Now that we are into the part of the season where bye weeks wreak havoc on lineups, fantasy football managers will be facing even more difficult lineup decisions. Let’s take a look at our Week 9 WR start ’em and sit ’em plays.

Week 9 Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Wide Receiver

We are now officially in the back half of the fantasy regular season. The stakes are higher, and every decision feels like it will make or break your season. As always, Pro Football Network will do its best to steer you in the right direction. Let’s get into this week’s start ’em and sit ’em plays at the wide receiver position. Which wide receivers are starts heading into Week 9?

Start ‘Em | Emmanuel Sanders, Buffalo Bills (@ JAX)

Fantasy managers, myself included, get irrationally angry at players that completely faceplant. But it’s important not to overreact. In Week 8, Emmanuel Sanders posted a big ol’ goose egg. I’m sure some of you out there are cursing Sanders and swearing never to start him again. I implore you to reconsider.

This week, the Bills have another favorable matchup against the Jaguars. Josh Allen continues to target his wide receivers at a higher-than-league-average rate (70.5% of the time). Despite the nothing on the scoreboard, Sanders’ peripherals were fine. Allen barely missed Sanders on a long touchdown, which contributed to Sanders recording over 100 unrealized air yards. Expect a bounce-back game this week and start Sanders.

Start ‘Em | Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos (@ DAL)

In his first game back from a high ankle sprain, Jerry Jeudy caught all 4 of his targets for 39 yards. The usage wasn’t encouraging, but nothing about the Broncos’ offense was last week. In fact, Jeudy’s 4 targets were actually tied with Courtland Sutton, Javonte Williams, and Noah Fant for most on the team. This week, the Broncos will have to air it out more to keep pace with the Cowboys’ offense, assuming Dak Prescott returns.

The Cowboys allow the eighth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. More importantly, Trevon Diggs should be tasked with covering Sutton. That leaves Jeudy with the softer corner coverage. He’ll be another week removed from the injury and could rack up receptions underneath. Start Jeudy.

Week 9 Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Wide Receivers

Sometimes WRs have a difficult matchup, or maybe it’s bouts of inconsistency or a fresh recovery from injury that may sour you on their starting ability in fantasy lineups. Nonetheless, these wide receivers should be left on your bench in Week 9.

Sit ‘Em | DeVonta Smith, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. LAC)

It’s been a rough rookie season for DeVonta Smith. He hasn’t found the end zone since Week 1 and has posted just two usable fantasy efforts since then. Last week, in a game the Eagles won 44-6, Smith managed a mere single reception for 15 yards.

Related | NFL RB Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Week 9: Are Zack Moss, Jeremy McNichols, and Mike Davis options?

This week, the Eagles get a Chargers defense surrendering the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. The way to beat the Chargers is by utilizing the tight end, as 34% of receiving yards allowed by the Chargers have gone to the position. In contrast, 55% of receiving yards against the Chargers have gone to wide receivers. With the Eagles having a talented tight end in Dallas Goedert, Smith is a sit in Week 9.

Sit ‘Em | Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. CLE)

This one is similar to the Sanders narrative, except in reverse. Since Tee Higgins returned, Tyler Boyd has largely been an afterthought in Cincy’s offense. Last week, though, Boyd caught 5 of 8 targets for 69 yards and a touchdown. However, I caution fantasy managers against chasing last week’s production.

In Boyd’s previous three games — all with Higgins active — he had 70 yards combined. Boyd’s strong outing against the Jets just feels like a random outlier event. Despite his quality game, it’s obvious he’s definitively third in the pecking order behind Ja’Marr Chase and Higgins. Fade Boyd if you can this week.

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