By Week 9 of the fantasy football season, there are sure to be some disappointments in your lineup. Wide receivers and tight ends such as Allen Robinson, DeAndre Hopkins and Zach Ertz simply haven't been producing like fantasy owners expected them to on draft day. However, picking up players such as Quincy Enunwa, Terrelle Pryor or Zach Miller can make the difference in a championship season.
Before I tell you which WRs and TEs to start and sit this week, let's check out how I did with my Week 8 suggestions.
Sit Tyrell Williams (0.4 fantasy points) – With all the byes, you might have been tempted to start him, especially after his 140-yard game the previous week.
Start C.J. Fiedorowicz (10.3 FP) – It goes without saying, start any TE that is facing the Detroit Lions.
Sit Martellus Bennett (3.5 FP) – Hopefully you have another option at tight end, as Bennett is not being utilized anymore in the Patriots' passing attack.
Start Doug Baldwin (5.1 FP) – Russell Wilson just isn’t himself and is bringing down Baldwin with him.
Sit Jeremy Maclin (10.3 FP) – Maclin needed a touchdown to make value as he only had 43 receiving yards.
Start Jimmy Graham (3.4 FP) – If you bought into the revenge narrative – sorry. Graham’s problem is the same as Doug Balwin’s (see above)
Teams on bye: Arizona, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, New England, Washington
START THESE WRs...
Donte Moncrief, IND (at GB)
Moncrief was one of my favorite breakout candidates this season, but injuries slowed his rise to stardom. He returned with a vengeance last week, however, scoring a touchdown and producing 10 fantasy points in a loss to the Chiefs. With a favorable matchup in Green Bay up next, owners should use Moncrief as a WR2/3 or flex option.
Tyrell Williams, SD (vs. TEN)
Williams turned in a dud (one catch, four yards) against the Broncos, but that was mostly expected, and this is still the same guy who, in his last two games not against Denver, has racked up 12 receptions (on 16 targets), 257 yards and a touchdown. He and Travis Benjamin (who is now getting a second opinion on his knee) are basically the No. 1 and 1A options in this passing offense, but Williams gets a slight advantage because he has been more efficient (16.6 ypr) and is ninth in the NFL in red-zone targets. Against a Tennessee defense that has given up a top-10 week to a wide receiver in three straight games (Terrelle Pryor WR6, T.Y. Hilton WR4, Allen Hurns WR7), this is the perfect bounce-back spot for Williams.
Brandon Marshall, NYJ (at MIA)
Marshall has had a weird, frustrating season. His 77 targets are sixth in the NFL among wide receivers, but his 36 receptions are tied for 24th. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been wildly inaccurate. Even worse, he’s forcing Marshall the ball in double coverage. So why give Marshall a look in Week 9? Because it’s the Dolphins. Marshall brings a little something extra against his former teams, and whooped the Dolphins for a 16-259-2 line in their two matchups last season. I’m expecting 100 yards and a score no matter how bad Fitzpatrick – who is finally playing better – is on Sunday.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Davante Adams, GB (vs. IND)
This is a bit of a fluid situation, as the status of Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery will certainly have an effect on Adams' ranking. Still, Adams racked up 16 targets, 13 receptions, 132 yards and two scores the last game with them in the lineup, then in Week 8 with both of them sidelined, he tallied another 14 targets, 12 receptions and 74 yards. For those counting at home, that's a ludicrous 30 targets, 25 receptions and 206 yards in the last two weeks for Adams, and in a pass-heavy offense that has little-to-no running game, he has carved out a high-volume role no matter who's active. Against a Colts secondary that could be without Vontae Davis (concussion, considered questionable at the time of writing this), Adams is a must-start in most situations.
SIT THESE WRs...
Marvin Jones, DET (at MIN)
After a monstrous start to his season, Jones is averaging just 6.0 targets, 3.6 receptions and 49.6 yards with two touchdowns
over his last five games. The explosive plays he was racking up have become almost completely non-existent, and now he faces a Vikings defense that has been shutting down opposing No. 1 wide receivers with consistency.
Jeremy Maclin, KC (vs. JAC)
Maclin continued his anti-Antonio Brown streak in Week 8, recording his third straight game with fewer than five catches and 50 yards. He did find the end zone to salvage his day, but it's tough to rely on that considering he had received just two red-zone targets in the previous six games. With a quickly shrinking ceiling (season highs of six catches and 78 yards), he now has to go up against elite rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey and the Jaguars, who have been a top-10 fantasy defense against wide receivers and will have an extra half-week of rest and preparation.
Allen Robinson, JAC (at KC)
As someone who has Robinson in three leagues, I hope this has a reverse jinx effect and he goes off against the Chiefs. But let's face the facts. He's averaging fewer than eight fantasy points a game this season, and has hasn't scored a touchdown in his last three games. Oh, and playing at Arrowhead Stadium is no walk in the park.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Jordan Matthews, PHI (at NYG)
I know everyone is excited about Matthews and his 11-65-1 performance on 14 targets last Sunday night, but this is exactly what he does over the last two seasons – gets us excited thinking he’s an every-week WR2 and then breaks our heart. He’s already done it in 2016. After racking up 13 catches for 185 yards in the first two weeks, he caught just 12 passes for 169 over his next four. I’ve watched this movie before, and it ends badly. Despite a great matchup, Matthews goes for no more than four catches and 50 yards in Week 9. Book it.
START THESE TEs...
Kyle Rudolph, MIN (vs. DET)
Here are the weekly tight end finishes against the Lions’ defense: TE1 (Jack Doyle, Week 1), TE3 (Dwayne Allen, Week 1), TE3 (Delanie Walker, Week 2), TE9 (Richard Rodgers, Week 3), TE9 (Zach Miller, Week 4), TE20 (Zach Ertz, Week 5), TE8 (Lance Kendricks, Week 6), TE5 (Vernon Davis, Week 7), TE5 (C.J. Fiedorowicz, Week 8). Ertz was the only one to finish outside the top 10, while the Lions have allowed five top-5 performances in just eight weeks. Rudolph was probably already starting in most places, but this week he's someone to target in all formats – season and DFS.
Antonio Gates, SD (vs. TEN)
Gates has overtaken Hunter Henry in terms of snaps and targets over the last two weeks, so it looks like he's back in the good graces of fantasy fans (at least for now). I'd start the future Hall of Famer against the Titans, who have surrendered an average of 10.2 fantasy points per contest to opposing tight ends over the last four weeks.
Gary Barnidge, CLE (vs. DAL)
Barnidge hasn't scored a single touchdown (he had nine in 2015), and he's failed to score more than nine fantasy points every single week. Regardless, he's worth a shot this week against a Cowboys defense that's lost defensive backs Barry Church and Morris Claiborne to injuries. Overall, Dallas has given up the ninth-most fantasy points to tight ends (8.9 ppg) in 2016.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Dennis Pitta, BAL (vs. PIT)
You may not notice because he’s only surpassed 42 receiving yards twice this season, but Pitta is a huge part of the Ravens’ offense. His 57 targets are third most in the NFL at his position, and his 38 receptions are fourth. The problem is he’s yet to find the end zone. I think he’s way too involved to not get his first one against a Steelers defense that’s allowed three tight ends to produce double-digit fantasy outings over the last four weeks.
SIT THESE TEs...
Coby Fleener, NO (at SF)
The matchup is a good one, but Fleener is difficult to trust at this point. He has received just six targets in the last two weeks, and against the Seahawks on Sunday, he ran a mere 19 pass routes and was heavily out-snapped by Josh Hill (61 to 26). Volume made Fleener valuable earlier in the season, but with Hill healthy, that's not the case anymore.
Julius Thomas, JAC (at KC)
I know the Jaguars’ passing stats looked pretty good at the end of the day in Week 8, but the entire second half was garbage time. Thomas has really suffered while Blake Bortles has struggled, and hasn’t had more than three catches or 28 receiving yards in any game since Week 2. That’s not likely to change against one of the best defenses against tight ends. The Chiefs haven’t allowed a tight end to catch three passes since Week 1, and have allowed just one touchdown to the position all season. Find someone else. Anyone else.
Zach Ertz, PHI (at NYG)
Ertz continues to be a bust for owners, as he's scored a combined 9.2 fantasy points in his last four games (no touchdowns). He should remain on fantasy benches ahead of this week's matchup against the Giants, who have given up 5.7 fantasy points per game to tight ends. The G-Men also have surrendered just one touchdown to the position.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Jack Doyle, IND (at GB)
Doyle was a massive bust for fantasy fans last week, scoring 3.6 points against the Chiefs. He's now scored fewer than four points in four of his last seven games, and the return of Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett will do nothing to help his target totals. I'd temper expectations ahead of an upcoming game in Green Bay.
— 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.