The Biggest Start/Sit Decisions for Week 9 (Fantasy Football)

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“It takes a career, a lifetime, to build up a reputation.
And only one misstep for it all to crumble away.”

Aaron Rodgers

Willkommen, Footclan! Welcome to Week 9 of the Start/Sit series where we’ll identify and 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 the Start/Sit tool to easily compare any two (or more) players with insight from the Ballers themselves, and trust me — it’s an extremely valuable asset that will help you make these crucial lineup decisions that could ultimately lead you to your #FootClanTitle. Please note that the Footballers’ rankings are constantly being updated as news breaks, so make sure you check out the tool yourself to catch any last-second changes.

So without further adieu, let’s kick things off with the most popular Start/Sit questions for Week 9:

Jeremy McNichols (TEN) or Boston Scott (PHI)?

Jeremy McNichols

  • TEN
  • RB
  • @ LAR
  • Sun, 11/7
  • 8:20pm EST

Boston Scott

  • PHI
  • RB
  • vs LAC
  • Sun, 11/7
  • 4:05pm EST
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points 11.1 11.9
Andy Rank RB #27 RB #22
Mike Rank RB #23 RB #22
Jason Rank RB #27 RB #23
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 15 30
Home/Away Away Home
Over/Under 53.5 50
Line +7.5 +1.5

Replacing Derrick Henry with Jeremy McNichols is like replacing an A5 Kobe steak with two tacos from Jack in the Box: it’s an enormous downgrade in quality, but it’s serviceable if you can stomach it down and you can’t beat the price. While his usage is TBD with veteran Adrian Peterson in town, I believe he’ll see enough touches to produce low-RB2 numbers in PPR formats.

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2018 was Mike Vrabel’s first year as the Titans’ head coach. Instead of leaning on a young, bruising Henry who was bursting with obvious potential, Vrabel favored pass-catching back Dion Lewis. Before Henry officially took over the reins in Week 15 and never looked back, this is how the workload was split in the backfield (averages per game):

Dion Lewis Derrick Henry
Snaps 65% 36%
Carries 49% 49%
Targets 79% 21%

McNichols is primed for the Dion Lewis role in a committee opposite Peterson’s downgraded version of King Henry. He’s already had a game where he saw 12 targets, although that’s something we can’t expect in the future. But it is encouraging to see Tannehill’s willingness to rely on McNichols to move the chains, something he’ll desperately need help with as Henry recovers from his foot surgery. Lewis couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity, but perhaps McNichols could? After all, this is a stronger offense with a better QB than their 2018 counterparts.

Boston Scott? Really? Look, I know he did well last week, and his upcoming matchup is so mouthwatering that he should do well this week, but… c’mon. Him? I just can’t. Sure, 18 fantasy points made him Week 8’s RB9. But it was in a blowout where an off-the-street Jordan  Howard managed nearly the same score, while “RB1” Kenneth Gainwell likely lost folks their matchup with a painful 2.7 points. The troubling stat is that each back got nearly the same number of opportunities. Scott led the group in snaps (45%), but it’s too much of a gamble to trust him. He and Howard both had to score twice in order to vault their fantasy numbers. This was also QB Jalen Hurts‘ first game where he didn’t score a TD, something he will undoubtedly correct this Sunday against a strong Chargers team.

The Verdict
The Ballers unanimously favor Scott, but I’d rather take a shot with McNichols.

Emmanuel Sanders (BUF) or Jerrry Jeudy (DEN)?

Emmanuel Sanders

  • BUF
  • WR
  • @ JAX
  • Sun, 11/7
  • 1:00pm EST

Jerry Jeudy

  • DEN
  • WR
  • @ DAL
  • Sun, 11/7
  • 1:00pm EST
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points 13.4 12.9
Andy Rank WR #24 WR #27
Mike Rank WR #24 WR #27
Jason Rank WR #26 WR #27
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 24 26
Home/Away Away Away
Over/Under 49 49.5
Line -14.5 +9.5

What goes up, must come down. Veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders was on fire last month until he crashed down hard with a goose-egg against Miami. Although he may have lost you your matchup last week, he’ll get the perfect opportunity to bounce back against a vulnerable Jaguars secondary. Cole Beasley will probably remain a factor, but there’s room for both guys to produce.

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Jerry Jeudy‘s comeback came not with a bang but a whimper as he caught all four of his measly targets for 39 scoreless yards. This is not the “league-winning” receiver we were teased during his recovery, but maybe we were too early? Maybe he needs a little more time to reacclimate to the gridiron, and needs some more time to rebuild his rapport with QB Teddy Bridgewater, who himself needs some time to reevaluate his recent gameplay and get his act together? He could absolutely flash this week against softer coverage while fellow WR Courtland Sutton is possibly shadowed by superstar CB Trevon Diggs.

The Verdict
I actually like both guys this week (and ROS), but Sanders edges it out. Boing boing.

Tyler Conklin (MIN) or Pat Freiermuth (PIT)?
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Tyler Conklin

  • MIN
  • TE
  • @ BAL
  • Sun, 11/7
  • 1:00pm EST

Pat Freiermuth

  • PIT
  • TE
  • vs CHI
  • Mon, 11/8
  • 8:15pm EST
EXPERT PROJECTIONS
Proj. Points 6.9 6.2
Andy Rank TE #14 TE #17
Mike Rank TE #14 TE #16
Jason Rank TE #15 TE #16
MATCHUP DETAILS
Opp. Rank 32 2
Home/Away Away Home
Over/Under 49.5 40
Line +6 -6

Here’s the tea: both Tyler Conklin and Pat Freiermuth were undrafted in practically all fantasy leagues, yet they’re in the Start/Sit discussion because both are seeing high snaps and have already had a top-two TE finish. Unless you’re rostering a TE that sees a majority of the team’s total targets, then you’re basically banking on a TD. That’s how bad the TE landscape is; it’s basically TD or bust. But if you aren’t lucky enough to have a top option, then you go for the next best thing… which is a not-so-proven TE who has recently seen seven or more targets, which both Conklin and Freiermuth have done.

In Conklin’s case, he’s also averaged 29 routes run per game, which is the fifth most among TEs and a promising stat for his potential opportunity. Meanwhile, Freiermuth’s now had back-to-back games with seven targets each. In these two games — coincidentally the same ones where JuJu Smith-Schuster was inactive — Freiermuth garnered his highest weekly yardage and fantasy finish. If this proves to be a consistent trend, then the sky’s the limit for the Penn State product.

The Verdict
It’s a crapshoot, but I’d rather play the matchup with Conklin this time. But I’d prefer rostering the Muth for ROS.

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