Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 9: Lineup Advice, Stars to Exploit and Sleeper Options
Start-or-sit debates have been devouring the free time of fantasy football managers for years.
Even the best researched, most well-intentioned calls can go awry. It's the whole any-given-Sunday aspect of the entire NFL. Sometimes you make the correct (and obvious) call to green-light Patrick Mahomes, but you would've been better off using Mike White. You know, assuming you actually knew the name Mike White before Sunday.
That's part of the fun—and the frustration—of fantasy football. Setting a lineup gives you a sense of control, but when two teams take the gridiron, it's often anyone's guess what will transpire.
Knowing who to start and who to sit is something between an educated guess and a shot in the dark, but if you trust what the numbers are telling you, then you should come out ahead more often than not. It's even better if someone does the number-crunching for you, which is why you came here.
We have crunched the numbers, ran the eye tests and, maybe most importantly, crossed our fingers to make the following three roster-management recommendations for Week 9.
Start: Taysom Hill, QB, New Orleans Saints (vs. Atlanta Falcons)
Pay attention to the news reports coming out of New Orleans, because they could make or break this call. With the Saints having lost Jameis Winston to an ACL tear, the starting quarterback gig should go to Taysom Hill, assuming he makes it out of concussion protocol in time for Sunday.
The 31-year-old is basically a running back who takes snaps, which isn't great news for New Orleans' pass-catchers, but fantasy points count all the same for fantasy managers. In fact, it's typically easier to pile up point totals on the ground than it is through the air, since 10 rushing yards counts the same as 25 passing yards, and rushing scores (six points in standard leagues) are usually worth more than passing ones (four).
When the Saints have called Hill's number in the past, it's usually to get his legs going. For his career, he has 167 carries against 138 passing attempts; this year, it's been 16 of the former and four of the latter.
There isn't a wide enough gap between his average yards per pass attempt (7.7) and yards per rush (5.3) for the Saints to significantly change the formula. Tack on a favorable matchup against an Atlanta defense allowing the ninth-most rushing yards per game, and Hill should be good to go—if he is, in fact, good to go.
Sit: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons (at New Orleans Saints)
Entering Week 8, Matt Ryan was grooving like a saxophonist belting their way through a jazz solo. Over his previous four contests, he had thrown 10 touchdown passes against a single interception and averaged 301 yards per outing.
And then Sunday happened. Without one of his top receivers, Calvin Ridley (personal matter), and against an NFC South division rival in the Carolina Panthers, the 36-year-old couldn't hit the right note all afternoon. He was sacked three times and picked off twice, while throwing for a season-low 146 yards and a single score.
Things might only get more difficult from here.
The Saints have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, per Yahoo Sports, and if they go run-heavy with Hill at quarterback, Ryan could spend a lot of this game watching from the sidelines.
Start: Boston Scott, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)
So much for Kenneth Gainwell seizing control of the Miles Sanders-less backfield in Philadelphia. The rookie didn't gain, well, much of anything Sunday (sorry), failing to capitalize on his opportunity and managing just 27 rushing yards on 13 attempts.
Boston Scott, meanwhile, found success early and often against the Detroit Lions.
While Philly dialed up a nearly equal workload for all three of its running backs—Scott and Jordan Howard both had 12 carries each—Scott made the most of his chances. He rushed for a season-high 60 yards and found his way to the end zone twice. He was also the only Eagles running back targeted on a pass (although he didn't catch it), and he paced the backfield with 29 snaps, per NBC Sports Philadelphia.
The 26-year-old may not be the featured back, but he looks like the first option, and that should be good enough in another favorable matchup for Eagles' rushers. The Los Angeles Chargers have surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs this season.