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Erickson: NFL Week 9 fantasy football start 'em or sit 'em

Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) reacts after throwing a second half touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Week 9 represents the start of the second half of the fantasy football season, so the start/sit decisions made this week will be crucial to whether the championship run starts or the dreams of hoisting the trophy fade into oblivion.

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Injuries continue to ravage fantasy lineups (Aaron Jones, please get healthy), and bye weeks have us scrambling to find replacements for the likes of Joe Burrow, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, Kareem Hunt, Cooper Kupp and Travis Fulgham.

Nobody’s roster will be at 100% in Week 9, so we need to salvage victories however we can. I'm here to be your guide through weekly sit/start questions across traditional 10- and 12-team leagues, along with deeper formats.

So, without further ado, get ready for the ninth edition of the 2020 PFF fantasy football start ‘em or sit ‘em.


Oct 11, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrates in the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The Raiders defeated the Chiefs 40-32. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


Derek Carr put up a stinker in Week 8 against the Cleveland Browns, but the weather was more to blame than Carr’s play. He set a season-low in completions (15) and attempts (24) because the wind gusts made it nearly impossible to throw downfield.

Before last Sunday’s performance, Carr had been averaging 21.7 fantasy points per game dating back to Week 2 and needs to be played this week in what projects to be a high-scoring affair. Our friends in the desert have LV @ LAC pegged with the second-highest total on the slate (53). 

Carr should be in an easy bounce-back spot in Week 9 against the Los Angeles Chargers, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks in 2020. They have given up the second-most points over the past four weeks.

The Chargers also predominantly run zone-coverage schemes, and Carr has the fourth-highest passer rating against zone coverage this season (103.5).

Their defense will also be without slot cornerback Desmond King, whom the team traded before Tuesday’s trade deadline. That will thrust Tevaughn Campbell into the starting role in the slot after allowing a perfect passer rating when targeted (158.3) so far. 

Carr owns the league’s fourth-highest average depth of target (aDOT) when targeting the slot this season, so look for him and some of his speedy slot wideouts — Henry Ruggs III, Nelson Agholor — to deliver a few splash plays. 


The folks over at ESPN claim that Lamar Jackson is being started in fewer than 70% of the leagues. THIS IS A CRIME, PEOPLE. I know it’s been tough sledding for Jackson as a passer in 2020, but his fantasy value is tied to his legs — and that is not going away.

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