What can we expect in Week 9 in fantasy football from some of the game’s top-pass catchers? See how the latest trends with fantasy football targets are having an impact on your players.
Amari Cooper (DAL) vs. TEN – MON 5:15 PM PT
After being traded to Dallas for a first round pick, Amari Cooper instantly became the Cowboys No. 1 receiving option. The problem in this is understanding whether or not that actually equates to anything fantasy relevant. Here’s what we know. The Cowboys are committed to running the ball. Ezekiel Elliott is the base of their offense and is highly utilized both in the running and passing game. The Cowboys play at a slower than average pace compared to the average NFL team (largely due to their commitment to running the ball). Amari Cooper has been highly boom or bust throughout his fantasy career. He’s an elite athletic talent but has always failed to provide a consistent fantasy floor. Dak Prescott has thrown the ball an average of only 29 times per game this season. The Cowboys are not involved in a lot of high scoring affairs.
After considering many of those facts, it doesn’t seem likely that Cooper will have a large fantasy impact in Dallas. He might see a high consolidation of targets, among an extremely weak receiving core, but the quality of those targets are not going to be high very often. With the Cowboys failing to be involved in high game totals, Cooper’s scoring opportunities will be significantly limited. Add in the red zone prowess of Ezekiel Elliott, and you won’t find many scoring TDs for Cooper. While some may hold promise that Cooper could finally return to fantasy dominance, as once suggested in Oakland, Dak Prescott is unlikely to be his saving grace.
Golden Tate (PHI) – BYE
Pretty shockingly, Golden Tate was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles. While everyone’s eyes were on the Eagles backfield situation, projecting Le’Veon Bell or LeSean McCoy to join the team, the Eagles made a move to improve their receiving core. From an actual football perspective, I think this trade gives the Eagles another great tool for an extended playoff run. However, from a fantasy perspective, this doesn’t bode well for Tate’s value. With an already crowded target funnel in Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery, Tate looks to play as the third option for Carson Wentz. Under Stafford’s direction, Tate was averaging 9.9 targets per game this season. Without a strong scoring prowess, Tate’s fantasy relevance remained intact due to his large weekly volume. With that now out of the equation, Tate looks to regress towards a very modest weekly target total, which in turn should result in a very modest fantasy output. While Tate is a very talented football player, his declining target share will make him a very meager fantasy asset.
Courtland Sutton (DEN) vs. HOU – SUN 1:05 PM PT
Demaryius Thomas packed his bags for Houston. The clear cut winner of this trade is Courtland Sutton. Sutton has officially moved up to the No. 2 spot at WR on the Broncos depth chart. Previously, he was averaging 4.6 targets per game functioning as the Broncos third option. Now, with more breathing room and opportunity, Sutton’s target share is firmly in progression. While the Broncos-Texans game is only at a 46 point implied total, there’s plenty to work with on Sunday given Sutton’s expected increase in snaps. You can expect a breakout week for Sutton at some point in the last half of the season, but this week, look for a modest incline in targets as the Broncos aren’t in the best possible game environment.
Kenny Golladay (DET) at MIN – SUN 10:00 AM PT
Just as Kenny Golladay was starting to significantly cool down, the Lions traded Golden Tate to Philly for a third round pick. With no receiver coming back to Detroit in the process, Golladay is now arguably the #1 option for Matthew Stafford. After seeing 3 combined targets in his last two games, it’s most logical to assume that Golladay will double that total just in this week’s game. The Vikings-Lions game projects Detroit to play from behind. Divisional games are always fought at much higher intensities and I expect the Lions to play far more aggressive as a result and lean less on their running game. Expect a surge of targets for Golladay this Sunday. Everything sets up to create a great bounce back opportunity for him. His outlook from a season long perspective is also bolstered much higher with Tate (9.9 targets per game) now out of the equation.
Greg Olsen (CAR) vs. TB – SUN 10:00 AM PT
Greg Olsen has now played 98% of total snaps in his three weeks since returning. Clearly, the foot he re-fractured is stable enough to afford him the opportunity to wait on surgery till the off-season. With touchdown catches in each of his last two games, Olsen is back to being a primary threat for Cam Newton. This week, Olsen should see elite targets. Playing a TE against the Bucs has become a staple in consistent fantasy production. With the middle of the field being the Bucs greatest weakness, Olsen will hover over great possibilities. Given the Panthers implied 31 points scored in this game, you have to love Olsen’s chances of seeing a handful of red zone targets.