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Fantasy Football: Week 9 starts, sits

11.01.13 at 10:18 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 9 starts and sits. With six teams sitting out the week on their bye, this is a tough week to find worthy fantasy talent. I’ve done my best here to give you some options and some ideas. If you require even more clarity, feel free to head over to Rotobahn.com, where I have full lineup rankings posted. I update those rankings every Saturday. And, as usual, I’ll be here at WEEI on Sunday morning for a chat. Bring your lineup questions and I’ll bring the answers.

QUARTERBACKS

STARTS

Terrelle Pryor, Raiders vs. Eagles

He’s always good for a decent game because he attacks the defense with both his arm and his legs. Pryor has a high ceiling and is capable of big games. He could post one this week, but it’s his floor that I like even more. Pryor can help you in any league at QB in Week 9.

Tom Brady, Patriots vs. Steelers 

Brady is in one of the worst statistical funks of his career, but there have been extenuating circumstances. We all know about the injuries, but one other thing worth noting is that the Patriots have faced tough defenses three out of the last four weeks. It started with the Bengals in Week 5. Last week it was the Dolphins, who shut down Andy Dalton and company Thursday night. Things don’t ease up for Brady and the Patriots offense. They play a lot of good pass defenses over the season’s second half. Those who expect Brady to finish the season in a blaze of glory will be disappointed, but I do think we’ll see solid improvement if the Patriots can get healthy, especially when Shane Vereen returns.  I have Brady as a QB1 this week, but that’s more about the lack of options than my thinking Brady will go off. I’m hoping for decent numbers and I would not be afraid to play him. I do not expect another week of single-digit fantasy output like we’ve seen three out of the last four games. I’m sticking with the Canton-bound quarterback.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Patriots

Like with Brady, I am expecting Roethlisberger to rise to the occasion this weekend and post serviceable numbers. Like with the Patriots, the Steelers have injuries to key offensive personnel. Where Roethlisberger has an edge is that New England is hurting on both sides of the ball. He should be able to find the soft spots in the secondary, and he should be able to get a ground game going to work off of. In a down week for signal callers, he’s a guy who can start this week in most leagues.

Josh McCown, Bears at Packers

This is a desperation recommendation. You don’t want to play McCown, but if you are searching for a QB, he could help you. He does face a formidable task going to Lambeau Field this weekend to face the Packers. However, he has a lot of talent around him, and the Bears probably will be forced to throw a lot because they are not in a good position to stop the Packers offense. McCown should offer serviceable numbers  for desperate fantasy GMs.

SIT

Jason Campbell, Browns vs. Ravens

He looked pretty good last week, but I would avoid chasing that performance this week because the Ravens are playing good defense and have very good corners. I’d rather play McCown.

RUNNING BACKS

STARTS

Ryan Mathews, Chargers at Redskins

He’s looked a lot better than expected and he’s healthy. If you are searching for options in Week 9, Mathews certainly can help you as an RB2 or flex option. The matchup at Washington is nothing to worry about.

Chris Ivory, Jets vs. Saints

He was a forgotten man last week, and fantasy owners will be sending him to benches this weekend, but you might want to stick with Ivory in this one. Yes, the Jets are unpredictable with their backs, but the Saints can be run on, and the Jets would be first-class fools to get into an aerial battle with Drew Brees and company. Look for a heavy dose of Chris Ivory. He’s a solid option in 12-team leagues.

Chris Johnson, Titans at Rams

C.J.’s fantasy owners are rightfully hesitant to play him at this point, but I see better days ahead for the Titans running game. You have to run on the Rams to set up the pass, and that’s what we expect the Titans to do. Johnson should be good for 100 total yards, and that makes him a decent RB2 in most formats on a tough week.

Pierre Thomas, Saints at Jets

He’s a good fit for the matchup with the Jets, who often give up big plays in the screen game. Thomas has been getting a lot of snaps and should continue this week. Thomas also should get some clock-killing work as we expect the Saints to pretty much crush New York. Thomas is an RB2 or flex in 12-team leagues and even smaller PPR leagues.

Brandon Bolden, Patriots vs. Steelers

He’s got a medium ceiling because the Patriots play three backs these days. His knee injury is another limitation worth mentioning. Still, Bolden has toughed it out the last few months and he’s been productive in doing so. He’ll be important this week as the Patriots need to be two-handed on offense. Bolden helps a lot in that regard because he can run the ball, protect the passer and catch the ball, too. He’s a quality flex option in deeper formats.

SIT

Mike James, Buccaneers at Seahawks

I like this kid a lot, but how is he going to thrive on the road against this defense? Play him if you have no other reasonable option, but don’t expect much. Tampa is in big trouble this weekend.

WIDE RECEIVERS

STARTS

Denarius Moore, Raiders vs. Eagles

He’s been very good this year, and I like him this week against an improving Philadelphia defense. Moore is dangerous because the Raiders are putting extra stress on the defense with both Darren McFadden and Terrelle Pryor’s running ability. That compromises safeties and creates big-play potential. Moore is a solid start in any league this week.

DeAndre Hopkins, Texans vs. Colts

I like what I am seeing from this kid, and most of his struggles are due to his team’s problems at quarterback and on the offensive line. I would not be afraid of new QB Case Keenum. He looked pretty solid in his first outing back in Week 7 and he’s had the bye to get more first-team reps. Hopkins looks like a WR3 in 12-team leagues to me.

Kenny Stills, Saints at Jets

He’s not going to go off every week, but he’s playing very good football, and Drew Brees trusts him to make plays on the ball. Stills is the big-play threat in this offense after Jimmy Graham, and he can be a WR3 or flex for you this Sunday during the bye week crunch.

Nate Washington, Titans at Rams

He’s an underrated player, and he will be active in this game. He can be a WR3 in deeper leagues or a flex, but a big game might be tough against a solid Rams pass defense. Expect solid WR3 output in 12-team leagues.

Dexter McCluster, Chiefs at Bills

I like McCluster a lot as a PPR option this week. He’s a talented kid, and Andy Reid has finally found the way to use him. McCluster actually is the most dependable piece that the Chiefs have in the passing game right now. He can be a flex for you in 12-team leagues and he can be a WR3 for you in all PPR formats.

David Nelson, Jets vs. Saints

Need a deep option to get you through the bye? Nelson is a solid way to go. He’s been very active the last few weeks with Santonio Holmes down because of a hamstring problem. Holmes will miss Week 9 as well, and that makes Nelson a very sneaky play against the Saints. He can help you, especially in large formats.

SIT

Kenbrell Thompkins, Patriots vs. Steelers

I like Thompkins, but he played so few snaps last week that he’s a risk this week. He could do well, but banking on production is a risk not worth taking. I’d sit him this week if you have that option.

TIGHT ENDS

STARTS

Jordan Reed, Redskins vs. Chargers

Don’t buy into the Chargers’ stingy pass defense here. Yes, San Diego has been tough on tight ends so far, but Reed is a top priority for Robert Griffin III right now and he’ll be heavily targeted. He’s a TE1 this week, but with less big-game potential than he’s had the last few games.

Greg Olsen, Panthers vs. Falcons

He’s been up and down, but with Cam Newton playing very well, I expect good things this week against a reeling Atlanta defense. Olsen is a TE1 in all formats and league sizes.

Dallas Clark, Ravens at Browns

He’s rested after the bye, which is key for older players. Clark also has been finding the zone lately, which makes him an intriguing reach play at tight end in Week 9. I like the idea of starting him in 12-team leagues. Clark is our 15th-ranked option at the position this week.

Zach Miller, Seahawks vs. Buccaneers

If you are looking for an option with some upside, here is one I like. With Sidney Rice gone for the year and with Percy Harvin still out, the Seahawks are in need of options and I think Miller will be that, especially in the red zone. He’s got some sneaky upside this week for those who play in large formats.

SIT

Brent Celek, Eagles at Raiders

He could produce, but you can do better. Celek is just impossible to trust right now and is often left out of the passing game for extended stretches. He’s only viable in really deep leagues this week.

Read More: Ben Roethlisberger, Jason Campbell, Josh McCown, Ryan Matthews
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