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The Fantasy Life: Week 9 start/sit

Life is just a fantasy, can you live this fantasy life?

NFL: International Series-Philadelphia Eagles at Jacksonville Jaguars Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Some players are must starts (Aaron Rodgers, Alvin Kamara, and Rob Gronkowski, to name a few), but here we work to give you value and over-performers, depending on what type of fantasy format you are playing. At this point we are breaking up start/sit for Thursday and Sunday/Monday games. We apologize to those who must have complete lineups in by Thursday’s game.

Matt Phillips is a multiple fantasy football champion, and co-host of the podcast “Pigskin Dynasty: Your Podcast for All Things Fantasy Football”. You can find him on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Podbean, and other podcast mediums. He also has live episodes on Facebook every Sunday morning at 9:00 am EST.

With six teams on byes this week the picks get a bit thin, but we do our best to find that gem and lump of coal. Still a bit tattered from the Thursday night fiasco that was the Oakland Raiders. At least we got one of the tight end starts right.


QB Alex Smith, Redskins

If you follow this article weekly, you know I absolutely can’t stand Alex Smith. I think he is a bust, is overrated and in the fantasy world he has tremendously disappointed fantasy owners. He has failed to reach 200 yards passing in his last three games. So why am I starting him? The matchup is tasty! He faces the Falcons who rank 30th in passings yards allowed with 307. I can’t believe I am saying this...start Alex Smith

Projection: 245 yards passing with 3 total touchdowns

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bucs

FITZMAGIC is back baby! That beard isn’t weird! The Connor McGregor look a like it set to start against the Panthers, and while the matchup isn’t the best, he will throw the ball and I’m thinking a nice fantasy performance in a game they may be chasing points. I grabbed him off the waiver wire as my QB1 start.

Projection: 345 yards pass with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions

QB Mitchell Trubisky, Bears

The rushing yards he is obtaining is surprise and making him almost a must start. He has at least 47 rushing yards in his last three games. He also has 13 passing touchdowns in his last four games so I’m starting him against the awful Bills.

Projection: 252 yards passing with 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, and 45 rushing yards

RB Lamar Miller, Texans

He has been on a hot streak and I think the streak will continue this week with a matchup of the Broncos. Denver has allowed 125 rushing yards per game to opposing running backs so the running lanes should be opened for Miller to get his third straight 100 yard game.

Projection: 21 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown with 2 receptions for 15 yards

RB Aaron Jones, Packers

It’s amazing how one fumble from a teammate can catapult player stock. That is what happened with Jones who I sat last bad guys. He had his best day of the season with 86 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. With Montgomery gone, he should get more opportunities and he has been the better back over Jamal Williams. They are playing against the Patriots so the Packers may try to keep Brady off the field by running the ball.

Projection: 15 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown with 1 catch for 6 yards

RB Isiah Crowell, Jets

Powell is out; McGuire just got activated from IR. It is safe to say he should get a lot of touches and he is going up against the Dolphins who got carved up by Miller last week. Start him!

Projection: 13 carries for 74 yards, 1 touchdown with 2 receptions for 11 yards

WR Sammy Watkins, KC

Coming off a monster game, I believe Watkins continues his hot streak against a Browns team with an interim head coach and a defense that has yielded the fourth most yards and 8 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers.

Projection: 6 receptions for 72 yards and 1 touchdown

WR Courtland Sutton, Broncos

Probably the biggest waiver add of the week and rightfully so! He should be in line for a big game as the Broncos may be chasing points. His target volume should increase with Thomas gone. The Texans also rank 24th In catches allowed to opposing receivers

Projection: 8 receptions for 65 yards and 1 touchdown

WR Julian Edelman, Pats

He had a great game last week posting over 20 fantasy points (PPR) and he is going up against the Packers who have given up on average 7 catches for close to 100 yards to slot receivers. So I’m likening that matchup a lot!

Projection: 9 receptions for 72 yards and 1 touchdown

TE Jimmy Graham, Packers

He hasn’t been the fantasy tight end everyone has hoped for. He only has one touchdown and that was in week 1. However, the matchup against Patriots is so enticing. The game is expected to be a shootout and the Patriots have allowed six touchdowns and the sixth most fantasy points per game to tight ends.

Projection: 5 receptions 49 yards and 1 touchdown

TE Kyle Rudolph, Vikings

He saw 7 targets last week and has proven to be a Cousin’s red zone target. Unfortunately last week he caught a touchdown that was negated by penalty. I think he finds the endzone against the Lions who could give the Vikings a tough matchup depending on which offense shows up.

Projection: 5 receptions for 52 yards and 1 touchdown

TE Jordan Reed, Redskins

A man that was on my sit last week is now in my start list. Look, six teams are on a bye so you might as well take a chance. He saw a team high 12 targets and caught 7 of them albeit for 38 yards. However, I am high on Alex Smith this week because of the matchup. He has to throw to someone and Reed is a good option.

Projection: 6 receptions for 69 yards and 1 touchdown

Bears Defense

See Charles Clay sit! Lots of picks are coming

Projection: 10 points allowed with 4 sacks and 3 turnovers

Matt Prater K Lions

Minnesota is a bend don’t break defense, and they are tough against wide receivers, so I expect the Lions to have a hard time moving the ball. Expect Detroit to settle for field goals.

Projection: 3 for 3 on field goals and 2 for 2 on extra points


QB Dak Prescott, Cowboys

His value is on the rise with Amari Cooper but I’m not sold on him being a good QB and I’m a Cowboys fan (Matt). He has regressed every year since he came into the league and that isn’t suppose to happen. So maybe Cooper helps but you can’t expect that in his first game!

Projection: 195 yards passing with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception

QB Case Keenum, Broncos

He has 10 tds to 10 ints this season. That isn’t a very good ratio, and playing the Texans is not the defense to improve those numbers. You might get some junk points from Case so if you are desperate for a start you can risk it.

Projection: 262 yards passing with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions

QB Matt Stafford, Lions

This is a matchup sit as the Vikings have allowed one or no passing touchdowns in six games so far. I believe the Lions will look to the running game against Minnesota.

Projection: 250 yards passing with 1 touchdown and 1 interception

RB Peyton Barber, Bucs

I know you may be tempted since Ronald Jones is out and he should get a lot of touches. However, he is going up against the Panthers who average below 20 PPR points to opposing running backs. Also, I expect this game to be a negative game script in terms of the Bucs chasing points, meaning a lot of passes and not so much running

Projection: 12 carries for 55 yards

RB Tevin Coleman, Falcons

He should get the majority of the work, but he is going up against a very surprisingly good Washington run defense. You also have to factor in Ito Smith as he may vulture some touchdown opportunities. Call this a gut feeling, but I’m sitting him this week.

Projection: 12 carries for 43 yards with 3 receptions for 20 yards

RB Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler, Chargers

Call me bold; which I am. So bold I’m sitting Melvin Gordon. Obviously, if you have Melvin Gordon you are starting him, but you should temper expectations. The Seahawks have only allowed one top ten Fantasy running back ( Gurley) and they have only given up 3.8 yards per carry. Both Charger running backs may have a rough game.

Projection: 16 carries for 85 yards with 4 receptions for 35 yards (Gordon)

Projection: 7 carries for 45 yards with 2 receptions for 21 yards (Ekeler)

WR Corey Davis, Titans

He has been a fantasy dud ever since week 4. His matchup against the Cowboys is brutal as Dallas has allowed only three touchdowns and the seventh fewest fantasy points to wide receivers.

Projection: 3 receptions for 51 yards

WR Tyrell Williams, Chargers

The big play threat wide receiver may have some trouble having a good fantasy day as the Seahawks have allowed the third fewest receiving yards in the league to opposing wide receivers. He doesn’t catch a lot of balls to justify starting him so he is touchdown or bust this week.

Projection: 3 receptions for 45 yards

WR Amari Cooper, Cowboys

His first game in a new offense, you can’t expect good things out the gate. Reports are they will feed him the ball, but I need to see it to believe it. Also, Prescott has horrible accuracy issues and has only thrown for over 200 yards thee times this season. So I’ll fade on Cooper until I see how he works in this offense.

Projection: 4 receptions for 45 yards

TE Trey Burton, Bears

Another temper your expectation sit. Given how many teams are on a bye, you are starting Burton but the Bills defense held Gronk to just 43 yards. They are tough defense against opposing tight ends.

Projection: 4 receptions for 42 yards

TE Jordan Thomas, Texans

Remember last week when I rambled about “can you name a Texans right end?” Exhibit A right here! Who the hell is Jordan Thomas! He broke out for two touchdowns and with the six team bye you may want to risk starting him. I say don’t! The Broncos are tough at home and I think he was an isolated incident. He hasn’t done anything this season prior to last week. I’ll avoid the risk and look elsewhere.

Projection: 2 receptions for 21 yards

TE Charles Clay, Bills

Nathan Perterman is starting folks! Nathan “Pick City” Peterman. Nathan Pickerman! Nathan “I throw to the other team” Peterman. I can go on and on. Fade on Clay.

Projection: 2 receptions for 19 yards

Los Angeles Chargers Defense

Russell Wilson has been killing it of late! I am scared of the Seahawks offense.

Projection: 24 points allowed with 2 sacks and 1 turnover

K Brett Maher, Cowboys

He has been killing it for owners but the Titian’s have only allowed 13 field goal attempts and I’m not confident in the cowboys offense right now.

Projection: 1 for 2 on field goals and 1 for 1 on extra points