Fantasy News for NFL Week 9
At the official midpoint of the NFL season, two contenders made trades to bolster their already tough defenses. Other moves – including one discussed below – will help franchises looking to earn a playoff spot this season as the NFL’s 2023 Trade Deadline has arrived.
With the season’s first head coach firing to boot, what news do fantasy owners need to know heading into Week 9? Find out in this week’s installment of NFL Fantasy News.
Minnesota Vikings Acquire QB Josh Dobbs
With Kirk Cousins out for the season, the Vikings swapped picks with Arizona to acquire veteran QB Josh Dobbs. Dobbs started every game for the Cardinals thus far, completing 62.8% of his passes with eight TDs and five INTs. The six-year veteran also rushed 47 times for 258 yards and three TDs this season.
Fantasy Impact: Although Minnesota is slated to start Jaren Hall, Dobbs will be expected to compete immediately and help Minnesota earn a playoff berth this season. Dobbs was the most competent QB available for Minnesota on short notice.
Cousins – a 12-year veteran – was having a stellar year without the Vikings’ most dynamic WR (Justin Jefferson) and credible run game at his disposal. Minnesota’s offensive talent is still an upgrade compared to the Cardinals, making Dobbs a sleeper pickup who is available in most fantasy leagues.
Las Vegas Raiders Fire HC Josh McDaniels, Tag LB Coach Antonio Pierce as Interim HC
The Raiders are on their eighth coach in nine seasons after firing Josh McDaniels as well as GM Dave Ziegler. Antonio Pierce – the former New York Giants LB – was elevated as the interim Head Coach. Pierce’s only previous experience as a HC was in the high school ranks.
Fantasy Impact: Pierce and new OC Bo Hardegree will have a limited time to retain their positions with the Raiders. Expect Hardegree – who was elevated from his QB coach position – to lean on the passing game. This will allow the Raiders to evaluate QB Jimmy Garoppolo and decide his fate before hiring a new coach.
Under McDaniel, the Las Vegas passing game did not materialize. The biggest loser from this through the midway point of the season has been WR Davante Adams as many pundits thought he was primed for a break-out season. Fantasy owners should bench Adams, Garoppolo, and RB Josh Jacobs until the Raiders offense shows signs of life.
Chicago Bears to Start QB Tyson Bagent
Bears QB Justin Fields remains inactive this week, earning rookie signal caller Tyson Bagent his third consecutive start. Bagent’s background is a well-chronicled tale as the former Division II Player of the Year continues to try and add to his Cinderella story.
Fantasy Impact: With Fields out, Chicago looked inept offensively Sunday against the Chargers. Yet Bagent isn’t afraid to run, scoring two TDs this season on the ground. With notable QBs missing due to Week 9 byes, Bagent is a sleeper pick for fantasy owners this week against a Saints defense that allows QBs yardage on the ground.
Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray Likely Eyeing Week 10 Return
After trading QB Josh Dobbs to Minnesota, the Cardinals committed to starting someone else under center for Week 9. Kyler Murray – who has been on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list for two weeks – has still not been elevated to active duty officially by Arizona. Cardinals HC Jonathan Gannon would not commit to Murray’s return for Sunday’s game against Cleveland.
Fantasy Impact: Fantasy owners should circle Friday to see if Murray is activated for Week 9. In the meantime, QB Jeff Driskel will be elevated from the practice squad to the 53-man roster as rookie Clayton Tune is the only active player at that position for Arizona. Either way, the Cardinals’ offense has been a mess as of late, so trust Murray in his first game – if that happens – if you must.