Fantasy Football Week 9: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Trust Tua and Other Dolphins
Start and sit decisions each week in fantasy football is a challenging thing to balance. Which players you start versus who you leave on the bench will often come back to bite you.
In this weekly Start/Sit article, I’ll aim to guide you in making those difficult decisions. Each week of football presents a whole new list of opportunities for players you may not think about starting. The same goes for higher-profile players. It may not always be sunshine and rainbows for your “every week” starters. There will be weeks that force you to make the tough choice to bench a great player.
My goal is to provide you with enough information to help you make roster decisions that you will feel confident about and have it work out for you each week.
If you have any questions for Nate, follow him on Twitter at @DomiNateFF!
Fantasy Football Week 9 Starts
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins (vs Houston Texans)
Tua had a rough game last week. It was expected as the Buffalo Bills defense is among the best in the league. He still managed to throw over 200 yards and ran in a score, so he wasn’t a complete dud.
Prior to last week, Tagovailoa had totaled 65 completions, 620 passing yards, and 6 touchdowns in Week 6 & 7. He has a valuable weapon back on the field in DeVante Parker, who he targeted 11 times last week. Tua has a much better matchup this week as well.
The Houston Texans have given up the 7th most fantasy points to quarterbacks. They have allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for multiple touchdown passes in 5 of 8 games. The Texans have also allowed a quarterback to rush for a touchdown 4 times this year.
Additional Week 9 QB Starts:
- Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (@ New York Giants)
- Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers (@ Kansas City Chiefs)
Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers (vs Arizona Cardinals)
Elijah Mitchell has been amazing for the 49ers in his last 2 games. He rushed 18 times for over 100 yards and a touchdown in each game.
This is one of those cases where the matchup shouldn’t scare you off of him. Mitchell will face the Arizona Cardinals who have given up the 7th fewest fantasy points to running backs. They have allowed just 2 rushing touchdowns from the position this year, however, they have allowed a running back to rush for over 65 yards 5 times. Last week, the Cardinals gave up a total of 137 rushing yards and a touchdown to Green Bay’s backfield. They also allowed Aaron Jones to catch 7 balls for 51 receiving yards.
Elijah Mitchell was a key player in the 49ers victory last week. He was able to run for over 100 yards against a middle-of-the-pack Chicago defense and against the 3rd best defense versus running backs the week prior. He should continue to be an every-week starter.
Additional Week 9 RB Starts:
- A.J. Dillon, Green Bay Packers (@ Kansas City Chiefs)
- Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles (vs Los Angeles Chargers)
DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins (vs Houston Texans)
DeVante Parker (when healthy) has been a top target for Tua Tagovailoa this season. Although Parker missed 3 consecutive games (weeks 5, 6, & 7) with hamstring and shoulder injuries, there has yet to be an active game in which Parker had fewer than 7 targets.
Parker has 43 targets in 5 games. Tua could not wait for Parker to return and it showed in Week 8. Tagovailoa targeted DeVante Parker 11 times against the Buffalo Bills. This tied for the team-high with teammate, Jaylen Waddle. Parker was much more productive with his opportunities, catching double the number of balls than Waddle. He caught 8 of his 11 targets for 85 yards. This was in his first game back since Week 3, against one of the best defenses in the league.
If Tua Tagovailoa can lean on Parker through the good and bad matchups, it should instill confidence in starting DeVante Parker every week.
Additional Week 9 WR Starts:
- Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills (@ Jacksonville Jaguars)
- Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns (@ Cincinnati Bengals)
Jared Cook, Los Angeles Chargers (@ Philadelphia Eagles)
Jared Cook hasn’t been a consistent option at tight end this season. The same can be said for pretty much every tight end with the exception of 1-3 players.
Cook does have a couple of touchdowns on the season and has been targeted 5 or more times in 5 of 7 games. Volume is what you want out of your tight end. The more volume, the more opportunities to score fantasy points.
The Eagles defense has given up the 5th most fantasy points to tight ends this year. They have allowed 6 touchdowns from a tight end since Week 3. They have also allowed 60 or more yards to the position in the last 2 games.
Additional Week 9 TE Starts:
- Dan Arnold, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs Buffalo Bills)
- Tyler Conklin, Minnesota Vikings (@ Baltimore Ravens)
Fantasy Football Week 8 Sits
Teddy Bridgewater, Denver Broncos (@ Dallas Cowboys)
Fantasy football is truly a week-to-week roller coaster ride. Last week, I was very high on Teddy Bridgewater as he had been performing great and had an amazing matchup. Unfortunately, he threw for just 213 yards and 1 touchdown.
He threw the ball just 26 times in a tough game against the Washington Football Team. The Broncos won 17-10, but his numbers were not as expected from a fantasy perspective. If Bridgewater had trouble against Washington, he will likely continue his struggles against a much better defense in the Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas is coming off a huge win without their star quarterback, Dak Prescott. A huge reason for their win was their performance on defense. They held Kirk Cousins to just 184 yards and 1 touchdown. I’d expect the Broncos will want to run the ball as much as possible to keep the Cowboys explosive offense off the field. The stars are not aligning for Bridgewater in Week 9.
Additional Week 9 QB Sits:
- Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (vs Los Angeles Chargers)
- Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (vs Arizona Cardinals)
Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles (vs Los Angeles Chargers)
Kenneth Gainwell evenly split carries with Boston Scott and Jordan Howard in last week’s 44-6 victory over the Detroit Lions. The backfield totaled 37 carries for 144 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns! Gainwell even had 13 carries to Scott and Howard’s 12. Unfortunately, for Gainwell, he was the least effective back of the group.
Boston Scott ran 12 times for 60 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Jordan Howard also ran 12 times for 57 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kenneth Gainwell rushed for just 27 yards. He did not have a single target and did not join the running back touchdown party.
The Eagles have a great matchup for running backs in Week 9. The Los Angeles Chargers have given up the 5th most points to the position. After last week’s performance, we could see the Eagles coaching staff given more opportunities to the veteran running backs. It would be a risky play to utilize Gainwell in your fantasy lineups, regardless of the favorable matchup.
Additional Week 9 RB Sits:
- James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs Buffalo Bills)
- Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos (@ Dallas Cowboys)
DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles (vs Los Angeles Chargers)
DeVonta Smith is an exciting player to watch. He often looks like the best player on the field when he has the ball. His production just hasn’t been consistent this year. Having to play him based on matchups has been frustrating, but it’s reality.
Last week the Eagles relied on their run game to win for them. They may have to do the same thing this week against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers’ defense has been one of the top defenses against quarterbacks and wide receivers. They have given up the 2 fewest fantasy points to wideouts this year.
Considering the inconsistencies that have come along with the rookie wideout, you just can’t trust he’ll perform this week. Especially coming off a week where Smith had just 1 catch for 15 yards and the team won 44-6. DeVonta Smith will not get the volume you want out of your wide receiver slot in your lineups.
Additional Week 9 WR Sits:
- Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears (@ Pittsburgh Steelers)
- Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots (@ Carolina Panthers)
Evan Engram, New York Giants (vs Las Vegas Raiders)
There are very few players that are start-worthy on the New York Giants and Evan Engram is not one of them. He does get the volume but he doesn’t convert it to much of anything. This may not be all of his fault as his quarterback, Daniel Jones isn’t the most efficient quarterback.
Engram has surpassed 50 receiving yards just once this season. He had 55 receiving yards in Week 5. He has just 1 touchdown, which he scored last week with just 3 receptions for 15 yards.
You may feel tempted to start Engram given the various injuries to the Giants’ wideouts and a favorable matchup for the tight end position against the Raiders. Stay away. The Giants have been dealing with injuries to many pass-catchers this year and Engram has not benefitted from it at all.
Additional Week 9 TE Sits:
- Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs Chicago Bears)
- Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns (@ Cincinnati Bengals)