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Changing the Call: Quarterback Start/Sits Week 9

Is PJ Walker season unexpectedly upon us? When will Justin Herbert climb back into the elite tier of fantasy QBs? @Spydes78 delivers these answers and more in this installment of Changing the Call, a weekly start/sit guide to the quarterback position. Check it out & good luck!⬇️

Huddle up, Nerds! You’ve looked to your favorite dynasty site to guide you through the spring and summer months, but a strong offseason alone will not win you a championship. No matter how talented your roster is, you’ll need to make the right lineup decisions to wrestle glory from your league mates.  

But, have no fear! Your Dynasty Nerds writers are here to shepherd you through the minefield of starts and sits. Our staff will make recommendations each week to aid in your lineup decision-making. Look for the position-specific columns below to guide you to dynasty grandeur. 

Follow us, friend us, and tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you! 

NOTE: Rankings are based on a 12-team PPR league. So, saying WR2 means top 24, or TE1 means top 12, etc., and are pulled from Fantasy Pros consensus expert rankings.

About Last Week…

Previous Week Record: 3-1

Season Long Record: 23-9

Week 8 Starts

In the classic words of Talladega Nights’ Ricky Bobby, if you ain’t first, you’re last. Well, that’s exactly where Tua Tagovailoa, Week 8’s first start recommendation, ended up. With a massive 29.2 fantasy points, Miami’s quarterback vaulted to the top of the heap for the week. As I suspected, Tua put concussion concerns behind him by dropping 382 yards and three touchdowns on a weak Detroit defense.

Secondary on the start slate was Kirk Cousins, who also delivered in a major way. Minnesota’s quarterback racked up a pair of scores through the air and tacked on another on the ground. His 23.5 fantasy points placed 7th on the week, lifting many a lineup to victory.

Week 8 Sits

The success carried over to the ‘sits’ with my recommendation to shelf Trevor Lawrence. Playing in front of a packed house at Wembley Stadium, a staunch Denver defense terrorized Lawrence more than a werewolf in London. The Jaguars quarterback ended up with three turnovers and a lowly 8.8 fantasy points. He finished eight spots below his FantasyPros weekly ECR, rewarding the decision to bench him.

One critical miss on the week came from my suggestion to sit Justin Fields. Though the passing productivity was predictably down, Fields managed a trio of scores (two passing and one rushing) which buoyed his fantasy profile. With the Cowboys having played strong defense, I did not anticipate such a high-scoring affair. Congratulations if you ignored my warning and benefited from Fields’ unexpected outburst.    

WEEK 9 STARTS

Justin Herbert (FantasyPros Wk9 ECR: 6)

Fantasy players who entered into the 2022 season with Herbert on their roster had reason to feel confident. The Chargers quarterback had just dazzled by finishing second only to Josh Allen and seemed destined for greatness. However, with a bit of an up-and-down season thus far, Herbert has proven to be a bit of a disappointment.  

Consider a few key indicators that clearly illustrate this inconsistency. Los Angeles boasts the NFL’s fourth most bountiful passing offense, averaging a robust 279.4 yards per game. However, Herbert’s PFF grade of 69.7 ranks a lackluster 15th. The Chargers quarterback has posted 17.9 points per game through seven games, respectable but outside the Top 10.

Well, fear not, Herbert owners. Help is on the way in the form of a choice matchup. In Week 9, Herbert and the Chargers will head to Atlanta. Though the Falcons have recently made headlines for their unexpected ascension to a division lead, Atlanta’s success has come despite (and not because of) their defense. The Falcons have surrendered an astonishing 20.9 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Only three teams in the league have coughed up more.

With the road Chargers favored by a field goal and a robust over/under (49) that is among the tops in the Week 9 slate, oddsmakers see the potential for a ton of scoring. Lock Herbert into your lineup this week, and expect to see the type of electric performance that made Herbert a preseason favorite.

Taylor Heinicke, WAS (FantasyPros Wk9 ECR: 19)

With Commanders’ starter Carson Wentz making a sad return to the injured reserve, backup Heinicke has also stepped into familiar territory. After leading Washington throughout the 2021 season, he has looked right at home under center ushering his team to back-to-back victories. Last week, the Old Dominion alum collected a Top 10 fantasy finish, posting 279 yards and a pair of scores against the Colts.

In Week 9, the Commanders will face a daunting task when they host the surging Vikings. At 6-1, Minnesota has themselves perched atop a short list of NFC favorites. It is most certainly their ineffective pass defense if they have any weakness. In 2021, Minnesota was notoriously abused by quarterbacks, giving up an average of 18.2 fantasy points. A year later, and under new management, the Vikings have been similarly inept. They currently allow 18.7 points per game to the opposition, 24th in the league, and are ripe for attacking.

Do not be dissuaded by the fact that Minnesota is predictably favored in this contest. I anticipate a game script that will require Washington to pass quite a bit to keep pace with a potent Vikings offense.  

Having established chemistry with his receivers, look for Heinicke to continue to be hot in his relief stint. Many will overlook his potential, given the superficially lopsided appearance of this matchup. Don’t make that mistake. Give Heinicke a start and capitalize on a sneaky matchup play.

WEEK 9 SITS

Mac Jones, NE (FantasyPros Wk9 ECR: 22)

Though he appears to have temporarily staved off the upstart Bailey Zappe, Jones owners can’t feel terribly comfortable with his recent performances. In a season marred by injury and uncertainty, Jones has cracked the fantasy Top 10 just once in 2022. Despite a major victory for the Patriots in Week 8, Jones managed less than 200 yards passing and twice turned the ball over to the Jets.  

The season-long indicators have been similarly unimpressive. New England’s offense has averaged just 211.4 passing yards per game, 23rd in the NFL. PFF grades Jones’ 2022 as a putrid 52.7, 37th among eligible passers. Safe to say, it’s been ugly.

In Week 9, Jones and the Pats will visit Indianapolis. The Colts can certainly empathize with the notion of a season gone wrong. With four losses on the season, the Colts appear to be a team in transition, already benching players and firing coaches. However, one bright spot in Indy has been the pass defense. They pose a significant obstacle, allowing just 15.7 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks.

With Jones struggling and the Colts turning the keys to an unproven Sam Ehlinger, this game features the lowest over/under of the week at 39.5. Bookkeepers appear skeptical of a Mac Jones breakout in this contest and have pegged the game to be a low-scoring affair. If you haven’t already benched Jones, this week is certainly a time to consider the move. He may still hold long-term value, but this is not the matchup to rediscover it.

PJ Walker, CAR (FantasyPros Wk9 ECR: 23)

Walker made headlines in Week 8 with an outrageous 62-yard bomb that put the Panthers on the doorstep of a potential win. Kicker Eddy Pineiro, unfortunately, could not deliver the extra point, and Carolina ultimately fell in overtime to the Falcons. However, operating in a backup capacity, Walker made a clear statement with over 300 yards in the divisional battle.

Indeed, the highlight reel from that Atlanta game may have been enough to tempt you to entrust your fantasy success to Walker. Well, not so fast, my friend. There’s still plenty to be concerned about. Operating with a dysfunctional rotation of leadership and quarterback play, the Panthers have claimed just 187.1 passing yards per game, 28th in the NFL. Despite his standout effort last week, Walker holds a dubious 61.4 PFF grade, also 28th among fellow passers. It’s tough to feel confident in anything out of Charlotte these days.

This week the Panthers will travel to Cincinnati to face off with the defending AFC champions. Sitting at 0.500 through eight games, the season has not gone to plan thus far for the Bengals. That said, one aspect that they have mastered has been strangling pass defense. To date, they rank sixth in the league, surrendering a minuscule 12.6 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.  

The Bengals are poised to make life difficult for Walker and the Panthers. Perhaps that’s why oddsmakers have them favored by more than a touchdown in this game. Another key indicator, the over/under, is set at a low, low 42.5, a critical harbinger of low scoring.

While Walker may be a fun story and a low-cost investment, Week 9 is not a time to be bullish on the Panther. Surrounded by lackluster talent and facing a road contest against a battle-tested defense, look elsewhere for a starting quarterback this week.

In Closing…

I thoroughly enjoyed bringing you this piece and would love to continue the conversation on quarterback start/sits. Please feel free to comment below or contact me @Spydes78 on Twitter. And also, stay tuned to @DynastyNerds for a steady pipeline of content from our eminently qualified staff to carry you through your season. If you like what you read, please consider becoming a subscriber to any of the elite tools that Dynasty Nerds has to offer. Make sure to use the promo code “SPYDES” to receive a 15% discount. Thanks for reading and enjoy the grind!

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