Week 8 was not my best week in terms of hit rate. I only got 13 of 24 correct or a 54% hit rate. However, that makes six weeks of 54% or higher. For those who have been following my advice the last few weeks, we have been doing a lot of winning. If you have not, you need to take a hit of this tiger blood…
But enough about all of the winning. You are here for start/sit advice for week 9. And what a doozy of a week it is. There are SIX, you read that right, teams on bye this week. Week 9 of 2018 will now be referred to as bye-week-maggedon! I will be your guide through the dystopian landscape this week, leading you to a win. FOLLOW ME!
Derek Carr @ San Francisco 49ers
I do not like Carr as a quarterback, I just want that known up front. I also do not like this Raiders team as a whole in their first season under Gruden. That should tell you a lot about how much I like Carr this week. Carr is currently the QB20 in fantasy points per game. Last week Carr finished as the QB3 against the Indianapolis Colts. With running back Marshawn Lynch gone for the season, the Raiders may have to rely on Carr’s arm to keep them in games.
Carr and the Raiders have a good matchup in week 9. The 49ers rank 22nd against the pass in terms of DVOA. They allow the eighth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks as well. And this was with star linebacker Rueben Foster and safety Jaquiski Tartt. Foster and Tartt have been ruled out for week 9. Backup safety Antone Exum will also miss Thursday night with a concussion.
Carr has a good matchup that is even better with the 49ers injuries. In a week where streamers are necessary, Carr is a good one.
Alex Smith vs. Atlanta Falcons
Smith seems to have reverted back to his old, “Captain Checkdown” self after a spectacular 2017 with the Kansas City Chiefs. Smith ranks as QB29 in fantasy points per game. He ranks 26th in passing yards per game and tied for 24th in pass touchdowns. Smith is a below average quarterback in 2018.
The Falcons can make any quarterback look like a superstar. The Falcons rank 28th in DVOA against the pass. They have allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks in 2018. This includes a QB7 finish to New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who currently ranks as the QB28 in fantasy points per game. The Falcons have allowed four quarterbacks to finish with more than 30 fantasy points and six with over 24 fantasy points. In fact, only one starting quarterback has finished below 24 fantasy points, Nick Foles in week 1
While Smith has not been good in 2018, he faces a Falcons defense that is weak against the pass. Smith is a good streamer in week 9.
Joe Flacco vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Is Joe Flacco a good quarterback or not? Flacco currently ranks as QB23 in fantasy points per game. He has four games with over 22 fantasy points and four with 18 or fewer in 2018. The good news is that one of his best games came in week 4 against his week 9 opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Steelers have struggled against the pass in 2018. They have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. They also rank 23rd in DVOA against the pass. On the flip side, the Steelers have been stout against the run, ranking 11th in DVOA and allowing the sixth-fewest rushing yards per game.
The Ravens will need to rely on Flacco’s arm again to beat the Steelers. Flacco is another good streamer in week 9.
Deshaun Watson @ Denver Broncos
Sitting Watson is admittedly a little risky. Watson is currently the QB12 in fantasy points per game. He finished as the QB1 for week 8 by throwing five touchdowns on only 20 pass attempts. Watson actually had more touchdowns than incompletions in week 8. That simply is not sustainable. Not to mention that he lost one of his favorite targets in Will Fuller to an ACL injury. To replace Fuller, the Texans traded for former Denver Bronco Demaryius Thomas. However, it will take DT a couple weeks to get incorporated in the offense. Watson has also been playing through some injuries. Injuries bad enough to force him to take a bus instead of fly with the team to Miami in week 8.
The Broncos have taken a step back as a defense since the vaunted 2015 season. However, they have done relatively OK against the pass despite trading star cornerback Aqib Talib in the offseason. The Broncos rank second in DVOA against the pass and have allowed the 11th-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. On the other hand, the Broncos have struggled against the run. They rank 28th in DVOA and at one point allowed back to back 200 yard or more rushing games to running backs.
The Texans leaned on running back Lamar Miller in week 8 to protect Watson. This likely will continue in week 9 with an injury-depleted pass game and a defense who is vulnerable against the run.
Marcus Mariota @ Dallas Cowboys
Bad quarterback, good defense. Fantasy football does not need to be difficult. Mariota ranks as QB34 in fantasy points per game in 2018. The Cowboys have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. The Titans have scored the third-fewest points per game. The Cowboys have allowed the second-fewest points per game. Do not start Mariota in week 9.
Dak Prescott vs. Tennessee Titans
Prescott has almost the exact same story as Mariota. He ranks as QB24 in 2018. The Titans have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. The Cowboys have scored the seventh-fewest points per game. The Titans have allowed the third-fewest points per game. Amari Cooper will not make a big difference in week 9. Do not start either quarterback in this matchup. The over/under is the lowest in week 9 at 41. Avoid Dak.
Nick Chubb vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Chubb has finally gotten his shot after the Browns traded Carlos Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars. In his first two starts, Chubb has 36 carries for 145 yards and one touchdown. This includes a tough matchup against the Steelers in week 8. The Browns are also in a bit of turmoil with the firings of head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. New offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens, who has never been a coordinator at any level, may rely on conservative play calling to start. This is good news for Chubb.
Luckily, Kitchens gets his first taste as a coordinator against a bad defense in the Kansas City Chiefs. This matchup is also good news for Chubb. The Chiefs dead last in DVOA against the run. They have allowed the most fantasy points to running backs as well. Chiefs starting linebacker Anthony Hitchens suffered a rib injury in week 8 and could miss week 9, which will affect the Chiefs run defense.
Chubb should get plenty of opportunity against a bad run defense in week 9. Start him with confidence.
Isaiah Crowell @ Miami Dolphins
Crowell has been inconsistent in 2018. He has three games with 19 or more fantasy points and five with less than eight fantasy points. Regardless, with Bilal Powell being placed on IR and Elijah McGuire just returning from IR, Crowell has an opportunity for a ton of volume.
That volume could not come at a better time. The Dolphins allow the third-most fantasy points per game to running backs. They also allow the third-most rushing yards per game.
With two relatively poor passing offenses, this game could come down to the run games. Crowell could and should see a lot of work in week 9.
Latavius Murray vs. Detroit Lions
I have put Murray on my sit list a couple of times over the last few weeks. He has burned me both times. The last three weeks, Murray has averaged the eighth-most fantasy points per game among running backs. He has the fourth-most yards and is tied for the most rushing touchdowns over that span. With Cook returning to practice and the Vikings upcoming week 10 bye, this may be the last chance Murray has to have a dominant game.
And boy does he have the chance. The Lions rank 30th in DVOA against the run. They have allowed the second-most rush yards per game and the seventh-most fantasy points per game to running backs. The Lions defense has been decent against the pass as well, allowing the seventh-fewest yards per game through the air.
While the Vikings have two dominant wide receivers, Murray should get plenty of run against the Lions in week 9.
Tevin Coleman @ Washington Redskins
With Devonta Freeman out of the picture, many figured Coleman would be a borderline RB1. That has not been the case. Coleman is only averaging 3.8 yards per carry, the lowest of his career. Rookie running back Ito Smith has also been taking carries from Coleman.
Coleman and Smith a very good Washington defense in week 9. A defense that got better with the addition of safety Ha-Ha Clinton Dix at the trade deadline. Washington has allowed the second-fewest rushing yards per game and the eighth-fewest fantasy points to running backs per game.
With Coleman and Smith splitting touches against a good defense, it would be best to sit Coleman in week 9.
James Conner @ Baltimore Ravens
This one is a bit controversial. Conner has been phenomenal in Le’Veon Bell’s absence, ranking as the RB4 in points per game in 2018. Conner has one game in 2018 that did not score double-digit fantasy points. That game was against the Baltimore Ravens in week 4.
The Ravens defense has been one of the best in the league in 2018. Against the run, the Ravens rank fifth overall in DVOA. The Ravens allow the fewest fantasy points per game to running backs as well. There is a reason that Conner struggled the first time around against the Ravens and will struggle in week 9.
Alex Collins vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
In PPR, Collins has been serviceable. He definitely has not lived up to his draft position, but h has not killed you. Currently, Collins ranks as the RB28 in fantasy points per game. Unfortunately, Collins is splitting touches with Buck Allen, who takes a lot of goal-line work and most of the pass down snaps. This is not conducive to great fantasy days.
Even worse is that Collins has a bad matchup in week 9. The Steelers, as was discussed above under Joe Flacco, have been good against the run. The Steelers allow the sixth-fewest yards per game on the ground and the second-fewest fantasy points per game to running backs.
This game will be won through the air. Sit Collins.
Devin Funchess vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A lot of people though Funchess would fall off with the return of tight end Greg Olsen and drafting of wide receiver DJ Moore. Well, Olsen reinjured his foot and Moore started off slow. Funchess is second to running back Christian McCaffrey, 23 more than third on the team. He also leads the team in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Funchess ranks as the WR34 in fantasy points per game.
Funchess gets the best matchup any wide receiver could ask for in the Bucs. The Bucs defense ranks last in the league in DVOA against the pass, 27th against WR1s, and 31st against WR2s. They have allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. The Bus also allow the most points per game.
The Panthers have a juicy matchup in week 9 and Funchess should have several chances to score.
John Brown vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown has been one of my favorite stories of 2018. After several injury-plagued seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, Smokey has had a phenomenal first half of 2018 with the Ravens. Brown ranks as WR26 in fantasy points per game and is the Ravens best pass-catcher on the season.
As has been discussed a couple of times above, the Steelers have struggled against the pass. They have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers.
Against the Steelers in week 4, Brown put up 116 yards and one touchdown. One can expect another good performance from smokey in week 9.
Danny Amendola vs. New York Jets
This feels weird. Back-to-back weeks with Amendola on my starts list. It worked out last week, though not how I thought it would. Against the Texans in week 9, Amendola caught 5-of-6 passes for 43 yards. He also threw a touchdown. The Dolphins find themselves in the same situation as last week. Amendola is the safety valve for quarterback Brock Osweiler. Over the past three weeks, Amendola has averaged 16.2 fantasy points per game.
The Jets have struggled against wide receivers this season. They have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers. They especially struggle against slot receivers. The Jets have given up big games to Golden Tate, Albert Wilson, Dede Westbrook, Emmanuel Sanders, Chester Rogers, Adam Thielen, and Anthony Miller this season. Is Amendola next? I think so.
Allen Robinson @ Buffalo Bills
Robinson has a very disappointing season. Maybe that has to do with his changing teams or his first season coming back from an ACL injury. Regardless, he has not lived up to his draft position. Robinson is fourth on the Bears in receiving yards and tied for fourth on the team in touchdowns.
The Bills defense has been very good this season. They rank fourth in DVOA against the pass, allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers.
ARob has not been good this season. That trend should continue against the Bills in week 9.
Corey Davis @ Dallas Cowboys
See: Mariota, Marcus. But really, the same story as above. Bad offense versus good defense. Unfortunately, as talented as Davis is, he is hindered by his quarterback. Coupled with a Cowboys defense that has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers, Davis is going to have a bad week 9.
Doug Baldwin vs. Los Angeles Chargers
This is more about trustworthiness than anything. Since his return from injury, Baldwin has seven, one, eight, and three targets. The other side of this is that the Seahawks just do not throw. The Seahawks are last in the league in pass attempts and throw for the sixth-fewest passing yards per game. The emergence of wide receivers David Moore and Tyler Lockett has not helped either.
The Chargers have greatly improved on defense over the last three weeks. They have allowed the only 14.3 points per game. They are also allowing the third-fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers over the same timespan.
Inconsistent touches plus an improved defense equals a bad matchup for Baldwin in week 9.
OJ Howard @ Carolina Panthers
The tight end landscape is the true dystopian landscape in fantasy football right now. Who is going to do well in any given week is anyone’s guess. Howard has been one of the more consistent tight ends in 2018. Howard is the TE9 in fantasy points per game. He has 54 or more yards in 6-of-7 games.
The Panthers have allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends in the league. Over the last three games, The Panthers have allowed 332 yards and three touchdowns to tight ends. While the Panthers rank highly against WRs in DVOA, they are 28th against tight ends.
It is not hard to finish as a TE1 in 2018. With his matchup and relative consistency, Howard should be able to achieve that easily.
Chris Herndon @ Miami Dolphins
The Jets rookie tight end seems to be having a breakout. Herndon has scored in the last three games for the Jets, adding 114 yards. That is good for TE10 in fantasy points per game. Herndon has become a go-to target for quarterback Sam Darnold with the loss of Quincy Enunwa for several weeks to an ankle injury and Terrell Pryor being waived.
The Dolphins defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game over the last three games to tight ends. Miami ranks 26th against the pass overall.
Again, tight end is hard to predict. But a guy who gets red zone and end zone targets is your best bet. Start Herndon
Vance McDonald @ Baltimore Ravens
McDonald has shown he can be an absolute monster this season. He is having far and away his best season in the NFL, nearing his career high in receptions yards in only six games. McDonald has 47 or more yards in 4-of-6 games this season.
The last two games, the Ravens have allowed 43 or more yards and a touchdown to Ben Watson and Greg Olsen. The Ravens also rank 23rd in DVOA against tight ends. Against the Ravens in week 4, McDonald caught all five of his targets for 62 yards. While not the best matchup, McDonald will be fine in week 9 (hey, that rhymed!).
Geoff Swaim vs. Tennessee Titans
See: Prescott, Dak. One more time, bad offense, good defense. While Swaim had a good streak of games, his usage had been low over the last two. The Cowboys do not throw a lot either, throwing the third-fewest passes for the fourth fewest yards. The Titans have been good against the pass. They have allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to tight ends over the last three weeks. Really, the Titans have only allowed one double-digit fantasy game to tight ends. Outside of that, the most receiving yards the Titans have allowed is 21.
Once again, this is going to be an ugly, low scoring game. Best to avoid both passing games.
Mike Gisecki/Nick O’Leary vs. New York Jets
Not the hardest sits in the world here. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Both Gisecki and O’Leary have had some OK weeks. O’Leary had 49 yards and a touchdown in week 6. But the Dolphins have gotten the sixth-fewest fantasy points from the tight end positions. Neither will likely be useful against the Jets.
Against tight ends, the Jets have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points. They have only allowed one double-digit fantasy game to tight ends.
This game will likely be low scoring. The over/under is 45. There may not be much throwing the ball and therefore low targets for the tight ends. Sit ’em.
Trey Burton @ Buffalo Bills
This might be another controversial call. Burton has become a safety valve for quarterback Mitch Trubisky. This has resulted in Burton being the TE8 so far in the 2018 season.
However, as was discussed earlier, the Bills defense is good. The Bills allow the sixth-fewest total yards and passing yards per game. Against tight ends, the Bills rank fifth in DVOA. They have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends in 2018, eighth-fewest over the last three games.
Last week, the Bills held Tom Brady without a touchdown. The Bills defense is good and will keep Burton under wraps
So there we go. Hopefully, this helped to guide you through the apocalypse known as week 9 in the 2018 NFL season. And now we have come to the end of the road.
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