Sit and start is relative and league-dependent, so consider some of these suggestions more “fliers” and “fades” (note that some are targeted for DFS).
Good luck with your Week 9 lineups.
Indianapolis Colts @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Sit: Jacoby Brissett
Start: Jaylen Samuels
Brissett’s facing a Pittsburgh defense that has shut down fantasy QBs this year and he’ll be without T.Y. Hilton (making Zach Pascal an intriguing flier). Brissett has gotten just 5.8 YPA on the road this season and shouldn’t be treated as a top-20 QB in Week 9.
With James Conner and Benny Snell unlikely to play this week, Samuels becomes a top-10 running back against a Colts defense that ranks 29th in run defense DVOA. Samuels is recovering from a knee scope but has practiced in full two weeks in a row and is a must-start in DFS ($12).
Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Start: Kenny Stills, Chris Conley
Stills disappointed last week but remains in a favorable situation with Will Fuller sidelined (and Keke Coutee benched). He’s in the top-20 in yards per route run this season and should benefit from seeing a lot of beatable Tre Herndon in London.
Conley has a higher WOPR than teammate D.J. Chark over the last two weeks (as well as Odell Beckham and Cooper Kupp) and gets a Texans defense that’s stout against the run but has yielded the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season (and Dede Westbrook remains banged up).
Washington Redskins @ Buffalo Bills
Sit: Terry McLaurin
Start: Devin Singletary
McLaurin is going to be a superstar for a long time, and savvy dynasty leaguers should treat him as an invaluable commodity, but he’s up against it this week, when he’ll have a still-raw Dwayne Haskins throwing to him against a Buffalo defense that’s ceded the fourth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. This barn burner has the lowest total (36.5 points) of any game so far this season, but at least Washington’s typically finish super quick (Adrian Peterson is a strong flex option in this matchup).
Singletary saw a season-high 68% of the snaps last week when he was also given six targets. He’s among the league leaders with 3.1 YPC after contact as a rookie and should continue to get more touches, especially this week with the Bills as near double-digit home favorites.
Tennessee Titans @ Carolina Panthers
Start in DFS: Derrick Henry ($19), D.J. Moore
Henry gets a Carolina run-funnel defense that enters ranked third against the pass yet last versus the rush in DVOA. The Panthers have quietly allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs this season.
Moore has seen 8+ targets in three straight games and is due for major TD regression. He may even see increased volume Sunday with Curtis Samuel banged up (although he’s expected to play) and against a Tennessee defense that ranks No. 2 against the run but No. 20 versus the pass in DVOA.
Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles
Sit: David Montgomery
Start in DFS: Zach Ertz ($16)
Montgomery is coming off his best game as a pro, and there’s no doubt Chicago would love to feature him heavily again this week, but they are road underdogs against a Philadelphia front seven that’s allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season.
Dallas Goedert has emerged as a legit option, but Ertz is second only to Travis Kelce in air yards among tight ends this season and ranks third in WOPR over the last month (when he also leads the Eagles in air yards share). Now is the time to buy Ertz.
Minnesota Vikings @ Kansas City Chiefs
Start: Alexander Mattison, Matt Moore
For those in deeper leagues dealing with byes and injuries, Mattison is a viable flex option against a KC defense that’s easily been the friendliest to fantasy running backs over the last five games.
Moore’s at home in a strong system with a bunch of weapons at his disposal and the Chiefs are unlikely to have much success running against Minnesota. It’s a recipe for Moore to approach QB1 status in Week 9.
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins
Start: Robby Anderson, Mark Walton
Finally, Anderson gets a favorable matchup. After going through a weekly gamut against the league’s elite corners, he’s set to face plenty of Ryan Lewis, who’s yielded the most fantasy points per route run of all corners this season. It’s also a good week to pay up for Le’Veon Bell in DFS.
The Dolphins are winless, and the Jets defend the run pretty well, but volume is on the side of Walton, who led all NFL running backs in snap% last week. Miami’s clear workhorse with Kenyan Drake gone, Walton projects for a good amount of touches Sunday and is undervalued in DFS.
Detroit Lions @ Oakland Raiders
Start: T.J. Hockenson, Derek Carr
Hockenson has failed to reach 35 yards in a game since his Week 1 eruption, but the Lions can’t run, and this game projects as a high-scoring affair with an over/under of 50.5 points. The Raiders have been one of the best fantasy matchups for tight ends over the last five games.
Carr has somewhat quietly been one of the best quarterbacks in the league this year, and he too should benefit from a high-scoring affair during the Raiders’ first game in Oakland in 49 days. The Lions’ defense is also fading with Darius Slay banged up and Quandre Diggs traded, so treat Carr as a borderline top-five QB this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Seattle Seahawks
Start: Jameis Winston, DK Metcalf
Winston is always a pick-six threat, but he’s setup for another big fantasy game in this week’s highest projected scoring matchup. Don’t let the Seattle venue scare you, as the Seahawks have recorded just 13 sacks over eight games this year, making Winston an easy QB1 option this week.
Metcalf enters top-10 in red-zone targets and first in end-zone targets this season, and he gets a highly favorable matchup this week against a Tampa Bay funnel-defense that ranks first against the run but 26th versus the pass in DVOA.
Cleveland Browns @ Denver Broncos
Sit: Odell Beckham Jr.
Start: Noah Fant
I originally had Baker Mayfield as my sit here before realizing that was far too obvious, which tells you all you need to know about the Browns’ season and the QB I had ranked No. 3 on my draft board. Beckham is still worth using in most leagues, but expectations need to be tempered to WR3 status against a Chris Harris-led Denver defense that has shut down receivers as well as any team over the last month.
Fant was the biggest beneficiary of Emmanuel Sanders leaving, seeing a career-high eight targets last week. This is more of a deep league flier with unknown Brandon Allen starting at QB (although that does mesh well with the old narrative of young QBs relying on tight ends), but Fant should be looking at decent volume (Jeff Heuerman has also been ruled out) at a thin position, and the rookie’s workout metrics were about as good as it gets.
Green Bay Packers @ Los Angeles Chargers
Start: Jamaal Williams, Philip Rivers
Williams has been lucky to have recorded a receiving TD in three straight games, but he remains consistently involved in Green Bay’s offense and gets a Chargers defense that’s been about as friendly as any team to fantasy running backs over the last five games.
LA can’t run the ball (or play defense), and Rivers should benefit in a potentially high-scoring game. He now has a healthier Keenan Allen to go along with Hunter Henry, Mike Williams (who leads the NFL in air yards over the last four weeks and remains the league’s biggest regression candidate) and a running back in Austin Ekeler who leads football in yards per route run (Aaron Jones is second), so treat Rivers as an easy top-10 QB this week.
New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens
Sit: Tom Brady, Marquise Brown
Brady has gotten 6.6 YPA on the road this year and gets a well-coached Baltimore defense that’s better at home and has had two weeks to prepare (while getting Jimmy Smith back). There are at least a dozen better QB options than Brady this week.
Brown looks ready to return Sunday night, but it’s unclear if he’s 100%, and he’ll be up against Stephon Gilmore and a Patriots secondary that’s ceded the fewest fantasy points to outside receivers this season.
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
Start in DFS: Michael Gallup ($23)
Sit: Golden Tate
Gallup disappointed last week but is ready to bounce back against a burnable Giants secondary that’s allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to his primary side. Despite having Amari Cooper as a teammate, Gallup has a higher target share this season than Julio Jones, Tyler Lockett, Adam Thielen, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. More touchdowns are certain to come.
Tate is coming off three straight solid games in which he’s totaled 30 targets, but Sterling Shepard is set to return Monday night, and the Cowboys have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to the slot this season, where Tate has aligned 88% of the time.