Look, I know what you may be thinking.
“Today is Friday, this column is supposed to be out on Thursdays!”
For that, I apologize. Hurricane Sandy knocked out my power for the majority of the week, hindering my productivity. However, I am now writing in a hotel, and I hope that everyone that was hit by Sandy is doing well.
The show must go on, so let’s take a look at the good and the bad for Week 9.
Thumbs Up: Quarterbacks
Cam Newton vs Washington Redskins: It’s weird to think that this is the first time Newton is under the “Thumbs Up” list. But it is, and with great reason. Newton gets the Redskins defense, that has allowed a league-high 18 touchdown passes this year, and the 4th most fantasy points. In an exciting matchup between against rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, Newton could put up big time numbers.
Michael Vick @ New Orleans Saints (Mon.): Assuming he remains the starting quarterback in Philly, Vick has a heavenly good matchup. The Saints are allowing a ridiculous 304.6 passing yards per game, the third-most in all of football. You have to think Vick will play well on the Monday night stage, as he will certainly be under the microscope.
Josh Freeman @ Oakland Raiders: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Freeman has been on an absolute tear as of late, throwing for 680 yards and 6 touchdowns in the past 2 games. The Raiders back end is vulnerable, and this game could very well be a shootout.
Joe Flacco @ Cleveland Browns: Am I afraid of the Browns defense? No, I’m not. However, I am worried about the inconsistency of Joe Flacco, especially on the road. In fact, Flacco has only thrown four touchdowns in four career games in Cleveland. Unless you are desperate, keep Flacco on your bench this week.
Matt Schaub vs Buffalo Bills: The Bills defense is absolutely terrible in all aspects. So, why don’t I like Schaub this week? Well, Houston should control this game with ease. Having said that, I expect to see a TON of Arian Foster and Justin Forsett. I don’t see Schaub throwing for more than 15 times in this game, limiting fantasy points.
Thumbs Up: Running Backs
Alfred Morris vs Carolina Panthers: Morris has done nothing but impress me in his rookie campaign. He and RG3 are quite the duo. While Morris is coming off a measly 59 rushing yards on Sunday, that won’t stop me from starting him with confidence. The Panthers just lost middle linebacker Jon Beason for the season (again). They are also allowing the fifth most fantasy points to opposing running backs, and couldn’t tackle an immobile object.
LeSean McCoy @ New Orleans Saints (Mon.): He is playing the Saints. Oh, you want more? The Saints are allowing the most fantasy points to opposing runners in 2012, and gave up a ridiculous 251 yards to the Denver Broncos backs last week. Let’s just hope Andy Reid and company give him the ball, as “Shady” has only gotten more than 16 carries once all year.
Matt Forte @ Tennessee Titans: Great sign for Forte owners, as Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice admitted that the team needs to get Forte involved more. Owners should see a heavy dose of Forte on Sunday, as he gets the Titans, who have allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to running backs. This defensive unit is also giving up 139.3 rushing yard per game.
Alex Green vs Arizona Cardinals: You would think that Green would take advantage of the workload he is getting, however, that has not been the case. In the past three games, Green has carried the ball at least 20 times, averaging just 2.4 yards per carry. This week, he faces the Cardinals defense, that is very tough on running backs.
Felix Jones @ Atlanta Falcons: Starting running back DeMarco Murray will not play for the third straight game this Sunday, presenting Jones with yet another opportunity. However, don’t expect big production from him. Jones is dealing with injury concerns of his own, and though it is looking like he will go, it’s difficult to trust him. He has rushed for just 63 yards on 28 carries since replacing Murray, and has shown no sign of promise.
Thumbs Up: Wide Receivers
Reggie Wayne vs Miami Dolphins: Wayne is the definition of an ageless wonder. The 12 year veteran leads the entire league in both targets (92) and receiving yards (757). And while the Dolphins have a very stout run defense, their secondary is allowing the 7th most fantasy points to opposing receivers. Wayne has seen at least 10 targets in the past five games, so look for that to continue this week.
Brandon Marshall @ Tennessee Titans: Fantasy owners could be looking at a monster performance from their wide receiver come Sunday afternoon. Marshall faces the Titan’s 27th-ranked pass defense, and will get many looks from quarterback Jay Cutler. He has a ridiculous 40 percent of the team’s receptions, so look for him to catch the ball early and often.
Denarius Moore vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Moore is quietly putting together a very nice 2012 campaign. He ranks in the top 25 in points among wide-outs, and is getting targeted a ton by Carson Palmer. Considering the Bucs just traded their best corner in Aqib Talib, and they are allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing receivers, Moore could have a fine afternoon.
Kenny Britt vs Chicago Bears: Expect a rough outing for Britt this weekend. First off, although he says he is playing, Britt is dealing with a knee injury. That’s not good news for fantasy owners. To make things worse, Britt faces the Bears this weekend, who are, well, the Bears. Hands down the best defense in fantasy football and have only surrendered four touchdowns to wide receivers all season long.
Santana Moss vs Carolina Panthers: While Moss has been on a bit of a hot streak lately, scoring 3 touchdowns in the past two games. However, I expect that streak to end this week against the Panthers, who are allowing the 4th fewest fantasy points to receivers. Also, I expect the Redskins to run the ball a ton in this game.
Thumbs Up: Tight Ends
Owen Daniels vs Buffalo Bills: Daniels has been a waiver wire darling for fantasy owners this year. In a good amount of leagues, he wasn’t even drafted. Now, halfway through the season, he ranks fourth in fantasy points among tight ends. This week, he faces the Bills defense that can’t stop anyone.
Greg Olsen vs Washington Redskins: With three top tier tight ends on a bye this week, owners may have to hit the waiver wire for a bye week fill-in. Well, look no further than Olsen. He is appearing to get involved more in that offense, and the Redskins are allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.
Brandon Pettigrew vs Jacksonville Jaguars: Pettigrew has been very consistent for fantasy owners. In a negative way. The tight end has racked up fewer than eight fantasy points in every game he has played. On Sunday, the Jaguars come into town, who are allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. It also doesn’t help that Pettigrew’s knee still isn’t 100 percent.
Kyle Rudolph @ Seattle Seahawks: After starting the season on fire, Rudolph is beginning to cool down. The past two games, Rudolph has posted less than 3 fantasy points. He heads to Seattle, the toughest place to play in football, against one of the best defenses.
Thumbs Up: D/ST
Green Bay Packers defense vs Arizona Cardinals: This isn’t so much about the Packers defense as it is about the Cardinals offense (or lack there of). Their quarterback situation is bad and their offensive line is even worse. Expect Clay Matthews and company to get cause trouble early and often.
Atlanta Falcons defense vs Dallas Cowboys: It is no secret that Tony Romo has been turning the ball over an awful lot. That alone, should be a good enough reason to start the Falcons defensive unit. The fact that the game is in the Georgia Dome makes this matchup all the better.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ New York Giants: The Steelers defensive unit is not what it once was. They went from one of the most feared sights in football to a defense that has only scored 8 or more fantasy points twice this year. This week, they head to New York to face Eli Manning and a high-powered offense. If you are in need of a defense this week, I’d look elsewhere.
Arizona Cardinals defense @ Green Bay Packers: The Cardinals defense have been a pleasant surprise this year, ranking in the top 6 in points scored among fantasy defenses. However, this week, don’t expect many points at all, as Aaron Rodgers comes into town, looking to put up points after a less than stellar win last weekend.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy football columnist and expert for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.