Weekly Positional Rankings: Week Nine

Michael Zingone

In this series, I’ll give you my top 30 quarterbacks, 60 running backs, 60 wide receivers, and 30 tight ends each week to help you with your start/sit decisions in your leagues. To generate this list each and every week, I examine team trends, Vegas over/unders, implied points, pace of play, among various other factors to build a projection for each player and subsequently adjust rankings for upside and more detailed matchup specifics.

Among the rankings, there will surely be some that surprise you or that you may disagree with. At the end of each position section, I’ll give you my thoughts on some players that perhaps are ranked higher/lower than you might expect and insights as to why they are a good/bad play this week. Ultimately, these rankings should help your start/sit dilemmas and ensure you have the requisite resources to make an informed decision. As you start to push towards the fantasy playoffs, start/sit decisions can be the difference.

Without further ado, let’s dive into Week Nine’s positional rankings!


Pos Player Matchup Week 9 Rank
QB Deshaun Watson @JAC 1
QB Russell Wilson TB 2
QB Dak Prescott @NYG 3
QB Matthew Stafford @OAK 4
QB Jameis Winston @SEA 5
QB Aaron Rodgers @LAC 6
QB Jimmy Garoppolo @ARI 7
QB Derek Carr DET 8
QB Lamar Jackson NE 9
QB Josh Allen WAS 10
QB Gardner Minshew HOU 11
QB Kirk Cousins @KC 12
QB Jacoby Brissett @PIT 13
QB Carson Wentz CHI 14
QB Tom Brady @BAL 15
QB Philip Rivers GB 16
QB Sam Darnold @MIA 17
QB Daniel Jones DAL 18
QB Mitchell Trubisky @PHI 19
QB Baker Mayfield @DEN 20
QB Mason Rudolph IND 21
QB Kyler Murray SF 22
QB Ryan Tannehill @CAR 23
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ 24
QB Matt Moore MIN 25
QB Kyle Allen TEN 26
QB Joe Flacco CLE 27
QB Case Keenum @BUF 28


Start ‘em: Derek Carr, QB OAK

With an overall lackluster receiving group led by Tyrell Williams and Darren Waller, Carr hasn’t made a splash this season from a fantasy perspective. He ranks just QB22 in points per game. However, since coming off of his bye in week six, Carr has thrown for at least 280 yards and two touchdowns in each game. Over that same stretch, Carr has ranked QB11 in fantasy points per game, which is a big improvement from his season-long ranking. In week nine, Carr looks to be in good shape to continue his stretch of QB1 performances with a matchup against a beatable Detroit Lions team through the air. This game has the second-highest over/under of the week at 50.5 points, and the Lions have ranked sixth-worst against opposing quarterbacks in fantasy points per game this season. Playing at home, Derek Carr is a solid start this week and could easily clear the 300-yard mark with multiple touchdowns.

Sit ‘em: Kyler Murray, QB ARI

Coming off two consecutive bad starts in two pretty good matchups for fantasy quarterbacks, Murray should find your bench in week nine against a stout 49ers defense. Despite being at home, the Cardinals have the second-lowest implied team total in week nine with just 16.5 implied points. Murray has been up and down this season, expectedly, failing to throw a touchdown pass in five different games. His rushing upside has been limited as well, as he has only eclipsed 35 rushing yards in two games this season. The 49ers defense has given up just 8.2 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, and while Murray may be one of the better quarterbacks they will face, he’s still a low-floor, low-ceiling option in week nine. He can safely be on your bench on Thursday night.

If you’re desperate: Mitchell Trubisky, QB CHI

This should be clear; you have to be really desperate to start Mitch Trubisky in a start-one quarterback league. His matchup though, on paper, this week is a good one. The Bears travel on the road to take on the Philadelphia Eagles, who have been a favorable matchup for opposing quarterbacks this season. The Eagles have allowed the 11th-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks while also allowing the sixth-most passing touchdowns in the league. The one thing the Eagles have been good at, however, is creating interceptions. Their eight interceptions rank fifth-most in the NFL. This is inherently why Trubisky is purely a desperation play, as the bottom could fall out quickly. However, the Eagles’ great run defense may force Trubisky to air it out early and often, leading to Trubisky attempting 40+ passes on the day. While turnovers are likely, Trubisky has a QB1 ceiling this week against a beatable secondary.

Running Backs

Pos Player Matchup Week 9 Rank
RB Christian McCaffrey TEN 1
RB Saquon Barkley DAL 2
RB Dalvin Cook @KC 3
RB Ezekiel Elliott @NYG 4
RB Leonard Fournette HOU 5
RB Tevin Coleman @ARI 6
RB Aaron Jones @LAC 7
RB Le’Veon Bell @MIA 8
RB Melvin Gordon GB 9
RB Nick Chubb @DEN 10
RB Josh Jacobs DET 11
RB Marlon Mack @PIT 12
RB Chris Carson TB 13
RB Phillip Lindsay CLE 14
RB Derrick Henry @CAR 15
RB James White @BAL 16
RB Austin Ekeler GB 17
RB Carlos Hyde @JAC 18
RB Jordan Howard CHI 19
RB Jaylen Samuels IND 20
RB David Montgomery @PHI 21
RB Mark Ingram NE 22
RB Kenyan Drake SF 23
RB Sony Michel @BAL 24
RB Jamaal Williams @LAC 25
RB LeSean McCoy MIN 26
RB Royce Freeman CLE 27
RB Frank Gore WAS 28
RB Mark Walton NYJ 29
RB Ronald Jones @SEA 30
RB Devin Singletary WAS 31
RB Alexander Mattison @KC 32
RB Miles Sanders CHI 33
RB Tra Carson @OAK 34
RB Duke Johnson @JAC 35
RB Peyton Barber @SEA 36
RB Adrian Peterson @BUF 37
RB Ty Johnson @OAK 38
RB Tarik Cohen @PHI 39
RB Damien Williams MIN 40
RB Kalen Ballage NYJ 41
RB Dion Lewis @CAR 42
RB Rashaad Penny TB 43
RB Nyheim Hines @PIT 44
RB Zach Zenner SF 45
RB Chris Thompson @BUF 46
RB Tony Pollard @NYG 47
RB Dare Ogunbowale @SEA 48
RB Justice Hill NE 49
RB Jalen Richard DET 50
RB JD McKissic @OAK 51
RB Rex Burxhead @BAL 52
RB Ty Montgomery @MIA 53
RB Gus Edwards NE 54
RB Trey Edmonds IND 55
RB Dontrell Hilliard @DEN 56
RB Wendell Smallwood @BUF 57
RB CJ Prosise TB 58
RB Jordan Wilkins @PIT 59
RB Deandre Washington DET 60


Start ‘em: Melvin Gordon, RB LAC

Gordon has not been anything more than a FLEX option for fantasy players since he returned from his suspension. The volume has been decent for the veteran running back, as he’s averaging about 14 touches per game, but Gordon hasn’t delivered like he has in the past. Aaron Jones, Tevin Coleman, and Latavius Murray all scored more points in week eight alone than Gordon has over the past four weeks combined. Safe to say, he hasn’t been what fantasy players have wanted him to be. However, in week nine, Gordon comes in the rankings as a low-end RB1 against a vulnerable Packers run defense that has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, including big games to Josh Jacobs and the Eagles running back duo. Overall, this is a must-start game for Melvin Gordon and will ultimately be a clear window into whether or not can be a true RB1 the rest of the way.

Sit ‘em: Buccaneers Running Backs

Despite Ronald Jones flashing from time to time, Tampa Bay has chosen to split duties between he and Peyton Barber throughout the season. This has rendered neither running back fantasy viable, and that doesn’t look to be changing against a tough Seahawks matchup. A key reason why both Buccaneers running backs are sits this week is that Tampa Bay’s strengths – their passing game – lines up directly with the Seahawks’ defensive weaknesses. The Seahawks have allowed the third-most passing yards in the league this season, and their quarterback competition hasn’t been particularly impressive. They’ve faced quarterbacks like Matt Schaub, Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, and Lamar Jackson (who isn’t known for his passing volume), among others. Opposition leaning on their passing game has, in turn, lead to far fewer rushing attempts against Seattle. They’ve seen the second fewest running back rush attempts against them per game to date. Given Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber aren’t particularly involved in the passing game and have been splitting running back touches, they both can be on your bench this week.

If you’re desperate: Mark Walton, RB MIA

Walton isn’t a guy I’d be particularly excited about putting in my lineup, but he’s been the clear favorite in the Miami backfield over the last few weeks. He’s seen at least 11 touches in each of Miami’s last three games, and he’s seen six targets in the passing game in two of those same games. With Kenyan Drake out of town, Walton looks to be the clear RB1 for this Dolphins team, which should lead to 60%+ of running back work each and every week. In week nine, the Dolphins actually have a matchup they could win, as they face a Jets team that’s equally pathetic. The Jets have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs in 2019, and they’ve allowed the second-most receptions per game to opposing backs. Given Walton’s involvement in the passing game, he looks to have a nice floor in week nine along with a positive game script ceiling. While Walton is still a Miami Dolphin, and thus can’t be ranked very highly, he’s a solid FLEX or desperation RB2 play with upside.

Wide Receivers

Pos Player Matchup Week 8 Rank
WR DeAndre Hopkins @JAC 1
WR Chris Godwin @SEA 2
WR Amari Cooper @NYG 3
WR Tyler Lockett TB 4
WR Kenny Golladay @OAK 5
WR Mike Evans @SEA 6
WR Stefon Diggs @KC 7
WR Tyreek Hill MIN 8
WR Keenan Allen GB 9
WR Julian Edelman @BAL 10
WR Allen Robinson @PHI 11
WR TY Hilton @PIT 12
WR DJ Chark HOU 13
WR Courtland Sutton CLE 14
WR Juju Smith-Schuster IND 15
WR Adam Thielen @KC 16
WR John Brown WAS 17
WR Tyrell Williams DET 18
WR Marvin Jones @OAK 19
WR Odell Beckham Jr @DEN 20
WR Michael Gallup @NYG 21
WR Christian Kirk SF 22
WR Emmanuel Sanders @ARI 23
WR DJ Moore TEN 24
WR Robby Anderson @MIA 25
WR Alshon Jeffery CHI 26
WR Golden Tate DAL 27
WR Jarvis Landry @DEN 28
WR Terry McLaurin @BUF 29
WR Corey Davis @CAR 30
WR Mike Williams GB 31
WR Kenny Stills @JAC 32
WR Dede Westbrook HOU 33
WR Deebo Samuel @ARI 34
WR Albert Wilson NYJ 35
WR Dionte Johnson IND 36
WR DK Metcalf TB 37
WR Anthony Miller @PHI 38
WR Jamison Crowder @MIA 39
WR Cole Beasley WAS 40
WR Marquise Brown NE 41
WR Curtis Samuel TEN 42
WR AJ Brown @CAR 43
WR Allen Lazard @LAC 44
WR Devante Parker NYJ 45
WR Mecole Hardman MIN 46
WR Geronimo Allison @LAC 47
WR Danny Amendola @OAK 48
WR Preston Williams NYJ 49
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling @LAC 50
WR Larry Fitzgerald SF 51
WR Mohamed Sanu @BAL 52
WR Paul Richardson @BUF 53
WR Taylor Gabriel @PHI 54
WR Keke Coutee @JAC 55
WR Hunter Renfrow DET 56
WR Demarcus Robinson MIN 57
WR Zach Pascal @PIT 58
WR Chris Conley HOU 59
WR Darius Slayton DAL 60

Start ‘em: Marvin Jones, WR DET

Week eight saw Kenny Golladay explode back onto the scene after Marvin Jones broke fantasy football in week seven. Jones took a step back to what his production generally has been over the past month, seeing five targets on the day. In week nine, look for both Jones and Golladay to perform well against the Oakland Raiders, not just one of them. The Raiders have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers, including over 15 yards per reception, a bottom-five mark in the league. The Lions have made the deep ball a focus of their offense this season, and rightfully so. Jones and Golladay are two of the best big-play wide receivers in the league. With an average depth of target (aDoT) of over 13 yards on the season, Marvin Jones has tremendous upside in one of the highest-scoring games of the week. Plug him into your lineup with confidence.

Sit ‘em: Marquise Brown, WR BAL

As a general rule, I tend to lower expectations for players coming back from a multi-week absence in their first game back. Hollywood Brown started off this season incredibly hot, showing he could be a true number one wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens even as a rookie. His efficiency, though, was trailing off even before his ankle injury that forced him to miss two games. Brown averaged just three catches for 31 yards over his last three games. In week nine, he gets a welcome back party from the New England Patriots and their historically good defense. The Patriots are allowing just 1.08 fantasy points per target to opposing wide receivers, by far the best in the NFL. Look for Bill Belichick and crew to lock down Hollywood Brown and force the Ravens to beat them elsewhere. In his first game back from injury, I would avoid starting the rookie Hollywood Brown this week.

If you’re desperate: Anthony Miller, WR CHI

Over the first few weeks, the only place Anthony Miller could be found was on the side of a milk carton saying “Have you seen this wide receiver?”. He saw three or fewer targets in each of the Bears’ first four games and failed to pass just 15 receiving yards. For a second-year player, this was incredibly disappointing. Since week five, however, Miller has finally stepped up to that he belongs as a starting player for this Bears team. Miller has passed 50 yards receiving in each of his last three games and has seen 30% of Chicago’s air yards over this stretch. Make no mistake, Allen Robinson is this team’s alpha wide receiver. In week nine against the Eagles, though, there should be plenty of opportunity for Miller to make his mark. The Eagles have allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers in 2019, and, as previously mentioned, the Bears might find themselves in a passing situation early and often this week. Miller is a solid WR3/FLEX play this week with solid upside.

Tight Ends

Pos Player Matchup Week 9 Rank
TE George Kittle @ARI 1
TE Travis Kelce MIN 2
TE Darren Waller DET 3
TE Evan Engram DAL 4
TE Hunter Henry GB 5
TE Mark Andrews NE 6
TE Zach Ertz CHI 7
TE Jimmy Graham @LAC 8
TE Greg Olsen TEN 9
TE TJ Hockenson @OAK 10
TE Darren Fells @JAC 11
TE Jonnu Smith @CAR 12
TE Dallas Goedert CHI 13
TE Eric Ebron @PIT 14
TE Kyle Rudolph @KC 15
TE Cameron Brate @SEA 16
TE Vance McDonald IND 17
TE Dawson Knox WAS 18
TE Foster Moreau DET 19
TE Ricky Seals-Jones @DEN 20
TE Jason Witten @NYG 21
TE Chris Herndon @MIA 22
TE Mike Gesicki NYJ 23
TE Jack Doyle @PIT 24
TE Noah Fant CLE 25
TE Charles Clay SF 26
TE Irv Smith @KC 27
TE Ben Watson @BAL 28
TE Ryan Griffin @MIA 29
TE Josh Oliver HOU 30


Start ‘em: TJ Hockenson, TE DET

Since week one, Hockenson has performed much like we’d expect a rookie tight end to do. Averaging just five fantasy points per game since his massive week one game, Hockenson is actually averaging fewer fantasy points than fellow rookie tight ends Noah Fant and Irv Smith. Despite the poor fantasy production, though, there’s reason to be hopeful that Hockenson can turn it around, particularly this week. Hockenson has yet to play fewer than 50% of Detroit’s snaps in any game this season, and he’s consistently played about 65-70%. He’s also second on the Lions in red zone targets, earning seven to Kenny Golladay’s nine this season. He’s had multiple chances over the last few weeks to snag a touchdown but has come up just short. In a game where the Lions project to score early and often, Hockenson has an upper percentile chance of finding the end zone. Moreover, the Raiders have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game against to opposing tight ends including six touchdowns. The dreadful Arizona Cardinals defense against tight ends, for comparison, has let up eight touchdowns to opposing tight ends. Hockenson hasn’t been worthy of a start over the course of the season, but week nine brings a matchup where, in the state of the tight end position, Hockenson should be firmly on your radar as a start candidate.

Sit ‘em: Ben Watson, TE NE

After getting cut and then re-signed by the Patriots, Watson has played over 70% of the Patriots’ offensive snaps over their last two games. He’s the clear tight end of choice in what has been a strong Patriots offense to date. However, even with this utilization, Watson should be viewed as no more than a TE3 play with little upside, especially this week against the Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots, as a team, have targeted the tight end position at the lowest rate in the NFL at just 7.4%. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Ravens have allowed the fifth-fewest target share to tight ends so far in 2019. This low target share has lead the Ravens to rank ninth-best in points per game allowed to opposing tight ends. Watson will likely receiver his usual two or three targets in this Patriots offense, which keeps him at least on the tight end radar, but he’s ultimately a low-floor, low-ceiling play in week nine. There’s no real reason to start him in week nine.

If you’re desperate: Cameron Brate, TE TB

Brate is this week’s desperation play at tight end if fellow tight end OJ Howard is unable to play once again on Sunday. While Brate didn’t exceed expectations last week when Howard was out, he did manage to see six targets, ranking ninth among tight ends on the week in that category. In week nine, Brate goes up against the Seahawks, who have been dominated by opposing tight ends all season. The intriguing part about the Seahawks matchup is not just that they’ve allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, it’s who they’ve allowed them to. While they did allow Austin Hooper to continue his great play last week, they’ve also allowed big games to Ricky Seals-Jones, Gerald Everett, and Vance McDonald. This isn’t exactly a list of star tight ends. Ultimately, Brate is in a position to capitalize on good volume in a great matchup, which makes him the best desperation tight end play this week.

That concludes this week’s rankings article! As this series is released on Thursdays, be sure to follow any lingering injuries and changing injury status updates for players as Sunday approaches. If you’re wondering about a player I didn’t dive into detail about, feel free to reach out to me @FFzinger on Twitter. Best of luck this week, and I’ll be back next week to give Week Ten’s positional rankings.

michael zingone
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