Week 9 Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Sunday and Monday Games

Week 9 Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Sunday and Monday Games
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Welcome to your Start/Sit for Week 9!


Another week, another round of fantasy start/sit roulette. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. Luckily I’m here to help you make the winning a little easier to achieve.

There’s plenty of intriguing matchups up this week, and with a couple of powerhouses on bye, it can be hard to know who to aim for on your waiver wire. If you have some of these players, then you might just be in luck.

And per usual, I’ve included my master key for how I break down my players. Let’s get on with it.


** Start of the Week **: This is my personal pick for the player  I think has one of the best matchups for their position this week.

Must Start: This is a player you play regardless of the matchup. Your superstars are found here (Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, etc).

Start: These are players who have an enticing matchup, and could prove a massive asset to your fantasy team due to a vulnerability by an opposing defense or a breakout performance.

Sit: Players in this category have a poor matchup and could be rendered completely useless by game script or a digression in opportunities.

Flex Start: Players in a flex position are also usually controlled by a game script, but this opportunity benefits them (such as a WR2 receiving less attention than the WR1, thus increasing odds for a good performance).

Sleeper: For players that fly under the radar, the sleepers are potential breakouts for this particular matchup. Players that are not considered as big of a threat but have an increase in things such as targets or snap counts are ideal for this category and could surprise you for the week with a big game.

 


Teams on Bye this Week: Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, LA Rams, & New Orleans Saints

 

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Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars

(Remember, this is an early Sunday game. Kickoff is 9:30 ET, so make sure you check a player’s status beforehand.)


Texans

StartDeshaun Watson (QB), DeAndre Hopkins (WR)

I know, I know. It’s the dreaded Jags defense. But honestly, this unit isn’t what it was back in 2017. With Ramsey gone, they’re still formidable, but the Texans high-powered offense – led by Watson and Hopkins – if difficult to defend.

The Jags rank 18th and 19th in points allowed to quarterbacks and wide receivers. The only reason I’m downgrading D-Hop and Watson is simply touchdown upside. I’m sure there’ll be points, but it’ll be difficult, as the Jags have only allowed 11 passing touchdowns on the year (20th in the NFL). These guys are talents, so they’ll still end up in Top 10’s at their positions.

Flex StartCarlos Hyde (RB), Kenny Stills (WR)

Hyde has actually put together a decent year so far (130 rush, 544 yds, 3 TDS). The Jags are a little softer on the run (15th in fantasy points allowed), entering Hyde into a high-side flex option on the week.

Stills was disappointing in his big waiver wire pickup week, but he has a chance to bounce back decently. He has the speed and Watson has the accuracy, so I expect Stills to make some red zone grabs. He’s a flex option with WR2 upside if he’s scoring.

SitDuke Johnson (RB), Keke Coutee (WR), DeAndre Carter (WR)

I don’t believe there will be scoring opportunities that benefit him in this game. It’s either going to be a long bomb or goal-line, both areas he doesn’t specialize in. Coutee has been (in my opinion) one of the biggest disappointments this year with his sparse utilization. He and Carter are too hard to predict, so I’m not taking chances. Bench ’em all.

SleeperN/A


Jaguars

StartGardner Minshew II (QB), Leonard Fournette (RB), DJ Chark (WR)

The Houston secondary is terrible, allowing 3 passing touchdowns from Derek Carr last week. A raw talent like Minshew could easily replicate that, as Houston has allowed the 4th-most passing touchdowns. They’re also the 4th-friendliest team to QBs, giving up an average of 23.2 ppg.  That’s even better for Chark, as Houston is 2nd in points allowed to wide receivers (43.1).

They’re a lot tougher on the rushing game (18th in points to the position), but they just lost Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt for the season. With Whitney Mercilus forced to hold things down, I expect Fournette to have a terrific game and reach RB1 status this week.

Flex Start: Chris Conley (WR)

With Dede leaving last week’s tilt early, Conley enjoyed one of his best games of the season. That might be the case again this week, with Westbrook practicing in a limited capacity for three days in a row. The secondary is exploitable, so this should be a fun matchup.

SitDede Westbrook (WR)

I’m benching my sweety Dede, simply because he’s been limited all week and goosed you if you played him last week. Check his status Sunday if he’s in because he shoots right up to flex territory with WR2 upside.

SleeperKeelan Cole (WR)

Cole has scored the past two weeks in a row, so let’s make it three against soft coverage. He’s a nice plug-and-play too, especially if Dede is ruled out.


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Indianapolis Colts @ Pittsburgh Steelers


Colts

Start: T.Y. Hilton (WR) Marlon Mack (RB)

This is solely based on if he is in, which I don’t expect him to be. Hilton suffered a calf injury at Wednesday’s practice and is questionable to play on Sunday. If he’s in, he has a good matchup with a Steelers team that has allowed 35.4 points to wideouts. Especially being the No. 1 option on the team (and barring hinderance), he should be a solid option. If he’s out by the time this article is released, downgrade him and move Zach Pascal up to flex.

Marlon is no fish out of water against a middling Steelers rush-defense. The Mack Attack should once again demand most of the touches out of the backfield. With limited receiving options against a better pass-defense, Mack will handle a ton of usage and thus become an RB1 for the week.

Flex Start: N/A

Sit: Jacoby Brissett (QB), Nyheim Hines (RB), Jordan Wilkins (RB), Chester Rogers (WR), Parris Campbell (WR), Zach Pascal (WR), Eric Ebron (TE), Jack Doyle (TE)

I’m sitting everyone not named Hilton or Mack. The Steelers pass defense is good enough to shut down wide receivers who don’t receive many looks and are vulnerable enough to be exploited by a workhorse back. I just don’t have much trust in any of these guys to deliver even a decent performance, so why risk it? Sit them all.

Sleeper: N/A


Steelers

Start: JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR)

Juju is starting to come alive halfway through the season. While that may seem late, it’s still a sign of good things to come. The Colts are allowing 34.7 points per game to wideouts. Juju is far-and-away the No. 1 on his team, so I see him being a target hog this week and a bonafide WR1 for another week.

Flex Start: Jaylen Samuels (RB)

The most likely scenario is that James Conner is out with a shoulder injury. With Benny Snell (knee) most likely out as well, Samuels will demand plenty of ground and receiving work. He’s not a workhorse, so he should split out with Juju for targets to throw the Colts off. He’s a high-end flex play based on his volume.

Sit: Mason Rudolph (QB), James Washington (WR), Diontae Johnson (WR), Donte Moncrief (WR)

The Colts are pretty solid against the pass, making wideouts who don’t see many looks downgraded significantly. Rudolph’s points will come solely on touchdowns, as he should be able to pepper his wide receivers plenty. just don’t expect them to score a lot. I don’t like any of these guys as even Tier 3 at their position, so I’m sitting them.

Sleeper: Vance McDonald (TE)

The Colts have allowed the 7th-most points per game to tight ends. Vance is practicing in full and is healthy. A good looking matchup could equal target volume and production from the preseason darling. I like him this week.


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Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles


Bears

Must Start: Allen Robinson II (WR)

While Trubisky remains hot garbage, his top wideout is far from it. Philly has allowed the 4th-most points to wide receivers (42.5) and the 6th-most passing touchdowns in the league (16). Robinson is a weekly must-start as one of the best receivers in the game, and that puts him at the Top 5 for his position this week.

Start: N/A

Flex Start: David Montgomery (RB)

Man, this is tough. With Robinson a sure-fire start, it’s all downhill from here. Montgomery’s coming-out party last week set the fantasy world on fire, and while that’s great news for his believers (including myself), we must stifle our excitement a bit.

The Eagles are Top 10 against the run, making him difficult to determine. He’s worthy of a flex based on volume, and that should be more than enough to slot him into your lineup this week.

Sit: Mitchell Trubisky (QB), Taylor Gabriel (WR), Anthony Miller (WR), Tarik Cohen (RB), Trey Burton (TE)

Trubisky is not a franchise QB. Sorry for the bias. As long as he’s there, the blanket of targets will only tuck in Robinson, leaving Gabriel, Miller, and Burton freezing cold on the edge of the bed. Wow, that analogy really hits home for me.

Bench ’em.

Sleeper: N/A


Eagles

Start: Jordan Howard (RB)

Howard enjoyed a hefty workload last week (23 rush for 96 and 1 TD, 1 rec for 15). With a strong pass defense coming to town, the Eagles might be relying on the ground attack again this week. He showed he can handle the volume and should see plenty of usage in a revenge game against his former team. He’s a high-end RB2.

Flex Start: Miles Sanders (RB), Zach Ertz (TE), Alshon Jeffery (WR)

The rookie exploded last week for a huge game last week (3 rush for 74 and 1 TD, 3 rec for 44). He sustained a shoulder injury that has since been brushed on, practicing in full this week ahead of Sunday’s game. He’s a great flex play.

Chicago is currently 9th against tight ends, and this puts Ertz in a prime position for a bounce-back after 3 weeks of just crap production. I like him for his volume, and that goes for Alshon too. They should be the target machines for their team, so I’m willing to play Ertz as a mid-range TE1 and Alshon as a low-end WR2 with a high floor.

Sit: Carson Wentz (QB), DeSean Jackson (WR), Nelson Agholor (WR), Dallas Goedert (TE)

The Bears are the 6th-toughest against opposing QBs and have already shut down the likes of QBs Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins so far. I expect Wentz to game manage this one. DeSean Jackson also expects to be back, but I’m going to wait and see how he does. He hasn’t played since his Week 1 welcome back party. Agholor is nothing more than a filed option at this point.

While I’ve been high on Goedert (and for good reason), I’m limiting him this week in hopes that Ertz comes through for a good game. I see Goedert in the 4-6 point range. Keep these guys benched.

Sleeper: N/A


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New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins


Jets

** Running back Start of the Week **: Le’Veon Bell (RB)

The Dolphins have allowed the 2nd-most rushing yards per game (160.43), the 9th-most rushing touchdowns (8), and the 5th-highest yard per attempt (4.8). The Bell Cow will graze on Miami pastures this Sunday.

Start: Sam Darnold (QB), Robby Anderson (WR)

What a matchup of Titans. Even though this game is gross to look at, there is fantasy gold to be found. The Dolphins have allowed the 5th-most passing touchdowns (18) and are dead-last in takeaways (3). This puts Darnold (and all his ghosts) up into a high-end QB2 range and sets up Anderson for a big game (Miami gives up 38.8 ppg, 8th-best).

Flex Start: Jamison Crowder (WR)

After having to deal with the best in coverage 2 weeks ago, the Jets now get the worst. Crowder is a nice safety blanket for Darnold, who shouldn’t be under as much duress as he’s been the past couple of outings. He’s a decent flex.

Sit: Chris Herndon (TE)

I don’t expect him to be active this week.

Sleeper: N/A


Dolphins

Start: N/A

Flex Start: Mark Walton (RB), DeVante Parker (WR)

While dominant against the passing attack, the Jets are susceptible to the run, allowing the 3rd-most rushing touchdowns (10). While I don’t expect it to be a high-volume play, this is Walton’s backfield now.

That’s also where Parker fits in. The wideout has 3 touchdowns in the past 4 weeks with at least 8 targets coming in the last two. Fitzmagic trusts him, which makes him a safe flex play for PPR.

Sit: Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB), Kalen Ballage (RB), Preston Williams (WR), Allen Hurns (WR)

This unit didn’t do much to impress last week. Though they started strong, they weren’t able to pull out the W. The Jets have allowed the 10th-fewest passing touchdowns (9), and are more than capable to shut down the air attack.

Ballage has yet to handle a barrage of carries and has been fantasy irrelevant, even after the departure of Kenyan Drake. Bench all these guys confidently.

Sleeper: N/A


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Minnesota Vikings @ Kansas City Chiefs


Vikings

Must Start: Dalvin Cook (RB)

Fantasy superstar Dalvin Cook has rebounded nicely to show everyone why the organization put its trust in him. The Chiefs have been awful against the run (10 rushing touchdowns – 4th-most), and are vulnerable to workhorse backs, aiding Cook’s chances to be the No. 1 running back for the week. The Christian McCaffrey in the North, he’s a weekly must-start RB1.

Start: N/A

Flex Start: Stefon Diggs (WR), Adam Thielen (WR)

I still love the Minnesota duo, despite a tough secondary matchup. Thielen’s odds of playing this week are looking up, making him and Diggs both look locked for some receiving duties. The downside is the Chiefs’ Top 10 pass defense, so temper expectations for a high-volume passing game.

Sit: Kirk Cousins (QB), Kyle Rudolph (TE), Irv Smith Jr. (TE)

While Cousins enjoyed a great game last week, he disappointed for Fantasy, failing to throw a touchdown in a game for the second time this season. In addition to posting his third-worst fantasy week, the Chiefs are tough on QBs, making his 4th and 5th options (like Rudolph and Smith) irrelevant for the week. There’s just not enough targets to go around for a menacing secondary.

Sleeper: N/A


Chiefs

Must Start: Tyreek Hill (WR), Travis Kelce (TE)

The Vikings defense isn’t as intimidating as it used to be. They’re allowing the 9th-most points to wideouts, setting up Hill and Kelce (who’s more of a receiver) up for success and great numbers for the week. Minnesota is also allowing the 12th-most points to tight ends (12.3), but Kelce should see the upside of that point differential.

Start: N/A

Flex Start: LeSean McCoy (RB)

He’s currently the only back I trust in the Chiefs backfield. While he splits time with Damien Williams, the Vikings won’t be beaten on the ground (only 1 rushing touchdown – 1st in the NFL), making him touchdown-dependent for this matchup. He’s safer then Williams, so I’m choosing him as a risky flex with upside, should he score.

Sit: Matt Moore (QB), Damien Williams (RB), Sammy Watkins (WR), Mecole Hardman (WR), Demarcus Robinson (WR)

The Vikings, despite their struggles, are still a strong defense. Moore is going to have to rely on touchdowns to put up a great week, and I’m seeing those as hard to come by. That means a downtick in dependency on the lower options, including players I may not even write about next week.
Williams, despite scoring last week, is one of the more unpredictable players to grade. Against a daunting defense, he’s too untrustworthy. You should sit all of these players.

Sleeper: N/A


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Tennessee Titans @ Carolina Panthers


Titans

Start: Derrick Henry (RB)

Henry is the only player I feel comfortable rolling out against the Panthers. Like I’ve mentioned (I think every week), he’s a workhorse, bell cow, ox plow of a player and will perform based solely on usage. The Panthers are giving up the 2nd-best yards per carry average in the league (5.0), which is great for Henry’s average (3.85).

Flex Start: Corey Davis (WR), A.J. Brown (WR)

He certainly disappointed last week, bringing in 2 receptions for 9 yards. Hopefully, things pick up this week as the Tannehill grows, making the downfield connection with Davis a strong asset for an otherwise unremarkable Tennessee offense.
The Panthers are allowing the 9th-most points to wideouts this season (38.7), putting Davis and Brown both in a respectable flex category for this week.

Sit: Ryan Tannehill (QB), Adam Humphries (WR), Dion Lewis (RB), Delanie Walker (TE), Jonnu Smith (TE)

While they’re week against receivers, it’s certainly a different story for quarterbacks. The Panthers are 8th against QBs, essentially making Tannehill game-scripted out of relevance. If you need a streamer, you’re better suited checking elsewhere.

Carolina is also 11th against tight ends, surrendering less than 10 points a game on average. Anyone who’s not a workhorse or a big-boom upside kind of player is not a player you want to put into your lineup this week.


Panthers

Must Start: Christian McCaffrey (RB)

Why are you reading this? Yes, start him! Every week! Run CMC is the top player at his position and is a solid option week in and week out. Start him.

Start: N/A

Flex Start: D.J. Moore (WR), Curtis Samuel (WR)

The Titans have had middling success against wideouts this year, ranking about average in terms of overall team defense. For a team with talent at wide receivers, Samuel and Moore should see plenty of looks while Kyle Allen attempts to mix things up against Tennessee.

Sit: Kyle Allen (QB)

While his receivers may have a great day, Allen will really only find success in touchdowns. I don’t see many of those happening, so I’m downgrading him to a sit.

Sleeper: Greg Olsen (TE)

Tennessee has allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to the tight end position. I see Olsen finishing the week as a Top  10 player, considering the fact that he demands looks and is a reliable target machine.


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Washington Redskins @ Buffalo Bills


Redskins

Start: N/A

Flex Start: N/A

Sit: Dwayne Haskins (QB), Terry McLaurin (WR), Adrian Peterson (RB)

Dwayne Haskins is starting this week. Dwayne Haskins is starting this week. The man has more interceptions than total fantasy points. I’m downgrading everyone – including AP – against a very stingy Bills defense. Buffalo is the 4th-toughest matchups for opposing QBs – only 12.9 points per game on average). Nathan Peterman eat your heart out.

Sit and enjoy.

Sleeper: N/A


Bills

Start: Josh Allen (QB), John Brown (WR), Devin Singletary (RB)

I finally have full confidence to roll with Singletary. The man I jokingly called Devin Singlecarry when he was barely being utilized should be on full display this week against the Bills who are the 5th-best matchup for opposing backs, letting them steamroll their rush defense to the tune of 28.1 points per game.

Josh Allen and Co. meanwhile have a slightly tougher matchup on the way, but only slightly. The Bills are middling against quarterbacks and wide receivers, but with Allen’s mobility and deep targets to Brown, they should both be in for a nice week.

Flex Start: Cole Beasley (WR)

The Beasles is officially one of my favorite weekly flex candidates. The Redskins are allowing the 2nd-highest completion percentage in the league (72.7%), making Cole a great choice, especially for 2 flex or deeper roster leagues. He hasn’t goosed once on the season and has scored twice in each of the past two games, making a case of the Beasles something you want to contract.

Sit: Frank Gore (RB), Dawson Knox (TE)

I’m officially off the Knox train. He did nothing and was targeted only once last week. He’s the opposite of Beasles. Gore, meanwhile, is still a good back. I just truly believe in the power of Singletary to have a fantastic week. Not to take anything away from Gore, I just simply believe he will see much less work than the highly-touted rookie.

Sleeper: N/A


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Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Seattle Seahawks


Buccaneers

Start: Mike Evans (WR), Chris Godwin (WR)

The dynamic duo will travel cross-country to meet the Hawks and the 12th man for a fantastic Sunday matchup and should bring plenty of scoring opportunities along with them. Seattle has allowed the 6th-most passing yards per game (273), despite being tough in other aspects. That makes pure volume plays like Evans and Godwin, who are both explosive in their own rights, to have great games. I like them both as WR1 options for a team that can’t be rushed against.

Flex Start: Cameron Brate (TE)

Man did this one disappoint. He caught half his passes, finishing with 3 receptions for 32 yards in a loss to the Titans. Once again, he gets a favorable matchup with O.J. Howard being out. Seattle is 29th against tight ends, giving up the 4th-most points to the position (15.9). Here’s to a bounce-back week.

Sit: Jameis Winston (QB), Ronald Jones II (RB), Peyton Barber (RB)

While you can pass on them, it’s certainly harder to beat them. Seattle is 5th in takeaways this season (15), making the ever-so-turnover-prone Winston a dangerous bet to roll out. You’d be better rolling with a different waiver wire pickup. Seattle is also tough on the run, and a split committee not dominated by a single back makes points remarkably less valuable.

Sleeper: N/A


Seahawks

Must Start: Russell Wilson (QB)

Queue Cast Away.

WILSON!!!

Thank you.

Russell Wilson is by far and away one of the best options to roll out this week. A team like the Bucs that are so stout on the run are, somehow, so vulnerable to the passing attack. It’s almost astounding. They’ve allowed the 2nd-most passing yards in the league (285.8), and continue to be an exploitable defense. Early MVP candidate Wilson continues a strong season this week.

Start: Tyler Lockett (WR), D.K. Metcalf (WR)

This may be the last time I throw Metcalf into the start category this season. New toy Josh Gordon just showed up underneath the Wilson Family Christmas tree, and Carroll is excited to try it out. In the meantime, Lockett and the Hulk will have to do. These PPR machines are in for a good game, with an exposed defensive backfield shielding them from…nothing? I like Lockett as a WR1 and Metcalf as a high-end WR2 this week.

Flex Start: Chris Carson (RB)

This is one of the very few times I will downgrade Carson, but I will be doing it again next week against the 49ers. These defenses are very good against the run, even against a power back like Carson. There’s always an increased chance for a fumble from a talented rush defense, and although he hasn’t fumbled since Week 3, I’m feeling a heightened risk of letting one go this time around. He’s a solid back, but I’m holding him in check this week. Don’t expect anything crazy.

Sit: Rashaad Penny (RB), Luke Willson (TE)

I almost didn’t write about Penny. He’s been such a non-factor, and with a tough matchup this week, he’s certain to be limited to nothing more than a complementary role. Willson is more of a blocker than a receiver. With Will Dissly‘s absence, I don’t expect a replacement anywhere close in that department. Next.

Sleeper: N/A


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Detroit Lions @ Oakland Raiders


Lions

** Quarterback Start of the Week **: Matthew Stafford (QB)

Stafford has been eviscerating opposing secondaries this season, and it only gets easier this week. Oakland is allowing the 2nd-most points per game to signal-callers (24.5), and is tied for the 2nd-most passing touchdowns (19). With the workhorse virtually done for the season, and a four-back committee working behind him, Stafford and the air attack will continue this week. He’s currently sitting at QB #9 on the season, but I expect him to rise a couple of spots this week.

Start: Kenny Golladay (WR), Marvin Jones Jr. (WR)

I’ve already mentioned the kindness the Raiders have shown opposing quarterbacks, and wide receivers aren’t much different. Oakland is surrendering the 6th-most points per game to wideouts (42.0), setting up red zone monsters like Golladay and Jones for a huge outing. I like them both as WR1’s this week.

Flex Start: T.J. Hockenson (TE)

….I know. He’s done nothing for you since Week 1. But fantasy football is all about the risk, and I’m gambling that he actually has a good game this week. Oakland has allowed the 3rd-most points to tight ends (16.3), setting up Hockules for success in the passing attack.

Sit: Ty Johnson (RB), Tra Carson (RB), J.D. McKissic (RB)

Any 3+ running back committee is not a fantasy pool I want to dive into. I’m avoiding this group after last week’s debacle.

Sleeper: Danny Amendola (WR)

He’s has 8 receptions the last to go along with 8 targets last week and was 8-11 the week prior. Since the ground attack has quieted down, Amendola has slotted in nicely to become the Motor City’s version of Cole Beasley. I like him a lot for this game.


Raiders

Must Start: Josh Jacobs (RB), Darren Waller (TE)

I almost mistakenly typed Waller as a wide receiver, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have made a difference. The big-bodied tight end plays more like a receiver anyway, with a killer workload and precise route-running that makes him a nightmare matchup. Detroit is in the bottom 10 against tight ends, making Waller a great play this week like always.

Jacobs is also in for a nice week. Despite a relatively disappointing week last week, he now gets a Lions rush defense that’s allowing the 7th-most rushing yards per game (130.7) and the most fantasy points to running backs (32.2). He’s a sure-fire RB1.

Start: Derek Carr (QB), Tyrell Williams (WR)

If you started Carr last week, you were probably pretty happy. There’s a reason to keep smiling, as Detroit is allowing the 6th-most points to quarterbacks (21.6). Williams is also back and has a touchdown in every game as a Raider. The Lions have allowed 14 passing touchdowns on the season, so I don’t see any reason why there can’t be a 15th.

Flex Start: N/A

Sit: Hunter Renfrow (WR), Keelan Doss (WR), Zay Jones (WR), DeAndre Washington (RB), Jalen Richard (RB)

Last week was a fluke in my opinion for Clemson wideout Renfrow, as he’s been under 6 fantasy points for every other game this season. Until we see a continued trend from any of these players, I’m continuing to leave them in free agency.


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Green Bay Packers @ LA Chargers


Packers

Must Start: Aaron Rodgers (QB)

The man with the plan, Rodgers is a weekly defense killer. While the Chargers are Top 10 in fantasy points allowed to QBs, Rodgers pure talent and awareness ranks him above a negative game script, setting him and his receivers up for a solid outing. He’s a QB1 most every week.

Start: Davante Adams (WR), Aaron Jones (RB)

It’s continually frustrating that Adams has been a game-time decision almost weekly since his injury about a month ago, but all signs point to him starting this week. I mean, there’s a video of him leap-frogging a grown man from this week. The other annoying thing to consider is the 4:25 ET kickoff, so make sure you have other options available or move players out of your flex should Adams be/not be available 90 minutes prior to kickoff.

Jones, meanwhile is definitely good to go. The team that just let David Montgomery run all over them now gets a pass-catching running back and his friend coming to town. Jones is set up as a terrific RB1 this week.

Flex Start: Jamaal Williams (RB)

With the likely return of Adams, you should be downgrading Williams. He’ll still be around to help out Jones, as the Chargers have allowed the 11th-most points to fantasy running backs (25.9). He’s an okay flex this week, but I would look for other options.

Sit: Allen Lazard (WR), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR), Geronimo Allison (WR), Jake Kumerow (WR), Jimmy Graham (TE)

It’s another game of wide receiver roulette, and you’re better off not trying your luck. The Chargers are also very tough against tight ends, so it’s best to fade Graham for this matchup.

Sleeper: N/A


Chargers

Start: Austin Ekeler (RB), Keenan Allen (WR)

The season of Ekeler continues this week as he takes on a Green Bay front seven that is allowing the 7th-most points to running backs. This friendly matchup puts him right around RB2 territory, especially as he continues to hawk carries and passing work away from Gordon.

Allen has been practicing in full this week despite a lingering hamstring injury sustained during last week’s practice and should be good to go this week. He’s still a WR1 despite his slump, and he’s overdue for a big game. This might be the week.

Flex Start: Melvin Gordon (RB), Hunter Henry (TE)

Green Bay has been generous to backs, and while Ekeler still holds the reins to much of the offensive work, Gordon is out-carrying him. His volume based upon an exploitable rush defense makes him a great flex play this week.

Henry will also see a good matchup, as Green Bay has given up the 6th-most points to opposing tight ends (14.6).

Sit: Philip Rivers (QB), Mike Williams (WR)

Green Bay is allowing an average of 14.6 points per game to quarterbacks. It’s best to search elsewhere for a start this week unless you’re truly desperate. Rivers hasn’t been great this season, and that also hurts boom-or-bust players like Williams. Best to avoid these two.

Sleeper: N/A


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Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos


Browns

Must Start: Nick Chubb (RB)

Hopefully, you flexed (or better yet, didn’t play) Chubb last week. Now vice-versa it this week. The Broncos rush defense has been porous this year, giving up over 200 yards to Fournette earlier this season. Chubb plays in a similar style, and will most likely be leaned on heavily, given Baker’s struggles and a strong Broncos secondary. He’s an RB1 for this game.

Start: N/A

Flex Start: Odell Beckham Jr. (WR)

Odell went from Eli Manning to Baker Mayfield. While that sounds like a big change on paper, it’s not in terms of fantasy reliability. OBJ is the WR #29 on the season through 8 weeks and gets Chris Harris Jr. in his home stadium this week. OBJ is a flex play based solely on volume he may receive. Denver is the 3rd-toughest matchup against wideouts (27.6 ppg), making him a low-end flex.

Sit: Baker Mayfield (QB), Jarvis Landry (WR), Ricky Seals-Jones (TE)

I just don’t see anything to really love from this offense as long as they keep playing the way they have. Outside of volume play Chubb and OBJ, I’m not starting any of these guys. Halfway through the season and Mayfield is now owned in 50.3% of ESPN leagues. Being the QB #26 on the year will do that to you.

Sleeper: N/A


Broncos

Start: Courtland Sutton (WR), Phillip Lindsay (RB)

With a brand new quarterback making his first start under center, I expect him to heavily rely on his top two targets. Sutton should receive a ton of looks, given Browns’ middle of the pack secondary. Lindsay’s threat as a dual back means he’s always reliable to deliver in a positive game script such as this one, with Cleveland being so running back-friendly (27.0 ppg).

Flex Start: Royce Freeman (RB)

Freeman has become touchdown-dependent, as his lack of success prior to finding pay dirt for the first time in Week 7 showed. He has a chance to be a decent flex play this week with newbie Brandon Allen needing all the help he can get.

Sit: Brandon Allen (QB), DaeSean Hamilton (WR), Noah Fant (TE)

None of these players have been fantasy relevant before, so I’m not trusting the new QB to do anything much different this week.

Sleeper: N/A


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New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens


Patriots

Start: Julian Edelman (WR)

Despite a looming matchup, I have faith in Edelman this week. Already Tom Brady‘s favorite target, he might as well be the only target, with so many options coming and going. Edelman has 7 or more receptions each of the past 4 weeks and is coming off a monster game against Cleveland. The Ravens are giving up the 7th-most passing yards per game (265.4), making a PPR killer like Edelman a great start.

Flex Start: James White (RB)

White has been the definition of consistency. Albeit his Week 3 absence, he hasn’t busted once this season and hasn’t dipped below 11 points a game once. I expect him to be the No. 2 target for TB12 this week.

Sit: Tom Brady (QB), Sony Michel (RB), Rex Burkhead (RB), Mohamed Sanu (WR)

While you can certainly throw on them, touchdowns are where Brady will find his money. I’m finding those few and far between, and I’m downgrading him this week. The Ravens are also Top 10 against running backs (22.4 ppg), making touchdown-dependent players like Michel and Burkhead sits.

Sleeper: N/A


Ravens

Start: Justin Tucker (K)

Yep. If there’s one player ah-shooing to make an indent on the scoreboard, it’s the most accurate kicker in history. I normally don’t talk about kickers, but he’s my only definite start for a tough matchup.

Flex Start: Mark Andrews (TE), Mark Ingram II (RB)

Andrews is a target goblin, and Ingram is a carrying machine. These are the things that will save the Marks this week against a New England team that is first in the league against tight ends (4.8 ppg) and first against running backs (12.7 ppg).

Sit: Lamar Jackson (QB)

Look, he might be an okay play this week, but I’m not taking any chances against a New England team that stuffed literally every quarterback so far this season. They’re allowing on average 7.4 points per game to the position.

Sleeper: N/A


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Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants


Cowboys

Must Start: Dak Prescott (QB) Ezekiel Elliott (RB) Amari Cooper (WR)

Given who the Cowboys face this week, Prescott is a must-start. In week 1, when these two teams played Dak had a stat line of 25 completions on 32 attempts for 405 yards with 4 touchdown passes. I believe that we could see a similar stat line in this game as well.

Elliott only played once against the Giants, in 2018. That was in week 2 where he had 17 attempts for 78 yards and a touchdown while adding 5 catches for 9 yards on 6 targets. He’s a top 3 running back play this week and should reward his owners with a solid performance.

In week 1 against the Giants Cooper had 6 catches on 9 targets for 106 yards and one touchdown. Cooper is a no brainier start this week.

Start: Michael Gallup (WR)

Gallup should draw Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who’s been very beatable this season. In week 2 Gallup had 7 catches on 7 targets for 158 yards. He makes for a good start in this week’s matchup.

Flex Start: N/A

Sit: Jason Witten (TE) Randall Cobb (WR)

Yes, I know you might be thinking, this can’t be true. Well, let me tell you why I’m sitting Witten if I can this week. When he played the Giants, in their first matchup, he had 3 catches on 4 targets for 15 yards and touchdown. Banking on touchdowns is a risky approach, to be successful in fantasy. Also, the Giants have been solid against tight ends this year, allowing only two touchdowns.

Cobb’s best performance this season was in week 1 against the Giants. He had 4 catches on 5 targets for 69 yards and a touchdown. Much like Witten, you don’t want to bank on a touchdown to save you in fantasy. I’d sit him as well, however, with four teams on bye, it might be hard. Worst case I’d use Cobb and Witten as flex plays.

Sleeper: N/A


Giants

Must Start: Saquon Barkley (RB) Evan Engram (TE)

In his first game against the Giants, he had 11 rushes for 120 yards and no touchdowns along with 4 catches on 6 targets for 19 receiving yards. He’s the top-rated running back for me this week.

Engram is a top 5 tight end this week. He also had 11 catches on 14 targets for 116 yards and a touchdown in his first game against Dallas. He should see plenty of targets this week as well.

Start: Daniel Jones (QB)

Jones has Golden Tate and Darius Slayton to go along with Barkley and Engram so I think he’ll have a chance to finished in the QB 2 range this week. Eli Manning and Daniel Jones combined for 33 completions on 48 attempts for 323 yards and one touchdown. I expect the Giants to be trailing so Jones might have to air it out to keep up.

Flex Start: Golden Tate (WR)

Tate has been very reliable since returning from his suspension, having seen 36 targets. With the Giants expected to be playing from behind, I expect Jones to be looking Tate’s way often, on Sunday.

Sit: Sterling Shepard (WR) Darius Slayton (WR)

Last season, Shepard had 7 catches on 14 targets for 91 yards and no touchdowns. In his first game this season against the Giants he had 6 catches on 7 targets for 42 yards and no touchdowns. As you can see he really hasn’t down much against the Cowboys and I don’t see that changing here. He’s also returning from a concussion as well.

Slayton’s snap count should take a hit with the return of Sterling Shepard. It also doesn’t help that the Giants are facing a solid Cowboys defense.

Sleeper: N/A


Zach Hargis is a writer for Dynasty Football Digest. He enjoys playing the drums, doing voice impressions, and quoting The Office. If any of those things interest you, he welcomes you to follow him on Twitter @ZachFFDrummer and to check out his personal interests on Instagram @zakktastic.

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