To review my bold predictions from week eight, click here: http://tdfantasynetwork.com/5-bold-fantasy-football-predictions-week-8/
I think we can all agree that last week was not an ideal week for most of fantasy owners, this excludes anyone with a Texan or Seahawk on their team. It wasn’t too exciting to watch any of the games on TV and the regular output was just not there. The running back position was headlined by Zeke, Shady, and Melvin Gordon but was followed by Jerick McKinnon, Lamar Miller, Isaiah Crowell, Alex Collins, Alvin Kamara, and Marlon Mack. Not the typical top-9 we are used to seeing, but, it just goes to show how important it is to take chances in fantasy football. You can also add in there: Juju Smith-Schuster, Paul Richardson, Robby Anderson, Mohammed Sanu, and Travis Benjamin making the top-ten for wide receivers. As we head into week nine, playoff brackets are starting to become more and more relevant and decisions are becoming more crucial than they have been. I’m not trying to toot my own horn but, in my week eight predictions, I had two out of five correct predictions (McCown, Watson) and I’m going to ride that momentum into this week with these bold predictions.
#1) Lamar Miller a top-five running back versus Indianapolis – It has taken a while for Lamar Miller to get going this season and it had frustrated many fantasy owners. There was speculation that it was only a matter of time before D’Onta Foreman would take his spot as the lead back in Houston but all of that can be put to rest, for now. Acquiring his second multi-touchdown game of the season on Sunday, Miller finally rushed the ball 20+ times for the first time this season against a sturdy Seattle defense and scored on the ground, as well as through the air. It should also be noted that the backup, Foreman, did not record a single touch in the shootout against Seattle. Miller, for the most part, has been underwhelming this season but has been given chance after chance to prove what he is capable of, with his starting job on the line week to week. Given the amount of volume he gets on a weekly basis (about 19.5 touches per game) and the salivating matchup this week against the porous Indianapolis Colts, Lamar Miller is fixing to be a top running back in week nine. He is a must-start.
#2) Cowboys run game held to under 80 total yards, zero touchdowns – It is hard to speculate day-to-day whether Ezekiel Elliott will play but regardless of the outcome of his suspension, I do not like the Cowboys run game this week. They face a Kansas City defense that has underperformed in the worst possible ways this season, although most of that could be pointed to injuries, in a wide-open AFC, Kansas City has a chance to prove that they can get back on track with their backs against the wall this week. In my opinion, Ezekiel Elliott has shown this year that he is not as invincible as he was last year, he still ranks as a top-five running back but I do think teams have somewhat figured out what can stop him on occasion. Elliott is averaging about 4.2 yards per carry this season which is slightly above average among qualified running backs this year, a bit worse than where he was at last season. This goes without saying that he might have to serve his first game of his suspension this week, and in that case, stay away from the Dallas backfield because even though Alfred Morris will likely see the most opportunities this week, McFadden will likely share some of the workload as well, diminishing value for both running backs.
#3) Cameron Brate, a top-three tight end at New Orleans – What a wonderful waiver wire pickup he has been for most us, and if he is still available in your league, pick him up immediately. In the past six weeks, Brate has not recorded a game with fewer than four receptions and turns those into quality yards and often, touchdowns. From week three to six, he had a touchdown in every game and in the past two games, faced two above average defenses and still put up decent numbers. Brate may finally find the end zone again as he faces a Saints defense that looks good on paper against opposing tight ends but, hasn’t faced a decent tight end since the first two weeks. In those first two weeks, Kyle Rudolph and Rob Gronkowski combined for 142 yards and two touchdowns. If not for his devastating knee injury, Zach Miller likely would have reeled in that catch in the end zone. With the way Brate has been playing this year, it’s up to you to see the positive matchup this week. He is a must-start this week as he will likely be one of the top performers at his position.
#4) Julio Jones bounces back, two touchdowns on top of 150+ yards – If you drafted Julio Jones in the first or second round this year, I apologize. I wrote an article earlier this year stating that Julio will likely not have a great season like he usually does. Through seven games, Jones has only recorded one touchdown and on a separate occasion, a 100-yard game. That will all change this coming Sunday. The Carolina defense has been streaky at best, one week holding Mike Evans to 60 yards and another, surrendering 87 yards and a score to Michael Thomas. Besides those two and Brandin Cooks, the Carolina defense hasn’t faced a top-tier wide receiver this season. Julio Jones despite his numbers this season, is still an elite receiver and even though the struggling reigning MVP Matt Ryan will be feeding him the ball, the upside for this game is very high. Sometimes you need to take chances on your struggling superstars because I know that some of you are desperate enough to trade him or even bench him for that matter. Just stick with him, and he’ll start performing in his usual ways.
#5) Derek Carr throws for 400+ yards for second time in three weeks on Sunday Night – It has been a roller coaster of a ride for Derek Carr this season and we fantasy owners thought that maybe his return from injury against the Chiefs was his way of solidifying his spot as still a top fantasy option at quarterback. That wasn’t the case last week against Buffalo, throwing for 313 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. This week he can get back on track against a Dolphins team that has fared well against opposing quarterbacks but has struggled to turn the ball over consistently. If Derek Carr is given the chance to not turn the ball over, it can open the doors for that offense to be as formidable as it was against Kansas City. Keep in mind, Miami can be stingy for opposing quarterbacks but letting up 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions can be the key to their downfall, especially with Carr who thrives off ball control and managing games. Bet on the Raiders passing game this week.