Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em: Week 9

Tua Tagovailoa

After a relatively painless bye week in Week 8, Week 9 offers up another challenging slate, with many fantasy stars unavailable.

That makes knowing which players to start and who to sit crucial towards fielding a winning lineup . Here are some unheralded starters to consider this week and some other options to consider sitting as we head into Week 8 of the 2021 NFL season.

Week 9 byes: Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Football Team


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Tua Tagovialoa (QB) Miami Dolphins

We have seen Tua on this list a lot and here he is again. He struggled last week against the Buffalo Bills, but just about everybody struggles against the Bills’ defense who are allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. I fully expect Tua to bounce back this week against the Houston Texans.

Houston is allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and that ranking is better than it should be. Teams are often blowing out the Texans so they just stop throwing. It’s not a lock that the 1-7 Dolphins, who lost to the Jags and Falcons, and their terrible defense are a lock to blow out anybody. So Tua may be throwing all game long. 

The Dolphins should have close to a full complement of passing weapons minus Will Fuller. With a great matchup and weapons to throw to Tua should bounce back and have a big game like he had the previous two weeks before they went up against the Bills. 

Boston Scott (RB) Philadelphia Eagles

As I mentioned last week, it was very possible Scott and not Kenneth Gainwell would be the main back in Philly. He got even more work than expected and didn’t relinquish the RB1 role until the game was completely out of hand and the backups were in. Jordan Howard will steal a lot of goal-line work, but Scott will still see work as we saw last week when he scored two touchdowns. 

Scott is a real-life RB1 going up against a Chargers’ defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs. He is worth starting every week until Miles Sanders returns and then we will re-evaluate the backfield. 

Darrell Williams (RB) Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs are making it a point to establish a rushing attack and Williams is the top back in KC right now. If he is getting double-digit carries and targets in that offense his upside is immense. The offense hasn’t been the offense we are used to seeing, but it’s more likely they get back on track than continue to struggle all season. Do not be afraid of the struggles of the passing game or Derrick Gore. Gore will get work but he’s the clear RB2 and will not steal Williams’s spot because they don’t like him in pass blocking or catching. 

DeVante Parker (WR) Miami Dolphins

When Parker gets on the field he’s always the clear WR1 in Miami. He returned last week and caught eight of 11 targets for 85 yards. The targets will be there again this week, he will perform even better against a significantly worse defense and he’s a threat in the end zone in a game where the Dolphins should be scoring TDs. The only concern is he gets injured and leaves early and we can’t predict that. So plug him in and don’t worry about him. 

Emmanuel Sanders (WR) Buffalo Bills

This is a reminder not to worry about Sanders after he gave you nothing last week. He struggled against the Dolphins last week and gave you no points. That sucks but it’s okay. Miami got Xavien Howard and Byron Jones back last week and Josh Allen couldn’t do anything on the outside. The Dolphins’ defense has been awful but they still have elite starting corners. In the second half, we saw Allen target Cole Beasley over and over. That’s the only area he had success. That won’t be the case this week against the Jags. He should be back in your lineup again and will bounce back. 

Tyler Conklin (TE) Minnesota Vikings

Conklin saw seven targets last week and caught five of them for 58 yards. Only Adam Thielen saw more targets. This week the Vikings take on the Ravens. The Ravens are allowing the 10th-fewest fantasy points to receivers and the most fantasy points to tight ends. This is the best possible matchup Conklin can have and it’s clear he’s a big part of this offense. He’s a low-end TE1 this week and should be started. 


Trevor Lawrence (QB) Jacksonville Jaguars

Lawrence goes up against the Bills this week and can’t be started. It’s that simple. Buffalo’s defense is allowing the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks, the fewest fantasy points to running backs, the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers, and the eighth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. You need to consider sitting everyone against the Bills unless you have an absolute stud going up against them. The Jags have no studs and everyone on that offense should be benched. 

Mike Davis (RB) Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta takes on a brutal Saints’ rush defense this week and Davis isn’t a very good running back. He is tough to trust in any matchup now that Cordarrelle Patterson has taken over as the top back for the Falcons. The combination of a lack of talent, loss of volume, and a bad matchup make Davis an easy sit. Your only hope is he catches five or six passes and falls into the end zone. It’s not impossible, but I’m not banking on the ceiling of a low-upside plodder. 

Adrian Peterson (RB) Tennessee Titans

Peterson could easily come out and make me look stupid, but I’m not willing to start him days after he joined the team. We aren’t sure how the touches will be distributed or if Peterson will get close to what his full workload will eventually be this week. Tennessee also has a tough matchup against Aaron Donald and the Rams this week. Take a wait-and-see approach with Peterson. Don’t rush him into your lineup unless you have no choice. 

Courtland Sutton (WR) Denver Broncos

Sutton scares me right now. Teddy Bridgewater has looked atrocious for weeks and Jerry Jeudy is back and will continue to see more and more snaps. Last week Jeudy saw four targets and caught all four of them for 39 yards. Sutton caught two of four targets for 40 yards. So Jeudy saw the same amount of targets, Bridgewater was more successful when throwing to him and he only played 38 snaps. There is a high chance Sutton falls back to be being a clear and even distant WR2 in this offense and I’m benching him until I see that he isn’t. I’m not sure this passing attack is good enough to sustain two viable fantasy receivers. 

DeVonta Smith (WR) Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles’ passing attack has been spotty and best and Jalen Hurts has looked bad throwing the football. Smith has been inconsistent all season and this week takes on the Chargers who are allowing the fewest fantasy points to wideouts. He’s only managed to top 65 yards 3 times this season and has failed to reach 80 yards in all but one game. More alarmingly he’s failed to hit 35 yards in half of his games. On top of his inconsistency catching passes and putting up yards he has just one TD all season, the same amount of fumbles he’s lost. He’s on my bench this week and most weeks until those numbers start to change. 

George Kittle (TE) San Francisco 49ers

Kittle is expected back this week and I don’t think you can start him immediately. He has been out for a long time and wasn’t all that great before he got hurt. He also is taking on the Arizona Cardinals who are allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to tight ends. There are too many red flags here for me to throw Kittle back in the lineup this week. Leave him on your bench this week and if he comes out looking decent plug him in next week in a more favorable matchup. 


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