NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Mailbag: Start/Sit Tips for D’Onta Foreman, Antonio Gibson, Tyler Higbee, More
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Running Back Start-Sit Questions
D’Onta Foreman Or Devin Singletary?
@MHayeser asks via Twitter: “[D’Onta] Foreman or [Devin] Singletary?”
Samantha: Although you did not specify scoring, I would probably go with Foreman in every format. The “Dollar Store Derrick Henry,” as Action Network’s Sean Koerner so lovingly coined, has been phenomenal stepping up when needed.
Foreman was the RB8 in half PPR after the Titans’ Week 13 bye last season with Derrick Henry out. So far, with Christian McCaffrey in San Francisco, Foreman has finished as the RB13 and RB5. He exploded last week for 118 yards and three touchdowns on a whopping 26 carries.
This would normally be enough to vault him into the low-end RB1 conversation, but Chuba Hubbard may be returning and the matchup is not great against the Bengals, who have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. The unit has been exploitable of late, however, and has allowed double-digit fantasy performances to Alvin Kamara, Tyler Allgeier and Nick Chubb in each of the last three games.
As far as Singletary goes, he may be faced with more competition with the trade deadline acquisition of Nyheim Hines.
Hines is coming off of his best game of the season, in which he rushed five times for 20 yards and a touchdown and caught two passes for 29 yards. He profiles much more as a pass-catching back than a traditional three-down back, but may siphon some work away from Singletary. He has an even worse matchup than Foreman against the Jets, who rank top eight in rush DVOA according to Football Outsiders.
It’s “Dollar Store Derrick Henry” for me.
Antonio Gibson Or James Robinson?
@GrahamTiedtkePO asks via Twitter: “Antonio Gibson or James Robinson?”
Samantha: Gibson, and unfortunately it is not that close. He had been trending in the wrong direction, but things may have shifted with the switch at quarterback to Taylor Heinicke.
Gibson was the RB16 and RB12 in half-PPR scoring in Weeks 7 and 8 and out-snapped rookie Brian Robinson last week 22 to 15. Robinson was a dud with just eight carries for 20 yards and no involvement in the passing game. Perhaps we were too hasty to crown Robinson the alpha in this backfield.
As for James Robinson, it is a tale of two seasons. Weeks 1-3, he was the RB3 in half PPR behind only Nick Chubb and Saquon Barkley. Weeks 4-8, Robinson was the RB44 after losing his starting job to Travis Etienne Jr. and being dealt to the Jets.
I hope better days are ahead for him, and that his Week 8 dud was a result of being eased into things for Gang Green. He will certainly have opportunities with Breece Hall out for the year and Zach Wilson struggling as much as he has.
This week, though, it is definitely Gibson. He faces the Vikings while Robinson takes on the Bills, who rank No. 5 in rush DVOA and have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this year. Gibson is a low-end RB2 and Robinson is a firm sit.
Devin Singletary, Nyheim Hines Or Rachaad White?
@cedarroom7 asks via Twitter: “Hi Sam! I have [Devin] Singletary, [Nyheim] Hines (now both on Bills?!) or [Rachaad] White to start two this byemageddon week (.5 PPR) Thanks!”
Samantha: Bye-mageddon stinks. Singletary is the no-brainer here. He was used more sparingly last week against the Packers in light of the positive game script but still eked out 83 scrimmage yards on 15 touches. He is a low-end RB2 this week against the Jets, who have been surprisingly solid against the run.
As for Hines versus White, I would lean White. It’s unclear what role Hines will play in the Bills’ offense and if he will even see a full complement of touches while getting up to speed with a new playbook and scheme.
Long term, I expect Singletary to see the lion’s share of the early down work, while Hines is mixed in on third down/passing downs. In the near term, he could be a complete bust.
Neither are high-upside options, but at least White has some semblance of a floor. He saw seven touches for 43 all-purpose yards last week against the Ravens though he does have a difficult matchup against the Rams. L.A.’s defense ranks fourth in rush DVOA, but has looked more susceptible since Week 4.
Tight End Start-Sit Question
Kyle Pitts Or Tyler Higbee?
@doughbull asks via Twitter: “[Kyle] Pitts vs. [Tyler] Higbee?”
Samantha: This is extremely close. After weeks of disappointment, Pitts finally redeemed himself in Week 8, catching 5-of-9 targets for 80 yards and a touchdown. He was the TE3, which was only his second week finishing top 12 at the position.
He’s out of my doghouse (for now), though his usage has been erratic at best and his upside is capped by Marcus Mariota’s inability to throw downfield. The matchup is slightly negative against the Chargers, who rank a hair above average in both pass DVOA and fantasy points allowed to tight ends.
I actually love Higbee this week. The matchup sounds brutal on paper against the Buccaneers’ pass defense, but they have been beaten by the Ravens, Panthers and Steelers in the last three weeks. The unit ranks No. 6 in pass DVOA and have been curiously susceptible against tight ends. The Buccaneers have given up the fourth-most fantasy points to the position this year and were just torched by Isaiah Likely on Thursday Night Football for 77 yards and a touchdown.
If Cooper Kupp misses this game, Higbee would be a must-start. If Kupp plays, I would probably give the slight edge to Pitts based on upside.
Wide Receiver Start-Sit Question
Chase Claypool Or Adam Thielen?
@patrick12383581 asks via Twitter: “[Chase] Claypool or [Adam] Thielen?? Solid vs. lightning in [a] bottle with [a] new QB.”
Samantha: You have essentially answered your own question.
In most scenarios, I would lean Thielen. He has double-digit fantasy points in half-PPR scoring in back-to-back games and four of his last five. He has a fabulous matchup this week against the Commanders, whose defense ranks bottom five in pass DVOA and has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this year.
Long term, I am concerned that newly acquired T.J. Hockenson could eat into Thielen’s target share, but I am less concerned about that this week.
I would only play Claypool if I were desperate and needed a lottery ticket in Week 9. He is a risk/reward WR4 with a very wide range of outcomes.
Like Thielen, Claypool also has a sweet matchup against the Dolphins, who rank bottom four in pass DVOA and have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to receivers. My concern in the near term is that he may not be up to speed with Chicago’s playbook and that his upside could remain capped in this Bears offense.
Justin Fields (and the passing game) is finally showing signs of life, though the team still ranks last in pass play percentage (40.1%). Long term, I really like this trade. Fields deserves to be surrounded with weapons and should mesh well with Claypool’s skill set.
Claypool will have minimal competition from the other receivers on the Bears’ depth chart, which has left a lot to the imagination this season. He could end up being a solid week-to-week WR2 (or everything we had hoped Darnell Mooney would be).
Flex Start-Sit Question
Dameon Pierce, D’Onta Foreman, Michael Pittman Jr. or Jakobi Meyers?
@DaSilentSoldier asks via DM: “My dilemma this week is [Dameon Pierce], [D’Onta] Foreman, [Michael] Pittman, [or Jakobi] Meyers [in] PPR, need one.”
Samantha: Pierce for me.
I have fully eaten crow on my preseason Pierce trepidations. The rookie is an absolute stud.
Since Week 3, Pierce is the RB8 on a per-game basis and has not scored fewer than 14 points in full-PPR scoring. He participated in a dominant 78% of snaps in Week 8 while Rex Burkhead saw a season-low 19%. He is the clear-cut workhorse RB1, something that is increasingly rare of late.
This week will likely be Pierce’s first true test against the undefeated Eagles. Houston may not put itself in a positive game script that would favor the run, but Pierce is currently their best offensive weapon. The Eagles rank 22nd in rush DVOA and are middle-of-the-road in fantasy points allowed to running backs.
I would rank the remaining guys exactly as you have them.
One thing I will note: I understand the impetus to start a receiver in full-PPR formats in your flex. It’s a good strategy, don’t get me wrong, but your running back options are both more attractive than Pittman, who is catching passes from Sam Ehlinger, and Meyers, who had a good game last week, but will continue to have limited upside opposite Mac Jones.