Week 9 is the midway point of the NFL season, but we’re past that already in the fantasy football realm.
With six more bye weeks this week, though, it doesn’t get any easier for fantasy owners to decide the best starts and sits on their roster.
Should you take a gamble and utilize the waiver wire or stick to what you’ve got and hope your big-name players can deliver against difficult matchups?
In desperate times, it’s best to get creative. Below, you’ll find a couple of different start-or-sit scenarios with some alternatives to players you are likely considering starting this week.
Start: RB DeMarco Murray vs. Minnesota Vikings
Although he “could have gone” against the Detroit Lions in Week 8, according to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, per Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas, DeMarco Murray watched his team fruitlessly try to run the ball against their poor rush defense.
Rookie Joseph Randle found no running room, totaling just 26 yards on 14 carries against a defense that was allowing a league-worst 5.1 yards per carry heading into the game.
With Murray seemingly on the cusp of coming back, the Cowboys have a great opportunity to impose their will with their running game against another bad run defense. The Minnesota Vikings have allowed 21.2 fantasy points per game through eight weeks to opposing rushers, putting them near the bottom of the league in that regard.
Murray was having a decent year prior to injury and should get back on track with a big game against the Vikes at home in Week 9.
Sit: RBs Steven Jackson/Jacquizz Rodgers vs. Carolina Panthers
If the duo of Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers didn’t inspire you with their dreadful performance against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 8, you might want to temper your expectations this week.
The Carolina Panthers have been just as good as the Cards at controlling the line of scrimmage and limiting opponents’ rushing production. Through seven games, the Panthers are surrendering just 13 fantasy points per game.
Jackson and Rodgers should be deployed only in desperation. Below are a couple of options you could consider this week if you’re convinced starting either of these two will be a disaster.
Alternate Options: Zac Stacy, STL; Brandon Bolden, NE
Start: WR Donnie Avery vs. Buffalo Bills
It’s been awhile since Donnie Avery has made an impact on Sundays. The last and only time he cracked double digits this season was back in Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles—a horrid pass defense.
This week, Alex Smith and Co. travel to Buffalo for their chance at another porous unit. While Smith likes to spread the ball around, Avery gives him the best chance for a big play, something the Bills have been susceptible to this season.
Allowing 32.7 fantasy points to receivers, the Bills defense was supposed to be better since getting Jairus Byrd and Stephon Gilmore back on the field. They haven’t improved much, if at all. Look for Avery to be the guy Smith uses to exploit that weakness with at least one big play on Sunday.
Sit: WR Mike Wallace vs. Cincinnati Bengals
If you’re still starting Mike Wallace, you’re hurting during the bye weeks or hoping he’ll come through with a big play that can help your team out. It’s a good gamble but a gamble nonetheless.
Against the Bengals, it’s one that isn’t going to pay off. Cincinnati’s defense is getting healthy, and their pass rush is gaining steam on their four-game winning streak.
Meanwhile, Ryan Tannehill’s offensive line is collapsing faster than Wallace can even get into his breaks. He’s been sacked 14 times over the past three weeks and a league-high 32 times through eight weeks. It hasn’t been a recipe for success for the big offseason acquisition and the second-year quarterback.
Alternate Options: Jarrett Boykin, GB; Darrius Heyward-Bey, IND