Week 9 might just go down as the best weekend of football this year. Not only were there some amazing games, it was also daylight savings, meaning we all had an extra hour to sleep, enjoy the day and just get ready for football goodness. Can’t top that.
Last week also had some truly impressive performances by the big fantasy names—be it Michael Thomas’ 211 yard day or Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt’s three touchdown performances. It also saw big performances by players who are still available in a handful of leagues and could be big time help for the rest of the season.
Here are the players you should be instantly adding to your fantasy team (percent owned in Yahoo leagues).
RB Duke Johnson, Cleveland Browns (48% owned)
Welcome back to the land of the living Duke Johnson! If you were a faithful owner who kept Johnson through all the turmoil and started him knowing that Freddie Kitchens was going to unlock the power that was inside all along, then you deserve the almost 30 PPR points he gave you Sunday. After having no more than four receptions in a game, Johnson become the Browns’ number one receiver, catching nine balls on nine targets for 78 yards and two touchdowns. Up next for the Browns is the Falcons who are allowing the most receptions and fourth most yards to running backs. I’m predicting the future right now and telling you Duke Johnson will be one of my must starts this week.
RB Mike Davis, Seattle Seahawks (24% owned)
After a short stint of tranquility, the Seahawks’ backfield is back to chaos. Chris Carson started Sunday as the Hawks’ lead back but then was knocked out in the second quarter with a thigh injury. Davis stepped right in and filled the role perfectly, rushing 15 times for 62 yards and catching seven balls on eight targets for 45 yards. At least the Hawks’ backfield has been fairly productive with whomever’s back there so if that’s Davis going forward, he’s certainly worth the add.
RB Elijah McGuire, New York Jets (14% owned)
There wasn’t much to like about the Jets’ offensive performance Sunday against the Dolphins but I would consider McGuire a bright-ish spot. In his first game back, totaled 67 yards on 10 touches and was one of the only players who helped effectively move the ball for New York. While this is nothing to write home about, there is a clear cut role for McGuire rest of the season as Bilal Powell isn’t coming back and Isaiah Crowell isn’t going to be involved in the passing game. That leaves a good workload for McGuire to produce with.
RB Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions (9% owned)
It’s always a beautiful thing when you have a thought—a hunch if you will—and see it successfully play out. When the Lions traded away Golden Tate, I wrote that maybe this meant Theo Riddick, who’s always been more receiver than runner, would take on a greater pass catching role in the offense. DING! Riddick had no rushing attempts but had seven receptions, the most since Week 2. If he continues to more or less be the Lions’ slot receiver, he has a bunch of PPR value.
WR The Williams Bros, Los Angeles Chargers (45% owned)
I’m coping out here and instead of being a super helpful fantasy expert and telling you which Williams receiver you should add, I will instead just say that you should be watching both Tyrell Williams and Mike Williams. What I will give you is facts that you can use to make your choice off of. How’s that sound? Tyrell has more receiving yards than Mike but they both have the same number of touchdowns. Clearly Tyrell has a greater role than solely a red zone threat, though that is something Mike does very well. Basically, Mike is still TD dependent while Tyrell isn’t. But both should be valid FLEX options this week against the Raiders. Yea, those guys.
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers (38% owned)
As both a Patriots fan and someone who’s married to a Packers fan, I obviously watched Sunday night’s game and my biggest takeaway from it—other than my consistent regret I didn’t draft James White—was how much I did not like it when Aaron Rodgers threw the ball in MVS’s direction. No sir. The rookie had three catches for 101 yards on six targets and made big plays all over the field. With Geronimo Allison still out indefinitely, MVS is the number two receiver in this offense and has been ballin out. Get him while you still can.
WR Tre’Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints (28% owned)
I’m going to include Smith and Christian Kirk—spoiler alert for those who haven’t read ahead—on this list until their ownership rises above 50%. Smith has been just a deep play threat in New Orleans’ offense—which is still a fantasy viable role—but Sunday he caught a touchdown from four yards out, signaling the Saints might start trusting him to be an all around receiver rather than just a deep ball guy. Targets will always be hard to come by in an offense with Thomas and Kamara, but Smith still has FLEX value most every week in my opinion.
WR Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (25% owned)
While Smith is battling for targets, Kirk is diving head first into a pool filled with open, available targets. Kirk is second on the team in targets and receptions, but leads the Cardinals in receiving yards. He’s quickly building a strong rapport with fellow rookie Josh Rosen and it won’t be long until he becomes the Cardinals’ new WR1. He’s also likely to see a boat load of targets this week as the Cardinals will be throwing the ball every which way in a vain attempt to keep up with the Chiefs.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, New England Patriots (5% owned)
I’ll put a slight asterisk next to Patterson’s name as he’s more or less worthless as a wide receiver and playing him as one would just waste a spot for an actual productive receiver. However, as weird as it sounds, Patterson has become the Patriots’ big, goal line, bruising back. Yea. Crazy. Sunday night he had 11 carries for 61 yards and a touchdown which is a legit stat line for a kick returner/wide receiver who’s never really lined up in the backfield before. Obviously I’d expect his role to quickly diminish/become nonexistent the instant Sony Michel comes back but if Michel is out for another week.... who says no to a little more goal line back Cordarrelle Patterson?
TE Jeff Heuerman, Denver Broncos (1% owned)
Silly me thinking that Courtland Sutton would be the biggest benefactor of the Demaryius Thomas trade when it was so obvious that Jeff Heuerman was going to blow up and become a legit fantasy threat. Heuerman saw 11 targets, caughting 10 balls for 83 yards and a touchdown. Would I have loved if that statline had come from Sutton? Of course. Real estate prices on my Sutton Hill would’ve gone up making my possibly haunted house a sound investment. Anyways, Heuerman is even more valuable as the Broncos have the fourth easiest fantasy schedule for tight ends rest of the season.