SSSQ is a weekly look at under-the-radar fantasy players to consider starting and potential busts you should leave on your bench. We also identify breakout candidates to stash on your roster and players you can safely cut.
For the rest of your lineup decisions, consult our Week 9 rankings. You can also listen to the Week 9 preview episode of theScore Fantasy Football Podcast.
Kyler Murray, Cardinals
Murray is the fantasy QB7 on the season and is coming off an impressive outing versus the 49ers, one of the league’s toughest defenses. The first overall pick in April’s draft threw for 241 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another 34 yards on the ground in a surprisingly competitive game. Now we get to see what he can do against an extremely friendly defense that’s allowed multiple passing scores in six straight contests, including eight over the last two weeks. You can confidently fire up Murray as a top-six quarterback on Sunday.
Boone’s projection: 312 passing yards, 2 passing TDs, 27 rushing yards
Other QBs to start
- Jameis Winston vs. Cardinals
- Josh Allen at Browns
- Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Seahawks
Devin Singletary, Bills
With 23 touches, 150 yards from scrimmage, and a touchdown in Week 9, Singletary has established himself as the Bills’ lead back. If you remove the game where he injured his hamstring, the rookie has played 68% of Buffalo’s snaps when active. He’s also the team’s main pass-catching back, lifting his floor if a bad game script develops. Meanwhile, the Browns are among the top 10 in fantasy points permitted to running backs, setting Singletary up for another strong week as an RB2.
Boone’s projection: 85 rushing yards, 29 receiving yards, TD
Other RBs to start
- Jaylen Samuels vs. Rams
- Ronald Jones vs. Cardinals
- Damien Williams at Titans
Emmanuel Sanders, 49ers
In two games as a member of the 49ers, Sanders has turned 14 targets into 11 receptions, 137 yards, and two touchdowns. He’s clearly emerged as the No. 1 receiver in San Francisco and with tight end George Kittle banged up, Sanders could see even more volume in an important division game against the Seahawks on Monday night. Seattle has been generous to opposing team’s top wideouts, giving up lines of 12-180-1 (Mike Evans), 10-152-0 (Julio Jones), 6-101-0 (Odell Beckham Jr.), and 9-117-1 (Cooper Kupp) over their last five contests. Sanders is a top-20 receiver this week and he’ll be ranked in that range the rest of the season.
Boone’s projection: 109 receiving yards, TD
Other WRs to start
- Calvin Ridley at Saints
- Golden Tate at Jets
- Christian Kirk at Buccaneers
Gerald Everett, Rams
Since his snaps increased after the opener, Everrett has posted TE1 fantasy numbers and will continue to do so, especially while Brandin Cooks is sidelined with a concussion. Everett’s best games of 2018 came when Kupp was out late in the year. The Steelers are also a favorable opponent, ranking among the bottom 10 defenses against the tight end position.
Boone’s projection: 68 receiving yards, TD
Other TEs to start
- Eric Ebron/Jack Doyle vs. Dolphins
- Jared Cook vs. Falcons
- Mike Gesicki at Colts
Kirk Cousins, Vikings
Cousins’ recent string of quality fantasy performances was only broken up by a down week against his former squad, the Redskins. Outside of that, Cousins has taken advantage of weak opposing pass defenses in the Giants, Eagles, Lions, and Chiefs. Unfortunately for him, the Cowboys are no pushovers. Only two quarterbacks have thrown for more than one touchdown against Dallas, a team allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points to the position. With DeMarcus Lawrence, Robert Quinn, and Michael Bennett applying pressure and security blanket Adam Thielen out, Cousins is in for a long night.
Boone’s projection: 226 passing yards, TD, INT, FUM
Other QBs to sit
- Baker Mayfield vs. Bills
- Jared Goff at Steelers
- Sam Darnold vs. Giants
Joe Mixon, Bengals
It hurts to see a talent like Mixon on this list, but the Bengals’ offense simply hasn’t been able to get much going, and that was with Andy Dalton at the helm. Now they’ll try to move the ball with rookie Ryan Finley under center, increasing the degree of difficulty for Mixon, who’s outside the top 30 running backs in fantasy points this year. In his last meeting with the Ravens in Week 6, Mixon rushed the ball eight times for 10 yards and caught two passes for 29 yards, making it hard to justify starting him.
Boone’s projection: 39 rushing yards, 18 receiving yards
Other RBs to sit
- Devonta Freeman at Saints
- LeSean McCoy at Titans
- Kalen Ballage at Colts
Tyler Boyd, Bengals
Not to pick on the Bengals, but it’s possible some fantasy owners might want to pivot back to Boyd now that A.J. Green has been ruled out for Week 9. Even with volume on his side, Boyd has topped 67 yards just once since Week 2 and has a single touchdown on the season. His date with slot corner Marlon Humphrey and the revamped Ravens’ secondary is more than enough reason to keep Boyd on your bench.
Boone’s projection: 53 receiving yards
Other WRs to sit
- Larry Fitzgerald at Buccaneers
- Robby Anderson vs. Giants
- Jarvis Landry vs. Bills
Jimmy Graham, Packers
The tight end position is a wasteland beyond the top seven or eight options, and as a result, it’s hard to recommend sitting many players, especially with bye weeks in full swing. However, Graham is droppable with more than 20 yards just once in the last month and a challenging matchup with the Panthers’ defense up next.
Boone’s projection: 29 receiving yards
Other TEs to sit
- Vance McDonald vs. Rams
- Tyler Eifert vs. Ravens
- Trey Burton vs. Lions
Gus Edwards, Ravens
Despite the offseason excitement over rookie Justice Hill, it’s Edwards serving as Mark Ingram’s immediate backup. With a soft fantasy playoff schedule that features the Bills, Jets, and Browns, Edwards needs to be rostered in case of an Ingram injury.
Raheem Mostert, 49ers
The 49ers boast one of the best rushing attacks in the league thanks to head coach Kyle Shanahan’s scheme and have been able to produce regardless of who’s lined up in the backfield. With Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman both having dealt with injuries at different points this season, Mostert should be rostered as the next man up in what normally operates as a two-headed committee. When given increased touches this season, Mostert has delivered stat lines of 16-151-1, 12-79-0, and 9-60-1.
Sterling Shepard, Giants
Though he appeared to be nearing a return, the Giants placed Shepard back in concussion protocol and are considering placing him on injured reserve. Shepard is currently owned in 55% of fantasy leagues, but this is looking like a lost season for the 26-year-old.
Gardner Minshew II, Jaguars
The Jaguars wasted no time restoring Nick Foles as the starter during their bye week after Minshew completely cratered with four turnovers in a loss to the Texans in London. While we hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Minshew as a starter in the NFL, he can safely be sent back to the waiver wire in redraft leagues.