2011 NFL Week 9 Starts: Michael Vick, Victor Cruz, Jon Baldwin and Others

Curtis GainesContributor INovember 2, 2011

2011 NFL Week 9 Starts: Michael Vick, Victor Cruz, Jon Baldwin and Others

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    Traditionally, I would scour the stats and matchup statistics and attempt to deliver some sort of revelation on who to start and who to sit, while at the same time attempt to fine-tune my own fantasy lineup.

    And then it hit me.

    My players are relevant to fantasy questions, so why not dive deeper in analysis of my own lineup while I give advice about Week 9? So with no further adieu, I give you Week 9 starts and sits.

Micheal Vick Primed to Be Top Fantasy Producer in Week 9

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    With Cam Newton on bye I had no problem inserting stud Micheal Vick in, but what is particularly noteworthy is the matchup.

    Ordinarily I frown at start and sits that tell you the obvious, but this matchup has all the makings of a huge payoff for Vick owners. It's a night game, it's in Philadelphia, the Eagles are starting to gel offensively, and it's against the Chicago Bears who give up the second-most fantasy points to opposing QB's. I wouldn't be shocked if Vick amasses over 400 all-purpose yards with three scores.

    If you have him on your bench for Drew Brees, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers stick him in your lineup instead, immediately.

Victor Cruz a Must Start This Week Against New England Patriots

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    Week 3 Cruz stormed on to the fantasy scene and everybody loved him. By Week 4 he was the most added player in leagues across the board, and by Week 5 he was a must start. Then Week 6 happened and owners dropped Cruz as if he was the devil incarnate.

    Personally, I think he was purposely not targeted by Eli Manning for the debacle that occurred in the previous week against Seattle, when Cruz tried to make a play on the ball and inadvertently flipped it into the waiting hands of Seahawk's CB Brandon Browner who returned it for a 94-yard game-winning touchdown. That being said, I decided to stick with Cruz and it paid dividends last week.

    This week Cruz faces the defense all fantasy owners await, the porous New England Patriots. It is possible Giant's No. 1 WR, Hakeem Nicks may be limited or not play due to his hamstring strain.

    In any event, with or without Nicks, Victor Cruz is a must start this week in all formats. The kid can flat-out ball and has a knack for finding the end zone.

    Start Cruz this week and look forward to seeing that samba dance again, and again.

DeSean Jackson Poised To Boom Against Chicago Bears Week 9

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    It's a shame that I have to tell owners when it's a good time to play Jackson, but it's come to that with his recent production.

    I sat him last week and was pleased with my assessment of how he would do against Dallas, but this week I am convinced he will shine.

    The Chicago Bears have given up the 13th-most fantasy points to WR's including giving up a score and 75 yards against Tampa Bay in London to fantasy-unknown Dezmon Briscoe.

    The jury is still out on whether I will stick with Jackson over Hakeem Nicks, but as long as Nicks is day-to-day, I will have Jackson in my lineup, and you should too simply because of the matchup. Also, because it's very rare Jackson can be held at bay this long; he is due for a big game and all signs point toward that assessment.

Kansas City's Jonathan Baldwin Has All the Makings of a Fantasy Stud

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    Believe it or not, I was searching the Internet for information on Demaryius Thomas in Week 4 when I came across a sports forum where fantasy owners were commenting on the emergence of Jon Baldwin.

    I immediately searched for highlights of Kansas City's first 2011 overall pick and fell in love with his athletic ability, speed and size.

    What sets Baldwin apart from his draft class is not just his rare combination of speed and size, but his leaping ability. He boasts a 42-inch vertical that he is not scared to display during games. He will, and has leaped at balls making receptions at their highest peak, thus decreasing any cornerback's chances of deflecting it.

    So when the Chief's made the announcement that he would see playing time against the Raiders I watched and was astonished by how many targets Cassell gave him, and I wasn't discouraged when he only hauled in one catch for 14 yards. I suggested people watch-list him the following week and claimed him off waiver's.

    Needless to say I was very happy with his production Monday night against the Chargers and with the Chief's focus on getting him the ball.

    This week the matchup is ultra favorable against the 27th-ranked pass defense of Miami's. I would and am starting Baldwin over: Pierre Garcon, Jordy Nelson, Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Sidney Rice and Torrey Smith.

Darren Sproles, Frank Gore

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    Darren Sproles

    This is a given and I won't add much analysis to this except that Sproles is one of, if not the most consistent fantasy players when it comes to flex and RB positions. He has a favorable matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who give up ~123.4 per game on the ground.


    Frank Gore

    Another given, Gore should have another 100-yard, one-TD game against a Washington Redskin defense giving up an average of 120 on the ground.

Gronkowski vs. Finley

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    I know, another given, but this time I had a decision to make between Gronk and Jermicheal Finley.

    Finley's production has been utterly despicable from a fantasy standpoint. It can be attributed to Green Bay's volatile offense, and Aaron Rodgers who spreads the ball to his stable of wideouts, leaving less targets and red-zone opportunities for Finley.

    Gronkowski now shares targets with fellow TE Aaron Hernandez, but seems to be more of an option for Brady than his counterpart. The Giants defend well against TE's but have not seen an offense as good as New England's, nor have they faced a fantasy relevant TE except Washington's Fred Davis, who scorched them for 105 yards and a score. Look for a big game from Gronkowski this week.

LeGarrette Blount Back from Injury Against the Saint's Poor Run Defense

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    Blount comes back from a knee injury and the time could not be more opportune. New Orleans (5-3)and Tampa Bay (4-3) will be fighting for first place in the NFC South and New Orleans' run defense gives up 124.1 YPG.

    With teams around the NFL watching last week's upset in St. Louis, running against the Saint's should be top priority because it keeps Brees and company off the field.

    Look for Blount to eclipse the 100-yard mark and add a score or two this week.