Fantasy Football Week 9: 20 Under the Radar Point Machines You Must Start

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer INovember 4, 2010

Fantasy Football Week 9: 20 Under the Radar Point Machines You Must Start

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    GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 31:  LeGarrette Blount #27 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates his touchdown with Arrelious Benn #17 and Maurice Stovall #85 for a 31-14 lead over the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter at University of Phoenix Stadium o
    Harry How/Getty Images

    There are always those players in fantasy football that come out of nowhere one week and lead your team to victory. Or, if you are playing against them, they make you wonder what you have done to the Football Gods to deserve such unjust treatment.

    They are the sub-stars, not the superstars, because they are sub-superstars and because you sub them in on that week where they could go bananas and Chris Johnson just happens to have a bye (yes, he has a bye this week so don't start him).

    Fantasy football, probably more than any other fantasy game, is based on matchups, how Player X will do against Defense Y and Gameplan Z. Any given week, a no-name player can make a name for himself and in the fantasy football world.

    Here are the 20 under the radar point machines You must start for Week 9 of the NFL season.

Benjamin Watson

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    CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 03:  Linebacker Keith Rivers #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals breaks up a pass to tight end Benjamin Watson #82 of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 3, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Imag
    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    It's elementary, my dear Watson (every time someone's last name is Watson I'm going to say this, so just get used to it).

    Remember that tight end from New England who caught five Tom Brady TD passes last year? Well, he's quietly having a decent season for the Cleveland Browns in 2010, with 336 yards and two TDs so far.

    Why this could be the big week: Sure, Watson only had one catch for 18 yards against the Saints in Week 7, but Watson is playing at home against his former team and he will surely want to impress. The Saints, despite all their struggles, are ranked third-best in passing yards allowed. The Patriots? Second-to-last. Watson showed he has the ability to dominate in Week 6 when he caught six balls for 88 yards and a TD against none other than the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Points prediction: 11

Steve Smith (Giants)

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 25:  Wide receiver Steve Smith #12 of the New York Giants celebrates a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in the second quarter at Cowboys Stadium on October 25, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Steve Smith of the New York Giants had a slow start this season in his first two games and laid a stinker against the Bears in Week 4. But ever since then, he's been electric and he's reminded us of why he had 1,220 yards and seven TDs last year: he's good.

    Why this could be the big week: In three games since Week 4, Smith has had 21 catches for 260 yards and two TDs. He will be facing a Seattle Seahawks pass defense that is fourth-worst in the NFL in yards-per-game. Oh ya, and they gave up 33 points last week against Oakland and allowed Jason Campbell of all people to throw for 310 yards and two scores. Good matchup? Check.

    Points prediction: 16

Felix Jones

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    HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 26:  Running back Felix Jones #28 of the Dallas Cowboys rushes past defensive end Mario Williams #90 of Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Sure, it's always supposed to be the week Felix Jones breaks out, but it's already halfway through the season, and it's gotta happen some time, right?

    Why this could be the big week: Sure, the Green Bay Packers shut out the New York Jets 9-0 last week, but they are still giving up a forgiving 4.6 yards per carry as a defensive unit. Plus, you can't really even look at matchups for Felix Jones because he's as unpredictable as they come. His best game this season came against Tennessee of all teams, rushing for 109 yards on just 15 carries. Plus, with Wade Phillips on the hot seat, he almost has to give Jones more touches now, for fear of people thinking he's even more of a bonehead.

    Points prediction: 10

Darren Sproles

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    SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 31:  Tight end Antonio Gates (L) #85 and Darren Sproles #43 of the San Diego Chargers celebrate Sproles' touchdown against the Tennessee Titans in the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on October 31, 2010 in San Diego, California. The
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Another lightning-quick, shifty runner, Darren Sproles is starting to get more looks in San Diego because they have realized he can be a game-changer. He got eight touches against Tennessee and responded by accumulating 76 total yards and scoring a TD.

    Why this could be the big week: With the Houston Texans being decent against the run, you would think this isn't a great matchup for Sproles. But anyone who knows the Chargers or follows Sproles closely knows Sproles does most of his damage through screen passes, not on the ground. The Texans are last in the NFL in passing yards allowed, giving up almost 300 yards a game through the air.

    Points prediction: 11

Brandon Jackson

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 31:  Brandon Jackson #32 of the Green Bay Packers runs the ball against the New York Jets on October 31, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Brandon Jackson usually explodes or does so-so, he never really kills you in a given week, which is a good reason to have him on your team. He's a multi-dimensional player on a Packers team that can ignite any given second, that's another good reason to have him.

    Why this could be the big week: Brandon Jackson is playing the struggling Dallas Cowboys, that's your third reason. They are giving up 4.5 yards per carry this season and have given up 15 passing TDs already.

    Points prediction: 14

Robert Meachem

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 31: Robert Meachem #17 of the New Orleans Saints is tackled by Ike Taylor #24 of the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Louisiana Superdome on October 31, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Matthew Sharpe/Getty Images)
    Matthew Sharpe/Getty Images

    Robert Meachem is the epitome of a hit or miss player, he has been ever since he broke onto the scene three years ago with the Saints. Part of this is because of the numerous weapons the Saints have and there's only so much to go around. Part of it is also he seems to be an inconsistent receiver. Also, he relies so much on his speed that injuries can play a vital role in his production. But this week, I like him.

    Why this could be the big week: Meachem caught six balls for 76 yards against Pittsburgh last game. When he's hot, he's hot.

    Points prediction: 13

Lance Moore

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    NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 31:  Lance Moore #16 of the New Orleans Saints catches a touchdown while Troy Polamalu #41, Bryant McFadden #20, and Ryan Clark #25 of the Pittsburgh Steelers defend at Louisiana Superdome on October 31, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisian
    Karl Walter/Getty Images

    Lance Moore broke onto the scene as an emerging star, but injuries have hurt him and, once again, anybody can steal his targets on this team, but I like him better than Meachem consistently.

    Why this could be the big week: Meachem caught one more ball than Meachem last week, had less yards, but had the all-important TD. I see the same thing happening this week against Carolina.

    Points prediction: 14

Brandon Jacobs

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    ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 25:  Running back Brandon Jacobs #27 of the New York Giants runs for a touchdown past Brandon Williams #59 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on October 25, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Brandon Jacobs has seen his starting job get taken away and handed to Ahmad Bradshaw based on the fact that, well, Bradshaw's way better than he is at this point in their careers. But one thing Jacobs does still have is a fullback-type body, which is perfect for plowing into that endzone.

    Why this could be the big week: Jacobs has had five TDs in the last four weeks, he rushed for a season-high 75 yards last week against Dallas and he's playing a Seahawks defense that gave up 33 points to the Raiders last week. Need I say more?

    Points prediction: 11

Mike Tolbert

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    SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 31:  Running back Mike Tolbert #35 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans in the first quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on October 31, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Titans 33
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Ryan Matthews gets all the attention in the San Diego backfield, but Mike Tolbert is the goal line vulture. He's the giant body they throw in there when they need that short-yardage TD.

    Why this could be the big week: I expect the Chargers to put up big points against Houston after last week's extravaganza, and Tolbert will be ready if they need a TD. He has seven TDs in eight games this year and he should get another one this week.

    Points prediction: 11

Dez Bryant

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    MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 17:  Wide receiver Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys catches a pass for a touchdown as Lito Sheppard #29 of the Minnesota Vikings misses the tackle during the fourth quarter at Mall of America Field on October 17, 2010 in Minneapo
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    The electric rookie hasn't disappointed this year in terms of what he brings to the field, and lately he's been growing accustomed to this whole NFL team.

    Why this could be the big week: He had 54 yards and two scores in Week 7 and 84 yards in Week 8. Coach Wade Phillips is going to give more targets to anyone who makes him look better at this point.

    Points prediction: 11

Ryan Matthews

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    SAN DIEGO - AUGUST 21:  Running back Ryan Matthews #24 of the San Diego Chargers rushes during the pre-season NFL football game against Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium on August 21, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Imag
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    He's had some ups and downs, but last week was a huge morale-booster for the Chargers. Matthews has the talent, he just needs to adjust to the game, and he has shown signs of doing just that.

    Why this could be the big week: The Chargers could be close to the goal line a lot, and if Matthews can get into the endzone instead of falling at the five yard line or so, he could have a better day than Tolbert given he usually receives more carries.

    Points prediction: 11

Lee Evans

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    BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 24:  Lee Evans #83 of the Buffalo Bills scores his third touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 24, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bills 37-34. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Image
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Like Meachem, Evans has proven to be very hit or miss, especially in his later days. You pick him when you think he's going to break out, and watch the points go sky high.

    Why this could be the big week: He has four TDs in the last three weeks, and is getting a lot of looks with upstart Steve Johnson starting to gain some attention from opposing defenses. Evans is a player you ride for as long as you can.

    Points prediction: 12

Brandon Tate

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    FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 31:  Brandon Tate #19 of the New England Patriots runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Gillette Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rog
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    The talented rookie has only had one TD all year, but with Randy Moss gone and Deion Branch hurting, he made the most of his targets in Week 8 against Minnesota, catching three balls for 101 yards and a TD.

    Why this could be the big week: He's developing trust with Tom Brady, and that can spell fantasy points galore for receivers. Branch is still hurting and Cleveland isn't great against the pass.

    Points prediction: 13

Steve Breaston

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    GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 31:  Steve Breaston #15 of the Arizona Cardinals loses a shoe as he eludes the tackle from Myron Lewis #23 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the fourth quarter at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Glendale, Arizo
    Harry How/Getty Images

    A lot of people forgot about Steve Breaston when he went down with an injury, but don't forget that Anquan Boldin isn't on this team anymore and Breaston was picked by many to be a big fantasy contributor this season. He returned last week from injury. He proceeded to catch eight balls for 147 yards against Tampa Bay. Yikes.

    Why this could be the big week: I expect Breaston to have a great second half, regardless of the QB situation. It doesn't really matter who's in there, he gives them a nice open target to throw to. Derek Anderson gives him the best chance though to do major damage. They both start against the struggling Minnesota Vikings. Just don't lose any more shoes, Steve.

    Points prediction: 13

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

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    FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 31:  (ALTERNATE CROP) BenJarvus Green-Ellis #42 of the New England Patriots scores a touchdown the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Gillette Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Ge
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Since Fred Taylor's been out, Green-Ellis has undoubtedly been the Patriots No. 1 running back. And he hasn't gone the way of Laurence Maroney, instead gaining the coaching staff's trust and establishing himself as a legitimate threat. He had his best game last week.

    Why this could be the big week: Green-Ellis rushed for 117 yards on 17 carries last week. He faces a beatable Browns run D this week on a team that gets close to the goal line (and scores) an awful lot. It's all on a silver platter for BenJarvus.

    Points prediction: 12

Steve Johnson

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    BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 24:  Steve Johnson #13 of the Buffalo Bills scores a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 24, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bills 37-34. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
    Larry French/Getty Images

    The third-year receiver has six TDs in his last five games and is starting to look like a No. 1.

    Why this could be the big week: Simple, because every week has been big for Johnson. Against the Ravens, he racked up a stunning 158 yards and a TD and last week against a good pass defense in KC he scored. Chicago could be another tough opponent that gets run past.

    Points prediction: 13

Johnny Knox

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    CHICAGO - OCTOBER 17: Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears runs past Walter Thurmond #28 and Will Herring #54 of the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field on October 17, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Seahawks defeated the Bears 23-30. (Photo by Jonathan Dani
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Johnny Knox was a highly ranked fantasy player coming into this season. He's started to live up to that ranking the last two weeks, garnering 120 yards in Week 6 and 86 and a TD against Washington in Week 7.

    Why this could be the big week: The Buffalo Bills are pretty awful against the pass. I mean, really awful. Johnny Knox matches up great here and Cutler should look his way often. The both of them have been in sync with each other the last two weeks.

    Points prediction: 16

Mike Wallace

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    PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 17:  Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers cathces a second quarter touchdown pass in front of Eric Wright #21 of the Cleveland Browns on October 17, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Get
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Big Ben's new favorite receiver, Mike Wallace has all the makings of the next big time receiver in Pittsburgh. He managed to even do well without Big Ben in the early goings, and now he has his favorite QB giving him all the love he could want.

    Why this could be the big week: Wallace has scored twice in the past three contests, and he and Big Ben face the dreadful Cincinnati Bengals this week. Maybe if they do well, they can be on the "T.Ocho Show." Not that they would want to.

    Points prediction: 13

Mike Williams (Tampa Bay)

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    CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 10:  Mike Williams #19 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers makes a 20-yard touchdown reception as Johnathan Joseph #22 and Chinedum Ndukwe #41 of the Cincinnati Bengals defend at Paul Brown Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    The rookie phenom consistently produces nice yardage numbers, and he just went off for 105 yards and a TD against Arizona. He's a very good player.

    Why this could be the big week: Are you kidding me? To prove who's the best in the NFC against the Falcons? And to prove he's a star receiver in the making? He has all the motivation he could want. By the looks of some catches he's made, he already is plenty motivated.

    Points prediction: 12

LeGarrette Blount

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    GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 31:  LeGarrette Blount #27 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates his touchdown with Arrelious Benn #17 and Maurice Stovall #85 for a 31-14 lead over the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter at University of Phoenix Stadium o
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Didn't expect anyone else, did you? Blount made a huge impact for the Bucs last week against Arizona, making the most of his first start to say the least. He rushed for 120 yards and two scores on 22 carries.

    Why this could be the big week: The Cadillac is getting a little old, and this new car purrs like a kitten-then runs over you. Blount hit a cornerback so hard last game I thought he knocked him out cold. He plays for the "Best in the NFC" crown this week against the Falcons. He could have a big day...to put it Blountly.

    Points prediction: 14

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