Fantasy Football Week 9: Start’em / Sit’em

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Last week: 15-7-4: Season: 85-56-22

Week 8 Recap: I bounced back from a mediocre week 7 with a 15-8 record in week 8 putting me at a 60% success rate for the year. That’s not too shabby, for a frame of reference Yahoo’s resident start’em / sit’em (flames/lames) guy is at 46%. I nailed all my start’em RBs (Ellington, Ridley, Bell), my recommendation to sit Vick, and my bust of week on Justin Blackmon. Ok, I’m done patting myself on the back. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows last week as I was off on Andy Dalton by 20 points. I’ve been rough on Dalton and his “noodle-arm” all year, but it’s time for me to re-evaluate.

With another 6 team bye week on the horizon and a rash of significant injuries the last few weeks, your team is probably scrambling to fill your starting lineup. I know I am. I have resisted the urge to talk about my fantasy teams all year, but this one is worth telling at least as a warning to not make the same mistakes I did.

It started out promising enough, I used the last $40 of my waiver budget to win the rights to Tampa’s Mike James. I’m actually stocked at RB, but figured James would be good trade bait and possibly the last starting RB to hit the wire this season. I basically got James because I was sick of choosing between Bowe, Edelman, Tavon Austin, and Cecil Shorts for my #2 WR slot and was hoping to package James with one of the aforementioned WRs or another of my RB stable (Lacy, Bell, Ridley, Elllington) for a legit starting WR.

I figured why not go for the best first and work my way down, so I sent out an offer to the owner of Calvin Johnson who happened to be the #2 bidder on James and is almost out of the playoff race. After a long negotiation that I won’t bore you with, we ended up agreeing on a deal that netted me Calvin Johnson, Trent Richardson, and Kris Durham and cost me La’veon Bell, Mike James, Percy Harvin (who I’ve held on to all year), Dwayne Bowe and Randall Cobb (keeper league). The league was split on who won the deal, but all I cared about was that I had Calvin Johnson in time for his week 8 shoot-out with the Cowboys. I’ve somehow never owned Megatron in any league so I was giddy.

With the deal agreed upon and scheduled to be processed on Saturday, I got a little greedy and put Mike James into my starting lineup for the Thursday night game. I figured why not get some value from him before he was shipped out on Saturday? Well Yahoo apparently doesn’t look kindly on that type of move because they delayed the trade going through until after week 8 since one of the 8 players (!) involved in the deal had already played. So I didn’t get Calvin for his record setting performance Sunday (43 fantasy points!) and did get Mike James and his mediocre 8 point game. The point of the story is, if you have a trade pending do not play any of the players involved or your going to delay the trade till the next week. Granted it’s a situation that won’t come up often, but if it does at least you will know what to do.

Now on to my picks for week 9:

Note: Only players started in less than 75% of yahoo leagues will be listed in Start’em section. These recommendations are for players you may be on the fence about that I think will over (Start) or under (Sit) perform their projections (Yahoo).

Start’em:

QB:

RG3 SD (62%, 20): It was a rough week 8 for RG3 in what should have been a cushy match-up vs Denver. I’m still on board obviously. The Chargers secondary is porous, this should be a high scoring game, and RG3 practiced this week without limitations. The Chargers are giving up the 3rd most points to fantasy QBs and I think RGs bounces back with close to a 30 point fantasy day.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Dalton @MIA (45%, 16): After weeks of ripping Dalton in this and other columns, I’m changing my tune after his 4 TD performance last week. Nice flip-flop Mike. It’s not so much that I believe in Dalton, but he is surrounded by a handful of dangerous weapons (Gio, Green, Jones, Eifert) and protected by a solid O-line. I don’t expect a repeat of last week’s numbers, but think he’ll put up a solid mid 20s fantasy line.

RB:

Le’Veon Bell @NE (66%, 11): Bell is averaging 19.5 touches in his last 4 games. He’s getting red-zone carries and is involved in the passing game (7 targets last week). The Pats run defense is nothing to be afraid of and I think Bell is due for a big game. The opportunity is certainly there.

Gio Bernard @MIA (66%, 11): Gio hasn’t scored in two weeks and I’m 0-2 on my start Gio recommendations. We’re both due. Miami has given up the 4th most points to fantasy RBs and with Dalton forcing defenses to respect the pass, Bernard should be able to find some running room Thurs night.

Ryan Mathews @WAS (46%, 9): Mathews has two 100 yard games in a row and is averaging 4.9 YPC over those games. Sign of the Apocalypse? Maybe, but if you drafted Mathews you have to get him in your lineup against a defense that is giving up the 2nd most points to fantasy RBs.

WR:

Terrance Williams MIN (73%, 12): This is an easy one, Williams has scored in 4 straight games and opposing defenses will be focused on stopping Dez Bryant. Even if they weren’t, Minnesota’s defense sucks and Dallas should be able to move the ball at will. Williams is a solid WR2 every week in my book.

Alshon Jeffery @GB (57%, 11): Don’t let Josh McCown scare you, after he replaced Cutler in week 7 Alshon had 4 catches for 105 yards (on 6 targets). With the Bears defense unable to stop anyone lately (sadness), they will have to throw the ball to keep up and Alshon should get plenty of looks.

Keenan Allen @WAS (62%, 12): Owners are overreacting to one mediocre game from Allen (3-67). Washington’s pass defense is awful and Allen is still Philip Rivers’ #1 WR. Get him in your lineup.

TE:

Jordan Reed SD (62%, 11): There are quite a few players on this list from the Was/SD game, so obviously I’m expecting a shoot-out. For two weeks in a row, Reed has emerged as the primary short yardage option for RG3 with 17 targets over the last two weeks. I don’t see any reason that changes this week.

Kyle Rudolph @DAL (49%, 9): Dallas is giving up the 2nd most fantasy points to TEs this year and with Minnesota’s incompetence at QB, I expect Rudolph to see a lot of short yardage targets. A TD might be a stretch, but I expect a solid 5-6 catches for 60+ yards.

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