Week 9 Busts: Baltimore has historically been a thorn in the Patriots side, and we expect that trend to continue when Tom Brady marches into Charm City on Sunday.
In the Weekly Fantasy Unit, there are crimes committed that would shock and appall you: Negative points, underwhelming superstars and outright busts. These are the findings of one man on a mission to expose the NFL’s biggest perpetrators before they strike again. These are … the Fantasy Files
Welcome everyone to Week 9 of the 2019 NFL Season! We missed you all last week, but the brass up top forced us to take vacation time after working so hard these past few months.
The result? We’re more relaxed, more prepared, and locked in to bring you all the best possible intel we can on potential bust candidates around the league. With that said, let’s jump back into things and see who made this weeks lineup:
Week 9 Busts
QUARTERBACK: TOM BRADY (New England Patriots)
Behind the New England Patriots spotless (8-0) record lies a sobering reality that commentators and fans alike have yet to truly discuss.
At 42 years old Tom Brady doesn’t look all that great anymore. For both fantasy and real-life purposes Brady has been passable at best, with New England’s defense taking center stage and almost single-handedly winning them games against poor competition. The man many call the “GOAT” struggled mightily against the only Top 10 defense he faced this year (Buffalo in Week 4). He will be in a similarly tough spot in Week 9 against a red hot Ravens team coming off a victory in Seattle and two straight divisional wins.
Baltimore has historically been a thorn in the Patriots side, and we expect that trend to continue when Brady marches into Charm City on Sunday.
RUNNING BACK: DAVID MONTGOMERY (Chicago Bears)
The David Montgomery breakout game finally arrived in Week 8 and it was an event worthy of a parade.
Fantasy owners and Bears fans alike lit off fireworks, played music and partied into the wee hours of the morning to celebrate their preseason stud finally arriving. Now, those same people have to sober up to the reality that Montgomery cannot be trusted in Week 9. The Bears abused a porous Chargers defense in Week 8, but they won’t be so lucky against the Eagles and their top 5 run defense on Sunday. Philly has given up a single 100+ rusher on the year so far (Ezekiel Elliott) and has shown the ability to shut down some of the league’s best rushers (Aaron Jones/Devonta Freeman/Kerryon Johnson).
Regardless of how good Montgomery looked last week, the Bears backfield remains a confusing committee, and that outlook doesn’t bode well for his chances of repeat success this week. If you have to start a Bears running back in this one we recommend rolling out Tarik Cohen, Philly has shown a bit more of weakness against RBs through the air than on the ground.
WIDE RECEIVER: MARQUISE BROWN (Baltimore Ravens)
Hollywood Brown started his rookie campaign in the league about as hot as any player could. The speedster showed immediate chemistry with quarterback Lamar Jackson and shredded the much-maligned Miami Dolphins defense for (4 Rec/147 Yds/2 Tds). He was the top waiver-wire pickup across all fantasy formats, and Lamar Jackson was immediately propelled to elite quarterback status after one week.
This week they find themselves facing another AFC East team, but we believe the outcome will be much different. For one thing, Brown has been steadily on the decline since the first two weeks of the season. Of his (71) fantasy points on the year (46) of them came in just the first two contests. Since Week 2 Brown has struggled with a nagging ankle injury and has posted fantasy totals of (6/6/11 points).
It will be hard for most owners to shy away from the Ravens’ top pass-catcher if he plays Sunday, but a match-up with Stephon Gilmore should help them see reason. This game will more than likely be decided by the run games and defenses of these teams, so give Brown one more week of rest on your bench.
TIGHT END: ZACH ERTZ (Philadelphia Eagles)
We spoke of unpleasant realities earlier in this write-up when discussing Tom Brady. Unfortunately, we have to go down that road again to try to figure out what’s happened to Zach Ertz in Philadelphia.
Just one year removed from breaking Jason Witten’s single-season reception record for tight ends (116 catches), Ertz has become a ghost for both the Eagles offense and fantasy lineups. The consensus Top 3 TE has just one Touchdown through the first half of the 2019 season, and he hasn’t eclipsed 100 yards a single time (something he did 5 times in 2018).
The assumed regression for Ertz coming into this year was attributed to Philadelphia adding other offensive weapons, but he’s underperformed even without those players on the field. Worse yet, he seems to be losing meaningful red-zone work to fellow TE Dallas Goedert. Goedert has scored a touchdown in two games straight, and nearly matched Ertz’s target share over that span (9 for Goedert, 10 for Ertz). This week’s matchup with the Bears defense doesn’t afford much of a bounce-back opportunity for Ertz as both teams will likely be slugging things out in the trenches.
While you can’t sit him, we recommend trying to find Goedert on the waiver wire if he’s available. If he is, we would advise starting him over Ertz in a tough spot this week.
DEFENSE: LA CHARGERS D/ST
Death, taxes, and the LA Chargers underperforming. These are all constants in life. While last year’s Chargers team was able to overcome it’s injury woes through grit and opportunistic victories, the 2019 team has fallen to (2-5) while showing the effort of a team that’s given up.
The Chargers have lost 3 of their last 4 games, being outscored by a margin of (84-66). They’ve averaged a paltry 18 points per contest over that stretch, and have lost to Quarterbacks like Joe Flacco, Ryan Tannehill, and Devlin Hodges…yeah, Devlin Hodges. This week this unit gets to face Aaron Rodgers. Run, run far and run fast from this defense. They have no value for you in Week 9.
PRIMARY SUSPECT: ADRIAN PETERSON (Washington Redskins)
We never intend to harp on a legend of the sport like this, but given the results, Peterson produced in Week 8 we feel it’s necessary to calm the waters surrounding him.
AP returned to Minnesota in Week 8 to great fanfare and respect from Vikings fans, and he fed off of that energy to produce over 100 total yards of offense. This effort marked Petersons 2nd 100+ yard outing in his past three games (118 rush yards against MIA in Week 6), but it’s hardly been the norm for him. The future Hall of Famer has yet to reach the endzone in 2019, and his fantasy floor/ceiling are miles apart (high of 118 yards, low of 18 yards).
Peterson’s value is entirely based on his volume and yardage totals, both of which will be under assault in Buffalo on Sunday. The Bills are licking their wounds after being throttled by Philadelphia on the ground in Week 8 and will be determined to not allow that same result in Week 9. Look for Buffalo to reassert their defensive dominance at home and send the lowly Redskins one step closer to a top 3 draft selection on Sunday.