Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Who's Hot and Who's Not for Week 9

It's week 9 of the NFL regular season and the following teams have a bye: Buffalo, Cleveland, Minnesota, New York Jets, Oakland, St. Louis.  This may be the most irrelevant grouping of teams for a bye week.  You may be down Brett Favre, Sidney Rice, Thomas Jones, and Steven Jackson, but there aren't many others to really mourn over.  If you've been relying on players from Buffalo, Cleveland, Oakland and St. Louis to lead your offense, chances are it's been a rough season.

Start 'Em!


Matt Cassel (KC) vs. Jacksonville

Not to be rude, but if Vince Young can throw as well as he did against the Jaguars, then Matt Cassel should look like Tom Brady against a team ranked 26th against the pass.  Sure, he doesn't have the same receiving corps to aid him, but the Jacksonville secondary is ripe for the picking and the Jags allow the 8th most points per game, leaving scoring opportunities ripe for the picking.  Coming off of a victory and a bye week, the Chiefs should be well-prepared for the game and could finally put up some numbers to bring them out of their scoring slump.  Cassel should be in determinedly in charge with Larry Johnson out due to misconduct.  Refocusing their efforts, the Chiefs will be aiming for their second victory and this game could be the one, if Cassel and Dwayne Bowe continue to find chemistry between them.  Expect at least a couple of touchdowns from Cassel, with few mistakes made.

The Line: 33 attempts, 23 completions, 230 yards passing, 2 passing touchdowns, 2 carries,

Joe Flacco (BAL) vs. Cincinnati

Flacco and the Ravens are ready to go on a roll after their victory this past weekend against Denver.  This week they are competing against a much more generous defense in Cincinnati, who have struggled against the pass the past few weeks after losing pass rusher Antwan Odom.  Receivers Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason proved themselves valuable assets against Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman.  In addition, the Blackbirds are playing with fire in their bellies to earn a spot in the playoffs, which seems very likely if they play like they did coming out of their bye week.  Flacco is in charge of this multi-dimensional offense, and he should have some highlights to go with a multi-touchdown performance this week.

The Line: 27 attempts, 19 completions, 272 yards passing, 2 passing touchdowns

Running Backs:

Jamaal Charles (KC) vs. Jacksonville

It may seem foolish to put down two Chiefs on the starting column, but this week is their next best chance at a victory and they should stop at no costs.  Charles may not have the talents of Larry Johnson, but he is likely going to be the feature back for Kansas City now.  Two solid statistics in favor of Charles are his 5.0 yards per carry average this season and his involvement in the passing game, equating to 14 catches for 120 yards receiving.  Given the starting job, Charles could be a poor man's Steve Slaton, without the fumbling issue.  He should be a strong target for Cassel on passing downs and could have a showcase day against the surprisingly porous Jacksonville defense.  The shootout in Florida should mean strong numbers for both teams, but Charles is an excellent replacement who could be a strong investment later in the year.

The Line: 14 carries, 71 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown, 3 receptions, 26 yards receiving

Pierre Thomas (NO) vs. Carolina

It's back to the front for the PT Bruiser, who reclaimed his first-stringer status with a two touchdown performance against Atlanta, in addition to 91 yards rushing.  He did all this with fewer carries than Mike Bell, so Thomas should now be the main ball-carrier in the contest against Carolina.  Once the Saints take over the game, they should be keeping the ball on the ground in order to keep things under control, which benefits all three backs (don't forget Reggie Bush).  Prior to that, Thomas should be relied upon to make some big plays for a major offense.  If he sees similar passing usage as during the past week, his value should further increase.  Expect at least one touchdown from the stout running back.

The Line: 16 carries, 87 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown

Wide Receivers:

Michael Crabtree (SF) vs. Tennessee

So far, he's living up to his hype, but this is the week that could make Crabtree a true starter in fantasy leagues.  Against one of the weakest pass defenses in the league and with Alex Smith in the gun, Crabtree is poised to earn his first trip to pay dirt.  Though last week the Titans shut down Mike Sims-Walker, expect things to be different for the extremely talented rookie, who should be able to exploit a usually weak pass defense that ranks absolute last in the league.  It's especially nice to note that Alex Smith can be relied on more than Shaun Hill, making the Niners No.1 wideout a strong asset to those who held out for him to sign.

The Line: 5 receptions, 65 yards receiving, 1 receiving touchdown

Kenny Britt (TEN) vs. San Francisco

Like his opposition's first-round draft pick, Michael Crabtree (highlighted above), Britt is poised for a strong outing in San Francisco on Sunday.  Vince Young at quarterback should benefit the proficient rookie, who will continue splitting time with Nate Washington.  His double-move capabilities should be sufficient to evade an injured secondary that may be missing Nate Clements.  Though he may not touch paydirt, his yardage totals should make him a starter in deeper formats, as Young's arm is ultilized more after his mistake-free performance in week eight.

The Line: 6 receptions, 85 yards receiving

Tight End:

Kevin Boss (NYG) vs. San Diego

Eli Manning has been having a tough time ever since the big matchup of undefeated teams against New Orleans, with confidence shaken.  His receivers have seen some injuries, namely Mario Manningham, and Steve Smith can no longer pretend he's just an average threat, with teams watching him closely.  Defenses have wised up to Manning's weapons.  In the wake of all this, Boss has remained as capable as ever.  His touchdown catch last week must be a reminder to Manning why Boss is their starting tight end.  This week, in what should be a high-scoring game, Boss is a strong candidate to nab a touchdown.  After all, the Chargers give up the 12th most points per game in the league, meaning you are playing strong odds with Boss this week.

The Line: 3 receptions, 27 yards receiving, 1 receiving touchdown

The Risky Play

Maurice Morris (DET) vs. Seattle

With Kevin Smith giving away most of his workload with a shoulder injury, Morris could be a strong plug-n-play this week against the weakened Seattle defense.  He showed that he can handle a large number of carries and can be a breakaway receiver when thrown the ball.  Expect him to be tested more by the Detroit coaching staff against the 'Hawks come Sunday.  His potential numbers may not be the greatest, but he could be a strong risk/reward play in larger formats.

The Line: 12 carries, 48 yards rushing, 4 receptions, 35 yards receiving, 1 receiving touchdown

Sit 'Em...


Jay Cutler (CHI) vs. Arizona

Though Arizona lost week, they didn't lose through the air.  This week, they will put the stop on Cannon-Arm Cutler and his receivers.  Being more than proficient at stopping the run, the secondary has been put through the ringer until finding a rhythm.  Without Forte producing much of anything this year, Cutler has had to handle most all of the pressure, which has not boded well for a team that is creating a new offensive identity.  This week Cutler will have to throw in pressured situations and is always a strong candidate to toss a pick or two in any contest, with 11 interceptions to his name already this year.

The Line: 35 attempts, 20 completions, 223 yards passing, 1 passing touchdown, 3 interceptions

Jason Campbell (WAS) vs. Atlanta

There's just no relying on the gunning of Campbell, who is part of an organization that has officially entered the reorganizing zone for this season.  Against a strong pass rush led by John Abraham, the newly minted offensive line of the 'Skins should cave in around Campbell, who will be forced into his usual unwise tosses.  He should also be unable to find the end zone with the collapsing chemistry on the road.

The Line: 28 attempts, 16 completions, 198 yards passing, 1 interception

Running Backs:

Laurence Maroney (NE) vs. Miami

Miami has proven itself to be a ground-oriented team, with a stout run defense and incredible running game.  Maroney won't see much luck against the defense and if Miami can play clock control football against New England, it will leave the Patriots to rely on the monumental talents of Tom Brady.  Kevin Faulk, the third-down specialist, will likely see more action than Maroney, who even when given the excellent matchup against Tampa Bay barely made himself relevant to the fantasy community.

The Line: 8 carries, 23 yards rushing, 1 reception, 7 yards receiving

Julius Jones (SEA) vs. Detroit

Many owners will want to play Jones in the matchup play against Detroit, but just say no.  He's a rather dull running back who lacks the explosive abilities necessary to break it big, even against a meager defense.  While he looked like a waiver wire gem earlier in the year, many owners have held on to Seattle first-stringer through past weeks.  Ultimately, you would be better off dropping him.  The Lions are ranked 21st against the run and are allowing the 2nd most points to opposing teams, but don't expect Jones to be part of this.  Hasselbeck will be chucking the ball for solid mileage and most all of the points.

The Line: 13 carries, 42 yards rushing, 2 receptions, 17 yards receiving

Wide Receivers:

Anquan Boldin (ARI) vs. Chicago

Though Chicago is no longer the top-five defense it once was, it is still a strong force, ranking 12th against the pass and showing improvement.  Boldin has been running on an injury that needs to be rested, all while Breaston is stepping up and averaging more yards per catch.  There's no reason for the Cardinals to not give Breaston the ball more while Boldin is busy recuperating.  Boldin will definitely see action on the field this week, but he may not be in the best form against a strong defense, limiting opportunities for Kurt Warner to get him the ball.

The Line: 3 receptions, 37 yards receiving

Tight End:

Bo Scaife (TEN) vs. San Francisco

Sure, everyone has been talking about how Scaife and Vince Young were college sweethearts on the field, but things change.  Though last week they managed to find some of their old connection, this week will be different when the Titans need to make big plays; this week, they will have to look further down the field and let Young loose a little to make plays.  Scaife may be called on more as a blocker for Chris Johnson and on quarterback draws.  Expect this week for him to be used a little in the first half, and a lot less when the Titans are playing from behind.

The Line: 3 receptions, 21 yards receiving


  1. ok first of all i have
    Gerrard starting at Qb
    second of all i have
    Sims-Walker, starting at WR
    And Portis
    Gore starting at RB
    And for my flex i have J. Stewart

    I have on my bench: Santana Moss
    Devin Hester
    Matt Ryan
    NOW SHOULD I SWAP ANYBODY? help needed plz

  2. Well Daniel, I would bench Portis for sure and bump Stewart up into the running back slot. Then move Devin Hester up into the flex. I just don't trust Portis at all for any kind of production this week. If Washington wants to win, they will have to do it through the air.