“Start, Sit & Seth” is the original column of In-Between Media, bridging feel-good lifestyle advice with redraft fantasy football analysis. Consistently following Seth Woolcock’s journey as a young creator, this series is now in its fifth season. Join him in this edition as he shares what life is like after losing Breece Hall and his start/sit selections for Week 9.
It’s not about what happens to us, rather how we respond.
Hell, this column series and company were created in the wake of the almost cinema-like adversity I experienced in my late teens and early 20s.
It’s when we’re pushed to our limit – mentally, emotionally or physically – that we realize how strong we truly are. The trying times can be what shape, not break, us.
I was recently reminded of this. For once, it was not from something bad happening to me in real life but in fantasy football.
Whether or not we want to admit it, this game can affect us mentally if we play in seriously competitive leagues. You know, the kind that when you check to see that JaMycal Hasty is rostered in only 1.7 percent of leagues, you wonder who those degenerates can be.
As Taylor Swift said, “Hi! / I’m the problem, it’s me.” We’re those degenerates. In fact, we’re a week worse than those degenerates, picking up Hasty well before he hit one percent rostered.
Deck the Hall with Boughs of Injury
Across most of my main leagues, I was riding high early this fantasy football season. A majority of my early-round player pool popped off to a nice start. This included rookie phenom Breece Hall, the Points Per Reception (PPR) RB6 through six weeks.
I drafted receiver early in most leagues this season, opening me up to rosters that included both Hall, plus Nick Chubb or Saquon Barkley – two other stud RBs drafted at a discount. Life was good. Hall’s breakout provided the same endorphins I felt a year ago drafting Ja’Marr Chase or in 2020 while rostering Justin Jefferson.
Week 7 began as well as it could have, with Hall busting a 62-yard run halfway through the first quarter. However, his day and season were cut short when he suffered an ACL tear and meniscus injury.
Just like that, one of the most eye-catching players in the league was gone. In addition to feeling bad for Hall and his loved ones to face this, it’s difficult not to hurt for Jets fans. A franchise that has suffered for so long was 5-2 and in the midst of one of its best starts in nearly a decade.
This also sent fantasy football managers into a tailspin, trying to locate a replacement at the thinnest position. Thirteen starting RBs (40.6 percent) have already missed at least a game to injury. It’s easier to get a mortgage right now than trade for an RB2.
You’re (Not) Own Your Own, Kid
This injury hit me harder than most. After dubbing the “Frisky” Jets this offseason, I had become somewhat of a fan of the revitalized Gotham green.
I sulked throughout most of last week. However, by Friday, I had experienced all five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, most importantly, acceptance. While up to my usual Saturday shenanigans on the Ridge, I received a package – only reminded of the loss.
It was none other than the Hall jersey I had ordered heading into the season.
After experiencing a nail-biting loss in my main league on Monday night, I again… sulked. The feeling persisted on and off throughout this week, leading to a very down Wednesday morning. I felt hopeless, having my fantasy teams in shambles and trades routinely falling through.
While I did manage to land a formable replacement later that afternoon, it was the note from a friend that changed my mindset. An overall meaningful message, one line stuck out in particular:
“Like any path we take, there’s going to be dark days, deep questions and a lot of unknown. But that’s what our friends are for.”
Those words reminded me of those dark days – how fantasy football writing and playing gave me an outlet to work through it all. It also led me to a life where I’m sincerely happy, with now the worst thing I have to complain about being just the game itself.
We grow the most when the tides turn rough. Sure, the water can be salty at times. But if you let it flow, it can lead to some pretty great places, whether that’s a new direction in life, a fantasy football championship or just next year’s draft party.
So whether you’re living life after the dark days or losing your favorite player, don’t worry. All the zig and the zags merely mean to harden you, not tear you down. Reflect, pivot and make your next move.
Alright, and here we go.
The following Week 9 start/sit selections are based on stats, trends and film research, reflecting value in PPR Redraft Leagues.
Quarterback I’d Start in Week 9:
Kirk Cousins (Minnesota): I’ve featured Kirk Cousins multiple times as a start selection this season. It’s simply because you know what you’re getting with Cousins.
He’s won’t set the world on fire. However, he’s the QB9 on a points-per-game basis (mimimum three games played). Cousins has found his groove as of late, averaging 20.7 fantasy points per game across his last three. With the team adding Hockenson this week, Cousins’ upside ticks ever-so-slightly higher, too.
He faces travels to Washington this week to face the Commanders, who appear to have an improving defense. However, the last three QBs they’ve faced include Sam Ehlinger, the 2022 version of Aaron Rodgers, Justin Fields and Ryan Tannehill. They will also now be without once-starting CB William Jackson III, who was traded to Pittsburgh before the NFL trade deadline.
Quarterback I’d Sit in Week 9:
Tom Brady (Tampa Bay): Somehow, even by eclipsing 20 fantasy points only once this season, Tom Brady is still a borderline QB1. He’s been somewhat better yardage-wise of late but has still thrown multiple TDs in just one game this season.
With just nine TDs and -5 rushing yards on the season, the upside just isn’t there for the seven-time Super Bowl champion. His Week 9 opponent is the Rams, whose defense flipped a switch lately. The Rams have allowed just three passing TDs over the last month. With both of these teams bottom eight in scoring and not bottom third of the league in total yards, I want as little to do with this game as possible.
Running Back I’d Start in Week 9:
Jamaal Williams (Detroit): Quietly, Jamaal Williams has been the PPR RB15 on a points-per-game basis. Playing the early-down thumper and goalline role for Detroit, Williams sits at eight rushing touchdowns (second to only Nick Chubb) and is 15th in RB rushing yards with 464.
He’s already outperformed first-round fantasy draft picks Jonathan Taylor, Joe Mixon and Najee Harris. And now Detroit will be without T.J. Hockenson following a trade to the Vikings. D’Andre Swift also missed Wednesday’s practice, still banged up, before returning today. Together, this could open up more of a share in the passing game from Williams, coming off a season-high three receptions for 23 yards.
Regardless of his role through the air, he should eat against his former Packers team that’s allowed the second-most rushing yards with 977 (122.1 per game). Williams should be on the latter side of your start/sit decisions for Week 9 .
Running Back I’d Sit in Week 9:
Brian Robinson (Washington): Excitement for rookie RB Brian Robinson has dwindled as he’s found himself as he’s been inefficient in his first 54 career snaps, averaging 3.2 Yards Per Carry (YPC). Additionally, Robinson has seen just two targets across four games, while backfield mate Antonio Gibson has 19 and J.D. McKissic has 17.
Washington’s backfield as a whole also has a terrible matchup this week – capping his upside. Over their last four games, the Minnesota Vikings have been the stingiest defense against opposing RBs. The Vikings’ outstanding linebacking corps, comprised of Jordan Hicks, Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith, has been a problem for opposing backs.
It should be more of the same in the nation’s capital on Sunday, making Robinson one of the easier start/sit decisions for Week 9.
Wide Receiver I’d Start in Week 9:
Devin Duvernay (Baltimore): It didn’t pay off when I suggested Devin Duvernay in Week 6. But I’m going back to the well here with confidence. The Raven just announced that Rashod Bateman will miss the remainder of the season. With Mark Andrews also not practicing today, there’s a chance that Duvernay is the No. 1 receiving option for the Ravens.
He’s provided when given the opportunity, scoring five total TDs across the receiving, run and return game. The 5-foot-9, 202-pound craftsman is averaging 13 Yards Per Reception (YPR) and 7.9 YPC. He remains No. 2 in fantasy points per target at 2.8. Now the Ravens just need to feature him more than his average of 4.9 touches per game.
Their Monday night opponent, the Saints, have been a top-seven matchup for WRs over the last month. Prior to the Raiders’ inept showing last week, the Saints had allowed four straight games of 100+ receiving yards to teams’ opposing No. 1 option. I’d feel good rolling out Duvernay as my closer on “Monday Night Football.”
Wide Receiver I’d Sit in Week 9:
Alec Pierce (Indianapolis): Alec Pierce’s upward trajectory has halted as he’s failed to reach double-digit PPR points in back-to-back games.
Second-year QB Ehlinger was accurate in his first-career start, completing 73.9 percent of his passes. However, the Colts’ passing volume shrunk from 42.4 attempts per game to 23 with Ehlinger against Washington. That doesn’t bode well for all of the Colts’ receivers, especially Pierce, who relies on multiple deep shots a game to return value.
The Patriots’ secondary is led by Pro Football Focus’s No. 1-ranked CB, rookie Jack Jones, and No.-14 ranked Jonathan Jones. With these corners playing out of their mind and the Colts taking a turn for the worst, I’m out on Pierce in New England this week.
If you have a feel-good story that you would like to share for an opportunity to be featured in an upcoming edition of “Start, Sit & Seth,” please reach out.
And for more fantasy football and uplifting content, especially start/sit advice, you can find me on Twitter @Between_SethFF.