Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 9 wide receivers

DeAndre Hopkins, with a quarterback who can throw, is the best wide receiver in football. But who else gets the start ‘em nods in Week 9?

Remember how we used to say DeAndre Hopkins can catch anything in his general vicinity, but then Brock Osweiler came along and we forgot about Hopkins? Apparently, Osweiler put nothing in his vicinity. This season, Deshaun Watson is putting lots of passes in Hopkins’ vicinity, so we can expect to see more 20-30 NFL fantasy point games from Houston’s wide receiver in the second half of 2017. 

But even if you have Hopkins, you still have to field a second or third wideout, so here are a few we’re starting and sitting in Week 9. 

Start this guy: Michael Thomas… and friends

If you own a New Orleans player who can catch passes, play him this week. Drew Brees did not throw a touchdown in Week 8 and I’m betting he doesn’t know how to handle it. The cure for all quarterbacks’ ills, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, are ready to help Brees over-compensate for last week’s anomaly. 

Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn, Willie Snead, Michael Coleman and maybe even the ball boy could catch touchdown passes in New Orleans this week. But I am betting Michael Thomas is the main beneficiary of Brees’ aerial assault on the Buccaneers suspect secondary. 

Sit this guy: Jamison Crowder, WAS vs SEA

Besides facing the Seattle Seahawks and the “Legion of Poof!” a week after they doled out 400 yards passing and four touchdown passes to a rookie, Redskins’ quarterback Kirk Cousins has this nasty habit of going to a different primary receiver every game. Crowder had his turn this week. It will be someone else next week, which might be good for Crowder because Seattle’s’ secondary is taking Week 8 very hard. All of Washington’s receivers could be in for a tough day in the Great Northwest.

Start this guy: TJ Jones, DET at GB 

Detroit needs a win and Matthew Stafford is another quarterback “jonesing” for a touchdown after throwing for the third-most yards in history without one in Week 8. TJ Jones had as many targets as Golden Tate, but each one was considerably longer than Tate’s underneath passes. TJ caught four of his eight targets for 88 yards. Tate grabbed seven for 86 yards. Marvin Jones was the primary receiver with 11 targets and 128 yards on six catches. 

Against the Green Bay secondary, any of the Lions’ three wide receivers are start ‘ems. TJ gets my nod for Week 9’s top dog because he runs the simplest throwing routes. 

Sit this guy: AJ Green, CIN vs JAX

You know how some receivers are so good, you can start them against anybody? That only works if the quarterback can get passes off. This will not be the case in Jacksonville on Sunday as the Jaguars, well-rested after their bye, harass Andy Dalton and blanket his main receivers the whole game. If you must play a Bengal, try tight end Tyler Kroft or running back Joe Mixon, because the wide receivers might not see a pass.

Start this guy: TY Hilton, IND vs HOU 

Assuming TY Hilton is still a Colt this Sunday, start him against the Houston Texans. This projects to be a game in which Jacoby Brissett will be desperately trying to put points on the board to counter Deshaun Watson’s NFL onslaught. If Hilton can catch half of his targets, he’ll have a great NFL fantasy day. 

If Hilton gets traded as rumored, Donte Moncrief becomes the start ‘em from Indy. 

Sit this guy: Doug Baldwin, SEA vs WAS

Josh Norman is back. Even without Norman, the Redskins maintained their rank as the fourth-best NFL fantasy defense against wide receivers. Josh Norman will take Doug Baldwin on, forcing Russell Wilson to go to Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett. Wilson did so with great effect last week and won’t hesitate to do it again. Look for another unimpressive fantasy day for Baldwin. 

Week 9 flash in the pan prediction: 

Josh McCown and the Jets have a tough night against the Buffalo defense, but rookie ArDarius Stewart sneaks past the secondary and hauls in a 77-yard touchdown and snags a top-ten NFL fantasy wide receiver score on one catch.

Full disclosure: Half-right 

Three of my six picks proved correct last week, well under my usual percentage. Sitting the #1 wide receiver was the worst choice. Week 9 will be better. In fact, I feel a perfect score coming on. Trust me. 

Meanwhile, if you have a question about NFL fantasy football, send it to me at [email protected] and look for the answer in Wednesday’s NFL Fantasy Mailbag.

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Pat Opperman


Pat recently retired from real life to watch sports and write. Look for references to games and events from ancient times as memories of an earlier Age of Sport tend to pop into his head.