With Week 9 here, we’ve seen the NFL trade deadline come and go. With it came some big shake-ups across the league.
One of the bigger trades to go down saw the Miami Dolphins ship Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles, affecting the fantasy value of LeGarrette Blount, Wendell Smallwood, Kenyan Drake, and Damien Williams in addition to Ajayi himself.
Now, let’s take a look at our weekly start/sit advice for the toughest calls facing your fantasy football lineups.
The Cowboys will be relying on Dak Prescott a lot more now that Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended. The good news is Prescott has racked up 11 scores over his last four games. He’ll now face a Chiefs defense allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Get Prescott into your starting lineup this week.
Arizona will have a new-look offense coming out of the bye week, one that will likely feature a lot of Adrian Peterson. Starting quarterback Carson Palmer is likely out for the rest of the season with a broken arm, and Drew Stanton is a serious downgrade for the passing game, making it more likely they ride or die with Peterson. That’s great news against a 49ers defense allowing the most fantasy points to running backs this season. Start Peterson in Week 9.
The Bengals’ passing game is in a world of hurt right now, especially with their horrific pass blocking against a lights-out Jaguars pass rush. That’s going to lead to a lot of runs and check-downs to Joe Mixon. The dual-threat rookie could be in for a big game vs. Jacksonville, which is allowing the 13th-most fantasy points to running backs this season. Start Mixon this Sunday.
You know Michael Thomas is the Saints’ must-start receiver, but Ted Ginn Jr. has quietly had a big first season with the Saints. Ginn has caught 13 balls for 275 yards and one score over his last three games. He now faces a Bucs defense surrendering the second-most fantasy points to receivers this season. Get Ginn into your starting lineup.
Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten vs. Kansas City Chiefs
As mentioned above, Dallas will be relying on the passing game more to carry it to victory vs. a stout Kansas City defense this week. The good news is Jason Witten is still playing at a high level, and the Chiefs are allowing the third-most receiving yards to tight ends this season. Get Witten into your lineup for Week 9.
Marcus Mariota has been one of the most erratic quarterbacks in fantasy football this season. Part of that was due to a hamstring injury that led to Mariota missing a game, but he’s since recovered from it, only to throw for 509 yards and one score over his last two games. Thankfully, Mariota got a much-needed bye in Week 8, so he should be ready to for a strong second half of the season. The problem is, Mariota will face a Ravens defense allowing the third-least fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Bench Mariota in Week 9.
Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan vs. Carolina Panthers
The Falcons’ offense just hasn’t been the same this year without Kyle Shanahan running the show, but Matt Ryan has still been a serviceable fantasy quarterback. He’s coming off a solid two-score, 254-yard performance in a road win over the Jets, but don’t expect the same to happen in Carolina, who is allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Keep Ryan benched for Week 9.
Philadelphia Eagles RB Jay Ajayi vs. Denver Broncos
After struggling to be productive in Miami, Jay Ajayi should find far more success in Philadelphia with a more stable offense that can put him in great position to succeed. However, don’t count on that happening in Ajayi’s first game as an Eagles, as they’ll face a Broncos defense allowing the fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. Keep Ajayi on the bench until he gets his footing under him in Philadelphia.
Buffalo Bills WR Kelvin Benjamin vs. New York Jets
Kelvin Benjamin was usually an easy call to start before he was shipped to Buffalo, which now has a featured receiver in an offense that’s been devoid of such this season. It’ll also get a chance to get Benjamin going early against a Jets secondary allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to receivers this season. Still, it’s too risky to start someone who is just joining a new team, so keep Benjamin benched this week.
Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald vs. San Francisco 49ers
Despite being 34 years old, Larry Fitzgerald has been one of the best receivers in fantasy football. However, we can’t expect that to continue after he lost his quarterback, Carson Palmer. Backup Drew Stanton is a major downgrade, and Fitzgerald already has his work cut out for him against a 49ers secondary allowing the 11th-fewest fantasy points to receivers over the last three weeks. Bench Fitzgerald for this matchup.