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USATSI

We enter Week 9 with several wide receivers not on the slate including Amon-Ra St. Brown, Brandon Aiyuk, Christian Kirk, Calvin Ridley, Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and Deebo Samuel who was questionable to play this week. The start or sit decisions get tighter in a week like this.

Jamey Eisenberg has his Start 'Em & Sit 'Em calls for Week 9 at wide receiver here. His Waiver Wire column can also direct you to the best options that may be available in your leagues. And don't forget to check out Heath Cummings' quarterback preview for more help with matchup notes, Week 8 numbers to know and more. Plus check out Heath's Week 9 projections over at Sportsline..

START 'EM & SIT 'EM
Wide Receivers
WRS to Start
Projections powered by Sportsline
CAR Carolina • #18
Age: 27 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs TEN PIT -2.5 O/U 36.5
OPP VS WR
19th
PROJ PTS
13.6
WR RNK
20th
YTD Stats
REC
16
TAR
26
REYDS
212
TD
0
FPTS/G
12.4
Kenny Pickett (ribs) is expected to start Thursday night against Tennessee, and hopefully, Pickett will continue to pepper Johnson with targets. He had 14 in Week 8 against Jacksonville and finished with eight catches for 85 yards, and he has now scored at least 12.9 PPR points in two games since returning from a four-game absence with a hamstring injury. Johnson should be considered a No. 2 PPR receiver against the Titans, who are No. 7 in most Fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers. And I like George Pickens as a high-end No. 3 PPR receiver in this matchup as well.
HOU Houston • #12
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs TB HOU -2.5 O/U 40
OPP VS WR
17th
PROJ PTS
13
WR RNK
21st
YTD Stats
REC
33
TAR
48
REYDS
577
TD
3
FPTS/G
15.5
Collins had a disappointing game in Week 8 at Carolina with four catches for 30 yards on six targets, and he hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 4. But I'm expecting a rebound performance this week against Tampa Bay, and the Buccaneers have struggled with opposing receivers of late. Since Week 6, a span of three games, six receivers have scored at least 11.4 PPR points against Tampa Bay, including three Bills (Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis and Khalik Shakir) in Week 8. Continue to start Collins as a No. 2 Fantasy receiver in all leagues.
BAL Baltimore • #4
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs SEA BAL -6 O/U 43
OPP VS WR
18th
PROJ PTS
12.5
WR RNK
25th
YTD Stats
REC
44
TAR
61
REYDS
461
TD
1
FPTS/G
12.2
Flowers just had the worst game of his career as the rookie had five catches for just 19 yards on seven targets in Week 8 at Arizona. Prior to that, he had scored at least 11.5 PPR points in three games in a row, and I expect him to get back on track in Week 9 against Seattle. The Seahawks are No. 8 in most Fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers, and 10 receivers have scored at least 13.7 PPR points against Seattle this year. Baltimore could struggle to run the ball in this matchup, so look for Lamar Jackson to lean on Flowers in this matchup at home.
IND Indianapolis • #1
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CAR IND -2.5 O/U 44
OPP VS WR
5th
PROJ PTS
11.9
WR RNK
24th
YTD Stats
REC
40
TAR
56
REYDS
473
TD
2
FPTS/G
12.4
Downs is hot right now, and it's time to consider him a must-start Fantasy receiver in all leagues. He's scored at least 13.1 PPR points in four games in a row and five of his past six outings. He has two touchdowns in his past three games, and he has four games in a row with at least six targets. Gardner Minshew is locked in on Downs, and it's been fun to watch. I still like Michael Pittman as the best Colts receiver, but Downs isn't far behind. And you can start both with confidence in Week 9 at Carolina, especially Downs who is a former Tar Heel.
CIN Cincinnati • #5
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs BUF CIN -2 O/U 49.5
OPP VS WR
13th
PROJ PTS
12.3
WR RNK
30th
YTD Stats
REC
19
TAR
42
REYDS
218
TD
2
FPTS/G
8.8
At some point, Higgins is going to have a breakout game and end his four-game slump. He showed some signs of life in Week 8 at San Francisco with five catches for 69 yards on six targets, but he hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 2 and has been laboring with injured ribs. Maybe the bye in Week 7 helped the healing process, and he has a favorable matchup in Week 9 against Buffalo. The Bills have allowed eight receivers to score at least 11.3 PPR points in their past four games, and three times a pair of receivers (Calvin Ridley and Christian Kirk, Kendrick Bourne and Demario Douglas and Chris Godwin and Mike Evans) each hit that mark. That bodes well for Ja'Marr Chase and Higgins in Week 9.
Sleepers (Start/Sit)
Projections powered by Sportsline
WAS Washington • #1
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NE NE -3.5 O/U 40.5
OPP VS WR
26th
PROJ PTS
8.7
WR RNK
36th
YTD Stats
REC
30
TAR
49
REYDS
291
TD
2
FPTS/G
8.9
Let's hope Dotson's performance in Week 8 against Philadelphia wasn't a fluke when he caught eight passes for 108 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. He now has 18 targets in his past two games, and Curtis Samuel (toe) is banged up. Terry McLaurin remains the No. 1 receiver for the Commanders and is a must-start Fantasy option, but Dotson is worth trusting again in three-receiver leagues. The Patriots also just allowed three Dolphins receivers (Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and Cedrick Wilson) to score touchdowns in Week 8, so McLaurin and Dotson should have the chance to make plays in this matchup.
NE New England • #81
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs WAS NE -3.5 O/U 40.5
OPP VS WR
31st
PROJ PTS
8.2
WR RNK
38th
YTD Stats
REC
19
TAR
30
REYDS
222
TD
0
FPTS/G
6
I'm excited about the setup for Douglas this week after Kendrick Bourne (ACL) was lost for the season, along with DeVante Parker (concussion) banged up. In Week 8 at Miami, Douglas led the New England receivers in snaps (41) and caught a season-high five passes on seven targets. He only managed 25 yards, but he has a great matchup in Week 9 against Washington. The Commanders are No. 2 in most Fantasy points allowed to receivers, and Douglas could have his breakout game this week. In deeper leagues, you can also take a flier on JuJu Smith-Schuster or Tyquan Thornton, but I like Douglas as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in all formats.
NO New Orleans • #22
Age: 25 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs CHI NO -8.5 O/U 41
OPP VS WR
24th
PROJ PTS
10.7
WR RNK
43rd
YTD Stats
REC
23
TAR
38
REYDS
479
TD
3
FPTS/G
11.3
I'm excited about Derek Carr in Week 9 against Chicago, and I expect his receivers to play well in this matchup. Chris Olave, despite his struggles with only two games of at least 12.7 PPR points in his past five outings, remains a must-start option. And Michael Thomas is a quality No. 3 PPR receiver since he's scored at least 10.5 PPR points in three of his past four games. Shaheed is a wild card because of his boom-or-bust production. He has three games this season with at least 18.3 PPR points and four outings with 7.2 PPR points or less. But when he's on he can win you a week in your Fantasy league, and I like his chances with this matchup against the Bears.
KC Kansas City • #4
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs MIA KC -1.5 O/U 50.5
OPP VS WR
28th
PROJ PTS
10.4
WR RNK
39th
YTD Stats
REC
30
TAR
39
REYDS
361
TD
3
FPTS/G
10.5
Rice had a down game in Week 8 at Denver with four catches for 56 yards on five targets, and his 9.6 PPR points snapped a three-game streak where he scored at least 11.2 PPR points. I'm expecting him to get back on track against the Dolphins in what should be a high-scoring affair in Germany. All the Chiefs struggled against the Broncos, so we can throw that game out. Rice should be considered a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in all leagues, and look for Patrick Mahomes to keep involving him as a significant piece of this high-powered offense.
WRs to Sit
Projections powered by Sportsline
CHI Chicago • #2
Age: 27 • Experience: 7 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ NO NO -8.5 O/U 41
OPP VS WR
10th
PROJ PTS
13.2
WR RNK
17th
YTD Stats
REC
44
TAR
57
REYDS
691
TD
5
FPTS/G
17.9
I'm still starting Moore in three-receiver leagues in Week 9 at New Orleans, but I'm not expecting a big game in this matchup. Moore has struggled with Tyson Bagent starting for the injured Justin Fields (thumb), and this is a tough matchup on the road. Moore has 55 receiving yards or less in his past three games, with Bagent starting two of them, and Moore hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 5. In Week 8 at the Chargers, Moore was held to four catches for 55 yards on six targets. The Saints are No. 14 in fewest Fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers, and Marcus Lattimore and this secondary should make things tough for Moore. Also, in his past three games against the Saints, Moore has combined for five catches for 41 yards and no touchdowns.
GB Green Bay • #9
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
vs LAR GB -3 O/U 38.5
OPP VS WR
11th
PROJ PTS
9.5
WR RNK
42nd
YTD Stats
REC
11
TAR
24
REYDS
176
TD
1
FPTS/G
8.7
It's tough to trust Watson right now given his recent level of play. He's gone three games in a row without a touchdown, and in his past two games against Denver and Minnesota, Watson has combined for six catches for 60 yards on 13 targets. Jordan Love is trying to connect with Watson, but it's not working. And Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed are having more success, so Love is spreading the ball around. I hope this is the week Watson breaks out of his slump, but he should only be considered a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues against the Rams.
NE New England • #17
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ ATL ATL -5 O/U 37
OPP VS WR
12th
PROJ PTS
8.4
WR RNK
NR
YTD Stats
REC
30
TAR
47
REYDS
360
TD
2
FPTS/G
9.8
Osborn just had his best game of the season in Week 8 at Green Bay with eight catches for 99 yards on 10 targets, but we know what happened in that game. Kirk Cousins (Achilles) was lost for the season, and I'm not going to trust Osborn in Week 9 with rookie Jaren Hall under center at the Falcons. I'm still OK with Jordan Addison as a No. 2 Fantasy receiver in all leagues, but Osborn gets downgraded from a No. 3 Fantasy receiver to someone who is risky with an inexperienced quarterback.
Bust Alert (Start/Sit)
Projections powered by Sportsline
KC Kansas City • #2
Age: 26 • Experience: 6 yrs.
Weekly Breakdown
MATCHUP
@ CLE CLE -8 O/U 37.5
OPP VS WR
3rd
PROJ PTS
11.8
WR RNK
34th
YTD Stats
REC
38
TAR
69
REYDS
416
TD
4
FPTS/G
13.3
There's a good opportunity to buy low on Brown, especially if he struggles in Week 9 at Cleveland. Kyler Murray (knee) is expected to make his 2023 debut in Week 10 against Atlanta, and Brown should benefit with Murray back. In Week 9, rookie Clayton Tune is making his first NFL start, and I expect him to struggle against a standout Browns defense. Cleveland is also No. 3 in fewest Fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, and Brown has scored 7.9 PPR points or less in two of his past three games. Brown is only worth starting in three-receiver leagues with Tune under center.