Chiefs vs. Cowboys: Start Alex Smith, who’s posted a 9.2 YPA with a 12:0 TD:INT ratio and a 134.8 Passer Rating over four games on the road this season. Dallas doesn’t present an imposing defense, and the Chiefs should have to pass a lot to keep up with the Cowboys’ potent offense that will surprisingly have Ezekiel Elliott available (KC’s D isn’t any good either). The set up here screams shootout, as this game sports this week’s highest Over/Under at 53.5 points (and without weather concerns). Especially with so many byes, Smith is arguably a top-three fantasy QB in Week 9.
Start Jason Witten, who should also benefit from what sure looks likely to be a high-scoring affair. The Chiefs are middling covering tight ends, and Witten already has a healthy nine red-zone targets across seven games. Fire up as many players as you can in this matchup.
Broncos vs. Eagles: Sit Demaryius Thomas. It will be tough to bench him in yearly leagues, especially given six teams on bye, so this is more of a DFS recommendation. Thomas hasn’t scored in 13 straight games, Emmanuel Sanders should return, Brock Osweiler is playing quarterback, and the Eagles rank in the top-10 in Pass DVOA.
Sit all Eagles running backs, as Jay Ajayi is no guarantee to be active after just getting traded to Philly, while LeGarrette Blount is up against a Denver defense that’s allowed by far the fewest fantasy points to RBs (and is the only team yet to allow a rushing score).
Rams vs. Giants: Start Jared Goff, who’s struggled of late but is coming off a bye and still has a strong 7.7 YPA on the season despite facing Jacksonville and Seattle in two of the past three games. Moreover, the Giants have the No. 22 ranked Pass DVOA, Olivier Vernon is out, and Janoris Jenkins is suspended.
Start Orleans Darkwa, who’s getting 5.4 YPC on the year, and hopefully the Giants spent their bye week realizing he’s the team’s best back and needs more touches. The Rams have allowed the fifth-most YPC in the NFL, so Darkwa is a nice cheap play in DFS this week.
Buccaneers vs. Saints: Start DeSean Jackson, as the Bucs figure to be playing catch up for most of this game with an Over/Under of 52 points.
Start Ted Ginn, who has nearly identical numbers as Michael Thomas despite half as many targets and comes with a much cheaper price tag. Tampa Bay has the No. 31 ranked Pass DVOA.
Bengals vs. Jaguars: Start Joe Mixon. To say he’s failed to live up to expectations during recent plus matchups would be an understatement, but he once again faces a defense that’s far more vulnerable against the run than the pass (the Jags have ceded an NFL-high 5.2 YPC).
Start the Jaguars defense. They are at home, on pace to set an NFL record in sacks recorded and face a Bengals team with arguably the worst offensive line in football. Things could get ugly Sunday.
Falcons vs. Panthers: Start Tevin Coleman. Playing through a shoulder injury that once again limited him in practice this week, Devonta Freeman has averaged just 11.0 carries over the past three games. Coleman, meanwhile, had his most rushing attempts (14) last week since his rookie year, and he’s up to 5.4 YPC on the season.
Start Devin Funchess, who’s going to see increased looks (most importantly in the red zone) and will now be Cam Newton’s first read with Kelvin Benjamin traded to Buffalo. Atlanta has the No. 25 ranked Pass DVOA.
Colts vs. Texans: Start T.Y. Hilton, who hasn’t topped 27 receiving yards in any of his past three games and has struggled on the road all season. But Indy should have to throw a lot Sunday (albeit maybe not as much now that Deshaun Watson is out), and Houston’s secondary is plenty beatable. There’s also a “squeaky wheel gets the grease” narrative with Hilton this week, and he’s rarely this affordable in DFS.
Start Lamar Miller, who’s playing at home as touchdown favorites versus a Colts front seven that’s allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs. Miller should see a ton of volume with the Texans trying to hide new starting QB Tom Savage.
Ravens vs. Titans: Start Alex Collins, who doesn’t have the easiest matchup but leads the NFL in YPC and rushes of 15 or more yards (10). He ranks No. 5 in Juke Rate, and John Harbaugh has said he’s earned more playing time, so let’s hope that includes the red zone, where he’s seen just one touch all season (zero at the goal line). Collins is a top-15 RB on my board in Week 9.
Sit Marcus Mariota. Maybe he’s back to full health and is more mobile coming out of the bye, but Mariota has just four TD passes over six games this year, and this matchup hardly projects as a shootout. Baltimore has the No. 2 ranked Pass DVOA, and Mariota is still searching for his first red-zone TD toss this season.
Cardinals vs. 49ers: Start Adrian Peterson. The 32-year-old back has had one huge game and one massive dud since getting traded to Arizona. He should be refreshed coming off a bye, which will help because Peterson is going to get a heavy workload Sunday with Arizona forced to start Drew Stanton at QB. AP doesn’t catch passes, and the Cardinals offense could struggle without Carson Palmer, but San Francisco has hemorrhaged the most fantasy points to running backs, and the volume should certainly be there.
Start the 49ers defense. They are at home in a game with a low total, likely available in your league and face an Arizona team with a poor offensive line. Drew Stanton has a career 6.3 YPA mark with a 12:20 TD:INT ratio.
Washington vs. Seahawks: Start Vernon Davis, who’s going to see a bunch of targets with Jordan Reed out and Jamison Crowder highly questionable to play. Earl Thomas is also unlikely to suit up for Seattle, so Davis is an easy top-10 TE play this week.
Start Doug Baldwin, who’s coming off a quiet game in which Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett both went off. But Baldwin has seen 30 targets over the past three contests and should mostly avoid Josh Norman while lining up in the slot.
Raiders vs. Dolphins: Sit Marshawn Lynch, who’s back from his suspension and should retake the role as the Raiders’ lead back. But Lynch doesn’t have a single run that’s gone for more than 15 yards this season, has recorded just four catches on the year, ranks No. 91 in fantasy points per opportunity (0.57) and faces a Miami defense that’s No. 3 in Run DVOA.
Start Jay Cutler. It’s been ugly, but the QB landscape is pretty thin this week, and the Dolphins figure to throw a ton since they can’t run the ball (and just traded Jay Ajayi). DeVante Parker’s healthy return will help, and the Raiders have yielded 8.0 YPA (third highest in the NFL) and are the only team yet to record an interception this season.
Lions vs. Packers: Start Marvin Jones, who saw 11 targets last week despite Golden Tate’s return, giving him 33 over the past three games. Jones is Detroit’s preferred option inside the 10, and Green Bay’s secondary is hardly formidable.
Start Aaron Jones, who will remain the Packers’ offensive centerpiece with Aaron Rodgers out. The Lions have defended the run well, but hopefully Brett Hundley is less of a disaster with the team’s bye week giving him more time to prepare. Jones should be treated as an easy top-10 RB in Week 9.