Fantasy Football

Fantasy Football Week 9 – Start ‘Em / Sit ‘Em


Good afternoon, Fantasy Football Fans, and Happy Belated Halloween! I hope you all enjoyed the game on Thursday night, as it was quite the contest in South Beach! Going into the game, I definitely picked the Bengals to come out on top, but the Dolphins D/ST came up big, forcing Andy Dalton (QB – CIN) to turnover the ball four times (3 INT, 1 FUML), and eventually sacked him in the end zone for a game-ending safety in OT. Thursday marked only the third time all season that Dalton failed to throw a TD, and it was also the first game since Week 1 that he had more than one interception. Dalton did throw for over 300 yards for the fourth-straight game, but it wasn’t enough to earn the victory in the end. To make matters worse for Cincy, they also lost All-Pro defensive tackle, Geno Atkins for the rest of the season to an ACL injury. This is a huge blow to an already injury-laden Bengals D/ST, as they already lost cornerback Leon Hall, defensive back Taylor Mays, and linebacker Ray Maualuga over the past two weeks. Both Hall and Mays are lost for the season, while Maualuga is expected to miss the next 2-3 weeks.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, things were going much better for Miami, who snapped a 4-game losing streak with the win after starting the season 3-0. Ryan Tannehill (QB – MIA) put up another Tannehill-esque (read: average) performance, throwing for only 208 yards and 0 TD’s, but did add a 1-yard TD run to finish out with 14 fantasy points. Thursday’s game was the first time all season Tannehill failed to throw for a TD all season, but was also only the second game of the season without a turnover. Tannehill has been very consistent for his Fantasy owners this season, scoring double-digit points in all but one game, yet never topping more than 16 points in a contest. He’s a viable starter if you need a bye week fill-in, or if you’re in a 2-QB league, but I feel like he still has yet to reach his full potential, and I’m not sure that will happen this season. Well, enough recapping of the first game of Week 9. Let’s get to my “Start ‘Em / Sit ‘Em” picks for tomorrow’s slate of games!

I’m going to swich-up the format of today’s article a little bit, so hopefully, the change is well-received. Instead of just listing out various guys under either the “Start ‘Em” or “Sit ‘Em” category, I’m going to list players out by position, then put my recommendation on playing each player in the description. Just wanted to spice things up a bit from the standard dictation I usually throw out for you all.  Here we go!


Matt Ryan (QB – ATL) – Matty Ice put up his worst game of the season last week against the Cardinals D/ST, throwing 4 INT to only 1 TD. He was able to put up 301 yards passing, but the turnovers and lack of TD’s notched Ryan his first single digit performance of 2013. This week, he faces the divisional rival Carolina D/ST, a squad that he’s pretty much owned over the past couple years, throwing for 1,193 yards and 10 TD’s to only 2 INT. However, this year’s Carolina team is much better than the teams from 2011 and 2012, and I think Ryan is going to have a tougher time in Charlotte this weekend, especially without Julio Jones (WR – ATL) and possibly Roddy White (WR – ATL) to help him along. My recommendation: Sit ‘Em!

Philip Rivers (QB – SD) – Since scoring 20+ Fantasy points in three of his first four games to start the season, Rivers has cooled off a bit, netting only 13 points and 15 points in Week 6 and Week 7, respectively. This week, he faces off against the porous Redskins D/ST, who have allowed at least 1 TD to opposing QB’s in every game of the season. The ‘skins are also coming off a 354 yard, 4 TD performance by the nearly unstoppable Peyton Manning (QB – DEN), and San Diego has fared very well against NFC East opponents in recent years, including two wins against the division already this season. Those wins came against the Eagles D/ST and the Cowboys D/ST, both of which allowed over 400 yards and 3 TD’s to Rivers earlier this season. Also, Rivers is coming off a bye for this game, so I see a strong performance coming his way against a weak opponent. My recommendation: Start ‘Em!

Jake Locker (QB – TEN) – Locker has been a somewhat surprisingly solid option at QB this season. He’s coming off his first 300+ yard performance of the year, and that was before he had an extra week to prep for this week’s game against the so-so Rams D/ST. Locker has scored double-digit points in every game this season after Week 1, which was also the only game he failed to score a TD. He’s a good bet to have another good game this week, and he is a solid bye week fill-in if you’re still looking for one. My recommendation: Start ‘Em!

Tom Brady (QB – NE) – Brady just hasn’t been “Brady” this season, and I don’t really see him breaking out of that “Cowardly Lion” shell against a decent Steelers D/ST that has yet to allow an opposing QB to throw for more than 280 yards and 2 TD’s against them. It’s a good thing he has a hot wife because he may need some consoling after another poor performance. My recommendation: Sit ‘Em!

Andrew Luck (QB – IND) –  The Colts are still on a high after beating the then-undefeated Denver Broncos, and they face a reeling Texans D/ST who is currently the top-ranked team against opposing QB’s. But, Indy has had their way with Houston over the past few years, and I think Andrew’s Luck will continue this weekend. My recommendation: Start ‘Em, but temper expectations some!

Running Backs:
Marshawn Lynch (RB – SEA) – Lynch’s horrendous performance last Monday night against the Rams D/ST (8 carries for 23 yards, 2 points) aided in a loss for one of my teams last week, and was his third low-single digit output of the season. Some owners may be wondering if he’s ever going to get back to “Beast Mode” status, but if ever there was a week for Lynch to restore faith in his owners, it’s this one. He faces a win-less Buccaneers D/ST who has been fairly good against opposing running backs, but the game will take place in the cozy, 12th Man confines of Century Link Field in Seattle. My recommendation: Start ‘Em!

Steven Jackson (RB – ATL) – I wrote about Jackson in last week’s article, as he was finally coming back from the hamstring injury that kept him out since Week 2. This week, I am holding to my thought process from last week, as Carolina’s defense is crippling against opposing running backs. Jackson still isn’t back to normal and I don’t see him getting there this week. My recommendation: Sit ‘Em!

Ryan Mathews (RB – SD) – Typically, I’m not a big Mathews fan, but he’s the only RB in the league to rush for back-to-back 100+ yard games so far. He has a juicy match-up against the a Redskins D/ST, who is currently the 2nd-worst defense against opposing backs, and I think he makes it a 3rd-consecutive 100-yard game this week. Based on my usual disdain for Mathews, it is somewhat painful to say this. However, sometimes you just gotta go with what you feel is right. My recommendation: Start ‘Em!

Wide Receivers:
With a lot of stud wideouts on bye this week, and a few others facing injury concerns, it’s very tough to recommend sitting anyone in particular. I do like guys like Marlon Brown (WR – BAL) and Jarrett Boykin (WR – GB) to be viable starting options, though. Granted, if James Jones (WR – GB) ends up playing, Boykin’s value takes a bit of a hit, so keep an eye on that if you’re looking at using either of these guys. If you have enough depth to throw another RB or TE into your FLEX spots, I’d go with it. Otherwise, you’re working with a pool of WR talent that’s just not available.

Tight Ends:
Jared Cook (TE – STL) – On paper, Cook appears to be a good option for tomorrow’s game. However, he hasn’t done much of anything for the Rams offense since his 24 point output in Week 1, as he’s failed to score more than 4 points in any game. He faces a weak opponent against tight ends this week, but, I just don’t see him breaking out and putting up Week 1 numbers again. He’s already lost Sam Bradford (QB – STL) for the season, but again, he hasn’t helped his fantasy owners at all even with Bradford calling the shots for the Rams. My recommendation: Sit ‘Em!

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Kyle Rudolph (TE – MIN) – Rudolph has been fairly quiet for most of this season, but I can see his fortunes changing a bit this week versus a Cowboys D/ST that currently ranks 31st against opposing tight ends. The ever-changing QB situation in Minnesota has clearly had an adverse affect on Rudolph’s production fantasy-wise this year, but the yardage totals, and hopefully a few red zone targets, should be there on Sunday, regardless of who is throwing the ball to him. My recommendation: Start ‘Em!

Well, folks, that’s all I have for this week. Good luck with your match-ups tomorrow, and be sure to keep an eye out for next week’s “Start ‘Em / Sit ‘Em” article on


About A.J. Applegarth

A.J. has been in the fantasy sports game for so long, that the first fantasy team he ever managed used football box scores from newspapers to calculate points. Since those days, A.J. has taken home numerous fantasy football and baseball championship titles. He has also taken his talents to a few fantasy basketball leagues and countless DFS games in more recent years. A.J. would openly admit that “luck” has been a factor in his two-plus decade-long success in fantasy sports, but he will also be the first one to tell you, “You can’t teach luck!” Catch A.J.’s witty banter and "Beer of the Week" picks on The Fantasy Six Pack Hour Podcast, and follow him on the Twitter-space @AppleGarthAlgar.

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