It’s Week 9, and that means we’re just about a month away from the start of the fantasy playoffs. Now, more than ever, it is important to make all the right decisions and fine tune your lineups for optimal success. Every game during the season counts, but if you find yourself at 3-5 or 4-4, you need to really be careful. One more loss and it’s probably all over.
Good luck in Week 9!
Quarterback – surprise start of the week
Carson Palmer, Oakland (vs. TB): The Buccaneers allow 309.6 yards per game through the air, and they just dealt CB Aqib Talib to the New England Patriots. They have allowed 32 plays of 20 or more yards through the air, and seven plays of 40 or more yards. Palmer might not light it up for 300-plus, but he could easily reach 250 yards and at least two TD strikes.
Other surprise plays: Jay Cutler, Chicago (at TEN), Andrew Luck, Indianapolis (vs. MIA), Michael Vick, Philadelphia (at NO)
Quarterback – sit of the week
Matt Ryan, Atlanta (vs. DAL): The Cowboys rank third in the NFL against the pass, allowing just 187.7 yards per game through the air, and they have a strong pass rush with LB DeMarcus Ware leading the charge. Will Ryan and the dynamic receivers of the Falcons get shutout completely? Well, no. But less than 200 yards and two touchdowns or fewer can be expected from Matty Ice.
Other QBs to sit: Andy Dalton, Cincinnati (vs. DEN), Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo (at HOU), Ryan Tannehill, Miami (at IND)
Running back – surprise start of the week
Trent Richardson, Cleveland (vs. BAL): Most people see the Ravens on the schedule and immediately think poor matchup, but the Ravens defense is a shell of its former self, especially with all of the injuries on that side of the ball. The Ravens have been gouged for 142.9 yards per game on the ground this season. They did a good job containing Richardson in Week 4 in the first matchup on a Thursday night, as he managed just 47 yards on 14 carries (3.4 ypc) with a score. But that was also with a healthy LB Ray Lewis and CB Lardarius Webb in the lineup.
Other surprise plays: Felix Jones, Dallas (at ATL), Mikel Leshoure, Detroit (at JAC), Daniel Thomas, Miami (at IND)
Running back – sit of the week
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota (at SEA): A.P. will be facing a Seahawks rush defense which has allowed just three rushing scores all season, and a D that yields only 84.9 yards per game on the ground through eight games. There are reports WR Percy Harvin will be unavailable for the game, which would also place more of the defensive focus on A.P. Either way, it’s not a good week to use Peterson if you have others with much more favorable matchups.
Other RBs to sit: Ahmad Bradshaw, N.Y. Giants (vs. PIT), Chris Johnson, Tennessee (vs. CHI), Darren McFadden, Oakland (vs. TB)
Wide receiver – surprise start of the week
Steve Smith, Carolina (at WAS): The Redskins have allowed 314.2 yards per game through the air, and a whopping 19 passing scores. So if the Panthers and their offense are going to break out, this has to be the week. This is an important game, too. Since 1940, if the Redskins win in their home game before the presidential election, the incumbent has won. If they lose, then the challenger is victorious. Needless to say, Mitt Romney is starting Cam Newton, Steve Smith and all of his Panthers, hoping for a black and blue party.
Other surprise plays: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (at NYG), Denarius Moore, Oakland (vs. TB), Torrey Smith, Baltimore (at CLE)
Wide receiver- sit of the week
Victor Cruz, N.Y. Giants (vs. PIT): No salsa dance for two weeks straight? Say it ain’t so. Cruz faces a difficult matchup against a Steelers pass defense which allows a league-best 182.6 yards per game through the air. The Steelers have given up 11 passing TDs, mostly short stuff, so if Cruz does get onto the board, it isn’t expected to be from long distance.
Other WRs to sit: Dez Bryant, Dallas (at ATL), Percy Harvin, Minnes0ta (at SEA), Stevie Johnson, Buffalo (at HOU)
Tight end – surprise start of the week: Kellen Davis, Chicago (at TEN)
Other solid, less-than-obvious fantasy plays: Brandon Myers, Oakland (vs. TB), Greg Olsen, Carolina (at WAS)
Sit of the week: Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta (vs. DAL)
Others who should be riding the fantasy pine: Scott Chandler, Buffalo (at HOU), Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati (vs. DEN)
Kicker – surprise start of the week: Lawrence Tynes, N.Y. Giants (vs. PIT)
Other solid, less-than-obvious fantasy play: Justin Tucker, Baltimore (at CLE)
Sit of the week: Rian Lindell, Buffalo (at HOU)
Other who should be riding the fantasy pine: Josh Scobee, Jacksonville (vs. DET)
Defense/special teams – surprise start of the week: Lions DST (at JAC)
Other solid, less-than-obvious fantasy plays: Colts DST (vs. MIA), Seahawks DST (vs. MIN)
DST sit of the week: Falcons DST (vs. DAL)
Others who should be riding the fantasy pine: Ravens DST (at CLE), Steelers DST (at NYG)