The Playbook: Your fantasy football guide for Thursday Night Football

  • Fantasy football, NFL analyst for ESPN.com
  • Member of Pro Football Writers of America
  • Founding director of Pro Football Focus Fantasy
  • 2013 FSTA award winner for most accurate preseason rankings

Welcome to the Week 9 Fantasy Football Playbook!

This will be your game-by-game guide to the week’s slate of NFL games, featuring score projections, over/unders, win probabilities and, of course, easily digestible fantasy advice for both season-long and DFS leagues. This guide should help you with all sorts of decision making, including sit/start decisions, last-minute waiver adds and lineup choices.

The advice is centered on 12-team PPR leagues with relatively standard scoring and lineup settings (1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 Flex, 1 K, 1 D/ST), although I’ll often mention “shallow” or “deep” leagues for borderline starters. The charts show all players who have been projected for at least 6.0 fantasy points this week, as well as all D/STs. “Matchup” is automatically determined using a proprietary metric that factors in both raw and volume-adjusted fantasy points allowed to each position by the opposing defense this season.

(Editor’s note: Sunday and Monday games will be added later in the week. Check back to see what Mike Clay has to say about all of your fantasy roster’s Week 9 chances for success. Projections and rankings will align almost perfectly, but sometimes when a projection is close, a player may be ranked slightly higher or lower due to other factors, including upside or risk. This column is subject to possible updates during the weekend, though at the very minimum, rankings will updated on the site and projections will always be updated inside the game leading up to kickoff.)

New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts

Lineup locks: Jonathan Taylor

  • Carson Wentz has put up 17-plus fantasy points in seven of his eight games, but doesn’t have a weekly finish better than ninth. A lack of yardage is the culprit, as he has 48 total rushing yards over his last five games and has been under 235 passing yards in four of those five contests. He’s a high-floor, low-ceiling QB2. Mike White is a feel-good story after lighting up the Bengals last week, but we can’t trust him as a starter just yet, especially considering he’s a non-factor with his legs and has as many interceptions as touchdowns (4) this season.

  • Michael Carter was Week 8’s top-scoring fantasy running back and has now handled nine-plus carries in six straight games, with 23 targets during his last two outings. He has a tough matchup this week as the Colts have allowed only three RB touchdowns and the third-fewest RB fantasy points this season. Still, his recent play and heavy volume keeps the rookie in the RB2 mix. Nyheim Hines has been under 7.0 fantasy points in five straight games and belongs on benches.

  • Michael Pittman Jr. has produced 20-plus fantasy points on four occasions this season and is coming off a career-high 15 targets and 10 catches in Week 8. The Jets’ pass defense has cooled against tougher competition in the last few weeks, so we don’t need to be overly concerned despite the “poor” matchup designation. Zach Pascal hasn’t scored a top-30 fantasy week since Week 1, but he’s on the deep-league flex radar with T.Y. Hilton out.

  • Corey Davis is doubtful to play this week, which opens up more work for Jamison Crowder and Elijah Moore in what is a good matchup against a Colts defense that has allowed the second-most WR fantasy points over expected (plus a league-high 13 scores). Crowder has seen six-plus targets in all four games this season and is on the WR3 radar. Moore, a rookie, has zero top-25 fantasy outings this season, but was targeted six times with Davis out last week and belongs on the flex radar.

  • Mo Alie-Cox didn’t catch a pass last week, but he matched his season-high with five targets after having averaged 12.0 fantasy points over the prior four games. He’s a TD-dependent TE2.

Over/Under: 46.6 (9th-highest in Week 9)
Win Prob: Colts 80% (3rd-highest)

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