Before we get to the Week 9 fantasy football start/sit advice, I want to add a couple more thoughts on my Tebow article from yesterday. (And don’t worry; I’ll analyze his fantasy prospects for Week 9 too.)
First, thank you to everyone who understood my main point: that it’s simply too early to say whether or not Timmy will be good or bad yet. In no way was I trying to say that Tebow will be better than Elway, Marino, and Manning; my point was how do we REALLY know after only five starts?
Second, while Tebow’s struggles have been magnified because Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, and Christian Ponder have looked so good thus far as rookies. I think we can all agree that all three of those guys have MUCH better weapons around them than anything the Broncos have this season.
- Cam Newton has FOUR offensive weapons that are better than anyone on the Broncos: Steve Smith, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, and Greg Olsen.
- Andy Dalton has three: AJ Green, Cedric Benson, and a fantastic defense (seriously…Dalton threw for 160 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs this week…and his team won by TWENTY-TWO!!!! The only way Tebow and the Broncos are doing that anytime soon is if they play Vanderbilt).
- As for the Vikings, Christian Ponder has the best non-QB offensive player in the game on his team (Adrian Peterson) as well as a receiver (Percy Harvin) who is better than anyone in Denver now that Brandon Lloyd is gone.
Once you factor in the defenses (Denver’s is second to last in the league when it comes to scoring defense and worse than Cincinnati, Carolina, and Minnesota in every single category), it shouldn’t surprise anybody that both Tebow and Orton have struggled in 2011 so far with the Broncos.
I guess what’s so troubling to me is the unforgiving stance everyone is taking with Tebow. Look at the following two stat lines and tell me which QB you would rather have.
- QB #1 – 57 of 118 for 891 yards. 48% completion. 7.55 yards per attempt. 7 TDs, 3 INTs.
- QB #2 – 64 for 137 for 638 yards. 47% completion. 4.65 yards per attempt. 4 TDs, 2 INTs.
Though neither QB is all that desirable, anyone in his or her right mind would take QB #1, who has thrown for more yards, a slightly higher completion rate, and scored more TDs as well. This is all before taking into account the fact that QB #1 outrushed QB #2 by a margin of 302 to 43 in those games as well.
In this example I’m comparing Tim Tebow to Blaine Gabbert – a guy who was drafted higher than Tebow and who has, so far, gotten through the media scope almost completely unscathed. In fact, articles have been written explaining why he deserves a free pass for his entire first year.
Once again, I don’t necessarily think Tebow WILL make it as an NFL QB…but shouldn’t we at least make him earn our judgments either way? Let’s extend to him the same long rookie leash that we give everybody else.
Onto this week’s start em, sit em picks!
Fantasy Football Start Em, Sit Em Advice for Week 9
Last Week’s Picks: 21 for 35 (60 %)
Note: last week’s top-line picks were made by Jerod
- Hits: Eli Manning, Cam Newton, Matt Hasselbeck, Tim Tebow, Philip Rivers, Darren Sproles, Peyton Hillis, Montario Hardesty, Knowshon Moreno, DeAngelo Williams, DeMarco Murray, Brandon Lloyd, Antonio Brown, Michael Crabtree, Steve Breaston, Eric Decker, Demariyus Thomas, Reggie Wayne, Brent Celek, Fred Davis, Owen Daniels
- Misses: Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Chris Johnson, Mark Ingram, Ryan Torain, Bernard Scott, Sidney Rice, Deion Branch, Jake Ballard, Vernon Davis, Dallas Clark, Heath Miller, Scott Chandler.
As a quick reminder, the following teams have a bye during week 9:
Fantasy Football Week 9 Start Em, Sit Em: Quarterbacks
Start Em QB: Matt Ryan, Atlanta (v Indianapolis)
Ryan is currently ranked as the 14th overall fantasy QB, meaning in most leagues he should be a backup. Fortunately for Matty Ice owners, the Falcons are traveling to Indy this week, where they will face one of the worst pass defenses in history.
Start Matt Ryan with no regrets in week 9.
Matt Ryan fantasy football Week 9 projection: 275 yards passing, 2 TDs
Less Obvious Start Em QB: Tim Tebow, Denver (v Oakland)
The Raiders have the 24th ranked pass defense in the league this year and have gotten into several shootouts with teams already. I understand the lack of weapons in the Denver passing game may scare you, but Tebow performed pretty well against Oakland last year (150 passing yards, 80 rushing yards, and 2 TDs).
If you have a top 8 QB, you shouldn’t be starting Tebow, but if Matt Stafford or Cam Newton is your starter and thus is on a bye, don’t sweat starting Timmy in week 9.
Tim Tebow fantasy football Week 9 projection: 140 yards passing, 60 yards rushing, 2 total TDs (and probably two total turnovers also)
Other start ‘em QBs for Week Nine:
- Tony Romo – This week, the Romo Coaster goes back up against the Seattle Seahawks…before throwing his fans and owners off a cliff in week ten against the Bills.
- Philip Rivers – The Chargers will probably be playing from behind, and the Packers’ secondary has been very average so far.
Sit Em QB: Joe Flacco, Baltimore (v Pittsburgh)
Don’t be fooled into thinking that since he lit up the Steelers in week one, he will do it again. He won’t.
I said it a few weeks ago, but I’ll say it again. If you didn’t think Dick LeBeau was a genius before this year, just consider that for over a decade the Steelers have been impossible to run against yet in 2012, as soon as the NFL became a full-fledged passing league, he transformed the Steelers’ defense into the league’s #1 ranked passing defense, allowing opponents a paltry 5.1 yards per attempt. Unbelievable.
Stay away from Flacco this week.
Joe Flacco fantasy football Week 9 projection: 175 yards passing, 1 TD, 1 INT
Other sit ‘em QBs for Week Nine:
- Ryan Fitzpatrick – Playing the Jets who are coming off a bye…yikes.
- Ben Roethlisberger – I think this week’s Steelers/Ravens game will be a true throwback affair.
I love the Ryan pick, and I think he is a guy who owners need to keep an eye on as we move into the second half of the season. He hasn’t been a great fantasy quarterback so far this year, but with a lot of dome games and some favorable matchups coming up, he could be a top-10 QB from here on out, which is all that matters.
As for Tebow, he certainly has more potential value this week than he did last week against the Suh and the Lions, but I think there is a lot of risk there. I want to see him play a decent game from start to finish before I trust my one QB slot to him. What if he’s awful and gets pulled at halftime? Without the backing of his own coaching staff, and how poor he’s looked, I can’t justify starting him unless I’m desperate.
And yes, sit Flacco. He couldn’t get a pass in the end zone last week versus Arizona, and now has zero TD passes in three of his last four games (and in the other game he had just one).
Fantasy Football Week 9 Start Em, Sit Em: Running Backs
Start Em RB: Beanie Wells, Arizona (v St. Louis)
While I don’t necessarily love Beanie Wells’ prospects for the rest of the season due to his lingering injury issues, I really like him this week against the Rams. St. Louis has proven to be vulnerable on the ground this season, and Beanie is coming off of a fantastic game against a very good defense in Baltimore.
Despite his lingering knee issues, look for Beanie to have one or two more good efforts before he tails off to end the year.
Beanie Wells fantasy football Week 9 projection: 95 yards rushing, 2 TDs
Other start ‘em RBs for Week Nine:
- Michael Turner – Against the Colts…okay this one is too obvious, so let’s just ignore it and move on.
- LeGarrette Blount – At this point, it’s still a little early to completely trust Blount, but I really like the Bucs’ running game this week against a suddenly reeling Saints team. New Orleans just got lit up on the ground against St. Louis, and the Bucs will be looking to keep Dreww Brees off the field as much as possible. Give Blount your complete trust this week.
Sit Em RB: Fred Jackson, Buffalo (v New York Jets)
I actually like Fred Jackson, who has yet to have a really bad day, a lot for the rest of the season. However, now is as good a time as ever for that first clunker of 2011 with the Jets coming to town fresh off a bye.
Rex Ryan’s team hasn’t been as consistently good against the run this year as in years’ past, but it was a point of emphasis for their defense all week. Look for Jackson and the entire Bills offense to have a tough time on Sunday.
Fred Jackson fantasy football Week 9 projection: 40 yards rushing, 30 yards receiving, 0 TDs
Other sit ‘em RBs for Week Nine:
- Redskins’ Running Backs – I think Ryan Torain and Roy Helu can be good backs, but I also think that with John Beck starting the 49ers defense, which is already good against the run, will be able to send an 8th man into the box. This is not good news for the Redskins in real life or fantasy.
- Ryan Mathews – Just trust me that when the Chargers are down 21-0 with 12 minutes left in the second quarter, or Mathews is dinged up again, you will wish you had left him on the bench.
Beanie Wells is a very inviting start this weekend, and I would not be surprised to see him finish as a top 5 overall player this week. Except that I would…because I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him scratched from the starting lineup at the last second or removed midway through the game because of an injury. Such is life with Beanie Wells. This is a week to definitely have him in your lineup, but just remember to take nothing for granted on Sunday morning.
And while I agree with your basic premise that Fred Jackson could struggle this week, he’s not sitting on any of my rosters. The Jets have not been their previously dominant selves against the run, and Jackson has earned every-week start status for his ability to run and be a receiver out of the backfield. How many true lead backs are there anymore in the NFL? FJax is one. You better have two or three elite 2011 options if you’re even thinking about sitting him.
And I agree on Blount. A great option for this week, and a solid buy low candidate if you’re looking to make a trade.
Fantasy Football Week 9 Start Em, Sit Em: Wide Receivers
Start Em WR: Julio Jones, Atlanta (v Indianapolis)
At this point, you all know how I feel about Julio Jones. I think he’s overrated. I think AJ Green is 4x better than him. I think Jones drops a lot of balls, and I think he’s a poor route-runner.
And that’s all well and good, but he’s still super-duper talented athletically…and he’s playing the Colts this week. I expect at least two home run plays from him in yet another Colts blowout loss.
Julio Jones fantasy football Week 9 projection: 125 yards receiving, 2 TDs
Other start ‘em WRs for Week Nine:
- Plaxico Burress – He’s already a great target in the end zone, and I have a sneaky suspicion that he and the Sanchize got even MORE acquainted over their bye week. Even if they didn’t, they are still playing the porous Buffalo passing defense. Good day for Plaxico.
- Antonio Brown – Ed Reed will be shading towards Mike Wallace all game, and while that won’t completely shut down the speedster, I think that Antonio Brown will rise to the occasion like he did last week and catch a lot of balls underneath, as well as pick up another TD or two.
Sit Em WR: Stevie Johnson, Buffalo (v New York Jets)
Revis Island. Off a bye week. Oh boy.
Stevie Johnson fantasy football Week 9 projection: 45 yards receiving, 0 TDs
Other sit ‘em WRs for Week Nine:
- Nate Washington – Cincinnati has been surprisingly great against the pass, ranking fifth overall in passing defense. Look for Washington to be bottled up, especially since the Titans lack a really reliable #2 option now that Chris Johnson has passed away.
- Patriots’ Wide Receivers not named Wes Welker – Uh oh…the Steelers just showed us that the Pats have absolutely no deep threat. Needless to say, it’s not Welker’s, Hernandez’s, or Gronkowski’s fault.
At this point in the presentation, I can deduce two things: you think Atlanta is going to roughshod over Indianapolis (safe prediction) and you trust Rex Ryan and the Jets’ D to shut down a Buffalo offense that has been pretty good this year (a riskier but not outrageous bet). With that said, I agree with you on sitting Stevie Johnson, assuming someone has strong depth at WR. Stevie is not devoid of value, because he has a nose for the end zone, but Darrelle Revis has certainly locked down better receivers.
I also like Julio Jones this week. I don’t love him, because I think the Falcons have moved away from trying to force-feed him the ball. His targets will now come more in the flow of the offense, and if the Colts jump out to a big lead over Indy – a likely occurrence with Atlanta’s ability to run the ball – then they won’t need to take as many shots down the field. I think it’s a good matchup for Jones, but without the upside you seem to think.
One guy not mentioned that people need to keep their eye on is Michael Crabtree. He is healthy, and having Braylon Edwards opposite him will “take the top off the defense” as they say. Alex Smith looks at Crabtree first in the passing game. In PPR leagues especially, he will be golden for the rest of the year.
Fantasy Football Week 9 Start Em, Sit Em: Tight Ends
Start Em TE: Jake Ballard, New York Giants (v New England)
After seeing Heath Miller step out of the time machine and look like a young Tony Gonzalez on Sunday, I’m willing to say that the Patriots have a VERY difficult time stopping opposing tight ends. I fully expect Eli Manning to take note of that, and use Jake Ballard a lot, especially early on in Week 9.
Jake Ballard fantasy football Week 9 projection: 5 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD
Other start ‘em WRs for Week Nine:
- Dustin Keller – He’s having a solid year so far, and Sanchez loves him nearly as much as Plax in the red zone.
- Vernon Davis – He will have a nice bounce back week against a Washington defense that is actually pretty good. Look for Alex Smith to check down quite a bit to the big tight end.
Sit Em TE: Scott Chandler, Buffalo (v New York Jets)
There’s no way he scores any more TDs this week against the Jets.
Scott Chandler fantasy football Week 9 projection: 1 reception, 10 yards, 0 TD
I’m now officially beginning to wonder if Rex Ryan wrote this article. You chose a Bill as your sit em RB, WR, and TE, and you mentioned the Bearded Wonder in your “other” section under the QBs. Jon, bro, we get it: you think the Jets’ defense is going to have a strong effort coming off the bye.
I love Ballard. Eli Manning always seems to turn his tight end into a fantasy relevant commodity as the season goes along. Same thing is happening here.
As for Chandler, he made me eat my disparaging words last week, but I agree with you that starting him would make me very nervous this week. He has value, because he’s always a TD threat, but it’s all or nothing with him. Just know that when you start him (and know that none of us can predict with any certainty when he will or will not find openings in the end zone).
Fantasy Football Week 9 Start Em, Sit Em: D/ST
[Editor’s Note: because we would not allow Jon to pick the Jets’ defense as his “start ‘em” defense/special teams unit, he decided to boycott this last section of the post. What a baby. So these picks are made by Jerod.]
Start ‘em D/ST: Oakland Raiders (v Denver)
Every year I try to target specific offenses that are so inept as to make even mediocre defenses valuable for one week. The Broncos made the Dolphins’ rag-tag defense very valuable two weeks ago, and an already strong fantasy defense in Detroit become out-of-this-world valuable last week.
This week, the Broncos and struggling QB Tim Tebow face Oakland. The Raiders are physical up front, which is the same formula the Lions used to pressure Tebow last week. Until the young QB proves he can avoid sacks and fumbles, I’m starting any D going up against the Broncos.
Also working in your favor if you nab the Raiders: Jacoby Ford. He’s a weekly threat to get you a bonus TD.
Oakland D/ST fantasy football Week 9 projection: 17 or fewer points allowed, 4+ sacks, 2+ turnovers, 1 TD
Other start ‘em D/ST units for Week Nine:
- I like both the Pittsburgh and Baltimore defenses this week. I agree with Jon that this game will be an old school battle. (If by some chance you have to pick one or the other, go with Pittsburgh. Joe Flacco is playing far worse than Big Ben right now).
- I’d want to stay away from Washington offensive players this week against San Francisco, but the Washington defense isn’t a bad option. The 49ers have to travel cross-country and play an early game, which is rarely a good recipe for success for West Coast teams. And with San Fran already being more of a running team than an explosive passing team, it limits their potential to put up big scoring numbers, especially against a solid D like Washington’s.
Sit ‘em D/ST: Seattle Seahawks (v Dallas Cowboys)
I don’t know how many people have been employing the Seahawks D, but there was a groundswell of support for them a few weeks back because they are decent against the run. While that remains true, and the Seahawks have some decent matchups moving forward, I don’t like their chances against an angry, embarrassed Cowboys team that gets to lick its wounds at home this week.
The Cowboys’ offense isn’t nearly as good as everyone thought it would be coming into the season, but it’s much better than it showed last week. The poor Seahawks will feel the brunt of it this weekend.
Seattle D/ST fantasy football Week 9 projection: 27+ points, 2 or fewer sacks, 1 turnover
Other sit ‘em D/ST units for Week Nine:
- I wouldn’t want either the Giants or Patriots defenses going this week. That game just smells like one that gets into the 30s on both sides.
- The Jets’ D is not as obvious a start candidate as Jon would have you think it is, and I do not say this just to needle Jon. While I like the Jets’ D is general, they simply have not been a dominant unit this year, and the Bills have been a pretty consistent offense. I would not at all be surprised to see this game played in the 20s, which means the Jets would need a defensive TD or a bunch of sacks/turnovers to turn in a great day. It’s possible, but I don’t consider it likely.
Best of luck to everyone in Week 9.
Make sure you also take a look at Andy’s waiver wire wire pickups for Week 9, and then load up the comment queue with questions. We’ll be around all week to answer them, and of course we’ll be here on Sunday morning to help out with those difficult last minute start/sit questions.