As we start down the back nine of the 2021 NFL season, fantasy football owners are legitimately wondering if they should play Adrian Peterson and bench Patrick Mahomes. If that doesn’t sum it all up, what does? Fortunately, we’re here with our weekly dose of lineup advice as we preemptively answer Week 9 fantasy start ’em, sit ’em questions and recommend a few DFS value sleepers.
It’s another four-team bye week, with Washington, Detroit, Seattle, and Tampa getting the week off. We’ll miss key players from every team, and when you combine that with some of the injury/inactive worries (Saquon Barkley, James Robinson, Dak Prescott, Calvin Ridley, Noah Fant, Sterling Shepard, etc.), fantasy owners are forced to dig deep for at least a couple starters. If you assess the matchups, study the usage trends, and balance risk-vs.-reward, you just might take it through Week 9 with a win. Let’s get to it.
Fantasy Football Week 9 Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks
- Josh Allen, Bills (at JAX)
- Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (vs. GB)
- Matthew Stafford, Rams (vs. TEN)
- Lamar Jackson, Ravens (vs. MIN)
- Kyler Murray, Cardinals (at SF)
- Dak Prescott, Cowboys (vs. DEN)
- Joe Burrow, Bengals (vs. CLE)
- Jalen Hurts, Eagles (vs. LAC)
- Justin Herbert, Chargers (at PHI)
Derek Carr, Raiders (at NYG). Carr should be driven to keep playing well in a solid matchup after the bye against a mediocre Giants defense.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings (at BAL). Cousins clunked at home in a low-scoring Week 8 game, but this screams purple shootout with Jackson with two overrated defenses.
Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins (vs. HOU). Tagovailoa can show Miami what he can still do in this weird, quasi-revenge game against a rumored landing spot during trade talks.
Jordan Love, Packers (at KC). He’s got the weapons and the matchup to be a solid streamer filling in for Aaron Rodgers (COVID-19). Expect a strong starting debut even in defeat.
Carson Wentz, Colts (vs. NYJ). Wentz doesn’t do it with style, but the digits are there to keep playing him in another favorable home matchup on Thursday night.
Teddy Bridgewater, Broncos (at DAL). Bridgewater didn’t play well last week, but there should be plenty of garbage time opposite Dak Prescott.
Taysom Hill, Saints (vs. ATL, $5,500 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel). Hill should be back from his concussion to take the reins of New Orleans’ offense and steps into a sweet running and passing spot at home against the Falcons. His price is higher than expected but still nice.
Tyrod Taylor, Texans (If he returns, at MIA). Taylor should be on track to return from his hamstring injury and start over Davis Mills against the Dolphins. If so, he can put up solid one-week digits opposite Tua Tagovailoa’s success with some help from his running.
Fantasy Football Week 9 Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks
Daniel Jones, Giants (vs. LV). Danny Dimes will come up a few dollars short as the Raiders’ defense will come out firing after a bye.
Ryan Tannehill, Titans (at LAR). Tannehill needs the Derrick Henry running game to help his passing numbers, but with no Henry (foot) in a tough road spot, he’s in trouble.
Matt Ryan, Falcons (at NO). No Calvin Ridley (personal) and a defense that just roughed up Tom Brady? No thanks.
Mac Jones, Patriots (at CAR). This isn’t a good road spot for his passing.
Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (vs. ARI). The stream might be tempting but no.
Justin Fields, Bears (at PIT). You might want to chase his numbers from last week but not against the Steelers’ defense on the road in prime time.
Fantasy Football Week 9 Start ‘Em: Running backs
- Aaron Jones, Packers (at KC)
- Jonathan Taylor, Colts (vs. NYJ)
- Dalvin Cook, Vikings (at BAL)
- Alvin Kamara, Saints (vs. ATL)
- Najee Harris, Steelers (vs. CHI)
- Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (vs. DEN)
- Darrell Henderson, Rams (vs. TEN)
- Austin Ekeler, Chargers (at PHI)
- Nick Chubb, Browns (at CIN)
- Damien Harris, Patriots (at CAR)
- Elijah Mitchell, 49ers (at ARI)
- Joe Mixon, Bengals (vs. CLE)
- Chuba Hubbard, Panthers (vs. NE)
- Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons (at NO)
- James Robinson, Jaguars (vs. BUF, if he plays)
Michael Carter, Jets (at IND). He’s getting amazing volume running and passing and is the goal-line back of choice, too. The Colts aren’t as daunting as they might seem.
Chase Edmonds and James Conner, Cardinals (at SF). Now they’re both scoring touchdowns and getting consistent production thanks to Kyler Murray’s downtick in rushing.
Derrick Gore or Darrell Williams, Chiefs (vs. GB). The matchup is good enough where you want to trust one of them, and after a solid Week 8, we might see more of Gore.
Boston Scott, Eagles (at LAC). Scott was the clear leader of the backfield minus Miles Sanders (ankle), and this matchup is brilliant.
Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake, Raiders (at NYG). The Giants struggle with different types of backs, and this duo should be busy to boost Derek Carr.
Myles Gaskin, Dolphins (vs. HOU). He’s still getting the key touches without Malcolm Brown (quad), and this time they will add up to something strong from scrimmage.
Adrian Peterson, Titans (at LAR). Look, you can be desperate with Jeremy McNichols or just embrace the fact that like always, Peterson will defy logic and look good with 15-plus touches in his first game with a new team at his old age.
Devontae Booker, Giants (vs. LV, $5,900 on DraftKings, $6,300 on FanDuel). Booker has been a pretty good sub for Saquon Barkley (ankle), and it’s much easier to run and catch out of the backfield than pass downfield on the Raiders.
Zack Moss, Bills (at JAX, $5,300 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel). Moss and Devin Singletary disappointed last week because Buffalo wasn’t in control of the game until late. That changes on the road this week in a good power back matchup.
Fantasy Football Week 9 Sit ‘Em: Running backs
Khalil Herbert, Bears (at PIT). Herbert will run into a wall here, and keep in mind how Nick Chubb was contained in Week 8.
Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams, Broncos (at DAL). They will be limited in the committee given how strong Dallas keeps looking against the run.
Devin Singletary, Bills (at JAX). Moss’ situational workload is more trustworthy than Singletary’s.
AJ Dillon, Packers (at KC). He can be effective again, but he is a bit TD dependent behind Aaron Jones.
Tony Pollard, Cowboys (vs. DEN). He remains the AJ Dillon of the Cowboys.
D’Ernest Johnson, Browns (at CIN). One TD doesn’t say he has a key role with Nick Chubb back.
Jeremy McNichols, Titans (at LAR). He’s unreliable with Adrian Peterson being more critical to Tennessee’s game plan.
Mike Davis, Falcons (at NO). No way and no how in NOLA against a strong run defense.
Fantasy Football Week 9 Start ‘Em: Wide receivers
- Cooper Kupp, Rams (vs. TEN)
- Tyreek Hill, Chiefs (vs. GB)
- Davante Adams, Packers (at KC)
- Deebo Samuel, 49ers (vs. ARI)
- Stefon Diggs, Bills (at JAX)
- A.J. Brown, Titans (at LAR)
- Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals (vs. CLE)
- DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals (at SF)
- Justin Jefferson, Vikings (at BAL)
- Adam Thielen, Vikings (at BAL)
- Michael Pittman Jr., Colts (vs. NYJ)
- CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys (vs. DEN)
- Keenan Allen, Chargers (at PHI)
- Mike Williams, Chargers (vs. PHI)
- Amari Cooper, Cowboys (vs. DEN)
- Diontae Johnson, Steelers (vs. CHI)
- Chase Claypool, Steelers (vs. CHI)
- D.J. Moore, Panthers (vs. NE)
- Robert Woods, Rams (vs. TEN)
- Courtland Sutton, Broncos (at DAL)
- Brandin Cooks, Texans (at MIA)
Tee Higgins, Bengals (vs. CLE). Higgins made a great catch last week to kind of spark him back to fantasy relevance, and it will continue playing opposite Ja’Marr Chase.
Jerry Jeudy, Broncos (at DAL). Jeudy can roast the Cowboys much like Adam Thielen did.
DeVante Parker, Dolphins (vs. HOU). Parker is still a darn good target when healthy, and the matchup is awesome.
Emmanuel Sanders, Bills (at JAX). Manny Sandy didn’t provide any paydirt against the Dolphins, which makes it more likely he comes through with a big-play TD here.
Jarvis Landry, Browns (at CIN). Landry was Cleveland’s best receiver by far last week, and that continues as they scheme him open everywhere for Baker Mayfield.
Darnell Mooney, Bears (vs. PIT). By the light of the Monday night moon, Mooney is the best bet for a worthy garbage performance from Justin Fields.
Van Jefferson, Rams (vs. TEN). Jefferson is movin’ on up making big plays off Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, and he can destroy this secondary with his speed.
Jamison Crowder, Jets (at IND). A short week might mean no Corey Davis (hip) again, and Crowder was good with Mike White.
Rashod Bateman, Ravens (vs. MIN). He has looked really good working with Hollywood Brown, and it will continue after the bye.
Marquise Brown, Ravens (vs. MIN, $6,000 on DraftKings, $7,700 on FanDuel). Minnesota’s secondary is horrible against speed receivers, so expect some big-time Hollywood magic after the bye.
Cole Beasley, Bills (at JAX, $5,900 on DraftKings, $6,300 on FanDuel). Beasley came through big time last week at a similar price point, and it’s another awesome matchup in the slot filling in for the lost production of Dawson Knox (hand).
Hunter Renfrow, Raiders (at NYG, $4,800 on DraftKings, $5,600 on FanDuel). Renfrow should be the choice wideout for Carr working over this matchup in the slot.
Fantasy Football Week 9 Sit ‘Em: Wide receivers
Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins (vs. HOU). He’s tough to trust with DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki being favored more by Tua Tagovailoa.
Marvin Jones Jr. and Laviska Shenault Jr., Jaguars (vs. BUF). The matchup is brutal, and the lack of usage is bizarre.
DeVonta Smith, Eagles (vs. LAC). He was wasted in three straight great matchups and now gets a tough one at home.
Tyler Boyd, Bengals (vs. CLE). The Browns are more burnable outside at this point with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins.
Kadarius Toney, Giants (vs. LV). You can’t trust New York’s wideouts with the sporadic nature of Daniel Jones’ distribution.
Allen Robinson, Bears (at PIT). Why do we torture ourselves so with some guy we wish had been traded?
Odell Beckham Jr., Browns (at CIN). Why do we torture ourselves so with some guy we wish had been traded?
All Patriots (at CAR). Your guess is as bad as ours.
A.J. Green, Christian Kirk and Rondale Moore (at SF). This will be a big DeAndre Hopkins game, and you can’t predict who will deliver next.
Tim Patrick, Broncos (at DAL). The transition back to Jerry Jeudy as the inside-outside No. 1 will happen this week.
Fantasy Football Week 9 Start ‘Em: Tight ends
- Travis Kelce, Chiefs (vs. GB)
- Mark Andrews, Ravens (vs. MIN)
- Darren Waller, Raiders (at NYG)’
- Kyle Pitts, Falcons (at NO)
- Dallas Goedert, Eagles (vs. LAC)
- Noah Fant, Broncos (at DAL)
- Mike Gesicki, Dolphins (vs. HOU)
- George Kittle, 49ers (if he returns, vs. ARI)
Hunter Henry, Patriots (at CAR). He had a quiet revenge game, but with the pressure off he will dent the end zone again.
Zach Ertz, Cardinals (at SF). He’s become key for Kyler Murray, and no Jaquiski Tartt will help big time.
Jared Cook, Chargers (at PHI). The nature of the Eagles’ coverage helped T.J. Hockenson, and it will do the same for Cook.
Evan Engram, Giants (vs. LV). The matchup is actually very good, and he should get open more easily than their wideouts.
C.J. Uzomah, Bengals (vs. CLE). He was left out of the end zone last week, and he’ll nab a short one on the Browns.
Marcedes Lewis, Packers (at KC). If you’re hurting without Robert Tonyan (knee), there should be a good chance Lewis scores on the Chiefs.
Tyler Conklin, Vikings (at BAL, $3,000 on DraftKings, $5,200 on FanDuel). Conklin came alive a little more as a third passing option in Vikings offense, and this matchup should call for him to be active with his routes.
Fantasy Football Week 9 Sit ‘Em: Tight ends
Tyler Higbee, Rams (vs. TEN). The wide receiver matchups are glorious, but the tight end one isn’t.
Dalton Schultz, Cowboys (vs. DEN). The wideouts are fully back in business here, too.
Dan Arnold, Jaguars (vs. BUF). You can’t do it vs. that D.
Pat Freiermuth, Steelers (at CHI). We love the kid, but the Bears’ numbers are good against the position.
All Colts (vs. NYJ). Just when they’re a thing, that’s when they aren’t.
All Browns (at CIN). Just when they’re a thing, that’s when they aren’t.
Fantasy Football Week 6 Start ‘Em: Defenses
- Bills (at JAX)
- Saints (vs. ATL)
- Steelers (vs. CHI)
- Rams (vs. TEN)
- Patriots (at CAR)
- Cowboys (vs. DEN)
- Colts (vs. NYJ)
Dolphins (vs. HOU). This is less appealing should Tyrod Taylor (hamstring) start, but Miami”s back on the radar with a more active Week 8.
Cardinals (at SF). They will cool off Jimmy G with some plays up front and on the back end.
Panthers (vs. NE). Their pass defense vs. Mac Jones should do a few pleasing things.
Bengals (vs. CLE). They can rebound at home vs. a sputtering offense.
Raiders (at NYG, $2,900 on DraftKings, $4,200 on FanDuel). The Raiders should come out aggressive defensively after the bye and get some turnovers and sacks on Mac Jones.
Fantasy Football Week 9 Sit ‘Em: Defenses
49ers (vs. ARI). Believe in a big Kyler rebound.
Browns (at CIN). Don’t Chase points vs. Burrow.
Chargers (at PHI). Just chill on them again.
Bears (at PIT). Not on the road against a team that will slug them.
Ravens (vs. MIN). You can’t go there until you see some fixes.
Get more of Vinnie Iyer’s in-depth fantasy football advice for Week 9 by subscribing to the Locked On Fantasy Football podcast.