Inside Injuries: Start and Sit Tips for Week Nine
How injuries may affect your Week Nine lineups
Ben Roethlisberger (QB, Steelers)
Big Ben fractured the index finger on his left (non-throwing) hand but still played well in the second half in Week Eight. Roethlisberger typically plays through such injuries and will play in Week Nine against the Ravens in Baltimore. The Ravens’ defense is one of the tougher matchups for quarterbacks, as they’ve allowed an average of just 15.2 fantasy points per game this season. In addition, Roethlisberger’s struggles on the road are well documented, although he’s fared well in three road games this season.
Against the Ravens in Pittsburgh earlier this season, Big Ben took a loss but threw for 274 yards with one TD and one interception to produce 17.6 FP. In a week in which there are six teams on bye, you shouldn’t let his injury prevent you from starting him. Just remember to temper your expectations a bit.
Melvin Gordon (RB, Chargers)
Gordon missed Week Seven with a hamstring injury suffered in practice and had the benefit of a Week Eight bye to rest and recover. While he remains an Elevated risk for injury, he’s surpassed his Optimal Return to Health date. Gordon’s HPF is Above Average and he will start in Week Nine.
The Chargers are facing the Seahawks, a team with a middling defense that has allowed an average of 23.2 FP to opposing running backs. This should be a productive game for Gordon, who is averaging 5.1 yards per carry and 9.3 yards per reception this season. He’s also scored nine touchdowns (six rushing, three passing). Start him with confidence this week.
Sony Michel (RB, Patriots)
Michel has been practicing on a limited basis after the Patriots gave him Week Eight to recover from his knee injury. He is still an Elevated injury risk, but his HPF is improving as he approaches his Optimal Return to Health date.
The Patriots are hosting the Green Bay Packers in Week Nine, a team whose defense has allowed an average of 23.1 FP to the running back position this season. Ignoring Weeks One and Two, in which Michel played on a limited basis—and a shortened Week Seven due to the injury—Michel has gained more than 100 total yards from scrimmage in each of the games in which he was the featured back. You can bet that if the Patriots are starting him, he will be featured. Given that six teams are on a bye, it would be short-sighted to sit Michel this week so long as he is active. Just remember to double check the injury reports and check in with Inside Injuries prior to Sunday’s games.
Tyreek Hill (WR, Chiefs)
If Hill is active, he is a must-start player. The good news is that Hill practiced in full on Wednesday despite injuring his groin late in the Week Eight game. While Hill is at an Elevated risk for injury due to the tricky nature of even mild groin strains, his HPF should remain somewhere between Below Average and Above Average.
The real reason to start Hill is the juicy matchup he has against the Cleveland Browns in Week Nine. The Browns remain in total disarray at this point in the season and are among the worst defenses in the league against wide receivers. Opposing wide receivers have racked up nine touchdowns and almost 1,500 yards against the Browns, who have allowed an average of 40.7 FP to wide receivers. Check the injury reports and check in with Inside Injuries on Hill’s status prior to Sunday’s games, but if he's active he needs to be in lineups.
Matt Breida (RB, 49ers)
Breida is still suffering from an ankle injury and is otherwise banged up, which has greatly affected his performance. Over the last two games, Breida has produced a combined 5.7 fantasy points, making him an unusable fantasy asset until he takes the time to heal his injuries. Inside Injuries has him listed as an Elevated injury risk and his Health Performance Factor is Below Average. While the Raiders have allowed an average of 28.8 FP to the position, Breida can’t be trusted to produce in a short week given his track record over the past two weeks. Sit him for Week Nine.
<Allen Robinson (WR, Bears)
Robinson struggled to play through a groin injury in Week Seven, then aggravated the injury in Week Eight. Even if he does return in Week Nine, there is a good chance he will injure himself again. Considering he is only averaging 6.8 FP per game, you can’t risk another poor performance. Robinson’s HPF remains Poor and he’s a High risk for injury.
While it appears the Bears have a good matchup against the Bills, Buffalo’s defense has allowed just seven touchdowns and an average of 33 FP per game to the wide receiver position. Don’t take any chances with Robinson in Week 9.
Kenny Stills (WR, Dolphins)
Stills may return in Week Nine, but after missing Week Eight with a groin strain, the tricky nature of the injury makes it possible he will miss another game. Stills is listed as a High risk for injury and his HPF is on the low side of above average. While it appears the Dolphins have a good matchup against the Jets, Stills will have to compete with Danny Amendola and DeVante Parker for targets, as they remain the favorites of QB Brock Osweiler who will start again this week. Besides, Stills is averaging just 7.4 FP per game and he’s only scored double-digit fantasy points twice this season (Weeks One and Three). Don’t risk starting Stills this week.
Alex Collins (RB, Ravens)
Collins found the end zone in Week Eight and provided decent Flex value to his owners. He’s been limited in practice this week with a foot injury, and now the Ravens have traded for RB Ty Montgomery, who could eat into Collins’ workload.
The Ravens will be hosting the Steelers in Week Nine, a defense that has allowed just five total touchdowns to running backs this season, including just three on the ground. The Steelers have allowed an average of just 16.4 FP per game to the running back position this season. In fact, the only team that is stingier to running backs is…the Ravens. Because of his limitations and the poor matchup, Collins is a weak play for Week Nine.
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