Fantasy Football: Week 9 Start 'Em / Sit 'Em

Mark Deming

Fasten your seatbelts and get ready to dominate Week 9. My advice is to play like Week 9 is Week 13 because many fantasy players wait too long to give their maximum effort. Maximum effort includes starting the correct lineup. Most of these recommendations are based on metrics, data and my personal opinion. If you have do not have challenging bye week issues, the information may not apply.

Start 'Em

QB Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

Jimmy G has been nothing special in the fantasy world as the 49ers have adapted into a power-running team. If you’re looking at the data, it is screaming to start Garoppolo in primetime against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals’ defense allows a whopping 24.68 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks, the most in the NFL. Will Kyle Shannahan dial up plays to boost Garoppolo’s confidence against. one of the league’s most susceptible defenses? This is a get-right week for Jimmy G.

QB Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Washington State rookie continues to not only defy the odds, but he is excelling against NFL secondaries. Minshew has 250-plus yards in back-to-back games. Do yourself a favor and google Minshew’s Week 8 highlights and watch his body of work. His third-down TD pass to D.J. Chark was a sick play all around, one that not many quarterbacks can make in today’s NFL. Minshew spread the ball around and had a quick release in college, and that skill set is translating at the next level. The Texans are allowing 21.18 FPPG to QBs, sixth-most in the league.

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RB Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders

If the Alabama rookie let you down last week with a modest 10.1 PPR fantasy-score, don't be afraid to fire him up in Week 9 against the Lions. This game projects to be high scoring all over the board, including the Raider rushing attack. Jacobs is a powerful runner and is set up for a potential huge day against a Detroit defense allowing 31.1 FPPG, second-most in the NFL. 

RB Royce Freeman & RB Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos

Without overthinking it, insert either Broncos RB into your lineups, especially if you have a player on a bye week. The Browns will be fighting for a win, but they really struggle defending the run. Cleveland is currently allowing 26.47 PPG to opposing RBs. Denver’s change at QB from Joe Flacco to Brandon Allen could help or potentially hinder the Broncos’ run game. I’m rolling the dice against a Browns team that continues to disappoint all around. 

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WR Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys

In my opinion, Gallup was a proud warrior and returned to action too early. Prior to his Week 3 injury, Gallup was one of the most exciting emerging wide receivers in the game. Gallup has produced back-to-back stinker games (8.8 and a 6.5 PPR points) and fantasy owners are most likely debating benching him. The data points to a big game for Gallup, and perhaps with a few games under his belt, he can he reemerge. 

WR Tyrell Williams, Oakland Raiders

Be sure to double-check Williams’ health entering Sunday, but fire up the Raider WR in a game that projects to be a high-scoring affair. Williams has been one of the most underrated and consistent fantasy receivers, scoring double-digit points in all five games played, and two 20-plus performances. You may find Williams deep in rankings this week, but I like him a lot against a fragile Lions’ secondary playing on the road.

TE T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions

The Raiders are allowing 16.26 FPPG (second-most in the league ) to opposing tight ends. In a game that projects to be high scoring, get the Iowa rookie into your lineups. Hockenson may be available on your waiver wire or you can acquire him in a cheap trade.

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Sit 'Em

QB Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

According to the data, it’s time to sit the dynamic rookie on Thursday Night Football. The 49ers’ defense is rolling and has allowed a ridiculous 6.1 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks. If you have other options at the position, the numbers say to pivot from Murray in Week 9. Will Murray buck the trend by using his athleticism? The loss of Chase Edmonds and potentially David Johnson stacks the deck against the rookie QB.

QB Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Has any player been more exciting to watch than Jackson? Jackson is allowing the Ravens to dictate the game and force teams to make adjustments. That being said, the Ravens face Mr. Adjustments in Bill Belichick. The top team at defending opposing quarterbacks is the amazing Patriots. This defense is setting records, allowing maybe the most daunting fantasy stat in the game, a mere 4.74 FPPG to QBs.

RB Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens

Once again, the data screams “do not play a RB against the nasty Patriots’ defense.” The New England Patriots allows a meager 13.29 total FPPG to opposing running backs, the fewest in the league. It's hard to sit a RB you drafted in most likely in the fourth round, but if you believe in the numbers, you should.

RB LeSean McCoy, Kansas City Chiefs

The wild run of the Chiefs’ backfield continues to be a mystery, even in Week 9. Will the Chiefs give Shady another start after they benched him in Week 8? The numbers say to sit your fantasy RBs versus a Vikings’ defensive unit that is allowing 18.1 FPPG to opposing RBs, fifth-best defense in the NFL. It's tempting to have Chiefs in your lineup, but the mysterious backfield is a major gamble.

WR Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns

The Broncos continue to stifle wide receivers with their stingy 24.09 total FPPG to opposing WRs. Denver held Colts WR1 T.Y. Hilton to 7.4 fantasy points last week. Browns QB Baker Mayfiled is a circus and OBJ hit the injury report following last week’s loss. Either the Browns and their offense right the ship or it could be total dysfunction in Cleveland.

TE Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews

If you watch Baltimore’s game tape closely, you’ll find that Lamar Jackson's go-to target and focal point on offense is Mark Andrews. If you apply Bill Belichick's methodology of forcing opposing teams to beat them without their best offensive player, Andrews is in line for a tough day at the office. The Patriots allow the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends (5.69). Andrews has emerged as a reliable tight end in the fantasy community, but he will be tough to trust in Week 9.


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