Fantasy managers are back to dealing with four teams on a bye and plenty of injuries (and COVID concerns). Keeping an eye on the practice reports is important heading into Week 9 as Friday's practice may be telling for many players. If a player is ruled out, look at the next man up at that position. Even if a player is injured and questionable, keep an eye on who else may soak up some carries or targets. This is the best way, aside from matchup, to determine which players you should consider starting.
Teams on bye: Detroit, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Washington
Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status, and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide.
Jordan Love, QB, Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs
Love is not ranked as they were not yet updated after Aaron Rodgers was ruled out because of testing positive for COVID-19. However, Love is a top-15 fantasy quarterback for this week. He's practiced with a great team and he's (presumably) been able to learn from Rodgers. The Packers seemingly drafted him as Rodgers' successor, and this is his opportunity to prove himself against a Chiefs defense that is allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.
Carlos Hyde, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Buffalo Bills
James Robinson injured his heel in Week 8 and he's yet to practice this week (as of early Friday). If he is active – emphasis on "if" – it is likely he will be limited. Hyde, although dealing with a calf injury, would then see his workload increase significantly. It is a tough matchup but Hyde should still fare better than his No. 37 ranking. Hyde had six receptions for 40 yards in Week 8, so he should be considered an RB3 option in PPR formats.
Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams vs. Tennessee Titans (SNF)
With Matthew Stafford nursing an injured back and Woods himself dealing with a foot injury, trusting him as a WR2 is a bit risky. He’s ranked No. 19, but aside from one 100-yard game, he hasn’t done much this season. He has no other games with more than 60 yards and no other game with more than six receptions. He has scored four touchdowns, which has kept him in the WR2 conversation for fantasy managers. However, all signs point to both Woods and Stafford playing on Sunday. The matchup against the Titans is a great one, as they allow the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
Landry faces the Bengals in Week 9, and this should be a great matchup for him. He's a master of the short routes, and he should have plenty of those this week. With Odell Beckham Jr.'s status up in the air, more targets open up for Landry. Landry had 10 in Week 8, but only caught five of them for 65 yards. Those numbers should increase in Week 9 and he should exceed his No. 29 ranking.
Marcedes Lewis, TE, Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs
Robert Tonyan suffered a torn ACL in Week 8, which means the Packers need someone else needs to take on the tight end role. The next man up is Lewis. Keep in mind that Jordan Love will be throwing him the ball rather than Aaron Rodgers, but it is possible the two worked together with the second-team offense. Lewis has never put together an amazing season, but he is a decent fill-in. For fantasy managers that lost Tonyan or have a player on a bye this week can grab Lewis, who should exceed his No. 34 ranking.
Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys vs. Denver Broncos
Prescott is coming off a calf injury and is facing a team that allows the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. No quarterback has managed more than two touchdowns against the Broncos and only two have thrown for more than 300 yards. While Prescott is a QB1, ranking him at No. 6 seems a bit high.
Darrel Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Green Bay Packers
When Clyde Edwards-Helaire was injured, it seemed that Williams would be the running back to own. However, on Monday night it was Derrick Gore who took on the between-the-tackles role. Against the Giants, Williams had 49 rushing yards. He did add six receptions for 61 yards, but it was still Gore who stole the show. In his first-ever NFL game, Gore had 48 rushing yards and a touchdown. He looked good and while he wasn’t used in the passing game, he should play a role. This just means that Williams' No. 22 ranking may be a bit optimistic, although in PPR formats, he is still a high RB3.
Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals
The 49ers went from having no running backs to now having plenty. Mitchell is banged up and missed practice this week, although the team seems to think he will play in Week 9. JaMycal Hasty and Trey Sermon are on the team and will likely be active this week as well. Mitchell is ranked No. 12, but given the injury and the other running backs in the mix, it seems a bit high. He’s coming off back-to-back 100-yard games with a touchdown, but he may be wearing down a bit.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
With both Hopkins and Kyler Murray banged up, it’s hard to imagine that Nuk finishes in the top 10. He's ranked No. 9, but the matchup against the 49ers is a tough one. Aside from the two-touchdown performance in Week 6, Hopkins hasn't put up big numbers. He's put up fewer than 65 yards in the past three games. While he has had touchdowns (seven on the season), if he doesn't find the end zone, he's not providing WR1-worthy production.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills
For some reason, Gesicki is ranked No. 2 among tight ends for Week 9. He has two touchdowns this season, and three games with more than five receptions. There certainly have been weeks where he has done better than others, and it is a good matchup for Gesicki, but to rank him No. 2 is a bit high. Fantasy managers need to look at when he has had big games: when DeVante Parker has been out. Now that Parker is back, he is going to eat up Gesicki’s targets.
Full Disclosure from Week 8
Up (1/5 correct)
- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Denver Broncos (Ranked: 17, Actual: 20)
- Boston Scott, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (Ranked: 34, Actual: 12)
- Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Buffalo Bills (Ranked: 34, Actual: 109)
- Marvin Jones Jr., WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (Ranked: 32, Actual: 55)
- Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Ranked: 20, Actual: Left game with an injury)
Down (5/5 correct)
- Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons (Ranked: 12, Actual: 31)
- Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (Ranked: 6, Actual: 7)
- Alex Collins, RB, Seattle Seahawks (Ranked: 29, Actual: 52)
- Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Atlanta Falcons (Ranked: 10, Actual: 17)
- Gerald Everett, TE, Seattle Seahawks (Ranked: 10, Actual: 52)
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.