Elliott is banged up and has a tough matchup ahead of him for Week 9
Fantasy owners are continually trying to find their best lineup. It's Week 9, which means the fantasy playoffs are just around the corner. Plenty of injuries have plagued star players in the NFL this season, and fantasy owners have had to adjust their lineups. Perhaps you've traded or used the waiver wire, but odds are the team you drafted back in August is not the team you are starting this week. That's all part of the game. Just try to keep on top of injuries (and players that are on the Reserve/COVID-19 list) and be sure you are starting the best players possible.
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.
Teams on bye: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia
Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brady has posted very solid numbers this season, and he has a great matchup in Week 9. The Saints allow the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and this game has the potential to be a high-scoring shootout. Brady may get Chris Godwin (finger surgery) back and he gets a new toy in Antonio Brown. He's re-connected with his tight end Rob Gronkowski, and all of these weapons have just boosted Brady's fantasy value. He's ranked No. 10 this week, but he can certainly exceed that.
DeeJay Dallas, RB, Seattle Seahawks
This call worked well last week, so we'll try to double-dip. Carlos Hyde and Chris Carson missed Week 8 and have yet to practice this week. It looks like both players will again be out for Week 9 against the Bills. Dallas is ranked No. 33 and based on Week 8's numbers – 58 total yards and two touchdowns – he should fare better than RB33. Travis Homer will likely be active for Week 9, but that shouldn't affect Dallas' value. If Carson plays, Dallas' value does take a hit. However, Carson is far from 100 percent, so Dallas will still have a role in the offense.
Nyheim Hines, RB, Indianapolis Colts
In Week 8, Jonathan Taylor was a dud. Jordan Wilkins took over the rushing duties and Hines was the passing downs back. In Week 9, Hines is ranked No. 46. He had five targets, and he caught three of them for 54 yards and two touchdowns. T.Y. Hilton is likely out, Michael Pittman is currently on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and Marcus Johnson did not practice on Thursday. The team is going to need someone besides Zach Pascal and the tight ends to catch the ball. Look for Hines to have a bigger role this week and is a RB3.
Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Coming off the bye week, the Cardinals face the Dolphins. The Dolphins haven't allowed a lot of touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, but they have allowed plenty of yards. Kirk was on a hot streak heading into the bye with four touchdowns in the past two games. He had five receptions in two of the past three games as well. Kirk seems to be the No. 2 receiver in Arizona. He's ranked No. 36 and should exceed that ranking in Week 9.
Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans
Even though the Titans face the Bears in Week 9, Smith is still on the "up" list. Adam Humphries left the Week 8 game with a concussion and still hasn't been cleared. If he's out, expect more targets to go Smith's way. He's ranked No. 10, but Tannehill may find him in the red zone. Smith hasn't had a good game since Week 5, but with the Bears defense clamping down on A.J. Brown, he might just be the best option for Tannehill this week.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Tennessee Titans
Tannehill has defied expectations this season. He has multiple touchdowns in the past four weeks and only three interceptions on the season. However, the Titans face the Bears in Week 9. The Bears are a tough defense, and they allow the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. They have only allowed two quarterbacks to throw for two touchdowns and none have thrown for 300 yards. Two quarterbacks didn't throw any touchdowns against the Bears. Tannehill should find the end zone, but he's not a borderline QB1 as he has been and is ranked as (No. 11).
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Elliott has three strikes against him for this week. First, the Cowboys are playing the Steelers, who give up the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Second, the Cowboys' offense has been atrocious and Garrett Gilbert/Cooper Rush will be the quarterback (read: stacked boxes for Elliott). Third, Elliott is dealing with a hamstring injury. He was limited in practice this week and the Cowboys would be smart to play it safe with their star running back. Elliott is ranked No. 12, but he's barely an RB2 this week.
DJ Chark Jr., WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
Chark is the best receiver for the Jaguars, but Gardner Minshew is going to miss this game with a thumb injury. Rookie Jake Luton will start for the Jaguars, and the sixth-round draft pick will attempt to take on the Texans. Houston's secondary can be beat, so this would be a good matchup, but it's likely that the Jags aren't going to throw the ball as often as they otherwise would. Chark is ranked No. 21, and until we see what Luton can do and which receivers he favors, it's hard to trust Chark as anything more than a WR3.
Scotty Miller, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Miller was a decent fill-in when Chris Godwin left in Week 7, but in Week 8 he couldn't get anything going with Tom Brady. He only had three receptions for 35 yards on six targets. Brady just doesn't look to him. Mike Evans is obviously the top receiver, and Antonio Brown will be added to the mix. Godwin may return this week, and with the tight ends taking targets away, Miller should be on the waiver wire, not in fantasy lineups. He's ranked No. 43 and even if Godwin sits in Week 9, Miller won't hit that ranking.
Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens
In the past two weeks, Andrews has a total of five receptions for 53 yards. He has five touchdowns this year, but he hasn't been the fantasy rock star that he was last year. He has two games with five or more receptions; he has three games with more than 50 yards and four games with less than 35 yards. He hasn't had more than 60 yards this season. It's tough to trust him from week to week, but he's still a TE1 because of his potential. However, ranking him as No. 3 is a bit high.
Full Disclosure for Week 8
Up (2/5 correct)
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers (Ranked: 20, Actual: 30, injured)
DeeJay Dallas, RB, Seahawks (Ranked: 50, Actual: 3)
Cole Beasley, WR, Bills (Ranked: 34, Actual: 69)
Darnell Mooney, WR, Bears (Ranked: 64, Actual: 18)
Drew Sample, TE, Bengals (Ranked: 23, Actual: N/A)
Down (3/5 correct)
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions (Ranked: 13, Actual: 4)
Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders (Ranked: 7, Actual: 20)
Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions (Ranked: 7, Actual: N/A, injured)
Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys (Ranked: 36, Actual: 34)
Mike Gesicki, TE, Dolphins (Ranked: 15, Actual: 40)
— 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.