In Week 9, fantasy owners have to deal with four teams on a bye. There have been plenty of quarterback injuries this season, so fantasy owners may be struggling to find players to fill their roster. Drew Brees is back (on a bye this week), but Joe Flacco is out.
The tight end position has been tough to find players that are healthy and playing up to their draft position. Zach Ertz is one that has been a disappointment, and fantasy owners are faced with tough start/sit decisions each week. Week 9 is no exception.
Teams on bye: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans
START These Quarterbacks
Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans (London)
The Jags get to play in London, as they do each year. Only this year, Minshew is at the helm. The Texans can be thrown on; in the past four weeks they have allowed quarterbacks to put up at least three touchdowns. They also have had at least 270 passing yards. Minshew may be without Dede Westbrook, but he has enough other options to put him on the QB1 radar.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings at Kansas City Chiefs
Prior to Week 8, Cousins had thrown for four touchdowns in the previous two games. He didn’t have Adam Thielen in Week 8 and it was a Thursday night game. In Week 9, the Vikings face the Chiefs and Thielen is expected to play. The Chiefs just gave up 300-plus yards and three touchdowns to Aaron Rodgers. This game has the potential to be a shootout and Cousins should be a QB1 for Week 9.
SIT These Quarterbacks
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers
It’s tempting to want to start Brissett. He’s had some great games. However, he’s also struggled in tough matchups. In Week 8, against Denver, he didn’t throw a touchdown. He barely had 200 yards. The Colts face the Steelers, who haven’t allowed a quarterback to throw for more than two touchdowns since Week 2. Brissett isn’t a bad start, but he’s more of a QB2 this week than the QB1 that he has been in some weeks past.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks
Winston and the Bucs travel to Seattle, which is a tough place to play. When Lamar Jackson was just there in Week 7, he found success on the ground but not through the air. He only had 143 passing yards. Teddy Bridgewater, in Seattle, had 177 passing yards (but he had two touchdowns). Jared Goff did have some success, but it’s hard to imagine Winston, who has seven interceptions and three touchdowns in the past two games, having a great day in Seattle. He’s a QB2.
START This Tight End
Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans at Carolina Panthers
It appears that Delanie Walker will miss Week 9, which means Smith gets another start for the Titans. In Week 8, he had six receptions on seven targets for 78 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Tannehill was looking for him – he had the most targets on the team. The Titans face the Panthers, which isn’t a great matchup, but in this case, it doesn’t matter. Tannehill is going to look for Smith, and with four teams on a bye that makes the tight end picture pretty ugly. Smith is a TE1.
SIT This Tight End
Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers
Doyle hasn’t had more than four receptions in a game this season. He had more than 50 yards for the first time last week with 61. He has one touchdown on the year, and even in a week with four teams on a bye, Doyle is just a low TE2. The Colts face the Steelers, which actually isn’t a bad matchup. Will Dissly and Hunter Henry each burned them for two touchdowns. However, all other tight ends didn't find the end zone and were held under 60 yards.
START This Defense/Special Teams (DST)
Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos
The Browns DST has had double-digit fantasy points in just three games so far this season (standard scoring). However, they face a Broncos team that is now without Joe Flacco. While the loss of Flacco isn’t as great as the loss of some other starting quarterbacks in the league, the fact that Brandon Allen will replace him bodes well for Cleveland. Allen was drafted in the sixth round back in 2016 and hasn’t played an NFL snap. The Broncos will likely try to run the ball as much as possible, but the Browns DST should put up some solid fantasy points.
SIT This Defense/Special Teams (DST)
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans (London)
It sounds like a tempting matchup: the Jaguars vs. Texans in London. The Jags, as a DST, have been up and down this season. In the past two weeks, they’ve had double-digit fantasy points. This was helped by a touchdown in Week 7 and eight sacks in Week 8. The Texans typically don’t have a lot of turnovers. Deshaun Watson has been sacked three times in the past two games, but in the two weeks prior to that, he wasn’t sacked at all. The Jags aren’t going to bring your team down in Week 9, but they also aren’t a great option for those streaming DSTs.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.
(Top photo courtesy of jaguars.com)