November 2, 2021

Buy or Sell: NFL Week 9 Fantasy Breakouts

Before rushing to the waiver wire for quarterback Mike White, take a deep breath and think about your options for Week 9 and the remainder of the season.

While White looked impressive against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, we know he's not the New York Jets' starter once rookie quarterback Zach Wilson returns from a knee injury.

This goes for every player. let's not rush to add the "hot player" from the previous week. This is how we lose games and with the fantasy playoffs approaching, you cannot afford to overreact.

Heading into the second-half of the 2021 campaign, fantasy managers should think about their long-term options. As for streamers, several players have better matchups than White, who will face the Indianapolis Colts' 13th-ranked pass defense on a short week.

Let's take an early look at potential breakout-pickups and fantasy tips for Week 9 as we gear up for a championship run.


Boston Scott, Running Back, Philadelphia Eagles

Who says the Philadelphia Eagles don't run the ball enough? They had the luxury of cruising to a 44-6 win over the Detroit Lions but built that lead with their ground attack.

Boston Scott and Jordan Howard scored four of the club's five touchdowns Sunday. Scott rushed for 60 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. He's a must-have player while Miles Sanders recovers from an ankle sprain. Howard, who ran for 57 yards and two scores on 12 carries, should also have some traction in leagues with bigger rosters.

Nevertheless, Scott scored the Eagles' first touchdown and broke away for the longest run among the running backs (19 yards). Rookie fifth-rounder Kenneth Gainwell led Philadelphia in rush attempts (13), but he only finished with 27 yards on the ground.

In Week 9, the Eagles will face the Los Angeles Chargers, who allowed the most rushing yards going into Sunday's games. Scott has a chance to post big numbers in a favorable matchup.

Van Jefferson, Wide Receiver, Los Angeles Rams

Wideout Van Jefferson saw a recent bump in his targets share with 13 over the past two weeks, converting those looks into seven receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown. In Week 7, he played a career-high 94 percent of the offensive snaps.

Jefferson should continue to see a steady flow of targets while on the field for a majority of the snaps through the remainder of the season. The Rams have permitted DeSean Jackson to seek a trade, so in one way or another, the club will likely part ways with the big-play wideout in the coming days. This will allow Jefferson to develop in a bigger role as part of the passing attack.

Averaging 16.3 yards per reception, Jefferson has boom-potential in a WR3 or flex spot. In Week 9, he'll face the Tennessee Titans, who allowed the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers going into Sunday's games.

Carson Wentz, Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts

Yes, Carson Wentz threw a pick-six within two yards of his team's end zone as opposed to taking a safety, which would've put his team in a tough spot, and an interception in the extra period. However, Wentz still threw for 231 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions with a below-average receiver room aside from wideout Michael Pittman Jr.

T.Y. Hilton exited Sunday's game with a concussion, so the Colts may make a move for a pass-catcher before the trade deadline. Even if they don't, Wentz has some good matchups coming up in the next few weeks. Wentz will go up against the Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 10), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 12), and the Houston Texans (Week 13). All three teams with pass defenses that ranked 20th or worse going into Week 8.

On a short week in a Thursday Night game, he'll play the New York Jets, who gave up three passing scores to the Cincinnati Bengals in a 34-31 win. As a fantasy manager, you're looking for high-end player production regardless of a team's wins and losses in the standings. Despite the Colts' 3-5 record, Wentz has posted solid fantasy lines in recent weeks and should continue to do so through early December. 


Carlos Hyde, Running Back, Jacksonville Jaguars

James Robinson injured his ankle early against the Seahawks, opening the door for Hyde to take over. The veteran back managed 51 total yards on 13 touches, and that type of workload can be expected next week against Buffalo.

Given the matchup, it's unlikely many fantasy owners will want to play Hyde, but starting running backs always have value, especially with four teams on the BYE this week. If Robinson has a multi-week injury, Hyde will have more value, though a matchup against the Colts in Week 10 is a tough one, too.

Mark Ingram, Running Back, New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints acquired Mark Ingram from the Houston Texans, reuniting him with running back Alvin Kamara and the team that drafted him. The tandem played together between the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and their synergy worked well in the backfield. In 2017, both tailbacks earned Pro Bowl nods.

At 31 years old, Ingram may have lost a step, but he'll likely take over early-down responsibilities. This would drop Kamara's rush attempts closer to his average (12-13 carries) between the 2018 and 2020 seasons. Ingram didn't have a big role in Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, logging just two catches for 25 yards in addition to six carries for 27 yards, but he should see more touches for a team that desperately needs offensive playmakers.

Remember, wideout Michael Thomas, who's yet to make his season debut, is on injured reserve and recovering from ankle surgery. Also, quarterback Jameis Winston suffered a knee injury and exited on a cart in the second quarter of Sunday's game. I see that as a limitation when projecting scoring opportunities for Ingram.

Photo: Getty Images