As we head into week 9, we find ourselves well and truly amidst the bye-nado’s that always creep up upon us fantasy owners every year. This week has the most teams on bye thus far with the Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles. Who are you going to sit (if you can), and who are you going to start if you need a bye week filler? Patch that team together with some of the best Starts/Sits for Week 9. Good luck getting through the bye week minefield this week. I hope these Starts/Sits help you win your week.
QB – Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
It’s hard for me to swallow this pill because I am not a big Newton fan, but his stats so far this year have been great – 1,646 passing yards, 13 passing touchdowns, and his fantasy points are climbing to 30 points a game. He is quietly returning to being a quarterback one again. He’s flown under the radar this year, so low that you may want to try and trade for him. This week he takes on a weak Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense, and with tight end Greg Olsen finally back and healthy, and running back Christian McCaffrey carrying the bulk of the runs, Newton is now operating a well-balanced offense.
RB – Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins
After a horrible year last year, Peterson has bounced back and looks as good as he has since he left the Minnesota Vikings. 587 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns may not seem like a lot, but Peterson is on an upswing in the middle of the season, and at this pace he’ll have over 1,000 rushing yards, easily. He has a good matchup this week against the Atlanta Falcons, which should help him grind his way toward that 1,000 yards. Plug him into your lineup, and you will not be disappointed in this huge bye week.
WR – Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs
The Cleveland Browns just fired their head coach this week, and are now treading water. The Browns do have a “decent” defense, but coaching changes will affect both sides of the ball. Watkins is a perfect bye week filler for you and it won’t get any better than this week. Watkins has 34 catches, 453 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns this year. Those don’t look like great numbers, but for a flex or bye week filler, I’ll take it for this week. He should easily put up 20 plus points this week, so get him in your lineup.
TE – OJ Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jameis Winston is out, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is back in. That is great news for Howard owners. Teammate Cameron Brate has not been producing this year, and Howard has a better relationship with Fitzpatrick than Brate does. Howard is coming into this week’s game against the Carolina Panthers with 24 catches, 419 yards, and 3 touchdowns. If you are suffering from a lack of tight end, low production, or need a bye week filler, Howard is your guy this week.
QB – Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Tough matchup against Minnesota Vikings, check. Golden Tate traded away, check. A game on the road, check. The loss of Tate is the biggest reason not to start Stafford this week – it’s a huge loss for the passing game. Stafford is a strong quarterback with 1,912 passing yards and 14 touchdowns this year, but I think his numbers will regress this week against the Vikings. The only hope for Stafford’s fantasy value is that the Lions are fired up after they lost last week against the Seattle Seahawks. Keep Stafford out of your lineups this week.
RB – Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers
The hype is over. Not only would I sit him, but I’d drop him too. Last week he had 2 carries for 18 yards. Matt Breida is back and getting healthier, and Alfred Morris is getting back into the running game mix. He is only good in super deep leagues with multiple flex positions, but even then it is a push.
WR – Geronimo Allison, Green Bay Packers
Even with all of the teams on bye this week, Allison would not be a good start. He is still recovering from a hamstring injury, playing against the New England Patriots and their tough defense. Allison will have a tough time gaining many fantasy points. His stats this year aren’t bad; 20 catches, 303 yards, and 2 touchdowns, but, I would be keeping him on the bench this week.
By Tyler Belawske – @TylerBelawske