DENVER - Teams on bye this week are: Denver Broncos (7-1), Detroit Lions (5-3), New York Giants (2-6), Arizona Cardinals (4-4), San Francisco 49ers (6-2), Jacksonville Jaguars (0-8)
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Finding those hidden gems during one of the NFL’s longest bye weeks
We’re on the back end of the two biggest bye weeks of the season, so finding some lightning in a bottle can go a long way this week in pulling out a win. Hopefully you planned ahead if you have Peyton Manning and many of the Denver Broncos, or Matt Stafford and several of the Detroit Lions as they are off this week. Both teams are arguably the two most consistent as far as players putting up fantasy numbers through the season. If you didn’t look ahead, here are some quick fixes to hopefully keep you afloat in week 9.
Players to look at for week 9 – Quarterbacks
Christian Ponder vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys are last in the league against the pass. That’s about all you need to know. What also helps is that Dallas plays in a retractable dome, which could benefit the Vikings if they close it since Minnesota also plays in a dome at home. The Vikings defense is pretty bad as well and it’s an easy bet that Minnesota will be playing from behind. The Cowboys have to respect Adrian Peterson so there should be plenty of opportunity for Ponder to excel in this game.
Jake Locker vs. St. Louis Rams:
The Rams are actually decent against the pass but they’re even better against the run as of late. I would expect one of those sub-par days from Chris Johnson. Plus odds are the Titans will own the time of possession since the Rams have Kellen Clemens at quarterback, who didn’t look very good last week against the Seattle Seahawks. The Titans are also coming off of a bye week which could help Locker and the Titans offense.
Nick Foles vs. Oakland Raiders:
I know the last time Foles played it looked like a no brainer against the Cowboys. Instead the Cowboys bashed his brains. The thing is, the running game isn’t working right now in the fast-paced Chip Kelly offense, just ask LeSean McCoy owners. The idea here is, with Foles back in, hopefully the entire offense will be close to normal. Plus the Eagles defense will give up points, forcing the offense to keep up pace.
Jason Campbell vs. Baltimore Ravens: Campbell played pretty well last week on the road in Kansas City, which looked like it would be a nightmare of a matchup. He played well enough against the Chiefs to give Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron pretty good numbers. The idea here is, the Ravens are number one against the rush and Willis McGahee or Chris Ogbonnaya won’t be able to push them down in the rankings. Simply, the Browns will have to throw to accomplish anything against the Ravens who are ranked 16th against the pass.
Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell vs. New Orleans Saints:
Neither are great options at running back, but you have to believe Rex Ryan is going to try to run as much as possible to keep Drew Brees and the Saints off the field. Really you’re hoping for an early touchdown here from either of the two, before the score gets out of hand and the Jets are forced to try to play catch-up through the air. Expect much of the same game plan they forced on the Patriots few weeks ago, running it all day long.
Zac Stacy vs. Tennessee Titans:
Zac Stacy is the only real offense the Rams have with Clemens at quarterback. Plus he gashed the Seahawks vaunted defense last week for a hundred plus. So he’s really not a match up based option. Be sure to see if he’s playing after suffering a low ankle sprain last week.
Danny Woodhead vs. Washington Redskins:
Danny Woodhead has been a real hit or miss option all season, but this week should be a hit coming off a bye against the Washington Redskins. Washington is dead last against the run, so I’d expect a decent share for Woodhead and maybe even a late game takeover in the backfield if the Chargers are ahead at the end. Woodhead is a much better option in ppr formats.
Ben Tate vs. Indianapolis Colts:
A lot of things would have to fall together for Ben Tate to get a strong play this week. First, Tate isn’t at a hundred percent but he’s stated this week that he’s going to be ready to play on Sunday. Second, Arian Foster is injured and worse off than Tate. But if Tate sits then you could end up stuck since the game in on Sunday night. The Indianapolis Colts are ranked near the top against the run.
Donald Brown vs. Houston Texans:
Trent Richardson hasn’t performed up to par and Donald Brown has been the more productive back recently. Brown is guaranteed to get touches they way the Colts have used him, splitting time with Richardson. Brown is probably a better option in ppr leagues and may have additional playing time on passing downs with Reggie Wayne out for the year.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Brandon LaFell vs. Atlanta Falcons
LaFell has become a popular target for Cam Newton and Atlanta’s defense is terrible. Steve Smith is still the number one receiver but Newton is coming on as the season gets longer. LaFell is the one who has benefitted most in the Panthers offense.
Greg Jennings and Kyle Rudolph vs. Dallas Cowboys
If there’s ever a week for Jennings and Rudolph to be trustworthy, this is the week. Christian Ponder has some chemistry with them and they’re facing the worst pass defense in the league. They make for a perfect fill-in at the right time this week as the Vikings are expected to be playing from behind against the Cowboys.
Stephen Hill vs. New Orleans Saints
You have to believe the New York Jets will be playing from behind, probably sooner then later. They’ll have to throw the ball to someone and Hill is the most logical choice. It may not happen until garbage time near the end, but it should happen for Hill at some point against the Saints.
Kendall Wright vs. St. Louis Rams
Kendall Wright is probably the best option in the passing game for the Titans and is well under the radar. The Rams aren’t a scary match up and Locker should be able to find Wright often. I’d rate him the same level as Golden Tate who had two touchdowns against the Rams last week. Rams defensive back Cortland Finnegan should be back this week.
Dexter McCluster vs. Buffalo Bills
Dexter McCluster has taken over Donny Avery’s role in the past few weeks. Alex Smith doesn’t like to throw the ball downfield and McCluster has a bunch of yards after the catch. The Bills gave up five touchdowns through the air last week to Drew Brees. McCluster is a safe bet to find the end zone this week.
Denarius Moore vs. Philadelphia Eagles
This is a simple match up play. The Eagle’s defense can’t stop much of anything, and he’s the primary receiver for the Raiders. Terrell Pryor should be able to find him often.
Timothy Wright vs. Seattle Seahawks
Logic dictates this play more then anything else. Mike Williams is out for the year. Mike Glennon has been putting up respectable numbers since taking over at quarterback in Tampa. Wright was already starting to put up numbers before Williams went out for the season. It’s a tough matchup in Seattle but someone has to get the throws that were going to Williams, and you know Vincent Jackson gets most of the attention from the defenses.
Jacoby Jones vs. Cleveland Brown
Joe Haden will be covering Torrey Smith so Joe Flacco will look to Jacoby Jones on the other side of the formation. Plus the Browns front four is no joke and the Ravens running game have been non-existent lately.
Emmanuel Sanders and Heath Miller vs. New England Patriots
If Aqib Talib plays, he should be on Antonio Brown. Ben Roethlisberger trusts both Emmanuel Sanders and Heath Miller. In fact, I like Miller more than Sanders in this game.
Martellus Bennett vs. Green Bay Packers
Josh McCown is in for the Bears at quarterback and the tight end position is always the safety valve. The Packers are at the bottom against opposing tight ends. This is easily a game where the Bears will be trying to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense, so a decent amount of dump offs to Martellus Bennett could be in the game plan.
Week 9 defensive ranks against run and pass, best to worst.
Against the run --- Against the pass