FFStatistics Start or Sit: Week Nine
As we, the fantasy football faithful head into week nine, the start or sit decisions become more crucial. Injuries and bye weeks narrow the scope and deciding between Chase Edmonds or Tevin Coleman can make all of the difference. Both have recently had week-winning performances, but not in the same week.
This weekly article aims to dig for some of the less obvious starts through statistical analysis, trying to assist in making beneficial start/sit decisions.
As a weekly reminder, the following teams are on bye; Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, and the New Orleans Saints. Further notes, the Jaguars vs. Texans game will take place in London.
Now, on the start or sit goodness.
Start: Sam Darnold vs. Miami
Full disclosure, second-year slinger Sam Darnold is only two weeks removed from one of the worst quarterback performances of this season. So allow us to lay all the statistics out on the table before we examine why he is a good start this week.
In the three games, he has played since returning from mononucleosis he has thrown for 642 total yards, four touchdowns, and eight interceptions. For the Halloween season, he has been seeing ghosts and dressing up as Jameis Winston. While these statistics do not exactly inspire confidence for managers, there are some reasons to consider not only rostering Darnold but starting him.
This week, the Jets take on the Miami Dolphins and what serves as their defense. The Dolphins are allowing the fourth-most points to the position. In fact, every quarterback they have faced has scored at least 21 fantasy points. Head coach Adam Gase is going to want to stroll into his old home and dominate the Dolphins.
Darnold is a good streaming option this week and a solid play in two-quarterback leagues. It is also worth noting that the next six games are great matchups for this offense. They face the Dolphins, Giants, Redskins, Raiders, and the Dolphins again. Owners that stream the position could pick up Darnold and ride him for the next six weeks.
Start: Matthew Stafford vs. Oakland
Matthew Stafford has been on fire lately. In five of seven games, he has thrown for multiple touchdowns, including seven total in the last two contests. He absolutely torched a tough Minnesota defense in week seven for 364 yards and four touchdowns.
This week, Stafford and company take on the Raiders who are allowing big games to anyone who is not Kirk Cousins. The only two quarterbacks to score less than 20 fantasy points were Cousins and Chase Daniel. Otherwise, it has been wheels up for quarterbacks.
The Lions run game is a platoon of mid-level talent, forcing Stafford to air it out. His stretch of fantasy success should continue in a great matchup. He should be locked in among the top-ten quarterbacks this week.
Sit: Kyler Murray vs. San Francisco
The standards held by the number-one draft pick are often understandably high. Kyler Murray has shown that he has the capacity and talent to be a solid NFL quarterback and a reliable fantasy asset. His rushing ability helps maintain a safe floor to cover when he struggles as a passer.
Murray has had some good games to start his career. What is baffling is the games in which he has struggled. Weeks seven and eight combined he has completed 33 passes for 324 yards and zero touchdowns.
This has been well below the output we have come to expect from the promising rookie but does not appear likely to change this week.
The Cardinals face the 49er’s fearsome defense that is allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. The 49ers have 10 interceptions through seven games played and have only allowed an average of 156 yards per contest. The only quarterback to throw for 200 yards or more was Andy Dalton in week two.
Kyler Murray is a recommended sit this week in all but two-quarterback leagues or as a desperation start in deeper leagues.
Start: Aaron Jones vs. Los Angeles Chargers
As it stands, Aaron Jones is on pace for 22 total touchdowns. Regression is coming in that department, but Jones has been exceptional when treated like a lead-dog running back.
The Chargers have been decimated by injury and recently very susceptible to a solid run game. They have allowed eight total touchdowns to running backs this season, including four in the last three weeks. Jones is getting double-digit carries every week, so fire him up as top-seven option this week. Jamaal Williams is not going away and it is possible that both running backs can be safely started this week. However, my money is on Jones for a top-end kind of week.
Start: Le’Veon Bell vs. Miami
This falls in line with the same process as Sam Darnold. Le’Veon Bell has not had the type of season many owners were hoping for. However, it is what some analysts suspected based on several factors, including an awful offensive line. The fact that the head coach has publicly stated he would not have signed Bell and has the proclivity to dog-house running backs does not help matters.
So here are the stats up to this point for the consensus former number-one fantasy pick. He has had zero games of over 70 rushing yards and only scored one rushing touchdown. If that does not strike your fancy, how does 3.2 yards-per-carry sound? So far, this may not seem enticing but hear me out here. Thus far, Bell has had to run against Buffalo, Philadelphia, Dallas, and New England twice. That is an imposing group of run-defenses, and most of those were minus Darnold to open up the offense.
The next six games are reasons to be excited for both Darnold and Bell. Facing Miami to open this stretch of games is a great way to begin and a good opportunity to fire Bell up as a top-ten option. The Dolphins are allowing the most fantasy points to running backs this season. They have allowed five backs to clear 100 yards and six rushing touchdowns.
Sit: David Montgomery vs. Philadelphia
All of the windy city raised their mittened fists to the skies when rookie David Montgomery got his first 100-yard rushing game. Fantasy owners who paid the price rejoiced along with them if they continued to shove him in their lineups.
However, owners should temper expectations this week against the Eagles stout run defense. They are allowing the sixth-fewest points to the position. Only two running backs have eclipsed more than 44 rushing yards against them, Alexander Mattison (63) and Ezekiel Elliot (111).
Bye weeks limit the options, so some teams may be forced to start him, but if a reliable, safe-floor option is available it should be considered with the difficult matchup.
Start: D.J. Chark vs. Houston
Minshew mania slowed the train down a few weeks ago and the trickle-down effect has taken its toll on waiver wire darling D. J. Chark. Chark had a quiet week four, six, and seven but bounced back last week for 79 yards and his sixth touchdown of the season.
The Texans just lost J.J. Watt for the season, which changes the complexion of the defense. Prior to that, the defense was already allowing the second-most points to receivers, making this an already attractive matchup. Factor in the health and availability of Dede Westbrook and we have a recipe that should render another solid week for Mr. Chark. Chris Conley is a sneaky, sleeper type of play this week for DFS tournament plays, but Chark should see a big game in a match that could be a high-scoring affair.
Start: Danny Amendola vs. Oakland
Okay, anyone who owns Kenny Golladay is starting him pretty much every week. No one needs to tell anyone that, especially in what looks like a juicy matchup. This is a streaming, waiver-wire type of call for those who are feeling the burn of the four teams that are on bye this week.
Amendola disappeared for a few games after starting the season fairly hot. In the last two weeks, he has had 19 targets for 200 receiving yards. The Raiders give up the sixth-most points to the position. With the absence of a reliable run game, this offense is going to move through Stafford. Amendola represents a safe PPR format floor, with limited upside, but enough to be safe through a bye week. He may not win a week for teams that start him, but his production is safe enough to fill in some gaps. Expect reliable flex production from Amendola this week.
Sit: Curtis Samuel vs. Tennessee
Heading into the season, Curtis Samuel appeared to be a bargain-priced receiving option for the Panthers. He has been reliable, averaging 49 yards-per-contest and hauled in two scores.
However, he only has scored eight or fewer PPR points in three of the last four games. The Titans are keeping receivers in check, only allowing one score to a receiver since week five. Add in the nagging shoulder injury that has saddled him with the questionable tag heading into this week and we have a recommended sit option for this week.
Start: Jonnu Smith vs. Carolina
This hinges on the health and availability of Delanie Walker who has been dealing with an ankle injury. In the two games with Walker out and Tannehill in, Jonnu Smith has been fierce. Totaling 142 yards and a score on 10 targets, he has given life to tight ends outside the top-eight at the position. The Panthers are rather stingy to tight ends. However, Smith represents a safety valve across the middle for the Titans and should see a healthy target share if Walker sits again.
Sit: Vance McDonald vs. Indianapolis
The matchup is good, with the Colts allowing the seventh-most points to the position. That may be a little skewed as they have faced some elite tight end talent, already squaring off against Hunter Henry, Austin Hooper, and Travis Kelce. Vance McDonald is not quite of that ilk and has been underperforming with Mason Rudolph under center. He has only had eight targets in their last three games and only 58 yards in that span. The matchup looks like it should be good on paper, but McDonald should remain benched for this one.
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