With the Oakland Raiders placing starting running back Marshawn Lynch on injured reserve, it’s resulted in a big opening on the offense. Although free-agent signing Doug Martin took the bulk of the groundwork in Week 8, talented pass-catcher Jalen Richard has carved out a big role of his own this season. Entering Week 9 and a matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, both players are intriguing fantasy football targets.
The tough decision may be whether Martin or Richard is the better option against a beatable 49ers defense. On the season, San Francisco has allowed 669 rushing yards on 168 attempts, 50 receptions for 387 yards and 10 total touchdowns. The 50 receptions bode incredibly well for Richard, who’s coming off back-to-back games with eight targets and 15 combined catches.
Let’s take a deeper look into Richard as a fantasy option in Week 9 and see where he could potentially be worth starting.
Should You Start or Sit Jalen Richard?
With a total of six teams on bye this week, Richard is going to find himself in starting consideration for a variety of fantasy leagues. Realistically, the best spot to target the Raiders back is going to be in point-per-reception leagues but based on his number of targets I’d consider him even outside of that.
Although Richard didn’t see a huge increase in snaps during Week 8 with Lynch sidelined, he was on the field for 22 snaps compared to 28 for Martin, per Football Outsiders. It also seems the 25-year-old doesn’t need the Raiders to be trailing in order for him to see a healthy workload. In the loss to the Colts, seven of Richard’s 10 touches came with the team either winning or tied and one other was when Oakland was behind by a touchdown in the first quarter.
Richard will unquestionably have a role and the 49ers defense is beatable. I’d play him in all 12-team leagues or larger with half point-per-reception/full PPR scoring. If you have no other options in non-PPR leagues, then Richard can be considered, but there’s very little upside in that format.