Under-the-Radar Booms/Busts: Week 9

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The fantasy football season is at the halfway mark. Mining for booms and busts is getting more important with each passing week.

Another half-dozen teams are on bye this week, including the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings and San Diego Chargers, four teams loaded with fantasy superstars. So figuring out the right booms and busts this week is paramount, especially the ones that fly under the radar.

Here are some under-the-radar booms and busts for the ninth week of NFL action to help you set a winning lineup. Good luck RotoBallers!

Editor's note: Purchase any NFL Lineup Optimizer pass (including daily DFS cheat sheets), and you also get access to NBA and NHL Optimizers and DFS cheat sheets.

 

Week 9 Under-the-Radar Booms

Sammy Watkins (WR, LAR) at NYG

The only thing Watkins has done right this year is not miss a game due to injury. Otherwise, he has done no fantasy favors for anyone with his 18 receptions for 264 yards and two touchdowns. Nobody thought Robert Woods would be the most valuable former Bills receiver on the Rams roster right now. Look for Watkins to have a chance to do something special this Sunday, however, since he will be “covered” by a 27th-ranked Giants pass defense that will be without top cornerback Janoris Jenkins due to a team-sanctioned suspension. Hopefully Watkins and quarterback Jared Goff got on the same page during the bye week, and Watkins will be primed to catch a couple passes deep downfield and make fantasy owners smile again. 

Joe Mixon (RB, CIN) at JAX

As much as the Jacksonville Jaguars love stopping the pass (1st in NFL), they are equally inept at stopping the run (last in NFL). So if there was ever a week for Mixon to raise his paltry 3.0 yards per carry average and keep his coaching staff off his back, it’s this week. Mixon is still getting more touches than Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard in the Bengals backfield, despite producing mediocre results, so look for him to make some waves on the ground this week when Jacksonville gives him running room because they are quadruple-covering A.J. Green.

Christian McCaffrey (RB, CAR) vs. ATL

I guess it was all Kelvin Benjamin’s fault that Carolina’s running game was not working well this season. That is how the Panthers painted it when they traded Benjamin at the deadline when they stated that this would open up running room for the backs because defenses could not stack the line. I do not know how Benjamin leaving will help McCaffrey break tackles and break long plays (he has done neither this season – 2.4 ypc and 7.7 ypr), but what it does is guarantee that McCaffrey will be targeted even more by Cam Newton in the passing game. That is perfect against an Atlanta defense that has allowed the second-most receptions by running backs in the league this year, and if Carolina proves the world right and the running game improves because Benjamin is no longer around, that bodes even better for McCaffrey.

 

Week 9 Under-the-Radar Busts

Nelson Agholor (WR, PHI) vs. DEN

The newly-dedicated Agholor is a late bloomer, waiting three years to make an impact after being drafted in the first round in 2015, but he has been a phenomenal steal for fantasy owners this season. His 395 receiving yards and five touchdown receptions have already blown away his previous career bests and he still has a half season to add onto his numbers. The problem this week is he is facing a Denver defense that is ranked third against the pass and is an ornery mood because their terrible offense puts them back on the field every four downs. Because Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery get most of QB Carson Wentz’s attention, Agholor only gets targeted five times per game. Agholor will not do much with only five targets against Denver’s defense.

Marshawn Lynch (RB, OAK) at MIA

Lynch should be refreshed after taking a week off due to his untimely suspension for shoving an official. Backups Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington did not do anything in his absence to prove either should steal his starting spot (47 yards combined against Buffalo), so Mr. Skittles should be the main man in Oakland’s backfield again this Sunday night. Miami is seventh in the NFL in run defense, though, and the only back who has rushed for more than 75 yards against them is Baltimore’s Alex Collins. Look for Oakland to go with a pass-first approach this weekend and for Lynch to only muster up 40-50 yards against Ndamukong Suh and Co. especially if Richard and Washington get a couple touches, too.

Jamison Crowder (WR, WAS) at SEA

I understand why you are thinking about using Crowder in your fantasy league or one-day contest. He finally had that breakout game (nine receptions for 123 yards last week) that we have been waiting for all season, and he will be route running against a Seattle secondary that just made DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller look like Jerry Rice and John Taylor. Do not be fooled, fantasy folks! Do not forget that Crowder had 149 yards in SIX GAMES leading into his award-worthy performance this past weekend, and that Seattle is still ranked a respectable 12th in pass defense despite its debacle against Houston. Complicating matters is that Crowder has a hamstring issue that has popped up, too. Another four-catch, 35-yard effort that disheartens fantasy owners seems likely from Crowder this week.

 

More Week 9 Lineup Prep