Hi, hello & welcome to everybody’s favorite column about everybody’s favorite sport! We’re finally in the double-digits of weeks, which means it’s almost time for me to get back to…well, let’s be honest, I’m just going to be obsessing over fantasy basketball & hockey instead. I won’t actually be doing anything important.
We’ve entered the portion of the season where the contenders are separating from the pretenders. In fantasy, you know if you have a chance at making a title run or not. I’ve got a couple of teams that do. I got a couple that don’t. Trade deadlines for many leagues are coming up, so if you need something it’s time to shake people down and see what kind of crap they’ll take from you.
Here’s the crap I’ll give you this week…but first, Roseanne with the National Anthem. I’m pretty sure the Reds were playing the Padres on this fateful evening.
This one’s pretty self explanatory. Booker T was doing the Fave 5 gimmick back when the Ocho was starting up, so we figured it only made sense to make it part of our fantasy football podcast over at offtheteam.com. These are five guys that are going to have tremendous weeks and lead your team to fantasy glory. And maybe even lead their actual team to glory, but we’re not worried about that too much here.
Matthew Stafford: Matty Staffy’s gone over 300 passing yards each of his last three games and gets the woeful Cleveland Browns this week. I suspect it’ll be a pretty good time to own him. It was a pretty good time to have him or Marvin Jones Jr. last Monday night, that’s for sure. He’s only had three weeks over twenty points, but has at least had double digits every week, so there’s a high floor with him.
DeSean Jackson: Mike Evans will be suspended Week 10, so Jackson will be Tampa Bay’s top receiving option against the New York Football Jets. The bad news is that he’ll have Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing to him. But he’s one of very few options, so there’s that going for him.
Jordan Howard: The Packers have given up the fourth most points to running backs this season. After a brief Tarik Cohen scare, Howard has re-asserted himself atop the Bears RB pecking order. He found the end zone last time he played Green Bay back in Week 4, and I’d expect the same this week.
Evan Engram: Bob McAdoo says everybody on the Giants has their job on the line. I disagree, as Engram has staked his claim to the tight end position & will continue to showcase himself against the 49ers. San Francisco has given up touchdowns to tight ends each of the last three weeks. Engram has scored touchdowns the last two weeks. I like where this is going.
Dallas Running Back: We expect Ezekiel Elliott to play this week. We’re never really sure, as it depends which judge makes a ruling the closest to gametime. Whoever ends up running the ball for Dallas this week gets the Atlanta Falcons, who have never stopped a running back as far back as I can remember. If it’s Zeke, it’ll get pretty ugly for y’all that are playing against somebody with him.
Last Week’s Fave 5 Record: 1-4 (Jared Goff over, Will Fuller V, Michael Thomas, LeSean McCoy & Jack Doyle under)
These are four people that you’re probably going to have to start, but you’re not going to be very happy about it. I’ve actually been doing well in this section lately, mostly because offenses have been disappointing thus far.
Philip Rivers: You know things are strange when I’m not recommending quarterbacks playing against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags are allowing a 63.5 quarterback rating this season, which doesn’t bode well for the cross-country traveling Rivers. He’s been relatively quiet this season and I think that continues this week.
Michael Thomas: The Saints have been doing big things recently, but Thomas hasn’t really been part of it. It’s been more of a Mark Ingram/Alvin Kamara party, and I think it continues this week in Buffalo, whose secondary has done a good job against WRs this season. He hasn’t hit 90 yards in a game this year, and I don’t think he will this week.
Devonta Freeman: Freeman hasn’t really been the Right Falcons RB this season. He’s been slowed by injury and hasn’t gone over double digits since before Atlanta’s Week 5 bye. The Cowboys actually shut down Kareem Hunt last week, and nobody was able to do that before. I sense similar treatment for Freeman.
Jason Witten: Let’s stay right in that game because the Falcons have given up the third fewest points to tight ends this season. Witten isn’t really involved in the Cowboys’ passing game at the moment, in fact he was targeted just one time last week in their win over Kansas City. I think he’ll get more than one target, but not that much more.
Last Week’s Fearful 4 Record: 1-3 (AJ Green under, Matt Ryan, Marshawn Lynch & Travis Kelce over)
A lot of the fantasy experts out there love to give you their sleeper picks. It’s not a bad idea. The flaw in the execution is they’re typically not highlighting people you can pick up.
So what we’ve been doing on the Ocho for the past five seasons is highlighting some sleepers that are actually Off The Team. They’re owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues, just sitting on the wire waiting for you to pick them up.
Marlon Mack (44%): Mack slipped under the 50% range this week, which is a bit surprising, but maybe not since he didn’t do much against Houston. He’s still Frank Gore’s backup in Indianapolis, and he’s been showing enough to warrant more carries in the games later on the schedule. Honestly, if you’re the Colts you should be giving the carries to the rookie and not to the 85 year old Frank Gore, but I gave up trying to understand the Colts a couple of years ago.
D’Onta Foreman (9%): The Texans don’t really have much choice but to run the ball early and often now that Deshaun Watson is out and Houston ownership won’t sign a competent quarterback that might be able to run himself like Deshaun Watson can. Does anybody trust Lamar Miller to hold up much longer? You shouldn’t. Only a matter of time before Foreman becomes a thing.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (8%): OK, it’s a tough sell. Mike Evans won’t be playing. Douglas Martin hasn’t been useful for weeks. But the Jets have given up the most touchdowns this season. I’M SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE!
Not exactly a patriotic song. But it’s got “American” in the title and it’s by Tom Petty, so it’ll do.
Picks Against The Spread
Seattle (-6) at Arizona: On one hand it feels like a bounce-back week for the Seahawks. On the other hand, it’s Thursday night and weird stuff happens. I’ll take the underdog.
Minnesota (-1) at Washington: Washington coming off of a big win over Seattle and I still don’t trust Case Keenum. Certainly not as a road favorite.
Green Bay at Chicago (-5): I don’t particularly trust the Bears, but the Packers without Aaron Rodgers are not a team I can tell you to put money on.
Pittsburgh (-10) at Indianapolis: The Colts got a win last week. They’re good for awhile.
LA Chargers at Jacksonville (-4): Jags are for real. They don’t even need their star running back to truck fools.
NY Jets (-2.5) at Tampa Bay: I can’t believe I live in a world where you can bet on the Jets on the road. This has been a weird season.
Cincinnati at Tennessee (-5): Bengals are trash. People were trying to talk smack about them losing to the Jags last week and I was like “Yeah, duh, I picked that one.” Picking this one too and hoping that Marvin Lewis loses enough games that he gets the hint & retires at the end of the season.
New Orleans (-2.5) at Buffalo: Bills are doing what the Bills usually do. Everybody saw this coming.
Cleveland at Detroit (-12.5): The Lions beat the Packers in Green Bay by 13, so this should be fine. Except the Lions love screwing things up, or at least making things harder than they should be.
Houston at LA Rams (-12): Texans are too busy coming up with excuses not to sign Colin Kaepernick to attempt to field a team that can beat somebody.
Dallas at Atlanta (-3): HOW BOUT DEM COWBOYS
NY Giants (-1) at San Francisco:
New England (-7.5) at Denver: I wouldn’t pick Brock Osweiler against Boston College at this point. Never mind Boston’s professional football team.
Miami at Carolina (-9): Jeremy Lambert feels confident. So we should pick against the Panthers.
Week 9 Record: 6-6-1
2017 Season Record: 59-69-4