Week 9 Start ‘Em: Wide Receivers
Byes: Bengals, Browns, Eagles, Rams
Start of the Week
Justin Jefferson vs. Lions: Jefferson had a real stinker last week in Green Bay, as the Packers decided to roll shutdown CB Jaire Alexander on the rookie instead of Adam Thielen. I like him to rebound this week though, as the Vikings face the Lions in what could be a serious scoreboard scorcher. Detroit has allowed an average of more than 180 receiving yards per game to wide receivers, and seven wideouts have scored 17-plus points against them. Look for Jefferson to return top-15 wideout totals this weekend.
Week 9 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
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Diontae Johnson at Cowboys: This might as well be labeled "Steelers wideouts," as the talented trio of Johnson, Chase Claypool, and JuJu Smith-Schuster are all attractive starts. Johnson, who leads the team in targets per game but has been prone to injuries, is in a good spot to produce. The Cowboys have allowed eight receivers to score 15 or more fantasy points on routes out wide, and the position has scored 11 touchdowns against them. That's good news for Johnson and Claypool, especially this weekend.
Terry McLaurin vs. Giants: McLaurin has looked good in recent weeks, scoring 14-plus fantasy points in three of his last four games. That trend should continue against the Giants, who have given up the 10th-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. That includes an average of nearly 24 fantasy points per game allowed to receivers who line out wide, where McLaurin has run an average of nearly 27 routes per game. He also scored 14.4 fantasy points against the G-Men earlier in the season.
Brandin Cooks at Jaguars: This is a smash spot for the Texans on the offensive side of the football, and that includes Cooks. Since Week 5, the veteran leads all Houston wideouts in targets and ranks second behind Will Fuller in snaps played and routes run. He also has a great matchup against the Jaguars, who surrendered eight catches, 161 yards and a touchdown to Cooks back in Week 5. If Cooks is on your roster, get him active as a No. 2 wideout or flex starter.
Cole Beasley vs. Seahawks: Beasley put up a real stinker in last week’s win over the Patriots, but he had been a reliable WR3 with a decent floor up to that point. Since Stefon Diggs is an obvious start, I’ll mention Beasley in a sweetheart matchup against the Seahawks. No team in the league has allowed more catches, yards, or fantasy points to slot receivers, where Beasley has averaged nearly 23 routes per game. In what could be a high-scoring affair, I like Beasley as a flex starter.
- Will Fuller at Jaguars
- Sterling Shepard at Football Team
- Christian Kirk vs. Dolphins
- Jerry Jeudy at Falcons (DraftKings: $4,700)
- John Brown vs. Seahawks (DraftKings: $4,600)
- Hunter Renfrow at Chargers (DraftKings: $4,100)
Week 9 Sit ‘Em: Wide Receivers
Sit of the Week
D.J. Chark vs. Texans: Chark has struggled in recent weeks, scoring a combined 19.7 fantasy points in his last three games. While some might consider the move from Gardner Minshew to Jake Luton a positive for him, it's tough to gauge what kind of rapport (if any) Luton has with his receivers, including Chark. The only players lined out wide to succeed against the Texans this season are superstars like Davante Adams, A.J. Brown, and Adam Thielen. At best, Chark will be a risk-reward flex starter.
DeVante Parker at Cardinals: Parker found the end zone last week in the first NFL start of Tua Tagovailoa, but it was one of his mere two targets in the game. The Dolphins offense is a lot different without Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, and it's not a big difference either. It'll be tough to trust any Miami receivers until Tagovailoa shows some signs of life in the passing game. So while this week's matchup against the Cardinals isn't terrible on paper, starting Parker is suddenly a lot less attractive for fantasy fanatics.
CeeDee Lamb vs. Steelers: Lamb had a tremendous start to his rookie season, scoring 17-plus fantasy points in three of his first five games. Unfortunately, the loss of Dak Prescott has sapped Lamb of much of his fantasy appeal. Over the last three weeks, he’s put up a very modest 22.1 points while being limited to just five targets in each of his last two games. Lamb also has a bad matchup next on the schedule, as the Steelers have allowed just two receivers to score more than 12.6 fantasy points from the slot.
Darius Slayton at Football Team: Slayton has been anything but reliable for fantasy fans this season, and that sort of trend figures to continue when the Giants face Washington. Their defense is one of the toughest against wide receivers, allowing just three touchdown catches and an average of fewer than 26 fantasy points per game to the position. Back in Week 6, the Football Team held Slayton to just two catches on four targets, and that was before Sterling Shepard returned from injured reserve. I’d fade Slayton this week.
Corey Davis vs. Bears: Davis is coming off a monster performance against the Bengals, posting 128 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. I wouldn’t chase the points this week, though, as a matchup against the Bears is much more formidable. Chicago’s defense has been tough for opposing wideouts, allowing just two touchdown catches and the third-fewest fantasy points to the position. The Bears have also allowed just one receiver to put up more than 15.1 fantasy points while lined up on out wide routes in 2020.
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- Emmanuel Sanders at Buccaneers
- Michael Gallup vs. Steelers
- Henry Ruggs II at Chargers
- Robby Anderson at Chiefs (DraftKings: $6,300)
- Marquise Brown at Colts (DraftKings: $6,000)
- D.J. Chark vs. Texans (DraftKings: $5,200)
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for the latest news and analysis!
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