Either way, fantasy owners know the struggle of dealing with not only injuries, but players that are on a bye at this point of the season. However, some players have great matchups, which may be boosted by other players on their real-life team being limited or missing time. Fantasy owners should try to take advantage of this as much as possible.
Teams on bye: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans
START These Running Backs
Jaylen Samuels, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Indianapolis Colts
James Conner suffered some kind of shoulder injury in Monday's night's game. He didn't practice Wednesday, although that was to be expected. The team hasn't offered a lot of information on his injury or his status for Week 9, but fantasy owners should have Samuels ready to go. Samuels is healthy (after missing two games with a knee injury) and should be in line for plenty of work. The Steelers face the Colts in Week 9 and Samuels in on the RB2 radar.
Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders vs. Detroit Lions
Jacobs was questionable heading into Week 8 with a shoulder injury. He played through it and had 15 carries for 66 yards. It wasn't great, but it also wasn't a great matchup. In Week 9, Jacobs gets the Lions, who allow the most fantasy points to opposing running backs. In every week so far this season, a running back has scored a touchdown (either rushing or receiving) against the Lions. It should be Jacobs this week. He's a low RB1.
START These Wide Receivers
D.J. Chark Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans (London)
Dede Westbrook is — again — dealing with a shoulder injury and the Jaguars face the Texans in Week 9. The Texans allow the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. In the past two weeks, four different receivers have scored at least one touchdown (Zach Pascal had two in Week 7). With Westbrook likely limited, even if he is active, Chark becomes a must-start potential WR1.
DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In Week 8, Metcalf scored two touchdowns on three receptions. While that ratio isn't going to happen each week, he has another good matchup in Week 9. The Seahawks face the Buccaneers, who have been atrocious against opposing wide receivers all season. In Week 8, the Bucs allowed both A.J. Brown and Tajae Sharpe to find the end zone — on a combined five receptions. This bodes well for Metcalf and the Seahawks' passing game. He's a WR2 for Week 9.
SIT These Running Backs
Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots
Coming off a bye, Ingram should be rested, but the biggest issue for him this week is the matchup. The Ravens face the Patriots, which as fantasy owners know, is a daunting proposition. Last week, Nick Chubb became just the second running back to go for more than 100 yards against the Pats. No back has scored a touchdown against New England. While Ingram has put up good numbers in some games (he has two 100-yard games and seven touchdowns so far this season), this is shaping up to be a week where he's more of an RB3 than his typical RB2 ranking.
Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As terrible as the Buccaneers are against the pass, they are fairly decent against the run. Carson is the best back in Seattle, although he does cede some carries to Rashaad Penny and/or C.J. Prosise. Carson is usually good for at least 20 carries. While he should still be fine (the Bucs aren't that daunting), fantasy owners expecting a relatively easy RB1 performance may be disappointed. Carson is more of an RB2 for Week 9.
SIT These Wide Receivers
Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos
The Browns had the potential to be a good team this year, and yet, they have just been the Browns. Beckham hasn't had more than seven receptions since Week 1. He only has two 100-yard games this year and just one touchdown. Both he and Jarvis Landry compete for targets, and with Baker Mayfield struggling, both are losing fantasy value. The Browns face the Broncos this week, which is equally as tough of a matchup for OBJ and friends as the Patriots were last week. In Week 8, Beckham had five receptions for 52 yards. Expect more of the same this week.
Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens
Brown hasn't played since Week 5 as he's been dealing with an ankle injury. When healthy, he was off to a hot start — 147 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1, 86 yards in Week 2. However, between the injury and the fact that the Ravens play the Patriots, this isn't the week that fantasy owners should consider plugging him back into lineups. The Ravens schedule does get better (Cincinnati, Houston) and he'll be a much better start in the coming weeks.
— 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 by Tony Gonzales, courtesy of raiders.com)