By: Jamy Bechler @WinningDFS101
Start/Sit – 2018 Fantasy Football – Week 9
When it comes to season-long fantasy football, you play your studs unless there is an injury, or you are loaded at a position and have other studs on your bench, or it’s a bye week. Try not to overthink it. You are playing head-to-head against one opponent each week. You just have to beat that opponent (who also probably has weaknesses in their lineup). Unless you are a huge underdog that week, don’t get cute.
This article is to provide some additional information as you set your lineups this week. If you have a player that we list in the “sit” category, you shouldn’t automatically sit him because you might be replacing him with a much worse player. Think of Start/Sit rather in terms of “Confident/Cautious.” These are players that we seem to be getting a lot of questions about. We offer our take on whether you should take a confident or cautious approach to playing them this week.
In most cases, we don’t touch upon the obvious plays. There are other Start/Sit articles (I won’t name names) that will tell you to start Tom Brady because he is going against a Packers defense that has struggled this year. Seriously?!? That’s why you start him?!? You start him because he’s a stud!!! This is obvious to anyone that follows football in any form. We don’t list obvious plays so we can look like we are smart when the obvious plays do what obvious plays do. That doesn’t help you. We try to look at some of the plays that are questionable and give you insights on those.
Remember to check the news and injury reports, leading up to roster lock for the various game times. Nobody knows exactly what will happen from week to week in the NFL but use all the information and resources available to you to make the best decisions possible for your lineup. We believe in having a good process and good rationale. Good luck and have fun!
Start – Ryan Fitzpatrick @ Panthers
Last week was a bloodbath for your lineup if you played Jameis Winston like I did in season-long and DFS. The process wasn’t wrong. Winston is a bad Quarterback in real-life but good in fantasy. Even with 4 interceptions, he still had 275 yards and probably would have accounted for a couple of TDs and another 150-175 yards in garbage time if not benched. No matter what name is on the back of the jersey starting at QB for the Bucs, fire them up as a starter as long as the matchup isn’t terrible. All this to say that FitzMagic is back this week baby! Forget the Week 4 debacle in Chicago when Khalil Mackamania was running wild all over the Bucs. FitzMagic had 400+ passing yards in each of the first three weeks of the season. Which, by the way, had NEVER been done before in the history of the NFL. He also had 11 touchdowns in those three weeks. Let the FitzMagic gun-slinging resume. He has nice offensive receiving weapons and the Panthers are good against the run and below-average against the pass. This sets up nicely for some fireworks. 300+ yards and 3 touchdowns is a very real possibility. Fun stat of the week, if you combine Winston and FitzMagic’s stats, they’d be the #2 fantasy Quarterback this year (per Mike Tagliere at FantasyPros). This game has a 54-point projected total. Buyer beware, however, he could also sling 4 interceptions and be replaced by Winston. Regardless, it will be action-packed. Welcome to the FitzMagic Show again!
Notables – Cam Newton vs. Bucs, Matt Ryan @ Redskins, Philip Rivers @ Seahawks
Sit – Ben Roethlisberger @ Ravens
Big Ben is a future Hall of Fame Quarterback that has plenty of offensive weapons at his disposal this season. But this is an automatic “sit” for me. He has been terrible on the road in 1:00 pm games and that is exactly what this is – against their divisional rival, no less. When these two teams met earlier this year (in Pittsburgh), Big Ben failed to reach 300 yards and had only 1 touchdown to go along with 1 interception, finishing as the QB20 that week. In his last four games in Baltimore, he is averaging only 229 passing yards and has totaled only 2 touchdowns against 5 interceptions. If I didn’t have the easy decision of picking against Big Ben playing a 1:00 pm road game against a team he doesn’t play well against, I would have had Baker Mayfield in this spot. Not that I think Mayfield is bad but because he is a rookie playing without his head coach and offensive coordinator this week. That might be a great thing. It also can be just the thing to mess up a rookie Quarterback. I like reliability in fantasy and having a coaching change mid-week with the interim coach being the Defensive Coordinator does not give me a sense of security.
Notables – Matthew Stafford @ Vikings, Baker Mayfield vs. Chiefs, Case Keenum vs. Texans
Start – Adrian Peterson vs. Falcons
The ageless wonder is playing great and has a nice matchup this week. AP or AD (as in All-Day) does best when his team is winning and he is getting the rock. The Redskins are home favorites and I expect Jay Gruden to feed him the ball from the start as they want to control tempo against the Falcons. In Week 8’s victory against the Giants, Peterson rushed 26 times for 149 yards and scored a touchdown. In the Redskins five wins this year, he is averaging 22 carries and 112 yards per game with 4 touchdowns. In their two losses, he has 15 rushes for a total of 26 yards. If you think Washington wins this then fire up Peterson with confidence. The Falcons are a bottom-five team when it comes to defending Running Backs in the red zone. Overall, they are giving up 30 fantasy points per game to the Running Back position. At this point, Peterson should be an every week must-start if the Redskins are favored.
Notables – Nick Chubb vs. Chiefs, James White vs. Packers, Kenyan Drake vs. Jets
Sit – Alex Collins vs. Steelers
Though I don’t think the arrival of Ty Montgomery hurts Collins very much, the improved Steelers defense and the lack of volume does. Collins has yet to see 20 carries in a game all year and overall is averaging just 12 carries per game. He is not much of a factor in the pass game with Buck Allen (and now Montgomery) around. When he faced the Steelers earlier this year, he rushed 11 times for only 42 yards. Overall, the Steelers are ranked 6th in rushing yards per game allowed and 5th in rushing touchdowns allowed. Collins has also not eclipsed 90 total yards in a game all year. He has not been effective, nor efficient.
Notables – LeSean McCoy vs. Bears, Tevin Coleman @ Redskins, Peyton Barber @ Panthers
Start – Courtland Sutton vs. Texans
This might be a bit of a stretch as he is not even owned in every league (though he should be). I have been waiting for him to breakout all season as he is a big play receiver that was drafted in the second round this past summer with the future in mind. Now, he gets his chance with Demayrius Thomas traded (to the Texans, ironically). During Sutton’s senior year, he scored 12 touchdowns in 13 games. Overall, in his four years at SMU, he averaged 16.5 yards per reception and had 31 touchdowns. Normally I am all about reliability in fantasy football but sometimes you just like the upside for a guy and can live with the potential floor. If you have another option that is safer and you are the favorite in your matchup, then maybe go with the more reliable option. Sutton is more of an upside play this week. He has yet to see more than 3 receptions in any game this year. But the Broncos have literally told the world that they want to utilize Sutton more. He is already averaging 4.6 targets per game and when you consider that DT was averaging 8.2 targets per game, so there seems to be a lot of room for increased volume. He led the Broncos with 78 receiving yards last week against the Chiefs. He has earned at least 8 PPR points in four straight weeks, which gives you an idea of his floor. He has a 20+ ceiling.
Notables – John Brown vs. Steelers, DeSean Jackson vs. Panthers, D.J. Moore vs. Bucs
Sit – Randall Cobb @ Patriots
I like certainty in fantasy football and Cobb doesn’t provide it. Even though he caught 4 balls in his return from injury, he only ran 17 routes on Sunday against the Rams. Rookie Marquez Valdez-Scantling ran 22 and Geronimo Allison ran 23 to put Cobb’s usage in perspective. Cobb had double-digit targets in two of his first three games before his injury but I am not sure that we can rely on him getting back to that. Allison is playing better and MVS has really come on of late and seems to have earned Aaron Rodgers’ trust. Cobb was supposed to be “full-go” in Week 8 so his limited usage was either because he has lost ground in the receiver pecking-order or he isn’t fully healed. Either way, Cobb is not a reliable fantasy option this week.
Notables – Kelvin Benjamin vs. Bears, Allen Robinson @ Bills, Chris Hogan @ Patriots
Start – Jordan Reed vs. Falcons
Jordan Reed is not what he used to be but he is still seeing the volume. He has averaged nearly 7 targets per game this season. Alex Smith seems to be reverting back to game-manager mode, which can be good for Reed. He has only gotten into the end zone once (way back in Week 1) but positive touchdown regression should get up to him at some point. In the meantime, he is a good bet to keep seeing the ball from Alex Smith. It’s only a matter of time before he gets a long pass play or a touchdown. This week he faces off against the Falcons, who are very vulnerable across the middle of the field. If Chris Thompson doesn’t play, then Reed becomes an even better play as Smith won’t have his check-down back to throw to in the middle of the field.
Notables – O.J. Howard @ Panthers, David Njoku vs. Chiefs, Greg Olsen vs. Bucs
Sit – Chris Herndon @ Dolphins
If you like chasing touchdowns and think that you can predict who will score, then Herndon is your guy. He has scored a touchdown in three straight games. As for me, I will take a pass on a guy that only played in half the snaps last week for his team. He has only had 11 targets in those three games. Herndon is not a reliable fantasy option yet. He has failed to score 3 fantasy points in four different games this year. Yes, he is getting better. Yes, he should be owned in all leagues. No, you don’t have to chase touchdowns.
Notables – Cameron Brate @ Panthers, Jesse James @ Steelers, Ed Dickson @ Chargers
Unless you have one of the top defenses that are probably an automatic start each week, then you might want to consider streaming your defense each week with a team that has the best matchup. Remember, low scoring games is not the only factor for a good defense. You can’t predict fantasy defensive scoring, but you can predict opportunity. You typically want defenses that are aggressive and get pressure on the quarterback. This pressure can lead to turnovers. It is also a decent gamble to target defenses going against rookie or inexperienced quarterbacks. Playing at home is a plus. Finally, game flow matters. A game that will be slow with a lot of rushing attempts is not good for fantasy scoring. Also, it is possible for a defense and an opposing Quarterback to both put up good fantasy numbers in the same game. Here are three teams that you might want to consider streaming for this week, along with three teams you’ll want to be a little cautious with.
Start Notables – Cowboys DST vs. Titans, Chiefs DST @ Browns, Dolphins vs. Jets
Sit Notables – Lions DST @ Vikings, Bills DST vs. Bills, Redskins DST vs. Falcons
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About the Author-
Jamy Bechler is a fantasy contributor for CouchPotatoGM and FantasyPros. His DFS twitter is @WinningDFS101 and his website is FantasyFocusFootball.com. When he is not playing fantasy sports, Jamy is an author, host of the “Success is a Choice” podcast, and is a leadership trainer, working with businesses and teams across the country (including the NBA). You can also follow his personal twitter account @CoachBechler. Even though he offers his advice on players and contests, after additional information and consideration, he may end up using different players and strategies than what he recommends.