Week 9 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Injured Fantasy Football Stars Who Should be Benched

Dwayne BoweIt’s been a difficult week for fantasy football owners because several teams with offensive stars, including the Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions and New York Giants are all on a bye.

This has forced a lot of people, especially those in deep 12-16 team leagues, to make moves off the waiver wire and free agent lists just to field a full starting roster.

Making the weekly who to start and who to sit decisions even more challenging is the abundance of fantasy stars battling injuries leading up to Week 9. Let’s look at the injured stars who should be benched on Sunday.

Stevie Johnson, WR: Sit vs. Chiefs

Johnson is the best receiver on the Bills and gets plenty of targets each week, but with hip and groin issues that have made him questionable for a brutal matchup against the NFL’s best defense, he’s not a smart start on Sunday.

Kansas City’s defense ranks fourth in passing yards, leads the league in sacks and has given up 100 yards or more to just three receivers in eight games. The Chiefs defense has also allowed only eight passing touchdowns this year, and as a player who’s tallied an average of 55.2 receiving yards through seven games, Johnson’s only going to help your team if he finds the end zone.

The combination of a horrible matchup and nagging injuries make Johnson a player to keep on your bench this week.

Arian Foster, RB: Sit vs. Colts

Foster is questionable for the Texans’ Week 9 matchup against the Colts and is a risky play because the game is on Sunday night, so if he’s on your starting roster, the only players who can replace him if he’s inactive are guys from the Monday night’s contest.

Indianapolis allows a lot of rushing yards per game, but its defense has given up only five rushing touchdowns this season. In the likely event that Foster doesn’t get a normal 20-plus carry workload on Sunday, he won’t be a valuable player for your team unless he gets into the end zone.

The 27-year-old veteran is nursing a hamstring injury, which is a difficult one for running backs. The Texans have announced that Foster will be a game-time decision this week, and that talented backup Ben Tate will play. When you combine Foster’s injury and the fact that Tate will take some of his carries, the best decision is to bench him.

Dwayne Bowe, WR: Sit vs. Bills

Bowe’s fantasy value has been diminished by Alex Smith because the Chiefs’ starting quarterback rarely throws deep down field, which severely limits the amount of big plays that the veteran wide receiver takes part in.

The 29-year-old wideout is probable for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills with a groin injury. Buffalo ranks 24th in passing yards allowed per game, but its defense does rank second in sacks and interceptions. Their front-seven should put consistent pressure on Smith, which will take away a lot of the downfield plays of 20 yards or more that (Bowe’s specialty)┬áneed time to develop.

Bowe hasn’t caught more than five passes in a game this year and he’s tallied just one touchdown. He’s not a reliable fantasy player and should be benched in 8-12 team leagues.

Marques Colston, WR: Sit vs. Jets

Colston has been one of the biggest fantasy football disappointments this season. The New Orleans Saints wide receiver is questionable for Sunday’s matchup against the Jets with a knee injury, and when you combine his status with his lack of production this year, starting him is a risk not worth taking.

Despite playing in an offense with elite quarterback Drew Brees, the veteran receiver has caught only six passes for 44 yards and no touchdowns on 11 targets over the last three weeks. Colston hasn’t found the end zone since opening day and he’s failed to make a strong impact in the passing game as a deep threat.

The Jets have a strong defense that ranks first against the run and 15th versus the pass, and includes top cornerback Antonio Cromartie. It’s just not a good matchup for Colston, who shouldn’t be started unless byes and/or other injuries leave fantasy owners with no other options.

Need help making your NFL picks this week? Check out NESN Staff’s picks here.

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