Just hours before the start of Week 9 I know many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:
Hakeem Nicks – New York Giants – Wide Receiver
According to Gregg Rosenthal of NBC Sports (click here for the article), “The Giants downgraded Bradshaw, wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee) and center David Baas (knee) to 'out' after they didn’t travel with the team to New England.”
It shouldn’t be surprising news and owners already should’ve had a plan in place.
Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz both get a major step up, as the loss of Nicks is not going to prevent the Giants from throwing against the worst passing defense in the league. Look for both to be targeted early and often, making them solid playing even in just two wide receiver formats.
Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – Running Back
There was also some good news coming out of out of Rosenthal’s report as he said that, “Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw won’t undergo surgery on his cracked foot, but he is going to sit out at least one game.”
We’ll have to monitor things from week-to-week. You can click here for my thoughts on this situation, but obviously Brandon Jacobs is the back to use for this week, though the loss of their starting center doesn’t help matters. He’s far from a top option, given his lack of production, but as a RB2/FLEX he’s worth the gamble.
Darrius Heyward-Bey – Oakland Raiders – Wide Receiver
He is one of the players that I have been asked about the most this week. While he’s been performing well recently, there are quite a few factors working against him for this week:
- Will he have a rapport with Carson Palmer (and will Palmer even be able to produce well enough to make Heyward-Bey viable)?
- Can Heyward-Bey finally find the end zone (he has one TD this season and just three in career games)?
- Could the Raiders build a big enough lead against the Broncos where they go with a more run-oriented attack?
With the addition of T.J. Houshmandzadeh, there is enough of a risk to be conservative depending on who else you own.
Daniel Thomas – Miami Dolphins – Running Back
According to Jeff Darlington (via Twitter), “Daniel Thomas is traveling w/ team but still dealing with hamstring issue, too. Some vets want coaches/trainers to be more careful with him.”
It clearly appears like he will be in the lineup, though it also seems like a relapse is extremely possible. Still, he is a viable RB2 if he’s on the field. The Chiefs are not a good rushing defense and he’s looked good when on the field. The only concern is his health, so make your decision accordingly.
Sebastian Janikowski – Oakland Raiders – Kicker
According to Jason La Canfora (via Twitter), “Seabass Janikowski will kick for Raiders Sun. Free agent K Dave Rayner, who had been on stand by, has headed hone.”
Janikowski has proven how good he is this season, connecting on 5-of-6 kicks of over 50 yards in just six games (and 8-of-9 from at least 40 yards). Consider him a must-use option in all formats.
Ed Dickson – Baltimore Ravens – Tight End
Matt Vensel of The Baltimore Sun (click here for the article) provided some interesting statistics as the Ravens prepare to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers:
“The Steelers enter Week 9 with the NFL’s top-ranked pass defense, but in eight games, they have allowed 462 receiving yards to tight ends. Just seven teams have surrendered more.
“The team’s ‘Diesel’ package—two wide receivers, two tight ends and a running back—played a prominent role in the second half as the Ravens put Flacco in the shotgun, spread out the Cardinals and picked up the pace. Flacco completed 19-of-28 attempts for 238 yards after halftime.”
With the success they had in the second half last week, the Ravens will likely go with both Dickson and Dennis Pitta again this week. Dickson, however, is the better option for fantasy owners.
On the season he has 28 receptions for 269 yards and one TD. In the opening week of the season against Pittsburgh, he had five receptions for 59 yards and one TD. Consider him a viable option as a bye week replacement.
Chris Ogbonnaya – Cleveland Browns – Running Back
Originally, Peyton Hillis was listed as questionable on the injury report, but according to Dan Murphy (via Twitter), “RB Peyton Hillis (hamstring) has been downgraded to ‘out’ for Sunday’s game.”
At this point that really shouldn’t be a major surprise to anyone, though.
As I’ve said before, Ogbonnaya is a much better play in Week 10 against St. Louis than he is for today’s games.
He was far from impressive in Week 8 (11 carries for 37 yards and no TD) and he draws a Texans defense allowing 15.44 points to running backs per game (according to NFL.com). That’s the fifth fewest in the league.
Consider him nothing more than a FLEX option at this point.
Make sure to check out our other Week 9 articles: