Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 9
We’re back for another round of start/sit as we head into Week 9. Once again, we’re dealing with a smaller slate of games, as six teams have their bye week. With fewer players to choose from, I’ll again choose one player from each position, as opposed to the usual two, to deem a start or a sit this week.
As always, the definition of a “start” or a “sit” in this article is simply a borderline guy that I am higher or lower on than the expert consensus rankings. I’ll also add a few other names that meet that criterion. (Note: if you want to see my rankings for the week, I always tweet them out by Thursday morning at @danharris80. They will show you exactly how many spots higher or lower I am than the ECR.)
Ready? Let’s get to it.
Kirk Cousins (WAS at SEA): ECR of 14
As you’ll see, there’s not a whole lot of disagreement in the quarterback community right now, so I’m not saying that Cousins is a top-10 quarterback. But he makes my QB1 cutoff this week, and that’s enough to call him a start in light of his ECR. There are a lot of negatives for this game – the Redskins offensive line is incredibly banged up, Cousins will likely be without Jordan Reed, and it’s a tough matchup against an excellent Seahawks pass defense in Seattle. But the bottom line is that there are few options around the top 12 quarterbacks in ECR about which I feel good, which includes Marcus Mariota at Baltimore and Matt Ryan (more on him shortly) at Carolina. Prior to last week, Cousins had accounted for multiple touchdowns in four straight games, and three touchdowns in three of the previous four games. No, I’m not expecting a monster game. But I’d start him as a QB1 here.
Matt Ryan (ATL at CAR): ECR of 11
Again, I’m not all that much lower on Ryan than the consensus rankings, but I have him just outside of QB1 range. Ryan played well against the Jets despite rough conditions, but the Panthers are a tough matchup. They allow the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and Ryan has thrown multiple touchdown passes in just five of seven games this season. Ryan doesn’t have a great history against the Panthers in Carolina either, with just six touchdowns and five interceptions in his last five trips there. Ryan is a borderline start here, but he falls outside the top-12 for me.
Kenyan Drake (MIA v. OAK): ECR of 31
I imagine that ECR will improve as the week goes on, as some experts likely submitted their initial rankings before the Jay Ajayi trade. But there’s also a lot of uncertainty coming out from Adam Gase about this situation. Personally, I’m expecting Drake to handle the bulk of the carries, with Damien Williams chipping in on passing downs. Don’t forget – Drake is the guy that Gase and his team drafted. I have little doubt they want to see him succeed with the job. The Raiders are very beatable on the ground, allowing 4.25 yards per carry. Once at the goal line, I can’t imagine that Gase allows Jay Cutler to throw the ball, and I’d bet that Drake gets all of the carries down at that end. Yes, it’s risky. But I’m starting him nearly everywhere I own him.
C.J. Anderson (DEN at PHI): ECR of 18
Anderson ran incredibly well against the Chiefs on Monday night, gaining 78 yards on 15 carries. But the bottom line is that the Broncos are just not committed to getting him carries, as both Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker saw work. And it’s clear they view Booker as their goal line back, so touchdown opportunities will be limited. That’s to say nothing of the fact that the Broncos will travel to the East Coast on a short week to take on a Philadelphia defense that allows the fewest rushing yards and sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. I’m not running away from Anderson entirely, but he’s only a borderline RB2 for me here.
Tyler Lockett (SEA v. WAS): ECR of 34
Lockett is seeing consistent targets now that he’s back to full health, and the lack of a running game has been a boon to all Seattle wide receivers. The Redskins are very tough on opposing wideouts, allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points to the position. But that’s largely been on the strength of Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland, both of whom are having excellent seasons (when healthy). Lockett, however, plays about half the time in the slot and should avoid both cornerbacks for most of the game. Against Kendall Fuller, Lockett should be able to find success, and his big-play ability makes for some intriguing potential this weekend.
Davante Adams (GB v. DET): ECR of 29
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what makes the fantasy community feel good about starting Adams as a solid WR3 this week. Sure, Darius Slay has largely shadowed Jordy Nelson when the Lions have faced the Packers in recent meetings, and Adams has seen Nevin Lawson, against whom he has had success. But Brett Hundley threw for 87 yards against the Saints. Eighty. Seven. Yards. Hundley isn’t a rookie – he’s been in the Packers system for years – so I’m not sure how much the bye week will help him become competent. There’s an argument for hope for the wide receivers – Hundley has looked great throughout his career in preseason work, so he may have just had nerves against an underrated Saints defense. But until I see it, there’s just no way I’d start Adams unless my hand was forced.
I could make up some names, but other than guys outside the top-20, I’m not higher or lower on any tight end by more than two spots. With so few options, there’s just not much to disagree about. But some names I’m slightly higher on than ECR include Ed Dickson (CAR v. ATL), Ryan Griffin (HOU v. IND) and Nick O’Leary (BUF at NYJ), and some I’m slightly lower on include Austin Hooper (ATL at CAR) and Benjamin Watson (BAL at TEN).