Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em – Week 9
Bye Week Teams
New England Patriots, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams
Robert Griffin III (vs. Car) – So the very week I proclaim my unwavering faith in Mr. Griffin III, the guy goes out and puts up his biggest fantasy stinker of the year. Go figure. It happens to the best of ‘em though, so I’m not too worried about it. This Sunday he’ll face off against a Carolina Panthers team that has actually been pretty good against QBs this season, but it’s really only because teams keep trying to run all over them. In fact, the Panthers D has allowed the second-highest passing percentage in the league right now at a whopping 68.4 percent! Because of their mediocre rush D, RGIII will gain a good 70-80 yards on the ground, but I still expect him to throw for around 250 yards as well so when you add all that to the three combined TDs he’ll have, you’re looking at a top-of-the-line fantasy day my friends.
Matthew Stafford (at Jax) – They don’t call this guy “Second-Half Staff” for nothing! Against a Seattle defense he had no business dominating last week, Matthew Stafford proceeded to throw for 352 yards and three touchdowns while also running in a fourth TD for good measure. Hey, he didn’t throw for 5,000 yards last season because he was lucky! However, it’s no coincidence that his tide suddenly turned, either, as it’s plainly obvious how much Stafford and the Lions offense needed Titus Young to get more involved. This week, the Lions visit a Jaguars team that surprisingly kept Aaron Rodgers at bay last weekend—though I don’t believe they’ll do the same against Stafford. As a matter of fact, now that Matty has a taste of what it’s like to be elite again, I’m kind of expecting an explosion here.
Michael Vick (at NO, Monday night) – This is it for Michael Dwayne Vick. Either he puts together a good game against a league-worst Saints defense this Monday night, or he likely loses his starting job to a rookie. It’s that simple. Does he have enough magic left in the tank to pull it off? I believe he does, though that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Eagles will win the game. What it DOES mean, however, is that you should be starting him on your fantasy team this week as the Saints defense has allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing QBs this season. Again, it’s as simple as that.
Cam Newton (at Was) – Is Cam Newton back? The Chicago Bears aren’t in the habit of allowing opposing QBs to look good throwing for 300 yards against them, but that’s exactly what Newton did this past Sunday. This week he’ll be looking at a Redskins defense that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season along with the most passing touchdowns in the league. That doesn’t necessarily mean Newton will prosper, as the Panthers will likely be without their WR2, Brandon LaFell, this weekend, but I still expect Cam to shine. Whatever happens, this is certainly one of the best games to watch in Week 9 with the 2011 rookie of the year (Newton) going up against the possible 2012 rookie of the year (RGIII). If anything, it will be fun to see which QB comes out on top.
Others with QB1 Potential:
Andrew Luck (vs. Mia)
Ben Roethlisberger (at NYG)
Matt Schaub (vs. Buf)
Carson Palmer (vs. TB)
Jay Cutler (at Ten)
Ryan Tannehill (at Ind)
Russell Wilson (vs. Min)
Marshawn Lynch (vs. Min) – Lynch has four 100-yard games on the season yet surprisingly, only one of them came at home. I mention this because last year he had six 100-yard games with only one of them coming on the road. Basically, Marshawn is due for another home 100-yarder; and its coming this week. The Vikings didn’t allow a single RB to put up double-digit fantasy points against them through the first five weeks of the season. However, Minnesota has allowed one in each of their last three games with all of them putting up at least one rushing touchdown and the last two going up over 100 yards as well. Lynch should be fed like crazy in this game which almost assuredly means RB1 fantasy numbers.
Willis McGahee (at Cin) – I think McGahee kind of likes this Peyton Manning-led offensive system. He’s currently ninth in the league in fantasy points per game, tenth in rushing yards and tied for eighth in rushing TDs, so what’s not to like. Some games have been better than others, but I fully expect this to be one of his better ones going up against a Cincinnati defense that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game and second-most rushing touchdowns in the league. Willis put up 101 yards and a TD against the Bengals last season, so with the Denver offense clicking the way it has been lately, there’s no reason not to expect the same this time around.
Alfred Morris (vs. Car) – Alfred Morris has put up double-digit fantasy points in six of the Redskins eight games this season and I have no doubt that he’ll make it a seventh this week. The kid also has five rushing TDs, which is tied for second in the league behind Arian Foster. Basically, The Butler is the real deal, folks, and there doesn’t seem to be a need to worry about him being in a Shanahan offense either. This weekend he’ll be up against a Panthers rush D that was one of the worst in the league for a while there, but have somehow turned it around and done pretty well in their last few games. That being said, their focus will be mainly on Robert Griffin III this Sunday, so there should be plenty of open holes for Morris to barrel through and rack up the rushing yards.
Matt Forte (at Ten) – Tennessee’s main problem with opposing running backs isn’t so much in defending the rush, but more so against multi-dimensional RBs that can do just as much damage through the air as they can on the ground. In fact, the Titans D has allowed the most receiving yards, most receiving touchdowns and second-most receptions to running backs this season. Basically, the things that the Titans are the worst at are the same things that Matt Forte happens to be best at. Because the Tennessee offense can actually be pretty lethal at times, the Bears will want to control the clock as well, so look for Forte to get a healthy amount of work this weekend en route to a low-end RB1 fantasy day. In PPR leagues, go ahead and change that “low-end” designation to “high-end”.
Trent Richardson (vs. Bal) – It turns out the scare fantasy owners had when Richardson exited the Indy game two weeks ago after re-injuring his ribs was really nothing at all. Obviously he was just fine after watching him run for 122 yards and a touchdown against a Chargers defense last week that hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher since Week 12 of last season. This Sunday, he takes on a decimated Baltimore D for the second time this season. Back in Week 4, Trent put up 104 total yards and a touchdown against them but that was WITH all of their defensive studs still healthy, so I’m expecting a much better turn-out this time around. There are a lot of classic matchups this weekend and I have no doubt that this one between Trent and Ray Rice will become one of the best over the next few years.
Others with RB1 Potential:
Reggie Bush (at Ind)
Darren McFadden (vs. TB)
Doug Martin (at Oak)
DeMarco Murray (at Atl, Sunday night) – IF ACTIVE
Jonathan Dwyer (at NYG)
Fred Jackson (at Hou)
Jonathan Stewart (at Was)
Daniel Thomas (at Ind)
Denarius Moore (vs. TB) – Yes, Denarius Moore is sitting in my top-five wide receivers for the week. I mean, have you seen how much Carson Palmer loves him?!?! The kid has been targeted no less than eight times in his six games played this season and has now caught a touchdown in his last three straight. The kid is a weekly highlight reel to watch and to be honest; it wouldn’t shock me to hear Palmer say that he throws him the ball simply to see what the kid will do next. Moore wouldn’t make it this high in my rankings simply on aesthetics, obviously, so there must be some other reason. Well, there is. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass defense was pretty bad to begin with, but in this past week, not only have they traded their best, yet troubled cornerback Aqib Talib to the Patriots, but they also have their second-best CB, Eric Wright, dealing with some Achilles soreness and as a possible four-game suspension swirling around in his mind as well. Basically, the fantasy points are ripe for the pickin’ this week.
Julio Jones (vs. Dal, Sunday night) – The Dallas Cowboys secondary, particularly their cornerbacks, have been awesome at defending the pass this season. However, if they’ve had any sort of pinpointed trouble thus far, it’s been against taller/bigger receivers who can stretch the field. Julio Jones happens to be one of the best in the game in that exact problem-area for the ‘Boys. The Atlanta offense has quickly become one of the best in the game and can strike at any time with their new high-tempo offense, part of which is due to the big-play threat of Mr. Julio Jones. Considering how often Dallas turns the ball over and how good the Falcons are at taking it away, I can easily see a good five to seven red-zone drives in which Jones will have a chance to use his size for a TD. He may not put up awesome yardage in the end, but at least one touchdown should be forthcoming.
Randall Cobb (vs. Ari) – This kid is really something else, isn’t he. He’s pretty much the same type of player as Percy Harvin at this point, though he might actually have better juke moves than Percy though doesn’t NEARLY have the same type of size and power. With Jordy Nelson unlikely to suit up this Sunday, Cobb has to be considered the top target for Aaron Rodgers which can’t possibly translate to a ranking outside of the top-ten. Arizona hasn’t been bad against the pass this season, but their pass-rush has been pretty awesome as they’re currently tied for first in the league (WITH GREEN BAY) with 26 sacks on the season. I mention this because it looks like Rodgers will be under pressure all game and if so, he might have to get rid of the ball quickly. With Cobb being as dynamic as he is and more of an underneath guy than anything else, I have no doubt he’ll see the most targets of the Packers receivers in this game and with the ball in his hands, the kid is flat-out lethal.
Andre Johnson (vs. Buf) – Andre Johnson has one 100-yard game and two touchdowns through seven games this season and caught three or fewer passes in four of them. By now, we all know that this isn’t the same Andre Johnson as in years past, but I have no doubt he still has some big games left in him. This week against the Buffalo Bills is going to be one of them. Strange as it sounds, ‘Dre is actually being targeted FAR more at home than he is on the road (9.5 to 4.7) and has obviously put up way better stats at home because of it. The Bills defense is bad enough against the run that the Texans would probably never need to pass the ball, but that’s exactly when they WILL pass the ball because it’s the direction the Bills would least expect them to go. Do I expect one of those insane 11-193-2 stat-lines Johnson used to put up? No, but he’ll definitely have himself a quiet low-end WR1 day while Arian Foster steals the show.
Steve Smith (at Was) – It’s been awhile since Stevie Fists found his way into my top-ten, but if there was any week of the season it would be for the old-timer, this would be it. Smitty showed last week against the Chicago Bears that he can still hang with the big fantasy boys when he caught seven passes for 118 yards against arguably the best defense in the league. Of course, I can’t go without mentioning his colossal F-up when he slipped on an out-route and allowed CB Tim Jennings to take a pick-six for the lead in the fourth quarter, but he still had an outstanding game otherwise. This week the Panthers travel to Washington where Smith will be aiming for his FIRST touchdown of the season against possibly the worst pass defense in the league. Last year against them he put up 143 yards on seven catches, but didn’t come away with a TD. This year I can see the touchdown happening, but maybe only around 100 yards as he might be double-covered from time to time with Brandon LaFell likely out due to a concussion.
Others with WR1 Potential:
Mike Wallace (at NYG)
Jeremy Maclin (at NO, Monday night)
Eric Decker (at Cin)
DeSean Jackson (at NO, Monday night)
Marques Colston (vs. Phi, Monday night)
Titus Young (at Jax)
Darrius Heyward-Bey (vs. TB)
Anquan Boldin (at Cle)
Brian Hartline (at Ind)
Sidney Rice (vs. Min)
Mike Williams (at Oak)
Brandon LaFell (at Was)
Kevin Walter (vs. Buf)
Greg Little (vs. Bal)
Heath Miller (at NYG)
Jason Witten (at Atl, Sunday night)
Owen Daniels (vs. Buf)
Greg Olsen (at Was)
Others with TE1 Potential:
Antonio Gates (vs. KC, Thursday night)
Brent Celek (at NO, Monday night)
Jermaine Gresham (vs. Den)
Kyle Rudolph (at Sea)
Joel Dreessen (at Cin)
Jared Cook (vs. Chi)
Dwayne Allen (vs. Mia)
Kellen Davis (at Ten)
Jordan Cameron (vs. Bal)
Tony Romo (at Atl, Sunday night)
Andy Dalton (vs. Den)
Christian Ponder (at Sea)
BYE WEEK QBs
New England – Tom Brady
St. Louis – Sam Bradford
Ahmad Bradshaw (vs. Pit)
Chris Johnson (vs. Chi)
Michael Turner (vs. Dal, Sunday night)
Donald Brown (vs. Mia)
Alex Green (vs. Ari)
Isaac Redman (vs. Was) – PROBABLE – Ankle
BYE WEEK RBs
Torrey Smith (at Cle)
Stevie Johnson (at Hou)
Kenny Britt (vs. Chi)
Malcom Floyd (vs. KC, Thursday night)
Leonard Hankerson (vs. Car)
Jordy Nelson (vs. Ari) – QUESTIONABLE – Hamstring
Alshon Jeffery (at Ten) – OUT – Hand
Mohamed Massaquoi (vs. SD) – QUESTIONABLE - Hamstring
Harry Douglas (vs. Dal, Sunday night) – QUESTIONABLE – Ankle, knee
Joseph Morgan (vs. Phi, Monday night) – QUESTIONABLE – Chest
BYE WEEK WRs
Dennis Pitta (at Cle)
Jermichael Finley (vs. Ari)
Coby Fleener (vs. Mia)
BYE WEEK TEs
New York Jets – Dustin Keller
St. Louis – Lance Kendricks
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