What's up, fantasy faithful? With an amazing trade deadline behind us, we shift our focus to Week 9 as the fantasy playoff push begins. Here's who you should start and sit this week:
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Fitzgerald is in a scary position with Cardinals’ starting quarterback Carson Palmer out for the season. All is not lost however. Enter backup QB Drew Stanton who played five games last season. Stanton threw 48 passes for 192 yards and two scores in those games. That’s poor production but a bright spot is that both the touchdowns and 109 yards of the 192 yards Stanton threw went to Fitzgerald. I expect the team to funnel the passing offense through Fitz again this year hopefully with more success. Also, the Cardinals have a favorable matchup against the 49ers this week. Bottom line, fantasy owners shouldn’t worry about putting Fitzgerald in their lineups on Sunday.
Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
Miller should get a heavy workload in a favorable matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, especially following the devastating news that sensational rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson tore his ACL in practice Thursday. The Colts have allowed eight rushing touchdowns to running backs on the season and 781 rushing yards through eight games. Start him with confidence in what should be a great game script.
T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
Hilton’s season-long prospects have greatly diminished due to Andrew Luck being placed on injured reserve earlier this week. But he has a great matchup on Sunday against a Texans team he has a knack for balling out against. Hilton has caught 55 passes for 942 yards and seven scores through ten games against Houston throughout his career, according to Pro Football Reference. This year, the Texans have surrendered seven receiving touchdowns to opposing receivers in seven games. While Hilton has been absolutely dreadful in his last three weeks (he’s failed to record more than 27 receiving yards in each game), he should be a stud come Sunday.
Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams
With Deshaun Watson done for the year and Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers all on byes, I like Jared Goff as a streaming option this week. Goff and the Rams travel to New York this Sunday to take on the Giants who have allowed 1,884 passing yards and 14 passing touchdowns to quarterbacks against just three interceptions on the year.
Jay Ajayi, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
This one is an easy call. Ajayi owners may be excited to throw him into their lineups following the major upgrade he received by being traded to the Eagles, but this Sunday offers too much uncertainty. As I said in my waiver column, Ajayi has joined a crowded backfield and LeGarrette Blount remains as a fantasy-relevant player to take work away from him. Also, Philly.com is reporting that Ajayi is unlikely to see many snaps this week due to the fact that he’s so new to the team. That’s before I even mention the horrendous matchup Ajayi and other Eagles back have against the Broncos Sunday. Despite giving up a serviceable performance to Orleans Darkwa in Week 6 the Broncos held Melvin Gordon to 44 scrimmage yards the following week, and last Monday, held Chiefs back Kareem Hunt to his first game under 100 yards from scrimmage.
Rob Kelley, RB, Washington Redskins
The Seahawks began the year with a shaky run defense but have stepped up big time since Week 3. Seattle has allowed 3.2 yards per carry through the last three contests and just two rushing touchdowns in their last four. Kelley, on the other hand, has been awful. The Washington back hasn’t rushed for more than 25 yards in his last three games. Leave him on the bench.
Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
Adams plays Monday night against the Detroit Lions and stands a good chance of matching up with Detroit’s top corner, Darius Slay. Add that to the fact that Brett Hundley is the Packers’ starting quarterback and this just becomes a situation to avoid. I think Jordy Nelson ends up with the most receptions and, much like the Stanton-Fitzgerald situation with the Cardinals, the passing offense is funneled through the top receiver.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans
Mariota and the Titans host the Ravens this Sunday and I haven’t been impressed with what I’ve seen from the former Heisman Trophy winner. If Mariota couldn’t produce a great stat line against the Browns who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks according to Pro Football Reference, I don’t expect him to have a great outing against Baltimore who have allowed the second-fewest.