Deebo Samuel hopes to keep his monster year going vs. the Cardinals, Diontae Johnson aims to keep stacking up volume against the Bears, and Mike Williams prepares to face off against Darius Slay in Philadelphia.
Week 9 Receivers
WR Notes: Tyreek Hill is a solid 34/282/4 over his past four games, but it is on a wheezing 8.3 yards per catch and 1.63 yards per route run. That latter number is 42nd amongst receivers in that time. Injuries and two-high safety looks are making Hill a compiler. The Packers have been surrendering few big plays. … Ja’Marr Chase’s “down” Week 8 still featured his seventh touchdown. Only two teams have coughed up more aerial scores than Cleveland, though their rate stats admittedly hint at a better unit. … The only player with more receiving yards than Deebo Samuel is Cooper Kupp. Samuel has displayed stratospheric upside, bettering 150 yards three separate times. He has 13 catches for 271 yards and a touchdown in two games since the 49ers’ bye. He was held in check by the Cardinals in these teams’ first meeting four weeks ago, but that was one J.J. Watt ago. … I feel dirty ranking A.J. Brown this low. Consider it a Jalen Ramsey overreaction, but the Rams have the fifth lowest passer rating against and more interceptions (11) than touchdowns allowed (nine). All of this as Ryan Tannehill tries to adjust to life without Derrick Henry. This will be a true trial for the Titans’ offense.
Justin Jefferson was a painful Week 8 dud. We play another top-five hand against a pass-funnel Ravens defense permitting the most aerial yardage in the league. … Davante Adams comes off the COVID list just as his quarterback goes on it. Jordan Love is a complete unknown. What is known is that Adams is an easy targets receptacle for any signal caller. Even if it is of a lower quality, Adams’ road to volume remains. … Stefon Diggs has been something of a 2021 enigma in this deeper Bills offense, producing as merely the WR22 by average half PPR points. Permitting 8.9 yards per attempt, the Jags offer ceiling for days, though the Bills having another 14-plus point spread could make volume difficult to come by. Diggs received only seven looks in a similar Week 8 setup vs. the Dolphins. … CeeDee Lamb has finished below 60 yards one time in seven games and above 80 five times. He is eighth in yardage (609) even though the Cowboys have already had their bye. The Broncos do boast one of the league’s best pass defenses, but both the personnel and mindset figure to be different following Von Miller’s trade to the Rams.
Diontae Johnson bookended the Steelers’ JuJu Smith-Schuster-less bye week with a pair of 13-target performances. … With no T.Y. Hilton (concussion) against the Jets’ bottom-barrel defense, Michael Pittman will have the opportunity for both volume and big plays. The WR20 on the season, he is the WR14 over the past five weeks. … With Sammy Watkins (hamstring) remaining on the shelf, we get another punt on having to decode the Ravens’ post-Rashod Bateman receiver corps. After Bateman and Marquise Brown drew to a usage standstill in Week 6, Brown out-targeted his rookie teammate 14-6 heading into the Ravens’ bye week. The Vikings’ defense had done a good job of limiting big plays before getting touched up by Cooper Rush in Week 8. … Darius Slay has played one snap in the slot all year. That means he is much more likely to face off with Mike Williams than Keenan Allen. That is bad news for an outside wideout in Williams who has been held to 2/27 or worse in three of his past four contests. Allen has not exactly been running pure, though he has not caught fewer than six passes since Week 2, and even then it was five. … I genuinely do not want D.J. Moore this low, but it is nigh impossible to envisage the path to upside with Sam Darnold matching ye wits with Bill Belichick.
Both the health of DeAndre Hopkins (hamstring) and his quarterback Kyler Murray (ankle) are up in the air for Week 9. Hopkins played through a Week 8 aggravation, though it was against the doctor’s orders according to coach Kliff Kingsbury. If Hopkins is healthier, it’s for a plus matchup with a 49ers secondary he got for a season-best 6/87/1 four weeks ago. A.J. Green’s placement on the COVID-19 list would also lead to greater volume if Hopkins goes and Green sits. … Brandin Cooks stayed afloat without Tyrod Taylor but gets a nice boost with Taylor returning against the Dolphins’ bottom-two pass defense. Zero pass rush is leaving the Dolphins’ solid corners exposed. … Chase Claypool’s volume has remained disappointing even with JuJu Smith-Schuster on the shelf. My WR2 patience will be running thin if Week 9 is another 4/45 outing. … Both Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy were four-target duds in Jeudy’s Week 8 return. Sub-30 attempts simply will not be an option for Teddy Bridgewater as a 10-point road underdog against the Cowboys. … With Odell Beckham gone AWOL pouting following a stay-in-Cleveland trade deadline, Jarvis Landry is gearing up for a “one last job” season of empty PPR target stacking.
There is always something in the way for Kadarius Toney, but with Kenny Golladay (knee) and Sterling Shepard (quad) not practicing, his upside remains higher than his floor is low. … The Dolphins’ receiver corps was big enough for the two of Jaylen Waddle and DeVante Parker’s return, with each wideout garnering 11 looks vs. the Bills. That was in a blowout loss, while the Dolphins are nearly touchdown favorites against the Texans, but this remains a narrow offense, one without a run game foundation. … With no Corey Davis (hip), Jamison Crowder’s compiling path is wide open after he went 8-of-9 for 84 yards vs. the Bengals last Sunday. … I’m not sure how many more DeVonta Smith rug pulls I can endure. We know Jalen Hurts is going to have to open the Eagles’ pass offense back up vs. the Chargers, but no team is surrendering fewer receiver fantasy points than Brandon Staley’s Bolts, who are a truly awful matchup for Hurts. … With Henry Ruggs off the team, Hunter Renfrow has become one of the safer PPR floor bets in all of fantasy football. … Even in these excellent matchups, what are Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley’s true ceilings any given week? … Brandon Aiyuk’s usage is trending back the right direction. … Marquez Valdes-Scantling has lost his pop-a-shot WR4 appeal with Aaron Rodgers on the shelf.