Writing the Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em is usually pretty easy, if I’m being honest. You never want to say to start DeMarco Murray and bench Geno Smith, because that’s too obvious. Even still, there are enough options based on matchups that make for a pretty easy article. Not this week, though. No, it’s the return of Bye-Mageddon, Bye-Nado or whatever clever name you want to give it. There are six, yes six, teams on bye this week. The Bears, Titans, Packers, Lions, Falcons and Bills are off, and all of the aforementioned teams except the Titans are loaded with fantasy relevant players.
With so many viable options on bye, it’s hard to suggest that you bench anyone. But alas, the show must go on.
With so many quarterbacks on bye, there’s a decent chance that you are scrambling for one. If by some chance he’s available, grab Eli Manning, as he’s this week’s start of the week. Yes, he was horrible against the Eagles, but that game not withstanding, he has at least 19 points in five of his past six games.
Manning has been a stud coming off of the bye week in the past, as he has 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions in such games over the past five years. Rashad Jennings is unlikely to play, and Andre Williams has done nothing in his starts that make you think he’s going to be relevant against the Colts. Indianapolis could be without their top cornerback (Vontae Davis), so expect Eli to be throwing early and often in a potential shootout with the Colts.
Chris Ivory, Jets: It’s always hard to recommend a Jet, but man, has Ivory been outstanding this year. According to CBS, he has at least nine fantasy points in every game that he has at least 10 carries. The matchup isn’t great against Kansas City, who have held running backs in check this year by not allowing one rushing touchdown, but Ivory will be good for a score and a few receptions with Michael Vick under center. Feel free to start Ivory with confidence this week, and if you’re in running back trouble, he’s a good trade target.
Brandon LaFell, Patriots: I don’t care about the weather. I really don’t. I expect the Broncos and Patriots game to be a high-scoring affair. I have a sneaky feeling that Shane Vereen and Julian Edelman will shine this weekend, but don’t leave LaFell out of your lineup this weekend either. LaFell has quietly been a dominant fantasy wide receiver over the past month, as he’s steadily put up around 15 or more fantasy points in standard leagues. He’s a great option this weekend in both standard and ppr formats.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs: If you play in a DFS league and Travis Kelce isn’t in your lineup this week, you’re doing it wrong. Kelce hasn’t lived up to the out-of-nowhere hype much this year, and his fantasy season has depended on yards after catch more than anything, since he’s on the field in two-tight end sets most of the time. The matchup for Kelce is a slam dunk, as the Jets have allowed nine touchdowns to opposing tight ends this year.
Philip Rivers, Chargers: Look, you’re playing Rivers. It’s unlikely that you have a better option for Week 9. But if you do, don’t hesitate to bench him or at least keep expectations in check. The Dolphins have made Tom Brady and Jay Cutler look like Ryan Leaf this year, and they held Aaron Rodgers in check until the fourth quarter. Be careful running Rivers out there this week.
Jonas Gray, Patriots: Gray was one of the hotter names on the waiver wire this week, and he looks to be the new Stevan Ridley of the Patriots’ offense. However, the Patriots are becoming easier to predict. If it’s a game that they will be up by a comfortable amount, expect them to run Gray. If they are in a heated contest or playing from behind, it’s a Shane Vereen game. This has all the makings to be a Vereen game, with Gray’s only potential value coming in the form of a goaline carry.
Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers : V-Jax looks like he just doesn’t care anymore, and can you blame him? The Tampa offense is atrocious. I have a man crush on Mike Glennon like it’s nobody’s business, but it’s a horrible situation. Add to it that Jackson should see plenty of Joe Haden this weekend, and even though Haden is one of the more overrated players in the game, his presence will take away from the volume for Jackson. Look for Mike Evans to have a big game against Justin Gilbert or Buster Skrine, as everyone has a big game against Gilbert and Skrine.
Zach Ertz, Eagles: I’m done. As a Philadelphia Eagles fan, I’m more than fed up with Ertz. He’s had great matchups, and he hasn’t been able to do anything with them (see last week). Nick Foles had over 60 attempts, and Ertz was unable to capitalize. With Brent Celek, Jordan Matthews and Darren Sproles all involved in the offense, I can’t trust Ertz ever, which means of course he will score this weekend. Play the odds and leave him on your bench and probably even better, your waiver wire.