Fantasy Football: The Best Start/Sit Options For Week 9

We are officially at the halfway point for your fantasy season. Some of you may have moved on and pretended to make fantasy basketball relevant since that transaction you deemed as a good move made it look like you were working for the Browns.

Others prematurely dressed as a fantasy football champion for Halloween since they’ve been putting their opponents through the shredder week after week. Regardless, there’s still plenty of games left to be played and matchups to be won. With Week 9 looming, it’s time to look for the perfect starts, and the smart sits heading into this week. 

Start Em

Russell Wilson

Wilson is the corniest dude in the NFL and makes Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air look cooler than Fonzie, but he’s still been absolutely destroying defenses as of late. The Seahawks quarterback has a different routine than “The Carlton,” but it’s something he’s been doing for years.

It begins with a slow start to the season while he runs for his life behind an always-awful offensive line and struggles out of the gate. When people start doubting him, he heats up a little bit until he completely explodes during the middle of the season, the point we are currently at. In his last two games, Wilson has thrown for nearly 800 yards and seven touchdowns. If his arm isn’t enough, just look at how he’s killed the Redskins in the past with his legs.

The Redskins may have kept Dak Prescott at bay last week, but they’re still only 18th in the league against quarterbacks in ESPN leagues. A decent defense against a red-hot quarterback is something that clearly favors Wilson. Pencil him in as a must-start for your fantasy lineup.

Orleans Darkwa

With players like Le’Veon Bell, Jerrick McKinnon, Melvin Gordon, James White, Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard all on byes, there are plenty of holes in many rosters across fantasy leagues. Darkwa is most likely on your waiver wires still as he’s owned in just 38.9% of ESPN fantasy leagues, so if you’re in a pickle, he’s your guy.

Yes, he’s coming off a poor showing against the Seahawks, but let’s not assume this is how the rest of his season will go. Two weeks prior to his stinker against the Seahawks, he put up 12 points in back-to-back weeks in standard scoring settings, and even tore up a Broncos defense that has shut down everyone this season.

He may not be someone who you want to trot out each and every week, but you’ll definitely love playing him against the Rams. LA is currently 31st against fantasy running backs this season, and have given up eight scores on the ground. They’re not only prone to the big play, but have given up a steady 4.6 yards per carry. If you find a spot open on your roster, feel free to plug in Darkwa and rake in the points.

Devin Funchess 

The big news out of Carolina’s wide receiver corp may be the fact that the team is missing one 6’5 dreaded and will be forever, but it’s time to get over it and focus on the man who’s going to benefit from his absence, Devin Funchess.

While he has had a solid 8.3 targets per game thus far this season, he’s still going to see his workload increase. Benjamin was dumped because him and Funchess are the exact same type of player, and Carolina clearly is happier keeping Funch moving forward. They wouldn’t have kept him if they didn’t have a plan to feed him early and often.

As for his matchup this week, it couldn’t have come at a better time to prove his worth. The Falcons may appear like they’re a top defense against wide receivers as they’re currently 11th in fantasy, but it’s easy to tell that this team has struggled against the No. 1 option. Over the last three weeks, Atlanta has given up a score to Brandin Cooks, Robby Anderson, and Jarvis Landry. Look for that streak to continue as the best option remaining in Carolina goes off in a likely shootout.

Adrian Peterson 

Peterson has been extremely tough to predict ever since he became a Cardinal. It may be his hatred for this list as a whole as he’s done the total opposite of what I’ve projected, but it’s time to give him another shot on as a starter this week.

If you’re trying to figure out if he’ll be the player who racked up 134 yards and two touchdowns, or the one who sh*t all over his leg when he had just 21 yards on 11 carries against the Rams. Making the decision must be tough, but all you need to do is look at the worst-ranked 49ers defense to feel at peace with your decision.

The 49ers have given up the third-most rushing yards in the league and the second-most touchdowns. They get absolutely carved up on a weekly basis, and now, they’ll be going against a Cardinals team that happens to be coming off a bye. That gives AP another week to rest and learn the playbook, making him a fantastic fantasy start this week.

Michael Thomas

Thomas has been a huge disappointment to those who drafted him in the early rounds this season, but he’s beginning to show that he’s on his way to breaking out. In the last two weeks, he’s put up at least seven catches and 70 yards, indicating he’s still an intricate part of this offense.

Of course, fantasy owners aren’t looking for those mediocre numbers listed above. They’re looking for players to own the boxscore and make your opponents audibly say “f*ck” when they realize they’re playing against a stud. Since Thomas is going against the 32nd-ranked Bucs defense, it’s safe to say that breakout potential is there.

The fact that the Bucs are heading to the Super Dome makes it even more likely that the team that is historically better at home will go off on offense. If New Orleans is going to put up points, expect Thomas to be on the receiving end.

Sit Em

Marcus Mariota 

It’s unclear what Mariota is chewing on in this picture, but before you decide to start him, chew on this. Ever since he returned from injury, he has thrown just one touchdown. He may still give this team the best chance to win games, but that absolutely doesn’t transfer over to success for your fantasy team.

He hasn’t broken 20 points once this season, and hasn’t scored over 15 since he shocked the Seahawks all the way back in Week 3. What makes matters worse is the defense that happens to be coming to town, the Baltimore Ravens.

Baltimore has no reason to scare anyone, unless you’re a fantasy owner trying to start a quarterback against them. Over the past five weeks, here are there point totals of QBs in ESPN standard scoring leagues: Big Ben (10), Dereck Carr (11), Mitch Trubisky (9), Case Keenum (5), and Matt Moore (3). We don’t have to pretend that all of those quarterbacks are exactly lighting the league on fire, but then again, neither is Mariota. He’s been a fringe starter all season, and fails to make the leap this week.

DeVontae Freeman

Freeman is a tough player to sit. When you waste an early round pick on a player of his caliber, you rarely want to pull him from your lineup as you’ll be the laughing stock of the league when he goes off.

The decision is not easy, but you have to look at the man’s ceiling to truly understand if he’s worth the stubborn start this week. It would be one thing if he was going against a cupcake defense, but he happens to be going against one of the hottest units in football fantasy-wise, the Carolina Panthers. They’ve given up zero touchdowns in the last three weeks, and are currently fourth against running backs. This alone isn’t enough of a reason to bench him, but combined with his currently questionable status, he becomes an easy sit.

The Panthers defense has been going up, while he’s been cooling off. Freeman has not registered over 12 carries since his Week 4 matchup against Buffalo, something that isn’t going to change now that he’s injured. With such a small window of opportunity, just got your losses and store him on your fantasy bench this week.

Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles may be the best team in the NFC right now, but there will be a lot of Philly hate heading their way in this article. This isn’t trashing the city of Philadelphia by references about how the city idolizes a statue of a movie character or how the fact that they’re success is about as likely as Joel Embiid playing over 70 games this season, but more about the team’s matchup against Denver. For Alshon Jeffery, this matchup automatically removes him from contention of a starting nod.

As you may have heard, the Broncos have arguably the best secondary in the NFL. The No Fly Zone specializes in taking top wideouts out of games, including receivers that are much more consistent than Jeffery. He’s had more than four catches just once this season, and has become extremely touchdown dependent. Betting on him reeling one in against this kind of unit is just too risky.

Travis Kelce

Realistically, the chance you bench Kelce can probably fit in between his fingers in the gif above. He’s one of the best tight ends in fantasy this season and is coming off of two straight weeks of scores. He’s a man owners have had the luxury of relying on this season. Still, don’t come crying to me when he puts up a dud against one of the best defenses against the tight end in the NFL this season.

Over the year, the Cowboys have given up just one touchdown which came back in Week 2, and haven’t given up over 60 yards to a single tight end all season. Fantasy owners might not be convinced to find a streaming option, but at least this message can be heard loud and clear by DFS players this week: stay away from Kelce.

Jay Ajayi

Two different Eagles sitting on the sit side of this article may seem like a target against Philly, but that’s just the way things go when you face the Broncos. Ajayi doesn’t find his way on this list as some sort of twisted revenge for failing to live up to last week’s hype, but because it’s too difficult to have any sort of big numbers in his first game with the Eagles. Just listen to his new coach.

That statement right there is essentially Pederson picking up a megaphone and screaming BENCH THIS MAN as loud as he can. If a small workload wasn’t already enough of a deterrent, here’s your friendly reminder that he’s going against a team that has given up a measly 3 yards per carry and a grand total of zero touchdowns on the ground.

Even if he had a bunch of opportunities, his fantasy value would still be low. You can keep your hopes high for him the rest of the season, but as for this week, keep him far away from your lineup.