Saturday, November 6, 2021

Week 9 Fantasy Football WR Start'em, Sit'em

The decision on which player to start, or sit, largely comes down to the options on your roster (and/or possibly the players available on your league's waiver wire).

As an example, Jaylen Waddle is listed below as a "start" for Week 9. And I'd certainly be comfortable going into Week 9 with him as one of my starting wide receivers.

Then again, Waddle may be a "sit" for your team.

In other words, if you roster Cooper Kupp, Justin Jefferson and Waddle and start only two receivers, you should start Kupp and Jefferson and, in turn, bench Waddle.

For a more direct answer on whether we would start Player X over Player Y, check our Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings. Instead of making those direct comparisons, the goal here is to highlight players that we like, or dislike, for the week.

Week 9 Fantasy Football WR Start'em

Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins (vs. HOU)

DeVante Parker had eight catches for 85 yards on 11 targets, all season highs, in Week 8 against the Buffalo Bills. That said, the Dolphins have since placed Parker (hamstring) on IR.

While Waddle finished Week 8 with only four catches for 29 yards, he was targeted a team-high 12 times. It was the third time in six games that Waddle had a minimum of 12 targets in a game. In the past three weeks, Waddle has a 27.66%, 20.0% and 32.43% target share, respectively. The rookie receiver is averaging only 8.6 yards per catch, but the target share should remain sky high with Parker out.

The Houston Texans have allowed the fifth-highest Y/A (14.44) to opposing wide receivers and eighth-highest catch rate (67.81%).

Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens (vs. MIN)

Heading into Week 9, Brown currently ranks inside the top 10 fantasy wide receivers regardless of scoring format. More impressive than his overall level of production is his week-to-week consistency.

Outside of two games where he finished outside the top 50 weekly wide receivers, Brown has been a top-18 fantasy wide receiver in his other five games. In fact, he's been a WR1 (top 12) in four of seven games this season. Only Cooper Kupp (six) has more top-12 weeks than Brown (four).

The Minnesota Vikings have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. In addition, the Ravens have a top-five implied total this week.

Emmanuel Sanders, Buffalo Bills (at JAX)

Sanders had an 0-for last week as he failed to connect on any of Josh Allen's four targets. Before last week, however, Sanders had scored double-digit fantasy points in four consecutive games. In those four games, he finished the week as fantasy's WR4, WR32, WR14 and WR26, respectively.

Sanders is ranked as a top-25 option (high WR3) and gets a favorable matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. No team has a higher implied total and the Jaguars have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. In addition, no team has allowed a higher catch rate (77.04%) to opposing wide receivers.

Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. CHI)

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers passing offense have left a lot to be desired, but Johnson is a sure thing. Outside of a two-target Week 5, Johnson has double-digit targets in all five of his other games played this season. Outside of that two-target week, Johnson has a target share of 30% or greater in his other five games.

Along with Cooper Kupp (seven games), Tyreek Hill (five) and D.J. Moore (five), Johnson is one of four receivers to have double-digit targets in at least five games. Meanwhile, Johnson was inactive one week and Pittsburgh also had their bye as well. Given his consistently high target share, Johnson has a minimum of 70 receiving yards in five consecutive games.

Week 9 Fantasy Football WR Sit'em

Allen Robinson II, Chicago Bears (at PIT)

Things could not have gone much worse for fantasy managers that roster Robinson. Through eight weeks, Robinson has yet to finish any better than the weekly WR45 in fantasy football (half-PPR scoring). In fact, he is the WR64 this season (even worse on a per-game basis).

The Steelers have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season, but it's difficult to trust Robinson this week (or any week). Nearly a touchdown underdog in a game with the week's lowest total, the Bears have the lowest implied total of the week.

Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. BUF)

Before Jacksonville's Week 7 bye, Shenault's 10 targets were a reason for hope. Unfortunately, the second-year receiver posted a season-low 7.84% target share in Week 8 against the Seattle Seahawks. This was his second game with a sub-10% target share in his past three games played.

Given that the Jaguars have the second lowest implied total of the week and the Bills have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, this may be another disappointing week for Viska's fantasy managers.

Brandon Aiyuk, San Francisco 49ers (vs. ARI)

Good news first: Aiyuk had a season-high seven targets (25.93% target share) in Week 8. In the process, he finished with four catches for 45 yards, both of which either ties or sets a season high.

That's the first step towards getting things back on track for the former first-round pick. Given that Aiyuk had 4/37/1 on six targets in Week 3 (WR23) only to finish as the weekly WR97, WR76 and WR81 in his next three weeks played, it makes sense to take a wait-and-see approach with Aiyuk.

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