Fantasy Focus: Hot & Not Week 9
If you owned either a handcuff to a starting running back or a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense, you may have been quite happy with your return on investment this week. Meanwhile, the owners of some usual fantasy studs and early draft picks may have been disappointed with how things turned out. As always, let’s take a look at some of the best and worst performances in this week’s edition of Hot and Not.
Hot Fantasy Updates
Antonio Brown- WR- Pittsburgh- Talk about stuffing the box score! Brown proved why he was the first receiver taken in many fantasy drafts with his performance this week against the Raiders. Brown made sporting news by setting Steelers franchise records for both catches and yards in a game with his 17 catch, 284-yard performance. Quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger and Landry Jones combined to target him 23 times. Brown’s numbers could have been even more ridiculous had he not fumbled during Sunday’s contest. Brown’s numbers may come back to Earth with Ben Roethlisberger again out for a few weeks, but you can bank on Brown on a weekly basis.
DeAngelo Williams- RB- Pittsburgh- The race to claim Williams off the waiver wire was likely particularly frenetic this past week after the Steelers announced starter LeVeon Bell was out for the year with an ACL injury. Williams may have been owned in some deeper leagues, but regardless of how owners acquired him, Williams made them all happy Sunday with 170 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. Williams even added two catches for 55 yards and a two-point conversion. It may be a bit of a challenge for Williams to repeat those numbers next week against the Browns, but you can start him with confidence.
Karlos Williams- RB- Buffalo- Williams is normally just a handcuff to LeSean McCoy, but broke out today after McCoy went down with a shoulder injury. On only nine carries, Williams rushed for 110 yards and found the end zone twice. He was able to run over Miami’s mercurial defense, but expect his upside to be capped. Starter LeSean McCoy’s injury is reportedly minor and next week the Bills face the particularly stingy Jets defense. Hold onto McCoy as a handcuff, but keep him on the bench even if he’s starting unless you’re desperate.
James Starks- RB- Green Bay- Starks earned carries late in Sunday’s loss to the Panthers as the Packers looked to make up a big deficit. Although he had a pedestrian 39 yards on 10 carries, the usual backup to Eddie Lacy put up a solid PPR performance, catching six of eight targets for 83 yards and a receiving touchdown. Given Lacy’s recent stumbles (and fumbles), expect Starks’ role to increase. He may not be a starter next week, but he may earn the job eventually. Grab him now if you can.
Not Fantasy Updates
Eddie Lacy- RB- Green Bay- If a backup is shining, it usually doesn’t mean good things for the starter. Lacy’s miserable season continued Sunday, with the former fantasy stud rushing for only 10 yards on just five carries. To make things worse, Lacy fumbled in the second quarter and had only one more carry all game after that while also failing to haul in the one target he had in the passing game. You can still expect Lacy to be the starter next week, but he’ll be on a short leash. Perhaps intrepid owners should look to buy low on Lacy, but just know that with each passing week, the risk grows bigger.
Rob Gronkowski- TE- New England- Gronk is a fantasy news legend, but this week, he looked quite mortal against the Washington football team, hauling in only four passes for 47 yards. Gronk was efficient, since he caught all but one of his targets, but did not get too many opportunities to shine as Washington’s defense held him in check. Regardless, the Patriots offense is a juggernaut that is difficult for any team to stop, so expect Gronk to revert to fantasy dominance next week and beyond.
C.J. Anderson- RB- Denver- If you used your first round pick on Anderson, I’m so sorry. Sure, last week he had his first 100 yard rushing performance of the season and scored his first rushing TD, but this week it was back to normal. Anderson had only seven carries for 34 yards, while catching one pass for four yards. Anderson has been battling an ankle injury, but has continued to split carries with Ronnie Hillman. Neither back had a particularly good day, but Anderson continues to struggle. Even though the rest of the Broncos offense looks like it has been improving, don’t expect too much from Anderson next week vs. the Chiefs.
DeSean Jackson- WR- Washington- It’s been a rough season for Jackson’s owners, as the former star receiver returned from a hamstring injury that has kept him out all season. Owners who held onto him after picking him relatively early likely expect him to put up good numbers in Washington’s resurgent offense, but it was not to be on Sunday. Jackson only gained 15 yards while catching three of six targets. While Jackson may improve as his injury heals up and his conditioning improves, this week was quite rough for owners who plugged him right back into their lineups.