Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 9
We are now more than halfway through the 2023 fantasy football season. The playoffs are rapidly approaching, which means we have entered ‘must-win’ territory for many fantasy managers. But, complicating matters in Week 9 is a brutal bye week. Our Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 9 will help you maximize your waiver wire adds and get the most out of your lineup.
Jordan Love (Green Bay Packers) vs. Los Angeles Rams
It’s desperation week at quarterback, with four teams on a bye and a multitude of injuries plaguing the position. Fantasy managers will have no choice but to deploy Love in their lineups. His recent performance has been lackluster, with three consecutive games yielding fewer than 16 points.
However, the Rams’ defense has been porous against quarterbacks, with three of them exceeding 27 points since Week 4. Also, LA has given up a league-high four rushing touchdowns to the position. Meanwhile, Love has rushed for a score in two of his three games at Lambeau Field. It’s a gamble, but say a prayer and insert him into your starting lineup.
Gardner Minshew (Indianapolis Colts) at Carolina
Over the last three weeks, Minshew has maintained an average of 18.8 fantasy points per game. That ranks 10th among quarterbacks. He has thrown for at least 200 yards in each of these three games and has found the end zone seven times during that span.
Also, Indianapolis has one of the most favorable matchups for quarterbacks this week, as Carolina’s defense has allowed touchdowns on 5.2% of pass attempts, the fifth-highest rate in the league.
Additionally, the Colts tend to pass the ball 55.6% of the time when they have a lead, which is among the top 10 rates in the NFL. With several quarterbacks on a bye or unavailable due to injuries, Minshew is a viable option for fantasy managers facing tough decisions.
Sam Howell (Washington Commanders) at New England
Howell is coming off a remarkable game, throwing for 397 yards and four touchdowns in Philadelphia. However, his upcoming matchup against New England poses a greater challenge.
The Patriots’ defense has been formidable against quarterbacks at home. Only one quarterback has thrown for more than 250 yards in New England. Also, the Patriots limited Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa to subpar fantasy outings at Gillette. Bill Belichick will be able to scheme up a way to limit the turnover-prone Howell.
Darrell Henderson (Los Angeles Rams) at Green Bay
Henderson took the field for 48% of the snaps in Week 8, accumulating 12 carries and two targets. Although he continued to share snaps with Royce Freeman, he led the team in carries and touches. Frustratingly, Freeman stole a goal-line touchdown from Henderson. Nonetheless, Henderson has demonstrated a consistent performance, surpassing 11 fantasy points in both of his 2023 appearances.
This week, he could reach his fantasy ceiling against Green Bay. The Packers have allowed over 100 rushing yards per game and six rushing touchdowns to running backs in seven games. Also, they’ve given up a significant number of receptions to the position, making them the seventh-most generous defense to running backs in terms of fantasy points.
Chuba Hubbard (Carolina Panthers) vs. Indianapolis
Despite Miles Sanders’ return to full participation in practice, Hubbard retained his role as the primary early-down back in Week 8. He also took on the responsibility of third-down plays, while Sanders focused on running routes. Since taking over as the Panthers’ lead running back, Hubbard has averaged 11.7 fantasy points per game, ranking 26th among all running backs.
The Colts provide an excellent matchup for running backs, as they’ve allowed the second-highest fantasy points per game to the position. Hubbard should be a consistent fantasy starter moving forward and is a must-start option in this game.
Dameon Pierce (Houston Texans) vs. Tampa Bay
Pierce had a lackluster outing with just 4.6 fantasy points against the Panthers. He shared snaps with Devin Singletary, and it was Singletary who handled passing-down duties. Additionally, Pierce struggled at the goal line and just popped up on Houston’s injury report.
With his inconsistent performance and a matchup against the Bucs, who rank in the bottom 10 in rushing yards allowed to running backs, it’s advisable to avoid starting Pierce for the foreseeable future.
Alexander Mattison (Minnesota Vikings) at Atlanta
Mattison started the season well, finishing as a top-24 fantasy back in five of his first six games. However, he has fallen out of favor in recent weeks as Cam Akers has become more involved. The running back split between Mattison and Akers has been unpredictable, making it difficult to rely on either.
Furthermore, the Falcons have one of the league’s stingiest defenses against running backs, allowing the second-fewest fantasy points per game. Given these factors, it’s best to consider alternatives to Mattison in this matchup.
Nico Collins (Houston Texans) vs. Tampa Bay
In Week 8, the entire Houston offense, led by C.J. Stroud, struggled against the Carolina Panthers. Stroud only managed 140 passing yards in what should have been a favorable matchup, resulting in a disappointing performance for all receivers. However, Stroud will bounce back. And Collins, as his favorite target, should benefit.
Collins has received at least six targets in all but two games and, despite only having three touchdowns this season, he has a promising opportunity against the Buccaneers, who allow the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Expect the Texans to come out aggressively, with Stroud targeting Collins frequently. Collins is a solid WR2 option this week.
Amari Cooper (Cleveland Browns) vs. Arizona Cardinals
Cooper has consistently seen at least six targets per game this season, and his target volume has increased to at least eight when P.J. Walker is under center. Also, Cooper has recorded 85 or more receiving yards in two of his last three games.
While his performance has been somewhat inconsistent, it’s often tied to the quality of the opposing defense and quarterback play. The Browns have an advantageous matchup for wide receivers this week, with the Cardinals’ defense rated poorly. This sets up a favorable situation for Cooper to deliver a strong performance.
Jordan Addison (Minnesota Vikings) at Atlanta
Despite Addison’s undeniable talent and impressive rookie season, his fantasy outlook has become uncertain. With Kirk Cousins out for the season, Addison is likely to catch passes from rookie Jaren Hall in Week 9. Josh Dobbs could also play, but expecting immediate chemistry between a new quarterback and Addison is optimistic.
Finally, the Vikings also face a top-12 defense against receivers this week. And the likelihood of a more run-heavy game plan further diminishes Addison’s fantasy prospects. Fantasy manager who can’t afford to sit a talent like Addison would be advised to lower their expectations for this week’s matchup.
Josh Palmer (Los Angeles Chargers) at New York Jets
Palmer had a subpar performance in Week 8, with just three catches for 24 yards. His knee injury may still affect him in the upcoming matchup against the Jets, who have been the toughest on fantasy receivers. New York is allowing the fewest yards, touchdowns, and fantasy points per game to the position.
Palmer typically lines up outside, likely facing formidable cornerbacks in Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed. That duo has allowed an NFL-best one touchdown to a wide receiver all season. Given the Jets’ effectiveness against deep passes, Palmer is not a favorable option this week.
Taysom Hill (New Orleans Saints) vs. Chicago
It’s perplexing why Taysom Hill is still categorized as a QB/TE when his primary impact comes from his rushing abilities. Nevertheless, fantasy managers should exploit this designation and use him as a tight end.
Over the past three weeks, Hill has consistently delivered with at least eight touches per game, finishing as TE9, TE5, and TE1 in that span. His recent performances would be impressive even if he were classified as a running back.
Facing the Bears’ defense, which struggles against both tight ends and running backs, Hill is an appealing option for those dealing with injuries or bye weeks.
Cole Kmet (Chicago Bears) at New Orleans
Kmet has been productive this season, ranking seventh in fantasy points among tight ends. But he faces a challenging matchup this week. The Saints’ defense has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends and frequently employs man coverage, to which Kmet is less suited.
The Bears also are trotting out a backup signal-caller who didn’t target Kmet once in his first game before peppering him with targets last week. That inconsistent usage is troublesome. Also, considering this unfavorable matchup, it’s wise to explore other tight end options for the week.