Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 9
Le’Veon Bell, Keenan Allen, Khiry Robinson, Ricardo Lockette, Reggie Bush and Steve Smith all suffered season-ending injuries last week. Matt Forte, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall and Geno Smith all look like they may miss time with less serious injuries.
The brutality of the game really took its toll last week. Working the waiver wire and squeezing in trades before the deadline is more important than ever.
WEEK 8 RECAP
Let’s take a look at a quick recap from Week 8.
I Knew It
Philip Rivers – QB – San Diego Chargers – 301 yds, 3 TD
He did not finish as the top QB but as the QB7 with 24 fantasy points. This was another solid day for Rivers.
Jonathan Stewart – RB – Carolina Panthers – 24 att, 82 yds, 1 TD, 1 fum
The fumble put a damper on Stewart’s overall score, but he saw the 20+ touch volume and scored again. Things are trending up for Stewart.
Carlos Hyde – Inactive
Hyde was going to be a risky start if he played. He did not play, and it appears he may be out again this week.
Texans’ Backfield – RB – Houston Texans – 22 att, 57 yds, 8 rec, 49 yds
Alfred Blue, Chris Polk, and Jonathan Grimes combined for the above numbers and scored 16 fantasy points as a unit. Blue was given the bulk of the load, but I am staying away from this backfield.
Amari Cooper – WR – Oakland Raiders – 5 rec, 46 yds
I expected a single-digit fantasy day from Cooper. He finished with nine points.
Davante Adams – WR – Green Bay Packers – 1 rec, 8 yds
He had little to no fantasy value last week.
I Blew It
Chris Johnson – RB – Arizona Cardinals – 30 att, 109 yds, 2 fum
Normally, over 100 yards rushing on 30 attempts is a solid day but two fumbles crushed his value all the way down to six fantasy points. I blew it for sure, but he blew it big time.
Rueben Randle – WR – New York Giants – 5 rec, 50 yds
Odell Beckham is apparently healthy enough to score three touchdowns, and it was Dwayne Harris who played the complimentary role with two of his own.
Tyler Lockett – WR – Seattle Seahawks – 3 rec, 36 yds
I was too bold in suggesting Lockett, who I labeled a “boom or bust” candidate.
Martellus Bennett – TE – Chicago Bears – 3 rec, 32 yds
Bennett only scores touchdowns in the beginning of the season.
WEEK 9 START/SIT SUGGESTIONS
Who’s Hot – Start
Fire Starter: Chris Ivory – New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
With both quarterbacks ailing and no one knowing who will be under center for the Jets as of right now, I love Chris Ivory more than ever this week. Since his Week 6 matchup, in which he ran for 146 yards and a score, Ivory has been trending downwards.
His opportunity to bounce back against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week is promising. They have allowed six touchdowns and two games of over 100 yards this season. The Jets will lean heavily on Ivory, who I project to hit the century mark and score this week.
Tyrod Taylor – QB – Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins
Taylor is finally 100% healthy. Though he will be without weapons Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin, he will have his other two weapons – which are his legs. He has 187 rushing yards this season and a rushing touchdown.
DeMarco Murray – RB – Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
Chip Kelly could feed Ryan Mathews and make me look like a fool for this call, but I am all in on the revenge game narrative. In his first contest against the Cowboys this season he had a paltry rushing stat line and was more of a weapon in the receiving game.
I think the Eagles will give him a chance to show the Cowboys what they are missing in him on their own turf this week. Over his past three games, Murray averaged 19 rushing attempts per game. He will be coming off the bye with fresh legs and will be ready to run over his former team.
Dez Bryant – WR – Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
It is crazy to even have to suggest Bryant but after taking two receptions for 12 yards in his return last week, you may be skeptical. Don’t be. Consider that a dress rehearsal for his performance this week.
The Eagles have been awful against receivers. Each week they allow well over 100 yards to receivers and have surrendered eight touchdowns through the air.
Matt Cassel limits Bryant’s ceiling, but he should be more of a factor this weekend. Look for him to throw up the X for the first time this season, maybe even twice.
Eric Decker – WR – New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Regardless of who will be under center, Decker still has great upside this weekend. Brandon Marshall is dealing with an ankle and toe injury. He will probably suit up and play, but a hobbled Marshall could mean even more targets for Decker.
He is arguably the top WR2 in fantasy football and will have WR1 upside this weekend. In typical Decker fashion, you can expect a touchdown out of him at the very least.
Ben Watson – TE – New Orleans Saints vs. Tennessee Titans
Over his past three games, Watson has 23 receptions, 333 yards and two scores. He could keep the ball rolling this week against the Titans, despite the less-than-desirable matchup. They have allowed just one 100-yard game and four scores to tight ends this season.
Drew Brees has found his groove with Watson, and he can easily hand the Titans one of their worst games against tight ends to date. Heath Miller is my top start at tight end this week, but you do not need me to tell you to play him against Oakland Raiders.
Who’s Not – Sit
Ice Cold: Randall Cobb – WR – Green Bay Packers @ Carolina Panthers
The Packers are coming off their first loss of the season and face another undefeated team this week. Cobb has not had a double-digit fantasy day since Week 3, and his dry spell will only get worse. Josh Norman came storming into relevancy this season and has been a legitimate shutdown corner.
He will have no problem keeping Cobb right where he has been over the past few weeks. If you were not already considering benching Cobb based off his performance, do it based off the matchup this week.
Andrew Luck – QB – Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos
Matchup aside, there is just too much going on in Indianapolis right now. Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has been relieved of his duties and replaced with Rob Chudzinski. It will likely take at least a week to implement his system.
Going against the top-rated Denver Broncos’ defense is not the right time to see if Andrew Luck gets it. There are still questions as to exactly what sort of health issues he is dealing with. It is hard to bench a player who was drafted early, but you need to this week.
Stefon Diggs – WR – Minnesota Vikings vs. St. Louis Rams
It hurts to even suggest benching Diggs. He has been a waiver wire gem over his past three games where he has either scored or gone over 100 yards in each. Mike Wallace has seen the rookie essentially take his job as the WR1.
Diggs may come back down to Earth this week. The Rams are a top-five unit against receivers and have allowed just three touchdowns to the position. Diggs will remain as Teddy Bridgewater’s top target this week, but the production will dip against this stout defense.
DeAngelo Williams – RB – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Oakland Raiders
You are jumping for joy if you landed Williams off waivers this week. Chances are your team is underperforming, you had the highest waiver priority, and Williams is now here to save your season. I suggest giving it a week.
The Oakland Raiders have not allowed a 100-yard rusher since Week 2 and have only allowed three rushing touchdowns this season. Williams was a beast in Bell’s absence and figures to be awesome going forward, but expectations should be tempered this week. You likely just acquired him and should have other options on your team.
Melvin Gordon – RB – San Diego Chargers vs. Chicago Bears
Gordon was given 18 touches last week which is the most of his rookie season. Branden Oliver is now on injured reserve. Those two things combined should mean Gordon is the guy, but the fact is he has not been very good with his touches and is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry. D
The volume is there for owners to want to play Gordon but the production is not. He belongs on your bench this week and is becoming nothing more than a matchup-based flex play.
Gary Barnidge – TE – Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals
For the record, I love Gary Barnidge. This has nothing to do with him and everything to do with Johnny Manziel. If Josh McCown were starting, I would be playing Barnidge in this Thursday night Ohio showdown, but he is not, and I am therefore benching him.
Manziel will have a brutal night, and Barnidge will be an unfortunate bystander. You may have no choice but to start this season’s TE2 but if you can plug in anyone else, you should consider doing so.
I do not have a crystal ball and can only rely on research and good old intuition. I may hit or miss on a few, but I’ll keep myself honest with a full disclosure section next week when I give you your “Who’s Hot” and “Who’s Not” for Week 10. Consider my recommendations here, but ultimately trust in yourself. Good luck!
Jen Ryan is a correspondent at FantasyPros, featured writer at Gridiron Experts and senior writer at Football Diehards. Click here for her archive and feel free to reach her and talk all things fantasy @FFdeJENerate.