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Fantasy football start/sit advice based on Week 9 NFL picks against the spread

Yes, Blaine Gabbert should be the focal point this week. No, you shouldn't come anywhere close to starting him. It's Week 9 of Matchups and Movements.

I could outright lie to you straight out of the gates, but as a loyal Matchups and Movements reader (or, more likely someone who accidentally clicked on the link), you deserve more. For only the fourth time in seven years of writing, what draft I had, and what (many) words were originally written prior to submission were entirely wiped out due to the hell if I know. Everything was laid out then suddenly, POOF, it wasn't.

So rather than listing every potential player that should be on your radar this week, essentially allowing you to create your own lineup with every bit of information I could possibly give you, I'm going to touch on the more important ones that I personally will likely be using come Sunday. There are six teams on bye and one game without a line anyways, so a short turnaround for M&M was inevitable at some point this year.

Here are your Week 9 matchups and movements (and picks.)

(Home team in CAPS)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-4.5) over Oakland Raiders

Vegas Scoring Total: 48

Yes, I realize the Raiders just scored more points against the Jets than they had allowed all season. Yes, I watched the entirety of Ben Roethlisberger's performance against the Bengals and it was as, if not even more underwhelming than everyone is making it out to be. But opposing quarterbacks have averaged 18.9 fantasy points against Oakland's putrid secondary and one outing certainly shouldn't obstruct your view of Roethlisberger's likely success.

Antonio Brown would be best to pair up along with Roethlisberger -- Brown's salary remains $1,200 cheaper than Julio Jones -- but Heath Miller also has a great case. With Big Ben back in the lineup, Miller returned to his normal volume in their offense, catching 10 passes on 13 targets. Miller has now returned his value in salary in two of the three weeks he's played with Roethlisberger at the helm. It only helps that the Raiders have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

And if you're still not convinced you should have exposure towards the Steelers, by all means, get that lone Amari Cooper bullet ready. He might (shockingly) only have one red zone target on the year, and I know it seems as if he's been inconsistent in three of the last four weeks, but against Chicago (the one matchup in which he should've walked away with at least 20 fantasy points and didn't) Cooper still led the Raiders in targets. Forget about those outings against the Broncos and Jets and trust in him once more.

St. Louis Rams (+1.5) over MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Total: 40

Since this will likely close as the lowest scoring total of the weekend, it's unlikely you'll find many exponential plays in this one. You're certainly not benching Todd Gurley or Adrian Peterson, and they'll definitely finish among the Top 5 at their respective positions, but for the sake of daily lineups, you're just not paying up for them (on FanDuel, anyways). Still, I remain tantalized by Stefon Diggs, who has now received nine targets and caught at least six passes in every start this season.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-8) over Tennessee Titans

Total: 48

Since Antonio Andrews being named the starter and suddenly garnering interest on most fantasy rosters is now a thing, I feel as if it's my duty to squash that idea before the plague spreads. He might be worth a stash because of his upcoming schedule (Tennessee plays Jacksonville twice in the next four weeks), but the Saints -- being favored at home by more than a touchdown -- are projected to tee off on the Titans, which doesn't usually allow for many carries from the opposition. It also doesn't help that I've held onto Andrews in one of my larger fantasy leagues this season, so I have a firsthand experience of the lukewarm numbers he brings to the table. Marcus Mariota and Delanie Walker? Sure. I'll probably be all over them since Tennessee will be forced to play catchup or score 30 even to sniff victory. After all, the Saints allowed the most yards per play last week and as you can imagine, it didn't change between now and then. But definitely no Andrews for me.

Having said that, Mark Ingram should be the perfect play in cash games this week. On paper, the Titans allow only the 25th most fantasy points on the ground. But with Khiry Robinson out for the year, Mark Ingram's 19 touches per game should only climb. His floor alone is worth rostering him for.

Miami Dolphins (+3) over BUFFALO BILLS

Total: 44

Though Miami's secondary issues bode well for the return of the TyGod, Lamar Miller remains the best start of any position in this one. In the Dan Campell era, Miller has averaged 17 touches per game (and would likely be more had he not been given nearly a quarter of play off once the Dolphins took a massive lead over the Texans two weeks ago). I know it seems like the Bills defense has been impenetrable upfront this season, but Football Outsiders actually has them ranked as the 24th defense in rushing DVOA. With most off of him following his "let down" last Thursday night against the Patriots, Miller is a great candidate to be universally disowned and finish in the Top 10 at his position.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-14) over Washington

Total: 52

With the Patriots implied to score 33 points this week, get as many combinations as you can into your lineups. I don't know how you're going to do it, but do it. I'm not even sure I'd be interested in stacking all I can into one lineup. Tom Brady and Julian Edelman in one with Brady and Rob Gronkowski filling the other should suffice. Either way, I'll be bowing to Chris Raybon's note and stuffing their defense in every lineup possible:

CAROLINA PANTHERS (+2.5) over Green Bay Packers

Total: 46

As with the Broncos last week, I'm completely offended on behalf of all Panthers fans and Cat Scratch Reader that Carolina isn't favored at home this week. Denver defeated Green Bay by essentially locking onto their receivers for more than five seconds, something that the lot of Josh Norman, Charles Tillman, and Bene Benwikere all have the capability of achieving. Though Cam Newton's floor makes him a great play for weekly leagues, you can probably find better options for every position in every other matchup this week.

Atlanta Falcons (-7) over SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Total: 44

"This was just a decision that I just felt like I wanted Colin to step back and breathe," [Jim] Tomsula said. "Look at things through a different lens. Keep preparing, keep doing his thing, keep working, but just step back and take a look at things, OK. That's what I want."

Come on, Jim. You're not fooling anyone. We all know you just wanted to make one of the greatest YouTube videos of all time relevant again:

Just be glad that Blaine's on your side, San Francisco. For fantasy owners however, just make sure the Falcons defense is on yours.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (+2.5) over New York Giants

Total: 49

Jameis Winston has yet to score more than 12 fantasy points in any start this season, but this could potentially be the week when he finally breaks that mold. You already know what sort of numbers the Giants allowed to Drew Brees and the Saints offense last week. Even so, New York has consistently allowed a Top 5 rate of fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, which bodes well for the likely low-ownership of Winston and Mike Evans. If you don't trust Evans, I can't say I blame you. Fortunately, the Giants are also one of only two teams allowing over 12 fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

As long as the line doesn't close with the Bucs getting more than a field goal, gear up that rare Winston and Austin Seferian-Jenkins stack and don't look back.

Denver Broncos (-5) over INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Total: 45

Andrew Luck has scored the third-most fantasy points among quarterbacks since Week 4, but the Broncos, as shown by their performance against the Packers last week, are clearly no slouch. With T.Y. Hilton questionable heading into the weekend, I'll be staying away from any and all Colts. It's that simple.

If you're looking for a contrarian play on the opposite side, Demaryius Thomas remains primed for regression at any moment. Having the fourth-most targets this season, Thomas has somehow caught for only one touchdown. I don't know when it's coming, but when it does, you'll have to have exposure towards it in order to win that week (or in weekly leagues, you'll have to own him.)

Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5) over DALLAS COWBOYS

Total: 44.5

Philadelphia has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs but Darren McFadden's touches will make it hard to keep him out of most lineups and cash games. Since being named the starter, McFadden has averaged 28.5 touches per game. His volume should make him worthy of his price no matter the outcome (and by "no matter the outcome" I mean "as long as he doesn't fart and fall down".)

CHICAGO BEARS (+4) over San Diego Chargers

Total: 49.5

This game will likely be played through the air and despite losing Keenan Allen, the Chargers should become the focal point of your exposure. Most will lean towards Malcom Floyd since he scored two touchdowns only one week ago, but I'm more interested in paying minimum for Dontrelle Inman (in GPPs, that is). In the two games that Allen missed previously this season, Inman accounted for 12 receptions on 19 targets and 158 yards. Priced at the bottom of receivers no matter the site you play on, Inman need only a few receptions, not even a touchdown, in order to return his value. Same goes for Stevie, who's basically the Inman of cash games. It doesn't get much better than that.

No, wait. I'm sorry. It does:


(Editor's Note: The New York Jets-Jacksonville Jaguars game had no line posted at the time of submission and therefore wasn't previewed.)

Last Week: 5-6-1

Week 8 Exposure: Andy Dalton (11.6), Matt Ryan (21), Chris Johnson (6.9), Justin Forsett (7.9), Jonathan Stewart (12.8), Devonta Freeman (16.1), Keenan Allen (12), Tavon Austin (23.9), Antonio Brown (13.7), Marvin Jones (2.4), Julio Jones (26.2), Ben Watson (25.2), Tyler Eifert (5.9), Falcons (2), Rams (12)

Season: 60-43-5

Week 9 Exposure: Marcus Mariota, Ben Roethlisberger, Darren McFadden, Davonta Freeman, Antonio Brown, Dontelle Inman, Amari Cooper, Stevie Johnson, Dorial Green-Beckham, Rob Gronkowski, Patriots

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SB Nation presents: NFL Week 9 picks and predictions