Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 9: Top Players to Bench and Sleepers to Replace Them

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 30, 2013

Jan 12, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) celebrates a touchdown against the Denver Broncos in the first quarter during the AFC divisional round playoff game at Sports Authority Field.  Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As you navigate your fantasy team through bye weeks and injuries, it remains important to stay active with your lineup.

We have seen this season that anyone is capable of dud on any given week, while other lesser-known players break out with huge performances. The key is to get those sleepers in your lineup in order to help get you as many points as possible.

These roster moves require a lot of risk, but you can end up with a bigger day by making these changes in Week 9. 


Players to Sit

Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

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It seems the injuries to Julio Jones and Roddy White are finally starting to catch up to the Falcons offense. 

Matt Ryan did a good job of getting the ball to new No. 1 target Harry Douglas, but he also threw four interceptions in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. 

If he struggles in this matchup, imagine what he will do against the Carolina Panthers, who are now the No. 1 scoring defense in the NFL. Defensive ends Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson do an excellent job of getting to the quarterback, and that will lead to a number of mistakes throughout the game.

Ryan had been one of the most consistent fantasy quarterbacks in the league, throwing at least two touchdowns in each of his first six games. However, he could end up seriously struggling against a tough opponent without weapons around him.


Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills

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Taking Fred Jackson out of your lineup might be a questionable move considering how well he has played this season. However, the veteran running back might be in for a rough day against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kansas City has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season, including just one rushing touchdown.

The biggest problem with this is that touchdowns are the biggest reason Jackson has been an effective fantasy player this season. He has not topped 60 rushing yards in any of the last four games, though his scores have given him double-digit fantasy points in all but one game this year.

To make matters worse for him, C.J. Spiller could return to action after missing the previous game with an ankle injury. 

If the Chiefs can keep Jackson out of the end zone, as the elite defense has done so many times this year, Jackson could be left with a bad week.


Torrey Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens

While Torrey Smith is not the cause of the struggles for the Ravens offense, he is certainly affected by it. 

Baltimore's offensive line has been unproductive, which has slowed down the rushing attack. Additionally, it is preventing plays to develop down the field for Smith, where he usually shines.

The third-year player only has four receptions in the past two games and one touchdown on the entire year. Going one-on-one against Joe Haden on the Cleveland Browns will not be the time for him to break out of his shell.


Players to Start

Terrelle Pryor, QB, Oakland Raiders

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After breaking through for a 93-yard touchdown run on his first play, Terrelle Pryor did not do much against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He finished with only 106 rushing yards to go with 88 passing yards and two interceptions.

However, the quarterback finds a way to be productive. He has scored at least 10 points in every game he has started this year, and his playmaking ability could lead to a huge day of work.

This is even more true against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 9, a defense that ranks second to last in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game. If Pryor can find his teammates for some long passes and run for some gains himself, he could be among the best fantasy quarterbacks in football this week. 


Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers

Most people have climbed aboard the Danny Woodhead bandwagon by now, but this might be the last chance to buy low on the versatile running back.

Woodhead is known as a top-flight receiver out of the backfield, where he has totaled 40 receptions this season with a consistent average of 44.5 yards per game. 

This is added to his production out of the backfield, which has grown significantly in recent weeks. Although he remains behind Ryan Mathews in the pecking order, Woodhead has still amassed nine carries in each of the past three games.

In the last game, he even got the first crack at a goal-line carry and came through with a two-yard touchdown.

With this amount of touches, he should have a field day against the team allowing the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season: the Washington Redskins. 


Riley Cooper, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

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Who knows what Nick Foles sees in Riley Cooper, but the quarterback certainly trusts his receiver on the field.

In Foles' two starts this season, Cooper combined for 10 catches, 208 receiving yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, he was targeted 13 times, which is only one behind DeSean Jackson's 14 in these games.

Although the receiver has not been anywhere near as effective in the other games, that will not matter this week with Foles cleared to practice and likely to play this week, according to Phil Sheridan of ESPN.

As long as the second-year player is in the lineup, Cooper has a strong chance to be effective against a mediocre Oakland Raiders secondary. 


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