Josh Jordan

Fantasy football under-the-radar plays — Week 9

Fantasy football under-the-radar plays — Week 9
Expect Calvin Ridley to have a big game this week. Photo via Atlanta Falcons/Facebook

Week 9 is here and I’m back to give out more sleeper plays. My standard for a good fantasy game is around 100 total yards and/or a TD, and this is for PPR scoring. A game with a lot of catches helps too, obviously. Of course, the bar is a little lower for TEs. 

I went 8-4 last week, and you can check out that article here. Week 8 was pretty damn good, so I’m happy with those results. With the bye weeks upon us, I will continue to look for players that can help you, and are also widely available.

QB

Kirk Cousins (MIN): Cousins faces a Lions defense that is allowing over 25FPTS/G to QBs over the past month. They’ve also given up 10 passing TDs in that span.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (TB): This one is not as much about the matchup. I think Cam Newton has a big game, and Fitzpatrick will have to throw to keep up with the Panthers.

RB

Isaiah Crowell (NYJ): It’s hard to trust anybody on the Jets offense, but his matchup is spectacular. The Dolphins give up on average over 32FPTS/G to RBs over their last 5 games. He could have a big day.

Nick Chubb (CLE): He has a great opportunity facing the Chiefs run defense that is allowing almost 30FPTS/G to RBs in their last 5 games. He does come with some downside if this game gets out of hand and the Browns stop running the ball.

Adrian Peterson (WAS): He’s dealing with a shoulder injury, so keep an eye on that. If he’s able to go, you have to roll with him again in this favorable matchup against the Falcons. They’re giving up almost 30FPTS/G to the position over their last 4 games.

WR

Calvin Ridley (ATL): I’m back in the saddle backing Ridley. Josh Norman will have his hands full with Julio Jones, and Ridley should have a nice game. The Redskins are allowing an incredible 47 FPTS/G to WRs in the last 4.  

D.J. Moore (CAR): This is all about the matchup and I think Cam goes off here. Moore is starting to get going as of late, and I think this game could be a shootout.

DeVante Parker (MIA): Halloween may be over, but counting on Parker to come through is VERY scary. He looked great last week against Houston, and the matchup is terrific. The Jets allow over 46FPTS/G to WRs over the past month. If there was ever a time to play Parker, this has to be it.

Sammy Watkins (KC): Watkins has been playing really well lately, and I think Tyreek Hill gets the tough matchup against Browns CB Denzel Ward. Plus, Cleveland is giving up over 40FPTS/G to WRs over their last 4 games.

Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp (LAR): I think both these guys have a big game. Just make sure Kupp is active. He’s expected to come back from his knee injury and play this week. Cooks should have to deal with Saints star CB Marshon Lattimore, so I think these two go off.

TE

O.J. Howard (TB): The Panthers allow the most points to TEs over their last 4 games, so he’s worth starting for sure.

Greg Olsen (CAR): Olsen has a Top 10 matchup against the Bucs, so I’d fire him up.

 

That’s all I have for this week. For more fantasy info, make sure you check out my show Moneyline on ESPN 97.5 every Sunday from 10-noon. Jerry Bo and I will get you ready for kickoff and answer any questions you may have. Also, follow us on Twitter.

Good luck in Week 9!

@jordanpfx

@JerryBoKnowz

@Moneyline975

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The Astros have their work cut out for them. Composite Getty Image.

Through 20 games, the Houston Astros have managed just six wins and are in last place in the AL West.

Their pitching staff trails only Colorado with a 5.24 ERA and big-money new closer Josh Hader has given up the same number of earned runs in 10 games as he did in 61 last year.

Despite this, these veteran Astros, who have reached the AL Championship Series seven consecutive times, have no doubt they’ll turn things around.

“If there’s a team that can do it, it’s this team,” shortstop Jeremy Peña said.

First-year manager Joe Espada, who was hired in January to replace the retired Dusty Baker, discussed his team’s early struggles.

“It’s not ideal,” he said. “It’s not what we expected, to come out of the shoot playing this type of baseball. But you know what, this is where we’re at and we’ve got to pick it up and play better. That’s just the bottom line.”

Many of Houston’s problems have stemmed from a poor performance by a rotation that has been decimated by injuries. Ace Justin Verlander and fellow starter José Urquidy haven’t pitched this season because of injuries and lefty Framber Valdez made just two starts before landing on the injured list with a sore elbow.

Ronel Blanco, who threw a no-hitter in his season debut April 1, has pitched well and is 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts this season. Cristian Javier is also off to a good start, going 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA in four starts, but the team has won just two games not started by those two pitchers.

However, Espada wouldn’t blame the rotation for Houston’s current position.

“It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster how we've played overall,” he said. “One day we get good starting pitching, some days we don’t. The middle relief has been better and sometimes it hasn’t been. So, we’ve just got to put it all together and then play more as a team. And once we start doing that, we’ll be in good shape.”

The good news for the Astros is that Verlander will make his season debut Friday night when they open a series at Washington and Valdez should return soon after him.

“Framber and Justin have been a great part of our success in the last few years,” second baseman Jose Altuve said. “So, it’s always good to have those two guys back helping the team. We trust them and I think it’s going to be good.”

Hader signed a five-year, $95 million contract this offseason to give the Astros a shutdown 7-8-9 combination at the back end of their bullpen with Bryan Abreu and Ryan Pressly. But the five-time All-Star is off to a bumpy start.

He allowed four runs in the ninth inning of a 6-1 loss to the Braves on Monday night and has yielded eight earned runs this season after giving up the same number in 56 1/3 innings for San Diego last year.

He was much better Wednesday when he struck out the side in the ninth before the Astros fell to Atlanta in 10 innings for their third straight loss.

Houston’s offense, led by Altuve, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker, ranks third in the majors with a .268 batting average and is tied for third with 24 homers this season. But the Astros have struggled with runners in scoring position and often failed to get a big hit in close games.

While many of Houston’s hitters have thrived this season, one notable exception is first baseman José Abreu. The 37-year-old, who is in the second year of a three-year, $58.5 million contract, is hitting 0.78 with just one extra-base hit in 16 games, raising questions about why he remains in the lineup every day.

To make matters worse, his error on a routine ground ball in the eighth inning Wednesday helped the Braves tie the game before they won in extra innings.

Espada brushed off criticism of Abreu and said he knows the 2020 AL MVP can break out of his early slump.

“Because (of) history,” Espada said. “The back of his baseball card. He can do it.”

Though things haven’t gone well for the Astros so far, everyone insists there’s no panic in this team which won its second World Series in 2022.

Altuve added that he doesn’t have to say anything to his teammates during this tough time.

“I think they’ve played enough baseball to know how to control themselves and how to come back to the plan we have, which is winning games,” he said.

The clubhouse was quiet and somber Wednesday after the Astros suffered their third series sweep of the season and second at home. While not panicking about the slow start, this team, which has won at least 90 games in each of the last three seasons, is certainly not happy with its record.

“We need to do everything better,” third baseman Alex Bregman said. “I feel like we’re in a lot of games, but we just haven’t found a way to win them. And good teams find a way to win games. So we need to find a way to win games.”

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