Thomason: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em For Week 9

Gardner Minshew and Tevin Coleman have favorable matchups this week.

Jack Thomason
October 31, 2019 - 11:02 am

(670 The Score) "Sit ‘Em, Start ‘Em" is a breakdown of some of the best and worst fantasy football matchups to help you navigate setting your lineups for the week.

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My goal with this article is to provide you with a player to start who may not be the most obvious of starts and to share a player to sit whom you normally wouldn't consider shying away from regardless of matchup. 

Let's get to it.


START – Gardner Minshew, Jaguars (vs. Texans) Will this be this be Minshew's last start with Nick Foles due back for action in Week 11? I hope not. The rookie Minshew has played extremely well, leading the Jaguars to a 4-4 record. He now gets a divisional foe in the Texans, who allow the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks according to 4for4’s schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed (aFPA) and who rank 23rd in Football Outsiders' pass defense DVOA. The Texans are your typical pass funnel defense, ranking highly against the run, which sets up nicely for Minshew and his pass receivers like DJ Chark.

SIT – Kyler Murray, Cardinals (vs. 49ers) After drubbing the Panthers last Sunday, the 49ers moved into first place in pass defense DVOA, supplanting the Patriots for that honor. Murray and the Cardinals were embarrassed against the Saints last week, and it won't get any easier Thursday. Arizona’s implied team total has dropped a point-and-a-half already and is the second-lowest total of the week at 16.25 points. The Cardinals will be without running back Chase Edmonds while running back David Johnson is questionable -- though no one expects him to play. Murray always has his rushing ability to assist his floor, but the 49ers' front seven is so relentless that it’s not worth risking your week on this matchup. 

Running back

START – Tevin Coleman, 49ers (at Cardinals) On the flip side of the Cardinals, we have the undefeated 49ers. Their running game has been incredible and regardless of which running back is in, he produces. Coleman is coming off a four-touchdown game and is about the only healthy running back on the 49ers right now. Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson are all questionable as of Thursday morning, so the team will lean on Coleman. This game sets up nicely for Coleman, as the 49ers are 10-point favorites with an implied team total of 26.25 points. Whoever is active and gets the 49ers' nod as their No. 2 running back will be worth a look as a flex play as well.

SIT – David Montgomery, Bears (at Eagles) Bears coach Matt Nagy finally committed to the running game in a loss to the Chargers last Sunday. That led to Montgomery having a career day, as he had 27 carries for 135 yards and a score. Unfortunately, he'll encounter be a much tougher matchup heading to Philadelphia this week. The Eagles are another team that's nasty against the run and terrible against the pass. They rank sixth in run DVOA and seventh in aFPA to opposing running backs, and the Bears are sporting a paltry 18.5-point implied team total. I’d look elsewhere this week.


START – Tyrell Williams, Raiders (vs. Lions) Williams has played in five of seven games this season and has a touchdown in all five of those games. He has seen at least six targets in all but one of those contests, and the Raiders' pass offense is essentially funneled through Williams and tight end Darren Waller. The Raiders now face a Lions defense that traded away starting safety Quandre Diggs and was already struggling to defend opposing quarterbacks and receivers. Detroit is giving up the seventh-most points to opposing receivers via aFPA and is the 22nd-ranked pass defense in terms of DVOA. Vegas likes the Raiders as two-point home favorites with a team total of 26.25 points, which means I like Williams this week.

SIT – Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (vs. 49ers) Reading the aforementioned breakdown on Murray also explains why I’m sitting Fitzgerald this week. I'll add that the 49ers are giving up the second-fewest points to opposing receivers in aFPA. Christian Kirk returned for the Cardinals last week, and Fitzgerald has a combined three receptions for 20 yards in Arizona's last two games. This isn’t the week for a rebound. 

Tight end

START – Jonnu Smith, Titans (at Panthers) Smith has quietly been a top-three tight end over the last two weeks with Delanie Walker out of the lineup. Smith is an athletic marvel and while the Panthers rank 11th in aFPA to opposing tight ends, Smith is a viable play given his ceiling and how bad the position has been for fantasy purposes. There aren't many tight ends you can count on weekly, so why not stick with the hot hand and opportunity?

SIT – Mark Andrews, Ravens (vs. Patriots) This is a tough one to stomach, as Andrews has been one of the best tight ends this year. But the matchup is an extremely tough one. The Patriots are the fifth-best team in aFPA to opposing tight ends, allowing just 8.3 PPR points per game. You really can’t bench Andrews because of his consistency and upside, but expectations need to be scaled back. He’s more of a start-and-cross-your-fingers type of play this week. 

Other starts: Derek Carr (vs. Buccaneers), Devin Singletary (vs. Redskins), Allen Robinson (at Eagles) and Dallas Goedert (vs. Bears).

Other sits: Jacoby Brissett (at Steelers), LeSean McCoy (vs. Vikings), Mike Williams (vs. Packers) and Greg Olsen (vs. Titans).

Jack Thomason is 670 The Score’s fantasy football expert. Follow him on Twitter @jthomason77 and feel free to ask fantasy questions.​