Trying to figure out who to start and who to sit for Week 9 of the 2014 NFL fantasy football season? Check out our tip sheet to find out which players will lead you to victory this week and which players should be avoided.
Who to start for Week 9
QB: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers (vs. St. Louis Rams): Kaepernick can be an erratic fantasy option, but he’s set up for a big game in Week 9 against the division rival Rams. St. Louis has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, and Kaepernick has owned them in recent games. Start him.
RB: Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. Cincinnati Bengals): We warned against using Robinson in Week 8, but the former college quarterback rewarded his supporters with an 18-carry, 108-yard performance against the Dolphins. He’s a good bet to explode against an inferior Bengals run defense that has allowed about 140 rushing yards per game this season. Start him.
RB: Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (vs. New England Patriots): It’s taken just a few weeks for Hillman to go from Montee Ball’s backup to must-start fantasy stud. After a two-touchdown effort against a staunch 49ers defense in Week 7, Hillman was again delivered in Week 8 with 109 yards against the San Diego Chargers. In Week 9, he’ll face a New England Patriots defense that’s allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. Start him.
WR: Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Houston Texans): After a few middling performances, Maclin exploded with a career-best effort against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 8. Maclin should once again shine in Week 9 against a Texans defense that has surrendered 10 touchdown receptions this season. Start him.
WR: Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers (vs. New Orleans Saints): Carolina’s Thursday night game against the Saints could very well turn into a shootout and Benjamin has been one of quarterback Cam Newton’s most reliable targets. The Saints have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. Start him.
WR: Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins (vs. San Diego Chargers): Wallace’s yardage totals haven’t been ideal this season, but he has found his way into the end zone five teams in seven games. Moreover, the Chargers’ secondary is vulnerable and has struggled to defend the pass on the road. Start him.
TE: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. New York Jets): The uber-talented Kelce has been hard to trust so far this season, but his Week 9 matchup against the Jets will provide the perfect opportunity for a breakout performance. The hapless Jets have been roasted by opposing tight ends all season, allowing nine touchdowns to the position in their last six games. Start him.
Defense/Special Teams: Kansas City Chiefs (vs. New York Jets): The Jets’ offense is in a tailspin – quarterback Geno Smith threw three interceptions on eight pass attempts last week and replacement Michael Vick turned the ball over twice as well. The Chiefs racked up an incredible seven sacks in Week 8 and should terrorize Jets quarterbacks all day. Start them.
Who to sit for Week 9
QB: Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers): Ravens-Steelers games tend to be low-scoring affairs, and Flacco has struggled in recent weeks. He threw for just 195 yards against the Bengals in Week 8 and tossed a pair of interceptions. Flacco has recorded just one multi-TD game in his last six games against Pittsburgh. Sit him.
RB: Andre Williams, New York Giants (vs. Indianapolis Colts): Whether due to the Giants’ offensive line or his own struggles, Williams has averaged just 3.1 yards per carry this season. Worse, the Giants will likely have to throw the ball a lot in Week 9 to keep pace with the Colts’ high-flying offense, and starter Rashad Jennings may return from injury. Sit him.
RB: Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Houston Texans): Sproles is set to return from his MCL sprain this week, so he’ll be hard to trust despite a good matchup against a vulnerable Texans defense. But even when Sproles was healthy, the Eagles struggled to define his role within their offense. As always, his value is tied to receptions, so owners in standard leagues should avoid using him in Week 9. Sit him.
WR: Percy Harvin, New York Jets (vs. Kansas City Chiefs): Harvin is still learning the Jets’ offense after his trade from the Seahawks, but received an encouraging seven touches on offense in Week 8. Still, the Jets are a mess at quarterback and face one of the NFL’s most dangerous pass rushes this week. It’s unlikely that Harvin will get the ball enough to have a noticeable impact in fantasy leagues. Sit him.
WR: Andre Holmes, Oakland Raiders (vs. Seattle Seahawks): Holmes has been a welcome surprise for fantasy owners this season, amassing four touchdowns and emerging as one of the Raiders’ top offensive weapons. Still, his production is a bit sporadic, and a Week 9 matchup against a Seahawks secondary that allows the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers is less than ideal. Sit him.
WR: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Dallas Cowboys): Fitzgerald turned back the clock in Week 8 with a seven-catch, 160-yard performance against the Eagles. However, the Cowboys’ secondary has been surprisingly effective at stopping the pass all season and Fitzgerald is no longer as reliable as he once was. Sit him.
TE: Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers (vs. St. Louis Rams): The 49ers’ passing game will likely perform well against the Rams, but don’t expect Davis to be a major factor. He’s an afterthought in the passing game this season, with just 14 catches through the first eight weeks of the year. Worse, St. Louis’ defense is strong against opposing tight ends. Sit him.
Defense/Special Teams: New England Patriots (vs. Denver Broncos): Any defense slated to face Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is in for a long game, and New England is no exception. The Patriots have actually done well against the pass in 2014, but they lack the pass rush needed to interrupt Manning and his countless offensive weapons. Sit them.