October 31, 2014

Daily Fantasy Football Roundtable: Week 9 DraftKings Must-Starts

Every Friday, our contributors give your their best play for the current week's NFL games on DraftKings. Here are our choices for Week 9:

Brendan DonahueJeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. JAX), $4,000

With Giovani Bernard officially listed as doubtful this week, I see a breakout performance for rookie Jeremy Hill. He has a great matchup at home against the Jaguars. I would expect an even better line than he put up in Week 2 when he had 21 points in PPR formats and provides great value at just $4,000.

-> Turn $27 (entry) into $1 Million (top prize) in DraftKings' Week 9 Millionaire Maker contest

Sean Beazley — Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. JAX), $4,000

One player who will definitely be in my lineups this week is Bengals RB Jeremy Hill. Hill comes in at a bargain at $4,000. With current starter Gio Bernard expected to miss this week's game, Hill could vault right up there and become a top-10 option this week. The Bengals play the Jaguars at home this week, so they should get up early and rely on Hill to run the clock late. I'm predicting a 25/110/1, 5/40 game which is good enough for 29 DK points.

Ryan WattersonAndrew Hawkins, WR, Cleveland Browns (vs. TB), $4,900

I love Hawkins' value this week. In all but one game, Hawkins has registered a minimum of nine targets. If you remove that one game, he has averaged 15 PPR points per game, which is the DraftKings scoring format. Hawkins faces a Tampa Bay team that ranks 2nd to last against WRs in PPR formats. Additionally, the Browns run game has struggled since Alex Mack got injured. If they want to score points, they will need to move the ball via the air, and they are not likely to get much resistance from TB. Hawkins has a high floor with solid upside this week; at a mere $4,900, he could be very valuable.

Dan Yanotchko — Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cleveland Browns (vs. TB), $4,900

I am going a little deep this week for my play, as to have a chance to win this contest you need to find some hidden gems. I am going with Andrew Hawkins of the Browns this week, his stat line on the year is 36 catches, 470 yards and 1 TD, but in six of seven games, he has at least 9+ targets. Hawkins also has a great matchup this week, going against a Buccaneers team that allows 286 yards per game, 16 touchdowns, and a 69.2-percent completion percentage. With numbers like that, I might almost take Hoyer in the stack. The Bucs give up the second-most FPS to opposing receivers.

Kevin HansonLeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (at HOU), $5,200

It's been a disappointing season for McCoy, but there are plenty of reasons for him to exceed his $5,200 price tag this week. Over his past three games, McCoy has had a minimum of 24 touches per game and has averaged 104.3 yards on the ground during that stretch despite last week's matchup against the Cardinals, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing RBs this season. As my seventh-ranked running back, McCoy is the 15th-most expensive. Pairing McCoy with Hill in the two RB slots gives owners extra cash to load up elsewhere.

More Week 9 content:

Good luck in Week 9!



October 30, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Week 9 Wide Receivers

Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas had a slow start that may have worried some fantasy owners, but he has been as dominant as ever over his previous four games.

Before Denver's Week 4 bye, Thomas had a total of 13 receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown and as the WR55, WR12 and WR58 in those three games.

Since then, however, Thomas has exceeded eight catches and 100 yards in four consecutive games and he has racked up a stat line of 34/626/5 during that stretch. Although he didn't score last week and finished as the WR23 for the week, he was the WR1, WR4 and WR1 in the previous three weeks.

On a team loaded with talented playmakers, Thomas is on pace for 107 catches and 1,753 yards, both of which would be career highs, and 14 touchdowns, which would tie a career high.

If there is a week where he may struggle, it's this week against the Patriots. Whether or not he spends the day on Revis Island, the Patriots have allowed the fewest fantasy fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

Meanwhile, teammate Emmanuel Sanders is having a career year.

Through Week 8, Sanders ranks ninth (sixth on a per-game basis) in fantasy points among wide receivers.

Sanders doesn't have four consecutive 100-yard games, but he does have four 100-yard games on the season. And while he didn't score in the team's first five games, Sanders has four touchdowns in the past two weeks including three of them in Week 8.

Set to notch career highs across the board, Sanders is on pace for 107 catches, 1,449 yards and nine touchdowns.

DraftKings $2.2 Millionaire Maker Week 9 Contest: Turn $27 (entry) into $1 Million (top prize).

Some more thoughts on wide receivers:

- One week after a dud 2/16/0 performance on a season-low three targets, Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin bounced back in a huge way with 12 catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns on a season-high 16 targets against the Cardinals. Aside from Week 6, however, Maclin has had double-digit targets in all six of his other games this season. Maclin ranks sixth among wide receivers in targets (77), but no receiver averages more per game (11.0) than Maclin.

- Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown is second in targets per game (10.88), but he currently leads all wide receivers in scoring in both standard and PPR-scoring formats. Going back to the start of last season, Brown now has 24 consecutive games with at least five catches and 50 yards. As great as he was last year, Brown is on pace for 120 catches for 1,704 yards andn 14 touchdowns, which would be franchise records across the board.

- Next up for the Cardinals, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing receivers, are the Dallas Cowboys. It appears that the Cowboys will have Tony Romo (back) under center, but the Cardinals blitz as much as anyone and the Cowboys struggled against the blitz last week. Especially with the commitment to the ground game, Dez Bryant has relatively modest numbers — only two top-24 performances over the past five weeks. Through eight weeks, Bryant has the eighth-most fantasy points among wideouts and second-year teammate Terrance Williams ranks 17th.

- Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (toe) has returned to practice, but it's unclear whether he will return to the field on Sunday. Considering that the Bengals are double-digit favorites against the Jaguars this week, it's certainly possible that Green sits as a precaution ahead of their Thursday Night Matchup in Week 10 against the Browns.

- Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton has come up huge in the past five weeks. With a 9/90 line in his only game under 100 yards during that stretch, Hilton is averaging 7.4 catches and 136.0 yards per game over the last five and has scored a touchdown in two of his past three games. No receiver has more receiving yards than Hilton (866) this season.

- New England's Brandon LaFell has been a bit inconsistent, but he has three games with at least 17.9 fantasy points over his past five games. In his past five games, however, he has finished as the WR7, WR80, WR3, WR47 and WR11, respectively. LaFell seems to be building the trust of Tom Brady, but there has been a lack of weekly consistency from him. Denver has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season.

- With eight touchdowns in his rookie 2013 season, San Diego's Keenan Allen didn't score his first touchdown until Week 8. He has finished inside the top-36 wide receivers only twice in eight games, but the good news is that he has double-digit targets in three of his past five games and is averaging 9.4 per game during that stretch. The bad news is that the Dolphins have allowed just the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

- Through Week 8, there are five rookie receivers inside the top 35 wide receivers in scoring: Sammy Watkins (12th), Kelvin Benjamin (13th), Brandin Cooks (25th), Allen Robinson (31st) and John Brown (34th).

Here are my Week 9 fantasy football wide receiver rankings:

1. Antonio Brown, Steelers (vs. BAL)
2. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles (at HOU)
3. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos (at NE)
4. A.J. Green, Bengals (vs. JAX)
5. T.Y. Hilton, Colts (at NYG)
6. Dez Bryant, Cowboys (vs. ARI)
7. Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos (at NE)
8. Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers (vs. NO)
9. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks (vs. OAK)
9. Michael Floyd, Cardinals (at DAL)
9. DeSean Jackson, Redskins (at MIN)
12. Keenan Allen, Chargers (at MIA)
13. Allen Robinson, Jaguars (at CIN)
14. Andre Johnson, Texans (vs. PHI)
14. Rueben Randle, Giants (vs. IND)
14. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans (vs. PHI)
14. Mike Wallace, Dolphins (vs. SD)
18. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs (vs. NYJ)
19. Marques Colston, Saints (at CAR)
19. Pierre Garcon, Redskins (at MIN)
21. Brandin Cooks, Saints (at CAR)
21. Andrew Hawkins, Browns (vs. TB)
21. Steve Smith, Ravens (at PIT)
24. Terrance Williams, Cowboys (vs. ARI)
25. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (at DAL)
25. Mohamed Sanu, Bengals (vs. JAX)
27. Eric Decker, Jets (at KC)
28. Anquan Boldin, 49ers (vs. STL)
28. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers (at CLE)
28. Torrey Smith, Ravens (at PIT)
31. Mike Evans, Buccaneers (at CLE)
32. Michael Crabtree, 49ers (vs. STL)
32. Brandon LaFell, Patriots (vs. DEN)
32. Malcom Floyd, Chargers (at MIA)
35. Andre Holmes, Raiders (at SEA)
36. Kenny Britt, Rams (at SF)
37. Miles Austin, Browns (vs. TB)
38. Julian Edelman, Patriots (vs. DEN)
38. Reggie Wayne, Colts (at NYG)
40. James Jones, Raiders (at SEA)
41. Wes Welker, Broncos (at NE)
41. Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings (vs. WAS)
43. Martavis Bryant, Steelers (vs. BAL)
43. Percy Harvin, Jets (at KC)
45. Kenny Stills, Saints (at CAR)
46. Odell Beckham Jr., Giants (vs. IND)
47. Greg Jennings, Vikings (vs. WAS)
48. Cecil Shorts III, Jaguars (at CIN)
49. Jordan Matthews, Eagles (at HOU)
50. John Brown, Cardinals (at DAL)
51. Jarvis Landry, Dolphins (vs. SD)
52. Riley Cooper, Eagles (at HOU)
53. Stevie Johnson, 49ers (vs. STL)
54. Jermaine Kearse, Seahawks (vs. OAK)
55. Travis Benjamin, Browns (vs. TB)
56. Markus Wheaton, Steelers (vs. BAL)
57. Tavon Austin, Rams (at SF)
58. Brandon Lloyd, 49ers (vs. STL)
59. Preston Parker, Giants (vs. IND)
60. Jerricho Cotchery, Panthers (vs. NO)

Teams on bye in Week 9: Bears, Bills, Falcons, Lions, Packers, Titans

More of our Week 9 rankings:

Enter our free Week 9 fantasy football contest and win one of our site's t-shirts.

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2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Week 9 Running Backs

Given their durability history, you may not have been thrilled with landing DeMarco Murray and Arian Foster as the first two picks of your fantasy draft(s).

If you've gambled on this injury-prone duo with back-to-back picks, however, the gamble has more than paid off through the first half of the season.

Murray is getting most of the attention, but Foster has been nearly as good.

In fact, Foster ranks second only to Murray in terms of fantasy points scored and he has missed one game.

While Murray has set an NFL record with eight consecutive games of 100-plus rushing yards to start the season, Foster has gained 100-plus yards on the ground in six of his seven games this season. In addition, Foster has a four-game active streak of 100-yard games.

In those four games, Foster has scored a total of eight touchdowns including three of them last week against the Titans. Foster has finished as a top-12 running back in those four games, but he has finished with the most or second-most fantasy points at the position in three of those games.

If Foster can stay healthy and play in the remaining eight games, he's on pace (over 15 games since he missed Week 3) for 1,997 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Murray is on pace (2,108 rushing yards) to set the single-season rushing record.

Of these two stud backs, Foster (vs. PHI) has a much more favorable matchup than Murray (vs. ARI) has this week. The Eagles have been middle of the pack (15th-fewest) in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs, but no team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Cardinals this season.

DraftKings $2.2 Millionaire Maker Week 9 Contest: Turn $27 (entry) into $1 Million (top prize).

Some more thoughts on running backs:

- Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw may have to share the workload with Trent Richardson on Monday Night Football, but he gets a favorable matchup against the Giants. Aside from the Falcons, who are on bye this week, no team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing RBs than the Giants. Bradshaw has scored a total of eight touchdowns with scores in all but two games and only four running backs have more fantasy points than he does this season.

- While there has been lots of attention paid to the locker-room issues in Seattle and the resentment brewing inside Marshawn Lynch towards Pete Carroll, this is the perfect week for him to go off a la Beast Mode. Lynch has finished as the RB30 (or worse) in three consecutive games, but the team is favored by more than two touchdowns at home against the Raiders and projected to score the second-most points this week according to Vegas. It wouldn't surprise me if Lynch scored multiple touchdowns this week.

- Saints running back Mark Ingram rushed 24 times for 172 yards and a touchdown on Sunday night against the Packers. Ingram has now finished as a top-nine fantasy running back in three of four games with the exception being to the Lions stingy run defense. Given the team's injuries in the backfield and the quality of the matchup, Ingram is once again a solid RB1 this week.

- With Montee Ball (groin) expected to miss at least another week, Ronnie Hillman will once again dominate the touches in Denver's backfield. Hillman has had 20-plus carries and 100-plus yards in two of his three starts. It was the other game that he finished as a top-three running back (scored two TDs), but he has finished as a top-15 fantasy running back in three consecutive games. The Patriots have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

- Pittsburgh's LeVeon Bell rushed for 100-plus yards in two of his first three games of the season, but he has been kept under 100 rushing yards since then. That said, Bell has exceeded 100 YFS in all eight games this season and is on pace for 2,172 YFS and 84 receptions this season. With the fourth-most fantasy points at the position through Week 8, Bell's only finish outside the top 20 RBs was in Week 2 vs. the Ravens (RB21), who are this week's opponent.

- Jaguars running back Denard Robinson became the team's first 100-yard rusher in Week 7 and then he did it again in Week 8. Against the Browns, Robinson gained 108 yards on 18 carries and he goes against a Bengals team that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

Here are my Week 9 fantasy football running back rankings:

1. Arian Foster, Houston Texans (vs. PHI)
2. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys (vs. ARI)
3. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (vs. OAK)
4. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. NYJ)
5. Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals (at DAL)
6. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (at CAR)
7. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. BAL)
8. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles (at HOU)
9. Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (at NE)
10. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (vs. SD)
11. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. JAX)
12. Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts (at NYG)
13. Chris Ivory, New York Jets (at KC)
14. Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens (at PIT)
15. Branden Oliver, San Diego Chargers (at MIA)
16. Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (vs. WAS)
17. Ben Tate, Cleveland Browns (vs. TB)
18. Denard Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (at CIN)
19. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (vs. STL)
20. Shane Vereen, New England Patriots (vs. DEN)
21. Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins (at MIN)
22. Andre Williams, New York Giants (vs. IND)
23. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders (at SEA)
24. Lorenzo Taliaferro, Baltimore Ravens (at PIT)
25. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (vs. NO)
26. Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts (at NYG)
27. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers (vs. NO)
28. Tre Mason, St. Louis Rams (at SF)
29. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CLE)
30. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles (at HOU)
31. Knile Davis, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. NYJ)
32. Travaris Cadet, New Orleans Saints (at CAR)
33. Benny Cunningham, St. Louis Rams (at SF)
34. Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams (at SF)
35. Jonas Gray, New England Patriots (vs. DEN)
36. Matt Asiata, Minnesota Vikings (vs. WAS)
37. LeGarrette Blount, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. BAL)
38. Chris Johnson, New York Jets (at KC)
39. Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CLE)
40. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers (vs. STL)
41. Robert Turbin, Seattle Seahawks (vs. OAK)
42. Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CLE)
43. Juwan Thompson, Denver Broncos (at NE)
44. Roy Helu, Washington Redskins (at MIN)
45. Peyton Hillis, New York Giants (vs. IND)
46. Alfred Blue, Houston Texans (vs. PHI)
47. Terrance West, Cleveland Browns (vs. TB)
48. Daniel Thomas, Miami Dolphins (vs. SD)
49. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (vs. TB)
50. Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville Jaguars (at CIN)
51. Maurice Jones-Drew, Oakland Raiders (at SEA)
52. De'Anthony Thomas, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. NYJ)
53. Marcel Reece, Oakland Raiders (at SEA)
54. Lance Dunbar, Dallas Cowboys (vs. ARI)
55. Cedric Peerman, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. JAX)
56. Joseph Randle, Dallas Cowboys (vs. ARI)
57. James White, New England Patriots (vs. DEN)
58. Dan Herron, Indianapolis Colts (at NYG)
59. Darrel Young, Washington Redskins (at MIN)
60. Kyle Juszczyk, Baltimore Ravens (at PIT)

Teams on bye in Week 9: Bears, Bills, Falcons, Lions, Packers, Titans

More of our Week 9 rankings:

Enter our free Week 9 fantasy football contest and win one of our site's t-shirts.

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle



2014 Fantasy Football Rankings: Week 9 Quarterbacks

Compared to the first four weeks of the 2014 NFL season, perception has certainly changed quite a bit over the past four weeks for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In the first four weeks of the season, Brady was anything but terrific as he averaged less than 200 passing yards per game (197.75 to be exact) with no multi-touchdown games during his slow start. During that span, he averaged only 9.31 fantasy points per game with his best game coming against the Raiders (12.66 points, QB25) in Week 3.

Starting in Week 5, however, Brady has been the Brady to whom we've become accustomed over the past decade. In his past four games, Brady is averaging 317.0 yards per game and has a 14:0 TD-to-INT ratio. He's had a minimum of 20.98 fantasy points in all four games and has not finished worse than the QB7 for the week.

And he's coming off his best game of the year (354 yards and five touchdowns) with 34.16 fantasy points. It was his second game with 30-plus fantasy points in the past three weeks.

Of course, the standard line between any matchup between two great quarterbacks is that Brady is playing the Broncos defense — or Peyton Manning is playing the Patriots defense — and it isn't a matchup between two great quarterbacks.

That said, the way the Brady and the Patriots have played over the past four weeks makes the drama of the matchup(s), the teams and quarterbacks, all that more exciting.

The Broncos have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, but they have not allowed a top-12 finish to an opposing quarterback since Week 3 (Russell Wilson).

As well as Brady has played recently, Manning has played just as well through the entire season.

Suprisingly, Manning has yet to finish as the top-scoring fantasy quarterback in any given week this season. That said, he has yet to finish outside of the top-10 fantasy quarterbacks in any week and has finished as a QB7 or better in six of seven games.

In his seven games so far, Manning has thrown for 2,134 yards (304.86/G) with 22 touchdowns (3.14/G) and only three interceptions. In fact, Manning has thrown multiple touchdowns every week with at least three scores in six of seven games.

One year after setting the single-season records for passing yards and passing touchdowns, Manning is on pace for 4,878 yards and 50 touchdowns.

There have been only two quarterbacks in NFL history — Brady and Manning — that have one 50-TD season, which would make Peyton the only to ever accomplish the feat in back-to-back seasons if he maintains his current pace.

The Patriots have allowed four top-12 fantasy quarterbacks this season, but none have finished higher than QB9 in any week. And no team has held opposing quarterbacks to fewer fantasy points than the Patriots.

This rivalry game will have plenty of significance in terms of both "real" and fantasy football this week.

DraftKings $2.2 Millionaire Maker Week 9 Contest: Turn $27 (entry) into $1 Million (top prize).

Some more thoughts on quarterbacks:

- Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has alternated between monster fantasy performances and duds over his past four games since the bye. Here are his past four games: 34.24 fantasy points (QB1), 10.24 (QB27), 37.12 (QB1) and 13.46 (QB22). One of the league's best dual-threat quarterbacks, Wilson has rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown in both of those QB1 performances. While Wilson has exceeded 202 passing yards only twice this season, he has thrown multiple passing touchdowns in five of seven games and has finished as a top-eight fantasy quarterback in each of those five multi-touchdown games.

- Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 522 yards and six touchdowns against the Colts last week and became the first quarterback in NFL history with multiple 500-yard games. Big Ben's worst fantasy performance (6.68 points, QB30) of the season came in Week 2 against the Ravens. He gets a shot to redeem himself on Sunday Night Football in a rematch of this intense rivalry.

- San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick had his best game of the season in Week 6 against the Rams. In that game, he threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns, both of which are season highs, and he gets another shot at the Rams this week.

- Arizona's Carson Palmer has now thrown exactly two touchdowns in all four of his games this season with a a pair of 300-yard games. Palmer hasn't been great, but he's been consistent with a minimum of 16.12 fantasy points in each game and at least 21 points in two of those games.

- For the first time since his injury in Week 2, Washington's Robert Griffin III will get the start in Week 9. Considering RG3 wasn't playing great before the injury, I'd prefer to wait a week before inserting him into my starting lineup, if possible. In addition, the Vikings have done an excellent job at limiting fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Only the Lions (12.32/G) allow fewer fantasy points than the Vikings (13.79/G).

Here are my Week 9 fantasy football quarterback rankings:


1. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (at NYG)
2. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos (at NE)
3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots (vs. DEN)
4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (vs. OAK)
5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (at CAR)
6. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers (vs. STL)
7. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (at MIA)
8. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. BAL)
9. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles (at HOU)
10. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (vs. NO)
11. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins (vs. SD)
12. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (at DAL)
13. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys (vs. ARI)
14. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (at MIN)
15. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. NYJ)
16. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. JAX)
17. Eli Manning, New York Giants (vs. IND)
18. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (at CIN)
19. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (at PIT)
20. Michael Vick, New York Jets (at KC)
21. Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at CLE)
22. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston Texans (vs. PHI)
23. Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns (vs. TB)
24. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (at SEA)
25. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings (vs. WAS)
26. Austin Davis, St. Louis Rams (at SF)

Teams on bye in Week 9: Bears, Bills, Falcons, Lions, Packers, Titans

More of our Week 9 rankings:

Enter our free Week 9 fantasy football contest and win one of our site's t-shirts.

Keep track of our site's updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle



Fantasy Football Week 9: Underrated Players in PPR Leagues

Coming into Week 9, most fantasy leagues are entering the home stretch of the regular season. Every week becomes more and more important in solidifying a playoff spot. With six teams on bye this week, a lot of teams will be plugging in numerous bench players or potentially even a waiver pickup.

Finding underrated players to perform like starters is the key to success in a week like this, so hopefully this week’s picks will lead you in the winning direction.

First, let’s take a look at last week's results:

Week 8 Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+35.6+47.0-4.6+11.2-4.4
YTD Results
QBsRBsWRsTEsTotal
+8.3+117.9-86.5+27.6+67.3

* Stats are based on players recommended (compared to options listed to start those players over). YTD stats are from Week 5 with my first post.

Best of the week -- Mark Ingram +29.0: Ingram was a stud last week and returned to his pre-injury form in what is shaping up to be his best season as a pro, despite missing several weeks. He benefited from injuries to Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson, but he is the lead back (for whatever that is worth in the Saints offense) and will continue to produce. He is in the RB1 conversation as long as he gets the workload he received in Week 8.

Runner-up -- Ahmad Bradshaw +18.0: Last week, I stated this pick was dependent upon Richardson's status. Richardson was active in emergency duty only and didn’t see the field for a single snap, leaving the bulk of the workload to Bradshaw. As expected, Bradshaw produced at an elite level with an increased workload and made owners who started him over LeSean McCoy and Giovani Bernard very happy.

Worst of the week -- Cam Newton -32.0: – If you were to look at the score of the Seahawks vs. Panthers game (13-9), you would have guessed it was a result of two of last year’s best defenses locked in a defensive duel. Well, defense prevailed but it wasn’t a result of great defense, more of two inept offenses. Granted, I only watched about half the game as I was flipping around between multiple, but what I saw was gross. Neither team could do much of anything with the ball, and it wasn’t a result of great defense – poor execution from all parties was the culprit. Both offenses dropped 5+ spots in offensive efficiency rankings from last week, while each gaining only one spot defensively. Further evidence that this was a game full of ineptitude. Newton was basically awful from the start. Just as it seemed like he was starting to find his way, he came crashing back to the disappointing season he is suffering through. While Newton’s 11 points were ghastly, Jay Cutler and Nick Foles’ production were achieved in unlikely manners. Cutler did the vast majority of his work in the 2nd half, which was complete garbage time due to a 38-7 halftime deficit. Foles 30 points look relatively mediocre considering it took 62 pass attempts to achieve.

Runner-up -- Dwayne Allen -11.4: Allen had averaged just short of six targets per game over the previous five games, producing well along the way. In a game where 85 points are scored and Andrew Luck threw 45 pass attempts, Allen somehow only came away with 2 targets, one of which was caught for a touchdown. Perhaps Luck should have utilized his TE more in the game, given the Steelers struggles against that position.

Now, on to this week's picks ...

Now, on to this week’s picks.

Quarterbacks

Joe FlaccoBaltimore Ravens
FantasyPros ECR – 17

Flacco has a showdown with the Ravens bitter rivals this week, the Pittsburgh Steelers. While the Steelers defense looked as good as they have all season last week, they still surrendered 34 points and 400 yards to Luck. For the season, Pittsburgh is ranked 24th in pass defense efficiency while the Ravens rank 7th in pass offense efficiency. The Steelers offense clicked last week and that should carry over to some extent this week, putting Flacco in a position to air it out in order to keep up on the scoreboard. Additionally, the Ravens may be without Justin Forsett this week, putting more of the offensive burden on Flacco’s arm.

Consider starting him over:
Andy Dalton – ECR 13
Ryan Tannehill – ECR 14

Colin KaepernickSan Francisco 49ers
FantasyPros ECR – 8

The Niners come off a bye and get the St. Louis Rams at home this week. A few weeks ago, Kaepernick put up 343 yards and three TDs against this same Rams team, in St. Louis. The Rams rank last in the NFL in pass defense efficiency and give up the fifth-most fantasy PPG to QBs. Given the continued run-game struggles, an extra week to prepare, and a great matchup, Kaepernick seems like a strong candidate to reach top-5 status this week.

Consider starting him over:
Cam Newton – ECR 7 (Panthers players keep biting me and I should learn to stay away from them. But nothing about last week inspired confidence in their offense and they have a short week against the Saints, who’s defense has played well the past two weeks.)
Russell Wilson – ECR 5

Editor's note: DraftKings is running a one-week contest for Week 9 with $2.2 Million in prizes ($1 Million to 1st) and entry is $27.

Running Backs

Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints
FantasyPros ECR – 14

Ingram was so successful last week, I’m plugging him in again. His ranking is a bit higher this week, but still too low in my opinion. He tore up a Green Bay defense that struggles against the run, but guess what? The Panthers are even worse, ranking 2nd to last in run defense efficiency and allow the third-most fantasy PPG to RBs. Brees’ struggles on the road are well-documented, and this is a critical game for the NFC South Division lead. Thomas and Robinson appear to be out again this week and I expect the Saints to be committed to the run game and ride Ingram to victory.

Consider starting him over:
Branden Oliver – ECR 13
LeSean McCoy – ECR 7

Lorenzo TaliaferroBaltimore Ravens
FantasyPros ECR – 30

Justin Forsett has yet to practice this week due to a leg injury. He has yet to ruled out, but in the event he does, Taliaferro will be the lead back. As mentioned previously, Pittsburgh’s defense is not the typical Steelers D. Not only do they struggle against the pass, but they are not very good against the run either. They rank 20th in run defense efficiency and have allowed over 5 YPC the past two weeks. They rank well in fantasy points allowed, but a lot of that has to do with the competition. All but two of their eight opponents rank in the bottom half of run offense efficiency, with five games against teams ranked in the bottom 12. Given 15-20 carries in this game, Taliaferro has a legit chance to crack RB2 numbers, if not more. If nothing else, he is the goal-line back in a game where I expect a lot of points to be scored. Vegas has this game as the 5th highest point total this week.

Consider starting him over:
Frank Gore – ECR 21
Darren McFadden – ECR 22
Andre Williams – ECR 24

Wide Receivers

Anquan BoldinSan Francisco 49ers
FantasyPros ECR - 31

A mere three weeks ago, Boldin put up a line of 7/94/1 against the Rams. He gets them again this week and not much has changed since that game. The Rams still rank near the bottom of the league against WR2’s, 31st to be exact. They also give up the 11th-most fantasy points to WRs on a weekly basis. In addition to being a great matchup for Boldin, it’s not a fantastic matchup for Michael Crabtree, as the Rams are middle of the pack against WR1s. Kaepernick has zero issue making Boldin the primary target on any particular week, and this week sets up well to be such an occasion.

Consider starting him over:
Eric Decker – ECR 28
Vincent Jackson – ECR 21
Allen Robinson – ECR 24

Andrew HawkinsCleveland Browns
FantasyPros ECR – 30

Tampa Bay is flat out terrible against the pass. They give up the 2nd-most fantasy points to WRs and rank dead last against WR1’s. Outside of one game against the Steelers where he registered two targets (zero catches), he has a minimum of nine targets in every game. The matchup alone is enough to get you excited about Hawkins sleeper appeal. But there are ancillary aspects at play here. Cleveland runs a conservative offense, but with Alex Mack injured, their offensive line hasn’t been the same and the run game has suffered as a result. On top of that, Tampa Bay actually ranks 11th in run defense efficiency – their fantasy points allowed is skewed by blowout losses in which the opponent turned to the run game early on. Cleveland isn’t blowing anybody out. If they want to move the ball, they will need to do it via the pass.

Consider starting him over:
Branden LaFell – ECR 23
Eric Decker – ECR 28

Tight Ends

Dwayne Allen – Indianapolis Colts
FantasyPros ECR - 8

Another repeat pick this week. Either I am stupid, stubborn, or persistent – probably a combination of the three. Allen again gets a great matchup. I like to use efficiency rankings in conjunction with fantasy points allowed, because it can expose holes in FPA and give a more accurate view of matchup strength. There are several scenarios where this applies, but the Giants are a great example this week. They give up the 13th-most fantasy points to TEs, slightly below average but it doesn’t scream great matchup. However, they are last in efficiency by a large margin. When you look at their schedule thus far, they have played one team that heavily utilizes their TE, two teams that give limited targets, and the rest barely involve TEs. Yet they still are below average in FPA.

I believe the two targets Allen received last week are the exception not the rule. I’m rolling with him again in hopes Luck looks his way more often. If he does, Allen could be in for a big game.

Consider starting him over:
Jordan Reed – ECR 6
Antonio Gates – ECR 5

Thanks for reading and good luck in Week 9! Follow me on Twitter @rw11687.



October 28, 2014

POLL: Will Demaryius Thomas get 100 yards in 5th straight game?

Despite his slow(ish) start prior to Denver's Week 4 bye, Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas has played as well as ever over the past four weeks.

During his past four games, Thomas has racked up a massive 34/626/5 stat line and has exceeded the 100-yard milestone in each game.

While Antonio Brown (133.3, 16.66/G) has scored more fantasy points this season than Thomas (114.7, 16.38) overall and on a per-game basis, Thomas leads the NFL in yards per game (109.6).

Based on his production over the first seven weeks of the season, Thomas is on a full-season pace of 107 receptions, 1,753 yards and 14 touchdowns.

In Week 9, the Broncos will face the Patriots, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing receivers this season and there's a good chance that Darrelle Revis shadows Thomas.

One of the league's best cornerbacks, Revis had his best game of the season against the Bears receivers last week based on his PFF grade (3.6, 2nd of 88 CBs).

Will Thomas extend his 100-yard game streak? Or will his visit to Revis Island slow him down?



Fantasy Football Rest-of-Season (ROS) Rankings: Weeks 9 to 16

Earlier today, I updated my rest-of-season (ROS) fantasy football rankings.

The point of these rankings is to tell you who I would rather have for the remainder of the season (through Week 16) and can be used to help with waiver-wire and trade decisions.

Here are our updated ROS quarterback rankings:

1. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
2. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
5. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
-> View our full ROS Fantasy Quarterback Rankings

Here are our updated ROS running back rankings:

1. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears
2. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys
3. Arian Foster, Houston Texans
4. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
5. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
-> View our full ROS Fantasy Running Back Rankings

Here are our updated ROS wide receiver rankings:

1. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
2. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers
3. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
4. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions
5. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
-> View our full ROS Fantasy Wide Receiver Rankings

Here are our updated ROS tight end rankings:

1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
2. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
3. Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos
4. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
5. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
-> View our full ROS Fantasy Tight End Rankings

I will publish my initial Week 9 fantasy football rankings within the next 24 hours.

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2014 Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 9 to 16

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. Through the season, however, we make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (Week 9 waiver-wire post) and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 9-16):

1. Dallas Cowboys (Tony Romo): 18.29 average fantasy points allowed among remaining opponents
2. Minnesota Vikings (Teddy Bridgewater): 17.89
3. Carolina Panthers (Cam Newton): 17.80
4. Tennessee Titans (Zach Mettenberger, Jake Locker): 17.68
5. Atlanta Falcons (Matt Ryan): 17.63

DraftKings $2.2 Millionaire Maker Week 9 Contest: Turn $27 (entry fee) into $1 Million (top prize).

Five least favorable SOS for QBs (Weeks 9-16):

32. New York Jets (Michael Vick, Geno Smith): 14.96
31. Chicago Bears (Jay Cutler): 15.64
30. Denver Broncos (Peyton Manning): 16.03
29. Miami Dolphins (Ryan Tannehill): 16.13
28. Oakland Raiders (Derek Carr): 16.17

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

Full Strength of Schedules:

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2014 Fantasy Football RB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 9 to 16

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. Through the season, however, we make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (Week 9 waiver-wire post) and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 9-16):

1. Carolina Panthers (DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart): 21.59 average fantasy points allowed among remaining opponents
2. Cleveland Browns (Ben Tate, Isaiah Crowell): 20.79
3. Green Bay Packers (Eddie Lacy): 20.13
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Doug Martin, Bobby Rainey): 19.98
5. Baltimore Ravens (Justin Forsett): 19.90

DraftKings $2.2 Millionaire Maker Week 9 Contest: Turn $27 (entry fee) into $1 Million (top prize).

Five least favorable SOS for RBs (Weeks 9-16):

32. Oakland Raiders (Darren McFadden): 15.30
31. Seattle Seahawks (Marshawn Lynch): 16.45
30. St. Louis Rams (Tre Mason, Zac Stacy, Benny Cunningham): 16.63
29. Miami Dolphins (Lamar Miller): 16.77
28. Kansas City Chiefs (Jamaal Charles): 16.90

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

Full Strength of Schedules:

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2014 Fantasy Football WR Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 9 to 16

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. Through the season, however, we make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (Week 9 waiver-wire post) and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 9-16):

1. Carolina Panthers (Kelvin Benjamin): 26.45 average fantasy points allowed among remaining opponents
2. Atlanta Falcons (Julio Jones, Roddy White): 26.07
3. Seattle Seahawks (Doug Baldwin): 24.96
4. Cincinnati Bengals (A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu): 24.75
5. Dallas Cowboys (Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams): 24.73

DraftKings $2.2 Millionaire Maker Week 9 Contest: Turn $27 (entry fee) into $1 Million (top prize).

Five least favorable SOS for WRs (Weeks 9-16):

32. Denver Broncos (Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Wes Welker): 20.29
31. New York Jets (Percy Harvin, Eric Decker): 20.46
30. New England Patriots (Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell): 20.8
29. Arizona Cardinals (Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald): 20.85
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (Allen Robinson, Cecil Shorts): 21.06

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

Full Strength of Schedules:

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2014 Fantasy Football TE Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 9 to 16

Before the season began, we created fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) pages for each position based on last year's production. Through the season, however, we make weekly updates of our strength of schedule for the remaining games based on what their upcoming opponents have done so far this season.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to pick up off the waiver wire (Week 9 waiver-wire post) and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 9-16):

1. Detroit Lions (Eric Ebron): 9.56 average fantasy points allowed among remaining opponents
2. New York Giants (Larry Donnell): 9.39
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (Clay Harbor): 9.35
(tie) 4. Philadelphia Eagles (Zach Ertz): 9.15
(tie) 4. Kansas City Chiefs (Travis Kelce): 9.15

DraftKings $2.2 Millionaire Maker Week 9 Contest: Turn $27 (entry fee) into $1 Million (top prize).

Five least favorable SOS for TEs (Weeks 9-16):

32. Carolina Panthers (Greg Olsen): 5.90
31. Miami Dolphins (Charles Clay): 7.36
30. Baltimore Ravens (Owen Daniels, Crockett Gilmore): 7.39
29. San Diego Chargers (Antonio Gates): 7.46
28. Atlanta Falcons (Levine Toilolo): 7.51

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

Full Strength of Schedules:

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DeMarco Murray racks up 221 YFS, extends 100-yard game streak to 8G

Although he had a(nother) costly lost fumble, Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray extended his streak of 100-yard games to begin a season at eight, breaking his own record.

Not only did Murray rush 19 times for 141 yards, but he added four catches for a team-high 80 yards.

Through eight games, Murray has 206 carries for 1,054 yards and seven touchdowns and 26 receptions for 239 yards. He also has five lost fumbles.

Based on his first half of the season, Murray is on pace (2,108) to barely beat Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record (2,105).

On a short week, the Cowboys will host the Arizona Cardinals, who rank third in the NFL in rushing defense (77.9 YPG allowed). The Cardinals have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher this season and no running back has more than 83 rushing yards (LeSean McCoy, Week 8) against them.



October 27, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 9

One of the players on last week's waiver-wire post was Jaguars running back Denard Robinson.

As much as the Jaguars had struggled to run the ball this season, Robinson was coming off the team's first 100-yard performance. In fact, it was the first time that a Jaguars running back had more than the 42 yards that Toby Gerhart had in the opener.

With 108 yards on 18 carries against the Dolphins on Sunday, Robinson now has back-to-back 100-yard games and is certainly worth adding if he's available on your league's waiver wire.

Robinson won't be listed below, but his Yahoo! league ownership has jumped from nine percent last Monday to 57 percent one week later.

For our waiver-wire posts, we have a self-imposed rule of only including players with Yahoo! ownership of 50 percent or less.

With that said, here are some players to consider adding to your fantasy roster(s) (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

QB - Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals (50 percent)

Among the quarterbacks available in half of leagues, Palmer is the best of the group from a rest-of-season standpoint — view my rest-of-season fantasy quarterback rankings. Averaging 284.0 yards per game, Palmer has thrown exactly two touchdowns in all four of his games with only one interception on his 154 attempts this season. The matchup in Week 9 against the Cowboys might not be as favorable as we had thought it would be back in August, but Palmer has the Rams in Week 10 with six teams on bye next week as well.

[Related: 2014 NFL bye-week schedule/grid]

QB - Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (42 percent)

With a phenomenal matchup on Sunday, Smith was an enormous fantasy disappointment (even though the team won in a landslide) against their in-state rivals. For owners in a bye-week pinch, however, he gets another shot at capitalizing on an incredible matchup. No team has allowed more fantasy points to QBs this season through Sunday's games. One of the league's most mobile quarterbacks, Smith has 593 rushing yards since 2013 and ranks fourth among QBs during that span, which often helps to compensate for his modest passing production.

QB - Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (36 percent)

Although he won't start tonight against the Cowboys, RG3 should return in the very near future (perhaps Week 9). Even though he struggled prior to getting injured, his unique set of physical tools give him tremendous upside if he's able to put things together once he returns.

Turn $27 (entry) into $1 Million (top prize) in DraftKings' Week 9 Millionaire Maker contest.

QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston Texans (11 percent)

In most weeks, I would not want to start The Amish Rifle. (Ok, all weeks.) But if your regular starter (say Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, etc.) has a bye, Fitzpatrick could put up respectable numbers as your bye-week replacement in Week 9. Clearly, the Texans are a run-first team as Arian Foster is running like it's 2011, but Fitzpatrick gets the weak Eagles secondary this week. The Eagles have allowed six top-12 performances to fantasy QBs in their seven games to some fantasy studs that include the likes of Chad Henne, Austin Davis, Kirk Cousins, etc.

RB - Andre Williams, New York Giants (50 percent)

While initial reports speculated that Rashad Jennings would return after the Giants' Week 8 bye, ESPN's Dan Graziano tweeted that he'd be "surprised" if Jennings returned this week. While he posted relatively modest numbers (109 rushing yards, no touchdowns) in the two games that Jennings has missed, Williams will get a sizable workload against the Colts if Jennings indeed misses another game.

RB - Charles Sims, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (seven percent)

One of my favorite sleepers in the preseason (before the injury that landed him on short-term IR) was Sims. The Bucs used an early pick (69th overall) on Sims, who especially excelled as a receiver out of the backfield. In his four years in college, Sims racked up 203 receptions and also rushed for 1,095 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior. Sims will be eligible to return this week and as Pewter Report writes, it's "only a matter of time" that Sims becomes the starting running back.

RB - Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (36 percent)

The Daily Show had a productive outing against the Seahawks on Sunday with 16 carries for 79 yards and added three catches for 15 yards. Through Sunday's games, that puts him at the RB21 this week despite the tough matchup. Unfortunately for (prospective) Stewart owners, DeAngelo Williams is expected to return from his multi-week absence.

RB - Jonas Gray, New England Patriots (six percent)

With Stevan Ridley out for the season, Gray has assumed the role of the team's big back. While I would still prefer Shane Vereen by a lot, there will be opportunities (especially in blowouts like yesterday) for Gray to be productive. Gray gained 86 yards in Sunday's win over the Bears.

RB - Lorenzo Taliaferro, Baltimore Ravens (eight percent)

With Bernard Pierce being a healthy scratch on Sunday, Taliaferro got goal-line work and scored two touchdowns. Even so, he had just seven carries this week and a total of 11 in the previous three weeks. His production will likely be inconsistent, but he should be a flex option during the bye weeks when Pierce is also inactive.

Enter our free Week 9 fantasy football contest and win one of our site's t-shirts.

WR - Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans (50 percent)

Hunter is not having the breakout season that I had expected, but there could be plenty of opportunities for targets and even touchdowns in garbage time. Hunter and rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger displayed some good chemistry in the preseason and Hunter was targeted a season-high 10 times in Mettenberger's first start.

WR - Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots (36 percent)

Converting on all 11 of his season high in targets, LaFell led the team's receivers with a 11/124/1 line on a day that Tom Brady threw five touchdowns. LaFell has three big games (17.9-plus fantasy points) in his past five outings. During that five-game span, LaFell has a stat line of 26/415/4 and is averaging 7.2 targets per game.

WR - Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (23 percent)

A weekly member of this list for most of the year, Robinson had another strong outing on Sunday. Robinson has now scored in back-to-back games and has more than 50 yards in six of his past seven games. Over that seven-game stretch, Robinson is averaging 8.6 targets, 5.4 receptions and 64.7 yards per game.

WR - Andre Holmes, Oakland Raiders (42 percent)

Both Holmes and teammate James Jones are worth owning and Jones is also owned in just 46 percent of leagues. And with the heaviest part of the bye season about to start, it's good news that the Raiders have already had their bye. Holmes has found the end zone and scored double-digit fantasy points in three of his past four games.

WR - Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (seven percent)

Bryant has only been active in two games, but he now has seven catches for 123 yards and three touchdowns. With Ben Roethlisberger having a monster performance this week, Markus Wheaton also scored a touchdown, but I'd prefer to own Bryant over Wheaton the rest of the way. A six-foot-four receiver with excellent speed (4.42 forty at combine), Bryant is a better bet than Wheaton to score a touchdown in any given week.

WR - Kenny Britt, St. Louis Rams (five percent)

With Brian Quick out for the season, Britt will have an opportunity as the team's best wide receiver not named Brian. That said, Britt has posted modest numbers (16/249/1) this season even though he has played almost as many snaps (307, 65.2 percent) as Quick (355). No other Rams receiver has played more than 144.

TE - Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams (32 percent)

With a season-low three targets in back-to-back games, Cook has just four catches for 36 yards in his past two games. In addition, he has yet to score a touchdown while fellow tight end Lance Kendricks has scored in four of five games. That said, Quick's injury should lead to more targets for Cook, who averaged 8.4 targets per game in the team's first five games of the season.

TE - Crockett Gilmore, Baltimore Ravens (three percent)

With Owen Daniels out, Gilmore got only two targets and finished with just two catches for 23 yards on Sunday. Assuming Daniels (knee scope) misses more time, Gilmore could see more opportunities in future game(s). The Ravens face the Steelers in Week 9, which gives Gilmore a top-10 fantasy matchup.

More fantasy football resources:

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FREE Week 9 Fantasy Football Contest: Win Our Shirt

Want to win one of our site's t-shirts?

Once again, we have set up a free fantasy football contest and the winner will get one of our t-shirts.

In order to win our free contest, enter our free Week 9 20-team FanDuel league and then let us know you entered by confirming your entry on our contest form below.

If you have don't a FanDuel account yet, sign up here and enter promo code EATDRINK.

Technically, there will be 19 entries (other than mine), but if I happen to score the most points this week, the t-shirt winner will be whichever entry scores the most points.

The deadline to enter is before Sunday's kickoff on November 2nd, but entry into the contest is done on a first-come, first-served basis so enter now to secure your entry.



October 26, 2014

Jeremy Maclin sets career high with 187 yards and two TDs

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin had 12 catches for a career-high 187 yards and two touchdowns in today's loss the Arizona Cardinals.

Maclin had a game- and season-high 16 targets and now has double-digit targets in six of seven games this season.

Through seven games, Maclin now has 39 catches for 632 yards and six touchdowns, which puts him on a full-season pace of 89/1,445/14.

Even though he is a must-start, Maclin has a couple of nice matchups coming up as well against the Texans and Panthers.

Entering this week, the Texans and Panthers have allowed the seventh- and fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.



Sammy Watkins finishes with 157 yards and a TD

Buffalo Bills rookie receiver Sammy Watkins had just three receptions today, but he made the most of them.

Sort of.

Not only did he score on 61-yard touchdown, but Watkins had an 84-yard reception as well. Of course, that 84-yard reception should have been a touchdown, but he has caught from behind as he began to celebrate prematurely.

Even though Watkins had only three receptions, he had a team-high six targets as Kyle Orton threw just 17 passes (but four of them were caught for touchdowns) today.

Watkins has now gone over the century mark in back-to-back games and has three 100-yard games on the season.

Through eight games, Watkins has 38 catches for 590 yards and five touchdowns, which puts him on pace for 76/1,180/10.

The Bills are on bye in Week 9 and host the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 10.



Denard Robinson goes over 100 yards in second consecutive game

For a second consecutive week, Jaguars running back Denard Robinson has exceeded the 100-yard rushing mark.

One week after gaining 127 yards on 22 carries, Robinson carried the ball 18 times for 108 yards in today's loss to the Dolphins.

Before last week, no Jaguars running back had more than the 42 rushing yards that Toby Gerhart had in Week 1.

The Jags will face the Bengals next week on the road. Although the Bengals have allowed only one 100-yard rusher (Stevan Ridley, Week 5), they have allowed opposing running backs to gain 4.68 yards per carry including today's game.

Robinson is still available in 44 percent of Yahoo! leagues.



Arian Foster rushes for 151 yards, scores three times

Houston Texans running back Arian Foster continues to deliver huge dividends for fantasy owners.

Against the Titans today, Foster carried the ball 20 times for 151 yards and two touchdowns and added four catches for 22 yards and another score.

While he missed one game and had modest production in another (61 yards from scrimmage vs. Bills), Foster has now exceeded 100 rushing yards in six games this season. In addition, he has a current streak of four consecutive 100-yard games.

With a total of 170 touches -- 146 carries and 24 receptions -- in seven games, Foster has 766 rushing yards and 166 receiving yards with a total of nine touchdowns.

Assuming Foster plays all remaining eight games for Houston, he's on pace for just shy of 2,000 yards from scrimmage (1,997) and 19 touchdowns.

The Texans will host the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 9.



Matt Forte racks up 168 YFS and a TD in blowout loss

The Chicago Bears had played much better on the road than at home so far this season, but they largely struggled in a blowout loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday.

One of the exceptions was Bears running back Matt Forte, who had another strong performance.

Entering the week as the NFL leader in receptions, Forte rushed 19 times for 114 yards and added six catches for 54 yards and a touchdown.

In the past four weeks, Forte has rushed for 100-plus yards twice and has a game with more than 100 receiving yards as well. On the season, Forte now has 562 rushing yards, 58 receptions for 490 yards and six total touchdowns.

Forte is on pace for 2,104 yards from scrimmage, 116 receptions and 12 touchdowns.

The Bears are on bye next week and then Forte has a nice three-game schedule against the Packers, Vikings and Bucs following the bye.



Rob Gronkowski finishes with 9/149/3 vs. Bears

On a day that Tom Brady threw for 354 yards and five touchdowns, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski finished with nine catches for a season-high 149 yards and three touchdowns, which ties his career high set in 2010.

Before today's dominating performance, Gronk had been consistent with TE1 (i.e., top-12) numbers in six of seven games although he had only finished as a top-seven tight end twice.

Counting today's game, he now has 40 catches for 558 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games, which puts him on a full-season pace of 80/1,116/14.

Gronk is now the fourth tight end to catch three touchdowns in a game this year; Julius Thomas (Week 1), Antonio Gates (Week 2) and Larry Donnell (Week 4) are the others.

The Patriots will host the Broncos in Week 9.



Tom Brady throws for 354 yards and 5 TDs

Compared to the first four games of the season, the past four weeks have certainly gone much differently for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In their blowout win over the Bears today, Brady was nearly perfect on 30-of-35 passing for 354 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.

Although he has a pair of six-touchdown games in his career as well as a couple of other five-touchdown games, it was the first time that Brady has thrown five scores since he had six of them on Oct. 18, 2009.

Over his past four games, Brady has thrown for 1,268 yards, 14 touchdowns and no interceptions. (In the first four games, he had 791 passing yards and four touchdowns.)

From a fantasy perspective, Brady had finished as the QB25 or worse in each of his first four games. Since then, however, he has finished as the QB7, QB3 and QB6 over the previous three weeks and currently leads quarterbacks in fantasy points through the early games.

Brady and the Patriots will face the Broncos in Week 9.


















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