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NFL Fantasy 2021 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 9: Wide receivers

You have lineup questions. We have answers. At least we hope. Start 'Em & Sit 'Em has helped fantasy managers for years make those pressing lineup decisions. And you know what is a good decision? Starting Patrick Mahomes. But that's too obvious, so you won't see that here. Instead here are some of the most-pressing questions. And, if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings right here.

Start 'Em

Diontae Johnson
Pittsburgh Steelers PIT · WR
Chicago Bears
2021 · 3-5-0

The defense has been rather rough for my Bears in recent weeks. No play has illustrated those struggles like the 49ers being on a third-and-18 in the shadow of their goalpost and then having Deebo Samuel take it 80+ yards to the house for a touchdown. I guess the moral of that story is to start your Steelers receivers. The Bears have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to receivers this year. Johnson leads the Steelers in targets. He’s automatic. I also love Chase Claypool this week, too. 

Brandin Cooks
Houston Texans HOU · WR
Miami Dolphins
2021 · 1-7-0

Cooks had 20+ points against the Rams on Sunday, and he’s had at least 17 points in five of eight games this year. He’s a must-start in PPR leagues. He’s a little less reliable in standard leagues considering he has just two touchdowns on the season. I’m writing this in the hopes he’s on a new team this week. Though that would mean he can’t take advantage of this choice matchup against the Dolphins. Miami has allowed the second-most fantasy points to receivers this season. 

Emmanuel Sanders
Buffalo Bills BUF · WR
Jacksonville Jaguars
2021 · 1-6-0

I know there is something to be said about not chasing fantasy points. But what is it called when you’re chasing a bagel? The food coma? Let’s workshop this one for a bit. But I will say Sanders had no points against the Dolphins. None. Though I’m sure I don’t have to tell you. I’m sure you -- like me -- kept hitting refresh on your phone all morning. Here’s what is important: Manny was targeted 10 times. And his previously low score of the season came against Miami. Maybe the Dolphins have his number. This is a great matchup against the Jaguars. And I’m sure Josh Allen is going to take care of him. 

Rashod Bateman
Baltimore Ravens BAL · WR
Minnesota Vikings
2021 · 3-4-0

I’m looking forward to Bateman breaking out in the second half of the season. He’s had six targets in each of his two games since he has returned from injury. He turned his six targets into three receptions for 80 yards against the Bengals two weeks ago. He’s got a great matchup against the Vikings, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing defenses. Minnesota had trouble covering, well, just about every receiver on Monday night. This could be a great opportunity for Bateman. 

Van Jefferson
Los Angeles Rams LA · WR
Tennessee Titans
2021 · 6-2-0

Here’s my thing with Jefferson, he’s turning out to be the player we wanted DeSean Jackson to be. It’s kind of like how Bryan Danielson was an afterthought in NXT (even though he was an indy darling) and it was Stu Bennett they wanted to get over. But they eventually buried Stu (Wade Barrett) and Danielson went on to big things. That could be Jefferson. He had 88 yards on just three receptions. So he needs big plays. Thankfully, the Titans are one of the most-generous defenses in the league. 

Jaylen Waddle
Miami Dolphins MIA · WR
Houston Texans
2021 · 1-7-0

DeVante Parker returned last week and put together a really nice effort against the Bills. I still favor Waddle, however. Waddle led the Dolphins with 13 targets and continues to have the eyes of Tua Tagovailoa, which is key. The Texans aren’t the pushover you would assume, given -- you know -- that they are the Texans and everything. But they have allowed three touchdown receptions to receivers over the past two weeks. The Rams moved the ball seemingly at will against them. I’m anticipating both teams to be locked in a close battle, which will allow the Dolphins to keep throwing.  

Sit 'Em

DeVonta Smith
Philadelphia Eagles PHI · WR
Los Angeles Chargers
2021 · 4-3-0

This is the toughest call of the week for me. And I know some people are not going to have a choice with the bye weeks. Here’s my thing with Smith, however. He had nine targets two weeks ago in a blowout loss. And then didn’t get a lot of targets in a blowout win for the Eagles last week. When looking at the possible game script, the Eagles could be in a close contest (or more likely losing), which should give more opportunity to Smith in this one. I’m actually counting on more targets for him this week, more meaningful targets. The Chargers are one of the toughest teams against opposing receivers. But the Patriots didn’t even throw to their RBs, instead going for their WRs. But I trust the Patriots coaches more than the Eagles. Thank you for letting me work this out in my mind right here on the screen -- and I did talk with my guy Matt Okada, too. But I’m out on DeVonta this week. I feel like I’m going to regret it, but I’m (somewhat) comfortable with my position. 

Tyler Boyd
Cincinnati Bengals CIN · WR
Cleveland Browns
2021 · 4-4-0

Boyd had a great stat line last week -- which came after I labeled him as a sit. So, you’re welcome. That’s the way this fantasy life always seems to work. Boyd tied with Ja’Marr Chase for the team lead with eight targets. The matchup against the Browns isn’t bad. The Browns are middle of the pack when it comes to defending receivers. I still have him as the third option among the receivers behind Chase and Tee Higgins. I’m also big on C.J. Uzomah this week. Oops, that’s a spoiler for the tight end section of this piece. Try to act surprised when you read it. Thank you! 

Mike Williams
Los Angeles Chargers LAC · WR
Philadelphia Eagles
2021 · 3-5-0

Mike was known as BMW not too long ago. Big Mike Williams. But the last couple of weeks he’s been SMW. Schwinn Mike Williams. He’s not even an automobile now. And the matchup against the Eagles isn’t perfect. They have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to receivers this year. Williams opened the year with three straight weeks with at least 22 fantasy points. But he’s scored less than five points in three of his last four. This is a get-right game for the Chargers. But I’d count on Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler more in this one. 

Jakobi Meyers
New England Patriots NE · WR
Carolina Panthers
2021 · 4-4-0

Let me start off by saying that having Jakobi catch a two-point conversion is an act of cruelty. Meyers led the Patriots in receiving targets once again, with nine. But while I know the lack of touchdowns has become kind of running joke in fantasy circles, it really has capped his value. My guy has exceeded double digits once since he had 16.8 points in Week 4. The Panthers have really shut down opposing receivers this year. And there are some big-name receivers off this week, so maybe you have to look at Meyers. But he’s a WR3 at best for me this week. Which means he’s scoring a pair of touchdowns just because I wrote this. 

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