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I like to think that our readers have a certain degree of fantasy acuity before they arrive, so my hope is that this start and sit week 9 list – which avoids the obvious – will be useful for all of you. I’ve made my opinions on start/sit implicitly known via my weekly rankings, so, you won’t see a lot of QBs inside my Top 6, etc. listed here. The idea of this post is to give you some deep names that will yield start worthy value and some entrenched starters that should be riding the virtual pine.
Week 9 QB Starts
Jake Locker at St. Louis – If you haven’t been paying attention, brace yourself. Locker is a top10 fantasy QB this season on a fantasy points per game basis and is 5th best in his last three games. The preseason ‘turned the corner’ discussion is holding true and Locker’s virtual stock is through the roof. The Rams rank in the back half of the league in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs but with an extra week to game plan and the reality that Kellen Clemens won’t be sustaining a lot of drives (though, give him credit for a nice enough performance against Seattle, sans touchdowns) there are plenty of opportunities for Locker who should get some points with his legs as well.
Terrelle Pryor vs. Philadelphia – Pryor scored 15 points on the opening play last week and then proceeded to yield, roughly, one the rest of the way. The Steelers are an awful matchup for Quarterbacks, though, and Pryor draws the Eagles this week who are very much at the other end of the spectrum. Sure, he’s likely to make a few mistakes again but against a defense that has just eight interceptions while allowing over 2500 yards (the 3rd highest total in the league) Pryor should turn out more positive plays in the passing game while continuing to add points via his legs.
Week 9 QB Sits
Josh McCown at Green Bay – Actually, if you’re desperate, there are worse options on the wire this week than McCown but the point here is to temper expectations. Sure, he had a nice half against Washington but we can’t realistically expect it to carry over to start-worthy numbers this week. Green Bay is the 11th best machup for opposing signal callers in standard leagues, but, they’ve done a good job against below average QBs in consecutive weeks – holding both Brandon Weeden and Christian Ponder under 150 yards passing.
Ben Roethlisberger at New England – Big Ben has posted just 21 fantasy points in his last two outings combined and will play his second straight game on the road, this one against a Patriots D that as given up just 215.5 passing yads per game and nine touchdowns (to 10 interceptions). At 13.52 points per game allowed, New England gives up the 7th fewest points per game to opposing QBs. Further, Big Ben may not be a huge part of the gameplan this week (see the next section).
Week 9 RB Starts
DeMarco Murray vs. Minnesota – On track to play for the first time in three weeks against the Vikings, Murray needs to be in your lineup. He’s waited long enough to be close to 100% and as a result should resume his normal workload, relegating Joseph Randle et. al to backup duties. Taking on a Minnesota defense that has given up TDs to the position in four straight games (seven total over that span) and is yielding the 13th highest YPG total in the league it’s safe to assume that Murray can do some damage in his first game back.
Le’Veon Bell at New England – Bell has been an enigmatic fantasy play since his activation. In games where he runs for a good per carry average, he can’t find the endzone and make it a truly strong week. In games where he’s getting in the endzone, he typically posts ugly ‘real world’ numbers despite strong fantasy scoring. I won’t promise either this week, but, I will say that New England has seen nearly 70 RB carries against them in the last two weeks, suggesting that teams are attempting to exploit a weakness in the middle of their defensive line. Expect Pittsburgh to stick to the ground game this week and Bell to have plenty of opportunities, which is all we’re really chasing in the middle-ranks of RB starters.
Week 9 RB Sits
Steven Jackson at Carolina – Jackson says he isn’t sweating his struggles in his first game back, but, I’m going to worry about them for him. There was nothing to like about his output against Arizona – Pro Football Focus graded him as the worst RB of the week in their run ratings – and while that is almost certainly a ‘floor performance’ the ceiling isn’t very high this week against the Panthers who are giving up just 13.87 points per game to running backs. Jackson ranks as an RB2 play this week, but, with six teams on a bye that is hardly a ringing endorsement.
Mike James at Seattle – With little news on Doug Martin the backfield still belongs to James in Tampa Bay but all the volume in the world won’t help him against the Seahawks. Yes, rookie rusher Zac Stacy just put together a solid performance against this same Seattle D in prime time but with the team in total disarray and a rookie QB leading the charge against one of the league’s premiere secondaries in one of its most hostile environments, there isn’t a lot of reason to expect Tampa Bay to have success moving the ball. RBs have scored just five touchdowns against the Seahawks this year and they’ve allowed only two 100 yard rushers.
I don’t think much of DeAngelo Williams this week either. With Jonathan Stewart coming back to the Panthers and Mike Tolbert very much in the picture, this backfield looks awfully muddy again. Williams is a fine flex play but there might not be enough volume to roll with him as a RB2 play.
Week 9 WR Starts
Keenan Allen at Washington – At #9 in my WR ranks Allen is significantly higher than usual and with good reason. Washington gives up the 5th most fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts and have seen nine WRs post double digit standard league points against them nine times through seven games. The rookie has been the most targeted Chargers wideout in each of the last three weeks and therefore stands to benefit the most – building on a four game stretch where he is averaging 12 fantasy points per game.
Kendall Wright at St. Louis – Yielding 11 passing touchdowns to the position so far the Rams rank as the 11th most generous unit against fantasy WRs. It’s time for us to stop ignoring Kendall Wright, in a week where things are thin at the top of the position Wright could easily deliver WR2 returns. Heading into the bye on a 12 target 98 yard effort Wright is emerging as Jake Locker’s favorite target – this week represents a great opportunity for him to break his TD drought.
Dexter McCluster at Buffalo – Buffalo gives up the most points in the league to WRs at 33.7 per game. With Dwayne Bowe hurting and rarely a focal point of the Kansas City offense, someone has to do the scoring. Why not McCluster who looks to be becoming a bigger part of the KC offense with 14 targets over the last two weeks.
Bonus: Terrance Williams vs. Minnesota – Miles Austin is unlikely to return this week, and the three Minnesota starters in their defensive backfield dealing with injuries are already ruled out. The opportunity is there for Williams to continue his stretch of strong play against a banged up unit that has allowed five wideouts to score more than 15 points this year, including three in the last four weeks (the struggling Giants are the only team to miss out).
Week 9 WR Sits
Marques Colston at New York Jets – Even before news came out that Colston’s practice participation was limited on Friday he was an easy sit this week. Averaging under four targets a game and posting 1 point outings during a woeful three game span it’s time to plant the veteran WR firmly on your bench.
Leonard Hankerson vs. San Diego – Sure, HankTime found the endzone last week but it was his only catch of the game in a juicy matchup against the Broncos. I’m behind RGIII this week against a still-soft Chargers pass D which is allowing 273 passing yards per game and has just three interceptions on the year, but, nursing a sore foot and coming into this contest with two catches or fewer in each of his last three games let’s not overreact to a one catch, touchdown effort in Denver.
Week 9 TE Starts
Jordan Reed vs. San Diego – Unlike Leonard Hankerson Reed has been getting plenty of attention for Robert Griffin III. Reed has had 23 targets and made 17 catches, a monster in PPR but a perfectly suitable standard league TE. San Diego hasn’t allowed more than six points to a pass catcher at the position since week one, but, riding a string of strong play and with the attention of his QB Reed is ready to break that trend.
Martellus Bennett at Green Bay – Coming off a bye with a QB that managed to find him in the endzone in one half of action last week Bennett is prepared to post mid-range TE numbers this week. The entire offense will miss Cutler, but, in a game where Chicago may have to pass a lot to keep up with a Green Bay team that comes into this game on fire. The Packers are the second most generous defense against Tight Ends this year allowing moer than 11 points per game to the position, including five scores in seven games. They’ve had just one game where they held the an opposing TE under five points.
Week 9 TE Sits
Tim Wright at Seattle – There is pleny to like about Wright who is emerging as one of Mike Glennon‘s favorite targets and is coming off a 48 yard effort against the Panthers with a touchdown. This week, though, I’m expecting the entire Tampa Bay offense to be over matched against Seattle in their home environment. We talked Mike James above and the scenario is similar for Wright. While he’ll probably see some looks as Tampa attempts to get back into the game in the second half, he’s still facing a very challenging matchup. Seattle has allowed just one touchdown to TEs this year and that was Garrett Graham a month ago. Otherwise, the sledding is tough. Seattle is allowing just 5.69 PPG to the position.
Week 9 Defenses to Stream
Tennessee vs. St. Louis – 57% owned – If you can get ’em go ahead and roll with the Titans against a Rams offense led by Kellen Clemens. Their redzone offense was atrocious last week as the Rams mustered just three field goals against the Seahawks. In his only game as starter, Clemens was sacked three times and threw two picks to go with the nine points.
Oakland vs. Philadelphia – 16% owned – A better than advertised Raiders defense fared well against the other Pennsylvania club at home last weekend and they catch a struggling Eagles team on the West Coast this week. Philly hasn’t scored an offensive touchdown in two weeks and while Nick Foles should fare better than he did in his last start he’s still playing as part of a turnover prone offense that has been generous to opposing DSTs all year (10.5 FPPG). Barely owned, count on the Raiders as the best plug and play bet for a top 12 week.