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Fantasy Football Week 9 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

Eric MackFantasy Football Lead WriterNovember 2, 2013

Fantasy Football Week 9 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em

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    DeMarco Murray isn't 100 percent, but he's healthy enough to start against the suspect Vikings this week.
    DeMarco Murray isn't 100 percent, but he's healthy enough to start against the suspect Vikings this week.Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    In fantasy football, just like in the NFL, sometimes you have to go into a week with your lineup at significantly less than 100 percent. Having six more teams on bye in Week 9 is an example of that.

    We all have been dealing with heavy injury questions and byes for weeks now, so quit the woe-is-me attitude. We are stuck in the same pile of poop.

    What you can do is reference the starts, sits, analysis and position-by-position rankings contained in this six-part slideshow. It might not change your life, but it can help change your fantasy fortunes before the stretch run begins in earnest.

Quarterbacks: Start Terrelle Pryor over Likes of Tom Brady, Matt Ryan

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    Start 'Em

    Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders

    If that Pryor run against the Steelers last week didn't get you excited about this guy, you are either hardly alive or a Chiefs fan. Pryor has emerged as a trustworthy fantasy option in most leagues now, particularly as a bye-week replacement. It also helps he is facing the Eagles, who have the second-worst pass defense in football and are the eighth-best team in fantasy against quarterbacks.

     

    Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs

    He has proved to be a solid fantasy option week to week for the undefeated Chiefs, and he draws the Bills this week, which makes him a useful fill-in if you have Peyton Manning on bye. The Bills are the second-worst team in fantasy against quarterbacks to date and bottom 10 against the pass. Smith should be good for 250 yards and a few touchdowns here.

     

    Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

    With the emergence of rookie receiver Keenan Allen and Antonio Gates being surprisingly healthy, you probably don't need a great reason to start Rivers in a given week. Facing the Redskins—fifth-worst against the pass and fourth-worst against fantasy quarterbacks—makes the resurgent Rivers a home run of a start in all leagues.

     

    Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

    He has gotten progressively healthier and more productive for fantasy owners thanks mostly to the rise of rookie tight end Jordan Reed. RGIII should be considered a must-start fantasy option in the second half of the season, and the matchup against the Chargers is a favorable way to start that stretch. San Diego is the sixth-worst team in fantasy against quarterbacks and has a bottom-10 pass defense.

     

    Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

    Wilson has run a bit hot and cold, but this figures to be another one of his hot weeks. The Bucs opened the year with a dangerous defense, but the unit has been suspect of late, allowing big weeks to Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and even Nick Foles. Wilson is too promising to sit in this matchup, particularly at home. This is going to be a Seahawks bonanza.

     

    Sit 'Em

    Tom Brady, New England Patriots

    We never thought we would see this day, but Brady is coming off a bad game and is dealing with that hand issue the Patriots just won't fess up to. Also, Brady's receivers have either been in and out of the lineup or are just too raw to trust on a consistent basis. Topping everything off here, the Steelers are the No. 1 team in fantasy against quarterbacks, even amid their own struggles. Sit Brady for any of the five above and the 12 passers we rank ahead of him below.

     

    Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

    OK, so you might not be able to afford to sit him with six teams on bye and even Brady rating as a bad play this week. But, if you have one of the 11 passers below available to you, you will want to put Ryan on the pine no matter the game-time decision on Roddy White (ankle/hamstring).

    The Panthers have the No. 2-ranked defense in the NFL and have been third-best in fantasy against quarterbacks. Ryan was terrible at Arizona, and this matchup at Carolina shapes up to be a lot tougher for him and his fantasy owners.

     

    Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

    He was a disappointment at Oakland, so we should expect him to be even worse at New England this Sunday afternoon. The Pats are No. 5 against the pass and No. 6 in fantasy against quarterbacks. Also, the injury to Brady likely means this game will be a defensive struggle, which makes for subpar fantasy passer numbers. Big Ben is a bad bye-week fill-in here.

     

    Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

    Here is another Super Bowl-winning quarterback who should sit for the upstarts above who have never sniffed a Super Bowl. Flacco is facing a Browns defense that has a shutdown cornerback in Joe Haden and is No. 6 in the NFL against the pass. Expect the Ravens to play another ground-and-pound game against their division rival and leave Flacco on your fantasy bench in standard, one-quarterback formats.

     

    Week 9 Quarterbacks Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankQuarterbacksTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Drew BreesNOat NYJ10
    2Aaron RodgersGBvs. Chi20
    3Cam NewtonCarvs. Atl30
    4Tony RomoDalvs. Min40
    5Philip RiversSDat Was50
    6Andrew LuckIndat Hou8+2
    7Russell WilsonSeavs. TB70
    8Andy DaltonCinat Mia10+2
    9Robert GriffinWasvs. SD6-3
    10Alex SmithKCat Buf13+3
    11Terrelle PryorOakvs. Phi9-2
    12Matt RyanAtlat Car120
    13Tom BradyNEvs. Pit14+1
    14Jake LockerTenat StL11-3
    15Nick FolesPhiat Oak150
    16Josh McCownChiat GB160
    17Joe FlaccoBalat Cle19+2
    18Ben RoethlisbergerPitat NE17-1
    19Geno SmithNYJvs. NO21+2
    20Ryan TannehillMiavs. Cin18-2
    21Jason CampbellClevs. Bal20-1
    22Case KeenumHouvs. Ind220
    23Christian PonderMinat Dal230
    24Kellen ClemensStLvs. Ten28+4
    25Mike GlennonTBat Sea24-1
    26Jeff TuelBufvs. KC29+3
    27Matt FlynnBufvs. KC30+3
    28Thaddeus LewisBufvs. KC27-1
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros

Running Backs: Time to Put Faith in Fantasy Pariahs DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews

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    Start 'Em

    DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys

    He is returning from his MCL sprain just in time to face the Vikings defense, which has allowed the second-most points to running backs to date. Sure, there is some remaining injury risk, but you can bet the Cowboys will monitor him, and all it will take for Murray to perform like a worthy fantasy starter is one touchdown. He will get that against the Vikings, who have 10 of them to backs.

     

    Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers

    He has to deal with a timeshare with Danny Woodhead, but what back in fantasy doesn't have someone stealing the points? Mathews went into his bye with back-to-back 100-yard games, and he draws a Redskins defense this week that is fourth-worst against the run and third-worst against fantasy backs. Mathews is a borderline must-start in all leagues here.

     

    Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers

    This one is a bit obvious, but there was talk late this week James Starks would get more work coming off his 57 yards and a touchdown last week. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tyler Dunne reports the Packers want to get more work for Starks to lessen the load on Lacy down the stretch.

    It makes sense. But sitting Lacy in fantasy won't. The Bears have proved to be soft up front and are fifth-worst in fantasy against backs. Lacy is a must-start option, while Starks is a nice sleeper for Monday night magic.

     

    Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans

    Another year, another disappointing start for Johnson owners. The good news is second-half rebounds have too. The schedule shapes up favorably for CJ2K down the stretch, and it starts this week with the Rams, who have allowed the sixth-most points to fantasy backs. Johnson will also get the benefit of a more lively Jake Locker back under center, pushing the offense into scoring position.

     

    Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams

    That was an impressive performance against the Seahawks run defense Monday night, and you shouldn't let his ankle issue keep you from starting him this week. The Rams offense is built around the rookie Stacy now, and the Titans are seventh-worst in fantasy against backs to date. Expect 80 yards and a touchdown even if he needs to give more carries to the slew of Rams backup runners.

     

    Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots

    It took eight weeks, but the Pats have finally figured out where their bread is buttered. With Tom Brady banged up and struggling with his lack of continuity at wide receiver, Ridley came on last week and owned the day. The Steelers are up next, and they have struggled mightily against the run (eighth-worst in fantasy). Expect the busiest day of the year for Ridley and the Pats running game this week.

     

    Sit 'Em

    Roy Helu, Washington Redskins

    Everyone jumped on Helu after his three-touchdown performance, and then he went and posted a mere 25 yards on six touches last time out. Helu is a function of game circumstances, and he needs a fast-paced game and the Redskins' hurry-up offense on the field. Don't count on that happening against the Chargers, who also happen to boast the No. 1 team in fantasy against backs.

     

    Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson

    This is a mess best avoided right now. Sproles was blanked last week with four catches for zero yards, while Ingram (toe) has practiced fully this week and is no longer on the official NFL injury report. That should affect Thomas at least, and likely Robinson too. Topping all this off, the Jets boast the No. 1 rush defense in the NFL and are top five against fantasy backs.

     

    Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills

    C.J. Spiller (ankle) is probable against the Chiefs, so we should fully expect the Bills to finally unleash him on the NFL and in fantasy. The problem is, the Chiefs are top 10 against the run and No. 2 in fantasy against backs. You shouldn't sit Spiller—you drafted him in Round 1 to carry you—but you should shy away from Jackson now in this tough matchup.

     

    Willis McGahee and Chris Ogbonnaya, Cleveland Browns

    The Browns just are not running the ball with any kind of success, and it could be a function of the banged-up, past-his-prime McGahee just not being good enough. Ogbonnaya has stolen touches in recent weeks too. Neither back is intriguing against a Ravens defense that has allowed just one touchdown to backs and is No. 4 in fantasy against the position.

     

    Mike James and Brian Leonard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Don't expect another surprise rushing game against the Seahawks defense, especially not in a non-division game when it is teeing off on its opponent in Seattle. This shapes up to be a bad, bad week to be trusting the Bucs, especially these two spare-part running backs. 

     

    Week 9 Running Backs Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankRunning BacksTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Adrian PetersonMinat Dal2+1
    2Jamaal CharlesKCat Buf1-1
    3LeSean McCoyPhiat Oak30
    4Matt ForteChiat GB6+2
    5Eddie LacyGBvs. Chi4-1
    6Marshawn LynchSeavs. TB5-1
    7Ray RiceBalat Cle8+1
    8Chris JohnsonTenat StL13+5
    9DeMarco MurrayDalvs. Min90
    10Arian FosterHouvs. Ind100
    11Stevan RidleyNEvs. Pit14+3
    12Alfred MorrisWasvs. SD7-5
    13Darren McFaddenOakvs. Phi11-2
    14Trent RichardsonIndat Hou19+5
    15Le'Veon BellPitat NE12-3
    16C.J. SpillerBufvs. KC31+15
    17Ryan MathewsSDat Was170
    18Giovani BernardCinat Mia20+2
    19Steven JacksonAtlat Car21+2
    20Zac StacyStLvs. Ten15-5
    21Fred JacksonBufvs. KC16-5
    22DeAngelo WilliamsCarvs. Atl23+1
    23Lamar MillerMiavs. Cin24+1
    24Chris IvoryNYJvs. NO29+5
    25Darren SprolesNOat NYJ22-3
    26BenJarvus Green-EllisCinat Mia27+1
    27Danny WoodheadSDat Was18-9
    28James StarksGBvs. Chi40+12
    29Pierre ThomasNOat NYJ25-4
    30Ben TateHouvs. Ind35+5
    31Jacquizz RodgersAtlat Car37+6
    32Mike JamesTBat Sea26-6
    33Chris OgbonnayaClevs. Bal43+10
    34Brandon BoldenNEvs. Pit30-4
    35Donald BrownIndat Hou32-3
    36Roy HeluWasvs. SD33-3
    37Bilal PowellNYJvs. NO28-9
    38Daryl RichardsonStLvs. Ten41+3
    39Willis McGaheeClevs. Bal36-3
    40Daniel ThomasMiavs. Cin38-2
    41Bryce BrownPhiat Oak49+8
    42Bernard PierceBalat Cle420
    43Mike TolbertCarvs. Atl34-9
    44Jonathan StewartCarvs. Atl47+3
    45Knile DavisKCat Buf56+11
    46LeGarrette BlountNEvs. Pit460
    47Michael BushChiat GB65+18
    48Joseph RandleDalvs. Min45-3
    49Jason SnellingAtlat Car57+8
    50Brian LeonardTBat Sea44-6
    51Shonn GreeneTenat StL39-12
    52Tashard ChoiceBufvs. KC48-4
    53Johnathan FranklinGBvs. Chi69+16
    54Robert TurbinSeavs. TB52-2
    55Khiry RobinsonNOat NYJ550
    56Fozzy WhittakerClevs. Bal51-5
    57Jackie BattleTenat StL68+11
    58Lance DunbarDalvs. Min50-8
    59Rashad JenningsOakvs. Phi64+5
    60Ronnie BrownSDat Was61+1
    61Toby GerhartMinat Dal59-2
    62Felix JonesPitat NE63+1
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros

Wide Receivers: Dexter McCluster Is Among the Options to Trust This Week

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    Start 'Em

    Dexter McCluster, Kansas City Chiefs

    Some receiver from the Chiefs was going to be the first mention here, and we decided it couldn't be Dwayne Bowe, or even the fast-starting Donnie Avery. See, the Bills are the worst team in fantasy against wide receivers, so there will be some numbers to go around here.

    We should expect them to go to the scat back-turned-receiver McCluster. He led the Chiefs in receiving the past two games, so make him a sleeper start this week against the suspect Bills secondary.

     

    Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders

    Terrelle Pryor looks like he is a solid NFL quarterback to the point where you can now trust Moore at receiver on a regular basis. Against the Eagles—the second-worst team in fantasy against receivers—he should be a must-start. The Eagles have allowed an NFL-high 139 receptions to wide receivers to date. The next-closest teams are some 28 receptions behind.

     

    Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers

    Allen draws the Redskins matchup, the third-best one for a fantasy wideout, and has been drawing huge praise from the Chargers. Despite some questions about his 2012 knee issue and poor running time at the NFL combine, Allen has become Philip Rivers' go-to receiver.

    Future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates is thoroughly impressed, telling Michael Gehlken of the Union-Tribune San Diego:

    I knew he was good, but I've never seen this. I didn't think it would evolve this fast. He is making plays in the game, and I'm like, 'Wow.' ... You don't really expect it. They talk about his speed and this and that. The boy can play football, and he can get open. All that stuff about speed, if you can play and get open, that's what wins games for you. That's what makes plays for you. You can get a dog to run and jump. You know what I mean? That's what this league has underestimated.

     

    Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers

    After a big Week 6 against the Vikings, LaFell has posted back-to-back stinkers. The numbers should be better against the young Falcons cornerbacks, though. Atlanta is the fourth-worst team in fantasy against wide receivers, and LaFell should get the benefit of the attention Steve Smith and Greg Olsen draw in coverage. Start all three of Cam Newton's primary weapons. The Panthers and Newton are hot.

     

    Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins

    We did not see a healthy season coming from Garcon this year, nor did we expect him to lose his status as Robert Griffin III's go-man guy. But that is exactly what has happened with the breakthrough of rookie tight end Jordan Reed. We will give Garcon a huge vote of confidence here against a Chargers secondary that has given up the fifth-most points to wideouts.

     

    Sit 'Em

    Darrius Heyward-Bey, Indianapolis Colts

    Everyone jumped on this name when he caught a touchdown against Denver in Week 7 and Reggie Wayne (knee) went down for the season. We agree DHB is a nice sleeper, but he is a bad play against a Texans secondary that boasts the No. 1 pass defense and has been the stingiest to fantasy receivers. You cannot sit T.Y. Hilton, but you should avoid DHB and LaVon Brazill in this matchup.

     

    Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Austin Pettis and Brian Quick

    You have to continue to hate the Rams receivers in fantasy with Kellen Clemens as the quarterback. The Rams are a ground-and-pound team now, and the Titans matchup this week is another unfavorable one. First, Clemens had to face the Seahawks secondary, and now come the Titans, who are quietly No. 7 against the pass and No. 2 against fantasy wideouts.

     

    Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson

    Tom Brady's swollen hand is well-publicized even if the Pats have tried to hide it. Brady is coming off a bad week throwing the ball despite a full set of receivers now, and the Steelers have the second-best pass defense in football. They are also No. 5 against receivers. Sit all of your Pats options until Brady proves healthy and productive again.

     

    Stevie Johnson, Buffalo Bills

    With Thad Lewis (ribs) doubtful on the NFL Injury Report, the Bills might have to start undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel against arguably the best defense in football, Kansas City. The Chiefs are No. 4 against the pass and have allowed less than a touchdown per game to opposing wideouts. Johnson is a bad play under these conditions in Buffalo.

     

    Week 9 Wide Receivers Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankWide ReceiversTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Dez BryantDalvs. Min10
    2A.J. GreenCinat Mia3+1
    3Brandon MarshallChiat GB4+1
    4Jordy NelsonGBvs. Chi2-2
    5DeSean JacksonPhiat Oak50
    6Andre JohnsonHouvs. Ind11+5
    7Josh GordonClevs. Bal70
    8Pierre GarconWasvs. SD6-2
    9Terrance WilliamsDalvs. Min14+5
    10Antonio BrownPitat NE8-2
    11T.Y. HiltonIndat Hou15+4
    12Steve SmithCarvs. Atl120
    13Torrey SmithBalat Cle17+4
    14Denarius MooreOakvs. Phi16+2
    15Mike WallaceMiavs. Cin20+5
    16Jarrett BoykinGBvs. Chi18+2
    17Harry DouglasAtlat Car13-4
    18Marvin JonesCinat Mia28+10
    19Vincent JacksonTBat Sea10-9
    20Alshon JefferyChiat GB19-1
    21James JonesGBvs. Chi30+9
    22Keenan AllenSDat Was9-13
    23Roddy WhiteAtlat Car54+31
    24Danny AmendolaNEvs. Pit25+1
    25Golden TateSeavs. TB24-1
    26Marques ColstonNOat NYJ22-4
    27Kenny StillsNOat NYJ37+10
    28Dexter McClusterKCat Buf52+24
    29Kendall WrightTenat StL21-8
    30Steve JohnsonBufvs. KC23-7
    31Greg JenningsMinat Dal34+3
    32Donnie AveryKCat Buf55+23
    33Lance MooreNOat NYJ36+3
    34DeAndre HopkinsHouvs. Ind40+6
    35Nate WashingtonTenat StL27-8
    36Brandon LaFellCarvs. Atl35-1
    37Dwayne BoweKCat Buf29-8
    38Darrius Heyward-BeyIndat Hou31-7
    39Doug BaldwinSeavs. TB50+11
    40Brian HartlineMiavs. Cin26-14
    41Emmanuel SandersPitat NE32-9
    42Kenbrell ThompkinsNEvs. Pit61+19
    43Eddie RoyalSDat Was45+2
    44Jeremy KerleyNYJvs. NO33-11
    45Vincent BrownSDat Was38-7
    46Stephen HillNYJvs. NO43-3
    47Drew DavisAtlat Car48+1
    48Mohamed SanuCinat Mia72+24
    49Jason AvantPhiat Oak58+9
    50Riley CooperPhiat Oak53+3
    51Jermaine KearseSeavs. TB65+14
    52Aaron DobsonNEvs. Pit42-10
    53Julian EdelmanNEvs. Pit51-2
    54Tiquan UnderwoodTBat Sea71+17
    55Jacoby JonesBalat Cle60+5
    56Jerome SimpsonMinat Dal49-7
    57Davone BessClevs. Bal74+17
    58Robert WoodsBufvs. KC57-1
    59Rod StreaterOakvs. Phi41-18
    60Chris GivensStLvs. Ten56-4
    61Leonard HankersonWasvs. SD59-2
    62Austin PettisStLvs. Ten64+2
    63Marlon BrownBalat Cle46-17
    64Lavon BrazillIndat Hou69+5
    65David NelsonNYJvs. NO44-21
    66Santana MossWasvs. SD73+7
    67Jerricho CotcheryPitat NE70+3
    68Cole BeasleyDalvs. Min62-6
    69Tavon AustinStLvs. Ten66-3
    70Earl BennettChiat GB87+17
    71Ted GinnCarvs. Atl39-32
    72Kenny BrittTenat StL88+16
    73Damian WilliamsTenat StL95+22
    74Greg LittleClevs. Bal75+1
    75Cordarrelle PattersonMinat Dal68-7
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros

Tight Ends: Start Kyle Rudolph and Sit Scott Chandler Because of the Matchups

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    Kyle Rudolph has been inconsistent, but some continuity at quarterback with Christian Ponder can help.
    Kyle Rudolph has been inconsistent, but some continuity at quarterback with Christian Ponder can help.Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Start 'Em

    Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings

    He has been a fantasy enigma, but he gets some continuity with the Vikings' decision to start Christian Ponder again. Also, Dallas has the worst pass defense in the NFL and is fifth-worst in fantasy against tight ends. Rudolph is a solid fill-in if you have a Julius Thomas on bye this week.

     

    Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears

    You can be a little worried about Josh McCown starting for the Bears, but a limited quarterback's best friend tends to be the play-action pass to the tight end. Bennett should get plenty of targets, catches and yards against a Packers defense that has given up the second-most points to fantasy tight ends to date.

     

    Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts

    This one is a function of circumstance instead of matchup. The Texans have the top-ranked pass defense in the NFL and have given up the fewest yards to tight ends, but Fleener will take on a larger role in the offense with Reggie Wayne (knee) out for the season.

    Fleener has been great at times, and he should be a big part of the Colts' play-action game against the Texans. In fact, you should trust Fleener as your starter in all leagues regardless of the matchups here on out.

     

    Sit 'Em

    Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills

    Not only do the Bills have an uncertain quarterback situation with Thad Lewis (ribs) doubtful and undrafted free-agent Jeff Tuel potentially starting, but the Chiefs have been the best team in fantasy against tight ends thus far this season. They have not given up a touchdown to the position, and a random touchdown is the only reason you would consider owning Chandler in a given week. Cut and ignore him here.

     

    Tim Wright, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    He has had some great mojo with fellow rookie Mike Glennon as the starting quarterback, but a road game at Seattle and the No. 3 pass defense in the NFL is a terrible time to hope for a fantasy-worthy week out of the undrafted rookie tight end Wright.

     

    Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans

    Seeing Walker as the fourth-most added tight end in CBS Sports leagues is rather surprising. Walker just doesn't get a big enough piece of the pie for the Titans, and the matchup this week against the Rams is a bad one. The Rams are the fourth-toughest team in fantasy against the position. Walker is a terrible play. Drop him if you picked him up hoping for a one-yard touchdown.

     

    Week 9 Tight Ends Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankTight EndsTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Jimmy GrahamNOat NYJ2+1
    2Rob GronkowskiNEvs. Pit1-1
    3Antonio GatesSDat Was30
    4Jason WittenDalvs. Min6+2
    5Jordan ReedWasvs. SD4-1
    6Jordan CameronClevs. Bal5-1
    7Tony GonzalezAtlat Car70
    8Martellus BennettChiat GB9+1
    9Coby FleenerIndat Hou13+4
    10Greg OlsenCarvs. Atl8-2
    11Kyle RudolphMinat Dal10-1
    12Heath MillerPitat NE120
    13Jermaine GreshamCinat Mia20+7
    14Charles ClayMiavs. Cin11-3
    15Tyler EifertCinat Mia17+2
    16Jared CookStLvs. Ten18+2
    17Garrett GrahamHouvs. Ind14-3
    18Andrew QuarlessGBvs. Chi26+8
    19Scott ChandlerBufvs. KC190
    20Tim WrightTBat Sea15-5
    21Anthony FasanoKCat Buf27+6
    22Delanie WalkerTenat StL16-6
    23Ben WatsonNOat NYJ29+6
    24Brent CelekPhiat Oak240
    25Lance KendricksStLvs. Ten30+5
    26Zach MillerSeavs. TB22-4
    27Dallas ClarkBalat Cle21-6
    28Sean McGrathKCat Buf37+9
    29Zach ErtzPhiat Oak31+2
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros 

Defense/Special Teams: Houston Texans No Longer a Bad Matchup or a Good Play

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    Start 'Em

    Indianapolis Colts

    The Colts shouldn't rate high defensively in terms of talent, but they have had their moments for fantasy owners this season. You can consider them a streaming option against the Texans, who have been the worst team in fantasy against opposing defense/special teams this season. Sure, the bad numbers were mostly a function of Matt Schaub's pick-six streak, but who's to say Case Keenum won't fall into that same funk?

     

    New Orleans Saints

    You have to love what Rob Ryan has done for the once-maligned Saints defense just as much as you have to love the matchup against the Jets. They have been the third-worst team in fantasy against opposing defensive units to date, and the Saints figure to blow this one out and make it a huge day of turnovers and sacks as Geno Smith struggles in garbage time.

     

    Dallas Cowboys

    We don't quite understand how this once-sketchy defensive unit—which is still last against the pass, mind you—has scored the second-most points among defenses in standard fantasy leagues to date. The good news is, the Vikings struggle to throw the ball, and their shaky quarterback situation makes them a team to feast on for fantasy owners who stream defenses.

     

    Sit 'Em

    Houston Texans

    Ignore the fact they currently have the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL. They have been suspect in fantasy terms. They are the fifth-worst fantasy defensive unit right now, and the Colts just happen to be the second-toughest matchup for an opposing defense. The Texans should be cut, not starting in any fantasy lineups this week.

     

    New York Jets

    You can like a Rex Ryan team in most weeks but not against Drew Brees. Even if you think this Ryan-Ryan matchup will become a defensive chess match, the Jets are a bottom-10 fantasy defense facing a top-10 team against the position. Don't trust the Jets here.

     

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Darrelle Revis was supposed to turn this defense around, and he did help at first, but the Bucs' offensive woes have made it just too tough for the Bucs to play fantasy-worthy defense. Also, you cannot trust any unit traveling up to Seattle to face the Seahawks and the 12th Man. The Bucs are sunk and can be cut in fantasy. 

     

    Week 9 Defenses and Special Teams Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankDefenses and Special TeamsTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Seattle SeahawksSeavs. TB2+1
    2Kansas City ChiefsKCat Buf1-1
    3New England PatriotsNEvs. Pit5+2
    4Cincinnati BengalsCinat Mia3-1
    5Carolina PanthersCarvs. Atl6+1
    6Baltimore RavensBalat Cle7+1
    7New Orleans SaintsNOat NYJ4-3
    8Indianapolis ColtsIndat Hou80
    9Dallas CowboysDalvs. Min90
    10San Diego ChargersSDat Was23+13
    11Green Bay PackersGBvs. Chi110
    12St. Louis RamsStLvs. Ten14+2
    13Chicago BearsChiat GB24+11
    14Tennessee TitansTenat StL10-4
    15Philadelphia EaglesPhiat Oak150
    16Cleveland BrownsClevs. Bal12-4
    17Tampa Bay BuccaneersTBat Sea20+3
    18New York JetsNYJvs. NO19+1
    19Miami DolphinsMiavs. Cin17-2
    20Houston TexansHouvs. Ind16-4
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros

Kickers: Follow the Productive Quarterbacks When Choosing at This Position

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    Mason Crosby has the benefits of a productive Aaron Rodgers-led offense and the matchup vs. the Bears.
    Mason Crosby has the benefits of a productive Aaron Rodgers-led offense and the matchup vs. the Bears.Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

    Start 'Em

    Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers

    He is not only third in standard fantasy scoring among kickers, but the Bears have allowed the fourth-most points to kickers in fantasy. Crosby is now a must-start, not just a bye-week replacement.

     

    Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys

    He has had some uneven weeks through the middle of the season, but the Vikings defense has been one of the most suspect in the NFL, and the Vikings have given up the seventh-most points to kickers in fantasy to date. Keep Bailey active.

     

    Steven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks

    He wasn't the top of anyone's kicker lists in the preseason—he wasn't even drafted in a lot of leagues—but he has been the fifth-most productive in fantasy this year, and he faces a Bucs team that has been bottom-10 against kickers.

     

    Sit 'Em

    Nick Folk, New York Jets

    You can expect the matchup of the Ryan twins to be a defensive struggle, but don't go banking on the Jets kicker against the Saints. They have allowed a league-low nine field-goal attempts and the fewest points in fantasy to kickers.

     

    Robbie Gould, Chicago Bears

    You should feel uneasy about the Bears offense with Josh McCown starting, especially against a Packers team that is tied with the Saints for the fewest made field goals against (seven). The Packers are the fourth-toughest matchup for a kicker this season. Look elsewhere for Monday night magic.

     

    Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings

    Adrian Peterson just hasn't been able to do the same damage he did a year ago despite equally unimpressive quarterback play. It has affected Walsh for fantasy owners, pushing him out of the top 20 among kickers in standard leagues. Cut this guy until Peterson or the Vikings show anything offensively.

     

    Week 9 Kickers Rankings - Eric Mack
    RankKickersTeamOpponentECRvs. ECR
    1Stephen GostkowskiNEvs. Pit10
    2Ryan SuccopKCat Buf10+8
    3Dan BaileyDalvs. Min2-1
    4Garrett HartleyNOat NYJ3-1
    5Mason CrosbyGBvs. Chi4-1
    6Alex HeneryPhiat Oak9+3
    7Steven HauschkaSeavs. TB70
    8Justin TuckerBalat Cle12+4
    9Matt BryantAtlat Car11+2
    10Caleb SturgisMiavs. Cin22+12
    11Adam VinatieriIndat Hou6-5
    12Nick NovakSDat Was5-7
    13Mike NugentCinat Mia18+5
    14Greg ZuerleinStLvs. Ten20+6
    15Blair WalshMinat Dal150
    16Robbie GouldChiat GB17+1
    17Kai ForbathWasvs. SD8-9
    18Graham GanoCarvs. Atl13-5
    19Sebastian JanikowskiOakvs. Phi16-3
    20Nick FolkNYJvs. NO21+1
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros

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