Fantasy WR Rankings Week 9: Who to start, sit at wide receiver in fantasy football


Rank Player 1 Cooper Kupp, LAR vs. TEN 2 Stefon Diggs, BUF @ JAX 3 Tyreek Hill, KC vs. GB 4 Ja’Marr Chase, CIN vs. CLE 5 DeAndre Hopkins, ARI @ SF 6 Davante Adams, GB @ KC 7 Deebo Samuel, SF vs. ARI 8 Justin Jefferson, MIN @ BAL 9 A.J. Brown, TEN @ LAR. We all know Brown is a must-start, but we do need to look into his fantasy outlook after the potential season-ending foot injury to Derrick Henry. Henry’s absence could mean tougher coverage for Brown, but it also means Tennessee will likely lean pass more than we’ve seen during the Henry era. The volume should be there, and after catching 18-of-20 targets for 288 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games, we’re confident Brown is good enough to thrive even if the road is tougher — especially if Julio Jones (hamstring) can finally get healthy. If Julio plays this week, he has a very low floor, but we still believe his ceiling is high in what could now be a pass-first offense. If you’re one of those people who are worried about Brown being shadowed by Jalen Ramsey — something that hasn’t limited guys like DK Metcalf or Michael Pittman this year — or you should love Julio’s chance to draw a ton of targets. 10 CeeDee Lamb, DAL vs. DEN 11 Diontae Johnson, PIT vs. CHI 12 Amari Cooper, DAL vs. DEN 13 Robert Woods, LAR vs. TEN. After a slow start, Woods has either totaled at least 70 yards and scored a touchdown in each of his past four games. Tennessee has allowed DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, Cole Beasley, Tyler Lockett, and Freddy Swain, Jamison Crowder, and Corey Davis to all have 16-plus fantasy points against them. Do you notice the trend? Four pairs of teammates have gone off against Tennessee, so why should we expect anything different against the Rams? Yes, Cooper Kupp is expected to go nuclear, but there will be plenty left on the bone for Woods. 14 Marquise Brown, BAL vs. MIN. After generally improving on defense after a rough start to the season. Minnesota reverted back to their old ways against Cooper Rush. With Rush at QB, Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb each went for over 110 receiving yards. We’d say Lamar Jackson is a little bit better than Rush (or a lot bit), so Brown’s ceiling is sky-high and Rashod Bateman feels like a solid flex consideration in this matchup (though Sammy Watkins could steal some targets). Baltimore has been on a bye, and surely they’ve been licking their chops watching the struggles in the secondary for the Vikings. 15 Adam Thielen, MIN @ BAL. Thielen has six touchdowns in seven games this season, so while you never want to depend on a receiving score, it sure seems like he’ll deliver one each week. Baltimore’s secondary has really only been shredded by WRs in two games this season, but when they’ve played guys near the top of rankings, the studs have usually eaten. They’re coming off a game in which Ja’Marr Chase caught eight passes for 201 yards and a touchdown. Justin Jefferson is probably the guy that can match numbers like that, but Baltimore isn’t a scary enough matchup to keep us away from Thielen as the No. 2 WR here. 16 Michael Pittman Jr., IND vs. NYJ. Pittman has the potential to continue his stellar play into this week, or the game could be the Jonathan Taylor show — meaning a quiet day for the second-year WR. When Indianapolis blew out Houston, Carson Wentz attempted just 20 passes, with Pittman catching two for 35 yards. Additionally, before giving up nice outings to Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd in Week 8, the Jets were the third-strongest team against fantasy WRs. Those receivers were able to produce because the game was competitive. If this game isn’t close, there’s a bust risk here. All that said, we know his past performances and upside make him nearly impossible to bench, so we’re not advising that. T.Y. Hilton (concussion) and Parris Campbell (foot) played in the last Houston game, and both are out this week. Zach Pascal draws some flex consideration with those guys out, but he faces the same scenario. 17 Brandin Cooks, HOU @ MIA. This game might actually be competitive, and both teams have awful defenses. If Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) is back, could be we looking at a mediocre shootout? The possibility exists, and we know Cooks is the target hog in the offense and can break a long one for a touchdown at any point. Miami gives up the third-most fantasy points to WRs, so Cooks is a must-start. 18 Keenan Allen, LAC @ PHI. Allen hasn’t been as productive as we’d hoped so far this season, but he’s coming off his best game against a stellar New England defense, He caught six-of-11 targets for 77 yards and a touchdown and looked like the No. 1 WR in Los Angeles once again. Philadelphia has quietly been strong in the back end, but they’ve yet to face a duo as good as Allen and Mike Williams. Both remain must-starts at this point in the season. 19 Courtland Sutton, DEN @ DAL. Whether is Sutton’s or Teddy Bridgewater’s fault, Sutton is now officially a boom-or-bust fantasy WR in this struggling Denver offense. He has three games with 94-plus receiving yards, but four games with fewer than 50 receiving yards. However, if Dak Prescott (calf) is healthy, Denver should have to air the football out to keep up. Whether it’s done purely because of volume or garbage time, Sutton should have a nice fantasy output. Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick are also on the start-or-sit bubble for similar reasons. Sutton just has the most upside, especially in standard leagues. 20 D.J. Moore, CAR vs. NE. New England’s dominance in the secondary is well documented, but Moore is sixth in the NFL with a 29.1-percent target share, so even if his ceiling is limited this week, he’ll see plenty of chances to have a decent fantasy day. Even if Sam Darnold (concussion) is out, Moore is too talented to be benched. No other Panthers’ WR can be trusted to get open this week, so the offense should realistically run through Moore. 21 Emmanuel Sanders, BUF @ JAX. Sanders’ fantasy owners were crushed in Week 8, as he didn’t catch a single one of his four targets. The goose egg in the score column is gut-wrenching, but we have to look past it. The Bills’ offense as a whole surprisingly struggled until the end of the game, and Sanders just happened to be the odd man out in the end. Jacksonville’s defense was massacred by Geno Smith, Tyler Lockett, and DK Metcalf, so we’re trusting Sanders to bounce back here. He’s more of a standard league play, as he gets deep targets but isn’t guaranteed volume. However, he should still be started in PPR leagues. 22 Jaylen Waddle, MIA vs. HOU. Since Tua Tagovailoa returned from his ribs injury, Waddle has drawn 11 targets per game. We knew the former Alabama teammates would have a strong connection, but the target numbers for Waddle are exceeding expectations. Unfortunately, he only caught four-of-12 targets last week, but Buffalo’s secondary is one of the best in the league. Let’s just say Houston’s back end of their defense isn’t quite as good, and barring a blowout, Waddle should see a ton of targets once again. DeVante Parker was targeted 11 times in his first game back from a hamstring issue, so he’s a high-end flex option this week. 23 Kadarius Toney, NYG vs. LV. 24 Mike Williams, LAC @ PHI. See Keenan Allen. 25 Julio Jones, TEN @ LAR. See A.J. Brown. 26 Jerry Jeudy, DEN @ DAL. See Courtland Sutton. 27 Tee Higgins, CIN vs. CLE. Cleveland has allowed strong fantasy performances to A.J. Green, Brandin Cooks, Diontae Johnson, Justin Jefferson, and more, so we like Higgins’ shot at producing a solid point total this week. Cleveland is a bottom-12 team against fantasy WRs, and Joe Burrow’s passing attempts continue to be sky-high. Sure, Ja’Marr Chase has pretty much established himself as the No. 1 WR in Cincinnati, but there should be plenty left on the bone for Higgins. He presumably has a WR1 ceiling and a WR3 floor. 28 DeVonta Smith, PHI vs. LAC. It might not be Smith’s fault, but he’s shown we can’t fully trust him in fantasy. Jalen Hurts’ shortcomings as a passer combined with his rushing acumen make it difficult for Smith to consistently feast. He’s produced under 32 yards in four-of-eight games this season, so the floor here remains low. Combine that with the fact the Chargers were the No. 1 defense against fantasy WRs heading into Week 8, and we have a lot of bust potential. That said, 30 feels like a good spot because he does carry some upside as the target hog in the offense. If Hurts is having a good day through the air, Smith will, too. We can’t necessarily say that about any other Eagles’ pass-catchers. 29 Christian Kirk, ARI @ SF. Same ‘ole, same ‘ole for the Cardinals’ WRs outside of DeAndre Hopkins — they are all boom or bust, but it’s starting to look like Rondale Moore is unplayable. He’ll probably flash at some point on everyone’s bench, but we can’t trust him right now. Kirk and A.J. Green can be played as high ceiling, low floor flexes. 30 Jakobi Meyers, NE @ CAR. Meyers only delivered a 4-37-0 line against the Chargers, and Carolina presents a tough defense as well. As usual, he can produce in solid matchups if he’s force-fed targets, so we view him as a decent flex option. With zero career receiving touchdowns, his ceiling is low, but in most weeks, he’s had a safe floor. 31 Hunter Renfrow, LV @ NYG. Renfrow has drawn five or more targets in six-of-seven games this year, so he’s another safe floor guy. The Giants have given up the 11th-most fantasy points to WRs this year, and have allowed nine receivers to catch at least five passes. We suspect Henry Ruggs will miss time, so Bryan Edwards steps into the No. 1 or No. 2 WR role in Las Vegas. This is a high-volume offense, so Edwards sees a huge jump in rankings. 32

Allen Lazard, GB @ KC. Kansas City’s defense as a whole has many shortcomings, and their passing defense is not excluded. Lazard should be back from the reserve/COVID list along with teammate Davante Adams. We know Adams will feast, but Lazard has the opportunity to seize the No. 2 WR role. We like his chances more than Marquez Valdez-Scantling (knee), but that’s not to say MVS can’t be the second guy in the passing game, either. For now, though, we see Lazard as the WR with more upside and like him as a high-end flex option against the Chiefs.

UPDATE: Lazard now carries a lot of risks, as Aaron Rodgers is out after testing positive for COVID-19. The matchup is still great though, so he figures to be a boom-or-bust guy. We saw Mike White pass for 400 yards in his first start, so don’t be too surprised if Jordan Love is better than advertised.

33 Cole Beasley, BUF @ JAX. After a brief cooling-off period, Beasley has once again caught fire in PPR leagues. In his last two games, he’s collected 17-of-22 targets for 198 yards and one touchdown. This is the kind of production you hope to see, but we do know he can take the backseat in some games. It’s easy to think of him as a high floor guy, but we’ve seen that’s far from the case this season — especially in blowouts. Jacksonville gives up the ninth-most fantasy points to WRs, and that number would probably be far worse if teams weren’t able to run at the end of games to kill the clock. That could be a factor in this game, so we view Beasley as a risky flex option. In back-and-forth close games, we like his chances a lot more. 34 Jamison Crowder, NYJ @ IND 35 Chase Claypool, PIT vs. CHI. Claypool’s skill set simply doesn’t match up with Big Ben’s weak arm at this point in his career. All of a sudden, Pat Freiermuth has become a more attractive option in the offense, as Big Ben prefers the check-downs and middle-of-the-field routes. Claypool’s saving grace seems to be red zone touchdowns, and since we can’t count on that, he’s a very risky option at flex. That said, all the receivers from this point on are risky, and Claypool is the most talented. His talent combined with Chicago’s bottom-five defense against fantasy WRs gives him the nod over other fringe starters. 36 Bryan Edwards, LV @ NYG. See Hunter Renfrow. 37 Russell Gage, ATL @ NO 38 Marvin Jones, JAX vs. BUF 39 Darnell Mooney, CHI @ PIT 40 Jarvis Landry, CLE @ CIN 41 Allen Robinson, CHI @ PIT 42 Rashod Bateman, BAL vs. MIN 43 Tim Patrick, DEN @ DAL. See Courtland Sutton. 44 Van Jefferson, LAR vs. TEN 45 Marquez Callaway, NO vs. ATL 46 Rondale Moore, ARI @ SF 47 Zach Pascal, IND vs. NYJ 48 Tajae Sharpe, ATL @ NO 49 Darius Slayton, NYG vs. LV 50 Laviska Shenault Jr., JAX vs. BUF 51 Donovan Peoples-Jones, CLE @ CIN 52 Tre’Quan Smith, NO vs. ATL 53 Elijah Moore, NYJ @ IND 54 Cedrick Wilson, DAL vs. DEN 55 Robby Anderson, CAR vs. NE 56 Brandon Aiyuk, SF vs. ARI 57 Tyler Boyd, CIN vs. CLE 58 Mack Hollins, MIA vs. BUF 59 Rashard Higgins, CLE @ CIN 60 Gabriel Davis, BUF @ JAX 61 Nelson Agholor, NE @ CAR 62 Mecole Hardman, KC vs. GB 63 Randall Cobb, GB @ KC. 64 Jamal Agnew, JAX vs. BUF 65 Quez Watkins, PHI vs. LAC 66 Nico Collins, HOU @ MIA 67 K.J. Osborn, MIN @ BAL 68 Kendrick Bourne, NE @ CAR 69 Marques Valdes-Scantling, GB @ KC 70 Byron Pringle, KC vs. GB 71 Chris Conley, HOU @ MIA 72 Zay Jones, LV @ NYG 73 Chris Moore, HOU @ MIA 74 Tavon Austin, JAX vs. BUF 75 Olamide Zaccheaus, ATL @ NO 76 Jalen Guyton, LAC @ PHI 77 Dante Pettis, NYG vs. LV 78 Demarcus Robinson, KC vs. GB 79 Josh Gordon, KC vs. GB

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