Fantasy Football: Week 9 High Risk/High Reward NFL Players

Keet Bailey@@KeetBaileyCorrespondent IINovember 4, 2010

Ahmad Bradshaw has been excellent this season, but he doesn't have the best Week 9 matchup.
Ahmad Bradshaw has been excellent this season, but he doesn't have the best Week 9 matchup.Nick Laham/Getty Images

Fantasy football has everything to do with taking risks. Sometimes you’ll play one of your top fantasy players, even if he goes against the best defense that week. On the flip side, there are owners that will sit these types of players every week and start a lesser known star against a weak defense.

Nine times out of ten you don’t want to bench one of your star players. But if he’s slumping, and he’s going up against a top defense, it may be worth sticking him on the bench. When that happens you need a guy that you can start in place of him. A guy with a little bit of risk, but still has a chance to really produce for you.

NFL Soup provides you with the Top 10 Week 9 High Risk/High Reward players.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions vs. New York Jets

Stafford is starting for the second week in a row after coming off of a shoulder injury that kept him out until last week. In Week 8, Stafford blew up against a bad Washington Redskins pass defense, throwing for 295 yards and four touchdowns. He also had an interception that did not prove to be costly. The Jets are known for a tough defense as they held Aaron Rodgers to just 170 yards and no touchdowns in Week 8. However, they are still just mediocre against the pass. The odds don’t look amazing for Stafford to produce, but with Calvin Johnson catching passes, you can’t count him out.

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints

With DeAngelo Williams suffering from a sprained foot, Stewart looks to take over in Carolina for the second season in a row. The matchup is somewhat favorable, but Stewart’s lack of production in 2010 makes us cautious to start him. For anybody afraid to take risks I’d keep Stewart benched. But if you’re struggling for production out of the RB’s then Stewart could be worth a shot. After all, he was an excellent player in the second half of 2009 and the Saints haven’t been amazing against the run.

Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams, RB, Miami Dolphins @ Baltimore Ravens

These two are a couple of talented running backs who just haven’t produced like you want. One will get the yardage, but the other will get the touchdown. I’m not a big fan of playing either running back. However, the Ravens have really been struggling against select running backs. Both run very hard and can catch well out of the backfield. If Miami wants to win this game they’ll use the run game heavily. You can throw to either of them and get decent results, especially at a flex spot.

Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons

Josh Freeman is playing very well for a second year quarterback. He’s had a touchdown in all but one start, and has just three interceptions on the year. With Dunta Robinson most likely out, the Falcons pass defense could struggle against an improving Tampa Bay passing game. Freeman has much more potential for reward than risk when considering his solid season overall, so he’s a bit of a safer bet. However, due to his lack of explosive games thus far, he’s also a strong candidate to once again have a mediocre (or safe) fantasy performance.

Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers @ Houston Texans

Mathews has been a big time disappointment for fantasy owners. However, the Texans rush defense is nothing to write home about. Mike Hart from Indianapolis had a very productive game against them as the third string running back on Monday Night Football. Mathews is a risky play because Mike Tolbert takes away his touchdown potential, but he can still produce yardage in the passing game and on the ground. It’s just a matter of time before he sees more touches, and with this tasty of a matchup, this might be the week he finally goes off.

Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants @ Seattle Seahawks

Ahmad Bradshaw has been great for fantasy owners this year. His lowest rushing total has been 67 yards and he catches well out of the backfield. However, with just three touchdowns on the season, going up against the best run defense he has seen all year, one has to wonder if he can still be productive in Week 9. The signs all point to yes for Bradshaw, but it’s still a risky pick. However, if you start him, you could be rewarded big time.

Brett Favre, QB, Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals

It’s hard to see Brett Favre as a risky play, but this year that’s all he’s been. In defense of Favre, he’s faced some respectable defenses. Luckily, he gets a break in Week 9 and the contest is at home. Favre could actually have a game in which he doesn’t turn the ball over and be somewhat productive. I don’t recommend the start but sometimes you don’t have any other choice. Losing Randy Moss doesn’t help the cause, nor does the fact that Adrian Peterson will most likely have a big day against a bad Cardinals run defense.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs @ Oakland Raiders

Charles has been a solid back for fantasy owners, but he hasn’t scored the touchdowns you want, thanks to Thomas Jones. Charles will get 120 yards and not record a touch in the red zone. It’s frustrating if you’re a Charles owner, but he’s still producing on the ground. With Oakland’s recent resurgence we can only wonder if Charles will slow down this week. I think the matchup is still favorable overall as Oakland is giving up nearly five yards a carry, but when a team starts to play with all heart like they’ve played with lately, you never know what could happen.

Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys @ Green Bay Packers

Witten hasn’t had the most productive fantasy season, but even with Tony Romo going down, his value actually goes up. Jon Kitna is a big fan of his tight end and should only continue to throw his way. The problem is the Packers are generally good in the middle of the field defensively. They have quick, athletic linebackers that can bat balls down, and make plays. Witten will see plenty of targets, and even with the relatively tough matchup on the road, he’s more of a reward than a risk.

Brandon Jackson, RB, Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys

Jackson has had four straight games of at least 10 carries and 50 yards. However, he’s only been in the end zone once in those four contests. The good news is that he gets a matchup at home against a Cowboys rush defense that isn’t performing like they should be. They’ve been quite disappointing, as has the entire team, in 2010. Jackson is more of the riskier start in Week 9, but there is a decent amount of upside with the matchup being at home.

Have a fantasy football question? Send your question or concern to and have your question answered live on the NFL Soup Weekly Dish Radio Show!

Follow us on Twitter at @NFLSoup@NFLSoupTaylor@NFLSoupKeet and @NFLSoup_Kevin.