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Fantasy Football: Winning the Week 9 Byepocalypse

Dec 1, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) takes the field prior to the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Maggio, John Tuvey and Bo Mitchell will be here all season delivering the edge you need to dominate your fantasy football league. Visit 1500espn.com each Wednesday for a new column and each Thursday for a new episode of the Fantasy Football Party podcast.

“Hey, 2V, can you write the Fantasy Football Party article for me this week?”

“Sure, Bo! What could possibly go wrong?”

If you’ve listened to the podcast, you know what happens next: hilarity ensues. And of course the run-up to Week 9 is no exception. To wit:

  • The Vikings are on the bye, along with five other teams–three of them fantasy-relevant (sorry, Browns and Bears), thinning the talent pool dramatically
  • Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension is back in play, at least until Jerry Jones can scramble his legal team for another round of writs and habeas corpus and such. Trust me, I was pre-law. Or was it pre-med?
  • The 49ers traded for Jimmy Garoppolo, because Tom Brady is going to play forever
  • The Dolphins traded away Jay Ajayi, because he’s apparently allergic to dumpster fires
  • The Bills traded for Kelvin Benjamin to replace all the wide receivers they gave away in the preseason–and because why would Cam Newton need someone to throw to?

Methinks Bo saw this coming.

But fear not, dear reader; we have tips for surviving the Week 9 Byepocalypse as well as the assorted other booby traps tossed into this critical juncture of your fantasy season.

With the Vikings nestled in first place in the NFC North and taking a week off to recover from London, this is your one opportunity between now and February to buy some family cred. Tell your significant other you’re taking a break from football to spend some quality time with them (like they’re going to know it’s a bye week). Set your lineups early, then do… whatever it is people do when they’re not watching football on Sundays. Seriously, I have no idea what that is. Maybe ask Siri or something.

If Zeke is on your roster, you can back him up with Alfred Morris; after all, Jerry Jones says he’s the guy in Zeke’s absence and if you can’t trust Jerry Jones then who can you trust? Just don’t expect anything close to Zeke-level production. So far this season Alf has carried 13 times–once for 70 yards and a dozen more for a total of 35. That’s… not good. The chances Morris provides fantasy relief from a lost Zeke hover somewhere between slim and none. Roster him if you must, but also throw a dart at Rod Smith, who has averaged eight yards per touch the 11 times he’s handled the ball this season. The alternative: c’mon, lawyers!

Dynasty leaguers should snap up Garoppolo, as you have to believe a full offseason with Kyle Shanahan and plenty of high draft picks should give him something to work with next fall. But asking Jimmy G to be a fantasy entity in 2017 seems overly optimistic. On the bright side, Pierre Garçon’s fantasy flatline just received a big ol’ hypodermic needle full of adrenaline to the chest just like Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction.

Ajayi should make a more immediate impact in his new surroundings, though “immediate” may mean after Philly’s Week 10 bye. Things certainly can’t get any worse for Ajayi as now he should actually receive the handoff before being tackled. The bouncing Brit will be at minimum the lead back in an Eagles’ committee, though the team is saying LeGarrette Blount remains the starter. And much to the chagrin of the FF Party hosts, you’ll be seeing even less of Wendell Smallwood as his role undergoes significant shrinkage.

Benjamin gives Tyrod Taylor a legitimate target, at least until Charles Clay returns. So much for Zay Jones being a thing this year.

There, all your Week 9 fantasy football problems solved. Who needs Bo? And now for something completely different, let’s now pivot our attention to daily fantasy bargains.

DFS Week 9 Values

For DFS players, we provide the best values at QB/RB/WR/TE on a weekly basis, including pricing from Fanball, DraftKings and FanDuel. Good luck!

QB: Jared Goff @ New York Giants

Fanball: $5,500

DraftKings: $5,500

FanDuel: $7,600

This is a great week to pay up for a chalky quarterback like DeShaun Watson, because the favorable matchups fall to quarterbacks we can’t recommend at any price–the Drew Stantons and CJ Beathards of the world. Goff hasn’t done much for a month, but it’s been more situation (boat racing the Cardinals 33-0 doesn’t require much passing, and one does not simply pass on the Jaguars) than anything else. His two multiple passing touchdown efforts this season came on the road against NFC foes, and that’s where he finds himself this week. The Giants have given up 300-plus passing yards in three of their last four and surrendered three passing scores in three of their last four as well. If you’re opting to stack your lineup elsewhere, this is the best intersection of value and opportunity on the board.

RB: Doug Martin @ New Orleans

Fanball: $7,100

DraftKings: $5,800

FanDuel: $6,700

After banging his head against three straight top-10 run defenses, Martin gets a bit of a breather in the Big Easy. The Saints have served up back-to-back 100-rushing yard efforts, and while Martin hasn’t seen triple-digit rushing yards since Week 11 of 2015 he’s starting to see enough carries–38 over the past two games–that cracking the century mark is hardly out of the question. Mix in his passing-game contributions and the fact that this game currently sports the highest over/under total on the board and the Muscle Hamster is a viable play if you want quality but don’t want to pay elite DFS prices.

RB: Javorius Allen @ Tennessee

Fanball: $4,700

DraftKings: $4,300

FanDuel: $5,700

Teammate Alex Collins gets the attention, and usually a slightly larger share of the carries, and he’s attractively priced between $200 and $300 more than Allen across the board. But Collins does most of his work on the ground, and where the Titans can really be had is via the air. Opposing backs have seen 24 targets over Tennessee’s past two games, and the Titans are giving up the fourth-most receiving yards per game to running backs this year. Allen has averaged almost five catches per game since moving into Danny Woodhead’s role in Week 2; in full point per reception formats like my personal favorite DFS site, Fanball, that’s almost an extra touchdown just for being your quarterback’s safety valve.

WR: Ted Ginn, Jr. vs. Tampa Bay

Fanball: $6,000

DraftKings: $5,000

FanDuel: $5,700

It’s almost as if those geniuses over at Fanball know what they’re doing, pricing Ginn like a legitimate fantasy contributor. That’s still a decent price, though it’s not quite the “taking sugary treats from infants” price you’ll find elsewhere. Ginn has capitalized on Willie Snead’s absence and injury, racking up an average of four catches for 91 yards per game since the Saints’ Week 5 bye. At this juncture it’s safe to say Ginn is Drew Brees’ downfield weapon of choice, so don’t let a potential Snead return rain on your parade. The Bucs have offered little resistance to wideouts, surrendering almost 200 yards per game to the position. Plus, it’s a defense Ginn knows his way around (and past); as a member of the Panthers he scored three times in his last four meetings with Tampa Bay.

WR: Marvin Jones vs. Green Bay

Fanball: $4,900

DraftKings: $5,600

FanDuel: $6,000

A little something for your Monday night slates. Jones was slow out of the gate this season, but he’s seen a murderer’s row of cornerbacks including Patrick Peterson and Xavier Rhodes that have muted his numbers. Out from under those oppressive thumbs the past two weeks, Jones has seen 25 targets while racking up 224 yards and a touchdown. His pricing, however, has yet to catch up with his production so you have a window of opportunity here. The Packers are a bottom-10 pass defense who have struggled to contain anyone; in fact, in three straight and five of seven they’ve let multiple wideouts top 50 yards against them. Receivers seeing double-digit targets are averaging 97 yards per game against the Pack, and with Jones returning to that strata you can strike now while the price is down and the iron is hot.

TE: Tyler Higbee @ New York Giants

Fanball: $3,700

DraftKings: $2,800

FanDuel: $4,500

Sad but true: there was a collective sigh in the fantasy industry last week with the Giants on a bye, because “insert Tight End X vs. Giants” has been a staple of our analysis this season. Thankfully the Giants are back on the field, with Higbee this week’s “insert Tight End X”. It’s simple, really: the Giants have allowed a tight end touchdown in every game they’ve played this season and are also bottom-five in receptions and yards to the position. Higbee is bottom-of-the-barrel cheap, and he gets the nod over teammate Gerald Everett despite Everett’s recent touchdown because over the past five games Higbee has twice the targets, three times the catches and four times the yardage as all other Rams’ tight ends combined.

Anthony Maggio, John Tuvey and Bo Mitchell co-host the 1500ESPN Fantasy Football Party podcast. Bookmark the podcast page for upcoming episodes and subscribe to the podcast now! Don’t act like you’re not impressed.

Maggio hosted Fantasy Football Sunday on 1500ESPN from 2012-2013 and is the Fantasy Football Editor at Zoneblitz.com. Mitchell is Vice President of Content for Sportradar. And Tuvey is Senior NFL Analyst and Director of Content for Fanball, a SportsHub Technologies company. All three men are kind of big deals, enjoy leather-bound books and have homes that smell of rich mahogany.

Follow Maggio @MPLSMaggio
Follow Bo @Bo_Mitchell
Follow John @jtuvey
Follow The Fantasy Football Party @TheFFParty





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