5 Players With Tough Week 9 Matchups
We all have those superstars on our rosters who should be automatic starters week after week, right? Not so fast. I don’t believe in the old adage “always start your studs”, as it’s sort of lazy and not entirely accurate if you want the most out of your fantasy squad.
In this new column at 4for4, each week I take a look at individual matchups and point out players who I think could struggle, even if they’re elite. I’m not saying to sit them without question, but as the title goes, these are players with tough matchups, meaning you'll have tough lineup decisions to make.
Week 8 Wrap-up
Hopefully at least some of you took note last week, as all five of my players in this piece largely underperformed. Carson Wentz was the QB19 on the week, Odell Beckham Jr. and Alshon Jeffery came in at WR41 and WR40, respectively, Frank Gore’s 3.4 PPR points checked in as the RB53 and Greg Olsen’s output landed him at TE30 in Week 8.
Now to this week’s crop of players to start with caution, or not at all.
Week 9 Risky Plays
Lamar Jackson (Ravens) vs. Patriots
This is a tough ask, I know. Jackson is on three of my own rosters and it was a struggle last week without him. However, Week 9 could prove difficult for the Ravens quarterback despite his week of rest. He gets a New England defense that has denied everyone, in fact, they rank second in the league in schedule-adjusted fantasy points to quarterbacks (aFPA), yielding just 8.7 points to the position per week.
The Patriots also have the ability to shut down Jackson’s big run plays, making him a difficult start on Sunday Night. You may want to hang onto whoever you went with last week, or at the very least, temper your expectations for Jackson’s Week 9 output.
Sony Michel (Patriots) @ Ravens
On the other side of the field, Baltimore is playing solid against the run this season, allowing only 84 rushing yards per contest, which is the second-fewest in the league. Michel has been a bit erratic but is behind only Julian Edelman and Tom Brady on his offense in fantasy points over the last four weeks. He also leads all running backs who are averaging at least 10 touches per game in touch rate (60.3%).
It may be difficult to sit Michel with four teams on a bye, but you may want to at least consider rolling with another option in a running back slot this week.
Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals) vs. 49ers
Has Father Time finally found the elusive Fitzgerald? The jury is still out on that, but a short week and a brutal matchup won’t help things for the 36-year-old receiver. He gets a stout 49ers defense on Thursday Night, one that ranks first in the NFL in wide receiver aFPA this season. Fitzy hasn’t found the end zone since Week 3 and this may not be the week to break that unfortunate streak.
Sit him if you can, but if you must start the 16-year veteran, be sure to limit your mental projections for his Week 9 production.
Chris Carson (Seahawks) vs. Buccaneers
I don’t really expect any of you to park Carson on your benches this week, but this is just a precautionary warning of what could be. Tampa Bay has been stuffing the run on the regular this season, allowing just 10.3 PPR points to opposing backs per tilt and surrendering just 68 yards on the ground each contest.
He should still see his 20 touches, but Carson may not do much with them on Sunday. One positive is that we know no matter what, the run will be established in Seattle, or at least attempted to do so ad nauseam.
Mark Andrews (Ravens) vs. Patriots
Like Jackson above, I’m sure some of you took hits with Andrews out on a bye in Week 8 and are ready to re-insert him back into your lineups this week. Unfortunately, it could be a rough night for the Ravens tight end. New England is no joke defensively this season and sits fifth against opposing tight ends in aFPA. To top it off, they’ve only allowed one tight end to post over 40 receiving yards so far in 2019.
As much as we’d all love to plug Andrews right back into our starting lineups, it may behoove you to look elsewhere at the tight end position this week.