With four of the five worst rush defenses on a bye this week, RBs could struggle in week Nine. Fortunately for Bruno Boys Nation , the Bruno Boys have your back, providing you as always with our Fantasy Football Week Nine Start Ems , helping to ensure you don’t leave that big game on your bench.
QUARTERBACKS – START ‘EM
Matt Hasselbeck (Seattle Seahawks) vs. Detroit
Any QB playing against the Detroit Lions defense is most likely a good option. The Lions have allowed almost 30 points a game and 18 TDs through the air in seven games. Hasselbeck has just been average for most of the season, but coming off a tidy 250 yard and two TD performance against the Cowboys, it seems that he could be back on track. With the absence of any real running game for the Seahawks, the team will be relying on the passing game. The Hasselbeck-led Seahawks should win this contest, and the QB himself should post good numbers for fantasy purposes.
David Garrard (Jacksonville Jaguars) vs. Kansas City
It seems like every time people assume Garrard will do well, he fails miserably and vice-versa. The Titans team he faced in week eight is not the same team that was allowing six TDs to the Patriots a few weeks prior. Garrard is in no way a #1 QB this weekend, for the mere fact that most of the stud QBs have good match-ups, but with a plethora of bye week QBs out, you could find 200 yards and two TDs sitting there with Garrard. After not throwing a TD the previous three weeks, we understand if you are hesitant to start him…but it is the Chiefs. 10 pass plays of 40+ yards, over 250 yards passing, and 13 TDs through 7 games could be the remedy for the big QB in week nine.
Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens) @ Cincinnati
Flacco’s previous game against the Bengals was his worst fantasy output in ‘09 (186 passing yards, one TD, two INT for just seven fantasy points), but Flacco has been too good to let the Bengals get in his head. He’s been everything the Ravens have asked for in his sophomore season, and he has emerging stud RB Ray Rice as a great check-down option for him in the passing attack. The Bengals are 30th in the league allowing over 250 yards per game through the air, but they are only allowing about 1.5 TDs per game. Still, we like Flacco as a Start ‘Em in week 9.
RUNNING BACKS – START ‘EM
Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens) @ Cincinnati
Ray Rice has emerged as perhaps one of the few must-start RBs in fantasy football . The biggest reason? Simple, even against a good run defense, he is nearly as dangerous as a receiver. In Rice’s worst game of 2009, he posted 82 total yards. In other words, other than Adrian Peterson , Cedric Benson , and perhaps Michael Turner , Rice has been the most solid RB in fantasy football in 2009. We aren’t assuming you were thinking about benching him, but we believe he is bound for a good game. Against Cincy in week five, Rice had 143 total yards and a TD, and while to predict 20 points is slightly high, it wouldn’t surprise us if he gets to that total this weekend.
Ryan Grant (Green Bay Packers) @ Tampa Bay
Grant has really only had one bad game in 2009, which happened to come last week against the stout Vikings defensive front. But, for some reason, it seems that people are expecting more out of him. After his big game against the Browns, in which he posted 148 rushing yards and a TD, we think he may be able to see the same number of touches (and in turn get the same fantasy points), as he did in week seven. Tampa Bay has given up 162 rushing yards and a rushing TD per game in 2009, and while Grant may not see all the carries (if they get out to an early lead), he could still be in for a nice fantasy output.
Ahmad Bradshaw (New York Giants) vs. San Diego
So far we are one for one on the Ahmad Bradshaw Start ‘Em this season, so we’re going for a perfect two for two (yes, we are proud of that accomplishment). Bradshaw has breakout candidate written all over him in week nine against a surprisingly bad Chargers defense that is 27th in the NFL allowing over 130 rushing yards per contest and a rushing TD per game. Bradshaw could be explosive as San Diego is coming cross country for a game where the Giants need to prove they are better than they played in week eight against Philly.
WIDE RECEIVERS – START ‘EM
Mike Sims-Walker (Jacksonville Jaguars) vs. Kansas City
What a disappointment MSW was in week eight against the Titans. But, did people really believe the longest tenured coach in the NFL (Jeff Fisher ) wouldn’t come out of the bye week with a fired up Titans squad? Well, MSW should come back strong in week nine versus the Kansas City Chiefs . It is understandable if fantasy owners are weary that he may have been just a flash in the pan, but the fact is, he is the Jags most targeted (45 targets through seven weeks) and talented receiver, so he should come out strong with at least 50 yards and a score.
Michael Crabtree (San Francisco 49ers) vs. Tennessee
We were nervous about posting Crabtree as a Start ‘Em this week, but he has done nothing to disprove his talent in the NFL. He was 10th in the NFL in targets in week eight with nine, and it seems like QB Alex Smith is only looking in two directions this season (Crabtree’s and Vernon Davis’ ). However, while Smith’s Madden vision may not bode well for the 49ers chances, it could mean that Crabtree scores his first NFL touchdown against the Titans defense. Don’t believe the numbers, the Titans are not the worst pass defense in the NFL, but we still believe Crabtree has earned his way into fantasy lineups everywhere against them.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Seattle Seahawks) vs. Detroit
Housh has been one of the bigger fantasy disappointments in 2009 as most people thought he’d come in and take over as Hasselbeck’s #1 option. WR Nate Burleson has taken control of that by putting up over 100 yards and a TD more times than Housh. But, while Houshmandzadeh has been mediocre at best, he gets the good fortune of facing the Lions defense that allows 30 points a game. While he’s only had two games with over six points, we think that 8-10 points should be easily reachable with the potential for much more in week nine.
TIGHT ENDS – START ‘EM
Fred Davis (Washington Redskins) @ Atlanta
Before TE Chris Cooley got hurt he was averaging nearly seven fantasy points per week, which is among the top 10 in fantasy tight ends. Once he got hurt, TE Fred Davis didn’t miss a beat in week seven, logging 78 yards and a TD. With a week of practice with the first team under Davis’ belt, we think he could be a nice sleeper for those with bye week issues or looking for a potential 6-8 points from the TE position. QB Jason Campbell obviously trusts him (as seen in week seven), so let’s assume that he is involved in the offense against a Falcons defense that allowed just Jeremy Shockey seven fantasy points on MNF in week eight.
KICKERS – START ‘EM
Mason Crosby (Green Bay Packers) @ Tampa Bay
The Buccaneers give up the third most points in the NFL at 29 ppg clip. Crosby has the leg to do some damage, and the Packers should be able to score at will. 9-11 points should be a standard week for Crosby in week nine.
Olindo Mare (Seattle Seahawks) vs. Detroit
Detroit allows the 2nd-most points in the NFL, and the Seahawks are coming in with a good, but not great offense. While we think Hasselbeck and Co. should put up solid fantasy numbers, Mare could be a big beneficiary to those who are scanning the waiver wire because of bye week kickers.
DEFENSES – START ‘EM
Atlanta Falcons D/ST vs. Washington
The Falcons didn’t exactly have the best game on MNF, but they did for fantasy purposes. Any time that a fantasy D/ST can put up a TD, you’re looking at least a few points for your fantasy team. Well, the Falcons go up against a Redskins team that is having all sorts of trouble (starting with their head coach, moving to their QB controversy), and they are coming off a bad loss to a division rival. Atlanta should get pressure on the QB and not allow too many points from the Redskins, so it should be no less than a 10 point fantasy week for the Dirty Birds.
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THIS ARTICLE WRITTEN BY BRUNO BOY JACOB LERMAN .