Week 9 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em (cont.)
Broncos -- Peyton Manning, Willis McGahee, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Matt Prater: No one would dare sit the scorching Manning and his top targets. McGahee is still going strong, and the Bengals are fourth-worst in fantasy versus running backs, even if the run defense is better than the numbers suggest. If you need a sleeper, consider Prater and the Broncos' D/ST.
Bengals -- BenJarvus Green-Ellis, A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham: The Broncos' defense did a number on the seemingly unstoppable Saints offense, so there's little reason to feel confident in the Bengals putting up points with their top guys. At home, though, the Bengals will do what the Saints didn't bother to: pound the ball right at the defense. The Broncos will be a decent run defense, but The Law Firm still rates as one of the top-24 starting running backs this week. Gresham might be the best play of all here, since the Broncos are the third-worst team in fantasy versus tight ends.
Broncos -- Ronnie Hillman, Lance Ball, Knowshon Moreno, Brandon Stokley, Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreessen, Virgil Green: The tight ends seem to rotate targets from week to week. Hillman is coming on, but you're best off avoiding all of these guys on the road against a defense capable of slowing the run.
Bengals -- Andy Dalton, Cedric Peerman, Andrew Hawkins, Armon Binns, Mike Nugent, Bengals D/ST: Dalton, Nugent and the defense are the only viable fantasy options here, and only when the matchup is favorable. The steadily improving Broncos are an unfavorable matchup after what they showed last week.
Buccaneers -- Josh Freeman, Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Connor Barth: The Raiders are in the bottom 12 in fantasy against everything: quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and kickers. All of these guys are too hot and too promising not to use in this matchup. Barth is particularly attractive against the second-worst team in fantasy versus opposing kickers. Only the Eagles and Panthers have given up more field goals than the Raiders.
Raiders -- Darren McFadden, Denarius Moore, Sebastian Janikowski: We learned last week, possibly painfully, that the Bucs' defense is better than the numbers suggest. McFadden should be featured more in Week 9, so keep him active. Moore, meanwhile, is facing the third-worst team in fantasy versus wide receivers.
Buccaneers -- LeGarrette Blount, Dallas Clark, Buccaneers D/ST: The defense is worth a look-see, but not for long; the Raiders have been seventh-toughest on opposing D/STs and have been stingy with sacks and turnovers, somewhat surprisingly.
Raiders -- Carson Palmer, Mike Goodson, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Brandon Myers, Raiders D/ST: There is potential here, especially at home, but the inconsistency means it's best to avoid these players.
Vikings -- Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Kyle Rudolph, Vikings D/ST: This is not a good matchup for any of these guys, but owners would be hard-pressed to have better options available on the bench with byes still a factor. Rudolph is the only one with a favorable matchup, statistically speaking. The Seahawks are in the bottom half of fantasy against tight ends.
Seahawks -- Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks D/ST: If the Vikings defense does something well, it's slow the run -- save for last week's aberration against the Bucs. If the Seahawks do something well, it is run the ball and play defense. These are the only two options to trust in a game that figures to be a physical ground-and-pound battle where neither offense takes too many chances downfield in the passing game.
Vikings -- Christian Ponder, Jerome Simpson, Blair Walsh: Last week should have scared most fantasy owners away from these guys, especially in Seattle, where the Seahawks are at their best. They're in the top 10 in fantasy against quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.
Seahawks -- Russell Wilson, Robert Turbin, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Braylon Edwards, Zach Miller, Steven Hauschka: The Vikings are quietly the fourth-best team in fantasy versus wide receivers, otherwise Rice and Tate might be sleeper bye-week replacements. That also makes Wilson and Hauschka tough to trust.
Steelers -- Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, Steelers D/ST: The banged-up Giants secondary might be forcing turnovers and limiting touchdowns, but the Steelers are facing the seventh-worst team in fantasy against quarterbacks and the sixth-worst against wide receivers. Also worth noting is that Jason Witten had a career day last week against the Giants. Start everyone in the Steelers passing game. Even Jonathan Dwyer is a viable play if Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) and Isaac Redman (ankle) remain too banged-up to start. And despite being without safety Troy Polamalu, the Steelers' defense is still second in the NFL against the pass, which should help it stay among the top 12 D/STs this week.
Giants -- Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Martellus Bennett, Lawrence Tynes, Giants D/ST: This is not a good week for any of the Giants, but it isn't an especially bad one, either. All of the fantasy regulars are healthy enough to produce among the fantasy starters at their positions this week, albeit barely.
Steelers -- Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, Shaun Suisham: Even if Mendenhall and Redman play, expect the more durable Dwyer to get the important carries. The promising matchups in the passing game should limit the production of the secondary backs and Suisham.
Giants -- Andre Brown, David Wilson, Domenik Hixon, Bear Pascoe: We barely like the starters against the Steelers' underrated defense. Ignore these backups. You might think Brown is an option for a rushing touchdown, but the Steelers are fifth-best in fantasy versus running backs for a reason.
Cowboys -- Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten: Fantasy owners saw just how good these guys can be last week. The Falcons shouldn't scare any owners away, especially given the potential shootout a game against the Falcons might become. That makes the struggling Tony Romo a sleeper. Start DeMarco Murray (ankle) if he plays, too.
Falcons -- Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, Matt Bryant, Falcons D/ST: Even though the Cowboys are second-best in fantasy versus quarterbacks and third-best versus wide receivers, there is not a league in which it is wise to sit the Falcons' passing-game threats. Turner should also be better at home than he was a week ago, so consider him among the top-24 running backs to start. The Falcons' defense is a decent streaming option because of the turnovers Romo has been good for weekly.
Cowboys -- Felix Jones, Phillip Tanner, Dan Bailey, Cowboys D/ST: Jones isn't a great fantasy option even if Murray remains out. The defense is better than the fantasy numbers suggest, especially because it limits the passing game so well. Still, the Falcons figure to be able to move the ball on anyone at home, and Romo just keeps putting the Dallas defense in bad spots with turnovers.
Falcons -- Jacquizz Rodgers, Drew Davis, Harry Douglas: You won't believe this, but this will be the Falcons' stiffest test to date. This Cowboys are tough -- too tough to consider any low-end offensive options here.
Eagles -- Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek, Alex Henery: As we said in the lead, this is a payback week for your Eagles. Pounce on the most advantageous matchup in fantasy this year.
Saints -- Drew Brees, Darren Sproles Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, Garrett Hartley: The Saints will be much better at home this week, especially against an Eagles defense still adjusting to a new coordinator. Graham, most importantly, proved healthy last week. Consider Lance Moore as needed, too.
Eagles -- Eagles D/ST: Expect a turf-war shootout, which means start all Eagles except for the defense.
Saints -- Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Devery Henderson, Saints D/ST: Joe Vitt is coaching and the running game is still underutilized and worthless in fantasy. Henderson was useless in an easier matchup last week, and the Saints' defense is worthless as well.
If you play in those weekly salary cap leagues, here are the top bargains by position relative to their expected prices:
QB: Michael Vick or Matthew Stafford
RB: Alfred Morris or Reggie Bush
RB: Mikel Leshoure or Jonathan Dwyer
WR: Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson
WR: Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Jeremy Maclin or DeSean Jackson
TE: Brandon Pettigrew or Jermichael Finley
FLEX: Bush, Dwyer, A. Johnson, A. Brown, Maclin or D. Jackson
K: Robbie Gould or Alex Henery
D/ST: Packers, Lions or Chargers
You have a winning lineup? Challenge me with it on Twitter @EricMackFantasy.
Eric Mack writes fantasy for SI.com. Track his weekly starts and sits every Thursday, his last-minute Cheat Sheet on Sunday mornings and his Fantasy Fast Forward on Sunday nights. You find also him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice or challenging him to a head-to-head fantasy game @EricMackFantasy. He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).
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