Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2019): Quarterback/Tight End Edition: Week 9: Matthew Stafford, Baker Mayfield, Jonnu Smith & More


Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:


Start – Gardner Minshew II – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Houston

Minshew has had his ups and downs this season, though he’s coming off a strong performance against the Jets (279 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT). Overall he’s thrown 13 TD vs. 2 INT, and this past week was a good bounce back after back-to-back sub par days:

  • vs. NO – 48.3% completion, 0 TD, 1 INT
  • at CIN – 46.9% completion, 1 TD, 0 INT

Luckily he draws a Houston defense that’s allowed the sixth most points per week to opposing quarterbacks, including 18 TD vs. 3 INT. They’ve been even worse lately, with 13 TD allowed over the past four weeks, and they will also be without J.J. Watts, who was lost for the season in Week 8.

Sit – Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns – at Denver

When we talk about tough defenses we all think about the Patriots and 49ers. How about the Broncos, who have allowed the third fewest points per week to opposing quarterbacks this season? Overall they’ve allowed just 6 TD passes, and while we wouldn’t shy away from other quarterbacks against them do you really believe that Mayfield and company will suddenly get it figured out?

Cleveland has been a disaster this season, and while they’ve faced both the 49ers and Patriots over this three game stretch the numbers from Mayfield could be telling:

  • at SF – 100 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT
  • vs. Sea – 249 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT
  • at NE – 194 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Against another difficult defense, there’s little reason to expect a rebound.

Another Quarterback To Start:

  • Matthew Stafford (DET at OAK) – We mentioned it in our weekly rankings, but it’s worth echoing again here. Who would’ve expected Stafford to be considered one of the better fantasy options heading into any week? That’s where we are for Week 9, as he finds himself as a Top 5 option against an Oakland defense that’s allowed the most points per week to opposing quarterbacks over the past four weeks (and second most overall). Of course the fact that Stafford has thrown for 706 yards, 7 TD and 2 INT over the past two weeks doesn’t hurt.

Another Quarterback To Sit:

  • Jacoby Brissett (IND at PIT) – Brissett has been great this season, but he struggled against Denver in Week 8 (202 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT) and the matchup against the Steelers isn’t much better (they’ve allowed the ninth fewest points per week to opposing quarterbacks). Over the past two weeks they’ve been even better, allowing the fifth fewest points per week, making Brissett that much tougher to trust.

Tight Ends

Start – Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers – vs. Tennessee

Olsen has really struggled in recent weeks, with 8 catches for 70 yards over his past four games. Why would we think that he’s a solid play this week then? The Titans have allowed 4 TD to opposing tight ends this season and in Week 7 they allowed over 100 yards to Hunter Henry & the Los Angeles Chargers’ tight ends. Given the state of the position that’s enough to put him on radars. It’s not to say that Olsen is a truly trustworthy option, but there’s enough here to consider him a low-end option.

Sit – Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings – at Kansas City

Rudolph has more than 36 yards just once this season and more than 17 yards twice. Throw in that Adam Thielen is set to return from injury and the recent re-emergence of Stefon Diggs and why exactly would you want to bet on Rudolph suddenly figuring it out?

Another Tight End To Start:

  • Jonnu Smith (TEN at CAR) – Stepping in for Delanie Walker Smith turned 7 targets into 6 catches, 78 yards and 1 TD against Tampa Bay. Over the past two weeks he’s racked up 142 yards so he’s clearly rolling. The Panthers have also allowed 80+ yards to tight ends in each of their past two games (and 60+ in three straight). Even if Walker returns, Smith should play a significant role once again.

Another Tight End To Sit:

  • Noah Fant (DEN vs. CLE) – The Browns have allowed just 265 yards to opposing tight ends this season. For no other reason that would make Fant a risky play, but with a new quarterback and an offense that could struggle he’s an even longer shot to make an impact.

Sources – ESPN,

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Make sure to check out all of our Week 9 rankings:

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends


  1. Good evening, Professor. 14 team, 1/2 PPR. Assuming you would start WR’s Mike Evans & Golden Tate, RB’s Nick Chubb & Leonard Fournette…who would you flex of Jamaal Williams, Corey Davis, Ronald Jones, Chris Conley or Allen Lazard?

    • I guess Williams, though it’s not a ringing endorsement. Conley is the second choice, and if Westbrook is out I’d lean that way


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