QB Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
This week on our forums at FullTime Fantasy, I had multiple questions about starting Lamar Jackson vs. the almighty Patriots’ defense. My position was that Jackson would hold value due to his success and opportunity in the run game. The Ravens flashed on the ground early in the game while Jackson completed many short passes. In the end, he rushed for 61 yards with a pair of TDs. When added to his value in the passing game (17-for-23 with 163 yards and a TD), it led to a massive performance in Fantasy points (30.26) and an even bigger win for his team in their push for the playoffs and a Super Bowl title.
QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
With Tampa Bay jumping out to a 21-7 lead in the first half, Russell Wilson worked his magic to help rally the Seahawks to an overtime win. He finished with 399 combined yards with five TDs and a two-point conversion, ranking as the top QB of Week 9 heading into Monday Night Football. Wilson’s success was somewhat expected due to his matchup, along with a top-ranking for Tyler Lockett (13/152/2). The player that Fantasy owners should be the most impressed with is D.K. Metcalf, who consistently beat one-on-one coverage in the second half. Metcalf caught six of his nine targets for 123 yards with a TD and a two-point conversion. Metcalf is developing into a big-play/goal-line threat who will help push Wilson to the top of the QB rankings as the season moves on.
QB Brandon Allen, Denver Broncos
In 2016, the Jaguars added Brandon Allen to their franchise in the sixth round of the NFL Draft after success in his senior season at Arkansas (3,647 combined yards with 31 TDs and eight Ints). After kicking around the NFL for 3-plus years, he finally had a chance to see the field in Week 9 after an injury to Joe Flacco. While working as a game manager for Denver, he earned his first NFL win after tossing for 193 yards with two TDs helped by an impressive catch and run by Noah Fant (75 yards) for a TD. His window to start for the Broncos will only last until Drew Lock gets healthy.
HC Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns
Winning in the NFL starts with good coaching, followed by leadership and discipline. As Week 9 comes to a close, the Cleveland Browns fail to check the right boxes in each area despite upside-talent on their roster. The food stamps line for Freddie Kitchens is only eight weeks away as he’ll be fired unless he runs the table in 2019. I know it’s not his fault that Baker Mayfield turned into a bum at the quarterback position (245 passing yards per game with seven TDs and 12 interceptions) or that his defense can’t make a tackle on a short pass to a tight end, which turns into a long TD, but his team consistently makes mistakes in execution while taking way too many penalties.
WR DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
DeSean Jackson returned to the field this week while Fantasy owners hoped that he would spark their teams with some big plays in the passing game. For the fifth time in six weeks, Carson Wentz failed to shine at QB for the Eagles. His expected deep threat only saw the field for the first offensive series of the game, which gave Fantasy teams a glaring hole at WR (one catch for five yards on two targets). On the bright side, Philly suggested Jackson won’t be back for a couple of weeks. In essence, Jackson will go down as about a ten-week carry on rosters with no real sign of upside in the near future. Before launching him into the free-agent pool, the Eagles do have a pair of favorable matchups in Week 13 (@MIA) and Week 14 (NYG).
QB Sam Darnold, New York Jets
A few weeks ago, Sam Darnold returned from his four-week vacation due to a bout with mononucleosis. In his first game back on the field, he passed for 338 yards and two TDs vs. the Cowboys. His success helped fuel excitement back into the Jets’ franchise along with Fantasy touts predicting upside over the second half of the year due to New York’s favorable schedule. After two straight losses vs. the Patriots and the Jaguars, Darnold had a circle game on his schedule against the winless Dolphins. His day ended with another loss and only 16.1 Fantasy points in four-point TD leagues. Darnold disappointed owners who pivoted off of Kyler Murray or even Lamar Jackson. My highlight question of the week was the Fantasy owner who asked me about starting Darnold over Murray. I answered, “Murray.” He responded, “are you sure?”. Yes, I’m sure as Darnold hasn’t done anything to be considered a starting top-12 QB in any Fantasy market.