Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 9


Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 9

Social media has changed the way we fantasy (yes, that's a verb).

For example, we find out within minutes that teams and experts fear studs like Jamaal Charles and Le'Veon Bell are out for the season after watching them go down with devastating injuries on Sundays and we can adjust by thinking about possible backup plans almost immediately.

We also get to see some good-humored high-brow trash-talking from team Twitter accounts:

(Side note: Don't play any Niners this week if you can help it.)

Then of course, there's the best photo ever floating around Twitter:

Let's just take another second to enjoy that facial hair combo:

To answer your question - yes, that absolutely needed to be posted twice. It's that glorious.

[MORE: Get all your Fantasy Sports coverage for the week here]

And then there's this underrated troll job within the community of Panthers fans.

Anyways, on to this week's start/sit advice:


Dez Bryant, WR, DAL (vs. PHI) - If any receiver is QB-proof, it's gotta be a healthy Dez, right? He has one week under his belt now and can really let loose against an Eagles secondary that allows the fourth-most fantasy points to WRs. The Cowboys may not have an offensive touchdown the last two games, but that will change this week and you can bet it will be Bryant scoring the tuddie. (Tony Andracki)

Charles Clay, TE, BUF (vs. MIA) - Did I mention that I love revenge games? Clay torched the "old" Dolphins earlier in the year (5 catches, 82 yards, TD) and will likely do it again this week. Clay is no Gronk but the Dolphins still struggle covering teams with quality tight ends. In games against Clay, Gronk, Jordan Reed and Delaine Walker, the Dolphins have given up a touchdown to a tight end in all but one and over 70 yards in all of them. The game is in Buffalo and the Bills are coming off a bye. Taylor will look to Clay throughout the game for big plays. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

Vernon Davis, TE, DEN (@ IND) – Go big or go home. Yes, Davis will have practiced less than a week with his new team and likely will need some time to acclimate. But he’s got Peyton Manning in Indianapolis always looking to put on a show, he faces a Colts defense that has allowed scores to tight ends in two of the last three weeks, and he’s caught 10 passes on 14 targets the last two weeks (after returning from injury). This is ultimate boom or bust, as Davis may not even play much Sunday, but as we get closer in the week to gametime we’ll know more about how much Davis should play. If he’s ready to roll, make sure he’s in your lineup. We’re going big. (Mark Strotman)

Mike Evans, WR, TB (vs. NYG) - He's going up against a pass defense that just let up five TDs and 79 fantasy points (PPR) to receivers alone last week. Jameis Winston has been playing well and Evans has such high upside that you should ignore his ranking in the mid-40s among fantasy WRs and instead start him like he's the Mike Evans of last season. He will reward your faith. (Andracki)

Malcom Floyd, WR, SD (vs. CHI) - It's a primetime spotlight for Floyd to return back to his old ways. With Keenan Allen done for the year, Floyd is now the big play receiver in the Chargers offense. He caught two touchdown passes last week in the loss and figures to become an even larger part of it now. Stevie Johnson may steal some targets (along with the tight end duo of Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green) but the Bears pass defense is atrocious and should make Floyd look like a star on Monday. (Paschall)

Melvin Gordon, RB, SD (vs. CHI) – It’s tough not to like all the Chargers this week as their high-powered offense looks to replace Keenan Allen on the fly. What that could mean for Mike McCoy’s group is relying more on the ground game, as Melvin Gordon saw a career-high 18 carries last week against the Raiders. It could also mean more checkdowns, which we also saw last week with Gordon catching five passes (but only for 7 yards). While Gordon doesn’t yet have a touchdown in eight games, one would think he’s due to find the end zone against a Bears defense allowing nearly 29 points per game. Run him out there this week and hope he gets on the board. (Strotman)

[MORE: Complete Fantasy Football coverage at Rotoworld]

Eddie Lacy, RB, GB (@ CAR) - Lacy looked a lot more like his old self coming out of the bye, scoring a touchdown and receiving 11 carries despite the fact the Packers were playing from behind almost all game. I'm sticking to my guns and believe he will turn this season around and his redemption could continue this week against a Panthers team that has allowed five rushing TDs to RBs and an average of 28.6 points (PPR) per week for the last five games. (Andracki)

Jeremy Langford, RB, CHI (@ SD)Your table is ready, rookie. With Matt Forte listed as "day-to-day" after suffering an MCL injury against the Vikings, Langford will be the Bears starter for the foreseeable future. Drafted to be the heir-apparent to Forte, the explosive rookie out of Michigan State (had the fastest 40-yard dash time among running backs at the NFL Combine) will get his chance a little bit earlier than expected, and what a present he gets in his first career start: the league's worst run defense. Langford is no worse than an RB2 on Monday night so make sure he's in all of your lineups. (Scott Krinch)

Marcus Mariota, QB, TEN (@ NO)New head coach. Good health. Great matchup. For me, Mariota checks all the boxes to be a viable Week 9 fantasy option with plenty of stud quarterbacks on a bye. Before suffering an injury against the Dolphins and missing his last two games, Mariota was a Top 10 fantasy quarterback. Interim head coach Mike Mularkey is going to rely heavily on the right arm and legs of the face of the franchise in Mariota. Heading to the Big Easy against a Saints team which just allowed Eli Manning to toss six touchdown passes makes me giddy to see what Mariota can do. (Krinch)

Jameis Winston, QB, TB (vs. NYG) - Huh...that Mariota buzz seems to have disappeared eh? Not to say the Titans rookie QB is a bust or won't be good, but Winston has quietly gotten better as the season has gone on. In the past three games, Winston has four touchdowns and zero interceptions along with 683 yards. If Austin Seferian-Jenkins is returning this week (certainly a possibility) that will be a big boost to Winston. And, oh, he's going up against a team that just allowed seven passing touchdowns in a single game. If you're wavering at who to start at QB, Winston is your guy. (Paschall)

Robert Woods, WR, BUF (vs. MIA)Woods has been a tough player to project throughout his three years in the league. Blessed with outstanding athleticism dating back to his days as a freshman at Southern California, Woods has never really lived up the high billing coming out of high school. But one thing that can't be questioned is his durability. Woods has missed just two games since his rookie season, which can't be said about a few of his teammates. There's a good chance Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin won't play against the Dolphins, making Woods the de facto No. 1 receiver on the Bills. He will see a healthy dose of targets against a defense that's had a hard time stopping wide receivers all season. Woods is a sneaky flex play if you're looking for a Week 9 streamer. (Krinch)

T.J. Yeldon, RB, JAC (@ NYJ) – It’s time to start taking the Alabama rookie seriously after his stellar 115-yard, one-touchdown performance against a stingy Bills defense in London. Yeldon now has at least 100 yards or a touchdown in his last three games after failing to reach either in his first three games. Normally that would mean he’s a must-start, but against the top-ranked Jets rush defense there’s some question about how he’ll perform. The Jaguars aren’t an offensive juggernaut, but it’s time to start rolling out Yeldon with some pace that his rookie jitters are gone. If he can start contributing more in the passing game, look out. (Strotman)


Anquan Boldin, WR, SF (vs. ATL) - Blaine Gabbert is his quarterback this week. Seriously. If Boldin doesn't play because of a hamstring injury, sit Torrey Smith too. Why? Blaine Gabbert. (Paschall)

Blake Bortles, QB, JAX (@ NYJ)Bortles has been a sneaky good fantasy quarterback this season, mainly because Jacksonville has been down big in most games and he's has been forced to throw more than the other 31 NFL quarterbacks. I'd start Bortles most weeks, but going up against a Jets defense which is desperate to shake off back-to-back stinkers, I see all the makings of a fantasy disaster. Keep Bortles on your roster, but don't make the mistake of playing him against New York this weekend. (Krinch)

Derek Carr, QB, OAK (@ PIT) - Carr is one of the best stories of the season, having a fantastic sophomore campaign. I'm a fan of him in both real life and fantasy...just not this week. After starting the season out slow, allowing six passing TDs the first two weeks, the Steelers defense has shored some things up and have surrendered just six passing tuddies the last six weeks. Carr's recent hot streak will be stifled in Pittsburgh this week. (Andracki)

Stefon Diggs, WR, MIN (vs. STL) - Diggs is on a stretch of two straight games with scores, but you can expect that to change this week. The Rams have allowed just three WR scores all season and none since facing the Packers in Week 5. Diggs will have to wait a week to continue his Odell Beckham Jr.-esque rookie season. (Andracki)

Frank Gore, RB, IND (vs. DEN) - This game could get ugly really fast. We all know how amazing the Broncos defense is. But when their offense starts to pull away, it could get really ugly really fast for Gore. Luck will probably have to pass over 40 times and Gore isn't known for being the passing down back. Ahmad Bradshaw's emergence will likely factor in to Gore's playing time. Stay away from Gore. (Paschall)

T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND (vs. DEN)Andrew Luck is apparently off his death bed, but we can't say the same about T.Y Hilton. The diminutive wideout has been so damn streaky this season with only two games of double-digit fantasy point totals. The Colts are an absolute mess and that won't change even with a new offensive coordinator  — Pep Hamilton being the fall guy was another ridiculous decision by GM Ryan Grigson who somehow still has a job. The Broncos defense will eat the Colts alive this weekend, just like they did Aaron Rodgers and just like they have with every other team they've played this season. Until someone rights the ship in Indianapolis, I'd stay far away from every fantasy player on that team. (Krinch)

Chris Ivory, RB, NYJ (vs. JAX) - Ivory has tallied just 58 rushing yards on 32 carries the last two weeks, good for a 1.8 average. The Jags look like a cushy matchup if you just pay attention to the ranking (they allow the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing RBs), but all those points came in two big games. In those two contest, the Jags have allowed 104 fantasy points (PPR) on 297 rushing yards and six rushing tuddies. As each week goes by, those two performances look more and more like outliers and Ivory is actually facing a pretty good - albiet inconsistent - run defense. (Andracki)

Rashad Jennings, RB, NYG (@ TB) – This Running Back By Committee stuff is rather obnoxious, and it’s taking away almost all of Jennings’ fantasy appeal. On one hand he’s averaging nearly 4.6 yards per carry over his last five games. On the downside, he hasn’t scored a touchdown in that span and has carried it just 48 times, or 9.6 times per game. Given that, it’s tough to keep running him out there when Orleans Darkwa, Andre Williams and Shane Vereen all are looking to get carries and receptions. Until this thing sorts itself out – if it ever does – I’m staying away from Jennings, especially in a tough matchup against the Bucs front seven. (Strotman)

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

James Jones, WR, GB (@ CAR) – Jones has steadily been in the FLEX conversation all year, and he’s still caught touchdowns in five of seven games this year. But his receptions AND yards have decreased in each of the last five games, bottoming out in last week’s one-catch, two-yard performance against the Broncos. Granted, the Broncos defense was out of this world, but consider that Eddie Lacy is finally healthy, Davante Adams has returned and the Packers face a dangerous Carolina secondary this week. Put all that together and it’s time to shelf Jones for Week 8. Don’t fret, you’ll get to use him next week at home against the Lions. (Strotman)

Darren McFadden, RB, DAL (vs. PHI)Okay. I don't understand all of this McFadden love. How is a guy who hasn't had over 3.4 yards per carry since 2011 suddenly being hailed as one of fantasy's elite running backs for the second half of the 2015 season. Because Dallas has an elite offensive line that makes McFadden elite? Ask Joseph Randle how well that worked out for him. I don't think it's a bold prediction, but I'd venture to say that DMC won't be the Cowboys starting running back by Week 11. Find an owner who believes in McFadden and trade him for a King's Ransom. You'll be happy with the results. (Krinch)

Donte Moncrief, WR, IND (vs. DEN) – We saw what Andrew Luck did against one of the league’s best defenses in Carolina, and it resulted in a two-catch, 18-yard performance from Moncrief, who up until that game had scored in every one of Luck’s starts. With absolutely ZERO confidence in the Colts’ passing attack right now, a matchup against the Broncos is worst-case scenario. Wade Phillips’ group just held Aaron Rodgers to 77 yards passing (!!), meaning Luck is in for a long three-and-a-half hours on Sunday. That also means not to expect anything from Moncrief. Put him away this week and hopefully he’ll be usable after the bye. (Strotman)

Latavius Murray, RB, OAK (at PIT) - Murray quietly had a really nice game against a solid Jets run defense. But this game may play out of his hands. I'm predicting this is another big time shootout between Big Ben and Derek Carr and the run games aren't involved a lot. Factor in the fact that the Steelers defense has only allowed one rushing touchdown to a running back this year, and it could be a struggle for Murray this Sunday. (Paschall)

Report: Bears could be a potential landing spot for Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry


Report: Bears could be a potential landing spot for Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry

The Bears are looking for an upgrade at wide receiver this offseason, and there may be one available.

The Dolphins used the franchise tag on wide receiver Jarvis Landry on Tuesday, in a move that many believe signals the team's desire to deal him instead of losing him in free agency for nothing.

Landry put up excellent numbers last season, catching 112 passes for 987 yards and nine touchdowns. He led the league in catches and was fourth in touchdown receptions but was just 17th in yards. His yards per reception ranked 108th of 139 qualifying players.

Still, it's no secret he'd be an upgrade for the Bears at wide receiver. Though they'll get Cam Meredith and Kevin White back from injury, the corps largely struggled and didn't give rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky much help.

Luckily, they may be interested in Landry, per's Ian Rapoport.

"There are a couple teams that we should keep an eye on as far as a potential Jarvis Landry landing spot......the Chicago Bears are looking for receviers," he said.

Rapoport also mentioned the Titans, Panthers and Saints as options for Landry. The franchise tag will pay Landry about $16 million before he becomes a free agent in 2019 (or has the franchise tag used on him again).


2017 Bears position grades: Management

2017 Bears position grades: Management

2017 grade: D+

For these purposes, “management” encompasses the coaching staff and front office. We don’t need a lengthy re-litigation of the failures of the John Fox era, so briefly: The offense was unimaginative, predictable and unsuccessful; there were too many head-scratching coaching decisions, punctuated by that backfiring challenge flag against Green Bay; the defense was solid but not spectacular; special teams had plenty of highs (three touchdowns) and lows (Marcus Cooper’s gaffe against Pittsburgh, Connor Barth’s missed field goal against Detroit). Fox didn’t win enough games to justify a fourth year, even if he left the Bears in a better place than he found them back in 2015. But that 5-11 record drags the management grade down. 

But the larger thing we’re going to focus on here is the hits and misses for Ryan Pace in the 2017 league year. The hits: 

-- Drafting Mitchell Trubisky. Will this be a long-term success? That’s another question. But Pace hitched his future in Chicago to a quarterback last April. For a franchise that hasn’t had a “franchise” quarterback in ages, what more can you ask for? If Trubisky pans out, nobody should care that Pace traded up one spot -- effectively losing a third-round pick for his conviction in his guy -- to make the move. 

-- Moving quickly to hire Matt Nagy. As with Trubisky, Pace identified his guy and made sure he got him. The Bears hired Nagy just two days after the Kansas City Chiefs’ season ended with that playoff collapse against the Tennessee Titans, and with the Indianapolis Colts -- who eventually got burned by Josh McDaniels -- sniffing around Nagy, Pace made his move to hire a young, energetic, offensive-minded coach to pair with Trubisky. It’s tough to argue with any of the coaching hires made by Nagy, who had a head start on the competition: He retained defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and that entire defensive staff, kept Dave Ragone to be Trubisky’s quarterbacks coach and hired Mark Helfrich to bring some different concepts as offensive coordinator, and hired a special teams coach in Chris Tabor who must’ve been doing something right to survive seven years and a bunch of coaching changes in Cleveland. Like with Trubisky, it’s too early to say if Nagy will or won’t work out long-term, but it stands out that Pace had conviction in getting a franchise quarterback and a head coach who will make or break his tenure in Chicago. 

-- Drafting Tarik Cohen and Eddie Jackson in the fourth round. In Cohen, the Bears found an offensive spark (who was nonetheless under-utilized) who also was a key contributor on special teams. In Jackson, the Bears added a plug-and-play 16-game starter at safety who looks to have some upside after a solid rookie year. Both picks here were a triumph for the Bears’ amateur scouting department: Cohen wasn’t on everyone’s radar (special teams coach Chris Tabor, who previously was with the Browns, said Cohen’s name never came across his desk in Cleveland), while Jackson was coming off a broken leg that prematurely ended a solid career at Alabama. These were assuredly two hits. 

-- Signing Akiem Hicks to a four-year contract extension. The Bears rewarded Hicks a day before the season began; Hicks rewarded them with a Pro Bowl-caliber season (despite him only being a fourth alternate) and was the best player on the team in 2017. 

-- Signing Charles Leno to a four-year contract extension. Leno may not be an elite tackle, and still has some things to clean up in his game, but he’s 26 and his four-year, $37 million contract is the 14th-largest among left tackles (for what it’s worth, Bleacher Report ranked Leno as the 20th best left tackle in the NFL). The Bears believe Leno is still improving, and could turn that contract into a bargain in the future. But this is important to note, too: Players notice when a team rewards one of its own, especially when that guy is a well-respected former seventh-round draft pick. 

-- Signing Mark Sanchez to a one-year deal. This wasn’t a miss, certainly, and while it’s not much of a “hit,” Sanchez was exactly what the Bears wanted: A veteran mentor to Trubisky. While Sanchez was inactive for all 16 games, he and the No. 2 overall pick struck up a good relationship that makes him a candidate to return in 2018 as a true backup. 

-- Releasing Josh Sitton when he did. Whether or not the Bears offensive line is better off in 2018 is a different question, but file cutting Sitton on Feb. 20 -- when the team had until mid-March to make a decision on him -- as one of those things that gets noticed by players around the league. 

-- Announcing the expansion to Halas Hall. The plan has Pace’s fingerprints on it, and should help make the Bears a more attractive destination to free agents in 2018 and beyond. 

And now, for the misses:

-- Signing Mike Glennon. That completely bombed out. While the Bears weren’t hurting for cap space a year ago, and Glennon’s contract essentially was a one-year prove-it deal, his play was so poor that he was benched after only four games -- when the initial plan was for him to start the entire season to give Trubisky time to develop. The wheels came off for Glennon on his seventh pass in Week 2, when after completing his first six he threw the ball right to Tampa Bay’s Kwon Alexander for an interception from which he never seemed to recover. He’ll be cut sometime soon. 

-- Signing Markus Wheaton. After signing a two-year, $11 million deal in the spring, Wheaton struggled to stay healthy, with an appendectomy and finger injury limiting him in training camp and the early part of the season, and then a groin injury knocking out a few weeks in the middle of the season. When Wheaton was healthy, he was ineffective, catching only three of his 17 targets. That places him with eight other players since 1992 who’ve been targeted at least 15 times and and caught fewer than 20 percent of their targets. He’s another one of Pace’s 2017 free agent signings who’s likely to be cut. 

-- Signing Marcus Cooper. The Bears thought they were signing an ascending player who picked off four passes in 2016 and would be a better scheme fit in Chicago than he was in Arizona. Instead, Cooper was a liability when he was on the field and didn’t live up to his three-year, $16 million contract (with $8 million guaranteed). Dropping the ball before he got in the end zone Week 3 against Pittsburgh was a lowlight. The Bears can net $4.5 million in cap savings if he’s cut, per Spotrac. 

-- Signing Dion Sims. Sims isn’t as likely to be cut as Glennon and Wheaton, and even Cooper, but his poor production in the passing game (15 catches, 29 targets, 180 yards, one touchdown) puts a spotlight on how the Bears evaluate how he was as a run blocker in 2017. If that grade was high, the Bears could justify keeping him and not garnering a little more than $5.5 million in cap savings. If it was low, and the Bears are confident in Adam Shaheen’s ability to improve, then Sims could be cut as well. 

-- Signing Quintin Demps. The loss here was mitigated by the strong play of Adrian Amos, but Demps didn’t make much of an impact on the field before his Week 3 injury besides getting plowed over by Falcons tight end Austin Hooper in Week 1. He’d be a decent guy to have back as a reserve given his veteran leadership -- he was a captain in 2017 -- but given how well Amos and Eddie Jackson worked together last year, he’s unlikely to get his starting spot back in 2018. 

-- The wide receiver position as a whole. Kendall Wright led the Bears in receptions and yards, but his numbers would’ve looked a lot better had he been surrounded by better players. The cupboard was bare at this position, and after the worst-case scenario happened -- Cameron Meredith tearing his ACL in August, and Kevin White breaking his collarbone in Week 1 -- the Bears were left with an overmatched and underperforming group of receivers. For Trubisky’s sake, Pace has to work to make sure 2018 isn’t a repeat of 2017. 

-- The kicker position as a whole. Since we’re focusing solely on Pace’s 2017 moves, the decision to release Robbie Gould and replace him with Connor Barth doesn’t fall into this grade. But Barth had struggled with consistency prior to this season, and Roberto Aguayo didn’t provide much competition in his short-lived stint in training camp. The Bears eventually released Barth after he missed a game-tying kick against Detroit in November, then replaced him with a guy in Cairo Santos who was coming off an injury and, as it turned out, wasn’t completely healthy yet. So the Bears then had to move on from Santos and sign Mike Nugent to get them through the rest of the season. Better consistency from this position will be important to find in 2018. 

A couple moves fall into the neither hits nor misses category:

-- Drafting Adam Shaheen. Tight ends rarely make a significant impact as rookies, but Shaheen was only targeted 14 times last year. He did catch three touchdowns and flash some good chemistry with Trubisky before suffering an injury against Cincinnati that wound up ending his season. The gains he makes with a year of experience under his belt and during his first full offseason as a pro will be critical in determining his success in Year 2, and whether or not taking him 45th overall was a hit or a miss. 

-- Signing Prince Amukamara. This was neither good nor bad, with Amukamara playing solidly in coverage but not making enough plays on the ball and committing a few too many penalties. 

Pace still has decisions to make on a few other potential cuts, including right tackle Bobby Massie ($5.584 million cap savings per Spotrac) and linebackers Willie Young ($4.5 million cap savings) and Pernell McPhee ($7.075 million cap savings). Whether or not to place the franchise tag on Kyle Fuller and potentially pay him $15 million in 2018 is another call Pace has to make before the official end of the 2017 league year. 

But for Pace, did the hits out-weigh the misses in 2017? The Glennon signing imploded, but Trubisky showed signs of promise during an average season for a rookie quarterback. Cooper was a bust, but Fuller emerged as a potential long-term option to cover for that. The most glaring misses, then, were at wide receiver and tight end where, after injuries sapped those units of Cameron Meredith and Zach Miller, there weren’t reliable targets for Trubisky. 

We’ll probably need more time to determine if Pace’s “hits” on Trubisky and Nagy truly are “hits.” But if they are, the misses of 2017 -- Glennon, Wheaton, Cooper, etc. -- will be nothing more than amusing footnotes to a successful era of Bears football.