With a bevy of heavy hitters sidelined for their byes this week, including the Patriots and Steelers, fantasy owners have been handed a tough assignment this week. Another wave of injuries has hit the NFL, including the loss of Texans QB Deshaun Watson, which knocked three players from the 'start column this week.
Let’s take a look at the best and worst matchups for fantasy starters this week, and who you should start or sit for week nine.
Bye weeks: Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota, New England, Pittsburg
*Side note, especially for dynasty owners: Josh Gordon has been re-instated. Grab him, grab him now.
Russell Wilson (QB - SEA) vs WAS
Coming off of his best performance of the season (452 yards and four touchdowns) Wilson gets a good matchup with the Redskins in week nine. With 25 or more fantasy points in four of his last five games, Wilson is a must-start versus nearly any opponent.
Devin Funchness (WR - CAR) vs ATL
Funchness has put together a handful of good games this year, and the trade of Kevin Benjamin means that his fantasy value should skyrocket as he becomes the top target for Cam Newton. He should put together a solid fantasy performance this weekend as the Panthers face off with the Falcons.
Aaron Jones (RB - GB) vs DET
Jones has put up over 125 yards and a score in two of his last three games, and he gets a great matchup with the Lions defense this weekend. Fellow running back Ty Montgomery managed only six yards on four carries last week, and seems to be officially relegated to the backup role in Green Bay. With quarterback Aaron Rodgers on IR, the Packers are probably going to lean heavily on the run moving forward. Jones should have a great game this weekend, and is a solid starting option in most leagues.
Evan Engram (TE - NYG) vs LAR
Engram has put together back-to-back impressive fantasy performances, as the Giants are without the majority of their wide receivers because of injury. Over 60 yards and a score in each of his last two games, Evans appears poised for a big fantasy impact moving forward. His matchup with the Rams this weekend isn’t the best, but he’s still a good option in most leagues.
Andy Dalton (QB - CIN) vs JAX
Dalton has varied greatly in fantasy performances from week to week, with his best games coming against Cleveland (of course) and Indianapolis. This week, he faces off with a Jacksonville defense that is tough against the pass and boasts two of the most disruptive cornerbacks in the NFL in their secondary (A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey). Dalton will likely struggle again this week, and should be benched unless you have no other options.
Jamison Crowder (WR - WAS) vs SEA
Crowder had a solid week eight performance, breaking 100 yards for the first time this season. But he faces off with a tough Seattle defense this week, so don’t expect him to replicate that success in week nine. Hopefully you have better options at wide receiver, roll with one of them.
LeGarrette Blount (RB - PHI) vs DEN
Blount has put together a handful of good games for the Eagles this season, but the addition of Jay Ajayi from Miami will likely cut into his workload in a major way. Though it is unclear how big of a role Ajayi will take on this weekend as he adjusts to his new team, Philadelphia still has a tough matchup with a dominant Broncos defense. Until the Eagles backfield clears up, Blount should stay on your bench.
O.J. Howard (TE - TB) vs NO
Though he had a breakout performance two weeks ago, Howard was pretty well contained by a tough Panthers defense last week. A matchup with a disruptive New Orleans secondary this weekend will likely mean another down fantasy week for Howard, who should be on your bench if you have an option with a better matchup.
What are your thoughts, fantasy owners? Who are you starting, sitting or deciding between this week? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below, and feel free to discuss all things fantasy football.