The NFL was devastated by injuries in week eight. Le’Veon Bell, Steve Smith Sr., and Matt Forte were all bit by the injury bug. This leaves the door open in week nine for lesser known players to make big contributions.

                        

Here are our picks for who you should start on your fantasy team going into week nine:

 

Start: Brandon LaFell, WR New England

LaFell, who missed the first five games of the season with a foot injury, is in for a big week against Washington. The Redskins’ defense will be focused on Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and the Patriots’ multidimensional running game. LaFell, New England’s only true vertical threat on the outside, will see single coverage all day. Brady has not been shy about getting LaFell the ball, as he has 15 targets in his two active games.

 

Start: DeAngelo Williams, RB Pittsburgh

Williams will start in place of the injured Le’Veon Bell in week nine. During the first two games of the season, when Bell was suspended, Williams gashed the Patriots for 127 yards and followed that performance with three touchdowns against San Francisco. Oakland has a stout run defense, but Pittsburgh’s talented group of wide receivers will pull defenders away from the line of scrimmage, opening some big running lanes for Williams.

 

Start: Ben Watson, TE New Orleans

The Saints’ offense finally came alive last week, and Watson was a big part of the revival. The veteran tight end hauled in nine passes for 147 yards and a touchdown — his third score in his last four games. This week, New Orleans will host a Titans team that is 1-6 and struggling in every phase of the game.

 

Sit: Andrew Luck, QB Indianapolis

Instead of making the leap from future star to MVP candidate as was expected, Andrew Luck has regressed in 2015. Luck’s completion percentage is the lowest it has been since his rookie season, and he is on pace to throw a whopping 24 interceptions. The Colts are struggling, and things will only get more difficult his week as the undefeated Denver Broncos and league’s best pass defense travel to Indianapolis.

 

 

Sit: James Jones, WR Green Bay

Jones has had a solid season so far in 2015. Although he is only averaging about three receptions per game, he has found the endzone six times in the Packers first seven contests. Last week was his worst performance of the season, as Denver’s star cornerback Aqib Talib held Jones to just one catch for two yards. This week, Jones will be shadowed by Carolina’s Josh Norman, who has been the NFL’s most dominant cover man through the first half of the season.

 

Sit:  Alfred Morris, RB Washington

2015 has been the worst statistical season of Morris’s career thus far. The Washington running back rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons but is on pace for less than 700 this year. His struggles will continue in week nine against the Patriots, who have the seventh best run defense in the NFL. Washington will be throwing the ball early and often to keep up with New England’s high scoring offense, meaning there will be little opportunity for Morris to get the ball.

 

How much more dangerous does LaFell make the Patriots’ offense? Is Alfred Morris’s career as a featured NFL back over? Feel free to leave a comment or find me on Twitter @Andrew_Morse4