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Fantasy Football Booms, Busts - Derek Carr, DeVante Parker, Ryan Tannehill

The NFL trade deadline was a yawn. Let’s hope the rest of your fantasy football season isn’t.

Fantasy footballers have to contend with another four-team bye week that takes all of the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons out of play. But even with a slightly smaller player pool to choose from, there are plenty of under-the-radar booms and busts available to help and hurt fantasy players.

Here are my under-the-radar booms and busts for Week 9!  Good luck, RotoBallers!

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!


Week 9 Lineup Booms

Derek Carr (OAK, QB) vs. DET

You have to hand it to Jon Gruden. The guy is a quarterback whisperer and has done wonders with Carr this year. Carr has a 9-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio over Oakland’s past five games despite getting royally screwed by the whole Antonio Brown fiasco and having Tyrell Williams banged-up throughout the season. Now Carr gets to throw some missiles against Detroit’s 32nd-ranked pass defense which is fronted by a secondary ripped apart by the team’s own management. New York Giants rookie Daniel Jones had no trouble decimating the Lions corners and safeties in Week 8. Last week was Carr’s best game of 2019, but he might top it this week.

Allen Robinson (CHI, WR) at PHI

I think we know by now that Chicago quarterback/whipping boy Mitchell Trubisky is not going to be confused with Peyton Manning anytime soon, at least not this year. I still see Robinson overcoming his QB’s inefficiencies and posting prodigious numbers this weekend, though. While Philadelphia’s 21st-ranked pass defense looked better last week versus Buffalo, it was more because of Josh Allen’s inaccuracy than it was tighter play in the secondary. Robinson has not had fewer than seven targets in any game this year and has broken the 60-yard mark in all but one contest. He will be Trubisky’s top target and should have plenty of opportunities to shine again the Eagles’ ravaged and below-par defensive backfield.

Devante Parker (MIA, WR) vs. NYJ

As horrendous as the 0-8 Dolphins have been this season, one of the lone semi-bright spots has been Parker. Miami’s No. 1 WR has had 50-plus yards in four of his past five games and has scored a trio of touchdowns during that stretch. As long as Ryan Fitzpatrick is his quarterback, Parker is a playable fantasy commodity. The laughable Jets have the 24th-ranked pass defense, largely due to a non-existent pass rush (nine sacks, tied for second-lowest in NFL). That anemic pass rush got worse this week when defensive end Leonard Williams was traded to the New York Giants. Look for “FitzMagic” to get revenge against his former team and for Parker to be the biggest benefactor in the passing attack.

Greg Olsen (CAR, TE) vs. TEN

After a stunning three-game start that saw Olsen rack up 16 receptions for 221 yards and two touchdowns, the longtime veteran has struggled mightily with Kyle Allen as his QB. Olsen only has eight catches for 70 yards and zero scores over his last four games. So he is overdue for a solid fantasy outing against a middle-of-the-pack Tennessee pass defense (16th in the league) that allowed Atlanta’s Austin Hooper to pile up 130 yards and gave up touchdowns to Cleveland’s David Njoku and Jacksonville’s James O’ Shaughnessy in earlier road tilts this year. Look for Olsen to rebound this week and make his fantasy owners rethink dropping him for another tight end.


Week 9 Lineup Busts

Ryan Tannehill (TEN, QB) at CAR

Two starts, two wins, 505 passing yards, and five touchdown passes. That is what former fantasy football fall guy Tannehill has done the past couple of Sundays. While he may have conned some fantasy players into thinking a change of scenery has suddenly changed his fantasy value, the true test will be this Sunday. Carolina boasts the fifth-best pass defense in the league and is second in sacks. Both Houston’s Deshaun Watson and Los Angeles’ Jared Goff, two quarterbacks more capable than Tannehill, could not crack the 200-passing-yard mark against the stingy Panthers, and those guys have many more weapons than Tannehill. The Titans quarterback might end up with 150 yards and a pair of picks by game’s end.

Jimmy Graham (GB, TE) at LAC

Graham is not the playmaker he was during his glory days in New Orleans, nor is he the touchdown machine he was in Seattle, but he is still a serviceable fantasy tight end with Green Bay. Unfortunately he's running into a Chargers pass defense that has only allowed one tight end over its past five games to break the 40-yard barrier in a game. Graham has become a touchdown-dependent fantasy play because his battered legs betray him whenever he attempts to make a big play downfield (no 30-yard receptions in 2019). This is not the week to expect a score or a 40-yard game from him, however.

Royce Freeman (DEN, RB) vs. CLE

I understand that Cleveland has the NFL’s 29th-ranked run defense. Do you understand that it will not matter if they stack eight or nine defenders in the box when Denver cannot complete any passes due to the "injury" to Joe Flacco and the departure of Emmanuel Sanders? Not only does Freeman have to deal with the Browns keying on the run since new quarterback Brandon Allen has never played in an NFL game, but he also has to split the touches with firebrand Phillip Lindsay. I know Freeman has scored in back-to-back weeks and is much improved in the pass-catching department this season, but I would still stay away from him.

Darius Slayton (NYG, WR) vs. DAL (MON)

Slayton turned his two catches into two touchdowns this past weekend against the Detroit Lions. He has thrived in the No. 2 WR role since Sterling Shepard suffered his second concussion of the season. The issue for Slayton is that Dallas has covered their opponents’ No. 2 receivers this year as well as Jalen Ramsey covers No. 1 receivers.  The only touchdown the Cowboys have allowed to a team’s No. 2 WR was against Washington’s Paul Richardson in Week 2, and Richardson only scraped together 16 receiving yards in that contest. Slayton’s two touchdowns last week should also come with an asterisk considering he scored them against the worst pass defense in the league. There are other low-cost options at WR on waiver wires and in streaming situations I would take over the slick Slayton in Week 9. 

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