Fantasy Football Rankings Week 9: Sleepers, starts, sits — Marcus Mariota, Deon Jackson and more

We’re passing the halfway point of the fantasy football season. Yes, Week 9 fantasy football rankings are already here! As always, we’re going to have some fun with rankings this week — again thanks to a reader suggestion. And, again, as always, please read Fantasy Football 101 for advice on trading, lineup decisions, weather and more.

*** Oh! And, we might have found a solution to the rankings widget issue by using Fantasy Nation (via Football Diehards). All three scoring systems work and can be edited by me (unlike before), and the widget will let you scroll on Android without using two fingers! YAY! ***

Waivers | True SOS (APA — Matchup Ranks)
Fantasy Football 101 (starts, sits, trading, more)
All in Football (video pod)

2022 Week 9 Fantasy Football Sleepers

🚨 HEADS UP 🚨 These are sleepers. They will not mimic my rankings 100%. This is chasing upside and often carries more risk.


POSSIBLY START: Marcus Mariota, ATL — Don’t look now, but Mariota is a Top 10 quarterback. The past four games have seen Mariota average 46 rushing yards, which we know is a free passing touchdown… and Mariota has thrown at least one in each of those games (7 total). The Chargers’ pass defense is strong, but their run defense is quite weak, which should help Mariota reach the QB1 tier yet again, as long as he doesn’t crap it up.

HAIL MARY START: Andy Dalton, NO — Dalton’s past two games show the upside he brings, and a matchup against the porous Ravens pass defense helps him continue his success, though, they have turned the corner a bit since earlier this year. That’s why Dalton is still a risk, as his first three games shows his low-floor potential. Joe Burrow had just 217/1/1 against the Ravens, but Jacoby Brissett threw for 258 yards (no touchdowns) and Tom Brady used some late throws to reach 325/1 last week.


POSSIBLY START: Tyler Allgeier, ATL — Unless Cordarrelle Patterson returns, and then I would throw Patterson back in lineups. When the replacements are performing well — and they have been pretty good — the incumbent’s return when first available normally points to the team being ready to put them right back in (e.g., David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert earlier this year). If it were deeper into his return (not activated in his first game eligible to return) or the replacements were underwhelming, it would be a bit cloudier for usage… again, most of the time. Back to Allgeier and the point with Mariota, the Chargers haven’t done much to stop a run game since Week 1. Outside of the miserable Broncos offense, every other team had a lead running back score of at least 13.8 points, with the Texans and Browns having the second option score 12.4 and 13.2, respectively.

HAIL MARY START: Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott, PHI — Gainwell and Scott have seen limited action this year, but similar to James Cook, when the Eagles have a one-score lead or more, they get more work — almost double their normal work when the lead is at least six points. The Eagles are currently 13.5-point favorites, and that could rise given the Texans matchup. It’s a thin week with six teams on bye, making Scott and Gainwell worth a Hail Mary prayer. I lean Scott for goal line use but Gainwell has been more involved snap wise.


POSSIBLY START: Josh Palmer, LAC — I mentioned in waivers how Palmer is better suited for the Mike Williams role, and now is the time for Palmer to provide that Top 35 upside we wanted. The Falcons have given up nine double-digit wideout scores with five topping the 20-point mark and four of those in the past three games (Brandon Aiyuk, Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd and DJ Moore). Palmer and Keenan Allen can have big days and, given Allen’s injury uncertainty, Palmer has the potential for a big reward.

POSSIBLY START: Romeo Doubs, GB — This is a pure volume play, as Doubs had 24.1 TmTGT% in Week 8 with everyone hurt… or getting hurt. Even if Allen Lazard returns, Christian Watson and Sammy Watkins sound doubtful. On top of that, the Lions pass defense was solid early this year, but Jeff Okudah hasn’t knocked down any passes over the last three games, and the entire secondary has become more vulnerable. So whether Doubs sees some of Okudah or not, the Lions matchup is one of the better ones.

HAIL MARY START: Isaiah McKenzie, BUF — The Jets defense is rather good this year, thanks in part to Sauce Gardner, but the one area they’ve shown consistent vulnerability is in the slot. That’s likely due to many teams not looking Gardner’s way, and while I don’t think Josh Allen is afraid of Gardner, the ease in which slot receivers get open against the Jets makes them a great target — for quarterbacks and fantasy. I had concerns Khalil Shakir had the opportunity to pass McKenzie during the bye, but McKenzie saw more snaps and a higher route percentage, even with starters resting near the end.


HAIL MARY START: Isaiah Likely, BAL — Likely is a Hail Mary play if Mark Andrews is out, but I wanted him here because he’s worth the risk in a heavy bye week even with Andrews. Rashod Bateman is out for weeks, and Likely had 1.50 YPRR (Yards Per Route Run), just 0.19 behind Duvernay, even with limited use and targeting. I’m not putting too much weight into the Raiders going belly-up in Week 8 or that the Saints have barely allowed tight end points this year. They’ve only faced a few good ones, and the Ravens need Likely with or without Andrews.

Fun with Rankings! Best Nintendo 64 Games!

With the mention of GoldenEye in the Bond movies rankings, someone suggested ranking the best N64 games, and hey, you don’t have to ask me twice! Nintendo 64 is my wheelhouse, as I probably played about half their game catalog, going through at least a dozen controllers (man, that design and quality sucked!) but never feared the N64 breaking since you could throw it off the Empire State Building and still have it boot up immediately.

  1. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time — Generation-defining, life-defining, video-game defining, masterpiece of a game that ranks among the best… ever.
  2. Super Mario 64 — The best Mario game of all time. Like GoldenEye changing the multiplayer first-person shooter forever, Super Mario 64 changed 3D gaming forever, and not just platforming.
  3. Perfect Dark — Yes, it’s better than GoldenEye… and not just because there’s no Oddjob to cheat with… better AI, levels and more.
  4. Paper Mario — The most “fun” RPG of all time?
  5. WWE No Mercy — The best wrestling… maybe even “sports”… game of all time?
  6. Super Smash Bros. — The one that started it all and spawned several sequels (all better), but also numerous imitators that have barely come close to measuring up.
  7. Mario Kart 64 — Not the original but took things to the next level with tracks still used today and melodies you can’t forget. Oh, it was also the debut of the friend-ender! The Blue Shell!

  8. F-Zero 64 — Best in the series, I can still hear the Big Blue theme every time I think of this game.
  9. GoldenEye 007 — Yes, it is solely responsible for N64 system purchases, multiplayer LAN parties, and the genre booming itself, but again, Perfect Dark took it up a notch. And again, don’t be an Oddjob.
  10. Star Fox 64 — Do a barrel roll!
  11. Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask — I’m going to get hate for this one, but it’s just personal taste. The three-day “time limit” partly ruined it for me, as did the random new baddie. I like to explore — still proud of myself for figuring out how to get fire arrows in Ocarina — and I prefer Ganon-centric ones. Still a great game.
  12. Banjo-Kazooie — Similar to Perfect Dark, it took 3D platforming to another level with collectibles and more. Unlike Perfect Dark, it doesn’t top the originator because it’s not a-me, Mario!
  13. Conker’s Bad Fur Day — Still surprised Nintendo let this game happen, as the platformer saw censoring on the Xbox… think about that. Not as funny today (or if you’re 30+) but playing it in your teens was fun, and funny as hell.
  14. Star Wars Rogue Squadron — You can argue that it’s still one of the best Star Wars games and possibly still the best “shooter” of the series.
  15. Wave Race 64 — One of the system’s best, and most-fun games, still to this date. I’m not sure why more people don’t talk about it, and speaking of…
  16. 1080 Snowboarding — Man, did I spend a ton of time with this game. I’ve pined for the day of a return to Wave Race and 1080 Snowboarding. It was Tony Hawk for snowboarding.
  17. NFL Blitz 2000 — Ran tournaments on this. NBA Jam for football. Great hangout game just like No Mercy, Mario Kart, Mario Party and the next two. You know I always went for it too… #BanKickers! Plus, who didn’t love seeing how many late hits you could get in before the play-selection screen?

  18. Mario Tennis — Best tennis game ever.
  19. Mario Golf — Best golf game ever.
  20. Pokemon Stadium 2 — Hate on me all you like, but this is the only type of Pokemon game I got into. Picking your squad for battle, working your way up to the most formidable team. It filtered out all the Pokemon nonsense I wasn’t interested in.
  21. Mario Party 2 — Still the best in the ever-growing series.
  22. Resident Evil 2 — I’d argue it’s the best in the series, loved the re-release/remake, and like the next one, would push for the Top 10 if we were talking about it on Playstation.
  23. Turok 2: Seeds of Evil — Overlooked and underrated. Really fun FPS with cool levels and weapons. Gave some nice variety to the FPS genre.
  24. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 — Would rank higher on other systems (especially because they ruined the music choices on this version), but THPS2 made everyone love skateboarding for years. Rune Glifberg anyone?
  25. Diddy Kong Racing — Another in the Perfect Dark/Banjo-Kazooie — take the originator and include some cool additions — Diddy Kong Racing had other vehicles and some great levels. Still doesn’t come close to Mario Kart though.



  • Lamar Jackson, QB, BAL — Bye next week, might not have Mark Andrews this week, but the Ravens have one of the easiest back-half schedules with PIT, CLE, ATL, PIT to finish the year.
  • Ezekiel Elliott, RB, DAL — Yes, Tony Pollard is better at this point, but the Cowboys — aka, Jerry Jones — refuse to move on, and Elliott has Top 25 startability with his touchdown equity, plus they’re on a bye, which often reduces cost.
  • AJ Dillon, RB, GB — Not even usable, but if anything were to happen to Aaron Jones, Dillon would have RB1 upside, and managers are dropping him.
  • Courtland Sutton, WR, DEN — Speaking of dropping, managers are actively trying to drop Sutton, who I talked about in the Worry Report. It’s going to be inconsistent, but Jerry Jeudy had his own cold spell earlier this year, and again, the cost is nearly free.
  • Diontae Johnson, WR, PIT — Volume game with Chase Claypool now out of the equation too, and another one on bye.
  • Christian Kirk, WR, JAX — Kirk still had seven targets last week, and it was the worst passing game matchup you can find. He had back-to-back double-digit scores before this.
  • Dalton Schultz, TE, DAL — Back to Dallas, as the bye helps reduce cost, Schultz is back to playing well with Dak Prescott and finally being near 100%. Schultz has Top 5 potential.


  • Kyler Murray, QB, ARI — Late bye (13) and the Cardinals come out of it to face NE, DEN, TB and ATL. Sure, the Falcons are glorious, matchup-wise, but they also get LAR, SF and LAC from Weeks 10-12, and if DeAndre Hopkins were to get hurt… well, we’ve seen how much Murray turns into a pumpkin.
  • Ken Walker, RB, SEA — When you dig deeper, Walker has been stopped short and struggling to have solid runs on a high percentage of his play. In fact, Football Outsiders has him stuffed 26% of the time, behind only James Robinson (33%). If you watched the Giants game, you saw numerous rushes for minimal yards. Yes, I know part of his game is ripping off a big play, possibly thanks to a broken tackle, but 1) people are treating him like a locked-in Top 10 running back, 2) the schedule is one of the tougher for running backs ROS, and 3) the Seahawks could get Travis Homer more involved as he gets healthy and/or as Walker struggles between the tackles… at times. I’m not saying Walker isn’t Top 20. I’m saying if you can get Top 10 value, you’re maximizing your return.
  • Travis Etienne, RB, JAX — And with that in mind, some see Etienne as Top 5 and in the conversation with Austin Ekeler. That’s as good as you’ll get for Etienne. I’m a believer! He was one of my favorite breakouts, but as with Walker, this is about selling at peak value. Obviously, don’t trade either if you don’t get top return.
  • Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, NE — Damien Harris saw more work in his second game back, and while Stevenson had a big day again, the Patriots can lean more into the share as they did before Harris’ injury.
  • Terry McLaurin, WR, WSH — Love Taylor Heinicke lighting a spark for this team and awakening McLaurin. However, the schedule is hit-and-miss, and I don’t trust the Commanders not to turn back to Carson Wentz after a bad game for Heinicke.
  • Amari Cooper, WR, CLE — Strange split as Cooper dominates at home and stinks on the road. Coming off a big game, try to sell high (even though on a bye).
  • Kyle Pitts, TE, ATL — You watched him have a big game on your bench. There was a reason he was there. Don’t wait four more weeks for another good game while he ghosts you, as his name value could net you Top 5 tight end return.

Week 9 Fantasy Football Projections

🚨 HEADS UP 🚨 These can differ from my rankings, and my ranks are the order I’d start players outside of added context, such as, “Need highest upside, even if risky.” Also, based on 4-point TDs for QB, 6-point rest, and Half-PPR

Projections Download Link

***These are NOT updated Sunday morning, FYI***

Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings


  • We might have found a solution to the rankings widget issue by using Fantasy Nation (via Football Diehards). All three scorings work and can be edited by me (unlike before), and the widget will let you scroll on Android without using two fingers! YAY!
  • Updated regularly, so check all the way up to lineups locking.

Photo Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

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