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Week 9, Fantasy Football Start ‘Em 2017: Who To Start This Week

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As we inch ever closer to the fantasy football playoffs, owners will be attempting to put together the crucial pieces needed to win their league championship. While there are still several weeks until these countless tournaments commence, it’s still essential to continue to evaluate your respective rosters to see which players are best week-to-week and reliable overall. With another brutal bye week upon us, it will be a somewhat arduous task in crafting the ideal lineup that can excel down the stretch. However, it’s when the going gets insanely tough that the exceptional fantasy owners get to flaunt their analytical and decision-making capabilities as the season progresses.


Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams (vs. New York Giants)

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Once considered one of the biggest busts of all time, second-year starter Jared Goff has looked spectacular thanks to the tutelage of head coach Sean McVey. Since last year, Goff has become much more confident at staying steady in the pocket and making big plays downfield (5.31 yards per pass attempt in 2016, 7.74 YPA in 2017). In terms of making big plays in clutch moments, also known as “money throws” (classified as a pass requiring exceptional skill or athleticism as well as critical throws executed in clutch moments), Goff is amongst the best passers as he ranks fourth in the league with 12 such throws. Against a Giants defense that has allowed 258.7 passing yards per game, Goff should be considered a solid QB1 option with six teams on a bye.


Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. New Orleans Saints)

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Yes, the Saints defense has come a long way since the start of the season, particularly as it pertains to stopping the pass. However, the Saints are still clearly working out the kinks with their rush defense as they are allowing an average of 120 rushing yards per game. While Martin has yet to have a breakout game, he’s had a steady point floor since coming back from a suspension as he has garnered at least 60 total yards and one reception in every game he has played in. With a juke rate of 28.6% (15th amongst running backs) and a breakaway rate of 4.6% (percentage of carries of 15 or more yards, 17th amongst running backs), Martin could easily put together his first 100-yard rushing game of the season.


Michael Crabtree, WR, Oakland Raiders (vs. Miami Dolphins)

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Alright, so initially the matchup with the Dolphins defense does not look great for Crabtree. However, when you consider that the reliable wideout was targeted 10 times against a tough Buffalo Bills defense last week, it’s hard to imagine Crabtree not getting that same type of volume. Also, a great defense can only be supremely stout if they at least have a half-way decent offense to back them up, which they don’t have whether it’s Matt Moore or Jay Cutler under center (look what happened to that top-notch Denver defense on Monday night). While wide receiver Amari Cooper has been much more effective recently, Crabtree is still the go-to target for quarterback Derek Carr and could perform surprisingly well on Sunday.


Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Houston Texans)

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After getting off to a slow start during the first five weeks of the season, Doyle has looked like the pre-season sleeper that he was projected to be. With double-digit targets in two out of his last three games, Doyle has become a reliable weapon for quarterback Jacoby Brissett and was incredibly vital in a close loss to a solid Cincinnati Bengals defense. Against a Texans defense that ranks 24th in yards allowed per game to tight ends, Doyle should come close if not match his performance from last week. While he may not be an exciting option going forward as the Colts play tough pass defenses during the next few weeks, Doyle has insanely high upside for at least one more week.


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