Fantasy football: Week 9 starters, benchwarmers

Ladd Biro
Special to Packer Plus
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Wondering whether or not to start Drew Brees and Leonard Fournette, or to bench Tom Savage and Kamar Aiken? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.

Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 9 of the 2017 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders at Dolphins: When you make the Ravens passing attack look imposing, you know you’ve got issues. That’s what Carr and his receivers will face on Sunday night. As long as Amari Cooper shows up, Carr should have another big-time outing.

Mark Ingram, RB, Saints vs. Buccaneers: Ingram has something to prove after losing two fumbles last weekend. Though Alvin Kamara has been very productive, Ingram is still getting the majority of the rushing touches and remains plenty active as a receiver. The Bucs have been generous to opposing rushers lately, especially in the red zone, where Ingram excels.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers vs. Falcons: If ever Carolina needed its first-round pick to produce, this is the time. Cam Newton will be looking the rookie’s way frequently, given the dearth of talent in his depleted receiving corps. Don’t expect much ground yardage, but McCaffrey should produce nicely as a receiver.

Golden Tate, WR, Lions at Packers: Despite most signs pointing to him sitting out last week’s contest with a shoulder injury, Tate played – and led the Lions in receptions. He’ll continue on that track in a healthier state this weekend as Detroit continues to lean heavily on Matt Stafford’s arm. Green Bay’s depleted secondary is vulnerable.

Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs at Cowboys: Hill is coming off his worst game of the season against Denver, but don’t hold that against him. The big-play receiver will have plenty of opportunities to shred a secondary that has coughed up the third-most touchdowns to opposing wideouts this season.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, Alex Smith; RBs Joe Mixon, Lamar Miller, Alex Collins, Adrian Peterson, Alfred Morris; WRs Dez Bryant, Larry Fitzgerald, Emmanuel Sanders, Jarvis Landry, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Sterling Shepard.

Roll ‘em back

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers vs. Falcons: With Greg Olsen still rehabbing and Kelvin Benjamin shuffled off to Buffalo, Newton is left with Devin Funchess, Christian McCaffrey and a gang of misfits to throw to. Against a solid Atlanta pass defense, it’s hard to imagine Cam firing on many cylinders.

Jay Ajayi, RB, Eagles vs. Broncos: Denver has yet to allow a rushing TD all season, and newcomer Ajayi isn’t going to disrupt that trend. He’ll likely split carries with LeGarrette Blount as he learns the playbook and defines his role in his new offense. Let the former Dolphin get his feet wet on your bench.

C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos at Eagles: Anderson is now the leader of a three-headed committee that includes both Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker. If that’s not bad enough, they’ll be facing one of the league’s stingiest run defenses stacking the line and daring Brock Osweiler to beat them. Good luck with that.

Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers vs. Lions: I realize you may have little choice but to roll the dice with Nelson, but the Brett Hundley era in Green Bay is off to an awfully ugly start. Nelson is likely to be shadowed by elite corner Darius Slay, so there’s little room for optimism this weekend.

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles vs. Broncos: Carson Wentz has joined the elite QB ranks, but his starting receivers have been low-volume producers. Against the rock-solid Denver secondary, it’s hard to feel good about either Agholor or Alshon Jeffery. Zach Ertz is a must-start, but give the wideouts a breather this weekend.

More thumbs down: QBs Jameis Winston, Kirk Cousins, Andy Dalton, Eli Manning, Marcus Mariota, Blake Bortles, Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco, Drew Stanton, Brock Osweiler; RBs Marshawn Lynch, Frank Gore, Rob Kelley, Thomas Rawls, Ty Montgomery, Jonathan Stewart, Kenyan Drake, Orleans Darkwa, Andre Ellington; WRs Mohamed Sanu, Marquise Goodwin, Jeremy Maclin, T.Y. Hilton, DeSean Jackson, Jamison Crowder, Will Fuller, Mike Wallace, Marvin Jones.


Jared Goff, QB, Rams at Giants: Trying to solve your bye week – or Deshaun Watson – problem? Consider Goff, who is coming off his own bye to take on a Giants secondary that will be playing without its best cover corner (Janoris Jenkins). The young passer has cooled off since his impressive start, but look for a nice rebound in this juicy matchup.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…keeps dead weight on your roster. Unless you play in a keeper league, there’s no reason to hold onto injured players like Watson, Aaron Rodgers (still owned in 45% of ESPN leagues), Andrew Luck, Dalvin Cook, Odell Beckham, Jr. and Pierre Garcon. Use that space on players with upside down the stretch, such as Goff, Corey Davis or Paul Richardson.

Ladd Biro is a two-time winner and five-time finalist of the Football Writer of the Year Award by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog (, on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).

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