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9 Risky & Safe Starts: Week 9 (2023 Fantasy Football)

9 Risky & Safe Starts: Week 9 (2023 Fantasy Football)

After week eight’s lack of bye weeks, the byes are back on the agenda once again, making decision-making even more important as we approach the fantasy football playoffs. These are the risky and safe players you need to know about ahead of Week 9.

9 Risky & Safe Starts

Riskiest

Davante Adams (WR – LV) vs. Giants

Since Week 3, when Davante Adams scored 42.2 point per reception (PPR) points against the Steelers, Adams has finished as the WR19, 45, 69, 24 and 101, ranking as the WR55 in points per game in that spell. Adams’ 4.4 receptions per game over the last four weeks ranks 36th among wide receivers and is unsustainable for a player drafted in the top two rounds in August.

The Giants are a weak team but rank middle of the pack against wide receivers in most metrics partly because they suck the air out of games and create low-scoring affairs, and Adams has had enough of an uphill battle with his own offense in that regard. It’s a sad state of affairs, but your playoff hopes might rest on benching Adams.

Cole Kmet (TE – CHI) vs. Saints

Much like most of the tight end position, Cole Kmet is quite the up-and-down player, with four top ten performances this year, to go along with four outside the top twenty. Kmet set a season-high in receptions in Week 8 with 10 but now faces a Saints defense that allows the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to tight ends, along with allowing the second-lowest catch rate to the position.

Undrafted rookie, Tyson Bagent, looks set to start again, and the Saints’ defense might be a tough matchup for him, as they allow the second-lowest completion rate (57.5%) along with the second-lowest yards per attempt (5.9).

Daniel Jones (QB – NYG) vs. Raiders

The Giants lost Tyrod Taylor to injury against the Jets, but thankfully for them, it seems like Daniel Jones has recovered from his neck injury just in time to spare them from having to start Tommy DeVito for a full game after he finished with minus one passing yards against the Jets, after throwing the ball seven times.

The Raiders’ defense has been far better than their offense, which isn’t really saying a lot, and for fantasy, they’ve not been a good matchup for quarterbacks, allowing the 12th-fewest fantasy points to the position and ninth-fewest quarterback rushing yards. Maxx Crosby could be very bad news for Jones this week.

Elijah Moore (WR – CLE) vs. Cardinals

Despite playing every game and averaging 77% of snaps, Elijah Moore has yet to break the top 36 wide receivers in any week this far. Moore has only broken double-digit PPR points once this season in Week 3 when he saw 12 touches, which were good for a miserable 48 yards.

We’re a long way away from the offseason talk claiming Moore would be used all over the field and in the backfield, and Moore has totaled eight rush attempts for 2.2 yards so far. With Donovan Peoples-Jones now in Detroit, it might be tempting to think Moore could see a bigger role, but if you can wait on this one, it’s probably best.

Dameon Pierce (RB – HOU) vs. Buccanneers

If things had broken differently on Sunday, it’s entirely possible that Dameon Pierce could have scored two goal-line touchdowns, but unfortunately for him, neither touchdown materialized, and he’s currently the RB43, averaging a woeful 3.0 yards per carry.

The Buccanneers have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs and zero touchdowns to the position as well as only a single receiving touchdown. Simply put, this isn’t a good matchup for a player who looks to be playing himself out of a job.

Safest

Joe Burrow (QB – CIN) vs. Bills

After the Bengals’ bye week, Joe Burrow came out firing against the 49ers and finally looked like himself once again, as well as being able to put up 43 rushing yards, which was more than triple the 14 he had managed combined through the previous six games.

The Bills are a tough matchup, allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks, but when Burrow is dealing, there are very few defenses that can stop him, and right now, we simply have to be able to bet on the talented quarterback and his top-tier receivers.

Breece Hall (RB – NYJ) vs. LA Chargers

Against the Giants, Breece Hall turned a one-yard reception into a 50+ yard run and a touchdown, eluding multiple Giants defenders on his way into the end zone. Now, Hall gets a matchup against a Chargers defense that allows the second-most receiving yards per game to opposing running backs.

Hall has been a top-six running back in three consecutive games and boasts a 36% targets per route run rate. The ceiling might be lowered when Zach Wilson takes the field, but this is a perfect matchup for Hall, and don’t be surprised if he breaks another long touchdown run this week.

Dalton Kincaid (TE – BUF) vs. Bengals

It was a slow start to the season for Dalton Kincaid, who not too long ago was being talked up as the next Travis Kelce. While battling with Dawson Knox for targets, Kincaid was averaging an 11.8% target share, but now that Knox is injured, Kincaid has seen that jump to 19.2% with 15 targets in two games where he’s finished as a top seven option in both weeks.

The Bengals allow the second-most fantasy points to tight ends, along with the second-highest catch rate and the second-highest touchdown rate to the position. It might not always be this easy to start Kincaid if Knox returns, but for now, it’s wheels up.

Alvin Kamara (RB – NO) vs. Bears

You probably don’t need to be told that it’s a good idea to start players against this Bears defense, but we are, after all, talking safest plays in this part of the column, and this week looks particularly good for Alvin Kamara. The Bears allow the most receiving yards per game to running backs, which is an area the Saints are heavily leaning on Kamara for, with an average of 8.8 targets per game in his last five games.

Kamara is averaging 64 rushing yards per game and 45.6 receiving yards, finishing inside the top 12 running backs every week and inside the top five for the last two weeks. This week could be a very good week for Kamara.

 

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