• Dan Larocca

NFL Starts/Sits: Week 9

Updated: Nov 21, 2020

For week 9 I’m adding a new wrinkle to these articles – a look back at how well these picks actually turn out. Looking back to see how these picks do is important as an indicator of how valuable the picks are, but also for me to look at how I can improve my projections and the metrics I look at to make these picks even more accurate in the future.

Methodology: To gauge how well I’m picking starters and benchwarmers, I look at fantasy finishes for all my previous week’s picks (including honorable mentions) to assess which players were start-worthy or not. In other words, if they finish within QB12, RB30, WR30 or TE12 (accounting for RB/WR flex spots).

On average, that means the following (all half-PPR scoring):

After finishing with 20 wins and 4 losses in week 7, my picks came back down to earth in a particularly crazy week 8 where I finished with 12 wins and 12 losses. We’re onto week 9.


START: Josh Allen, Bills

Allen has really cooled off as of late. After starting the season averaging 30.1 fantasy points in his first four games, Allen hasn’t topped 20 points in his last four, averaging 16.1 fantasy points over that span.

Allen has been running the ball more lately (126 rushing yards over his last three games), giving him a nice floor to go along with his big-play potential. He’s a safe bet to get back over 20 fantasy points this week though, against a Seattle defense allowing the most fantasy points to QBs this year (26.7 points on average).

Honorable mentions: Cam Newton (at Jets), Ben Roethlisberger (at Cowboys)

SIT: Lamar Jackson, Ravens

Lamar Jackson comes into week 9 as the QB13 on the year – not what you’ve been looking for from one of the first two QBs off the board in drafts this year. His big weeks haven’t disappeared (three games over 26 fantasy points), but they’ve been much less consistent (under 18 points in his other four starts).

Jackson gets the Colts this week who are the toughest against fantasy QBs, allowing an average of 14.8 points to the position. In their last six games, the Colts have only allowed more than 18 fantasy points to the QB once (23.4 fantasy points to Matthew Stafford last week). Lamar has dropped to QB9 in Expert Consensus Ranking over on FantasyPros, and I’ve got him as my QB13. I would temper expectations, pivoting to guys like Justin Herbert, Tom Brady, or Big Ben over Jackson if you can.

Honorable mentions: Daniel Jones (at Washington), Drew Brees (at Buccaneers)

Running Back

START: Antonio Gibson, Washington

Gibson has been the workhorse for Washington as of late, getting at least 13 touches in each of his last four games, including 20 rushes for 128 yards and a TD in week 7 against the Cowboys.

Gibson gets a matchup against the middling Giants defense, who are giving up an average of 18.5 half-PPR points to opposing fantasy RBs. Gibson only had 5.5 points in Washington’s tight 20-19 loss to the Giants earlier this year, but I would expect WFT to do a better job committing to the run to stay in it early. Vegas gives Washington an implied total of about 21 points this week in what’s expected to be another close game. Lock Gibson in as an RB2.

Honorable mentions: James Conner (at Cowboys), Chase Edmunds (vs. Dolphins)

SIT: Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys

Zeke has been a big disappointment for fantasy owners as of late. In his last 3 weeks, he’s finished as the RB28, RB40, and RB32, scoring no more than 7.3 half-PPR points over that span. The offensive line and QB positions have been a disaster for the Cowboys, leaving Elliott with less running room and more playing from behind this season.

The Cowboys play the Steelers this week, who rank as the 6th toughest matchup for fantasy RBS. Zeke is also listed as questionable in this matchup with a hamstring, so his usage will likely be limited as well. Zeke is a low-end RB2 this week and until further notice.

Honorable mentions: Jonathan Taylor (vs. Ravens), Ronald Jones (vs. Saints)

Wide Receiver

START: Mike Williams, Chargers

The Mike Williams experience has been a wild one again this year. Since coming back from injury in week 5, he’s posted totals of 22.9, 0.4, and 16.0. In those two startable weeks, he averaged 8 targets, 5 catches, 104 yards, and 1.5 TDs. In his week 7 dud, he had 3 targets for 1 catch and 4 yards. Williams will continue to be tough to predict on a weekly basis, but it’s hard to sit him with the amount of upside he brings with Justin Herbert under center.

Williams gets the Raiders this week, who are 19th best against fantasy WRs. While they mostly shut down the Browns last week, they’ve given up big games to field stretchers Scotty Miller, Tyreek Hill, and Stefon Diggs over the last month. Williams can break one on any play, and I like his upside as a WR2 this week.

Honorable mentions: Jerry Jeudy (at Falcons), Will Fuller (at Jaguars)

SIT: Darius Slayton, Giants

Slayton was our sit of the week last week with Sterling Shepard back in the lineup, and despite 9 targets and some great separation on the outside, Slayton ended the week as WR41. Daniel Jones has been struggling with his accuracy and has not looked sharp on his deep throws, making it difficult for Slayton to rack up decent yardage totals. This week Giants are also up against a Washington defense allowing the least amount of fantasy points to WRs (16.0). He is a risky play this week.

Honorable mentions: Marquise Brown (at Colts), Amari Cooper (vs. Steelers)

Tight End

START: Noah Fant, Broncos

Fant has been a solid option at TE for owners this year, posting top-10 numbers in three of his six games played and no less than 5.3 half-PPR points all season. He averages 9.8 points per game, putting him 6th just behind Darren Waller and TJ Hockenson (10.8 and 10.4, respectively) for the position this year.

This week Fant matches up with a Falcons defense that gives up the most fantasy points to TEs, including allowing a league-high 82% catch-rate and a touchdown every 7.6 targets. That bodes well for Fant, who’s looking to build on the 9 targets and 22% target share he got last week. Start him with confidence.

Honorable mentions: Hayden Hurst (vs. Broncos), Evan Engram (at Washington)

SIT: Mike Gesicki, Dolphins

Gesicki has been a wildly inconsistent option at TE – Gesicki has two double-digit performances to go along with four performances under 4.5 points. Miami plays Arizona this week, who has been much better against TEs this year, not allowing a TE to finish with more than 4 catches or 53 yards, and not allowing a TE to finish better than 8th against them to date.

Last week in Tua’s first start, Gesicki finished with 2 targets, 1 catch, and 8 yards. With Tua spreading the ball around as much as he did last week, it will be difficult to trust Gesicki going forward.

Honorable mentions: Jared Cook (at Buccaneers), Houston TEs (at Jaguars)

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