Start’em Sit’em Week 9
Start’em and Sit’em is back for Week 9 of the NFL season. Along with the other fine tools provided by Gridiron Experts, this article is here to help guide you to victory in your Week 9 Fantasy Football matchups. There are several matchups worth discussing and we will go through those matchups now. One friendly reminder heading into this Week 9 Start Sit article is that the Rams, Saints, Falcons, and Bengals are all on their bye week. Also important to note that the Texans and Jaguars game will be played in London and will have a 9:30 AM (EST) start time.
Recapping Last Week
Truthfully speaking, from a results standpoint, last week was one of the worst weeks that I have had this season. Josh Allen was my only quarterback to finish the week inside the top-15 at his position. My bright spot among the running backs had to have been Jamaal Williams who finished the week just outside the top-10. With the exception of those picks, I was burned by Kenny Stills who finished the week with just three receptions for 22 yards. The lastest results have me determined to deliver you the best picks that Week 9 has to offer, so let’s get started. As always, if you any other start or sit questions that are not answered here, please feel free to reach me on Twitter.
- Scoring and stats are based on half-point per reception scoring and come from fantasydata.com
- Start percentages originate from ESPN.com
- Start options range from 0-60%
- Sit options range from 50-100%
The following are my Start’em Sit’em Week 7 recommendations:
Start’em Sit’em Quarterbacks
Jets @ Dolphins
ESPN Starting Percentage: 2.5%
If you follow me on Twitter, you would be well aware that I have continuously mentioned the upcoming schedule for the Jets. With seven interceptions in his last two games, Sam Darnold isn’t exactly helping me out and some of the internet trolls might consider this career suicide but I’m sticking to my word that the Jets have one of the best upcoming fantasy schedules around. First up for Darnold on his redemption road to fantasy relevancy is a Miami Dolphins defense that is just outside the top-1o in points allowed to quarterbacks. This is also a Dolphins defense with just one interception on the year and has allowed more touchdown passes than the Jets two previous opponents combined. While things haven’t been pretty for Darnold so for this season, Adam Gase has still had trust in his quarterback. While it hasn’t always translated to positive results, Darnold has had 30 or more pass attempts in his four starts this season. It should also be noted that Darnold is currently dealing with a sprained left thumb but Adam Gase believes that it is more about pain tolerance and that Darnold will be ready to go. If Darnold can’t succeed in this stretch of games, I’m not sure he can succeed anywhere. For now though, if you have some bye week blues in Week 9, I truly think better days are ahead for Darnold.
Lions @ Raiders
ESPN Starting Percentage: 50.6%
In the last two weeks, Matthew Stafford has had solid fantasy matchups and the results have shown. Coming off of two straight top-1o weeks, the solid matchups will continue in Week 9 as Stafford and the Lions will head to Oakland to take on the Raiders. This is a Raiders defense that is second in the league in passing touchdowns allowed with nineteen and are also in the top-1o in fantasy points allowed to the position. Just this past week, the Raiders went up against DeShaun Watson who would finish with 279 passing yards and three touchdowns. All of this sounds promising for Stafford who is coming off back-to-back 300-yard games for the first time since 2017 and has had success against the Raiders in the past. In just two career games against the Raiders, Stafford has thrown for 673 yards and four touchdowns. Matthew Stafford was likely a name that slipped through the cracks in your drafts this past summer but right now, the Lions quarterback is becoming one of the better streaming options in fantasy.
Vikings @ Chiefs
ESPN Starting Percentage: 38.6%
While last Thursday night might seem like a distant memory to most, for those who started Kirk Cousins, it was a frustrating game. Despite completing 88.5% of his passes for 285 yards, he would finish just outside the top-20 quarterbacks on the week, behind Taysom Hill. The only glaring number in Cousins’ near-perfect night was that he threw for zero touchdowns. Rectifying that looks like a real possibility against a Chiefs defense that sits in the top-1o in most points allowed to the quarterback position. Coming out of their sack saturated victory against the Denver Broncos in Week 7, the Chiefs defense was sent back to reality as Aaron Rodgers put up over 300-yards and three touchdowns in Week 8. That performance by Rodgers would mark the fifth time in eight games this season that the Chiefs have been in the top-10 in most points allowed to quarterbacks. One of the last things that has me feeling encouraged about Cousins in Week 9 is his home and road splits. In his two seasons as the Vikings quarterback, Kirk Cousins has thrown for 544 more yards on the road than at home.
Patriots @ Ravens
ESPN Starting Percentages: 68.5%
As of this writing, on ESPN.com, there are only four quarterbacks with a start percentage that is over 60%. Be that as it may, selecting Tom Brady as a player to sit isn’t just to make sure I follow my start and sit rules as I genuinely feel like he could have some trouble being a top fantasy quarterback in Week 9. This Sunday night, the Patriots will have one of their toughest matchups of the season when they head t0 Baltimore to take on the Ravens. Coming off of their bye week, this is a well-rested Ravens defense that is in the top-1o in fewest points allowed to the position and is one of ten defenses to allow single-digit passing scores. That ranking is a consistent one as the Ravens have only had one week in which they were in the top-10 in most points allowed to quarterbacks. In regards to Tom Brady, the future hall of fame quarterback had four games of two or more touchdown passes in his first five games. Since that time, over the last three weeks, Brady has had just three touchdown passes. Do not misconstrue fantasy with reality, I’m not saying the Patriots are going to suffer their first loss of the season, I’m simply saying that they don’t need Tom Brady to d0 well for fantasy in order to win.
Start’em Sit’em Running Backs
Eagles vs. Bears
ESPN Starting Percentage: 29.2%
No matter how much Miles Sanders’ truthers tried to wish it into existence this summer, Jordan Howard is still relevant. While he hasn’t been consistently inside the top-2o on a week-to-week basis, Howard is still seventeenth in fantasy scoring among running backs. That ranking would include a top-5 performance in Week 4 and a top-10 performance this past week against the Buffalo Bills. In that game against the Bills, Howard would finish just four yards shy of his first 100-yard rushing performance since Week 17 of last season, his final game as a member of the Bears. To be clear, those of you who have listened to me on the FFfaceoff podcast know that I cannot stand the revenge game narrative. That being said if there was ever game that narrative would be relevant, it is in Howard and this matchup against the Chicago Bears. Despite 25 total touchdowns and three straight seasons of 1,000 or more total yards, the Bears sent Howard packing to Philadelphia this past off-season. The safe assumption is that Doug Pederson is likely well aware of Howard’s emotional attachment to this game and I see no reason why the Eagles won’t look to capitalize on that. This recommendation isn’t all about narratives though as the Bears have been struggling against the running back position. In each of their last three games, the Bears have been in the top-15 in most points allowed to the running back position.
Eagles vs. Bears
ESPN Starting Percentage: 18.0%
In my own spin on a Philly-Special and just to prove that my Jordan Howard recommendation isn’t solely based on a revenge game narrative, I also like Miles Sanders to have a good outing against the Bears this week. This past week against the Buffalo Bills, Sanders was on his way to having one of the better fantasy outings of the week. Prior to leaving the game in the second half with a shoulder injury, Sanders had 118 total yards and a touchdown, off of just six touches. Despite not finishing that game, Sanders still finished the week as a top-10 running back and thankfully will not miss any time with the shoulder injury he sustained. As long as the Eagles stay the course of letting Sanders rest during the week, I love his chances to get in on the fun with Jordan Howard against this Bears defense that as previously mentioned is becoming a solid matchup play for running backs. While Miles Sanders might have to wait till 2020 to be the uncontested leader in this Eagles backfield, in Week 9 against the Bears, he holds just as much value as Jordan Howard, if not more.
Packers @ Chargers
ESPN Starting Percentages: 19.4%
For the second week in a row, Jamaal Williams has made it to this column as a start suggestion. This past week he made good on my recommendation as with just 36 yards of total offense, he managed to finish inside the top-12 among running backs. The saving grace for Williams was that he scored a touchdown through the air and on the ground. With four touchdowns in his last three games, Williams and the Packers will now look to turn their attention the Chargers. This a Chargers team that for the past few weeks has been struggling against running backs. In each of the last four weeks, the Chargers have been in the top-12 in most points allowed to the position. In fact, four of the eight total touchdowns that the Chargers have allowed to running backs have all come in those last four games. Circling it back to the Packers, what is encouraging is that while the Packers have now had back-to-back 30+ point games for the first time since 2017, the running backs have been heavily involved in the production. Make no mistake, you’re running the risk of touchdown dependency when you start Jamaal Williams but I love his chances this week.
David Johnson/Kenyan Drake
Cardinals vs. 49ers
ESPN Starting Percentage: Johnson – 68.9% / Drake – 18.8%
So, last week I had put David Johnson in this column as a sit suggestion and warranted or not, I was mocked on twitter for the obvious call. Well, fast forward to one week later and 68.9% of you in ESPN leagues still managed to start the Cardinals running back. So, while you wonder how obvious of call that really was, I’m going to move forward and suggest that you also sit David Johnson in Week 9. Currently, while some in the media are expecting Johnson to sit, Cardinals coach, Kliff Kingsbury has labeled Johnson as day-to-day. Between Johnson’s injury woes and Chase Edmonds now expected to miss the next few weeks, the Cardinals are looking to solve their problems via the trade market as they have dealt for the criminally underused, Kenyan Drake.
The thing is, no matter who is lined up at running back this week, they should not be in your fantasy lineup. The Cardinals are preparing for an undefeated team on a short week and that can’t bode well for either of these Cardinals backs. In regards to the 49ers defense, this is a defense that has allowed just one touchdown to the running back position this season. On top of that, in half-point formats this season, they are one of just three teams to have allowed less than a hundred fantasy points to the running back position. If the Cardinals do any damage in the running game this Thursday, it will be done so by Kyler Murray and it won’t be much.
Start’em Sit’em Wide Receivers
Bears @ Eagles
ESPN Starting Percentage: 55.2%
With the Bears losing three straight games, it is safe to say that things aren’t exactly going as planned in the Windy City. Despite the Bears now being basement dwellers in the NFC North, Allen Robinson is at least making his fantasy owners happy. After seven games played this season, Robinson is currently ninth in targets among wide receivers and is also the sixteenth best at his position. Opposing Robinson and the Bears in Week 9 is an Eagles defense that is allowing more fantasy points to the wide receiver position than any other team this season. If you’re wondering just how bad the Eagles are doing against the wide receiver position, in the 2018 season, the Eagles had allowed 16 touchdowns to the wide receivers. This year, in just half of the games, the Eagles have already allowed 12 touchdowns. While it remains to be seen if the Bears will be able to snap their current losing streak, one thing that remains clear, against the Eagles in 2019, wide receivers will always have an opportunity to succeed.
JuJu Smith Schuster
Steelers vs. Colts
ESPN Starting Percentage: 56.4%
There is no doubt that following the season-ending injury to Ben Roethlisberger, the fantasy outlook on JuJu Smith-Schuster seemed murky at best. After eight games with 100 or more receiving yards in 2018, Smith-Schuster had started this 2019 season with six straight games without hitting the century mark. That would be his longest streak since his rookie season, but following their Week 7 bye, the streak had thankfully run its course. Against the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football, Smith-Schuster would haul in five receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown. That performance would have Smith-Schuster deliver fantasy owners his first top-10 performance and looking to deliver more, the Steelers will now welcome in the Indianapolis Colts. On paper, this matchup doesn’t look like the most ideal for Smith-Schuster as the Colts are currently allowing the tenth fewest points to the position. Looking closer at this Colts secondary, despite finishing twenty-eighth in fewest points allowed to wide receivers this past Sunday, the Colts have had four straight weeks in which they were in the top-1o in most points allowed. Translation, this Colts secondary isn’t impenetrable and JuJu Smith-Schuster is too good of a player to ride your bench. He might not finish with top-5 numbers by seasons end but better days are ahead for Smith-Schuster.
Broncos vs. Browns
ESPN Starting Percentage: 54.9%
Following the trade of Emmanuel Sanders to the 49ers last week, most in the fantasy industry were of the mindset that this could only mean bigger and better things for Courtland Sutton. After Week 8 though, optimism has plummeted. On Monday, it was announced that Sutton’s quarterback, Joe Flacco will be missing time due to a neck injury. I will grant you, losing Flacco isn’t exactly the most crippling injury to a team but that being said, Sutton was a clear number one receiver who had the eighth-most receiving yards at his position. So any way that you slice it, this is a huge setback for Sutton. Whoever winds up lining up under center this Sunday for the Broncos will be considered a downgrade which will hurt any fantasy-relevant pass catcher that the Broncos have to offer. Opposing the Broncos this weekend is a Browns team that despite seeming bewildered has allowed the ninth-fewest points to wide receivers in 2019,
Start’em Sit’em Tight Ends
Texans @ Jaguars (London (9:30 AM Start)
ESPN Starting Percentage: 6.8%
I must admit, earlier on this season, buying into Texans tight ends for fantasy wasn’t something that I was interested in. Based on the Texans past history and how they had used the tight end, I expected these performances to be nothing more than a fad. After four top-10 performances in his last six games though, I’m officially ready to buy-in on Darren Fells. This week, Fells and the Texans will take on the same Jaguars team that allowed Ryan Griffin of the Jets to finish as the number one tight end on the week. Looking closely at their numbers, the Jaguars have allowed just 29 receptions on the season to tight ends and while that number might seem low, the Jaguars are also tied for third in most touchdowns allowed with four. That is just fine for Fells who is just one of two pass-catchers in the NFL to score five or more receiving touchdowns on less than 25 receptions. This might not be the biggest slam dunk on paper, but with the way that the Texans have used their tight ends this year, I’m starting to believe that they can overcome matchups. In case the Texans needed some extra incentive to get the ball to Fells, in 2019, the Texans are undefeated when Darren Fells has scored a touchdown.
— Michael Hauff (@TheFFRealist) October 29, 2019
Ryan Griffin/Chris Herndon
Jets @ Dolphins
ESPN Starting Percentage: less than 10%
This one is conditional depending on who ends up starting for the Jets this weekend. Many of us in the fantasy industry had been waiting for Chris Herndon to finish fulfilling a PED suspension which was handed down over the Summer. Those same people awaiting his return didn’t have much time to celebrate as Herndon would immediately be sidelined with a hamstring injury upon his return. In his absence, Ryan Griffin has stepped in and has quietly been putting together some solid outings. As previously mentioned, in Week 8, Griffin would finish as the number one tight end in fantasy and that would mark his second top-1o finish at the position in the last three weeks. The biggest variable to this is Sam Darnold. Last season, Darnold would utilize Chris Herndon early and often as he would finish as the fifteenth best tight in fantasy. With that in mind, it is no coincidence that all three of Griffin’s touchdowns, the only touchdowns recorded by Jets tight ends this season, have come after Darnold’s return from mononucleosis. The key to all of this will be if Chris Herndon is available to return in the Jets Week 9 matchup against the Dolphins. You will need to keep an eye on this but whoever starts for the Jets will produce for fantasy.
Ravens vs. Patriots
ESPN Starting Percentage: 29.4%
The percentages might not add up on this recommendation but that is due in part to the Baltimore Ravens coming off of their bye week. The knee-jerk reaction, following that bye, will be to immediately plug Mark Andrews back into your fantasy lineups. That being said, I would temper those expectations headed into Week 9 as Andrews is about to face his stiffest competition of the season. This Sunday night, Andrews and the Ravens will welcome in a Patriots team that is allowing the second-fewest points to the position. In half-point formats, the Patriots are allowing 4.6 points per game to tight ends and have allowed just 225 yards off of 17 receptions. Truthfully, I think this game is going to be pretty ugly for fantasy. The Patriots will likely escape with a closer win than people think but some of your fantasy assets will be collateral damage in the process. Mark Andrews is one of those players who will suffer the wrath of this matchup and I suggest sitting him.
Start’em Sit’em D/ST
Jets @ Dolphins
ESPN Starting Percentage: 3.1%
Even with the news that C.J. Mosley is going to miss even more time if I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times, the Jets are entering a very comfortable part of their schedule. That statement rings true for Sam Darnold, Leveon Bell, and even the Jets defense. This week the Jets will go up against the winless Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins starting quarterbacks have combined for just six touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The Dolphins have also scored a league 77 points on the season. I understand the trepidation here, the Jets D/ST hasn’t finished a week inside the top-10 since Week 3. That being said, when setting up your waivers in previous weeks, you have more than likely aimed for whichever defense is going up against the Dolphins. The Jets are no different and considering their string of games coming up after this week, the Jets D/ST might be a multi-week investment.
Bears vs. Eagles
ESPN Starting Percentage: 69.7%
Since the days of the Monsters of the Midway, the Bears have always been thought to be a top-notch defense. While they aren’t the worst that the league has to offer, the Bears have not always been performing well for fantasy. Over their last three games, the Bears D/ST has finished outside of the top-12 in weekly scoring. Up next for the Bears will be an Eagles team that in three home games has had just one opposing D/ST finish a week in the top-10 in scoring. I envision this being an Eagles win in which they are putting up close to 25 points or more. That spells another poor outing for the Chicago Bears D/ST.