Week 9 NFL Fantasy Lessons Learned: Who To Add and Who To Drop
I’ve learned that the San Diego Chargers will baffle me week after week.
At the beginning of the season it was the role of Mike Tolbert that was confusing because Ryan Matthews was supposed to be their every-down back. Then Matthews got hurt and muddled the situation even more. In Week 8, Darren Sproles got into the mix, but if you made the mistake I did and started him in Week 9, he rewarded you with less than one-and-a-half fantasy points—even after Matthews left the game.
Even worse, if you used a little Fantasy logic, you assumed Philip Rivers was going to throw the ball against the 32nd-ranked Houston pass defense. Once you found out Antonio Gates was out, you figured that his main target would be Patrick Crayton, and you gleefully inserted him into the flex position in your line up, removing DeSean Jackson.
And then you watched as some guy off the practice squad racked up 111 yards and two touchdowns.
Future thoughts: Leave Ajirotutu on the waiver wire, drop Crayton, forget about Sproles and monitor Matthews’ ankle. If he is out after the bye week, use Tolbert. And obviously, start Gates when healthy.
Some players will have a great week, only to follow it up with a lousy week.
Corollary: Some people will have a lousy week, only to follow it up with a great week.
Both scenarios cause fantasy owners anguish, as the lousy week is highlighted in neon lights in your starting line up, and the great week is benefiting no one on your bench.
James Jones, Green Bay Packers—Week 8: Donut, Week 9: 123 yards, one touchdown (24.3 fantasy points)
Nate Burleson, Detroit Lions—Week 8: 47 yards (6.2 fantasy points), Week 9: 113 yards and a touchdown (22.8 fantasy points)
Santonio Holmes, New York Jets—Week 8: 43 yards (5.8 fantasy points), Week 9: 114 yards (15.9 fantasy points)
And in the other direction:
Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Bengals—Week 7: 108 yards and a touchdown (23.8 fantasy points), Week 8: 34 yards (4.9 fantasy points), Week 9: 15 yards (2 fantasy points)
Ricky Williams, Miami Dolphins—Week 8: 47 yards and a touchdown (11.4 fantasy points), Week 9: one yard (0.1 fantasy points).
LeGarrett Blount, Tampa Bay Buccaneers—Week 8: 120 yards, two touchdowns (25.9 fantasy points), Week 9: 46 yards (4.6 fantasy points)
Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oakland Raiders—Week 8: 105 yards and a touchdown (24 points), Week 9: Donut
The moral of this story: Fantasy Football is a game of luck. You can scour the matchups all you want, but at the end of the day, you cannot predict with absolute certainty who will have a great game and who will have an off week.
If you’re really going to make me pick, here’s my two cents (noting that it is coming from someone that did start Blount in Weeks 8 and 9):
If you need a QB to fill in for injury or as a bye week replacement, go with David Garrard. His matchup is against Houston, and you all saw what Philip Rivers did against Houston.
For running backs, I really like Jahvid Best at Buffalo this week. Also, I would recommend starting both Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles vs. Denver’s 31st-ranked rush defense.
For wide receivers, I think Mike Sims-Walker is going to benefit from Garrard’s nice matchup. I like the Jets receivers as well—look for Santonio Holmes to continue to do well with a touch of Braylon Edwards in the mix.
My tight end sleeper pick of the week is Chris Cooley of the Washington Redskins. Philadelphia has been notorious for allowing tight ends to give their fantasy owners a nice week. Once Washington straightens out the quarterback mess (read: no more Rex Grossman), they should be better.
For a defense, Arizona is the popular pick this week, but I’m going with Tampa Bay. Look at the facts on this one: They are playing a Carolina team that is either starting Jimmy Clausen or Tony Pike. Their top two running backs are hurt, so it is likely Mike Goodson is the starter. They’ve won one game. Tampa Bay’s defense has six sacks, 14 interceptions, four fumble recoveries and four touchdowns.
If you’re in the end zone and you catch a pass and you want your touchdown to count, make sure you run around and touch every letter that you see in the end zone. And then do a jig. And then work on the Sunday Times crossword, all while holding the football. Because as Arian Foster did not learn from Calvin Johnson in Week 1, you cannot let go of the football—until you see the referee blowing the whistle with his hands in the air, to abide by the NFL rulebook, do not let go of the football.
Even if it seems obvious, the player must clearly show that he has control of the ball before the ball touches the ground in any way. While I understand the excitement about scoring six points for your team, you don’t get those six points if the illusion of not controlling the ball is there.
The NFL may be able to take away what look like legitimate touchdowns, but they will not be able to stop helmet-to-helmet hits. And honestly, neither the players nor the fans want them to. When Austin Collie got walloped on Sunday, the crowded bar cheered. Yes, it was a legitimate hit, but the guy lay motionless on the field and had to be carried off on a stretcher! It was scary to watch, and while hard tackles will always be a part of the game, there needs to be some regulation. After watching concussion after concussion, what happens when someone ends up paralyzed on the field?
Things that if I told you in Week 1, you wouldn’t believe:
- Colt McCoy will lead Cleveland to beat the Patriots and the Saints.
- These guys are the likely starting quarterbacks for their respective teams: Drew Stanton, Tony Pike, Jason Campbell, Troy Smith, John Kitna.
- Wes Welker would kick an extra point; Ndamukong Suh would attempt one and miss
- Randy Moss is a Viking Titan
- Jacob Tamme scored the most fantasy points for a tight end in Week 9
- Wes Welker has scored three touchdowns this year (two in Week 1, one in Week 2) and has yet to receive for over 70 yards all season
- New Orleans ranks 24th in rushing in the NFL (and average 93.7 yards per game) and their leading rusher has zero touchdowns
- The Colts have a 5-3 record and have won without Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai and Austin Collie
- The Detroit Lions (2-6) have a better record than the Dallas Cowboys (1-7), and the Chicago Bears (5-3) have a better record than the Minnesota Vikings (3-5)
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