Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 9: Russell Wilson stays hot, Ben Roethlisberger does not

We’re officially at the halfway point of the NFL season and with it comes an important stretch run for fantasy owners. The playoff chase is heating up in all fantasy football formats, but loaded bye weeks (six teams off in Week 9) are making for some difficult start ’em, sit ’em decisions. That makes lineup decisions, waiver wire strategy, and DFS choices extremely important at this point in time.

Don’t worry if you’re still having trouble making lineup decisions. The Decider is back with his midweek dose of recommended players to play and avoid based on matchups and other factors. Let’s dive in.

Week 9 Rankings:
Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | D/ST | Kicker

Fantasy Football Week 9 Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks

Regular starts

Aaron Rodgers, Packers (at NE), Tom Brady, Patriots (vs. GB), Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (at CLE), Cam Newton, Panthers (vs. TB), Drew Brees, Saints (at LAR)

Stronger starts

Russell Wilson, Seahawks (vs. LAC). He’s hot with three straight three-TD games and ahead of schedule for his usual second-half explosion. He doesn’t have volume and isn’t running, but it still doesn’t matter. He’s in a great rhythm.

Jared Goff, Rams (at NO). The Saints can at least contain the run and they are much weaker against the pass. Goff is also likely to get Cooper Kupp back for a shootout.

Kirk Cousins, Vikings (vs. DET). They can run well on the Lions, but that will help him deliver a couple of long TDs off play-action.

Deshaun Watson, Texans (at DEN). The running game will get going and open things up for him everywhere. He can also scramble well out of trouble in this spot.

Philip Rivers, Chargers (at SEA). The numbers for the Seahawks’ defense against QBs say no, but his consistent multiple-TD should help him out. And his wide-outs have good matchups across the board, so that makes this very much yes.

Three deep: Joe Flacco, Ravens (vs. PIT), Baker Mayfield, Browns (vs. KC), Derek Carr, Raiders (at SF)

Fantasy Football Week 9 Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks

Weaker starts

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (at BAL). It’s the road and a defense that’s bound to play better after two rough weeks. He’ll have a modest game at best.

Matt Ryan, Falcons (at WAS). He’s the new Big Ben with a lot more issues on the road, and the Redskins’ defensive line can pressure him well.

Mitchell Trubisky, Bears (at BUF). Chicago would be smart to stay grounded here as the Bills’ pass defense can make things rough on its young QB and his key receivers.

Matthew Stafford, Lions (at MIN). There’s no more Golden Tate, and the Vikings will be revved up to come out flying and more like they should be on defense.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buccaneers (at CAR). The Panthers’ defense is much better at home and they also can dominate time of possession in this game to limit Fitzpatrick’s garbage production.

Three deep: Alex Smith, Redskins (vs. ATL), Dak Prescott, Cowboys (vs. TEN), Case Keenum, Broncos (vs. HOU)

WEEK 9 DFS CASH LINEUPS: Yahoo | FanDuel | DraftKings

Fantasy Football Week 9 Start ‘Em: Running backs

Regular starts

Todd Gurley, Rams (at NO), Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (vs. TEN), David Johnson, Cardinals (bye), Alvin Kamara (vs. LAR), Christian McCaffrey, Panthers (vs. TB), Saquon Barkley, Giants (bye), Melvin Gordon, Chargers (at SEA), Kareem Hunt, Chiefs (at CLE), Joe Mixon, Bengals (bye), Sony Michel (if he plays) and James White, Patriots (vs. GB), James Conner, Steelers (at BAL), Nick Chubb, Browns (vs. KC), Kenyan Drake, Dolphins (vs. NYJ), Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, Bears (at BUF)

Stronger starts

Adrian Peterson, Redskins (vs. ATL). He needs positive winning game flow, but he’s bound to get a ton of touches again with Chris Thompson hurting and Washington not wanting to put much on the passing game.

Lamar Miller, Texans (at DEN). Miller just ripped through two weak run defenses and the Broncos will give him another opportunity to get going with around 20 touches.

Latavius Murray, Vikings (vs. DET). The Lions’ run defense is still leaky even with Damon Harrison in the fold. Murray has looked very good that past three games with Dalvin Cook still hurting.

Chris Carson, Seahawks (at LAC). They’re comfortable giving him the monster workload with him fully healthy again and the Chargers can be worn down.

Phillip Lindsay, Broncos (vs. HOU). Royce Freeman is likely to miss more time and he’s in for another solid day as their most reliable offensive skill player.

Matt Breida, 49ers (vs. OAK). The Raiders’ run defense is awful enough to think he can play very well through his ankle injury.

Dion Lewis, Titans (at DAL). The Cowboys’ run defense is solid but they have given up a lot of production to backs in the passing game.

Three deep: Isaiah Crowell, Jets (at MIA), Doug Martin, Raiders (at SF), Raheem Mostert, 49ers (vs. OAK),

Fantasy Football Week 9 Sit ‘Em: Running backs

Weaker starts

Kerryon Johnson, Lions (at MIN). He’s had some good matchups of late, but this isn’t one for the rookie.

Mark Ingram, Saints (vs. LAR). He’s not the right back for what should be a high-flying pass-happy affair.

Peyton Barber, Buccaneers (at CAR). The Panthers play the run much better at home.

Alex Collins, Ravens (vs. PIT). You’re pretty much hoping for a touchdown with him every week and that’s hard to expect against the Steelers.

LeSean McCoy, Bills (vs. CHI). Everything in Buffalo’s offense can actually get uglier this week in a rough matchup with the Bears.

Aaron Jones, Packers (at NE). This game says Green Bay needs to run effectively to keep Brady off the field, but expect it to be a ton of Rodgers throwing.

Tevin Coleman, Falcons (at WAS). The Redskins’ run defense on the road doesn’t inspire hope that he can get going. He’s not doing as much to make up for it in the passing game as we would like.

Three deep: Derrick Henry, Titans (at DAL), Austin Ekeler, Chargers (at SEA), Jamaal Williams, Packers (at NE)

WEEK 9 PPR RANKINGS: Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end

Fantasy Football Week 9 Start ‘Em: Wide receivers

Regular starts

Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers (at BAL), DeAndre Hopkins, Texans (at DEN), Michael Thomas, Saints (vs. LAR), Julio Jones, Falcons (at WAS), Odell Beckham Jr., Giants (bye), Davante Adams, Packers (at NE), A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd, Bengals (bye), Keenan Allen, Chargers (at SEA), Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, Vikings (vs. DET), Tyreek Hill, Chiefs (at CLE), Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay, Lions (at MIN), Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, Rams (at NO), Jarvis Landry, Browns (vs. KC), Alshon Jeffery, Eagles (bye), Mike Evans, Buccaneers (at CAR), Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman, Patriots (vs. GB), Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos (vs. HOU), T.Y. Hilton, Colts (bye)

Stronger starts

Devin Funchess and D.J. Moore, Panthers (vs. TB). The matchup is brilliant in coverage for both guys. You can bet Cam Newton will take some nice shots to them all over the field.

Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams, Chargers (at SEA). The Seahawks’ corners who draw them will struggle with one Williams’ size and the other Williams’ speed.

Calvin Ridley, Falcons (at WAS). He will get a one-on-one most of the time with the struggling Josh Norman while all the attention goes to containing Julio Jones.

Danny Amendola, Dolphins (vs. NYJ). He’s been a key target for three weeks and gets a team that has had plenty of issues covering the slot.

Courtland Sutton, Broncos (vs. HOU). He’s locked in as their No. 2 receiver and is a good bet to catch a TD at home.

Michael Crabtreee, Ravens (vs. PIT). He’s got the best matchup of Baltimore’s wide-outs and will come through with a 6-60-TD line at home.

Three deep: Tre’Quan Smith, Saints (vs. LAR), Chris Hogan, Patriots (vs. GB). Michael Gallup, Cowboys (vs. TEN)

Fantasy Football Week 9 Sit ‘Em: Wide receivers

Weaker starts

Doug Baldwin, Seahawks (vs. LAC). He’s not looking totally healthy, not seeing the ball in the end zone, and the matchup isn’t that good. Tyler Lockett also can be sat.

Allen Robinson, Bears (at BUF). He may return from his groin injury only to get the bummer of being shadowed by Tre’Davious White.

John Brown, Ravens (vs. PIT). He ripped them for a big game for the first time, but Joe Haden is playing better and will take him away from Joe Flacco.

DeSean Jackson, Buccaneers (at CAR). The Panthers’ pass rush and Donte Jackson will keep Fitzpatrick and him from connecting on a long one.

Demaryius Thomas, Texans (at DEN). It’s weird he plays his former team right after the trade and the revenge narrative will be quelled by a secondary that knows how to cover him.

Amari Cooper, Cowboys (vs. TEN). He won’t get the Malcolm Butler matchup to exploit and faces Adoree Jackson in tough man coverage.

Sammy Watkins, Chiefs (at CLE). He’ll cool down by getting a heavy dose of Denzel Ward.

Marquise Goodwin, 49ers (vs. OAK). The QB situation and run-heavy game plan makes it hard to trust the speedy big-play guy.

Three deep: Corey Davis, Titans (at DAL), all Redskins (vs. ATL), all non-Adams Packers (at NE)

MORE WEEK 9 DFS: Values | Stacks | Lineup Builder

Fantasy Football Week 9 Start ‘Em: Tight ends

Regular starts

Travis Kelce, Chiefs (at CLE), Zach Ertz, Eagles (bye), Rob Gronkowski, Patriots (vs. GB), Jimmy Graham, Packers (at NE), Jared Cook, Raiders (at SF)

Stronger starts

Greg Olsen, Panthers (vs. TB). He’s back to looking like his old self just in time to dent the end zone again.

O.J. Howard, Buccaneers (at CAR). He’ll be Fitzpatrick’s safest go-to guy this week.

George Kittle, 49ers (vs. OAK). Don’t worry too much about the QB because he’ll be a security blanket regardless and will make big plays off the running game much like the Colts’ duo did last week.

David Njoku, Browns (vs. KC). He rebounds well from a catch-less performance with legitimate volume against an even weaker tight end covering team.

Kyle Rudolph, Vikings (vs. DET). He should have scored at home last week, and he makes up for it here.

Three deep: Vance McDonald, Steelers (at BAL), Hayden Hurst, Ravens (vs. PIT), Chris Herndon, Jets (at MIA)

Fantasy Football Week 9 Sit ‘Em: Tight ends

Weaker starts

Trey Burton, Bears (at BUF). The Bills have brutal to the position and just contained Gronkowski.

Austin Hooper, Falcons (at WAS). The Redskins haven’t allowed much yardage to the position and only three TDs.

Jordan Reed, Redskins (vs. ATL). He’s healthy and catching some passes, but that’s about it.

Benjamin Watson, Saints (vs. LAR). In theory it’s not a bad thought — but the Rams have allowed only one TE TD.

Two deep: Jeff Heuerman, Broncos (vs. HOU), Ed Dickson, Seahawks (vs. LAC), Jordan Thomas, Texans (at DEN)

Full Week 9 TE rankings

WEEK 9 DFS GPP LINEUPS: Yahoo | FanDuel | DraftKings

Fantasy Football Week 9 Start ‘Em: Defense/special teams

Best starts

Bears (at BUF), Panthers (vs. TB), Cowboys (vs. TEN), Chiefs (at CLE)

Stronger starts

Vikings (vs. DET). They’ll play like we’re used to here with big plays at home in a critical rebound game.

Texans (at DEN). They’ll add to the Keenum interception and sack fun.

Dolphins (vs. NYJ). Sam Darnold is bound to make a few key mistakes here on the road.

Jets (at MIA). They performed well even in losing the first matchup.

Broncos (vs. HOU). You should get enough sacks and a turnover to make them worth it.

Fantasy Football Week 9 Sit ‘Em: Defense/special teams

Weaker starts

Rams (at NO). You can’t afford to keep them in your lineup this week with a chance at negative points.

Ravens (vs PIT). They played good reality defense in the first matchup, but it didn’t add up too much.

Redskins (vs. ATL). The Falcons might be sloppy offensively but they still don’t yield much.

Chargers (at SEA). Not against Wilson on the road.

Bills (vs. CHI). They can have some success here, but their offense could end up putting them in bad spots to be run over.

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