicly admitted their recent struggles with their mental well-being. As much as we often try to pretend otherwise, these are human beings dealing with real issues that extend far beyond the white lines.

The sad reality is that all of the scenarios mentioned in the previous paragraph do carry fantasy implications, both for the players themselves and several of their teammates. So at the risk of sounding cold, here are a couple of quick notes.

Russell Gage went from a 4-67-1 line in Week 7 to not even being targeted last week. He could be a desperation PPR play under the right conditions, but he is outside my top-45 regardless of format. I was already high on Hunter Renfrow for Week 9 even before the Ruggs news. He could easily settle in as a WR2 for me by the time Sunday rolls around. Coming into the week, Ruggs was the overall WR33 in half-PPR scoring, with Bryan Edwards at WR58 and Zay Jones at WR107. Remove Ruggs from the picture and Edwards becomes a viable Flex play. Jones is still only a deep league option. Jarvis Landry is still the only receive in Cleveland I trust for the time being. I would not start Donovan Peoples-Jones or Rashard Higgins this week, though I don’t mind grabbing them where available.

In more traditional news, Jerry Jeudy returned last week after being sidelined for six weeks with an ankle injury. Jeudy operated mostly out of the slot and caught all four of his targets. I would expect his role to expand a bit now that he has a full game under his belt. He is a WR3 for me in a Week 9 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. On the other side of the ball, Dallas is hoping to get Michael Gallup back this week. He has also been sidelined since Week 1. I always try to avoid starting players in their first game back from an extended absence. Although right cornerback Ronald Darby has been susceptible to the big play, I would not count on Gallup to be the one to take advantage of that. I would prefer to keep him on the bench and see how he is utilized.

Julio Jones has caught three or fewer passes in four of five games and has missed three more due to injury. Jones is also still recovering from a hamstring injury. He did practice on Wednesday, which is a good sign. The Los Angeles Rams have been a bit more generous to opposing wideouts than their reputation would suggest. Los Angeles is in the bottom half of the league in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. But they still have excellent cornerbacks including Jalen Ramsey and have ceded just five touchdowns to wideouts this year. Only three teams have given up fewer. I currently have Jones just outside the top-100 overall in my Week 9 Flex rankings. This is another scenario where I would rather see him make it through a game unscathed on my bench rather than start him for a potential dud.

Arizona placed wide receiver A.J. Green on the reserve/Covid list following a positive test after a positive test. Insert joke about Green catching something after his failed “attempt” to catch the game-winning touchdown pass last week, as Arizona suffered their first loss of the season. OK, maybe I am a cold person. Seriously, I hope he is fine and that his is a mild case. I would not rush to assume that Rondale Moore would benefit from Green’s expected absence this week. The rookie has eclipsed 30 receiving yards in just one of his last six games. Now, if DeAndre Hopkins, currently dealing with a hamstring injury, were also to miss this week’s contest, that would be a different story. For now, though, Hopkins and Christian Kirk are the only Cardinals wide receivers I would be excited to start this week.

Tight End Notes

Denver placed starting tight end Noah Fant on the reserve/Covid list, leaving his Week 9 status in doubt. Fant has been wildly inconsistent this season. This is to say that he is similar to most fringe TE1s. He has finished outside the top-25 on three occasions and bottomed out as last week’s TE39 in half-PPR scoring. I would expect Albert Okwuegbunam to get the start for Denver. Dallas has allowed the 11th-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season. Safety Jayron Kearse has been solid overall, but his coverage has probably been the weakest part of his game. Even if Fant is ruled out, it would be difficult to recommend Okwuegbunam as a potential Flex option unless you are in a deep league or use tight end premium scoring.

The San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills may be getting their starting tight ends back sooner rather than later. George Kittle and Dawson Knox are on the mend from calf and hand injuries, respectively. Kittle appears more likely to play this week than Knox, but we will see how things progress over the next couple of days. I will admit it will be hard for me to stick to my rule about not starting players coming off injury if either Kittle or Knox were to suit up. It should be noted, however, that Kittle would square off against an Arizona defense that permits the fewest fantasy points to the position, and Buffalo is a two-touchdown favorite against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Bills would probably not ask a whole lot of Knox in a game they will likely lead throughout.

Week 9 Flex Rankings

More Week 9 Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | Kicker | D/ST | PPR | Flex

1Cooper Kupp (LAR)vs. TENWR1
2Jonathan Taylor (IND)vs. NYJRB1
3Najee Harris (PIT)vs. CHIRB2
4Alvin Kamara (NO)vs. ATLRB3
5Austin Ekeler (LAC)at PHIRB4
6Tyreek Hill (KC)vs. GBWR2
7Davante Adams (GB)at KCWR3
8Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)vs. DENRB5
9Dalvin Cook (MIN)at BALRB6
10Darrell Henderson Jr. (LAR)vs. TENRB7
11Ja'Marr Chase (CIN)vs. CLEWR4
12Stefon Diggs (BUF)at JACWR5
13Aaron Jones (GB)at KCRB8
14A.J. Brown (TEN)at LARWR6
15Deebo Samuel (SF)vs. ARIWR7
16D.J. Moore (CAR)vs. NEWR8
17Nick Chubb (CLE)at CINRB9
18CeeDee Lamb (DAL)vs. DENWR9
19Joe Mixon (CIN)vs. CLERB10
20Justin Jefferson (MIN)at BALWR10
21Travis Kelce (KC)vs. GBTE1
22Diontae Johnson (PIT)vs. CHIWR11
23Mike Williams (LAC)at PHIWR12
24Cordarrelle Patterson (ATL)at NORB11
25Michael Pittman Jr. (IND)vs. NYJWR13
26Michael Carter (NYJ)at INDRB12
27Myles Gaskin (MIA)vs. HOURB13
28Keenan Allen (LAC)at PHIWR14
29Amari Cooper (DAL)vs. DENWR15
30Elijah Mitchell (SF)vs. ARIRB14
31Darren Waller (LV)at NYGTE2
32Marquise Brown (BAL)vs. MINWR16
33Robert Woods (LAR)vs. TENWR17
34Damien Harris (NE)at CARRB15
35Adam Thielen (MIN)at BALWR18
36Brandin Cooks (HOU)at MIAWR19
37Josh Jacobs (LV)at NYGRB16
38Darrel Williams (KC)vs. GBRB17
39Zack Moss (BUF)at JACRB18
40Courtland Sutton (DEN)at DALWR20
41Tee Higgins (CIN)vs. CLEWR21
42Mark Andrews (BAL)vs. MINTE3
43DeAndre Hopkins (ARI)at SFWR22
44Devontae Booker (NYG)vs. LVRB19
45Kyle Pitts (ATL)at NOTE4
46Chase Claypool (PIT)vs. CHIWR23
47Jeremy McNichols (TEN)at LARRB20
48DeVante Parker (MIA)vs. HOUWR24
49Khalil Herbert (CHI)at PITRB21
50Jaylen Waddle (MIA)vs. HOUWR25
51Chase Edmonds (ARI)at SFRB22
52Cole Beasley (BUF)at JACWR26
53Hunter Renfrow (LV)at NYGWR27
54Emmanuel Sanders (BUF)at JACWR28
55James Robinson (JAC)vs. BUFRB23
56Jarvis Landry (CLE)at CINWR29
57Jakobi Meyers (NE)at CARWR30
58Dallas Goedert (PHI)vs. LACTE5
59Jerry Jeudy (DEN)at DALWR31
60Mike Gesicki (MIA)vs. HOUTE6
61Van Jefferson (LAR)vs. TENWR32
62Tyler Boyd (CIN)vs. CLEWR33
63Jamison Crowder (NYJ)at INDWR34
64Melvin Gordon III (DEN)at DALRB24
65Javonte Williams (DEN)at DALRB25
66Christian Kirk (ARI)at SFWR35
67Chuba Hubbard (CAR)vs. NERB26
68Dalton Schultz (DAL)vs. DENTE7
69Marvin Jones Jr. (JAC)vs. BUFWR36
70Boston Scott (PHI)vs. LACRB27
71DeVonta Smith (PHI)vs. LACWR37
72Darnell Mooney (CHI)at PITWR38
73Kadarius Toney (NYG)vs. LVWR39
74Tim Patrick (DEN)at DALWR40
75Bryan Edwards (LV)at NYGWR41
76Marquez Callaway (NO)vs. ATLWR42
77Darius Slayton (NYG)vs. LVWR43
78Mike Davis (ATL)at NORB28
79James Conner (ARI)at SFRB29
80Mecole Hardman (KC)vs. GBWR44
81Devin Singletary (BUF)at JACRB30
82Allen Robinson II (CHI)at PITWR45
83Rashod Bateman (BAL)vs. MINWR46
84Kenyan Drake (LV)at NYGRB31
85Zach Pascal (IND)vs. NYJWR47
86Tyler Higbee (LAR)vs. TENTE8
87Tony Pollard (DAL)vs. DENRB32
88AJ Dillon (GB)at KCRB33
89Laviska Shenault Jr. (JAC)vs. BUFWR48
90Robby Anderson (CAR)vs. NEWR49
91Jared Cook (LAC)at PHITE9
92David Johnson (HOU)at MIARB34
93Nelson Agholor (NE)at CARWR50
94Rondale Moore (ARI)at SFWR51
95Pat Freiermuth (PIT)vs. CHITE10
96Dan Arnold (JAC)vs. BUFTE11
97D'Ernest Johnson (CLE)at CINRB35
98Tyler Conklin (MIN)at BALTE12
99Zach Ertz (ARI)at SFTE13
100Hunter Henry (NE)at CARTE14
101Russell Gage (ATL)at NOWR52
102Brandon Aiyuk (SF)vs. ARIWR53
103Julio Jones (TEN)at LARWR54
104Salvon Ahmed (MIA)vs. HOURB36
105Quez Watkins (PHI)vs. LACWR55
106Evan Engram (NYG)vs. LVTE15
107Nyheim Hines (IND)vs. NYJRB37
108Tajae Sharpe (ATL)at NOWR56
109Latavius Murray (BAL)vs. MINRB38
110Elijah Moore (NYJ)at INDWR57
111K.J. Osborn (MIN)at BALWR58
112Ty Johnson (NYJ)at INDRB39
113Jamal Agnew (JAC)vs. BUFWR59
114Kenny Golladay (NYG)vs. LVWR60
115Kendrick Bourne (NE)at CARWR61
116Kenneth Gainwell (PHI)vs. LACRB40
117Allen Lazard (GB)at KCWR62
118C.J. Uzomah (CIN)vs. CLETE16
119Cole Kmet (CHI)at PITTE17
120Tre'Quan Smith (NO)vs. ATLWR63
121Mark Ingram II (NO)vs. ATLRB41
122Nico Collins (HOU)at MIAWR64
123Adrian Peterson (TEN)at LARRB42
124Deonte Harris (NO)vs. ATLWR65
125Mo Alie-Cox (IND)vs. NYJTE18
126Donovan Peoples-Jones (CLE)at CINWR66
127Rex Burkhead (HOU)at MIARB43
128Jordan Howard (PHI)vs. LACRB44
129Devonta Freeman (BAL)vs. MINRB45
130Zay Jones (LV)at NYGWR67
131Randall Cobb (GB)at KCWR68
132Christian McCaffrey (CAR)vs. NERB46
133David Njoku (CLE)at CINTE19
134Albert Okwuegbunam (DEN)at DALTE20
135Austin Hooper (CLE)at CINTE21
136Keelan Cole Sr. (NYJ)at INDWR69
137Brandon Bolden (NE)at CARRB47
138Hayden Hurst (ATL)at NOTE22
139George Kittle (SF)vs. ARITE23
140Samaje Perine (CIN)vs. CLERB48
141Cedrick Wilson Jr. (DAL)vs. DENWR70
142Gabriel Davis (BUF)at JACWR71
143JaMycal Hasty (SF)vs. ARIRB49
144A.J. Green (ARI)at SFWR72
145Sammy Watkins (BAL)vs. MINWR73
146Jonnu Smith (NE)at CARTE24
147Phillip Lindsay (HOU)at MIARB50
148Tommy Sweeney (BUF)at JACTE25
149Rhamondre Stevenson (NE)at CARRB51
150Rashard Higgins (CLE)at CINWR74
151Byron Pringle (KC)vs. GBWR75
152Jordan Akins (HOU)at MIATE26
153Danny Amendola (HOU)at MIAWR76
154Sony Michel (LAR)vs. TENRB52
155Adam Trautman (NO)vs. ATLTE27
156Carlos Hyde (JAC)vs. BUFRB53
157Jalen Guyton (LAC)at PHIWR77
158Mohamed Sanu Sr. (SF)vs. ARIWR78
159Le'Veon Bell (BAL)vs. MINRB54
160Alexander Mattison (MIN)at BALRB55
161Ameer Abdullah (CAR)vs. NERB56
162Jalen Reagor (PHI)vs. LACWR79
163Jack Doyle (IND)vs. NYJTE28
164Ashton Dulin (IND)vs. NYJWR80
165Derrick Gore (KC)vs. GBRB57
166Demarcus Robinson (KC)vs. GBWR81
167Olamide Zaccheaus (ATL)at NOWR82
168Marcus Johnson (TEN)at LARWR83
169Marquise Goodwin (CHI)at PITWR84
170Foster Moreau (LV)at NYGTE29
171Denzel Mims (NYJ)at INDWR85
172James Washington (PIT)vs. CHIWR86
173Dante Pettis (NYG)vs. LVWR87
174Elijhaa Penny (NYG)vs. LVRB58
175Anthony Firkser (TEN)at LARTE30
176Terrace Marshall Jr. (CAR)vs. NEWR88
177Blake Jarwin (DAL)vs. DENTE31
178Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB)at KCWR89
179Josiah Deguara (GB)at KCTE32
180Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (TEN)at LARWR90
181Tommy Tremble (CAR)vs. NETE33
182Noah Fant (DEN)at DALTE34
183Marcedes Lewis (GB)at KCTE35
184Kyle Juszczyk (SF)vs. ARIRB59
185Jalen Richard (LV)at NYGRB60
186Kyle Rudolph (NYG)vs. LVTE36
187Geoff Swaim (TEN)at LARTE37
188Durham Smythe (MIA)vs. HOUTE38
189Braxton Berrios (NYJ)at INDWR91
190Damien Williams (CHI)at PITRB61
191Chester Rogers (TEN)at LARWR92
192Juwan Johnson (NO)vs. ATLTE39
193Chris Conley (HOU)at MIAWR93
194John Ross (NYG)vs. LVWR94
195Donald Parham Jr. (LAC)at PHITE40
196Michael Gallup (DAL)vs. DENWR95
197Chris Moore (HOU)at MIAWR96
198Tavon Austin (JAC)vs. BUFWR97
199MyCole Pruitt (TEN)at LARTE41
200Anthony Schwartz (CLE)at CINWR98
201Tyler Kroft (NYJ)at INDTE42
202Ian Thomas (CAR)vs. NETE43
203Greg Ward (PHI)vs. LACWR99
204Keith Kirkwood (CAR)vs. NEWR100
205Zach Gentry (PIT)vs. CHITE44
206Dawson Knox (BUF)at JACTE45
207N'Keal Harry (NE)at CARWR101
208Ryan Griffin (NYJ)at INDTE46
209Harrison Bryant (CLE)at CINTE47
210Devin Duvernay (BAL)vs. MINWR102
211Jerick McKinnon (KC)vs. GBRB62
212Larry Rountree III (LAC)at PHIRB63
213Justin Jackson (LAC)at PHIRB64
214Demetric Felton (CLE)at CINRB65
215Charlie Woerner (SF)vs. ARITE48
216Ty'Son Williams (BAL)vs. MINRB66
217Royce Freeman (CAR)vs. NERB67
218Pharaoh Brown (HOU)at MIATE49
219Josh Reynolds (TEN)at LARWR103
220Ray-Ray McCloud (PIT)vs. CHIWR104
221Ben Skowronek (LAR)vs. TENWR105
222Antoine Wesley (ARI)at SFWR106
223Mack Hollins (MIA)vs. HOUWR107
224Dontrell Hilliard (TEN)at LARRB68
225Ty Montgomery (NO)vs. ATLRB69
226Brevin Jordan (HOU)at MIATE50
227Josh Oliver (BAL)vs. MINTE51
228Noah Brown (DAL)vs. DENWR108
229Adam Shaheen (MIA)vs. HOUTE52
230Corey Davis (NYJ)at INDWR109
231Josh Gordon (KC)vs. GBWR110
232Jimmy Graham (CHI)at PITTE53
233Ross Dwelley (SF)vs. ARITE54
234Collin Johnson (NYG)vs. LVWR111
235Joshua Palmer (LAC)at PHIWR112
236Jack Stoll (PHI)vs. LACTE55
237Shi Smith (CAR)vs. NEWR113
238Garrett Griffin (NO)vs. ATLTE56
239Richard Rodgers (PHI)vs. LACTE57
240Dede Westbrook (MIN)at BALWR114
241Marlon Mack (IND)vs. NYJRB70
242Alec Ingold (LV)at NYGRB71
243Trey Sermon (SF)vs. ARIRB72
244Eric Ebron (PIT)vs. CHITE58
245C.J. Ham (MIN)at BALRB73
246Preston Williams (MIA)vs. HOUWR115
247Chris Herndon IV (MIN)at BALTE59
248Jauan Jennings (SF)vs. ARIWR116
249Patrick Laird (MIA)vs. HOURB74
250Anthony McFarland Jr. (PIT)vs. CHIRB75

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