If you can believe it, there are only five weeks of the fantasy regular season left. Reaching Week 9 highlights that just over 60% of the fantasy season and just under 50% of the NFL regular season is gone. After a wild week of unexpected (and botched) trades, the stretch run should be a fun ride.
As always, make sure you catch up on Evan Silva’s TNF Matchups and Rich Hribar’s Worksheet if you have pressing lineup decisions before tonight’s Bills-Jets game. In the meantime, let’s hit all of the pertinent news in Thursday’s Dose.
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Brock Osweiler is back! Hopefully bad B.O. doesn't strike again. The Broncos simply had to do something to move away from Trevor Siemian. Over his past five games, Siemian averaged a putrid 4.91 adjusted YPA (AY/A accounts for pass yards, TDs and INTs). For context, Siemian's recent AY/A over his past five contests (4.91) is somehow worse than Osweiler's 2016 figure in Houston (5.0).
The good news for fantasy owners is that we have a relatively recent sample of data to work with Osweiler in Denver from 2015. Osweiler attempted 275 passes with the Broncos in 2015 and targeted Demaryius Thomas on 30.5% of his throws when under center. Emmanuel Sanders -- who returned to practice on Wednesday -- saw a 23.2% target share with Osweiler in 2015. What's more, Demaryius Thomas averaged more PPR PPG with Osweiler at the helm in 2015 (16.2) than he has with Siemian in 2016-17 (13.4). Manny Sanders has more neutral splits with Osweiler (13.5 PPG in 2015) and Siemian (14.2 PPG) under center. No one is going to feel "safe" clicking on Thomas or Sanders' name into their lineups, but it literally can't get much worse than what Siemian was offering.
After missing 34 snaps in the 49ers' Week 8 loss to Philadelphia due to injury, Pierre Garcon (neck) did not practice on Wednesday. It's an unfortunate start to his week. The 49ers will have to go with a three-receiver set of Marquise Goodwin, Aldrick Robinson and Trent Taylor against Arizona if Garcon isn’t cleared to play. On a slate with six teams on bye, Arizona-San Francisco will be a difficult game to find fantasy friendly starts in if Garcon can't get right. A C.J. Beathard-Drew Stanton showdown just doesn't sound too enticing in general.
Rinse and repeat: Jordan Reed (hamstring) isn’t practicing. He will likely be ruled out early for Week 9 later this week. Some owners will see "at Seattle", then run and hide from Vernon Davis in place of Reed, but history shows that may be a mistake. With Jordan Reed out the lineup over the past two years, Vernon Davis has been a legitimate TE1 (top-12) in fantasy football. For context, Vernon Davis' stat lines when Jordan Reed misses time over the past two years are as follows: 2/50/1, 6/79, 5/47, 1/13 and 5/58/1. Davis' corresponding weekly fantasy finishes (PPR) in games without Reed shake out to be: TE4, TE10, TE15, TE45 and TE5. As for this week, opposing offenses are shying away from attacking the Seahawks' boundary cornerbacks as 25.3% of passes into Seattle's coverage have been directed at TEs, the sixth-highest rate in the league. Davis is well worth an add in Week 9, and for the future since Reed seems destined to miss more time.
After essentially missing a month, DeVante Parker (ankle) will return in Week 9 versus the Raiders. Parker played only three snaps in Week 5, but before that, he looked like he was on the precipice of a breakout season in Weeks 2-4. Parker saw eight or more targets in each of his first three games and hammered out usable stat-lines of 4/85, 8/76/1 and 6/69 in those affairs. With DeVante Parker out of the lineup (Weeks 5-8), Jarvis Landry has averaged 33% of team targets and 36% of team air yards. Landry's target share will remain high -- he's seen 10 or more targets in 6-of-7 games -- but his upside may be capped with Parker back. In fact with Parker on the field full-time in Weeks 2-4, Landry saw 31% of team targets but just 17% of the Dolphins' air yards. Nevertheless, Parker is returning to a pristine spot on SNF as Oakland is allowing the highest catch rate (67%) and fourth-most PPR points per target (1.82) to enemy wideouts. Getting Parker back is an obvious boost to the ‘Fins destitute offense.
Finally, we have some more good injury news: Leonard Fournette is returning in Week 9. After missing Week 7 (ankle) and getting a week off in Week 8, the Jags played Fournette’s situation perfectly. Hopefully, all of Fournette's foot/ankle issues behind him, as he's missed time during the 2016 college season with an ankle issue, he sprained his foot during the preseason in August and tweaked his ankle again in Week 6. He’ll obviously be on the high-end RB1 radar even though the Bengals are permitting the fifth-fewest rushing fantasy points per carry (0.43) to opposing RBs.
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TNF Quick Hits
As expected, Charles Clay (knee) is out for Week 9 against the Jets. … Bills CB EJ Gaines (hamstring) is out again for Week 9. ... Jets CB Morris Claiborne (foot) is questionable for Week 9 against the Bills. He didn’t practice all week. DL Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder/foot) is also questionable. … Jets slot CB Buster Skrine has cleared the concussion protocol and will play Week 9 against the Bills.
Offensive Quick Hits
Josh Gordon has been conditionally reinstated to the Browns. He’ll be eligible to return to practice on November 20th. … Devonta Freeman (neck/shoulder) was limited at Wednesday's practice. … Free agent QB Brian Hoyer signed with the Patriots on Wednesday. … Jamison Crowder (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday. … Adam Humphries (ribs) did not practice Wednesday. ... Joe Flacco (concussion) practiced on Wednesday. ... Mike Wallace (concussion) is practicing in full for Week 9 against the Titans. … Andre Ellington (quad) was limited at Wednesday's practice. … Corey Davis (hamstring) is practicing in full for Week 9. Meanwhile, veteran TE Delanie Walker DNP on Wednesday. … C.J. Prosise (ankle) returned to a limited practice on Wednesday.
Defensive Quick Hits
Browns DE Myles Garrett (concussion) participated in Tuesday's practice. … Colts CB Rashaan Melvin remains in the league's concussion protocol. … Chiefs OLB Dee Ford re-injured his back in the Week 8 win over the Broncos. … Eagles CB Patrick Robinson has cleared the concussion protocol. … Redskins S DeAngelo Hall (knee, PUP) confirmed he'll make his season debut Week 9 against the Seahawks. … Raiders CB David Amerson (foot, shoulder) returned to a limited practice on Wednesday.