Fantasy Football Buy/Sell/Hold Picks: Week 9 (2021)
Whether you’re buying or selling, here’s a list of players to consider making a move on before it’s too late.
Players to Buy
Justin Jefferson (WR – MIN)
It’s true that Jefferson laid an egg on Sunday night against Dallas, catching just two passes for 21 yards on four targets. The sophomore receiver is simply too talented to be held down for too long. Now is the time to invest if the Jefferson manager in your league is frustrated.
A.J. Brown (WR – TEN)
We don’t yet know what the Tennessee offense will look like without Derrick Henry, but the assumption of rational coaching would lead us to believe the team puts an even bigger emphasis on featuring A.J. Brown. The third-year wideout has at least a 30% target share in each of his past three games, which is a rate that should hold steady sans Henry.
D’Andre Swift (RB – DET)
When Jamaal Williams was announced as inactive 90 minutes before kickoff, many in the fantasy industry thought Swift was about to have his best day as a pro. Instead, it wound up being his worst of the season. One bad day aside, Swift’s role remains elite and his talent helps elevate the production of all the touches he receives. Continue to value him as a low-end RB1.
Elijah Mitchell (RB – SF)
It was another big performance for San Francisco’s “other” rookie RB in Week 8. Mitchell parlayed 18 carries into 137 yards and a touchdown against the Bears, going over the century mark for the second consecutive game. He wasn’t targeted in the passing game, which lowers his floor moving forward, but we also know that the 49ers want to run the ball early and often. Mitchell had five carries of 10+ yards on Sunday. He’s exactly who we thought Trey Sermon could be back in August.
Michael Carter (RB – NYJ)
It was another week of increased usage for the rookie running back. Carter received a whopping 14 targets on Sunday against the Bengals, catching nine passes for 95 yards. Carter also ran 15 times for 77 yards and a rushing touchdown. It was a monstrous performance that was helped by Mike White checking down to the rookie early and often. We know Carter is talented. He entered the weekend ranking 10th in PFF’s elusive rating. An increased role elevates him inside the top-24 among RBs rest-of-season.
Justin Fields (QB – CHI)
The rookie QB finally had his coming-out party from a fantasy perspective, and it’s fair to wonder whether or not the absence of Matt Nagy played a role in it. Note that Fields completed 4-of-4 passes for 40 yards and a score on designed rollouts (per Next Gen Stats), which seems like solid play design! That narrative aside, Fields’ rushing performance is what has us excited. The 22-year-old tied a season-high in carries (10) to run for 103 yards and a score. Through the air, Fields completed 19-of-27 passes for 175 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. It wasn’t a perfect game by any means, and the skill level of his supporting cast remains questionable at best, but it was at least a step in the right direction. Fields draws the Steelers next Sunday before the Bears have their bye week. He’s once again worth rostering based on the box score upside he displayed against the 49ers today.
Players to Sell
Chase Claypool (WR – PIT)
The 23-year-old is such an athletic player, but his skill set just doesn’t align with the style of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has become these days. Claypool still offers theoretical upside in the wake of JuJu Smith-Schuster‘s season-ending injury, but it’s tough to bet on this offense as a whole. Claypool has been held to six catches for 62 receiving yards over his past two games.
Antonio Gibson (RB – WAS)
Gibson is a weekly ‘sell’ candidate because there might still be a manager in your league who remembers his second-round ADP from August. Unfortunately, we’re a long ways away from those days. Gibson received fewer carries than rookie Jarret Patterson in Week 8 against the Broncos. He’s battling a shin injury. He isn’t playing on third downs or in the two-minute offense. This is a situation to unload on before things get any worse.
Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR – JAC)
The 23-year-old saw just four targets with the Jaguars coming out of their bye in Week 8 against the Seahawks. Since D.J. Chark (ankle) went down for the season, Shenault ranks fourth on the team in target share at 13.5%. The sophomore breakout doesn’t appear to be happening for him.
Myles Gaskin (RB – MIA)
We thought Gaskin could see increased usage with Malcolm Brown not playing, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, Miami’s coaching staff gave Patrick Laird 33% of long-down-and-distance snaps as well as 45% of the two-minute offense. Salvon Ahmed also remained involved. Gaskin is impossible to trust moving forward.
Player to Hold
Mike Evans (WR – TB)
As expected, Saints corner Marshon Lattimore gave Evans some fits in Week 8. Nonetheless, ‘Big Mike’ just missed hauling in a long touchdown reception. The Bucs have a bye this week before drawing the burnable Washington secondary in Week 10. Keep Evans rostered for that pristine matchup.
Kyle Pitts (TE – ATL)
Pitts had his “welcome to the NFL” moment in Week 8. Matched up against Stephon Gilmore of the Panthers, the rookie tight end was held to two receptions for 13 yards on six targets. It was a forgettable performance, but his utilization remained strong. There will be more big games ahead for this year’s No. 4 overall draft pick.
Jaylen Waddle (WR – MIA)
Waddle was quite inefficient in Week 8, being held to just 29 receiving yards on 12 target. It was a tough matchup against Buffalo and better days are ahead next Sunday against the Houston Texans. Again, the rookie saw a whopping 12 targets. Keep him rostered and start him in Week 9.
Emmanuel Sanders (WR – BUF)
Sanders didn’t log a single reception in Week 8 against Miami, but he remains an integral part of one of the pass-happiest teams in the NFL. Sunday’s letdown was due to the Dolphins basically giving Josh Allen any underneath routes he wanted, which led to a heavy dose of Cole Beasley and Zack Moss on check downs. Sanders will likely rebound in Week 9 against the lowly Jaguars.
Kenneth Gainwell (RB – PHI)
Philadelphia running backs scored four touchdowns in Week 8 against Detroit, but somehow Gainwell accounted for zero of them. The rookie RB was given just one touch in the game’s first three quarters. He then led the backfield with 12 touches in an uncompetitive fourth quarter. This was extremely odd, but perhaps Gainwell is just viewed as the pass-catching back and this game featured zero negative game script. At the very least it’s worth holding onto Gainwell for at least one more week. The Eagles are unlikely to be leading too often rest-of-season.
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