Week 9 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Play or Bench Tips for Fantasy Football Managers

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 5, 2020

Week 9 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Play or Bench Tips for Fantasy Football Managers

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    For the slow-starting fantasy football managers, this is crunch time.

    Eight weeks of the 2020 NFL season are in the books, and if they haven't treated your roster particularly well, it might be now or never to make a move up the standings.

    That ramps up the importance of the always tricky start-or-sit decisions. You made the right move, then, coming here, as this will help steer you the right direction with three of the top play-or-bench calls for Week 9.

Start: Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills (vs. SEA)

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    John Munson/Associated Press

    Those who were skeptical of Allen's hot start probably feel like they were on to something.

    He was an MVP candidate through four games, totaling 12 touchdown passes (plus three rushing scores) and only a single interception. But he hasn't looked close to the same player since. In his last four outings, he has four passing touchdowns, four interceptions and one rushing score. The only time he topped 270 passing yards or completed more than 64 percent of his passes were when he played the lowly New York Jets, and he didn't score a touchdown against them.

    But don't bail on Allen now. Not when he's about to get the juiciest matchup a quarterback—especially a mobile one—can have.

    "Cam Newton, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Kyler Murray all had at least 10 Fantasy points with their legs, which should help Allen's floor since he has four rushing touchdowns on the season," CBS Sports' Jamey Eisenberg wrote. "And the Seahawks allow the second-most passing yards on the year. This should be a solid bounce-back week for Allen at home."

    Seattle has allowed a league-worst 26.7 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, per Yahoo. Atlanta is the only other team surrendering more than 23.5.

Sit: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Carolina Panthers (at KC)

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    Mike McCarn/Associated Press

    When you play Bridgewater, you do it for the floor. There were times when a date with the Chiefs defense would elevate the fantasy floor in weekly shootouts.

    Those days are gone. Kansas City's defense is tied for the third-fewest points per game allowed (19.0). The Chiefs have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks while totaling as many interceptions as passing touchdowns surrendered (nine each). Just three quarterbacks have cleared 17 fantasy points, and only Derek Carr has topped it since Week 2.

    So, the matchup isn't inviting, and neither is Bridgewater's recent play. Two times in the last three weeks, he has set a new season-low for passing yards, bottoming out with 176 last Thursday against a leaky Atlanta defense. He has three passing touchdowns and three interceptions over this stretch.

    The possible return of Christian McCaffrey could jolt Carolina's offense, but it may not mean a lot for Bridgewater. The pair played Weeks 1 and 2 together, and Bridgewater could only muster up one touchdown pass against two interceptions.

Start: James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (at DAL)

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Conner isn't usually a high-ceiling option.

    He doesn't have great speed, so his big runs aren't the kind that deliver ridiculous statistical outbursts. He also doesn't get a ton of involvement in the passing game—he's had more than three catches once this season—so usually you're hoping he can land somewhere near 100 rushing yards and, ideally, find the end zone.

    A date with Dallas' dreadful run defense could be his key to unlocking a massive output.

    The Cowboys have allowed an absurd 170.9 rushing yards per game. For context, the Houston Texans are the only other team giving up more than 150. Dallas has also given up the third-most yards per carry (5.1) and is tied for the third-most rushing scores allowed (11).

    Given Dallas' offensive ineptitude, Pittsburgh's game script could be as simple as calling one running play after another. While that gives Ben Roethlisberger some bust potential, it vaults Conner into clear RB1 territory for the weekend.