Wow we’re in Week 9 already??
Just a friendly reminder: Broncos, Jaguars, 49ers, Rams, Titans and Redskins are out on Bye. Which means Chris Johnson, Kyle Orton, Brandon Lloyd, Frank Gore, Alex and Troy Smith, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, Knownshon Moreno, Vince Young, Randy Moss, Ryan Torain, Donovan McNabb, Santana Moss, Chris Cooley, Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, Danny Amendola, Maurice Jones-Drew, David Garrard, Marcedes Lewis, Mike Sims-Walker, and the Tennessee/St. Louis defenses are unavailable.
I listed all those just to illustrate that this will be quite a Bye week. No fantasy team will go unscathed. So, be creative once again. Check the waiver wire. Go with your gut instinct. Ya never know what will happen. Plus, chances have never been so good for 80 points to win your week.
Start These Guys
Greg Olsen—Chicago Bears
Quick quiz hotshot: who gives up the most points to opposing tight ends? Well, if you have any common sense at all, you already know the answer is Buffalo. Olsen has been pretty inconsistent this year, but I’m expecting the Bears rebound pretty nicely against Buffalo. Olsen should be good for a score and 4 catches for about 50 yards or so.
LaDainian Tomlinson—New York Jets
Detroit is the worst team against the run. Maybe not yardage-wise, but they allow 23.4 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs. Especially in the passing game, where they’ve allowed 32 catches for 327 yards and 3 TDs to the RBs. And who is the best receiver in the history of running backs? Tomlinson, of course. Since LT is still getting the Lion’s share (see what I did there??) of the carries in New York, and the Jets are on the road (where teams usually run more) and Gang Greene figure to run the ball a lot since they will likely be up most of the game, that all adds up to about 100 yards and a TD for LT. Shonn Greene is a forgotten man right now.
Patrick Crayton—San Diego Chargers
Every week, San Diego’s passing offense has a major player (or eight) hurt. And every week, Philip Rivers throws for 300 yards and 2 TDs. This particular matchup is so pass-friendly (the Texans’ pass D is downright awful) and Rivers will have nothing close to a full complement of receivers. Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee and Antonio Gates are all expected to miss the game as of this writing, and Vincent Jackson is still not back yet, obviously. Thus, Crayton will be the man. I honestly am expecting 2 tuddies from him, with anywhere from 60-160 yards. He could have the best day of any fantasy player.
Ahmad Bradshaw—New York Giants
This may be obvious to some of you, but others might be on the fence with him. Bradshaw is among the NFL’s leaders in rushing yards, but has just 3 TDs thus far in 2010 because Brandon Jacobs is worse than those vultures from “The Lion King.” I’m betting Bradshaw breaks off a long run this week. Seattle is anything but a strong run defense and Bradshaw is coming off a Bye, so his minor injuries should be that much closer to being healed. He’ll break 100 total yards and hopefully gets that long score, too.
Jamaal Charles—Kansas City Chiefs
Again, this is probably obvious considering big players like Gore, Jackson, MJD and CJ2K are on Bye, but I’m mentioning him here because he should be a must-start every week. No more indecision either way with him. Start him. As I discussed in my Billboard Top Fantasy Players article, Charles is as explosive as they come and had 26 touches to Thomas Jones’ 20 touches. But, the big thing is, Charles put up 238 total yards in those touches (9.2 AVG) as opposed to 87 from Jones (4.25 AVG). I know Todd Haley is a complete idiot when it comes to giving the ball to Charles, but how can he ignore last week? Seriously. The dude was the only reason why the Chiefs won a game they really looked like they didn’t want to win. It was a one-man show.
Sit These Dudes
Fred Jackson—Buffalo Bills
I know my colleague Alex (see below) picked Jackson as a good play this week, but I completely disagree. The Bears are a pretty stingy defense overall, and very stingy against the run in the game’s first three quarters. Most of the fantasy points they allow come late in the game when they’re gassed from being on the field 98.2 percent of the time because Mike Martz is the most stubborn man in the world and refuses to run the ball. The Bears play a very effective bend-but-don’t-break defense and even when they do allow big games to opposing running backs, it’s a split decision. Think Brandon Jacobs (12 points) and Ahmad Bradshaw (17 points) in Week 4 or Justin Forsett (12 points) and Marshawn Lynch (10 points) in Week 6. If anything, the Bears will give up 10 points to Jackson and 10 to CJ Spiller, but I really don’t see that happening, especially with the way Fitzpatrick has had success throwing the ball.
Lee Evans—Buffalo Bills
The Bears have allowed just 4 passing TDs, 2 less than any other team in the entire NFL. As I said above, they play a bend-but-don’t-break type of D, so Steve Johnson is really a better option here than Evans, who is typically more of a big play guy. With a lot of quality receivers out on Bye or injured, it might seem enticing to start Evans, especially after his last three weeks (15.7 AVG per game). Don’t.
Chad Henne—Miami Dolphins
Baltimore’s defense is one of the stiffest in the league all around and though they have just 5 INTs on the season, Ed Reed is back and had 2 of those last week alone. With Reed patrolling the entire secondary (seriously, that dude can cover sideline to sideline on any QB in the league) and the prototypical Miami running game still absent (where did it go?), Chad Henne will not be going all Chaddddd Henneeeeee until at least next week, even if Miami is 4-0 on the road.
Brent Celek—Philadelphia Eagles
With Lewis and Davis both out on Bye, it seems natural to want to start Celek. But be warned, he was a complete non-factor in fantasy before the injury to Michael Vick, and with the mobile QB back in the starting lineup, Celek will once again become obsolete.
Terrell Owens—Cincinnati Bengals
Not against the Steelers. My general rule of thumb is to sit anybody against the Pittsburgh D. Sure, Marques Colston and Lance Moore both broke the plane of the goalline last week, but Carson Palmer is no Drew Brees. Owens has been a bright spot for fantasy owners lately, but he will take a week off in Week 9.
Alex Reside’s Picks
Start these Dudes
Fred Jackson–Buffalo Bills
The Bears defense is easily beatable, and with the way that the Bills have been playing lately, they are due for a win. Expect Fred Jackson to be the reason. He has been getting over 20 carries in the last two weeks; though his production wasn’t there because he was up against the tough Ravens and Chiefs defense. The Bills have to win eventually, right??
James Jones–Green Bay Packers
For anyone who is playing fantasy basketball, you know that James Jones, the backup small forward for the Heat, has been a 3-point machine lately. For the same reason, you should pick up James Jones for the Packers, because he will be a point machine this week against the Cowboys. Donald Driver has been a non-factor this season, and with him away, James Jones will play. Also, spread the rumor that James Jones from the Heat is James Jones from the Packers’ twin brother separated from birth. Okay? Thanks.
Jacob Tamme–Indianapolis Colts
He may be unknown, but that could work to his advantage this week. With Dallas Clark out for a while, Tamme fits perfectly into the “Peyton Manning Machine.” Anybody see the NFL Top 100 players? Peyton is number 8! As much as I disagree with it, he does raise everyone up around him. Tamme will benefit from the “Manning Effect”.
Tony Moeaki–Kansas City Chiefs
I know I was burnt by Moeaki a few weeks ago (luckily before we started grading our start/sit posts), but this week, Cassel will see all of his WRs covered by the intense Raiders secondary. Moeki will be sitting wide open all day long. Cassel to Moeaki all day, or at least that’s how I dream of it happening.
Dan Carpenter–Miami Dolphins
If you read my What We Learned post, then you know I love Dan Carpenter. He can strike from WAY out, and as soon as the Dolphins sputter offensively, he will knock it in. He has 75 points. That is more than Miles Austin, Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson. He’s an animal. Do yourself the service of picking him up ASAP. Thank me later (like Drake).
Sit these Guys
Ronnie Brown–Miami Dolphins
Though the Ravens have been susceptible to big run plays, Ed Reed is back and will surely shut down anything that gets into the secondary. Ronnie Brown may be one of the most disappointing draft picks. He was clearly outshined by Ricky Williams last year, but this season, you are better off benching both of them.
Brent Celek–Philadelphia Eagles
He was highly valued coming into the season, but with DeSean Jackson and Michael Vick due back, he will be forgotten about. In games that Vick played, Celek averaged just 4 fantasy points. At least he is a decent blocker, but unfortunately you don’t get points for that.
Brett Favre–Minnesota vikings
Yeah the Cardinals defense is bad, but when your only deep threat is an injured Percy Harvin, you have problems. I’d say bench Favre until Sidney Rice returns.
Remember that goal line stand early this season against the Vikings? Nevermore, quoth the Raven.
Felix Jones–Dallas Cowboys
He’s banged up, and with Clay Matthews returning to the Packers this week, Jones will most likely get even more banged up. Tashard “would be the better” Choice. You’re welcome for that one.
Scott Rogers’ Picks
Start These Guys
Hines Ward–Pittsburgh Steelers
This one hurts. Though I appreciate the way that he looks at the game (Brett Favre-esque, “I’m just having fun guys!”), I do hate it when he smiles after every play. Why? Well he’s a Steeler, and unless you’re a Steeler fan, you probably dislike Ward and the fact that the team is never really bad. No one has won more Super Bowls, after all.
Regardless, Ward is a must-start this week. Consider the following: he is playing a bad Cincinnati team, the Steelers just got beat in a game on national television that honestly they probably should have won, and Ben Roethlisberger is going to have a field day against this defense. Mike Wallace has morphed into the feared deep threat that causes opposing teams to blanket him with coverage, merely because it’s more embarrassing to be beaten on one deep pass. This will open up a lot of underneath routes for Ward, allowing the Steelers to steadily march down the field. 100 yards, a TD and around 16 points is a near lock.
Owen Daniels–Houston Texans
Because it’s time, Daniels. Everyone drafted you in the later rounds despite the fact that you’re coming off a torn ACL, mainly because we all reasoned that around the midway point of the season he would be back to full strength. Well, here we are Daniels. Of course he has yet to practice for the week at the time this article was written and is listed as questionable, but against the San Diego Chargers, there will be openings for Daniels. He’s due for his big game, and the opponent is right. Let’s just see if he can get on the field…
Larry Fitzgerald–Arizona Cardinals
Odd that he needs to be recommended to start at all. That’s the kind of season Fitzgerald has had however, but it’s not really his fault, as you know by now. Against the Minnesota Vikings at home, where the Vikes seldom lose, I expect to see Fitzy have one of his better games. There is just no one on the Vikings pass defense that can match up with Fitz physically. I guess you could say that about most of the defenses he faces though…and the Cardinals offensive line is terrible…and the Vikings defensive line is loaded and have been just a step away at times from piling up the sacks…and Derek Anderson is starting at QB. No, forget it, I stand by my pick. Somehow, someway, Fitz will break the century mark for yards receiving and score 2 TDs. That’s right–2.
Brandon Tate–New England Patriots
Last week’s final stat line for Tate was a little bit misleading, as a large chunk of his yards and his TD both came on one broken play where the Vikings cornerback simply stopped covering him. This week, Tate is playing the Browns, however, so I don’t care much about how he got his yards last week, just that he got them. The Browns have been burned by TO, Roddy White and Anquan Boldin this year and though Tate certainly doesn’t belong in the same category as those three, he does possess the best vertical speed of any of the Patriots’ receivers. He’ll outrun the coverage to at least one long bomb TD.
Matt Ryan–Atlanta Falcons
The Buccaneers have a bad pass defense. They made Derek Anderson look alright at times last week. Though they intercepted 4 passes, they still gave up 3 TDs. Ryan is coming off of a Bye week of preparation for them. Add it up. This will be a back and forth scoring affair and everyone will get their points. Ryan will sit on top, however.
Sit Those Dudes
LeGarrette Blount–Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Falcons are really good against opposing RBs. In fact, the only way that they give up any points to the position is through receiving yards and TDs. Unfortunately, Blount has hands of brick and is taken out in passing situations. He could score on a goal line carry, but I don’t think the yards will be there this week. If you have a better option, go with it. He’ll still be a stud, just not this week.
Steve Smith–Carolina Panthers
Have you watched the Panthers attempt to play football? It’s terrible. Smith has put up decent numbers in his two games back from injury, with 13 catches for 135 yards, but he’s also had a fumble lost in each game and hasn’t scored since Week 2. Against a rough New Orleans secondary which just got done shutting down the Steelers passing offense, there’s no reason to start Smith. Better days and matchups are ahead, but the Saints are going to put Steve Smith to bed.
The Seattle Seahawks
They’re playing against a hot Giants team and were just dismantled by the Oakland Raiders. No one on this team is worth starting.
Jay Cutler–Chicago Bears
Last time he played, he had a very favorable matchup against the Redskins…and he threw 4 picks to ONE guy. The Bills will get their first win, Cutler will find a way to throw more picks and Chicago Bears fans everywhere will look fondly back to the Grossman years…
Terrell Owens–Cincinnati Bengals
He’s been reallllll hot lately. The TD catches just seem to find him, as shown in his 2nd fluke TD from last week. If you haven’t seen the highlight, basically Carson Palmer threw a terrible pass that should have been picked, it bounced off the foot of a Miami defender and flew straight into Owens’ ready hands. His yards have steadily begun to drop since his 200-yard outburst against the Browns and he’s playing the Steelers this week. No thank you.