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Fantasy football: Hardman among must-start wide receivers for Week 9

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Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (L) scored in each of his last two games. File Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (L) scored in each of his last two games. File Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Chris Godwin and Mecole Hardman are among my must-start wide receivers for Week 9 of the 2022 fantasy football season.

Each of my must-start pass catchers ranks inside the top 42 of my rankings, which means they should be in lineups for leagues with at least 14 teams that can start up to three wide receivers.

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Justin Jefferson is the top player in my overall Top 50 wide receiver rankings for Week 9. Davante Adams, Tee Higgins, Tyreek Hill and Cooper Kupp also are in my Top 5.

D.J. Moore, DeAndre Hopkins, Terry McLaurin, DK Metcalf and Amon-Ra St. Brown are among my Top 10 options and should be in every starting lineup.

CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, Amari Cooper, Brandon Aiyuk, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, George Pickens and Diontae Johnson are among the wide receivers who should be out of fantasy football lineups due to injuries and/or Week 9 byes for the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers.

Minnesota Vikings running back Justin Jefferson should provide elite fantasy football production in Week 9. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
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Justin Jefferson

Jefferson is arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL, but logged just two scores through his first seven games this season. He also failed to find the end zone in his last six appearances.

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Jefferson should never leave your lineup, despite his latest struggles. I expect an elite performance this week when the Minnesota Vikings face the Washington Commanders. The Commanders allow the ninth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. They also surrendered the fifth-most yards to the position through eight weeks.

Look for Jefferson, my top option, to detonate in Week 9. He should haul in at least 10 catches for 125 yards and two scores in a Vikings victory.

Washington Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17) totaled eight targets in each of his last two games. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI

Terry McLaurin

McLaurin logged a season-high 113 yards on six catches in Week 8. The Washington Commanders star scored his second touchdown of the season in Week 7. Look for McLaurin to turn in another successful fantasy football performance this week against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings allow the seventh-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. They also allow the fourth-most receiving yards per game to the position.

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I expect the Vikings and Commanders to both bring high-volume passing attacks into this meeting. Look for McLaurin to totaled at least 100 yards and a score. He is my No. 8 play for Week 9.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (R) is a fantasy football WR1 in Week 9. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI

Chris Godwin

Godwin is a borderline WR1 this week. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver averaged 10.4 targets per game over his last five appearances.

He did not find the end zone through his six appearances this season, but I expect that to chance when the Buccaneers host the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday in Tampa, Fla.

The Rams just allowed three passing touchdowns to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 8. Brandon Aiyuk totaled six catches for 81 yards and a score in that game.

Godwin is a near lock for at least 10 targets. Look for the Buccaneers veteran to turn those looks into at least eight catches for 90 yards. He could work his way into high-end WR1 territory if he finds the end zone.

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Chris Olave (L) is a great fantasy football WR2 going forward. File Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI
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Chris Olave

Olave is my No. 15 wide receiver for Week 9 and can be plugged in as a WR2. The New Orleans Saints will face the Baltimore Ravens on Monday in New Orleans.

The Ravens allow the fifth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. They also allow the third-most receiving yards per game to the position.

Olave totaled just five catches for 52 yards in Week 8, but should make his fantasy football stock owners much happier this week. Look for the rookie pass catcher to total at least 75 yards in this matchup. I also expect him to find the end zone.

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (R) can be used as a WR2 this week in fantasy football. File Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI

Mecole Hardman

Hardman is a touchdown-or-bust play, but I love his odds to score in Week 9, when the Kansas City Chiefs face the Tennessee Titans.

The Titans allow the fourth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Hardman scored in each of his last two games. Look for that trend to continue in this game, with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes throwing for at least three touchdowns.

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Hardman is my No. 20 option. He can be plugged in as a low-end WR2 or high-end WR3. He is a terrific option as a bye week replacement for your normal starter.

Week 9 fantasy football wide receiver rankings

1. Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings at WAS

2. Davante Adams, Las Vegas Raiders at JAX

3. Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals vs. CAR

4. Tyreek Hill, Miami Dolphins at CHI

5. Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams at TB

6. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers at CIN

7. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals vs. SEA

8. Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders vs. MIN

9. DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks at ARI

10. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions vs. GB

11. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. LAR

12. Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins at CHI

13. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. LAR

14. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals vs. CAR

15. Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints vs. BAL

16. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills at NYJ

17. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings at WAS

18. Michael Pittman Jr., Indianapolis Colts at NE

19. Garrett Wilson, New York Jets vs. BUF

20. Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs vs. TEN

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21. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks at ARI

22. Christian Kirk, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. LV

23. Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots vs. IND

24. Devin Duvernay, Baltimore Ravens at NO

25. Josh Palmer, Los Angeles Chargers at ATL

26. Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears vs. MIA

27. Romeo Doubs, Green Bay Packers at DET

28. Curtis Samuel, Washington Commanders vs. MIN

29. Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals vs. SEA

30. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kansas City Chiefs vs. TEN

31. DeAndre Carter, Los Angeles Chargers at ATL

32. Terrace Marshall Jr., Carolina Panthers at CIN

33. Drake London, Atlanta Falcons vs. LAC

34. Allen Robinson, Los Angeles Rams at TB

35. Gabriel Davis, Buffalo Bills at NYJ

36. Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts at NE

37. Tyron Thornton, New England Patriots vs. IND

38. Chase Claypool, Chicago Bears vs. MIA

39. Robert Woods, Tennessee Titans at KC

40. Marquise Goodwin, Seattle Seahawks at ARI

41. Zay Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. LV

42. Isaiah McKenzie, Buffalo Bills at NYJ

43. Dante Pettis, Chicago Bears vs. MIA

44. Mack Hollins, Las Vegas Raiders at JAX

45. Josh Reynolds, Detroit Lions vs. GB

46. Alec Pierce, Indianapolis Colts at NE

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47. Marvin Jones, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. LV

48. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kansas City Chiefs vs. TEN

49. K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings at WAS

50. Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints vs. BAL

This week in the National Football League

The San Francisco 49ers' Christian McCaffrey hauls in a nine-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., on Sunday. The 49ers defeated the Rams 31-14. McCaffrey became the first player since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2005 to throw for, run for and catch a touchdown in the same game. Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

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