After the bloodbath that was Week 8, we are treated with six teams on bye for Week 9 of the fantasy season. It's a struggle to fill your roster with healthy players, forget about healthy players with good matchups. However, we do look each week at players who are poised to either have a good game or a rough game.
Full disclosure: last week's five up (Matt Ryan, Doug Martin, Chris Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Tyler Eifert) were pretty good. The five down (Ben Roethlisberger, Ameer Abdullah, Martavis Bryant, Travis Benjamin, Jimmy Graham) were also not bad (except for Graham).
Again, this is not a straight start/sit column, but rather guys that our rankings are either up or down based on their previous performance and matchup.
Teams on bye: Arizona, Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Seattle
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
Six touchdowns. 350 yards. No interceptions. Manning was great in Week 8 against a terrible New Orleans secondary. However, this week, Manning is the sixth-ranked quarterback against an equally terrible Buccaneers secondary. The Tampa Bay run defense is actually pretty solid, however, their secondary is easily beatable. They have allowed two different quarterbacks to throw for four touchdowns against them, and five of the seven opposing quarterbacks to throw for at least two touchdowns. Look for Manning to have a good fantasy day.
Jeremy Langford, RB, Chicago Bears
The San Diego Chargers allow the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, and Langford is going to be the lead back for the Bears. Chicago has already come out and said that he should get 20 carries this week. With 20 carries against a terrible rush defense, Langford has a very real opportunity to finish the week as a top-10 back, if not higher. He is ranked ninth among running backs for Week 9, and although we don't have a large sample size to look at, he's worth the start this week.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
While Carolina's defense has been solid, they actually allow the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. While Lacy and James Starks both had carries in Week 8, the Packers still want Lacy as their primary back. This game may end up being close, and the Packers are going to have to find a way to get through the Panthers defense. The way through is on the ground. Lacy can pound through and put up solid fantasy numbers. Add in a touchdown and he's a borderline RB1.
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The New York Giants give up the fifth-most points to opposing wide receivers (and, actually, the most points against opposing tight ends for those looking to start Austin Seferian-Jenkins, if he's active). Vincent Jackson is looking like he won't play either, which means plenty of targets for Evans. He had nine targets in Week 8, but he was only able to catch three of those passes. The Giants' pass defense is one of the worst in the league, and absolutely worse than Atlanta's. Look for Evans to take advantage of that leaky pass defense.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
While the New England Patriots have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, they have allowed two tight ends to score touchdowns. They also haven't faced many TE1s. Even though DeSean Jackson may return this week, Reed will still get his share of targets. Kirk Cousins likes Reed in the red zone, and there will likely be plenty of garbage time in this matchup. Cousins will be throwing the ball, and garbage time points count just as much as non-garbage time points for fantasy.
Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
If you just look at the box scores at the end of the week, Luck hasn't been terrible, throwing at least one touchdown in each of the games he's played this season and at least 250 yards. He has two games where he threw for three touchdowns and really, the only stat that hurts is the interceptions. Luck has thrown 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season. Against the Denver Broncos, the interceptions are sure to go up. The Broncos held Aaron Rodgers to 77 yards in Week 8, and Rodgers has been playing on a higher level than Luck. Luck is ranked outside the top 10 in the quarterback rankings for Week 9. if possible, find another option.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills
In Week 3, the Bills played the Dolphins for the first time this season. Taylor had his best game of the season, throwing for 277 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. In Week 9, the Bills play the Dolphins again. However, Taylor is on the "down" list. He missed the past two weeks with a knee injury. Last week, the Bills were on a bye. The Dolphins' defense is better now than it was in Week 3. Sammy Watkins is banged up and questionable; Percy Harvin is out. Without solid weapons, Taylor's value goes down. He's no longer on the QB1 radar, even in a week with six teams on a bye.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
While most fantasy owners spent a lot of FAAB money to acquire D-Will, if possible, keep him on your bench this week. The Oakland Raiders actually have the second-best rush defense in the league. They've allowed the second-fewest rushing yards and the second-fewest rushing touchdowns (three). While Williams did do well when Le'Veon Bell was out at the beginning of the season, this isn't the week where he is going to shine. Look for Big Ben to get back on track and Antonio Brown to have a good game. Williams may get goal-line work, but unless he gets in the end zone, it will likely be a mediocre fantasy day.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Between the matchup against Denver (who has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers) and the fact that he hasn't practiced and may not even play, try to find a way to bench Hilton, if possible. If Hilton is out, Donte Moncrief becomes a wide receiver who is likely to disappoint this week. Hilton is the 21st-ranked WR this week, but that even seems high. He had one reception for 15 yards in Week 8. While he did have a big game in Week 7, it was only on four receptions (he just had 150 yards and two touchdowns). Hilton (or Moncrief) is going to have a tough time in Week 9.
Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego Chargers
Similar to the downside of Hilton, Green is banged up (he didn't practice on Thursday) and he has a tough matchup. While the Bears aren't great on defense, they actually have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Even with Keenan Allen out for the season, Green still will play behind Antonio Gates. While Green's value is in the end zone, he isn't a fantasy option unless you're desperate this week. Ranked 24th with six teams on a bye, Green should be left on fantasy benches.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.