Start Noah Fant, Emmanuel Sanders, DeVonta Smith In Fantasy For Week 9? More Players To ‘Play, Hold, Drop’

Start Noah Fant, Emmanuel Sanders, DeVonta Smith In Fantasy For Week 9? More Players To ‘Play, Hold, Drop’ article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured: Eagles WR DeVonta Smith, Bills WR Stefon Diggs, Broncos TE Noah Fant

  • Should you start Broncos TE Noah Fant? What about Bills WR Emmanuel Sanders or Eagles WR DeVonta Smith?
  • Our fantasy football analyst plays a round of "play, hold, drop" featuring players in question for Week 9.

A brand new segment on Thursday’s edition of the Fantasy Flex podcast featuring myself and my colleague Brandon Anderson is a fun game we’re calling, “Play, Hold, Drop.”  The rules are the same as a familiar game, FMK, which stands for — well, you know.

Each week, we will review three players at each position — quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end — one of whom we have to play, one we have to hold and one we have to drop.

Let’s dive into the Week 9 edition!


Fantasy QBs To Play, Hold, Drop

  • Kirk Cousins, Vikings (at Ravens)
  • Ryan Tannehill, Titans (at Rams)
  • Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins (vs. Texans)

Play: Kirk Cousins

Cousins takes on the Ravens, who are middle-of-the-road against fantasy quarterbacks but have allowed an NFL-high 296.1 passing yards per game. The Vikings have already had their bye week and Cousins should flirt with top 12 fantasy QB numbers each week. He’s a solid start in Week 9 and beyond.

Hold: Ryan Tannehill

Tannehill has the worst matchup of the trio, with a road date against the Rams, so I don’t love him this week. That said, I anticipate there being more throwing in his future with Derrick Henry likely out for the remainder of the regular season, so Tannehill is worth holding onto as a fringe QB1 in the right matchups.

Drop: Tua Tagovailoa 

Tagovailoa has the best matchup of the three against Houston, which is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. He’s also looked very good in two of three games since returning from injury and has only struggled against the Bills, whose pass defense is the best in the NFL.

That said, the Dolphins have by far the worst offense in this group. He could definitely finish top 12 this week, but he doesn’t have nearly the rest-of-season appeal as Cousins and Tannehill and would thus be my vote to drop.

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Joel Auerbach/Getty Images. Pictured: Tua Tagovailoa

Fantasy RBs To Play, Hold, Drop

  • D’Ernest Johnson, Browns (at Bengals)
  • Jeremy McNichols, Titans (at Rams)
  • Kenneth Gainwell, Eagles (vs. Chargers)

Play: Jeremy McNichols

I don’t know how this backfield is going to shake out without Derrick Henry, but head coach Mike Vrabel has indicated he wants it to be a committee. If I had to hazard a guess, I would assume Adrian Peterson is going to be the early-downs back while McNichols is the change-of-pace third-down back.

It’s a neutral matchup this week against the Rams and McNichols has more guaranteed opportunities than Johnson and Gainwell rest-of-season with Henry out.

Hold: D’Ernest Johnson

Johnson outscored Nick Chubb — who did not look 100% — last week, though Chubb out-touched Johnson 17-to-5  and out-snapped him 33-to-18.

Johnson’s value mostly depends on Chubb and Kareem Hunt being injured, but Johnson is a valuable insurance policy, especially if Chubb can’t get healthy. I’m not playing him this week against the Bengals (unless I have to), but I do want to hang onto him on my bench.

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Drop: Kenneth Gainwell

All the tea leaves indicated this past week would be a big game for Gainwell with Miles Sanders out with an ankle injury, until Eagles’ beat writers noted it was Boston Scott — not Gainwell — out on the field warming up with the starters during the pregame.

The final box score is deceiving because it looks like Gainwell, Scott and Jordan Howard were all featured equally, but Gainwell actually saw just one carry before the fourth quarter and the remainder of his work came on the final two drive once it was already a blowout.

This week’s matchup is super juicy against the Chargers, who are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs, but this is a stay-away for me.

Fool me once, shame on Nick Sirianni.



Fantasy WRs To Play, Hold, Drop

  • DeVonta Smith, Eagles (vs. Chargers)
  • Emmanuel Sanders, Bills (at Jaguars)
  • Jakobi Meyers, Patriots (at Panthers)

Play: Emmanuel Sanders

Sanders had a very off game in Week 8 and laid a goose egg against the Dolphins. He was targeted four times and caught zero passes in the contest while Cole Beasley popped off for 10 catches on 13 targets for 110 yards.

Beasley has been on the upswing, but Sanders has been a solid fantasy asset for four of the past five games. He’ll look to bounce back in a soft matchup against the Jaguars, who rank ninth-worst against fantasy receivers and should be an upside WR3/flex play.

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Joshua Bessex/Getty Images. Pictured: Bills WR Emmanuel Sanders, Dawson Knox

Hold: DeVonta Smith

I’m holding onto Smith.

He’s flashed moments of greatness in spite of shaky quarterback play, though is coming off of his worst game to date against the Lions. He reeled in 1-of-3 targets for 15 yards and finished as WR90 in half PPR.

You can’t play him this week against the Chargers, whose defense is allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to receivers this year, plus the question marks around Jalen Hurts right now. But I am still rostering Smith as a potentially high-upside guy down the road.

Drop: Jakobi Meyers

Meyers is getting a consistent stream of targets, but isn’t doing much with them. He’s the 12th-most targeted receiver in the NFL right now but ranks 36th in half PPR.

This week he has a difficult matchup against the Panthers, whose defense is allowing the second-fewest passing yards per game and ranks fifth-best in the NFL against fantasy receivers.

Meyers has no touchdown upside and is droppable in shallower leagues.


Fantasy TEs To Play, Hold, Drop

  • C.J. Uzomah, Bengals (vs. Browns)
  • Dan Arnold, Jaguars (vs. Bills)
  • Noah Fant, Broncos (at Cowboys)

Play: C.J. Uzomah

Uzomah disappointed managers last week just as I was finally buying into the hype — he finished with just four catches on four targets for 33 yards, his worst fantasy performance since Week 5. But prior to that, he had been on fire, scoring five touchdowns in four games.

Uzomah should remain an integral part of this offense, which is the best of this trio by far.  The Browns are average against fantasy tight ends and Uzomah is a fringe top 12 play this week.

Hold: Noah Fant

Fant has been a pretty big disappointment this year and tallied a season-low eight yards in a plush Week 8 matchup against Washington. He’s been battling injuries and isn’t playable right now, even against the Cowboys, who have struggled against the position.

I would hang onto him if I have the bench space, however. He has the talent and athleticism to offset certain obstacles such as poor quarterback play when healthy.

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Dustin Bradford/Getty Images. Pictured: Teddy Bridgewater, Noah Fant

The Broncos also have a soft schedule after their Week 11 bye: They face the Chargers, Chiefs, Lions, Bengals, Raiders, Chargers again and Chiefs again if you play into Week 18. He could be a valuable fantasy asset once again if he can get healthy after the bye.

Drop: Dan Arnold

Arnold popped off in Week 8 for a season-high eight catches on 10 targets for 68 yards, finishing as TE5 in half PPR for the week, but I suspect this was more of an anomaly than a sign of things to come since he had not eclipsed seven fantasy points in any game prior to this past week.

The Jaguars face the Bills, whose fearsome pass defense ranks eighth-best against fantasy tight ends and is allowing an NFL-low 182.4 passing yards per game. He is a serviceable streamer, but this Urban Meyer-led offense is too unpredictable for me to have any attachment to Arnold.

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