FANTASY FOCUS – WEEK 9
Welcome backto Fantasy Focus. Week 8 was a close but successful week, as I managed to correctly predict the 3 from 3 results. Hopefully this strong mid-season form may continue and help you all elevate your teams in their playoff ambitions. Week 9 has a few more evenly matched games, but this should hopefully lead to some entertaining football.
Game 1: Miami Dolphins (6-2) @ Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) (SF – 14:30 GMT)
Miami and Kansas going into their week 9 matchup both with 6-2 records. They both will have aspirations to battle it out for the AFC no.1 seed going into the playoffs. This result will have huge implications on the seeding. Last week Miami avoided any slip ups as they comfortably negotiated the Patriots, whilst Kansas had one of the shock losses of the season going down to a well disciplined Denver Broncos. Mahomes had arguably his worst performance in the Chiefs jersey and I am sure the Chiefs will be desperate to bounce back immediately.
Can Cheetah get to 2000 yards?
84 targets, 61 receptions, 1,014 yards and 8 touchdowns. That is the season statline for Tyreek Hill for the season thus far, from 8 games. We have to bear in mind Waddle has carried a slight injury through the start of the season, but with Waddle fit, I think that will complement Hill. This game script screams high yardage and heavy offence from both teams, but I think that the Chiefs secondary has been very competitive this year. Nonetheless, I expect it to be a big Cheetah revenge game with 100+ yards and a touchdown. A Fantasy dream.
Mahomes Fantasy bounce back
Mahomes had one of his worst Fantasy performances last week. Even though he threw for 240 yards, he threw 2 picks, no touchdowns and was sacked 3 times for a rating of 59.2. The elite players in history are notorious for bouncing back, and not dwelling on a bad game. I think Mahomes will rise to this AFC battle and I think he will be very aware of the high scoring Miami offence. Mahomes will have to be at his best and take control of this game as it is the matchup between the highest total yardage offence vs the 4th highest in the league.
- Chiefs win by 5+ pts
- Hill 100+ yards & TD reception
- Mahomes throws for 300+ yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions
Game 2: Minnesota Vikings (4-4) @ Atlanta Falcons (4-4) (SNF – 18:00 GMT)
The Vikings are coming off a spirited win against NFC North rivals, Green Bay. Whilst the Falcons stuttered against Tennessee as they had made the big decision in changing QB’s mid-season and moving away from Ridder and turning to Heinicke. The Vikings have unfortunately lost their talisman, Kirk Cousins, who has been their engine to their passing machine. This is a huge blow for the Vikings, and Jaren Hall, an untested rookie, will start under centre this week.
The Vikings offence without Captain Kirk
Cousins injured his achilles last week, in what looks like a season ending injury. The Vikings subsequently named Jaren Hall starting QB and traded for Joshua Dobbs from the Cardinals to take the reins should it be necessary. Dobbs has also been a decent Fantasy option, in Kyler Murray’s absence in Arizona. With Justin Jefferson also still unavailable, the passing game will be funnelled through Addison and Hockenson, but with any untested QB the passing game might not sing. So I think if the Vikings are to stay in this game Akers and Mattison will need to truly carry the load. Last week Mattison carried 16 times for 31 yards and Akers 9 times for 19 yards and a TD. This efficiency will desperately need to improve but I would say Mattison is the play this week, but Akers taking red zone touches is worrying.
Is Heinicke an upgrade on Ridder
Ridder has had a really tough start to the 2023 season. The Falcons defence has helped them stay competitive and a favourable schedule. Arthur Smith the head coach is quite aware that this season turning sour could be the end of his tenure in Atlanta, and Heinicke is the answer going forward. Heinicke is a well travelled veteran who will thrive under pressure. He will improve the passing game of this offence which should help the likes of London and Pitts, but at the same time with a new QB the running game should too see an increase in volume shared between Bijan and Allgeier. I think the game script leans towards a low scoring cagey game, and I feel the playmakers in the Falcons and defence will have enough to get the result.
- Falcons win by less than 4pts
- Addison double digit targets, 70+ yards and TD
- Bijan Robins 100+ scrimmage yards, Pitts 70+ receiving yards
Game 3: Dallas Cowboys (5-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles (7-1)- (SNF – 21:25 GMT)
The pick of the games this week, is the Dallas Cowboys travelling to bitter NFC East rivals the Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams have had strong starts to the season and both heading into the mid season mark as playoff favourites and in the race for the no.1 seed. The result implications of this battle is huge for the landscape in the NFC. The Eagles will want to cement themselves as clear leaders in the NFC East and favourites for the no.1 seed.
Can Dak take it to the next level?
Dak had one of his better performances last week against the LA Rams. He threw for 300+ yards, 4 touchdowns and only 1 interception with a rating of 133.7. Dak has always divided opinion, as he was a later draft pick and developed well to take the reins of arguably the most difficult/expecting franchise in the NFL. Dak needs to start delivering big performances in big games, and this weekend is so important for the Cowboys. That Eagles rush defence is the best in the league, so Dak and Ceedee Lamb will need to further build on their performances from last week for our Fantasy squads.
Is AJ Brown the best receiver in the league?
AJ Brown currently sits as the number two wideout, according to PFF rating, (only just behind Tyreek Hill). But, Brown has developed his game year on year and I would argue is the best all round receiver in the league and Fantasy Football. He currently has 939 yards from 60 receptions and 5 touchdowns. I expect him to go past 1000 yards this weekend. The Eagles are the 3rd highest in total yards per game and 3rd highest in points per game (Cowboys 2nd). Hurts will have to produce a well balanced offensive game plan, as the game script for this matchup should see a high scoring game.
- Eagles control the game to win by 5+ pts
- Lamb back to back 100+ yards receiving
- AJ Brown 70+ yards, Swift 70+ yards and rushing TD