Week Nine in the NFL is upon us, which means fantasy football playoff time is almost here. For those of you on the outside looking in, it’s time to make a run.
Be proactive and put everybody on the trading block. You never know what type of offers could end up on your doorstep.
And if you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out our brand new NFP team pages...where your voice is heard. Click here to check them out.
GET ‘EM IN THE LINEUP
Kevin Walter Wide Receiver Houston Texans
Tight end Owen Daniels is out for the season with a torn ACL, meaning the Houston offense must find a way to replace the 5.0 receptions and 64.8 yards per game O.D. was averaging this year. Enter Kevin Walter.
Walter’s numbers took a hit this year due to the emergence of Daniels in the passing game, but look for the seven-year veteran out of Eastern Michigan to start seeing more targets with the star tight end on the shelf.
Another big plus is the fact the Colts’ starting cornerbacks, Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden, may be unable to play because of injuries.
Their replacements? Rookie cornerbacks Jarraud Powers and Jacob Lacey. Look for the Texans to put up the points on Sunday.
Upset Alert: Look for big days from quarterback Matt Schaub and wide receiver Andre Johnson as the Texans hand the Colts their first loss of the season.
Jamaal Charles Running Back Kansas City Chiefs
We’ve been talking about Charles for weeks in the NFP Total Access Pass because he gives the Chiefs a better chance for offensive success than aging veteran Larry Johnson.
With Johnson out for Week 9 because of a team-imposed suspension, Charles finally gets his chance to carry the workload.
The second-year rusher out of Texas is a dual-threat back who’s averaging 5.0 yards a carry this season and already has 14 receptions despite limited playing time.
He has explosive open-field speed, which he put on display last season in Week Nine when he carried the ball 18 times for 106 yards (5.9 YPC) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Charles finished the ’08 season with 27 receptions despite starting just two games.
Add the fact that Charles will be facing the NFL’s 25th-ranked run defense (128.3 yards per game) in the Jacksonville Jaguars and you have yourself a quality RB2/flex option for Week Nine.
Matt Hasselbeck Quarterback Seattle Seahawks
Home is where the heart is...at least in the case of Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
Hass is 2-1 at Qwest Field this season with seven touchdown passes and just three interceptions. In addition, Hasselbeck has found success during his career at home in the month of November.
Over his last six November home games, the Pro Bowl quarterback has thrown 12 touchdown passes and is averaging 256.1 passing yards per game while going 4-2 in the process.
He looks like an even better start this Sunday when you examine his competition. Seattle plays host to the Detroit Lions, who are giving up 251.9 yards per game through the air (27th).
Also Start: Nate Burleson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Donald Driver Wide Receiver Green Bay Packers
As we’ve mentioned before, Greg Jennings’ lack of production this season can be attributed to opposing defenses rolling coverage in his direction.
While this has led to a below-average first half for the Green Bay wide receiver, it has opened up the field considerably for veteran wideout Donald Driver, who is averaging a healthy 7.1 targets and 77.4 receiving yards.
The Packers head to Tampa Bay this week to face a secondary that has gotten lit up this season to the tune of 29.0 points per game. Some of the notable wide receiver performances against the Bucs include:
Jeremy Maclin: six receptions, 142 yards, two touchdowns
Patrick Crayton: four receptions, 135 yards, one touchdown
Wes Welker: 10 receptions, 107 yards, one touchdown
Roy Williams: three receptions, 86 yards, one touchdown
Steve Smith (NYG): seven receptions, 63 yards, one touchdown
Get Driver and Jennings in the lineup this weekend. After Jennings blows up, look to move him next week.
PUT ‘EM ON THE BENCH
Knowshon Moreno Running Back Denver Broncos
Moreno has been a decent flex option this season, but Week Nine against the Steelers is the perfect opportunity to start another running back.
Moreno is averaging just 60.0 yards per game on the ground and will once again be splitting the workload with running back Correll Buckhalter, which is sure to limit his overall production.
In addition, the Steelers are the NFL’s top run defense, allowing just 76.6 rushing yards per game. They’ve only given up two rushing touchdowns all season and have held four teams to fewer than 90 total rushing yards.
Leave Moreno on the bench in Week Nine.
Also sit: Correll Buckhalter
Tony Romo Quarterback Dallas Cowboys
Most of you already know that I’m an Eagles fan, so I’m sure you think this recommendation is coming from the “hater” in me.
But did you also know that I own Romo in one of my fantasy leagues? That counts for something, doesn’t it?
All jokes aside, Romo has struggled in his career against Philadelphia. In his last five games against the Birds, Romo has thrown just seven touchdowns with eight interceptions, is completing 56 percent of his passes, is averaging only 235.0 passing yards per game and has a QB Rating of 73.2.
Add in the fact that the Dallas signal caller rarely shows up for big games and that Lincoln Financial Field will be rocking Sunday night now that the Phillies have been booted from the World Series and you have a recipe for fantasy futility. Look elsewhere in Week Nine. Romo won’t get it done.
Disagree with my thoughts on Romo? Check out the brand new Dallas Cowboys team page here at the NFP to prove me wrong.
New York Giants D/ST
They’ve gone from one of the most reliable fantasy defenses to league punching bag in just three weeks.
While it’s still too early to wave the white flag in New York, fantasy owners need to take a step back from Big Blue until the defense figures out how to stop giving up the big play.
New York has allowed an average of 37.3 points per game over the past three weeks and welcomes the league’s fourth-best passing offense (276.3 yards per game) this Sunday in the San Diego Chargers.
Yes, Philip Rivers and the Bolts have struggled on the East Coast in the past, but with the way the Giants secondary has looked the last few weeks, you can’t run the risk of having them in your lineup.
Antonio Bryant Wide Receiver Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The two concerns that Bryant owners should have this weekend are:
1. Green Bay ranks ninth against the pass, allowing just 187.0 yards per game through the air.
2. Rookie quarterback Josh Freeman is getting the start.
No. 2 is the real problem here. Freeman completed less than 60 percent of his passes at Kansas State last season. For those of you who don’t follow college football, that’s terrible...especially in the defensively challenged Big 12 Conference.
Look for the Packers to pressure the young quarterback into making mistakes throughout the afternoon. Bryant will see some targets, but not enough to roll up quality fantasy numbers.
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh