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The IDP Guys’ NFL Week 9 Start/Sit List: IDP

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Want some NFL Week 9 Start/Sit advice for your IDP leagues? Look no further


Here is the IDP Guys NFL Week 9 Start/Sit article. You know how this works by now. I make recommendations, I provide you with information, context, and justifications for those suggestions, you follow said advice, and, hopefully, you win your IDP leagues.

Or at least that is how it is supposed to work! Let’s get into it.

Table of Contents

Thursday Night Football
New York Jets (2-5) at Indianapolis Colts (2-5)
Sunday Early Afternoon Games
Atlanta Falcons (3-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-2)
Denver Broncos (4-4) at Dallas Cowboys (6-1)
New England Patriots (4-4) at Carolina Panthers (4-4)
Minnesota Vikings (3-4) at Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
Cleveland Browns (4-4) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-3)
Buffalo Bills (5-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
Houston Texans (1-7) at Miami Dolphins (1-7)
Las Vegas Raiders (5-2) at New York Giants (2-5)
Sunday Mid-Afternoon Games
Los Angeles Chargers (4-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-5)
Green Bay Packers (7-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-4)
Arizona Cardinals (7-1) at San Franciso 49ers (3-4)
Sunday Night Football
Tennessee Titans (6-2) at Los Angeles Rams (7-1)
Monday Night Football
Chicago Bears (3-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)

Disclaimers

In the first few weeks of the season, I had a list of disclaimers here that explained how my advice is only a suggestion, how your team is your responsibility, and that I will get things wrong. It got too wordy, and I think most reasonable people understand all of this by now. I’m not going to include all that in my NFL Week 6 Start/Sit IDP article.

I’ll just say this. If you’re the sort of person who feels the need to complain when (not if) I get something wrong, and it costs you points, please read the disclaimers from those early weeks first. I encourage all feedback — even criticism when it’s constructive — but not mindless rants. I do this for fun. It’s a game. Let’s keep it light.

Article Key

Tier One Starts

Based on their opportunity, past production, talent level, and matchup, these players have the best outlook. They usually have a solid floor and an excellent ceiling. These guys should be the nearest to guaranteed production you can find.

Tier Two Starts

These players should earn a reasonable amount of points. Their opportunity, talent, or matchup is typically not on a par with a tier-one player. Tier two players are usually a good option in deep leagues that start multiple players at each position.

Tier Three Starts

These players are a bit of a gamble. You should probably only start them in larger leagues and those which start many players at each position. Tier three players can be serviceable as either bye week or injury replacements, but the chances of scoring well are slim. This tier is as close to “sit” as you can get while still retaining some value as a starter.

Sits

As the name implies, sit these players. You should not start these players for any number of reasons. They aren’t necessarily bad players. I just don’t predict them to be scoring well this game week. In the case of rookies, for example, they may simply need time to earn more playing time and, therefore, our trust as fantasy starters.

Any player not listed in any of these four categories should probably be considered a “sit.” If they become IDP relevant on a week-to-week basis, they will likely end up in one of the categories above.

No Cornerbacks?

Johnny writes a separate article for CBs that drops on Fridays, so keep an eye out for that tomorrow!

True Position Designations

In some IDP leagues, certain positions are grouped in a suboptimal way, primarily because of outdated interpretations of what players at each position do. Many IDP leagues are turning towards True Position in an effort to address that problem.

In true position scoring, outside linebackers and defensive ends (ends who predominantly line up outside of the tackle) are grouped together as ‘Edge’ (rushers). Defensive tackles and defensive ends who play on the interior are grouped together as IDL (interior defensive linemen). This leaves all remaining linebackers as off-ball linebackers (I’ve called them ILBs in this NFL Week 6 Start/Sit IDP article to help with clarification).

The result of these changes is that scoring is able to be more fairly distributed between groups of players who, in modern defenses, essentially perform near-identical roles.

Players with EDGE designations in such leagues, and in this article, can vary in value from leagues that still use traditional DE and OLB positions. The same is true of IDL vs. DT designations and is complicated further by platforms that simply use DL positions to lump all defensive linemen together (the worst!). There is no easy way I can cater to all of these leagues here. Whatever I choose to do, someone would be missing out.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to value translation between these different designations, I can at least offer to help adjust the IDP start/sit advice mentioned here for your league’s scoring system. If you find yourself in need of help in that sense, or if you find all of this just too complicated, please send me a Twitter DM. I answer every message I receive.

Let’s get into the fun part of the NFL Week 7 Start/Sit IDP article.

Thursday Night Football

New York Jets (2-5) at Indianapolis Colts (2-5)

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Jets
Starts

Tier One

Quinnen Williams, IDL.

Williams headlined an article I wrote back in August. In ‘The next big BIG thing‘ I listed my top-5 defensive tackles under 25; I believed Williams would become the next star at the position.

Williams earned a tackle, a batted pass, and two hurries, including a sack in the Jets’ improbable win over the Bengals. The sack was his fifth of the season; he is currently joint-third in that category among all defensive tackles this season.

Williams will face a difficult matchup this weekend. Colts’ outstanding left guard Quenton Nelson returned from an ankle sprain recently, although he is still listed as questionable. Center Ryan Kelly has allowed two sacks this season but surrenders less than 2 pressures per game, on average.

Check out this play from Williams last weekend:

Tier Two

John Franklin-Myers, EDGE; C.J. Mosley, ILB.

Myers started the season with 17 pressures and three sacks in his first four games, but has recorded just two pressures in the last two games and has gone three games without a sack.

Myers will go up against Colts’ right tackle Braden Smith in Week 9. Smith returned to the lineup after a six-game absence. Smith will try to build on an impressive 2020 campaign in which he gave up zero sacks.

Mosley was instrumental in the Jets’ victory over the Bengals. He showed no signs of the hamstring injury that forced him to miss the Week 7 game against the Patriots. He led the Jets with 10 total tackles and forced five stops. Mosley now has 57 tackles in just six games.

Tier Three

Ashtyn Davis, S.

Ashtyn Davis has been unreliable as a fantasy starter since returning to the lineup in Week 4. His 10 tackle performance in Week 7 was encouraging, but he managed only three tackles – and missed two more tackle attempts – against the Bengals last weekend.

The loss of Marcus Maye means Davis will probably play more box snaps which will help Davis’ value.

Sits

Sheldon Rankins, IDL; Jarrad Davis, ILB; Marcus Maye, S.

Rankins had his second sack of the season last weekend. Don’t be tempted to start him; he has just 10 tackles, 11 pressures, and two sacks this season. Additionally, Rankins played only 33 of a possible 52 snaps.

Jarrad Davis was activated from IR in time for the Bengals game and started ahead of Quincy Williams which bodes well. Unfortunately, he only managed 37 of a possible 55 snaps. There are likely much more reliable options at ILB in fantasy unless your league is very, very deep.

The Jets have had no consistency at ILB given the rash of injuries they have suffered. Eight different linebackers have played a defensive snap, six of them have started games.

Maye will miss the rest of the season after tearing his Achilles.

Colts
Starts

Tier One

DeForest Buckner, IDL; Darius Leonard, ILB.

I mentioned last week that Buckner had a favorable matchup against a Titans offensive line that has struggled in pass protection. Buckner had three pressures and a sack and recorded his best pass rush grade of the season.

Buckner has 25 total pressures this season, including four sacks. The interior of the Jets’ offensive line has been inconsistent, and Buckner will be among the best players they will face this season. It’s a decent matchup for the former Oregon Duck.

Leonard had eight total tackles, a batted pass, and a pass breakup last weekend. His team-mate Bobby Okereke may be ahead of Leonard in total tackles, but Leonard leads the way in impact plays. He has 61 total tackles, seven total pressures, three forced fumbles, two interceptions, and three pass breakups.

Tier Two

Bobby Okereke, ILB.

Okereke paced the Colts with 12 total tackles and led all NFL defenders with a whopping 10 defensive stops (the next nearest player had six). He now has 66 tackles in eight games. He is close to being a tier-one linebacker in this article.

Tier Three

None. Kwity Paye has the potential to be here. Al-Quadin Muhammad is having his best season as a pass rusher and is not far off, but he is not a player who I recommend starting at what is a deep position.

Sits

Tyquan Lewis, EDGE (injury – IR); Khari Willis, S (injury – IR).

Lewis is feared out for the season after injuring his knee returning an interception against the Titans. Injuries like these are always unfortunate, but particularly in this case as Lewis was having the best season of his career despite playing in a limited capacity.

He had 20 pressures this season, one less than Haason Reddick, the same as Chandler Jones, despite playing fewer pass-rushing snaps than both.

The injury to Lewis could open the door for Kemoko Turay to join Kwity Paye and Al-Quadin Muhammad in playing a meaningful, potentially fantasy-relevant amount of snaps. If he can stay healthy this time!

Willis suffered a calf injury during the Titans game and had to exit early. He managed just 16 snaps before leaving in the second quarter. He’ll miss Week 9.

Sunday Early Afternoon Slate

Atlanta Falcons (3-4) at New Orleans Saints (5-2)

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Falcons
Starts

Tier One

Grady Jarrett, IDL; Deion Jones, ILB; Foyesade Oluokun, ILB.

You probably acquired or drafted Jarrett on the assumption he would produce as an IDL1. It was a reasonable expectation. Through eight weeks, Jarrett has been a disappointment.

I’ve threatened to drop Jarrett in recent weeks. His matchup against the porous interior of the Saints offensive line saves me from doing so this week.

I’ve also been threatening to promote Jones and Oluokun into tier one for a few weeks. Both have produced well enough to justify it. Both play every down almost every week.

Jones had 14 tackles and a forced fumble against the Panthers, and now has 64 total tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble in seven games. Oluokun also had 14 tackles and now has 69 total tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and an interception. These two are balling out.

Tier Two

None.

Tier Three

Erik Harris, S.

Harris had six total tackles and a pass breakup in Week 8. He only has 31 tackles but has only played in six games, and has helped fantasy managers with five pass breakups in his last four games.

Sits

Adetokunbo Ogundeji, EDGE; Steven Means, EDGE.

The loss of Dante Fowler provided other Falcons edge rushers with an opportunity to step up. None of them have managed to do so. Means has been ineffective all season, Ogundeji has had zero pressures in 53 pass rush attempts since Week 7.

Saints
Starts

Tier One

Demario Davis, ILB.

Davis played every down against the Bucs and had one of his quietest games of the season with five total tackles and a QB hit.

These games will happen and we shouldn’t overreact to one unproductive performance. Davis has been a stud this season, recording 51 total tackles, three sacks, and four pass breakups in the seven games he has played.

Tier Two

Cameron Jordan, EDGE.

Jordan had zero sacks in his first five games. I said this when discussing him in the Week 7 version of this article: “he leads the Saints’ edge rushers in snaps and pass-rush snaps by a wide margin. It should be just a matter of time before he takes down a quarterback.”

The veteran edge rusher has since had two sacks in consecutive games and added a forced fumble in a difficult matchup against the Bucs Tristan Wirfs last week. It was the first sack Wirfs has allowed all season.

Jordan faces Kaleb McGary this weekend. McGary has allowed 16 pressures and two sacks in the six games he has played. Jordan has a chance to continue this sack streak.

Tier Three

Malcolm Jenkins, S; Marcus Davenport, EDGE.

Jenkins equaled his lowest output of the season with three tackles last weekend. Thankfully, he rescued his fantasy day with two pass breakups. He now has 43 tackles, a sack, an interception, and three pass breakups this season. His value as a fantasy starter falls somewhere between tier two and tier three.

Davenport returned from IR a few weeks ago. He has yet to add to the sack he had in the opening game against the Packers, but he has had nine total pressures in the last two games. Edge rusher is a deep position; Davenport’s inclusion here is due more to his potential talent than fantasy production.

He goes up against Jake Matthews in this game. Matthews surrendered four pressures and the first sack of the season against the Panthers last week. It was an anomaly on an otherwise excellent season and impressive career. Matthews presents a challenging matchup for Davenport.

Sits

Pete Werner, ILB; Kwon Alexander, ILB.

Kwon Alexander’s injury afforded Werner a run in the first team. Werner took advantage with a productive three-game stretch in which he recorded 29 total tackles.

Alexander was eased into the lineup in Week 7 with just 16 snaps, but that increased to 27 in Week 8. Conversely, Werner’s snap count has decreased from 40 to 33 over the same span.

The two linebackers may negate each other’s fantasy value if they continue splitting snaps in this way.

Denver Broncos (4-4) at Dallas Cowboys (6-1)

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Broncos
Starts

Tier One

None.

Tier Two

Shelby Harris, IDL; Kareem Jackson, S.

The Broncos IDL players were particularly effective at rushing the passer against Washington and Harris was a big part of that. He had five total tackles, four pressures, including a sack. He now has 24 tackles, 16 total pressures, including three sacks.

The interior of the Cowboys’ offensive line will be a challenge for Harris and Dre’Mont Jones. Guards Zack Martin and Connor Williams have combined to allow only 11 pressures this season. Tyler Biadasz has given up 14, but only three of those pressures have come in the last four games.

Jackson had seven solo tackles last weekend. He now has 51 total tackles, a sack, and an interception. Jackson could have more tackles but ranks fifth at the safety position with nine missed tackle attempts.

Tier Three

Justin Simmons, S; Dre’Mont Jones, IDL; Baron Browning, ILB.

Simmons had two interceptions in the game against Washington. He now has 38 tackles and three pass breakups this season.

Simmons never comes off the field but the way the Broncos utilize their safeties changes from game to game. Simmons has seen as few as seven box snaps and as many as 27.

Like Shelby Harris, Jones had a productive game last weekend. Jones joined Reed in leading the Broncos with four total pressures and two sacks.

His tackle numbers don’t compare with that of Harris’, but the two players offer comparable effectiveness as pass rushers.

See Harris’ notes for info on Jones’ matchup.

Browning was the sole full-time off-ball linebacker for the Broncos last weekend. He earned seven total tackles and a QB hurry. He replaces Justin Strnad as the only Broncos ILB worth starting in fantasy. He’ll be a popular waiver-wire pickup.

Sits

Stephen Weatherly, EDGE; Jonathon Cooper, EDGE; Kenny Young, ILB; Justin Strnad, ILB; Malik Reed, EDGE (injury).

Weatherley recorded a sack in his Broncos debut. However, he played only 27 snaps compared with Jonathon Cooper’s 53 and Malik Reed’s 60.

Cooper was ineffective, managing only one hurry on 34 pass rush attempts, so it’s possible Weatherly’s snap count could increase enough for him to become fantasy-relevant, but that is an optimistic projection in Weatherly’s case.

Young played just 39 of a possible 70 snaps. Unless this number increases, he barely has any value as a starter in IDP leagues.

I thought Strnad had a chance to become a productive player this season, but he has been quite poor. The Broncos appear to have had enough of his sub-par play, as the former Wake Forest player had just 14 snaps against Washington. Remove him from your lineups if you haven’t already.

Reed will be asked to fill a large void after the Miller trade, but he won’t play this weekend after aggravating a hip injury in the week.

Cowboys
Starts

Tier One

Micah Parsons, ILB/EDGE.

Parsons’ versatility has been particularly useful to the Cowboys, but in fantasy leagues where he has only a linebacker designation, any time he spends as an edge rusher harms his value slightly. Parsons lacks the pressure and sack numbers of the premier edge rushers, and he lacks the tackle numbers of elite ILBs.

The former Penn State star hasn’t rushed the passer nearly as much in recent games, and this has had a dramatic effect on his statistical output:

  • In the first three weeks of the season, Parsons rushed the passer 73 times, had two sacks and only nine total tackles.
  • In the last three weeks of the season, Parsons rushed the passer 34 times, had zero sacks and 21 total tackles.

Tier Two

Osa Odighizuwa, IDL; Randy Gregory, EDGE; Jayron Kearse, S.

Odighizuwa has struggled in run defense the last two games, and he has just 12 total tackles in the seven games he has started. However, he did generate three pressures against the Vikings. The impressive rookie currently ranks 12th at the IDL position in total pressures and joint 10th in sacks.

The interior of the Broncos’ offensive line has been mediocre. Guard Graham Glasgow has stepped up his performance in the last two games, but Dalton Risner has been inconsistent and had his worst game of the season against Washington, while center Lloyd Cushenberry has surrendered three sacks in the last three games.

Gregory had seven total pressures including a sack and a forced fumble against Washington. He has the highest PFF pass-rush grade of any NFL player in his last three games combined.

The Broncos will miss Garett Bolles as Bolles is out with an ankle injury. Gregory could take advantage.

Kearse played every down in Week 8 and a whopping 51 of his 66 snaps were spent in the box or on the defensive line. He earned six total tackles and now has 41 tackles this season. Kearse is yet to miss a single tackle. No other safety with more than 27 tackles can claim that same distinction.

The only thing Kearse is missing from his 2021 resume is big plays.

Tier Three

None.

Sits

None.

New England Patriots (4-4) at Carolina Panthers (4-4)

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Patriots
Starts

Tier One

Matt Judon, EDGE; Kyle Dugger, S.

Judon dominated the Chargers’ right tackle, Storm Norton, in Week 8. Judon amassed 10 total pressures, including two sacks, and added three solo tackles.

Judon’s 39 total pressures rank sixth in the NFL this season. His nine sacks are joint second.

The former Ravens star will face both right tackle Taylor Moton and left tackle Cameron Erving this weekend. Moton is a decent NFL tackle and will prove an interesting challenge. Erving is not on the same level and Judon will relish that matchup.

Dugger played 49 of a possible 60 snaps. He spent 24 of those snaps in the box or on the defensive line.

Dugger led the Patriots with seven total tackles. He now has 55 tackles and two interceptions this season.

Tier Two

None.

Tier Three

Christian Barmore, IDL; Adrian Phillips, S.

Barmore had a decent performance in Week 8. He had four total tackles and four total pressures, including a sack. Barmore currently ranks 14th at the IDL position in total pressures, he’s also added 22 total tackles.

The impressive 2021 second-round pick from Alabama has a nice matchup this weekend. The interior of the Panthers offensive line is porous in pass protection. Matt Paradis has rediscovered some form in recent weeks and will need another good game to keep Barmore at bay.

Phillips only had three total tackles but intercepted Justin Herbert twice. Phillips only has 38 total tackles, but his three interceptions are the most he has in a single season of his career.

Sits

None.

Panthers
Starts

Tier One

Brian Burns, EDGE; 

Burns had his second consecutive game with four total pressures, including a sack. The former Florida State star has 27 total pressures and five sacks this season, both of which rank 16th among edge rushers.

Burns will face both Michael Onwenu and Isaiah Wynn in the game against the Patriots. It’s an average matchup; both tackles are capable of containing Burns on their day. But Burns can beat all but the most elite of tackles on his. Neither Onwenu nor Wynn is elite.

Tier Two

Shaq Thompson, ILB; Jeremy Chinn, S; Haason Reddick, EDGE.

Thompson played 35 of a possible 53 snaps in Week 8. Jermaine Carter played 49. Thompson was more than likely being eased into the lineup following his return from a foot injury.

Despite playing some few snaps, Thompson led the Panthers in total tackles with nine. He also added his second interception of the season.

Chinn was the only Panthers player who played every down against the Falcons. He spent 29 of his 53 snaps in a box role or on the defensive line and earned five total tackles.

Chinn has 41 tackles and two pass breakups this season.

Reddick led the Panthers with five total pressures, including a sack. He also added three total tackles. Reddick now has 21 pressures, nine sacks, and 27 tackles.

See Burns’ notes for information on Reddick’s matchup.

Tier Three

Jermaine Carter, ILB.

Carter may concede snaps to Thompson going forward but has a chance to play enough snaps to retain marginal value in IDP fantasy leagues, as he did prior to Thompson’s injury in Weeks 1-4.

Carter led the Panthers linebackers with 49 snaps in Week 8. He had eight total tackles and a QB hit.

Sits

Derrick Brown, IDL.

Brown has the talent to be fantasy-relevant but after a sack in the season opener, he went very quiet until Week 7. However, he has eight tackles, five total pressures, and a sack in the last two games. He’s on my radar as a potential tier-three starting IDL if he can produce on a consistent basis.

Minnesota Vikings (3-4) at Baltimore Ravens (5-2)

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Vikings

Starts

Tier One

Eric Kendricks, ILB.

Kendricks played every down as usual. He registered five solo tackles, a sack, and a pass breakup. Kendricks now has 63 total tackles, three sacks, an interception, and two pass breakups this season. He’s a special player.

Tier Two

Everson Griffen, EDGE; Xavier Woods, S.

I didn’t expect Griffen to be this productive in his second stint with the Vikings at age 33. He led the Vikings with four total pressures, including a sack last weekend. It’s an impressive start to the season, and now Griffen will be relied upon even more heavily after the season-ending injury to Danielle Hunter.

The former USC Trojans star now has 25 total pressures and five sacks this season. The only drawback is that he adds little by way of tackles, averaging just one tackle per game.

Assuming Griffen remains in his favored REO spot, he will face Alejandro Villanueva this weekend. Villanueva has been filling in for the injured Ronnie Stanley this season and has had a torrid time, allowing 31 pressures and five sacks despite playing much fewer snaps than his peers.

This is a great matchup for Griffen.

Woods had an excellent game last weekend. The young safety had seven total tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and an interception. In seven games he has 40 tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles, two interceptions, and two pass breakups. It’s impressive.

Tier Three

Anthony Barr, ILB.

Barr played every down against the Cowboys. He still looks like he is knocking off some rust, as he missed two of his eight tackle attempts. The former first-round pick had six total tackles, a QB hit, and a batted pass.

Check back on Barr’s status nearer Sunday. He missed practice on Wednesday with a knee injury and is listed as questionable.

Sits

Danielle Hunter, EDGE (IR); D.J. Wonnum, EDGE; Harrison Smith, S (injury).

Hunter tore his pectoral muscle in the loss to the Cowboys and will miss the rest of the season. It’s a crushing blow for a guy who had played just seven games since missing the 2020 season with a neck injury. I wish him a speedy and full recovery.

Wonnum is the man most likely to be asked to replace Hunter. The young edge rusher will have big shoes to fill and I’m not confident he can become fantasy relevant. He has generated only eight pressures, including one sack on 206 pass rush opportunities this season.

Smith will miss Week 9 as he has been added to the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Ravens

Starts

Tier One

None.

Tier Two

None.

Tier Three

Chuck Clark, S; Calais Campbell, IDL; Odafe Oweh, EDGE; DeShon Elliott, S; Josh Bynes, ILB.

It pains me to have no Ravens defenders to list in tiers one or two of this article. At least four of these five players in tier three have the potential to be tier two players, but they all belong here for now.

Clark has been one of my favorite value safeties in fantasy for some time. But he’s some way off his 2020 pace. He has 34 tackles, a sack, and a pass breakup in seven games.

Campbell has had three productive games as a pass rusher this season, generating 16 of his 20 total pressures in Weeks 1, 3, and 4. But he has two or fewer pressures in the other four games and has yet to earn his first sack of the season.

The former Jaguars IDL has a nice matchup this weekend. The interior of the Vikings offensive line is playing very poorly, so Campbell could turn things around.

Oweh is having a good season, especially for a rookie. His 24 total pressures rank 26th among edge rushers, his three sacks rank joint 37th. The main reason he isn’t in tier two is that he doesn’t accrue many tackles. He has just 12 in seven games.

Oweh faces Brian O’Neill and Christian Darrisaw in this game. O’Neill has allowed only eight pressures and zero sacks in seven games. Oweh’s best chance may be to take advantage of Darrisaw. The rookie left tackle allowed a sack last weekend and is still finding his way in the NFL after only two starts.

Elliott, like Clark, is a player I feel was underrated in fantasy last season. The former Texas Longhorn has dealt with concussion and quad injuries this season and has yet to really get going as a result. Elliott has 14 tackles, a sack, and an interception in five games.

Bynes has replaced Patrick Queen as the starting ILB. The journeyman linebacker had 46 of a possible 63 snaps against the Bengals in his last game, recording seven solo tackles and a QB hurry. At age 32, Bynes is clearly not the long-term answer, but he has marginal value while he remains in this role.

Sits

Patrick Queen, ILB; Tyus Bowser, EDGE; 

Queen has played in a much-reduced role the last two weeks, recording just 19 and 27 snaps in Weeks 6 and 7. This sinks his fantasy value, not that he really had any anyway. The former LSU star just hasn’t been the player many expected after the Ravens selected him with the 28th overall pick in the 2020 draft.

The one positive is that Queen has earned two of the three best PFF grades of his young career while playing in this more limited role. He’s still young enough that he could salvage his career; the last two games have been a positive start on his path to redemption.

Bowser is one of those players who will sometimes look good enough to consider starting, at least during bye weeks, and as an injury replacement. But the chances of starting him during a game where he hits is a risky game.

Cleveland Browns (4-4) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-3)

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Browns

Starts

Tier One

Myles Garrett, EDGE; Jadeveon Clowney, EDGE.

Garrett did what Garrett does in Week 8, dominating as a pass rusher and leading the Browns in generating pressure. He had four total pressures, including a sack in the loss to the Steelers, and added three total tackles. His pass rush and overall PFF grade were his best of the season so far.

The former Aggie has 44 total pressures and 12 sacks this season, figures which rank second and first respectively.

Garrett will face the Bengals Jonah Williams in Week 9. Williams has been fairly average this season, surrendering 14 total pressures and three sacks. Garrett can add to those numbers in this game.

Clowney had his least productive game of the season against the Steelers last week. He managed just one pressure – a QB hurry – and had two tackles, missing three more tackle attempts.

I’m comfortable calling this an outlier for Clowney. He has generated four pressures or more in every other game this season. And the missed tackles were his first of the season.

The former Texans, Seahawks, and Titans edge rusher will go up against Riley Reiff this weekend. Reiff has allowed 14 pressures and four sacks, including two sacks in the last three games. Clowney has the advantage here.

Tier Two

Malik Jackson, IDL; Anthony Walker, ILB.

Jackson was quiet against the Steelers. He played 51 of a possible 75 snaps and had only one tackle and one QB hit. He still ranks 13th overall in total pressures at the IDL position, but he didn’t play well in October and needs a big game to justify his tier two status on this list.

Fortunately for Jackson, he will have an opportunity to have a good game against the interior of this Bengals offensive line. Bengals center Trey Hopkins continued his uneven season last weekend. Rookie guard Jackson Carman has been quite poor. Left guard Quinton Spain is the only interior lineman who has played well on a consistent basis.

Walker provides a solid fantasy option in the absence of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Walker played every down last weekend and had eight total tackles and a pass breakup. He has an impressive 42 tackles in the five games he has played.

Tier Three

None.

Sits

Malik McDowell, IDL; John Johnson, S; Grant Delpit, S; Ronnie Harrison, S; Malcolm Smith, ILB; 

As I said last week, McDowell is a player I see becoming a tier-three starter at the shallow IDL position. He had his second sack of the season last week and the best pass rush grade of his young career.

Johnson left with a stinger but has been irrelevant in fantasy terms even when healthy.

Delpit and Harrison’s snap numbers fluctuate. Harrison has marginal value and arguably belongs somewhere between tier three and the sit column.

Smith has played a little more since JOK’s injury and led the Browns with eight solo tackles, he also added a pass breakup. But he did this on only 40 of a possible 75 snaps. I’m not confident he can remain this efficient or productive when playing so little.

Bengals

Starts

Tier One

Vonn Bell, S; Logan Wilson, ILB; Trey Hendrickson, EDGE.

Bell played every down against the Jets in Week 8, and he spent over half of those snaps either in either a box role or on the defensive line.

The former Saints’ safety had 10 total tackles and a forced fumble, increasing his total to 52 tackles and two forced fumbles this season.

The Bengals led the NFL with 84 defensive snaps in Week 8 so this should be taken into account when considering the statistical output of Bell, and every player on this list.

Wilson played 80 of a possible 84 snaps. He paced all Bengals players with 12 total tackles but could have had more, as he missed three tackle attempts.

The sophomore linebacker has 69 tackles, a sack, and four interceptions this season.

The Bengals defense generated an incredible 23 pressures against the Jets. Predictably, Hendrickson played a big part in this. He had five total pressures, including two sacks, and added a season-high four total tackles.

Hendrickson’s 41 total pressures and nine sacks rank fourth and second respectively. The Bengals received some criticism after signing the former Saints pass rusher to a 4-year, $60m contract in March 2021, but Hendrickson has so far proven himself worth every cent.

He faces Jedrick Wills Jr. in Week 9. Wills hasn’t allowed a sack this season but has surrendered 17 total pressures in six games, including 10 in the last two games. To put that into context, Wills allowed only 20 pressures in the entire 2020 season.

Tier Two

Sam Hubbard, EDGE; Jessie Bates III, S.

Hubbard had a huge game against the Ravens in Week 7 but came back down to earth against the Jets in Week 8. The former Ohio State Buckeye had only two pressures – both QB hurries – but did add seven total tackles and two batted passes.

Jack Conklin returned to the starting lineup for the Browns last weekend. Unfortunately, he dislocated his elbow in the Steelers game and will miss multiple weeks. Conklin’s replacement is likely to be Blake Hance. Hance is a much easier matchup for Hubbard.

Bates played every down. He had seven total tackles and an interception and now has 48 tackles and an interception this season.

Tier Three

Larry Ogunjobi, IDL.

Ogunjobi did very, very little from Weeks 1-6, but came alive against the Ravens in Week 7 and carried over that form into Week 8. He has nine tackles, 11 pressures, and three sacks in the last two games. He’ll aim to make it three consecutive games with a sack against his former team this weekend.

It won’t be an easy task for Ogunjobi. Center J.C. Tretter and left guard Joel Bitonio has been playing very well this season. Right guard Wyatt Teller hasn’t played as well, but even he has allowed just 11 pressures and a sack in eight games. 

Sits

DJ Reader, IDL; Germaine Pratt, ILB.

Reader is having an excellent season but as I keep stating in this article, his contributions don’t show up on the stat sheet.

Pratt played 56 of a possible 84 snaps and had six total tackles and an interception in Week 8. He has marginal value and there are worse options if you’re really struggling due to byes or injuries, but I don’t recommend starting him otherwise.

Buffalo Bills (5-2) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)

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Bills

Starts

Tier One

Jordan Poyer, S.

Poyer has played very well for two consecutive games. The veteran safety was on the field for every down against the Dolphins and recorded 10 total tackles, an interception and two QB hurries.

He only has 32 total tackles this season, but remember that he has missed a game with an injury and the Bills have had their bye, too. Poyer also has added a sack, three interceptions, and three pass breakups. He’s just starting to get going.

Tier Two

Matt Milano, ILB.

Milano has also missed time with injuries this season but unlike Poyer, he hasn’t played as well since returning to the lineup. He had five tackles and a QB hurry in Week 8. It feels like he needs a big game to build back some confidence.

Milano is still playing every down so the opportunity is there.

Tier Three

Tremaine Edmunds, ILB; Jerry Hughes, EDGE.

Edmunds has been more productive than Milano this season so it may seem odd to have them separated by a tier. That won’t remain the case if Edmunds continues to rack up tackles as he has recently.

The former first-round pick had eight more tackles in Week 8 and now has 26 in the last three games. And like Milano, Edmunds is playing every defensive snap available.

Hughes is still the best pass rusher on the Bills. His 6 pressures led the team against Miami. The former Bills player also added a sack and a forced fumble. He now has 17 pressures and two sacks in his last three games.

What holds Hughes back is the same thing that holds all the Bills edge rushers back. They rotate too heavily. Hughes at least led the Bills edge rushers with his 43 snaps.

Hughes will face both Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor in Week 9. The two offensive tackles allowed 10 total pressures between them against the Seahawks last weekend.

Sits

Gregory Rousseau, EDGE; Micah Hyde, S.

Rousseau earned five total pressures which is an impressive number, but he did so on only 20 pass rush attempts, and he played only 31 snaps in total. As good as the rookie has looked at times, it’s difficult to start any player who plays less than half of the defensive snaps on offer.

Hyde’s value as a starter in fantasy has been helped with three interceptions this season. That’s all well and good, but what of the weeks when he doesn’t pick off the QB? He has gone four games in a row with four tackles or less.

Jaguars

Starts

Tier One

None.

Tier Two

Josh Allen, EDGE; Rayshawn Jenkins, S.

Allen’s 44 snaps, 28 pass rush, and six total pressures led the Jaguars’ edge rushers against the Seahawks last weekend. He had two sacks and added four total tackles.

The seventh overall pick in the 2019 draft ranks 22nd among all edge rushers in the league with 25 total pressures, and 16th with five sacks.

Allen will face Dion Dawkins in Week 9. Dawkins had a poor start to the season but has played much better recently. He has allowed just two total pressures in his last three games. It’s a tough matchup for Allen.

Jenkins played every down again and he played 32 snaps in a box role or on the defensive line. He had six total tackles and a QB hurry and has 43 tackles and three pass breakups this season.

Tier Three

Dawuane Smoot, EDGE; Damien Wilson, ILB; Myles Jack, ILB; Andrew Wingard, S.

Smoot earned his third sack of the season against the Seahawks but generated fewer pressures than in any other game this season. He has generated enough pressure this season to rank in tier two on this list, but his tackle numbers are derisory – he has nine tackles in seven games.

Smoot will battle the Bills right tackle Daryl Williams this weekend. Like Dawkins, Williams had a poor start to the season but has since improved greatly. He has allowed only three pressures in his last three games and presents a challenging matchup for Smoot.

Wilson played 52 of a possible 56 snaps in Week 8, and he led the Jags with 10 total tackles. This was the former Chiefs linebacker’s best game of the season so far. He now has 51 tackles this season and belongs in the upper end of this tier.

Jack may have lost playcalling duties to Wilson a few weeks ago, but he played every down last weekend, earned nine tackles, and had a QB hurry. He now has 46 tackles in six games.

Wingard recorded only two solo tackles. This was his lowest output of the season and is the first game in which he has recorded fewer than five tackles. Wingard now has 39 tackles, a sack and an interception this season.

Sits

None.

Houston Texans (1-7) at Miami Dolphins (1-7)

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Texans

Starts

Tier One

None.

Tier Two

Jonathan Greenard, EDGE; Justin Reid, S.

Greenard had a game typical of his performances so far this season. He had a sack despite generating only one pressure on 21 pass-rush attempts.

For Greenard to continue putting up these sort of sack numbers, one of two things must happen:

  • Greenard continues to record one of the most efficient pressure: sack ratios we’ve ever seen at the position.
  • Greenard begins to generate more pressures, allowing him to record similar sack numbers despite his pressure: sack ratio decreasing to a more sustainable rate.

As I said last week, I’m delighted that the Texans fanbase gets to cheer what appears to be a star in the making. I’m encouraged by his excellent PFF pass-rush grade too. I’m just a bit cynical that this will continue for very long.

With all of that said, Greenard has every chance to continue this hot streak against the Dolphins. He’ll face Jesse Davis and Liam Eichenberg and they have been abysmal in pass protection this season. Greenard will never have a better matchup.

Reid played 59 snaps and had 28 snaps in the box or on the defensive line. He led the Texans with 10 total tackles last weekend and now has 40 tackles, a forced fumble, two interceptions, and two pass breakups this season.

Tier Three

Kamu Grugier-Hill, ILB; Zach Cunningham.

Grugier-Hill has looked generally quite poor this season, but he continues to earn significant playing time. He had 49 snaps last weekend and turned that into five total tackles.

The former Eagles linebacker has 38 tackles in seven games. He could have more but has missed nine tackle attempts.

Cunningham could be a decent start for one week while Kirksey and Wilson are out. He should deliver a reasonable amount of tackles if he plays a reasonable amount of snaps, but it’s a bit of a gamble that he gets the nod after seemingly falling out of favor in recent weeks.

Sits

Christian Kirksey, ILB (injury – IR); Eric Wilson, ILB.

Kirksey was placed on injured reserve on Saturday with a thumb injury. could see increased snaps in Kirksey’s absence.

Wilson will not play this weekend.

Dolphins

Starts

Tier One

None.

Tier Two

Jerome Baker, ILB; Emmanuel Ogbah, EDGE; Christian Wilkins, IDL.

Baker missed last week with a knee injury. Monitor his status carefully this week. The former Ohio State Buckeye has only finished six games this season but has 41 total tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and two pass breakups.

Ogbah had arguably one of his quietest games of the season as a pass rusher. He managed just one pressure – a QB hit – despite rushing the passer 42 times. He also missed his lone tackle attempt.

The former Browns player did have a batted pass and a pass breakup to help avoid a complete disaster for his fantasy managers.

Ogbah will face Charlie Heck this weekend. Heck played reasonably well in place of the injured Marcus Cannon during Weeks 5-7, but he had a poor game against the Rams last weekend. Ogbah has a good opportunity to get back on track here.

Wilkins hasn’t had much of an impact as a pass rusher in his 2.5 seasons in the league, but he provides a reliable floor at an unreliable IDL position due to his tackle volume. No interior defensive lineman has more solo tackles this season.

If there is ever a game for Wilkins to demonstrate his pass-rushing prowess, this is it. The interior of the Texans’ offensive line has played very poorly this season.

Tier Three

None.

Sits

Jaelan Phillips, EDGE; Jevon Holland, S; Raekwon Davis, IDL.

Phillips led the Dolphins edge rushers with 61 snaps against the Bills. But he only generated two QB hurries despite rushing the passer 39 times.

Holland has started to get among the big plays in recent weeks, but he doesn’t earn enough tackles to be fantasy-relevant.

Davis fell behind Adam Butler in snaps this weekend.

Las Vegas Raiders (5-2) at New York Giants (2-5)

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Raiders

Starts

Tier One

Maxx Crosby, EDGE. Denzel Perryman, ILB.

Crosby’s story is one of my favorite of the season. The Raiders have had their bye and yet Crosby still leads the NFL in total pressure. He had one of his quieter outings in the Raiders last game and yet still had four total pressures.

Crosby will battle Nate Solder in Week 9. Solder’s performances have dropped off sharply in the last few years, and he has been particularly unimpressive this season. Crosby could have a big game.

Perryman played 55 snaps of a possible 69 and had eight total tackles. The fact this is his lowest tackle output of the season speaks volumes. The former L.A. Charger is second in the NFL with 84 total tackles. In tackle-heavy IDP leagues, he’s been an incredible asset this season.

Tier Two

Yannick Ngakoue, EDGE; Cory Littleton, ILB; Jonathan Abram, S.

Ngakoue led the Raiders in Week 7 with an impressive eight total pressures, including two sacks. He now has 32 total pressures and four sacks this season.

As is typical for Ngakoue, he hasn’t recorded many tackles. Because of this, he remains a boom-or-bust player where you rely on a sack for him to have fantasy value each week.

Matt Peart has helped to replace the impressive but injured Andrew Thomas in recent games. Peart hasn’t been as poor as many injury replacements tend to be, but he will have his hands full with an in-form Ngakoue.

Like Perryman, Littleton had his least productive game this season. The former Rams linebacker played 46 of a possible 69 snaps and had just five tackles against the Eagles. He will attempt to bounce back against the Giants and build on the 57 total tackles he has this season.

Abram played every down, had six solo tackles and a pass breakup. He played in the box or on the defensive line on 44 of his 69 snaps.

The 2019 first-round pick has 47 tackles, an interception, and two pass breakups this season.

Tier Three

None.

Sits

Quinton Jefferson, IDL.

Jefferson led all Raiders IDL with 43 snaps in Week 7. He also had his second consecutive game with five total pressures.

He is on my radar of one to watch but I’m tempering expectations on the basis that he had just six pressures in the first five games, and has never been a pass-rushing force in his five previous seasons in the league.

Giants

Starts

Tier One

Leonard Williams, IDL.

Williams led the Giants with four total pressures against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. He had a sack, a forced fumble, and added five total tackles.

The former Jets player now has 36 tackles, 26 total pressures, including seven sacks this season. He’s an elite option at the IDL spot.

Williams will face a lot of John Simpson and occasionally Kolton Miller in Week 8. When Miller is being kept busy by Azeez Ojulari, Williams could have his way with the interior of the Raiders offensive line.

Tier Two

Azeez Ojulari, EDGE; Dexter Lawrence, IDL; Logan Ryan, S.

Ojulari followed up the best game of his career in Week 7 (eight pressures, three sacks) with one of his quietest in Week 8. He had two tackles and just one QB hurry against the Chiefs.

This is expected of a rookie who is still refining his craft and doesn’t detract from what has been a very impressive rookie campaign for the 21-year-old edge rusher. It looks like the Giants have a stud in the making in the former Georgia Bulldog.

There is an argument to suggest Ojulari should be a tier-three player at what is a very deep position. I was tempted to place him there when I saw that he faced Kolton Miller this weekend, but then I remembered Brandon Parker is currently starting at right tackle. If Ojulari has success, it will more than likely come when he faces Parker.

Lawrence played 54 of a possible 81 snaps and recorded three tackles and two QB hurries. The 17th overall selection in the 2019 draft now has 23 total tackles, 20 total pressures, including two sacks.

Ryan was one of only four Giants players who played every down on Monday. He had seven total tackles and forced a fumble. The veteran safety now has 58 total tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles, and four pass breakups.

Tier Three

Tae Crowder, ILB.

Like Ryan, Tae Crowder played every defensive snap. He continues to play poorly and yet continues to rack up tackles. He registered eight tackles in Week 8, increasing his total for the season to 53.

Sits

Xavier McKinney, S (reserve/COVID-19)

McKinney tested positive and will likely miss the game this weekend. Check on his status nearer the weekend to be sure. He had seven total tackles against the Chiefs and has 39 tackles this season. If you get stuck with injuries or bye weeks then you could do worse.

Sunday Mid-Afternoon Games

Los Angeles Chargers (4-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (2-5)

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Chargers

Starts

Tier One

Joey Bosa, EDGE; Derwin James, S.

Bosa has not looked nearly as good in the last three games as he did in the first four. He has missed numerous practices in recent weeks due to injuries, and it is possible that his lack of production is linked to the same.

The former Ohio State Buckeye will have no reprieve in Week 9 as he faces the Eagles Lane Johnson. Johnson has only played five games this season but has allowed just nine pressures and zero sacks in that time.

James was very active in the Patriots game last weekend. He played every down and recorded a forced fumble and 13 total tackles. He could have had more but he missed three tackle attempts.

The Chargers talisman has 59 total tackles, two sacks, three forced fumbles, an interception, and a pass breakup. He has been arguably the best safety so far this season.

Tier Two

Kyzir White, ILB.

White remains the most impressive Chargers ILB despite Drue Tranquill’s return to the lineup. White played every down and had 11 total tackles. He now has 46 tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions in seven games.

Tier Three

Jerry Tillery, IDL; Linval Joseph, IDL; Nasir Adderley, S.

Tillery had his third sack of the season against the Patriots. He now has 15 total pressures, three sacks, and 22 total tackles this season. He hasn’t been playing particularly well but benefits from playing at a shallow position in fantasy IDP leagues.

Joseph had nine total tackles last weekend. He has 34 tackles this season, 11 total pressures, including a sack.

Center Jason Kelce hasn’t been the same player for a while now but can still play. Right guard Jack Driscoll has built on an impressive rookie season. Tillery and Joseph may need to try and take advantage of left guard Landon Dickerson where possible.

Adderley has only played in six games but has 45 tackles and two pass breakups. He is playing in the box more and more. He had two snaps in the box in Week 1, Eight in Week 3, Twelve in Week 5, and 24 in Week 8.

Sits

Drue Tranquill, ILB.

Tranquill has played in six games too and has 28 total tackles and a sack over that span. He has only played a prominent role in four of those games. If he can play enough snaps alongside White as he did last week, I can see Tranquill becoming a tier-three starter on this list.

Eagles

Starts

Tier One

Javon Hargrave, IDL.

Hargrave started the season in red-hot form, recording five sacks in his first five games. But the former Steelers player hasn’t had a sack in his last three games.

He was carrying a shoulder injury in the week but had no injury designation ahead of the game, so it is unusual that he played just 31 snaps, exactly half of those available and his fewest of the season. 

Hargrave has a challenging matchup against Corey Linsley and Matt Feiler in Week 9. Both offensive linemen started the season slowly but have since rediscovered their form from the 2020 season.

Tier Two

None.

Tier Three

Josh Sweat, EDGE; Davion Taylor, ILB; T.J. Edwards, ILB.

Sweat had a couple of sacks against the Lions last weekend. But he played just 30 snaps, and he was one of four different edge rushers who had between 22 and 33 snaps in a heavy rotation. This was something the Eagles did more of earlier in the season.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that Sweat faces one of the best matchups of Week 9. Storm Norton has been terrible this season, allowing 32 total pressures in seven games. He alone was responsible for eight of Matt Judon’s 10 pressures against the Pats last weekend.

Taylor and Edwards have supplanted Alex Singleton and Eric Wilson as starting ILBs for the Eagles. Edwards played 41 snaps and led the Eagles with 13 total tackles. Taylor played 39 snaps and had five tackles. I’m not totally comfortable starting either player, yet, but I prefer them to Singleton and Wilson of course.

Sits

Alex Singleton, ILB; Fletcher Cox, IDL.

As mentioned above, Singleton’s poor play and missed tackles have caught up with him. He played only 21 snaps last weekend as both Edwards and Taylor played ahead of him.

Cox was rumored to be traded. If the Eagles season continues to get away from them, we could see Milton Williams eat into Cox’s snap share. Williams played 34 snaps to Cox’s 27 last weekend.

Green Bay Packers (7-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-4)

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Packers

Starts

Tier One

Kenny Clark, IDL; Rashan Gary, EDGE; De’Vondre Campbell, ILB.

Clark played 53 of a possible 59 snaps against the Cardinals. He had a quiet game, registering three tackles and two QB hurries. It was slightly disappointing after he had recorded 13 tackles and two sacks in the previous two games, but this will happen for all IDL players irrespective of their talent level.

Clark has 24 tackles, 31 total pressures, and two sacks this season. Ideally, he would have recorded a few more sacks, but it’s a matter of time before they come. Clark is on pace to achieve a similar number of pressures to that which he had in 2019, and he had nine sacks in that season.

Center Creed Humphrey has played well for a rookie and left guard Joe Thuney is yet to allow a sack. Right guard Trey Smith is the weak link and it is he who Clark must look to take advantage of this weekend.

Gary was uncharacteristically quiet against the Cardinals, creating only two QB hurries and recording a single tackle. He has otherwise been one of the better edge rushers this season and will look to get back on track in a favorable matchup against the Chiefs Lucas Niang this weekend. Niang has allowed 21 pressures in six games.

Campbell played every down last weekend and had six total tackles, a sack, and a QB hurry. The former Falcons linebacker has been a revelation since joining the Packers, recording 68 total tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles, two interceptions, and a pass breakup.

Campbell has the best PFF grade of any full-time linebacker. Did you see this coming?

Tier Two

Adrian Amos, S.

By his standards, Amos had a relatively poor game against the Cardinals. The formers Bears safety played every down, earned five total tackles, and missed a tackle attempt.

He has 52 tackles this season, an interception, and two pass breakups. The Packers need Amos to be at his best against the Chiefs, especially now Rodgers isn’t playing.

Tier Three

Preston Smith, EDGE; Dean Lowry, IDL.

Smith played just 35 total snaps. His level of play has dropped off steadily since the earlier weeks of the season where he was at least effective in run defense. He had an opportunity to help replace Za’Darius Smith this season but he hasn’t capitalized.

Lowry’s development has been the opposite of Smith’s. Lowry started slowly but has played better in the last four games. 14 of his 17 pressures and all four of his sacks have come during that span.

The only negative is his snap share. He played only 29 of a possible 59 snaps. And keep an eye on his availability this week, he was a non-participant in practice on Wednesday with a hamstring injury.

See Clark’s notes for information on Lowry’s matchup.

Sits

Darnell Savage, S; Kingsley Keke, IDL (injury); Whitney Mercilus, EDGE.

Savage has only 25 tackles after eight games. It’s not enough to consider him as a fantasy starter.

Keke may have caught the eye of fantasy IDP managers with two sacks in Week 7. He played just nine snaps in Week 8 and is out this weekend with a concussion.

I’ve been very critical of Mercilus in recent seasons but must admit he looks a bit better recently. He had five pressures in six games for the Texans to start this season, he has seven pressures in the two games he has played since he joined the Packers.

Chiefs

Starts

Tier One

Nick Bolton, ILB.

I’ve delayed placing Bolton in this tier because he’s not a full-time linebacker. I’m moving him here despite the fact he still isn’t, as he continues to produce like an every-down player anyway.

The rookie earned another 12 total tackles in Week 8, albeit that only four of those were solo. It increases his total to 67 this season. To put this into perspective, he has only two fewer tackles than Logan Wilson but has played only 379 snaps compared with Wilson’s 496. It’s mind-blowing.

Tier Two

Chris Jones, EDGE; Tyrann Mathieu, S.

Jones has faced criticism for underperforming this season and it has been warranted. But we should remember he has missed games due to injuries, meaning he has only played in six games this season.

The veteran IDL turned EDGE had four pressures and a sack in Week 8. He now has 21 total pressures and three sacks this season.

The rumors that he would move back inside have been proven partially correct. In his last two games, Jones is splitting time more evenly between playing inside and outside, whereas in Weeks 1-4 he was playing the vast majority of his snaps at LE and LEO.

If the plan for Jones remains the same, he will, potentially, face center Lucas Patrick, right guard Royce Newman, and right tackle Billy Turner at times.

Tier Three

Frank Clark, EDGE; Juan Thornhill, S.

Clark played 53 snaps in Week 8 and led the Chiefs with five total pressures, including a sack. He added two tackles and a forced fumble. The former Seahawks player has 17 total pressures and a sack in five games.

Clark will face both Elgton Jenkins and Billy Turner as David Bakhtiari is not ready to return. Jenkins has been playing well, Turner is an easier proposition.

Thornhill played 50 of a possible 60 snaps but had only three tackles after earning 10 in Week 7. He played just three snaps in the box or on the defensive line in Week 8, compared with 32 in Week 7.

Sits

Ben Niemann, ILB; Willie Gay, ILB.

Niemann played 44 snaps against the Giants and had four total tackles. Bolton is playing very well, Willie Gay had a solid game, and Hitchens is likely to return soon. I don’t think there will be enough snaps to go around and Niemann may be the odd man out.

Willie Gay had 38 total snaps and had eight total tackles. He also added an interception. If Hitchens is out in Week 9, Gay may have some value. Monitor Hitchens status carefully.

Arizona Cardinals (7-1) at San Franciso 49ers (3-4)

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Cardinals

Starts

Tier One

Budda Baker, S.

Baker had eight total tackles and could have had more but he missed two tackle attempts. He played 30 of his 67 snaps in the box or on the defensive line.

The former Washington Husky has 50 total tackles this season, an interception, and a pass breakup.

Tier Two

Chandler Jones, EDGE; Markus Golden, EDGE.

Jones led all Cardinals edge rushers with 62 of a possible 73 snaps. He had two tackles, two hurries, and a batted pass. This was his fifth consecutive game without a sack.

Golden led the team with four total pressures. He didn’t manage a sack, his first game without a sack since Week 5, but he did at least add five tackles to help rescue his fantasy day.

Jones and Golden will face both Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey in Week 9. I don’t really like this matchup for either player.

Tier Three

Jordan Hicks, ILB; Jalen Thompson, S; Isaiah Simmons, ILB.

Hicks played every down against the Packers. He led the Cardinals with 11 tackles and a QB hurry. The former Eagles linebacker has 54 total tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble this season.

Thompson had a pass breakup and 10 total tackles but should’ve had more, as he missed four tackle attempts. 22 of his 64 snaps were spent in a box role.

Thompson now has 53 total tackles this season and belongs somewhere between tiers two and three.

Simmons had 71 of a possible 73 snaps, earned seven total tackles and a pass breakup. He has 54 total tackles, two forced fumbles, an interception, and two pass breakups this season.

Sits

None.

49ers

Starts

Tier One

Nick Bosa, EDGE; Fred Warner, ILB.

Bosa paced all the 49ers with six total pressures and two sacks against the Bears last weekend. The second overall pick in the 2019 draft now has 18 tackles, 29 total pressures, including seven sacks in seven games this season.

For the first time in Bosa’s career, he played the majority of his snaps at the LEO position rather than at REO. If that remains the case in Week 9, he will face Kelvin Beachum rather than D.J. Humphries. There isn’t much to choose between the two tackles. Bosa has a good matchup.

Warner had seven total tackles, a sack, and a pass breakup in Week 8. He has 60 total tackles, a sack, and two pass breakups this season.

Tier Two

None.

Tier Three

Arik Armstead, EDGE; Talanoa Hufanga, S; Azeez Al-Shaair, ILB.

Armstead had five tackles and three QB hurries last weekend. He has 18 total tackles, 22 pressures, and only one sack in seven games this season. The Cardinals Josh Jones is playing poorly, he has allowed 18 pressures this season, and four sacks in the last five games. Step up, Armstead, now is your chance.

I may be a bit early on Hufanga, but he had played every snap in Week 8. He spent 20 of his 70 snaps in the box or on the defensive line. The rookie had six total tackles.

Al-Shaair missed the last game as he was in the concussion protocol. Kyle Shanahan says he should return this weekend and Al-Shaair logged a full practice on Wednesday.

Sits

Dre Greenlaw, ILB (injury).

I mention Greenlaw this week as there were rumors he could return to practice and possibly even play. Kyle Shanahan confirmed that won’t be happening.

Sunday Night Football

Tennessee Titans (6-2) at Los Angeles Rams (7-1)

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Titans

Starts

Tier One

Harold Landry, EDGE; Jeffery Simmons, IDL.

Landry recorded four solo tackles, a forced fumble, and three total pressures, one of which was a sack. This was Landry’s sixth successive game with at least one sack. The 41st overall selection in the 2018 draft now has 43 total pressures and nine sacks this season, ranking third and second respectively.

Granted, Landry ranks third in the NFL in pass-rush snaps, but he still produces. More than Chase Young and Sam Hubbard who have played more, and more than Ogbah and Shaq Barrett, who are are immediately below him on that same list.

The Rams were without Andrew Whitworth last week. Whitworth is expected to return in time to face one of the most productive edge rushers of the season. Right tackle Rob Havenstein is no pushover when Landry switches to the left edge, Havenstein has allowed only nine pressures and a sack.

Simmons led the Titans with six total pressures, including five QB hurries and a QB hit. He had one solo tackle but should have had two more as he missed two tackle attempts.

The former first-round pick has 22 tackles and 33 total pressures this season. He has four sacks this season which is already a season-best. Simmons has become an elite player at his position this season.

None of the players on the interior of the Rams offensive line have performed consistently well. They have allowed 36 pressures in eight games. Simmons has a nice matchup here.

Tier Two

David Long, ILB; Denico Autry, EDGE.

Long played every down against the Colts and led the Titans with nine total tackles. He also added two QB hits. Missed tackles have been an issue for Long this season but he missed only one last weekend and didn’t miss any in Week 8.

Autry had six total pressures and now has 18 pressures in his last three games. He has also added five sacks. The only thing that lets the former UDFA down is his lack of tackles, he has only 10 in eight games this season.

Tier Three

Kevin Byard, S.

Byard played every down against the Colts had had three total tackles. He was targetted four times and didn’t allow a single reception, recording two pass breakups and an interception.

Sits

Rashaan Evans, ILB (injury – IR).

Evans missed Week 8 with an ankle injury and will miss Week 9 too.

Rams

Starts

Tier One

Aaron Donald, IDL; Leonard Floyd, EDGE; Von Miller, EDGE.

These three should be very exciting to watch in the second half of the season.

Donald had four total pressures against the Texans in Week 8, including two sacks. He now has 38 total pressures and 6 sacks this season. The interior of the Titans offensive line is porous in pass protection, and Donald should do Donald-like things as a result.

Floyd had his best game as a pass rusher last weekend. He recorded four total pressures, including three sacks, and earned his best pass rush grade of the season.

The former Georgia Bulldog now has 32 total pressures and eight sacks this season. If he retains his usual position, he should face David Quessenberry in this game. Quessenberry has allowed 19 pressures and four sacks this season, although 11 of those pressures and three of those sacks came in just one game.

The acquisition of Von Miller should help this defense immensely. Miller may not be in the top five best edge rushers in the league anymore, but he’s still very, very good.

Miller ordinarily rushes from the left of the defensive line, matching him up with the opposing teams’ right tackle. But that’s Floyd’s favored position too.

Whichever of these two edge rushers moves to the other side will face Taylor Lewan. Lewan started the season poorly but has found his form, allowing zero sacks and only three total pressures in his last three games.

Monitor Miller’s status. He missed Wednesday’s practice with an ankle injury and is currently listed as questionable.

Tier Two

Jordan Fuller, S; 

Fuller only played 30 snaps in Week 8. He was questionable in the build-up to the game and his snaps were presumably being managed carefully to avoid aggravating the knee injury.

When healthy he is a productive safety, especially in tackle-heavy leagues. The sixth-round pick in the 2020 draft has 57 tackles this season.

Tier Three

Troy Reeder, ILB.; Ernest Jones, ILB; Taylor Rapp, S.

Reeder played only 39 of a possible 61 snaps but was productive, recording seven total tackles and two QB hurries. The emergence of Jones hurts Reeder’s stock going forward.

Jones led all Rams linebackers with 54 snaps in his first start since the trade of Kenny Young. The rookie had a hell of a game, earning eight total tackles, a sack, an interception, and a QB hit. He leapfrogs Reeder in value and is on my radar to become a tier-two starter moving forward.

Keep an eye on Jones’ status ahead of the game; he is listed as questionable with an illness.

Rapp’s tackle numbers have been poor for the last four games. It’s a concern given his usage hasn’t changed much. He had 34 total tackles in Weeks 1-4 and has only 11 in Weeks 5-8. What gives, Rapp?!

Sits

Terrell Lewis, EDGE; Sebastian Joseph-Day, IDL.

I think Lewis’ value takes a hit with Von Miller’s arrival. It remains to be seen how much of a hit, but I’m sitting Lewis this week until we see this play out.

Joseph-Day misses his second consecutive game with a pectoral injury.

Monday Night Football

Chicago Bears (3-5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)

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Bears

Starts

Tier One

Roquan Smith, ILB.

Smith had his lowest tackle output of the season in Week 8. He had six total tackles and missed two more tackle attempts.

The eighth overall pick in the 2018 draft still ranks third in the NFL with an impressive 82 tackles this season.

Tier Two

None.

Tier Three

Robert Quinn, EDGE; DeAndre Houston-Carson, S.

Quinn started the season well, recording five sacks in his first six games, he then tested positive and was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list for Week 7. He didn’t look as good in his return to the lineup in Week 8, but it’s just one game.

Quinn will face Dan Moore Jr. on Monday Night Football. Moore has been poor, allowing 21 total pressures and three sacks in seven games. Quinn could bounce back in this matchup.

Deon Bush is on IR and cannot return for this game, so Houston-Carson could be a decent one-week starter at safety if you’re struggling. Tashaun Gipson officially started the game but Houston-Carson had more snaps. He has 17 tackles in his last two games.

Sits

Eddie Jackson, S (injury); Khalil Mack, EDGE (injury).

Jackson suffered a hamstring early in the 49ers game. Monitor his status this week. If he can play, he’s a tier-three safety. He is currently listed as doubtful.

The Bears’ defense sorely missed Khalil Mack last weekend. In fairness to the Bears, any defense would miss a player of Mack’s caliber.

Mack has been declared out for this game with the same foot injury.

Steelers

Starts

Tier One

T.J. Watt, EDGE; Cam Heyward, IDL.

Watt had four tackles, and five total pressures, including two sacks. It’s his second consecutive multi-sack performance and his third of the season.

Watt could face any one of three Bears right tackles in Week 9. Larry Borom stood in for Elijah Wilkinson in Week 8. Wilkinson, in turn, was standing in for Germain Ifedi. It may not matter, none of them are any match for Watt. It’s a favorable matchup for the 2020 defensive MVP candidate.

Heyward had three solo tackles, four pressures, including a sack against the Browns. He’s playing some of the best football of his career at age 32.

The left side of the Bears line will have its hands full with Heyward this week. Heyward will have the advantage in this matchup, as he would against most offensive lines.

Tier Two

Minkah Fitzpatrick, S.

Minkah played every down and had four total tackles. He played the vast majority of his snaps at free safety. He has 50 tackles this season and a forced fumble.

Tier Three

Joe Schobert, ILB; Terrell Edmunds, S.

Schobert’s 52 snaps led all Steelers off-ball linebackers. He also paced the Steelers with nine total tackles. The former Browns player has 43 tackles, a forced fumble, and three pass breakups.

Edmunds played every down and had five total tackles. He barely makes this list with a pedestrian 38 total tackles in seven games.

Sits

Alex Highsmith, EDGE; Devin Bush, ILB.

I was too hasty in recommending Highsmith as a tier-three starter last week. I was encouraged by his two-sack performance in Week 6 and by the fact that the Steelers were shopping Melvin Ingram.

Highsmith generated only a QB hurry on 29 pass rush attempts against the Browns. I’ll wait until he produces on a more consistent basis before recommending him as a starter again.

Bush played 44 of a possible 59 snaps and had five solo tackles. He’s fallen behind Schobert in total snaps and has marginal value as a starter. If you’re struggling with injuries or byes, you could do worse, but until then, sit him.

Final Reminder

Please remember to check inactive players before submitting your final lineups on Thursdays, Sundays, and Mondays. Players can and will suddenly become inactive at the last moment.

This NFL Week 9 Start/Sit IDP article was published days before kick-off. I will try to keep it updated with injury news if it affects start/sit recommendations. I will update it at least three times, once before the Thursday night game, once before the early games on Sunday, and again before the mid-afternoon games.

Please check the IDPGuys IDP Injury Report article from @FF_Skinnychef for the latest injury news.


Thanks for taking the time to read my NFL Week 9 Start/Sit article for IDP leagues! I hope you find it useful. You can find more of my work here at IDPguys.org, and you can follow me on Twitter @FFIDP_Jase. I will do my best to be available for questions or feedback. My DMs are always open.

For start/sit advice for players on offense, please check out the article here from the IDPGuys @FantasyLadder.

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