Four teams will be on a bye for Week 9 of fantasy football and injuries continue to pile up across the league, so many fantasy managers might be faced with some difficult start ’em/sit ’em decisions. Let’s discuss a couple of players at each position and break down what type of performances they could provide based on their upcoming matchups.
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Start ’em Sit ’em: NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Lineup Picks
Quarterback: Start ‘Em
Matthew Stafford, DET (at MIN)
The Lions were down big against the Colts in Week 8, which resulted in Stafford matching his season high with 42 pass attempts. That enabled him to throw for 336 yards and three touchdowns. He now has back-to-back games with over 300 passing yards and he’s thrown at least two touchdowns in four of seven games this season. This is a great matchup against a Vikings defense that has allowed the third-most passing yards per game in the league, making Stafford a viable starting option. The only concern is that Stafford was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week not because he tested positive, but because he came into close contact with someone who did. Still, as long as he doesn’t test positive leading up to Sunday, he can be activated in time to play.
Quarterback: Sit ‘Em
Ryan Tannehill, TEN (vs. CHI)
Generally speaking, Tannehill isn’t going to throw for a ton of yards on a weekly basis since the Titans deploy a run-heavy offense. That’s left him to record 249 yards are fewer in five of his seven games. However, he’s been able to remain a viable fantasy option because he’s thrown at least two touchdown passes in all but one game. That could be a problem area for him this week, though, since the Bears have only allowed eight touchdown passes all season.
Running Back: Start ‘Em
Chase Edmonds, ARI (vs. MIA)
If you’ve been holding onto Edmonds all season, this is the week that you’ve been waiting for. Coming out of the Cardinals’ bye, Edmonds is expected to be the team’s featured back with Kenyan Drake (ankle) injured, although Drake is technically listed as questionable. When Drake went down in the Cardinals’ last game against the Seahawks, Edmonds finished with 145 total yards. With his ability to contribute in both facets of the offense, he’s a Start ‘Em lock if Drake does indeed sit.
Running Back: Sit ‘Em
Jonathan Taylor, IND (vs. BAL)
The Colts’ running back situation has turned into a mess. Taylor might be the most talented option that they have on the roster, but he’s still splitting time with Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins. Wilkins had the hot hand last week, which enabled him to receive 20 carries compared to Taylor’s 11 rushing attempts. Taylor now has 12 carries or fewer in three straight games heading into this matchup against a Ravens team that has allowed the seventh-fewest rushing yards per game in the league. This is not the week to take a chance on Taylor having a breakout performance.
Wide Receiver: Start ‘Em
Brandin Cooks, HOU (at JAC)
This is a juicy matchup for the Texans’ offense, including Cooks. The Jaguars have been a mess on defense, allowing the fifth-most passing yards per game. The first time these two teams met, the Texans torched them for 30 points. Cooks was at the center of the scoring, catching eight passes for 161 yards and a touchdown. No need to overthink this one, make sure Cooks is locked into your starting lineup.
Wide Receiver: Sit ‘Em
Amari Cooper, DAL (vs. PIT)
It’s fallen apart quickly for the Cowboys. Their offense was a mess last week with Ben DiNucci under center, which contributed to Cooper catching only one of five targets for five yards. With Andy Dalton having been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week, the Cowboys are expected to turn to either Garrett Gilbert or Cooper Rush to start against the Steelers, who have allowed the seventh-fewest passing yards per game. This is not shaping up to be a productive week for Cooper.
Tight End: Start ‘Em
T.J. Hockenson, DET (at MIN)
Based on their favorable matchup against the Vikings, the Lions’ pass-catchers are also in play, as long as Stafford takes the field. Further tilting the scales in Hockenson’s favor is that Kenny Golladay (hip) is expected to be sidelined, leaving the team without its top wide receiver. Hockenson has already been reliable with at least 53 receiving yards in five of seven games to go along with four total touchdowns, so the potential for added targets only makes him even more appealing.
Tight End: Sit ‘Em
Mike Gesicki, MIA (at ARI)
Yes, the Dolphins scored 28 points last week in quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s first start. However, their offense didn’t need to do much considering they had a punt return for a touchdown and a fumble return for another score. Tagovailoa was only required to attempt 22 passes, which left just two targets for Gesicki. The Dolphins will likely continue to roll out a limited game plan for Tagovailoa and Gesicki has already received three targets or fewer in four of his last five games, which doesn’t leave him with much upside.
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