The fantasy football playoffs are fully in sight as we enter Week 9. Most leagues begin their playoffs in Week 14, which is just over a month from this weekend. Some leagues start even earlier if each matchup runs two weeks. All this makes your lineup decisions even more critical as we outline in this week’s Start-Sit fantasy football predictions.
As a reminder, this is the time of year when you are starting players based on production rather than name recognition. Our fantasy drafts that were filled with optimism for the upcoming season are now a distant memory. With playoff spots on the line, start the players that are consistently producing no matter where (or if) they were drafted.
If you are looking for a tiebreaker between two players, the Vegas point totals for matchups can offer a bit of help in identifying the games projected to be fantasy-friendly. The Seahawks-Bucs have the highest point total at 52 points, while the Lions-Raiders are a close second with 50.5. At the other end of the spectrum, the Redskins-Bills have the lowest total with a mere 36.5 points and the only game with a number in the 30’s, per OddsShark.
As always, Feel free to reach out on Twitter @JonDAdams with your specific lineup or fantasy football questions.
Here’s a look at my fantasy football predictions for Week 9.
Start Cowboys QB Dak Prescott vs. Giants & Sit Ravens QB Lamar Jackson vs. Patriots
Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense appear to be back on the right path. Dallas’ QB1 faces a Giants passing defense ranked among the bottom 10 teams as they allow 264 yards per game. The good thing about Prescott is he is also a threat with his legs and every week there is the potential bonus of a rushing touchdown. Look for Prescott to have a top-10 QB performance in Week 9 against the Giants.
You may be in a situation where Lamar Jackson is the only quarterback on your roster. While you may not be able to bench Jackson, you should temper your expectations against a Patriots defense that has shut down most quarterbacks they have faced this season. The Patriots should be able to limit Jackson’s big run plays making the Ravens quarterback a sit if you have another quarterback you can play.
QB Starts Week 9: Josh Allen has a plus-matchup against a Redskins team that is one of the worst in the NFL. Gardner Minshew gets another nice matchup against the Texans secondary as Houston’s defense took another hit with J.J. Watt missing the remainder of the season.
QB Sits Week 9: Kyler Murray’s slump is likely to continue against the 49ers. Murray’s lackluster play has largely been due to bad matchups but he is hard to start with confidence during this stretch of games. Carson Wentz has a tough game against a good Bears defense ranked among the top 10 passing defenses in the NFL. Baker Mayfield has had a brutal schedule against very good defenses, and this rough streak continues against a solid Broncos secondary.
Start 49ers WR Emmanuel Sanders vs. Cardinals & Sit Titans WR Corey Davis vs. Panthers
Emmanuel Sanders saved his fantasy week thanks to a touchdown in his Niners debut. Sanders immediately steps into a San Francisco offense where he is the WR1. The only challenge is the Niners lean heavily on their run game. Look for Sanders to perform much better against a Cardinals defense that gives up the fourth-most passing yards in the league.
The brief uptick in the Titans offense with Ryan Tannehill under center may be coming to a close. The Panthers defense may not have looked like it against the 49ers, but the team has one of the best secondaries in the league. Carolina is only allowing 215 passing yards which puts them inside the top-five NFL units. Corey Davis struggled to find receptions in Week 8 and this is likely to continue against another top defense.
WR Starts Week 9: Tyrell Williams and the Raiders offense takes on a Lions defense that ranks dead last against the pass. After his two-touchdown performance in Atlanta, D.K. Metcalf has another great opportunity against a Bucs secondary allowing the second-most passing yards in the NFL.
WR Sits Week 9: It is hard to start any of the Ravens receivers with confidence against the Patriots. Odell Beckham Jr. could be in for another long day against the Broncos. Alshon Jeffrey faces a Bears defense that is likely to stunt his production in what has been a mostly disappointing fantasy season for the Eagles wide receiver.
Start Eagles RB Jordan Howard vs. Bears & Sit Patriots RB Sony Michel vs. Ravens
Jordan Howard does not have a particularly favorable matchup this week against the Bears, but one thing trumps the opponent: revenge. Howard is facing his former team who opted to trade the running back over the offseason.
The Eagles rusher did not have a particularly favorable matchup last week against the Bills but still managed to get a massive 23 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown. Fans can expect Howard to have a good fantasy day as the running back gets a bit of revenge against his former team.
After a slow start, Sony Michel has been getting work from the Patriots, but it is hard to trust him against the Ravens. Baltimore’s defense is tied for the second-best unit in the NFL against the run allowing just 84 yards per game. You may not be in a position where you can bench Michel given the bye weeks, but his ceiling for Week 9 is a low-end RB2.
RB Starts Week 9: You are already starting Dalvin Cook, but just know he has the upside to be the top fantasy producer this week against a bad Chiefs rushing defense. Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida should have good outings once against a struggling Cardinals defense.
Le’Veon Bell will have himself a day against the Dolphins who are allowing the second-most rushing yards in the NFL. Melvin Gordon may finally have his breakout performance against a Packers team giving up a lot of rushing yards. Kenyon Drake is a start for the Cardinals just based on the opportunity even though the 49ers present a difficult matchup.
RB Sits Week 9: While I don’t recommend sitting Chris Carson, temper your expectations against a Bucs defense that is the top-ranked unit against the run. Tampa Bay is only allowing 68 rushing yards per game, which is close to 16 yards fewer than the second-ranked team. Mark Ingram could be in for a long day as well against the Patriots in a matchup where neither team is expected to run the ball particuarly well.