Punch Drunk Wonderland

Week 9 Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em

We’re getting into the second half of the 2014 NFL season and the homestretch for most fantasy leagues. Each week I’ve taken a look at some players with favorable matchups that are start-worthy and others with not-so-favorable matchups that you should keep on the bench. Be sure to check back often for updated player rankings, weekly waiver wire targets, and weekly deep sleepers.

If you have Sit/Start questions, try out the Sit/Start Tool, contact me, or hit up @PDWonderland on Twitter.

Start ‘Em

Alex Smith (QB, Kansas City Chiefs) vs. New York Jets

Icon-Thumbs-UpSmith is getting two weeks of favorable matchups in a row. Assuming he’s healthy to play, Week 9’s game versus the Jets should be another good opportunity for Mr. Game Manager. Sure, Smith isn’t going to light up a stat sheet. But, he can get it done in a pinch, and minimizing the negatives. He’ll be facing a Jets defense this week that is giving up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. If ever there was a week for a monster performance for Smith, this is the one.

Colin Kaepernick (QB, San Francisco 49ers) vs. St. Louis Rams

Kaepernick has had a strong fantasy season thus far in 2014 and the trend should continue as the Niners come off their bye week to face the St. Louis Rams. The Rams’ defense has struggled in all aspects for the majority of the season, and Kaep’s versatility under center should give them fits in Week 9. The St. Louis defense is giving up the fifth most fantasy points to QBs this year. Look for Kaepernick to have another big week.

Ronnie Hillman (RB, Denver Broncos) at New England Patriots

It’s going to be a slug fest in Foxborough in Week 9 and you know that Peyton Manning will be using all of his weapons. While Hillman rarely sees a ton of carries, he remains a key part to the Denver offense. The matchup is favorable this week as the Patriots are giving up the third most fantasy points to running backs this season and they could struggle containing Hillman in his multi-faceted role.

Bobby Rainey (RB, Tampa Bay Bucs) at Cleveland Browns

Doug Martin‘s status for Week 9 is still up in the air and even if he were healthy, his production 2014 has been beyond lackluster. The running game responsibilities are likely going to get divided up between Martin, Bobby Rainey, and Charles Sims (when he returns) going forward in 2014, but for this week Rainey is a good start. He should get the vast majority of the touches, and his production has been much better than Martin’s anyway. The matchup is favorable against a Cleveland defense that is giving up the fourth most fantasy points to RBs.

Terrance Williams (WR, Dallas Cowboys) vs. Arizona Cardinals

Take note that this is a great matchup for Dez as well, but you were already starting him anyway. Williams has seen his role evolve over the course of this season. He’s gone from a big play touchdown threat seeing few targets to a reliable multi-route runner with a growing number of targets. I’m expecting big things from him for the rest of 2014 as his role evolves. In Week 9 he will be a very nice play against a Cardinals defense that is giving up the second most fantasy points to wide receivers.

Michael Crabtree (WR, San Francisco 49ers) vs. St. Louis Rams

As noted with the Kaepernick matchup mention above, the Niners’ passing game is getting a favorable matchup in Week 9 against the Rams. This could be a big week for Crabtree, and Anquan Boldin should also be a nice play. The St. Louis defense is giving up 28.1 fantasy points per week to wide receivers. It should be points aplenty for Niners receivers.

Travis Kelce (TE, Kansas City Chiefs) vs. New York Jets

Kelce’s production has been up and down in 2014, but he certainly appears to be an emerging talent. Week 9 offers he and the Chiefs a very nice matchup against a struggle Jets defense. The Jets have given up the fourth most fantasy points to tight ends this season. Look for the Smith to Kelce connection to be a good one this week.

Cincinnati Bengals D/ST vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

It’s the 2014 Jags Rule. If a team is facing them, that’s the defense you want to play.  Jacksonville is giving up the most fantasy points to opposing defenses this season and it’s by a pretty wide margin. The Bengals are an unquestioned must play.

Sit ‘Em

Robert Griffin III (QB, Washington Redskins) at Minnesota Vikings

Icon-Thumbs-DownIn all honesty, I think they should stick with McCoy for awhile. But, that’s just me. RGIII will likely be returning to action in Week 9, but don’t get too excited. The matchup isn’t a good one. He and the ‘Skins will be a facing a Vikings defense that is giving up the second fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs. It’s not a favorable matchup for a successful return for Griffin.

Chris Ivory (RB, New York Jets) at Kansas City Chiefs

Ivory has been the better of the fantasy running back options for the Jets this season, but I don’t expect him to have much success in Week 9. He and the Jets will be facing a Chiefs defense that is giving up the third fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs in 2014. Steer clear of NYJ running backs.

Larry Fitzgerald (WR, Arizona Cardinals) at Dallas Cowboys

Fitzgerald’s days as a top fantasy receiver seem to be dwindling. That’s not to say he can’t rebound or that he doesn’t have big play potential, but he’s seen his role decline as other options have presented themselves in the Arizona offense. In Week 9 Fitz and the Cardinals are facing a surprising Cowboys defense that is giving up the third fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. This isn’t a week to hope for a big performance.

Charles Clay (TE, Miami Dolphins) vs. San Diego Chargers

Week 7 gave Clay owners hope that his production was going to rebound, but in Week 8 he put up a dud. While he remains a top option for quarterback Ryan Tannehill, he’s a volatile play most weeks. Week 9 offers no relief as he and the Dolphins will be facing a Chargers defense that is giving up the fewest fantasy points to tight ends. Look elsewhere this week.

New England Patriots D/ST vs. Denver Broncos

The Pats defense has been a top 5 fantasy option in 2014, but things are going to start getting rough for the next several weeks. There will be a number of tough matchups ahead, and none worse than Week 9’s game versus the Broncos. D/STs are scoring the fewest points against Denver this season. That’s an understatement, through 8 games D/STs are average -0.4 points against the Broncos. Negative. Beware.




K. Smelser About K. Smelser
Kelly Smelser is Owner/Senior Writer for Punch Drunk Wonderland and PDFantasy Sports. Architect of the PDW fantasy football world and general spinster of NFL and Fantasy Football news and analysis. Long walks on the beach, sunsets, and other such niceties are also fine...