Week 9 of the fantasy football season is here and there are a lot of questions surrounding the quarterback position this week. And the bye week situation (no Carson Wentz, Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, etc.) is just one of them.
As for those who will are active, can you really trust Ryan Fitzpatrick again? Even if you blew your FAAB budget, (spoiler alert) you might want to think twice about starting him this week.
And what about Ben Roethlisberger? He’s been fantasy gold this season, but this week he is on the road against the archrival Ravens. That means dreaded “Road Ben” will be making an appearance, but should you start him anyway?
The answer to these questions and more (such as defense/special teams to start/sit) can be found below. But first let's see how the Week 8 advice turned out.
Good Calls for Week 8...
Russell Wilson (23.42 fantasy points) – Wilson might not be throwing that much, be he is making the most of his opportunities with another three touchdowns against the Lions.
Start Mitchell Trubisky (21.9 FP) – Trubisky didn’t have a huge game throwing the football, but it’s his rushing yards that are really adding to his fantasy value.
Bad Calls for Week 8...
Sit Cam Newton (27.96 FP) – If the Panthers are going to let Newton run enough so he picks 50 yards and a touchdown on the ground every week, he’s obviously worth starting.
Sit Derek Carr (27.76 FP) – Carr had a great game against the Colts with three passing TDs and one rushing TD. And he needed it.
Teams on bye: Arizona, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Philadelphia
START THESE QBs...
Philip Rivers, LAC (at SEA)
Rivers should get running back Melvin Gordon back, which will alleviate some pressure on the downfield passing game and also gives him another option to throw to. Rivers was super-efficient before the bye week in London against the Titans, throwing for 306 yards and two touchdowns on just 19 completions. Seattle is currently favored by two points with a 48 over/under at most Vegas books, implying a slight negative game script that offers the possibility of Rivers throwing more than usual.
Joe Flacco, BAL (vs. PIT)
Flacco is coming off his worst game of the season where he threw for just 192 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions in the loss to Carolina. Despite the dreadful performance, expect Flacco to bounce back this Sunday against the Steelers. Pittsburgh's defense allows the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Four different quarterbacks have thrown for at least 285 yards against the Steelers, including Flacco. In the first meeting this year, Flacco burned Pittsburgh for 363 yards and two touchdowns. Flacco is hit or miss. He should hit this week.
Mitchell Trubisky, CHI (at BUF)
Trubisky has been one of the best fantasy quarterbacks in his past four games. He’s scored 49, 31, 35 and 23 fantasy points. While this week’s matchup appears tough – in Buffalo against a Bills defense that has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season – Trubisky is just too hot to ignore. He has 13 TD passes over his past four games and he’s also rushed for at least 47 yards in that same span. Even in a tough matchup, Trubisky will find a way to get you fantasy points.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Alex Smith, WAS (vs. ATL)
The Falcons have allowed point totals of 43, 37, 41, 29 and 20 in their last five games, and the last number comes with an asterisk as that was against the New York Giants, who have one of the worst offenses in football. While the 14-year veteran hasn't exactly set the fantasy world on fire (173 passing yards per game in his past three outings), the Falcons have allowed the second-most fantasy points to QBs. Smith is a good option if you need a spot starter this week.
SIT THESE QBs...
Mathew Stafford, DET (at MIN)
The Golden Tate trade spurred lots of talk about its ripple effects on value. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. were suddenly locked-in WR2s while Tate elevates Carson Wentz a hair at his own expense (marginally) while Nelson Agholor's value takes a dive. But little was said about Stafford and how the trade would affect him. Tate was responsible more than a quarter (26.6 percent) of Stafford's targets, and it's no guarantee that Golladay and/or Jones make up for that. Tate will be hard to replace, especially right away, and Stafford will undoubtedly miss his safety valve. This also could signal a bit of a shift in the run/pass split for the Lions but that remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the Vikings have given up one or no touchdown passes in six of eight games this season and just held Drew Brees to 120 passing yards last week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB (at CAR)
Fitzpatrick came on in relief of Jameis Winston last week and managed to score 21.56 fantasy points. He’s now getting the start against the Panthers, but does that mean that you should start him? The Panthers have allowed just one quarterback to finish better than 13th in fantasy points this season, and the position has averaged just 14.9 fantasy points per game with a passer rating of 74.3 when playing in Carolina. Don’t expect too much “FitzMagic” this week.
Marcus Mariota, TEN (at DAL, Mon.)
Even with six teams on bye, you still shouldn’t start Mariota. That's due to his lack of production (fewer than 16 fantasy points in all but one game) and the fact that the Dallas defense has surrendered fewer than 15 points per game to opposing signal-callers when playing at home. The Cowboys also are tied for the fewest touchdown passes allowed with eight.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (at BAL)
While Joe Flacco is a good start, Big Ben is a riskier play this week. Roethlisberger is always a much better fantasy play at home than on the road, although he was average at Heinz Stadium earlier in the year against the Ravens. In that game, Roethlisberger had 274 passing yards with a touchdown and an interception. Combine his track record on the road and that the Ravens' defense has been tough at home, and Big Ben is a low-end QB1 this week. Leave him on the bench if you have a better option.
Defense/Special Teams (DST)
START THESE DSTs...
Dallas Cowboys (vs. TEN, Mon.)
Tennessee is 30th in the NFL in scoring (15.1 ppg) and has had all sorts of issues on offense Dallas isn’t a big-time fantasy DST but this is a good matchup and it doesn't hurt that the Cowboys are playing at home on Monday night.
Kansas City Chiefs (at CLE)
The Chiefs DST has become fantasy relevant in recent weeks, scoring a combined 23 points in their last two games and at least nine points in three of their last four. Start Kansa City against Baker Mayfield and the Browns, as opposing DSTs have averaged a solid nine fantasy points against them over the last four weeks.
SIT THESE DSTs...
Los Angeles Rams (at NO)
We got a preview in Minnesota how the Saints can methodically break down a defense. And Drew Brees just threw his first interception of the season in that game. Not a lot of opportunities for success here.
New England Patriots (vs. GB)
The Patriots DST has been really good lately from a fantasy perspective, but with Aaron Rodgers and Co. coming to town, New England is not worth starting this week. While Green Bay has allowed three sacks per game, the Packers' offense has done a pretty good job with ball security. DSTs have averaged a modest seven fantasy points against them.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.
(Top photo courtesy of www.buccaneers.com)