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Fantasy Friday: Matthew Stafford is not a fantasy starter this week

If you are starting anyone outside of Cooper Kupp and lose, then you have no one to blame but yourself. 

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 9, but they aren’t the NFC powerhouses they were expected to be. The last time these two teams saw each other it was the divisional round of last year’s playoffs. The Rams almost choked away the game but Cooper Kupp saved another. day.

Hopefully someone can save the L.A. Rams’ season.

Who will step up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? This is a projection of their Week 9 fantasy stat lines.

Running backs

Who is going to get the carries and touches for this team?

The Rams do not have a reliable running game right now: “We’ve got to figure out how to make it a better operation that you don’t feel like you’re wasting plays because in some instances, that’s what I feel like.” said Sean McVay on his “Coach McVay Show.”

If the coach is saying that he feels like some plays are being wasted, then it’s more than a feeling, it’s a reality. Don’t start a Rams running back until someone(s) proves they can be the guy and produce chunk gains. Go ahead and stash Kyren Williams, enjoy the Ronnie Rivers story, grab Cam Akers and hope he and the Rams can work it out, keep using Darrell Henderson, do any of those options sound good? It’s a dull running back situation for fantasy. It’s been equally dull to watch each Sunday. Hopefully the Rams can turn this around and give us someone to get excited about.

QB Matthew Stafford

Predicted Fantasy Position Ranking for Week 9: 22

Week 9 Stat Prediction: 250 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions

Why: Stafford had his second-best fantasy game of the season last week when he ran and threw for a score. The Rams didn’t earn any points after those two touchdowns. I don’t think we can rely on Stafford rushing touchdowns week in and week out, and so unless he is putting up yards and touchdowns, he is going to be tough to start. I’d start Justin Fields over Stafford right now because he’s the better fantasy quarterback right now. Look elsewhere this week (and maybe beyond) than Matthew for QB help.

WR Cooper Kupp

Predicted Fantasy Position Ranking for Week 9: 6

Week 9 Stat Prediction: nine catches for 90 yards and one touchdown.

Why: Hopefully he’s alright after reportedly rolling his ankle in the final and meaningless minutes of Week’s 8 debacle against the San Francisco 49ers. As long as Kupp is playing, you are starting him. Hopefully his injury does not get worse and or make him miss any time. There is no replacing Cooper Kupp in fantasy, and the Rams cannot afford him to miss significant time.

WR Allen Robinson

Predicted Fantasy Position Ranking for Week 9: 37

Week 9 Stat Prediction: Five receptions for 50 yards

Why: He’s had at least five catches and 50 yards in his last two starts. I expect that trend to somewhat continue (it could be three catches for 30 yards or six catches for 60 yards), but if you are starting Robinson in fantasy, you need him to score a touchdown. He doesn’t seem to have the big after the catch playmaking ability that he once showed in his career. He’s had three 1000+ yard receiving seasons, I thought this year was going to be his fourth, instead Robinson has only 224 receiving yards through seven games. You can start him, but I don’t see how you can feel good about it.

WR Van Jefferson

Predicted Fantasy Position Ranking for Week 9: 80

Week 9 Stat Prediction: one catch for 10 yards.

Van Jefferson wasn’t targeted once last game. You aren’t starting Van, or Ben Skowronek, or Brandon Powell. If any of those names have a big fantasy week, that is awesome! I am fine missing out on it because it’s not worth the risk of getting little to no points. As far as our Rams go, there are no wide receivers you HAVE to start this week other than Cooper Kupp.

Tyler Higbee

Predicted Fantasy Position Ranking for Week 9: 12

Week 9 Stat Prediction: Three catches for 20 yards

Why: Late in the game against the 49ers, he dropped what could’ve been a huge gain on a screen pass, and had he caught it, his stats may have looked much better. Regardless of the details, he has three catches for 22 receiving yards combined in his last two games. Picking a tight end in fantasy can be like closing your eyes and throwing a dart at the board, you could do better, you could do worse. I wouldn’t exactly start Higbee with confidence, but if he is all you have, it could be worse.

Opposing Fantasy Starts: Tom Brady, and many fantasy quarterbacks, are having down years. I could still see Brady shredding the Rams, he’s done it his whole career, but I don’t think he’s a lock start either (see comment about Justin Fields above). I think Mike Evans is matchup proof, he can be boom or bust because of sporadic touchdowns, relying on deep throws and sometimes getting hurt, but he can take a game over and you are starting him. Chris Godwin didn’t play in the playoffs last year due to a season ending knee injury, and I think he gets featured a bit in this one. Leonard Fournette should have a chance or two to score a rushing touchdown. Once again, the Rams are facing an offense with plenty of playmakers and whether he’s 45 or 25, one of (if not) the greatest quarterbacks of all time.