Fantasy Football: Week 9 Start 'em Sit 'em


Photo Courtesy of Pat Pryor

Get some insider tips on who to start or sit this week from our fantasy experts George Haraktsis and Jason Feiner!


Quarterbacks


Alex Smith, Washington Redskins

George: You play every single starter against Atlanta. Kickers, tight ends, wide receivers, running backs, and especially quarterbacks! Atlanta is 31st in fantasy points given up to the quarterback and Smith plays at home. Smith has not been able to eclipse 180 yards in his last three games, but that shouldn't hold him back in this matchup. He has one of the safest floors in a week full of byes and will be one of the safest streaming options out there.


Verdict: START ‘EM


Jason: Smith has not been great this season, but he will be playing an Atlanta defense that has allowed the second most points to opposing quarterbacks this season with 24.9 per game. Smith should have plenty of opportunity to produce against a porous defense and banged up secondary. He will find a way to slot into the top 12 at the position and provide low-end QB1 numbers.


Verdict: START ‘EM



Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


George: Fitzpatrick filled in for a turnover-prone Jameis Winston last week after the starter threw for four interceptions against the Bengals. Fitzmagic then came in and did what he does, throwing for almost 200 yards and two touchdowns in a quarter-plus of relief work while almost orchestrating a comeback in the process. Because of that, he’s been named a starter for week 9 against the Panthers in North Carolina. With all that being said, you should not start Fitzpatrick. Let's not forget his last two outings where he threw for three touchdowns and four interceptions combined. The Panthers have allowed only one quarterback to score over 20 fantasy points on them, and Fitzpatrick will not be the next.


Verdict: SIT ‘EM


Jason: Fitzmagic will be playing a Panthers defense that has excelled over the past few weeks, and have only allowed 17.8 points per game against quarterbacks ranking 18th in the league. With 6 quarterbacks on bye this week, Fitz isn’t the worst option in a spot start, but he certainly isn’t the best. After sitting on the bench for the last few weeks, Ryan Fitzpatrick ranks as my QB17, and their are other waiver wire options that should receive your consideration. Pick him up off waivers, but leave him on your bench.


Verdict: SIT ‘EM



Running Backs


LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills


George: Shady has looked more productive in the past three weeks, but that should not influence your decision to bench him this week. The Bills will be starting Nathan Peterman against the Bears, and the turnover prone quarterback will most likely generate a terrible game script for McCoy. On top of that, the Bears are allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to the running back position this year and have yet to allow a touchdown. Avoid McCoy like the plague.


Verdict: SIT ‘EM


Jason: Shady has put up three straight weeks of double digit fantasy points, but he will be playing behind Nathan Peterman who is a turnover prone signal caller that possibly shouldn’t be in the league at all. The Bills will be playing Chicago, a strong defense at every level who has allowed just 16.7 points per game to the RB position which is good to rank 3rd against the run. Stay away from Shady in this tough matchup that may turn ugly quick.


Verdict: SIT ‘EM



Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons


George: Washington has had zero running backs eclipse 100 yards on them this season. They have held top-tier running backs like Elliot, Barkley, and McCaffrey to under 40 yards in each of their matchups. Coleman may be hard to start this week against a team that's been performing so well against the run, especially in a game where the game script figures to have Atlanta trailing. If you need to start Coleman in your flex I understand, and he will garner a few catches, but his ceiling is extremely capped in this battle. He should be avoided if possible.


Verdict: SIT ‘EM


Jason: Coleman has been admirable, but not great while filling in for injured runner, Devonta Freeman. This week he will be playing a Washington defense that has stifled Zeke Elliott, Christian McCaffrey, and Saquon Barkley to a combined total of 91 yards off of 36 attempts over the past three weeks. Avoid Coleman against a red-hot Redskins defense dominating the trenches.


Verdict: SIT ‘EM



Wide Receivers


Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers


George: Don’t worry that Funchess saw his fewest targets of the season in his game against the Ravens. Before this game he was a consistent option in the Panthers passing game, grabbing at least four balls and 53 yards in each of his last five games. This week he’ll be presented with a juicy matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary, which has allowed the second most fantasy points to wide receivers this year. Give Funchess a start and expect quite possibly his biggest game of the year.


Verdict: START ‘EM


Jason: Devin Funchess has been a solid go-to target for Cam Newton, who happens to be having his most efficient season since his MVP campaign. This past week was Funchess’ worst performance, but I’m expecting him to rebound against the Buccaneers’ anemic pass defense, which has allowed 47.5 points per game to the receiver position. Expect a touchdown for the big bodied wideout.


Verdict: START ‘EM



Demaryius Thomas, Houston Texans


George: This isn’t the week to start Thomas. He just got traded to Texans and has a shorter week of practice to get acclimated to the team's offense. He should have a good season going forward with Deshaun Watson as his new quarterback but could be on a limited snap-count come Sunday. It’s better to avoid Thomas this week and see how his role in the offense plays out in future weeks.


Verdict: SIT ‘EM


Jason: I love Thomas’ upside in Houston, but leave him on the bench for the week 9 matchup against Denver. Flying twice this week (to Houston and back to Denver), he has limited time to get acclimated to this offense. I know this has the “revenge game” title written all over it, but it isn’t expected that Thomas will have a large part in this matchup. He will gain speed moving forward, but his low floor isn’t worth trotting out on Sunday. Look for another option.


Verdict: SIT ‘EM



Tight Ends


Trey Burton, Chicago Bears


George: I cannot tell you in confidence to sit Trey Burton this week due to the dumpster fire that is the tight end position this year. But if you have a better option than Burton, which you probably won’t in a week full of byes, start them. The Bills have been tough against tight ends this year and figure to continue that trend. Sit Burton if you can.


Verdict: SIT ‘EM


Jason: Burton has been a solid TE in a weak position group for the majority of the season, but this is a week to find another option. I know it may be difficult to find an alternative, and if that is the case, it is not the end of the world to leave him in your lineup, but the Bears will be playing the Bills who have sported a stingy defense and secondary. This leaves little opportunity for The Bears skill position players.


Verdict: SIT ‘EM


Ben Watson, New Orleans


George: Like I said, the tight ends this year are weak. While I don’t feel that great about suggesting Watson, there are not many options out there. The Rams have relinquished 65 yards per game this year to tight ends and this figures to be a high scoring affair Start Watson and expect a touchdown from the veteran.


Verdict: START ‘EM


Jason: The Saints will be playing a Rams defense that has allowed 12 points per game to the tight end position. If you need a streaming option and must look to waivers, Ben Watson may be the best option in a solid week 9 matchup.


Verdict: START ‘EM



Defense/Special Teams


Oakland D/ST


George: C.J. Beathard is already a turnover-prone quarterback as it is, and he’s now dealing with a wrist injury that is giving him trouble gripping a football. He’s a game-time decision against the Raiders tonight, and if he’s not able to go, undrafted free agent Nick Mullens will get the start. A hurt starter who is formerly a backup or an undrafted back up? This should be a cake matchup for the Raiders full of plenty of turnovers. Don’t be afraid to start them.


Verdict: START ‘EM


Jason: A report came out earlier this week regarding the outlook of C.J. Beathard’s wrist injury. If Beathard sits, the Raiders D/ST should be upgraded to a top 5 option heading into week 9. If Beathard does in fact play with a banged up throwing wrist, Oakland remains solid streaming option.


Verdict: START ‘EM



Washington D/ST


George: The Falcons defense may be terrible, but their offense is certainly not...at home that is. They score 32.2 points per game on the road, but just 14.5 on the road. The Washington Redskins are the 8th ranked fantasy defense this year, and are facing the Falcons at home. Start Washington with confidence.


Verdict: START ‘EM


Jason: Washington sports one of the most dominant defenses in the league over the past three weeks, and just added more fuel to the fire. Haha Clinton-Dix was just traded into their secondary and will provide assurance to an already solid secondary. Against a good Falcons offense, the decision to start Washington’s D/ST is a tough pill to swallow, but they should be kept in lineups, as they are the hottest defense in the league at this point. In a tough matchup, Washington remains a top 10 D/ST.


Verdict: START ‘EM