The NFL regular season has come to a midpoint, which means that fantasy football playoffs are right around the corner. A win can change your season, and it all starts with looking over your roster and making the tough decisions.
The likes of Peyton Manning, Arian Foster and Antonio Brown are matchup-proof. But what if your stud has a bye in Week 9 (read: Matt Forte) and you are forced to decide between two subpar players? What if you own the Lions or Bills defense, both of which are on byes, or the Patriots defense, which faces off against the Denver Broncos top-ranked offense on Sunday?
Let’s take a look at the guys you want to start or sit in Week 9.
Start: Alex Smith, KC. Smith against the Jets is a prime matchup. New York has only forced one interception all season long and has allowed at least two touchdown passes in all eight of their games thus far. Smith injured his throwing shoulder in Week 8 but is expected to play on Sunday.
Sit: Ben Roethlisberger, PIT. Roethlisberger is coming off a career game – 522 yards and six touchdown passes. However, the Ravens defense held Big Ben to only 217 yards and an interception in their last outing in Week 2 and will be looking for the same result on Sunday night.
Start: Alfred Morris, WAS. Morris ran like a beast on Monday Night Football last week against the Cowboys (73 yards on 18 carries, one touchdown). There is no reason to believe he won’t do the same to the Vikings on the ground in Week 9.
Sit: Darren McFadden, OAK. Run DMC is up against the Seattle defense on Sunday, and that’s never a good thing for a running back. McFadden has averaged a steady 4.0 yards per carry this season, but don’t expect much against the stingy Seahawks’ front seven.
Start: Andrew Hawkins, CLE. Hawkins is facing the Tampa Bay secondary this week, which has given up the most fantasy points to wide receivers in the NFL. That should be reason enough to start the 5’7” wideout. Hawkins also scored his first touchdown of the season last week against the Raiders.
Sit: Brandon LaFell, NE. LaFell is as erratic as they come. LaFell has averaged 113 yards and 1.3 touchdowns in Weeks 4, 6 and 8. In odd numbered weeks, however, LaFell averages just over 40 yards and no touchdowns. It’s Week 9 against the Broncos. Take a seat, Brandon.
Start: Larry Donnell, NYG. The big tight end caught seven passes for 90 yards in his last game against the Cowboys. Now he will face off against the Colts, who have given up the sixth most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.
Sit: Niles Paul, WAS. Pitting Paul against the Vikings may seem like an intriguing matchup, but Minnesota has been fairly good at covering opposing tight ends this season. Paul is also sharing time with Jordan Reed at the tight end spot. Both players look pretty mediocre in this time share, but if you had to choose one, Reed actually looks like he has better chemistry with Washington’s new starting quarterback Colt McCoy. Last week Paul had three catches and 27 yards on three targets while Reed finished with seven catches and 40 yards on seven targets.
Start: Cincinnati Bengals. Cincy’s defense has been struggling all season, but frankly it does not matter. The Jaguars are currently the worst offensive team in football and the Bengals will dominate them on both sides of the ball Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Sit: Houston Texans. The Texans have had one of the best defenses in fantasy football this season, but they probably won’t be against the Eagles offensive firepower, namely Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin.