Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick

Douglas DeFelice/USA Today Sports

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

Ryan Fitzpatrick has a quality matchup, while Philip Rivers could have trouble on the horizon.

Jack Thomason
November 01, 2018 - 10:27 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.

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 who you normally wouldn't consider shying away from regardless of the matchup.


START – Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buccaneers (at Panthers) Tampa Bay is a seven-point road underdog traveling to Carolina. The Vegas over/under in this one sits at 54.5 points, good for third-highest on the slate. The Panthers' weakness on defense has been their pass defense, as they rank 20th in Football Outsiders' DVOA and 18th in 4for4's schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks (aFPA). The Buccaneers will be rallying around Ryan Fitzpatrick after the benching of Jameis Winston, and he was on fire to start the year. Get behind him again in a solid matchup this week.

SIT – Philip Rivers, Chargers (at Seahawks) The Chargers are coming off a bye, and that hasn't been shown to be predictable one way or the other in terms of performance. However, Los Angeles is traveling to Seattle, a notoriously loud and difficult place to play, and are 1.5-point underdogs. The demise of the Seahawks' defense has also been overstated. Seattle ranks third in pass DVOA, fifth in aFPA to quarterbacks and has yet to allow a QB1 on the year. 

Running back

START – Matt Breida, 49ers (vs. Raiders) Breida may be one of the most maddening fantasy players as well as one of the toughest. You're questioning whether he's going to play each week, then we get news he will and he re-injures his ankle or another ailing body part. He's been a solid RB2 with the exception of the last couple games, but he still had 16 carries and played 47 percent of the snaps in a loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. Both numbers led the team for running backs, and his carry total was his highest of the season. The 49ers are home favorites with an implied team total of 26.5 points this week, making Breida a nice play given the news of no setbacks surrounding his ankle.

SIT – Tevin Coleman, Falcons (at Redskins) Washington is allowing a measly 81 rushing yards per game, the second-best mark in the NFL. The Redskins rank 11th in aFPA to running backs, and Coleman hasn't produced nearly the way anyone expected given Devonta Freeman's missed time. He's also splitting time with rookie Ito Smith, and the Falcons are 1.5-point road underdogs. In addition to all of this, the Falcons are missing two starters on the offensive line. I'm avoiding Coleman this week if possible.


START – John Brown, Ravens (vs. Steelers) Brown is coming off of a poor game but was still second on the team with seven targets last week. Now he'll face a Steelers defense whose strength is run defense. They rank 20th in aFPA to receivers and 23rd in pass DVOA. The Ravens are at home and favored by 2.5 points with an implied team total of 24.5 points. I like Brown to be a significant part of how the Ravens get to that number. 

SIT – Allen Robinson, Bears (at Bills) Robinson has been a disappointment for fantasy owners. After being a highly sought after free agent and being paired with Mitchell Trubisky, in Matt Nagy's offense, many thought we'd see the return of 2016 Robinson. We've seen flashes, but that's it. Now he's dealing with a groin injury and will likely square off against one of the league's best cornerbacks in Tre'Davious White. Buffalo also ranks first in aFPA to receivers and 13th in DVOA to No. 1 receivers.

Tight end

START – Jimmy Graham, Packers (at Patriots) This is a tough one, given Graham has scored just once this season and has let fantasy owners down repeatedly. But the Patriots have been torched by quality quarterbacks and have given up five touchdowns to tight ends while allowing the fifth-most points to the position as well. They also rank 31st in aFPA to tight ends. So fire up Graham.

SIT – Jordan Reed, Redskins (vs. Falcons) The Falcons are the opposite of the Patriots. They've been smashed by opposing offenses in just about every area other than the tight end. Atlanta ranks fourth in aFPA and 10th in pass DVOA to the tight end position, and Reed hasn't clicked with Alex Smith the way most thought he would. He's not a locked-in starter this week given the matchup and his production.

Other starts: Alex Smith (vs. Falcons), Nick Chubb (vs. Chiefs), Marvin Jones (at Vikings) and David Njoku (vs. Chiefs).

Other sits: Ben Roethlisberger (at Ravens), LeSean McCoy (vs. Bears), Amari Cooper (vs. Titans) and Trey Burton (at Bills).

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