Fantasy Football: Week 9 Studs And Duds
2012 Fantasy Football: Week 9 Studs And Duds
Week 9 of the NFL slate will start Thursday night when the San Diego Chargers take on the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC West battle. The playoffs are approaching in fantasy football, so this week starts a critical stretch for owners trying to put together their best lineup each week.
Bye weeks are also coming to a close on the league’s schedule, with just three more weeks of that headache for fantasy owners. The New England Patriots, St. Louis Rams, New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers are the four teams that are off this week, which eliminates a few top tier fantasy starters and a fair amount of others that are worth starting consideration most weeks. But all things considered it stands to be a relatively painless bye week for most fantasy owners, with only the Patriots having roster-worthy and starter-worthy fantasy options at all of the skill positions.
As I have done each week up to this point, I will attempt to highlight players I feel have nice upside (“Studs”) as well as those I feel have some downside (“Duds”) for fantasy owners this week. As always, I have attempted to avoid the no-brainer weekly fantasy starters, but sometimes those players get considered due to a particularly favorable or unfavorable matchup.
I have again narrowed it down to the four positions that carry the most impact and roster space in fantasy football-quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end. Kickers and defenses are at times difficult to predict, and are often disposable parts on a weekly basis for fantasy owners.
With all of the above in mind, here are my “Studs and Duds” for Week 9.
Stud QB-Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
Newton certainly qualifies as one of the most disappointing players in fantasy football this year, with just five total touchdown passes and one game with more than one so far. But he did top 300 yards through the air against the Chicago Bears last week, and now gets a favorable matchup this week against the Washington Redskins. Washington has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks (18.8 per game, ESPN scoring), as well a league-highs in touchdown passes (18) and passing yards (316.5 per game). Newton also offers the added bonus of rushing yardage for his fantasy owners, so despite his underachievement so far this season Week 9 is a week to consider him a QB1 with big upside.
Dud QB-Eli Manning, New York Giants
Manning failed to top 200 passing yards for the second time in his last three games in Week 8 against the Dallas Cowboys, and he has also failed to throw multiple touchdown passes all three of those contests. Things will not get any easier on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are in the top 10 of the league in terms of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks (13.0 per game, ESPN scoring) and have only allowed more than 210 passing yards once in their past six games. It would be hard to bench the younger Manning this or any week without a clear better option available, but recent trends suggest fantasy owners need to keep their expectations in check for Week 9.
Stud RB-Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
Forte had 15 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown along with five catches for 24 yards last week against the Carolina Panthers, and he now has 59 carries over the last three games to just 13 carries over the same span for backup Michael Bush. The positive trend should continue for Forte this week against the Tennessee Titans, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs (22.3 per game, ESPN scoring) and a tied for fourth-most receptions (48) to the position as well. An early season ankle issue appears to be in the rearview mirror for Forte, and he should be regarded as a legit RB1 this week.
Dud RB-Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Peterson’s comeback from a devastating left knee injury has been nothing short of phenomenal, as he leads the NFL in rushing with 757 yards and has gone over 100 yards on the ground in two straight games. But a very tough matchup is coming for Week 9 against the Seattle Seahawks, who have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs (9.8 per game, ESPN scoring) as well as the fourth-fewest rushing yards (67 per game) to the position. No fantasy owner in their right mind is going to bench Peterson at all, but the Seahawks will certainly make it a priority to shut him down on Sunday and have a good chance to do so.
Stud WR-Anquan Boldin, Baltimore Ravens
Boldin is not having a terrific season, as he has not scored since Week 1 and was held to three catches for 24 yards by the Houston Texans when the Ravens last played in Week 7. But he had at least 82 receiving yards in three straight games prior to that, and has a good chance to get back on that track against the Cleveland Browns in Week 9. Boldin had his best game of the season against the Browns back in Week 4, with nine receptions for 131 yards, though it’s worth mentioning Cleveland cornerback Joe Haden missed that game due to a suspension. But the Browns have allowed 33 catches to opposing wide receivers in the three games since Haden returned to action, and Boldin could take advantage of their vulnerability at cornerback if Haden lines up across from Torrey Smith frequently on Sunday. If you own Boldin, this is a week to absolutely get him in your lineup.
Dud WR-Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Bryant had five receptions for 110 yards against the New York Giants in Week 8, and his numbers would have looked even better if he had come down with a difficult touchdown catch near the end of the game. Now a tough matchup is on the slate for Week 9 against the Atlanta Falcons, who have allowed the fewest yards (133.7 per game) to opposing wide receivers and the third-fewest fantasy points (15.7 per game, ESPN scoring) to the position as well. Bryant is also dealing with a hip injury, and though he does not appear to be in danger of missing Sunday night’s game just how effective he will be is a concern. His talent will continue to taunt his fantasy owners on a weekly basis, but this looks like a week to bench Bryant for those that have other options.
Stud TE-Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals
Gresham had just three catches for 19 yards in Cincinnati’s last game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 7, but he does have at least three receptions and has been targeted at least five times in all seven of his games this season. A very favorable matchup is coming in Week 9 against the Denver Broncos, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends (10.4 per game, ESPN scoring). The Broncos have allowed three touchdowns to the position over their last two games, though facing Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham in those two contests certainly played a role. Gresham is clearly not on the level of Gates and Graham in terms of talent, but as a primary option for Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton he makes for a very good bye week fill-in for Week 9 and a solid low-end TE1 all the way around.
Dud TE-Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers
Finley had just two catches for 24 yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 8, and now has just nine receptions for 78 yards in the last four games combined. Any hope for a turnaround is tempered by a tough matchup for Week 9 against the Arizona Cardinals, who have allowed just 4.4 fantasy points to opposing tight ends (third-fewest in the league, ESPN scoring) this season, including just six catches to the position over their last four games. Injuries to Packers’ wide receivers Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson in recent weeks have done nothing to bolster Finley’s production, and fantasy owners should not expect anything better this week.