2017 NFL Week 9 Starters, Sitters, and Sleepers

2017 NFL Week 9 Starters, Sitters, and Sleepers

Chicago Bears
Cleveland Browns
Los Angeles Chargers
New England Patriots
Pittsburgh Steelers
Minnesota Vikings
Running back (RB)
Start: Melvin Gordon carried the ball 14 times for 132 yards and a touchdown, and added 7 yards on a reception.  Jay Ajayi rushed 13 times for 23 yards and caught 4 passes for 18 yards.  Joe Mixon had 11 carries for 18 yards, but added 91 yards on 3 catches.  Javorius "Buck" Allen rushed 17 times for 55 yards and added a catch for another 2.  James White had a carry for 2 yards, but added 85 yards on 5 catches.  Dion Lewis took 15 totes for 44 yards, and snagged 2 passes for 10 yards.
Sit: Ameer Abdullah rushed 11 times for 27 yards, and added another 11 yards in 3 catches.  Robert Kelley had 8 carries for 19 yards, but bailed out his owners with a touchdown.  LeGarrette Blount took 16 yotes for 48 yards and a score, and caught a pass for 4 yards.  C.J. Anderson took 15 toes for 78 yards.  Carlos Hyde was limited to 12 carries for 25 yards and did not catch any passes.
Wide Receiver (WR)
Start: Demaryius Thomas caught 5 passes for just 66 yards.  Julio Jones caught 3 passes for 74 yards.  Kelvin Benjamin snagged 3 targets for 39 yards and a score.  Pierre Garcon left the game into the third quarter and was questionable to return with a neck injury.  He caught just 2 passes for 17 yards before he got hurt.  Jarvis Landry caught 5 passes for 33 yards.
Sit: Deandre Hopkins torched the Seahawks' secondary for 8 catches, 224 yards, and made a house call (scored a touchdown).  Marvin Jones had 6 catches for 128 yards but couldn't get into the endzone.  Terrelle Pryor was a non-factor and was shut out of a soggy matchup.  T.Y. Hilton caught just 2 passes for 15 yards.
Tight End (TE)
Start: Tyler Kroft snagged 5 tosses for 46 yards.  Nick O'Leary caught just 1 pass for 5 yards.  Kyle Rudolph snared 6 passes for 27 yards and a score.
Sit: Jack Doyle shredded the Bengals' defensive backfield for 12 catches, 121 yards and a touchdown.  Ed Dickson.  David Njoku caught just 2 passes for 19 yards.  
Quarterback (QB):
Start: Andy Dalton 17 of 29 yargets for 243 yards for 2 touchdowns.  Philip Rivers.  Case Keenum connected 27 times for 288 yards, 2 scores, and a pick.  Tyrod Taylor completed 20 of 27 for 165 yards and a touchdown.
Sit: Matt Ryan completed 18 of 29 passes for 254 yards and 2 scores.  Matthew Stafford hit his receiving options 27 times on 43 throws for 423 yards, but never found the endzone.  At least he didn't turn the ball over.  Deshaun Watson shredded the Seahawks secondary for 407 yards and 4 touchdowns, cementing himself as a fantasy must-start.
Defense / Special Teams (D/ST)
Start: Miami Dolphins held the Ravens' air attack to just 13 completions for 1e2 yards and 2 scores.  Philadelphia Eagles held C.J. Beathard to 17 completions for 167 yards and a score, but picked off the young QB twice.  
Sit: Detroit Lions were torched by rookie Juju Smith-Schuster, and allowed 317 yards and a touchdown through the air, and gave up another rushing score on the ground.  The Chicago Bears normally stout front 7 gave up 2 rushing touchdowns to Saints running backs.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Peterson might be the lone bright spot for a struggling Cardinals offense without a passing game.  If Arizona leans on the run game, Peterson's will to win should benefit the Cardinals.  They'll travel to the Bay Area this week to take on one of the worst run defenses in the league.  If there's one more week in the season Peterson should be started, it's this week against San Francisco.
Christian McCaffery, RB, Carolina Panthers
McCaffery has been a bust outside of PPR leagues, but that could change this week against the Falcons.  The Falcons have given up more than 40 catches, over 300 yards, and 3 touchdowns to receiving backs through 8 games this year.  McCaffery is a difference maker who can make some major plays against a Falcons defense that has struggled against receiving backs.  Start him in PPR leagues or otherwise this week.
Matt Forte, RB, New York Jets
Last time the Jets played the Bills, Forte caught 3 passes for 20 yards and added another 16 yards in the ground on 6 carries.  The Jets have found a way to move the ball on the ground since then, and Forte has moved back up to the top of the depth chart.  He's led all Jets running backs by touches, albeit by a small margin.  Nevertheless, the Bills have struggled against receiving backs and Forte could be in line for plenty of work this week. 
Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
Miller could get plenty of opportunities this week if the Texans jump out in a big league early.  A change at left tackle (Duane Brown was traded to Seattle) means Miller could chip, release, and have some receiving opportunities in the flat, making him a PPR asset.
Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts might be simplifying the offense so Brissett doesn't take so long to get through his progressions.  Mack would be a beneficiary if this theory is true.  This would make him a PPR asset and he'd be able to use his explosiveness and big-play ability in the open field.  He'll face a young Texans linebacking corps that could take some bad angles and whiff. 
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders
Lynch has struggled this season.  The Raiders deploy a running back by committee and games are still won or lost through Carr's arm.  The Dolphins are also top 10 in the league defending against the run.  This week's perfect storm relegates Marshawn to the bench.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles take on the Broncos in Philly this week.  The Eagles' run game hasn't exactly been stellar this year, and the Broncos have been absolutely lights out against everyone they've faced, including the likes of Ezekiel Elliot and Shady McCoy.  Blount hasn't been involved in the passing game so he's not even a PPR asset.  Moreover, the Eagles employ a running back by committee approach in the backfield, which cuts into Blount's touches even more.  Sit him this week.  
Jay Ajayi, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
The newly acquired Eagles running back is an immediate sit.  In case this is news to some readers, Ajayi was acquired in exchange for a 2018 4th round pick.  As if the Eagles didn't have enough running backs already, Ajayi should be on the bench this week until he's had some time to learn the playbook and the Eagles figure out how they'll split carries between Blount and Ajayi.
Frank Gore, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Even without Watt or Mercilus, the Texans still have a good front led by Clowney and Cushing.  This is not the week to hope for a rebound week or test the Colts' run blocking.  Other options are available on the wire, including the Texans' explosive playmaker D'onta Foreman.  
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions
This week is not the week to start Ameer Abdullah.  The Packers are well-rested, coming off of a bye week, and a loss before that.  Linebackers Perry, Matthews, and Brooks could make life difficult for the Lions' starting running back.  Detroit likes to drop back and let it fly against opposing defenses anyway, which doesn't leave many opportunities for the struggling Abdullah.  
Chris Thompson, RB, Washington Redskins 
Chris Thompson has been the most dependable receiving asset in the Redskins' offense.  Unfortunately, he still ends up on the bench this week.  Thompson could struggle to produce on the ground or through the air.  The Redskins take on an elite Seahawks defensive unit that just got richer with the signing of the legendary Dwight Freeney.  Sure he's up there, but the Seahawks add depth to their pass rush and shore up their run defense.
Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions
The Lions should be able to find passing lanes with Clinton-Dix and Burnett in the defensive backfield.  Marvin Jones is one of many receiving options for the Lions, and he should get plenty of looks, especially if Tate is still limited in any capacity.  
Will Fuller, WR, Houston Texans
**EDIT/UPDATE: SIT FULLER - Deshaun Watson out for 2017 with torn ACL**
The Colts have don't have a pass rush or a secondary, especially after losing star rookie safety Malik Hooker.  In other words, the Colts don't have a defense.  Watson has the arm, and Fuller has the speed.  Fuller could have a huge outing this week against the division rival Colts.  
Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers
Funchess takes over as the primary target from Cam Newton.   The Panthers are rolling the dice with the young rookie, and fantasy owners everywhere are rejoicing, at least until Olsen returns.  He's regressed in the last few weeks, but has a decent matchup against an average Falcons defense so he should post some decent numbers.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens fly south to take on the Titans.  Maclin has been a non-factor in recent weeks, but that could change this week against a suspect secondary.  Maclin is still the number one target in a struggling Ravens passing game, so he could get some opportunities no matter who's under center.
Kenny Stills, WR, Miami Dolphins
While Jarvis Landry is still the possession receiver and primary target for Miami's passing game, Stills remains one of Miami's preferred targets.  Both Cutler and Moore love to sling it to their playmakers.  Stills' workload may get cut when Parker returns, but the loss of Ajayi means the 'Fins will need to generate offense through the air.  Stills is a conditional start this week if Parker still can't go.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
The Jets' defense had some assistance from the elements, but were able to hold Julio Jones to just 3 catches for 74 yards.  Atlanta's defense continues to struggle and they head on the road to take on a Panthers' defense that's been able to get to the quarterback and a stifling secondary.  Jones is a sit this week.
Rishard Matthews, WR, Tennessee Titans
If Delanie Walker isn't on the field diverting coverage, Rishard Matthews could have a tough time getting open.  The Titans have a home matchup against the Baltimore Ravens who have one of the best pass defenses in the league.  There are only 6 teams that are worse in passing in the NFL, and the Titans are a run-first team.  If Tennessee chooses to try and attack the gut of the Ravens' defense, Matthews may not even get many opportunities this week.  
Jordan Matthews, WR, Buffalo Bills
This week may be the last week Matthews has any chance at fantasy relevance.  Kelvin Benjamin just joined the Bills receiving corps, which might bump Matthews down to Buffalo's WR2 spot.  His numbers may have also taken a hit because of his surgically repaired thumb.  Either way, he's been a disappointment.  
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Buffalo Bills
Even though Benjamin is now the de facto number 1 wideout in a barren Bills receiving corps, it's not smart to start him this week.  He just joined the team, he still needs to learn the playbook, and he still needs to develop rapport with Tyrod Taylor.  Stay patient.
Terrelle Pryor, WR, Washington Redskins
Pryor's usage is definitely trending in the wrong direction.  He played just 33% of snaps against the Cowboys in a washout in Washington.  Even though the weather was a factor in Pryor's slump, Crowder was clearly the man, catching 9 passes for 123 yards.  Even with Jordan Reed out, it's tough to know which Washington wideout will have a great day, making it easy to leave Pryor on the bench.
A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Jacksonville changed their Twitter handle to "Sacksonville."  Then, they went out and acquired Marcell Dareus on a trade.  Even though Dareus has declined in recent years, he's still useful on sub packages and can still be a presence.  Oh, let's not forget about Ramsey and Abouye who've shut down top tier receivers all season.  With all of this talk about the Jaguars' defense, bench Green and find a streamer this week. 
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
The Broncos have struggled against good opposing tight ends.  They've given up a total of 30 catches, 388 yards, and 4 touchdowns to Witten, Clay, Engram, and Kelce.  The Broncos may have dubbed themselves the "No Fly Zone," but they are actually vulnerable to air attack.  The numbers put Ertz in the starting lineup this week.  
Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts
Doyle gets back in the lineup this week after a 12-catch, 121 yard performance that included a touchdown.  The Colts are finally trying to get the ball out of Brissett's hands more quickly, and Hilton seems to draw most of the defenders.  This could repeat this week against a decent Texans pass rush, which pushes Doyle into the starting lineup again.
Tyler Higbee, TE, Los Angeles Rams
As of week 7, the Giants have allowed 43 catches for more than 500 yards and 8 touchdowns to opposing tight ends.  Clearly they have a weakness that Higbee can exploit.  Higbee has shown flashes, like a 4-catch, 98 performance against Seattle, and could have another good week.  The Giants front could present some issues and Goff would need an outlet to dump it off to.  That outlet could be Higbee which makes him this week's deep league flier.
Tyler Kroft, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
Tyler Croft is one of Cincinnati's best receiving options, but that's just it.  The Jaguars lead the league in sacks by a big  margin and they have the best  passing defense in the league.  Find a streaming option this week.  
Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons
Hooper is irrelevant outside of PPR leagues.  The Falcons' offense is still struggling, and Jones and Sanu still get all of the targets.  The Falcons' offensive line will also need to contend with Carolina's elite pass rush, making it difficult for Ryan to throw the ball.  Hooper gets the bench.  Leave him on the wire.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions 
The Lions need to win every game they can to contend with the red hot Vikings.  They'll take on Green Bay at Lambeau this week and they could be in for a tough matchup this week.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
**EDIT / UPDATE - DROP WATSON - TORN ACL and done for 2017**
Despite throwing 3 picks including one pick 6, Watson cemented himself as a must-start for the rest of the fantasy season.  He threw for 407 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 3 picks, and added another 67 yards on the ground on 8 rushes.  Watson should have another huge week against a sad Colts secondary.
Brett Hundley, QB, Green Bay Packers
Mike McCarthy has won 9 of 11 games after the bye as headcoach of the Packers.  Theyre coming off of a bye week this week and he's had extra time to prepare for Ansah, Slay, and the Lions' defense.  Hundley could be a sneaky start this week if McCarthy was able to make the necessary adjustments during the bye week.  The quarterback may have changed in Green Bay, but the receiving talent hasn't.
Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Brissett is an interesting start this week.  Rather than making the Colts' quarterback get through all of his progressions, they seem to have him just get rid of the ball more quickly.  While this may not allow him to deliver deep passes to Hilton, it does cover up deficiencies in the Colts' pass protection.  He could be a sleeper.
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
Do not start Matty Ice even after a week 8 performance that produced 254 yards and 2 touchdowns.  He heads on the road to take on a Panthers defense that's second in the league in sacks and has some underrated defensive backs. 
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals travel to "Sacksonville," this week to take on the Jaguars.  Jacksonville has at least 9 more sacks than any other team in the league.  The Steelers, who are 2nd in the league behind Javksonville in sacks, sacked Dalton 4 times in week 7.  Bench Dalton against the Jaguars'  defensive line feeding frenzy this week.  
Josh McCown, QB, New York Jets
Don't be fooled.  While Josh McCown seems like a viable streaming option this week, he plays one of the top defenses in the league.  Receiving options other than ASJ, Forte, and Powell have been streaky at best.  McCown is as unreliable as his wideouts so it's smart to leave McCown on the bench or the wire.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins
The Redskins travel west to face the Legion of Boom and the 12th man in Seattle.  Cousins may not be able to hear himself think inside of CenturyLink Field.  Cousins' passing game hasn't exactly been stellar either.  He's accrued a large portion of his passing yards by throwing short to Thompson.  That could come to a halt this week.  The Redskins are also dealing with a slew of injuries along their offensive line, making the over-under for Seattle's sack total an interesting bet.
Oakland Raiders
The Dolphins have struggled all year on offense, and could struggle even more this week now that Ajayi is an Eagle.  It'll be up to Cutler or Moore, who haven't exactly set the world on fire, but they'll to do all of the work now that they don't have anyone to hand the ball off to.  Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake are unproven, and the offensive line has been awful.  The Raiders' defense is a good start this week.
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams have one of the best pass rushes in the league, and the Giants have one of the worst pass protections.  Aaron Donald and the boys will be licking their chops to get after old man Eli.  Moreover, the Rams could run all over the Giants which would eat up the clock and keep the Giants' offense off of the field.
Philadelphia Eagles
The Broncos still have issues at offensive tackle which gives the Eagles a nice matchup this week.  Siemian is still struggling and the Broncos just can't get things going on the ground.  Philly is 9th in the league in sacks and should have a good day against a sluggish Broncos offense.
Detroit Lions
The Packers are coming off of a bye week, and Mike McCarthy has had an extra week to prepare for the Lions' defense.  Green Bay is historically 9-2 after the bye week.  The outlook is grim for a Lions' secondary that was torched for 7 catches, 193 yards, and a touchdown by rookie Juju Smith-Schuster in week 8.  This Lions secondary can be thrown on.
Buffalo Bills
The Bills' one weakness could be receiving backs, and the New York Jets have 2 pretty good ones in Matt Forte and Bilal Powell.  Gang Green looks like they could be simplifying the offense and calling some easy dump offs and passes.  While it might be a bit early to bench the Bills' defense, they do need to address a glaring weakness after giving up 8 catches for 97 yards and a score to Oakland's offensive backfield.
New York Giants
The Giants defense may be underrated, but they could have their hands full this weekend when they take on Todd Gurley and the Rams' run game.  While Eli Apple and DRC can stop the young wideouts, JPP and the Giants' subpar run defense could get blown off the line against the Rams' 6th-ranked rushing offense.  

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