Another busy week of byes around the NFL means tough decisions for fantasy football owners. Since there is a lack of options with six teams sidelined, the proverbial line for fantasy starts is pushed back to include some players without as much upside.
The lack of appealing alternatives to fill out a starting lineup doesn't make the choices any less important, however. Making the right calls is still going to have a major impact on the outcome of many fantasy matchups. They are just a little more tricky.
With that in mind, let's check out where some fringe players belong for Week 9. The lists are followed by some of the toughest calls fantasy owners are probably going to face this weekend.
Start 'Em or Sit 'Em?
|Week 9 Start 'Em or Sit 'Em|
|Position||Start 'Em||Sit 'Em|
|QB||Alex Smith (KC)||Andrew Luck (IND)|
|RB||Danny Woodhead (SD)||Steven Jackson (ATL)|
|WR||Denarius Moore (OAK)||Danny Amendola (NE)|
|TE||Martellus Bennett (CHI)||Jared Cook (STL)|
|K||Ryan Succop (KC)||Matt Bryant (ATL)|
|D||New Orleans Saints||Chicago Bears|
|Fantasy Week 9|
Breakdown of Toughest Calls
Start: Alex Smith (Kansas City Chiefs)
Smith is a solid fantasy backup capable of filling in when needed. He's averaging more than 15 points per week and plays in a Chiefs offense tailored to his limited downfield ability. He just doesn't have the upside to be a full-time starter with a high score of just 22 points this season.
Instead, he's a matchup play and it just happens to work out that he has good one on tap for Week 9 with several big-name quarterbacks on bye. Kansas City goes up against the Buffalo Bills and their 24th-ranked pass defense.
Buffalo has been a more competitive team at home this season, keeping every game within one score. It's a trend likely to continue and a close game means more chances for Smith to rack up fantasy points against a shaky secondary.
Sit: Steven Jackson (Atlanta Falcons)
Fantasy owners who waited out Jackson's return from a hamstring injury and put him right back in their lineups were left disappointed. The veteran gained just six yards on 11 carries and his three catches went for just seven yards.
He isn't the most explosive running back to begin with at this stage of his career, but he had virtually no burst in his return. Things won't get any easier this week as the Falcons head out on the road to face the second-ranked Carolina Panthers run defense.
Jackson has a chance to become a fantasy factor down the stretch as the Falcons attempt to take some pressure off Matt Ryan. That said, he belongs on the bench until he proves he's back to full strength and has at least one good performance.
Start: Martellus Bennett (Chicago Bears)
Bennett emerged as an intriguing fantasy option after two weeks. At that point, he had already caught three touchdowns and tallied 29 points. His production has dropped off since that point, however, leaving him on the fantasy fringe.
He should be able to get back on track in Week 9. The Bears are set to battle the rival Green Bay Packers in a game that has all the makings of a shootout. Both defenses rank 20th or worse against the pass, which provides a boost to pass-catchers on both sides.
Bennett is no longer the must-start fantasy option he looked like in the early going. That said, he's still a big enough factor in the Bears offense to draw the start in good matchups. This week's game definitely falls in that category.