Players to Avoid: Week 9

Daily fantasy football isn’t all about who you are going to use. Sometimes it’s just as important to determine who you aren’t going to use. That way, if the salary happens to fit for your last spot, you’ll know which names to disregard in order to produce the greatest overall fantasy point output. Here are the guys to cross off your list heading into the ninth week of the NFL season.

Tyrod Taylor, Bills, $10,000 – At minimum price, Tyrod Taylor feels like a must play…but he is not. Unfortunately for Taylor and the Bills defense, they will travel to Seattle to play in arguably the most difficult atmosphere for opposing offenses. While the impact of the crowd may be unquantifiable, the Seahawks having allowed the seventh fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs certainly is. Notably, QBs have only managed 60 yards rushing against the Seahawks in seven games or an average of just 8.57 per game. The Bills’ receiving core is so banged up that they reached out to Percy Harvin and basically begged him to return in order to fill a void for them. As if that were not enough, LeSean McCoy is no sure thing to suit up for Monday Night Football so the defense may not even need to worry about offensive balance and could be able to focus all of their attention on Taylor. If looking for a minimum priced QB, look at Sam Bradford or Trevor Siemian instead of Taylor in possibly the most daunting task of all (playing in Seattle with help from their “12th man”).

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, $12,000 – Is Melvin Gordon the most fraudulent top four fantasy scoring RB of all time? To this point, Gordon is only averaging an extremely mediocre 3.6 yards per carry (YPC) but he has been saved by the fact he has received a whopping 86.0-percent of his team’s red zone rushes. However, the Titans have only surrendered three rushing TDs to RBs so far this season to go along with the fifth fewest rushing yards (552) to the position. The Chargers are implied to score a healthy 25.8 points this week but it is doubtful Gordon reaches anywhere near the value necessary against a stout run defense unless he scores multiple rushing TDs (and clearly that is a difficult task against the Titans). If looking for serious upside in the pricing tier, look no further than Devontae Booker who thankfully is practicing from the start early this week and should play in Week 9.

Frank Gore, Colts, $8,800 – Sure Devonta Freeman finished with a solid 21.80 fantasy points against the Packers last week but his numbers were pretty mediocre other than the TDs. Even with his performance, the Packers still have allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to the RB position. Amazingly, Freeman’s two TDs now bring the Packers’ grand total of TDs allowed to RBs to three. Yes, Freeman scored two-thirds of the TDs the Packers have surrendered to this point and everyone is aware how great of a back Freeman is especially when Tevin Coleman is out. A 33-year old Frank Gore is nowhere near as explosive as Freeman and the Colts offensive line is mediocre at best (probably being generous). No team has allowed fewer YPC than the Packers (3.3) and even Freeman only managed 3.2 YPC in Week 8. Legitimately the only back to enjoy success against this team was Ezekiel Elliott who is an elite back running behind an elite offensive line. Gore and the Colts are neither of those so Gore should be expected to struggle…even in a game projected to be a shootout.

Odell Beckham Jr., Eagles, $16,600 – First of all, Odell Beckham Jr. says he only feels about “85-percent” but “10 times better” than he felt in Week 7 against the Rams…that is the first aspect of the bad news. Secondly, the Eagles have defended opposing number one WRs pretty admirably as they rank second in terms of Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) statistic against top wideouts. Additionally, they rank number one is passing defense overall according to DVOA and have allowed just the eighth fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs as a whole. Meanwhile, the Eagles rank 19th in DVOA to number two WRs so Sterling Shepard actually rates as the best play in the receiving core in terms of value-per-dollar. As icing on the cake, Manning has thrown more than one TD just once since Week 1 so it is not like this passing offense has been clicking on all cylinders anyways. Although his name jumps off the page as a must-play every week, this is a fine time to take the week off.

Amari Cooper, Raiders, $14,600 – Over the course of the last four weeks, Amari Cooper is fantasy’s WR1. That is not a typo; he has scored the most fantasy points during that span. Why then is he not worthy of starting this week? Well, the Broncos passing defenses is probably the best in the league and they rank first in terms of DVOA against opposing number one options. With cornerbacks like Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., the results are rather unsurprising. After missing last week’s game with a late week back tweak, Talib is expected to suit up in Week 9. Talib is a tall cornerback (6’1”) who should give Cooper fits as evident by Cooper’s four catches in two games against the Broncos last season on 12 targets. Sure Cooper has improved since that time but Talib shuts down just about everyone he lines up against these days. With a lot of folks falling for the recency bias, fade him like a true sharp player and pay up for one of the other receivers instead.

Jimmy Graham, Seahawks, $10,600 – The last time Russell Wilson threw a TD pass was Oct. 2; nearly a full month ago! Actually, Oct. 2 was the last time he scored a TD, period. Obviously, that makes it very difficult to rely on his pass-catchers when is struggling so mightily. To make things worse, the Bills have only allowed the ninth fewest fantasy points to the TE position and only one TD (and that was to Rob Gronkowski). Since eclipsing 100 yards receiving in back-to-back games in Weeks 3 and 4, Graham’s receiving yardage has slipped every single week all the way to 34 yards against the Saints (and no TDs during that stretch). Eventually Graham and the Seahawks passing offense will bounce back but this is not a great matchup for the TE specifically. If counting on the Seahawks to turn back the clock this week, simply leave Graham out of the stack.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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