Every week, we list several players that we believe should start on most fantasy rosters. We do the same with folks that should take a seat on most fantasy rosters. Of course, my recommendations are made on general terms as I have no way of knowing the specifics of your roster.
Players to Start for Week 9:
QB - Eli Manning, Giants (at Seahawks): It's been boom or bust for Manning this season. And recently it's been boom. In his past three games, Manning has thrown a total of nine touchdowns even though he also has five interceptions during that span. Many of Eli's 11 interceptions this season have resulted from tipped passes.
The good times should continue for Manning as only three teams have allowed more passing yards per game than the Seahawks (267.7) this season.
RB - LeGarrette Blount, Bucs (at Falcons): Against the Arizona Cardinals last week, Blount rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. For two weeks in a row, Cadillac Williams had four carries so Blount is clearly the guy. Although the Falcons have not allowed a running back to rush for a touchdown in five consecutive weeks, Blount is a physical runner and that streak could come to an end in Week 9.
RB - Brandon Jacobs, Giants (at Seahawks): Over the past four weeks, Jacobs has reached double-digit fantasy points and scored a touchdown (or two). In his last game played, Jacobs carried the ball 12 times, which he hadn't done since Week 1.
In the past two weeks (and for the first two times this season), the Seahawks have allowed opposing running backs to gain 100-plus yards. And for three consecutive weeks, they have allowed running backs to score a touchdown. If you're in a 12-team league, Jacobs is a low-end RB2 this week.
RB - Mike Tolbert, Chargers (at Texans): Speaking of scoring streaks, Tolbert has scored a touchdown in five consecutive games and has scored a total of seven touchdowns this season. In four of their past five games, the Texans have allowed opposing running backs to gain 100-plus yards.
Both Tolbert and Ryan Mathews will be in my top 30 running backs this week although I like Tolbert a little more than Mathews this week.
WR - Patrick Crayton, Chargers (at Texans): The Chargers receiving corps is so banged up. So much so that they just signed Kelley Washington. It's likely that Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee won't play and Buster Davis is already out for the season.
In addition, there's a strong possibility that Antonio Gates won't play or could be severely limited. Even better, the Chargers face the Texans, who have allowed a league-worse 299.4 passing yards per game in addition to 16 touchdowns. With a ton of targets and a great matchup, Crayton should be in your starting lineup.
WR - Mike Williams, Bucs (at Falcons): With the exception of Week 2, Williams has four-plus receptions every week and he ranks 23rd in the NFL in targets (59). Over his past four games, Williams has 20 receptions for 331 yards and two touchdowns. In each of the past two weeks, the Falcons have allowed 50-plus fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and three touchdowns in both games.
WR - Johnny Knox, Bears (at Bills): In the past two weeks, Knox has 11 receptions for 206 yards and a touchdown. Although the Bears have had trouble protecting quarterback Jay Cutler, the Bills don't have a great pass rush, which explains why they claimed Shawne Merriman off waivers. Although the Bills have allowed the sixth-fewest passing yards (195.6), they have also allowed the third-most passing touchdowns (15).
TE - Jacob Tamme, Colts (at Eagles): In his first game as the Colts starting tight end, Tamme was targeted by Peyton Manning nine times. Tamme finished the game with six receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown. This season, the Eagles have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.
Players to Sit for Week 9:
QB - Carson Palmer, Bengals (vs Steelers): For four consecutive games, Palmer has thrown two-plus touchdowns or a total of nine touchdowns during that span. In his seven games this season, however, Palmer has either thrown for 345-plus yards (three times) or 209 or less yards (four times).
This week, he faces the Steelers, who have allowed more than one passing touchdown only once this season. In fact, only the Bears (four) have allowed fewer passing touchdowns than the Steelers (six) have.
RB - Jahvid Best, Lions (vs Jets): Best's career got off to a great start as he scored five touchdowns in his first two games. In his past five games, however, Best hasn't scored a touchdown and he has failed to reach 100 yards from scrimmage during that span.
Last week, both he and Kevin Smith had 12 rushing attempts. This week's opponent hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown to running backs since Week 1 and has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. Assuming Smith plays (he sat out Thursday's practice), Best will be on my bench.
RB - Felix Jones, Cowboys (at Packers): With the Cowboys losing Tony Romo (possibly for the season), it would be logical to expect the Cowboys to run the ball more. Of course, it's not wise for Cowboys and logical to be used in the same sentence. Over his past three games, Jones has rushed for only 32, 35 and 22 yards. In each of his last two games, Jones has had less than ten carries.
RB - Ronnie Brown, Dolphins (at Ravens): The Ravens run defense has been strong in their past three games. Then again, those three opponents don't exactly feature potent running attacks. Either way, Brown has been completely mediocre this season. He hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 1 and has not had more than 80 rushing yards in any game this season.
WR - Chad Ochocinco, Bengals (vs Steelers): Ochocinco has been a little frustrated about his lack of involvement in the offense, saying to Terrell Owens, "There's nothing I can do but make myself available. Period." While Ochocinco has had two 100-yard games (Week 1 and Week 7), he has finished with four receptions (or less), 59 yards (or less) and no touchdowns in his other five games.
WR - Deion Branch, Patriots (at Browns): In his first game with the Patriots, Branch finished with nine receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown. Since then (two games), Branch has five receptions for 60 yards and no touchdowns. In addition, Branch has been limited at practice on Wednesday or Thursday.
WR - Roy Williams, Cowboys (at Packers): Williams has said that Kitna is "just as good" as Romo. Then again, he has said the Cowboys can win nine games in a row to finish 10-6 and go on to win the Super Bowl. In the two games that Kitna has started, Williams has only one reception for 21 yards. It seems that Dez Bryant (11 receptions in past two games) has better chemistry with Kitna.
WR - Mike Williams, Seahawks (vs Giants): The Seahawks will see Charlie Whitehurst make his first NFL start. In addition, left tackle Russell Okung has missed another practice on Thursday. The Giants have the third-most sacks in the league, but the top two teams have played one more game than the Giants.
So, it could be a long day (or short day) for the guy getting the ball to Williams. Last week, Williams had only one reception after back-to-back double-digit reception games.
TE - Brent Celek, Eagles (vs Colts): The Eagles will get Michael Vick back under center against the Colts this week. Both of those items hurt Celek. Vick hasn't shown great chemistry with Celek and his targets are less with Vick in the lineup. In addition, the Colts have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.
Good luck in your Week 9 matchup(s) and in our free fantasy football for Week 9 (new entries welcome and encouraged).