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Welcome to our Week 9 matchups analysis and starts/sits column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every matchup from every Sunday game to help you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. We'll also be updating this as injury reports come in so check back often.

This article will cover the early slate of games, beginning at 1 PM ET on Sunday. Also, check out our late game matchups analysis and our MNF matchups analysis.

 

Editor's Note: When you get any of our full-season NFL Premium and DFS Passes, and you also get our full-season NBA Premium and DFS Pass for free! Take advantage of one of our best offers all year, and get an edge on your competition. Sign Up Now!

Check back here each week to get advice for your toughest start/sit decisions and take a look at our consensus rankings each week. Find me on Twitter @ChrisMangano for more insight and help to your start/sit questions.

 

Matchups Analysis - 1:00 PM ET Games

The early slate has only seven games this week as six teams are on bye. Set those lineups in time by analyzing each matchup below to gain the best advantage.

 

Bears at Bills

Matchups We Love:

Tarik Cohen (RB, CHI)
Cohen has been on fire lately, turning 52 touches into 488 yards and four touchdowns over the Bears last four games. The Bills are a tough run defense having held everyone not named Melvin Gordon to less than four yards per carry. Where Cohen should really shine is in the passing game against a Bills defense giving up over six catches and 50 yards to running backs. Cohen is a solid RB2 with upside.

Matchups We Hate:

Jordan Howard (RB, CHI)
Howard has yet to surpass 82 yards in a game this season, though it was encouraging to see him log 22 carries in Week 8 even if it only resulted in 81 yards. He will likely struggle on the ground once again facing a Bills rush defense that is allowing just 87 yards per game. Howard is a touchdown-dependent volume RB3/flex play.

Allen Robinson (WR, CHI) / Taylor Gabriel (WR, CHI)
With Allen Robinson out in Week 8, Gabriel led the Bears with five catches, 57 yards, and 91 air yards. He draws a tough test against the Bills outside corners led by Tre'Davius white who have done an excellent job thus far. If Robinson plays, that may help Gabriel as White will likely spend most of his time on Robinson. Regardless, neither can be considered more than a WR4/flex start in a tough matchup.

Trey Burton (TE, CHI)
Burton's touchdown streak ended at three last week against a tough Jets defense, and he may struggle again facing a Bills defense giving up just a 54% catch rate to the position and less than four catches per game. You likely don't have a better option but you should temper expectations.

Nathan Peterman (QB, BUF)
Ignore the matchup, which isn't terrible. In 81 career attempts, Peterman has completed just 37 of them for 360 yards (4.4 YPA) with three touchdowns versus nine interceptions. There is absolutely no way Peterman should be started in any format.

LeSean McCoy (RB, BUF)
Ignoring Week 7 when McCoy left early with a concussion, he has 52 carries and 11 receptions over the last three games. Unfortunately, that has not amounted to much in the Bills inept offense but at least the volume is there. Even with the volume, he will be hard to trust in Week 9 facing a Bears defense holding running backs to 70 yards on just 3.9 YPC while allowing just four catches for 31 yards. McCoy cannot be considered more than an RB3/flex start.

Other Matchups:

Mitch Trubisky (QB, CHI)
Trubisky saw his 300-yard game streak end at three, but he has at least two touchdowns and 47 rushing yards in two straight. The Bills are holding opposing passers to just 237 yards and 1.6 touchdowns, but Trubisky's rushing gives him a safe floor. He can be considered a low-end QB1.

Anthony Miller (WR, CHI)
Miller led the Bears with seven targets in Week 8 and scored a touchdown, and he gets the better of the matchup out of the slot. Last week slot receiver Julian Edelman torched the Bills for 10 catches and over 100 yards. Miller can be viewed as a WR3 with upside.

 

Buccaneers at Panthers

Matchups We Love:

O.J. Howard (TE, TB)
Over the last three games, Howard has at least four catches and a touchdown in two and will square off against a Panthers defense that has allowed almost seven catches and 70 yards per game to the position. They've allowed a tight end to score in every game but two, as well. Howard is an easy TE1 start.

Cam Newton (QB, CAR)
Newton now has two or more touchdown passes in six straight games but has still only thrown for 300 yards once. Through the first six weeks, the Buccaneers had allowed a 300-yard passer in every game. Newton has a great chance to put up his second game of over 300 yards and has a real chance to finish as the week's overall number one quarterback.

Devin Funchess (WR, CAR) / D.J. Moore (WR, CAR)
Moore had his breakout game in Week 8, turning six targets into five catches for 90 yards. Funchess, meanwhile, had just three catches for 27 yards. Both are in a great spot this week against a Buccaneers defense that allows the most receptions and touchdowns to receivers, and also gives up close to 200 yards per game. Funchess is in the WR2 range while Moore is an upside flex play.

Greg Olsen (TE, CAR)
Olsen caught all four of his targets in Week 8 for 56 yards and a score. He looks all the way back from his foot injury and gets a fantastic matchup against a Bucs defense that gives up six catches and 82 yards per game to the position. Olsen can be considered a top-10 option at the position.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, TB)
Fitzmagic is back! After Jameis Winston was benched late in the third quarter last week, Fitzpatrick came in and threw for 194 yards and two touchdowns...in barely more than one quarter! Named the starter for this week he gets an OK matchup against a Panthers defense giving up 261 yards and 1.7 touchdowns per game. Fitzpatrick is a great streaming option and offers a ton of upside.

Peyton Barber (RB, TB)
Barber had just his second game with more than 70 yards, turning 18 carries into 85 yards and a score against the Bengals in Week 8. Now he gets a Panthers defense that allows 4.6 YPC but just 80 yards on the ground. Barber remains little more than a touchdown-dependent RB3.

Mike Evans / DeSean Jackson / Chris Godwin (WR, TB)
With Fitzpatrick under center, Evans leads the team with 37 targets, Godwin is second with 34 and Jackson has only 22. All have at least three touchdowns, however. Evans is the surest bet of the bunch, and facing an average Panthers secondary can be considered a WR1. Godwin doesn't possess the upside of Jackson but is a safe WR3 play. Jackson, meanwhile, is averaging 23 YPR with Fitzpatrick and offers tons of upside but with substantial risk. He is a boom/bust WR4/flex play.

Christian McCaffrey (RB, CAR)
McCaffery scored twice in Week 8 but has not topped 90 total yards in three straight games. The Buccaneers are very good at stopping the run, giving up just 77 yards per game on 3.7 YPC. Where McCaffrey should have success is through the air where the Bucs allow 5.5 catches and more than 50 yards. McCaffrey offers a safe floor albeit a lower ceiling in this one.

 

Chiefs at Browns

Matchups We Love:

Kareem Hunt (RB, KC)
Hunt has yet to top 87 rushing yards in any of his last four games but has at five catches in three straight and six touchdowns over the last four games. He gets a Browns defense giving up more than 118 yards on the ground and 1.25 touchdowns per game. They also allow five receptions and 50 yards through the air. Hunt is a top-5, locked in RB1.

Tyreek Hill / Sammy Watkins (WR, KC)
Hill is questionable to play with a lower-body injury, but if he does the matchup is fantastic as the Browns allow over 14 catches, 186 yards, and more than one touchdown per game to receivers. If Hill sits Watkins will get a big bump and should warrant WR2 consideration. Regardless, both have tons of upside in this one and should be in fantasy lineups if possible.

Baker Mayfield (QB, CLE)
Mayfield slightly disappointed in a great matchup last week against the Steelers defense, throwing for just 180 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Perhaps the coaching changes will help, but regardless he has another great matchup against a Chiefs defense giving up 323 yards and 1.6 touchdowns per game. Mayfield is a solid streaming option this week.

Nick Chubb (RB, CLE)
Despite one of the toughest matchups in Week 8, Chubb turned 18 carries into 65 yards and caught two passes for 10 yards. His schedule gets much easier starting this week against a Chiefs unit giving up 5.3 YPC and 110 yards on the ground, and another seven catches for 68 yards through the air. Chubb is a high-upside RB2 who could finish the week in the top-10 at the position.

Jarvis Landry / Antonio Callaway (WR, CLE)
Landry looked like the Miami Dolphins version of himself in Week 8, catching eight passes but totaling just 39 yards. Callaway, meanwhile, had only four catches for 33 yards but did find the end zone. Both are in a great spot this week as the Chiefs defense gives up the eighth most catches to receivers and 180 yards per game. Landry is a solid WR2 play while Callaway is an upside flex start.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC)
Another week, another 300-yard, four-touchdown game for Mahomes. He now has four straight games with at least 300 yards and four touchdowns. The Browns will be one of his toughest tests, however, as they allow just 289 yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game. But even in a tough matchup, Mahomes must be considered a weekly must-start.

Travis Kelce (TE, KC)
Kelce has at least five catches in every game since Week 1 and gets a Browns defense that allows 5.5 receptions and 55 yards per game to tight ends. Only Jared Cook has managed to find the end zone against them, however, but even if he doesn't score Kelce offers a safe floor in this one as a top player at the position.

David Njoku (TE, CLE)
For the first time all year, Njoku was not targeted in the Browns Week 8 loss at Pittsburgh but he should bounce back against a Chiefs defense giving up over five catches and 74 yards per game to the position. Prior to his goose egg, Njoku was averaging nine targets over the previous four games. Look for him to once again be heavily involved this week as a locked-in TE1.

 

Jets at Dolphins

Matchups We Love:

Isaiah Crowell (RB, NYJ)
Even with Bilal Powell out of the lineup, Crowell has only seen more than 13 carries twice all season and hasn't topped 40 rushing yards in the last three games. He has a real chance to change that facing a Dolphins unit allowing 4.66 YPC and 125 yards per game on the ground. The lack of volume is the only thing keeping him from being a safe RB2, but he is a fine flex play and offers upside in this one.

Kenny Stills / Danny Amendola / Devante Parker (WR, MIA)
With Stills out in Week 8, Parker led all receivers with nine targets while Amendola had six. Jakeem Grant had eight, but with Stills looking likely to return his role is sure to lessen. The Jets are allowing the third most receptions to receivers, almost 200 yards per game, and 1.25 touchdowns. Amendola seems like the safest albeit with the lower floor, while Stills offers plenty of upside. Parker is a risk despite the big game last week but the matchup is good.

Matchups We Hate:

Jermaine Kearse / Rishard Matthews (WR, NYJ)
With no other real receiver active in Week 8, Kearse led the team with 10 targets but caught only three passes for 30 yards. Matthews should make his debut this week, but neither can be started against a Dolphins secondary led by Xavien Howard that is giving up just 11 catches per game (5th best). Both should be benched if possible.

Other Matchups:

Sam Darnold (QB, NYJ)
Darnold only has 259 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions over his last two games but gets a Dolphins team allowing 274 yards and two touchdowns per game. Despite the good matchup Darnold is a risky start and can't be considered in one quarterback leagues, though he makes for a decent QB2 start.

Trenton Cannon (RB, NYJ)
Operating as the Jets number two running back with Bilal Powell out, Cannon took six carries for 10 yards and three catches for 12 yards in an underwhelming performance. The Dolphins are a plus running back matchup, however, so he could be in line for a better day. Still, he can't be considered outside of extremely deep leagues.

Chris Herndon IV (TE, NYJ)
Herndon has now scored in three straight games but has just seven total catches over that span. The Dolphins have allowed five touchdowns over the last three games to the position, so Herndon has a real shot to make it four straight. He is a touchdown-dependent TE2.

Brock Osweiler (QB, MIA)
Osweiler threw for just 241 yards and no touchdowns against the Texans in Week 8 and will face a Jets defense that allows 276 yards and just under two touchdowns per game. While this isn't a tough spot, it's hard to trust him as anything more than a QB2.

Frank Gore / Kenyan Drake (RB, MIA)
Gore and Drake split carries in Week 8 as each saw 12. Drake did find the end zone and also caught two passes for 37 yards, but both were successful on the ground. The Jets are allowing 4.2 YPC and 91 yards on the ground, and five catches for 46 yards through the air. Drake is a low-end RB2 due to his pass catching while Gore is little more than a touchdown-dependent flex.

UPDATE: Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson may be making their returns in Week 9. They will be game-time decisions and would be low-end flex plays if they play.

 

Steelers at Ravens

Matchups We Love:

Joe Flacco (QB, BAL)
Flacco had just 192 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions versus the Panthers in Week 8 and was benched for rookie Lamar Jackson. Unlike Jameis Winston in Tampa Flacco will keep his starting job, however, and gets a great matchup against a Steelers unit allowing 287 yards and 2.4 touchdowns per game. When they met in Week 4 Flacco had 363 yards and two touchdowns. He makes for a great streaming option this week.

Michael Crabtree / John Brown / Willie Snead (WR, BAL)
Crabtree leads the Ravens with 70 targets, while Snead has 62 and Brown has 61. All have a chance for a big game against a Steelers secondary allowing over 14 catches, almost 200 yards, and 1.5 touchdowns per game to receivers. Crabtree is a safe WR3, while Brown is a high-upside flex play. Snead can be considered a flex albeit a touchdown-dependent one.

Matchups We Hate:

Ben Roethlisberger (QB, PIT)
Forget the home-road split nonsense people will throw out this week when talking about Roethlisberger. He has 335/1 at Cleveland, 353/3 at Tampa and 369/1 at Cincinnati. The real problem for Roethlisberger this week is the Ravens. They are allowing just 216 yards and 1.25 touchdowns to quarterbacks. When they played in Week 4 in Pittsburgh Roethlisberger managed just 274 yards and one score with one interception. He is outside the top-12 quarterbacks this week.

James Conner (RB, PIT)
Conner has 526 total yards and six touchdowns over his last three games but will be tested against a Ravens defense allowing just 3.5 YPC and 70 yards on the ground. If that's not enough they give up just three catches and 18 yards per game through the air. The last time these teams met Conner had just 44 total yards. You can't bench him, but you should temper expectations.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, PIT)
Smith-Schuster only has more than four catches once over the last three games, and now must face a Ravens secondary that held him to four catches for 60 yards on 11 targets in Week 4. You can't bench Smith-Schuster, but you should temper expectations this week.

Alex Collins (RB, BAL)
Collins has yet to rush for more than 68 yards on the season and now faces off against one of the leagues best run-stopping units. The Steelers allow just 3.5 YPC and 66 yards per game to running backs. Collins is a touchdown-dependent RB3/flex start.

Other Matchups:

Antonio Brown (WR, PIT)
Look, this is not a great matchup. The Ravens are allowing just 11.5 receptions and 139 yards to receivers on the season. But it's Antonio Brown who is virtually matchup proof. In Week 4 he caught five passes for 62 yards and a score against this unit. He may not have a massive ceiling, but even in a tough spot, he is a safe WR1.

Vance McDonald (TE, PIT)
McDonald had just three catches for 47 yards in Week 8 but gets a Ravens defense allowing over five catches and 50 yards to tight ends. McDonald should offer a safe floor though he will need to find the end zone to have any real upside. He can be considered a high-end TE2.

Hayden Hurst (TE, BAL)
Hurst caught his first NFL touchdown in Week 8 but only has three catches for 36 yards on the year. He could get more involved, and if he does the matchup is good as the Steelers allow the most receptions to tight ends. Hurst comes with considerable risk but if you're desperate he is in a good spot.

 

Lions at Vikings

Matchups We Love:

Latavius Murray (RB, MIN)
Murray has 280 rushing yards and four touchdowns over the last three games and gets a great matchup against a Lions defense allowing 5.5 YPC and 136 yards on the ground. With Dalvin Cook not expected back until after the team's Week 10 bye, Murray can be considered a low-end RB1 this week.

Matchups We Hate:

Matthew Stafford (QB, DET)
Stafford has thrown for at least two touchdowns in every game but must face a Vikings defense on the road that allows just 1.5 touchdowns per game and has only given up two or more touchdowns twice. They are also giving up just 265 yards per game. Stafford offers a decent floor but has a low ceiling in this one. Losing receiver Golden Tate won't help either.

Kerryon Johnson (RB, DET)
With Theo Riddick out the last two games, Johnson has handled 21 and 14 touches and has 180 rushing yards to go with 90 receiving yards. He should see plenty of work once again but will struggle to find room against a Vikings defense allowing just 3.7 YPC and 77 yards per game to backs. Johnson can't be considered more than a volume start RB2.

Kenny Golladay / Marvin Jones (WR, DET)
With the trade of Golden Tate, almost 10 targets per game will be up for grabs and Golladay and Jones should get the biggest share of them. They'll need all the targets they can get as the Vikings allow the seventh-fewest receptions per game and less than one touchdown to receivers. Both can be considered WR3 plays in this matchup.

Adam Thielen / Stefon Diggs (WR, MIN)
Thielen's assault on the record books continues as he now has at least 100 receiving yards in every game this year. Diggs, meanwhile, is coming off one of his best games of the season, a 10 catch, 119 yards, one score performance. He is also dealing with a rib injury so something to monitor, though he is expected to play. Both he and Thielen will have to work for everything against a Lions secondary giving up the fewest receptions to receivers and just 146 yards per game. Theilen is an obvious must-start every week but you should temper expectations. Diggs can be considered a WR2 start.

UPDATE: Stefon Diggs is not expected to play in Week 9.

Kyle Rudolph (TE, MIN)
Rudolph has only caught more than five passes once all year and has topped 50 yards just twice. The Lions are allowing less than five catches per game to tight ends, and just 55 yards. You probably don't have a better option but if you do, Rudolph should be left on benches this week.

Other Matchups:

Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN)
Cousins is coming off a 359 yard, two touchdown performance against the Saints at home and now gets a Lions team giving up just 245 yards but more than two touchdowns to passers. This is by no means a guaranteed spot for Cousins, but he is too good to bench and remains a top-10 option.

 

Falcons at Redskins

Matchups We Love:

Alex Smith (QB, WAS)
Smith hasn't thrown for over 200 yards in three straight games as the Redskins have employed a run-dominant attack. He has a chance to end that streak against a Falcons defense giving up 318 yards and more than two touchdowns per game. There is some risk in starting Smith, but the upside is there.

Adrian Peterson (RB, WAS)
With Chris Thompson and Kapri Bibbs looking unlikely to play, it should once again be the Adrian Peterson show in Washington. He is in a great spot as the Falcons allow 4.3 YPC and 81 yards on the ground, as well as more than eight catches and 86 yards through the air. Peterson won't do a lot of damage through the air, but he does enough. He is a solid RB2 start.

Paul Richardson / Josh Doctson (WR, WAS)
Richardson and Doctson each had five targets in Week 8 with Doctson catching all five for 49 yards and Richardson catching two for 34 yards. Both should fare better this week facing a Falcons defense allowing the seventh most receptions to receivers and over 200 yards. Neither can be considered a safe start, but both are in the WR3 range this week.

Matchups We Hate:

Matt Ryan (QB, ATL)
In two road games, Ryan has just 536 yards and one total touchdown and now must face one of the leagues most underrated defenses. The Redskins hold opposing passers to just 260 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game. Ryan is tough to bench but if possible you should look elsewhere.

Tevin Coleman (RB, ATL), Ito Smith (RB, ATL)
Coleman has yet to have more than 13 touches in the last three games, while Smith has just 25 total over that span. Both are in a brutal spot this week against a Redskins defense that held Ezekiel Elliott to 33 yards on 15 carries and Saquon Barkley to 38 yards on 13 carries. Allowing just 59 yards on the ground, neither Coleman or Smith make for good plays this week.

Austin Hooper (TE, ATL)
After back-to-back nine catch games, Hooper had just three before the team's Week 8 bye. Now he must face a Redskins defense that holds tight ends to less than five catches and just 40 yards per game. With six teams on bye, Hooper may be your best option but you should temper expectations.

Other Matchups:

Julio Jones / Calvin Ridley / Mohamed Sanu (WR, ATL)
Jones leads the Falcons by a wide margin with 81 targets, while Ridley and Sanu have just 35 and 34 respectively. The Redskins are middle-of-the-pack against receivers giving up 13 receptions, 177 yards, and just over one touchdown per game. Jones remains a weekly WR1 and a must-start. Ridley is a boom/bust WR4/flex while Sanu is more of a low ceiling flex play.

Jordan Reed (TE, WAS)
Reed had a monster 12 target, seven catch game in Week 8 but totaled just 38 yards and still has just one touchdown on the season. The Falcons are average against tight ends, giving up five catches and 50 yards per game. Reed is no longer in must start territory but is a fine option if you're hurting at the position.

More Week 9 Lineup Prep