The Biggest Start/Sit Decisions for Week 9 (Fantasy Football)
Wilkommen to Week 9 of the Start/Sit series, where we’ll discuss your most commonly asked “Who should I start?” questions for the week.
The projections between any two players on your roster may appear similar, but this “simple” choice could be the difference between your team’s victory or defeat. Luckily, the Fantasy Footballers have created an amazing Start/Sit tool to easily compare any two (or more) players with insight from the Ballers themselves, and trust me — it’s a precious asset that will help you make these crucial lineup decisions that could ultimately lead you to your #FootClanTitle.
In this article, you’ll find your most popular Start/Sit questions of the week, along with the Ballers’ projections and my personal opinions on the matter. Please note that the Footballers’ rankings are constantly being updated as news breaks, so make sure you check out the tool for yourself to catch any last-second changes.
So, without further ado, let’s kick things off with the biggest Start/Sit questions for Week 9:
Despite coming off the better fantasy day, the Ballers all prefer to roll the dice again with Chuba Hubbard over Darrell Henderson Jr. Though they both have ideal matchups but crowded backfields, it was the former who emerged as the clear leader after seeing 67% snaps and 17 opportunities, compared to the paltry 18% snaps and two opportunities that the overpriced Miles Sanders saw. And while both were unable to score, it was not for lack of effort as Hubbard hogged ALL the red zone looks with five attempts to Sanders’ zero.
Chuba Hubbard saw all 3 goal line and all of the game-winning 2-minute drill opportunities with Miles Sanders getting fully demoted.
Sanders is on game #6 of a $13M guaranteed contract with 2024 money locked in. Rare to see coaches admit a mistake this quickly. pic.twitter.com/f62HQJZi55
— Hayden Winks (@HaydenWinks) October 30, 2023
In contrast, Henderson surprisingly saw the field less than his counterpart, Royce Freeman (47% vs. 53% snaps), though he did see more work (15 vs. nine touches). The problem was that Freeman got more red zone looks, and thus was the one to fall into the end zone and finish with more fantasy points.
We can assume the timeshare for both backfields will be similar to last week — especially regarding the goal line opportunities — making Hubbard the winner…although I suspect Sanders will siphon a few more touches. Regardless, he should presumably enjoy a larger workload than Henderson will. If you need some more encouragement, Hubbard is also the Hitman’s RB Start of the Week.
I know I just talked up Freeman as usurping more of the Rams’ backfield and seeing more of those coveted goal line touches against a porous run defense, but Singletary should be played. Yes, he has a significantly worse matchup and hasn’t really done anything thus far this season, but with reports that Dameon Pierce may be sidelined this week (ankle), Singletary should have the backfield to himself. It won’t be pretty, but if Pierce is indeed ruled out, then he’s the obvious choice.
The Ballers are divided on this one, but I’m reluctantly following the consensus vote and going with Jordan Love over Gardner Minshew. This ruling is purely matchup-based. In the last five weeks, the Los Angeles Rams have ranked 31st in schedule-adjusted points allowed to opposing QBs. Even struggling sophomore QB Kenny Pickett had his second-best fantasy game this season against the Rams (and the fourth-best of his career). Love has had his fair share of struggles (though some believe it’s not really his fault), and he’s still a fringe QB1 for fantasy purposes despite these obstacles.
I like Minshew as a strong streaming candidate thanks to his propensity to sling it. If we only consider the games he’s started in, he would lead the league in average pass attempts per game (40.75). His matchup projects to be higher-scoring, so we can infer that he’ll see the end zone more often. But, again, the matchup isn’t as great as Love’s, so unless you need to reach for upside, it’s probably “safer” to go with Love.
C.J. Stroud just had his worst game of the season, throwing for a career-low 140 scoreless yards that was buoyed by a rushing TD. I theorized last week that he would be missing his veteran receiver Robert Woods, who hasn’t been great for fantasy but likely provides much-needed support in real-life football. Unfortunately, Woods is expected to miss this week as well, though I have faith that Stroud will bounce back this week in another great matchup against the Buccanneers.
Sam Howell will have his work cut out for him against the Patriots, who are the third toughest matchup for opposing QBs in schedule-adjusted rankings. Luckily for you Howlers out there, matchups don’t seem to matter to him. And with a depleted, ransacked defense, the Washington offense will have to do everything they can to rack up the points, which is the best game script you could ask for a reckless gunslinger like Howell. But with reward comes risk, and he is as boom-bust as they come. Like the previous segment, Stroud is the recommended pick, but play Howell if you need a big score.
I love having Josh Downs in my flex as Minshew’s reliable, trusty slot guy who has a guaranteed workload regardless of matchup. After all, he’s already averaging 8.75 targets in games that Minshew started. This is, of course, more applicable in PPR leagues. Sure, his targets over the middle are boring and lack upside, but sometimes you just need a safety net with a reasonably decent floor. This week may pose more of a challenge, plus he recently popped up on the injury report (knee), so monitor the latest news to see his status before kickoff.
Josh Downs will finish as the WR#_ on the year? pic.twitter.com/aZHVvLUSiC
— Fantasy Footballers (@TheFFBallers) October 28, 2023
Rashee Rice has had the ultimate hype train this past month, and while he hasn’t quite taken off just yet, it definitely feels like it’s coming any day now. Mahomes’ flu game last week put a damper on all of Kansas City’s offensive weapons, but takeoff should depart this Sunday in Deutschland with an explosive dance partner in the Dolphins…though European games always feel like an unpredictable crapshoot. Not to mention, Miami should finally have some of their sorely missed DBs back.
In any case, Rice has the upside and substantially better passer throwing the ball to him in a projected shootout, so it makes sense that he’s the slight favorite over Downs. He’s also Jason’s WR Start of the Week. I’d personally píck Downs, but with his sudden injury worries, Rice edges out the victory.
I love Trey McBride…for next week, unless Kyler Murray is ready to go this Sunday. He saw a whopping 14 targets in a tough matchup against the Ravens without Zach Ertz, so he appears to be matchup-proof, but that was with Joshua Dobbs passing the ball. This week, he should get fifth-round rookie Clayton Tune making his debut against a terrifying Browns defense, and though we could hypothesize a scenario where Tune latches onto McBride to help move the chains, I’d rather take the safer road with Jake Ferguson on a red-hot Dallas offense against a vulnerable Eagles defense in what should be a considerably higher scoring barnburner.