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What to do with Kenyan Drake on in Week 9 fantasy football [UPDATE]

Coming over from Miami, Kenyan Drake should take control of the Cardinals’ backfield vs. the 49ers on Thursday. We break down his fantasy football outlook.

Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake runs with the ball against the Buffalo Bills during the third quarter at New Era Field. Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

David Johnson final game status

The Arizona Cardinals announced their Week 9 inactives, and as expected, running back David Johnson will be INACTIVE for Thursday Night Football. He joins Chase Edmonds sidelined for the game, leaving Kenyan Drake as the team’s best option. Zach Zenner and Alfred Morris can chip in, but it seems a strong bet that Drake will be the guy to watch in this game.

David Johnson injury status update 9:41 a.m.

David Johnson was announced on Wednesday as questionable for Thursday’s game, but he will not be playing, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Kenyan Drake will likely get the start. Zach Zenner and Alfred Morris will get some work as well, with head coach Kliff Kingsbury saying it would be a committee approach. However expect Drake to get the majority of the work on Thursday Night Football.

Kenyan Drake fantasy update

David Johnson was announced as a game-time decision, so he will be one to watch as the game arrives. He did not practice Monday or Tuesday, but did get a limited session in on Wednesday. The team will announce inactives at approximately 6:50 p.m. If Johnson plays, this becomes a dicey fantasy situation. The 49ers are a great defense, and with multiple options, you might be best suited avoiding it altogether.

The Dolphins finally set Kenyan Drake free. Free to run wild on another team without being held back by a tanking franchise. It’s a beautiful story really, especially when you look at how banged up Arizona’s backfield is. Well, in that case it isn’t really “beautiful” ... more ideal for fantasy football owners who picked up Drake or held onto him that entire time.

Anyway, let’s look at Drake has fared so far this season. Not well. He’s averaging 3.7 yards per carry and hasn’t gone over 44 yards in a game. Of course, this was with the Dolphins, but it’s still not encouraging. Where we can find solace is in how Drake was used in the passing game and how that should translate with Arizona’s air raid offense. Drake has 22 receptions on 33 targets for 174 yards this season, 7.9 yards per catch. Those are pretty strong numbers for a guy on a bad team. Really the things holding Drake back were the Dolphins as a whole and his touches. With Chase Edmonds sidelined and David Johnson a game-time decision, and the Cardinals seemingly a much better team than Miami, Drake should present some fantasy football value.

Fantasy Football Analysis, Arizona Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake

So the 49ers boast one of the strongest defensive units in football. Their secondary is tops in the league and their rush defense has been relatively good, allowing under 100 yards per game. San Fran is also giving up the second-fewest points (11) and generally don’t put the other team in good field position. All of these are negatives for Drake, but remember, it’s his backfield basically. If you think Alfred Morris and Zach Zenner are going to cut into Drake’s touches, then you’re crazy. Well, not crazy, but I’d imagine coach Kliff Kingsbury will get the ball in the hands of guys who can make plays, and Drake has the ability to break a play wide open.

Even if the 49ers go up big, I’d expect Drake to be in on most passing downs and should see plenty of targets, upping his floor in PPR. I mentioned in Kyler Murray’s write-up, the Thursday Night Football game usually favors the home team on a short week and with San Fran undefeated and staring down a crucial game vs. the Seahawks in Week 10, this has some “trap game” narrative to it. Usually I’d go about playing Drake with a “wait and see” approach, but I’m OK rolling out the shiny new toy on Thursday night despite the poor matchup.

Start/Sit Recommendation

Start in PPR.

“All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS contests.”