You would like to think that, with six teams on a bye once again that Week 9 would have been reasonably tame for fantasy owners or, at the least, as innocuous as Week 8 was. But no, of course not. It never works out that way. Got it easy one week? The next one’s gonna be a rough one. That’s just the way it is.
And so as the dust settles on Week 9 and we await the final results of tonight’s Bears/Packers game, it’s time to take a look at some of what happened on Sunday and see how it’s going to affect you moving forward. The playoffs loom and you’re going to want to get a jump on your work for the week. You’ve got new and interesting players to try and pick up, crappy worthless guys to cut, and a whole lot of roster tweaking to do. Here’s a look at some of the players and situations around the NFL you need to be paying close attention to.
The Frail Little Runner
Nothing worse than seeing your running back rush for a quick 12 yards, grab his hammy and sit out the rest of the way, is there? I’d say Darren McFadden owners are used to this, but in truth, if you’ve owned this clown once already, you never own him again. Why would you? Unless, of course, you’re some kind of fantasy masochist maybe. In case you were blinded by the obscene number of points the Eagles put up on the Raiders or just find yourself lamenting over the fact that you played against some schmuck in your league who had no depth and started both Nick Foles and Riley Cooper (no seriously…I did), maybe you missed the fact that McFadden left the game with a hamstring issue. Not only that, but he said that he felt the pull, pop, snap, whatever you want to call it, in the same spot as the last one that kept him out of Week 5. That’s a problem as hamstring injuries that occur in the same spot are often a sign that it never healed properly and the damage is now worse. Pending MRI results, this could be a multi-week thing, so welcome to owning McFadden. Too bad there are no points awarded for potential. While Rashad Jennings is now a must-own, don’t go thinking he’s rushing for another 100 yards. Total fluke. He’s just not very good.
Foster Backs Out
OK, so there might be one thing worse than having your guy bow out after 12 yards, and that’s the kick to the fantasy groin Arian Foster gave his owners when he failed to even touch the ball before leaving the game with a back injury. Owners were seen banging their heads against a wall later Sunday night as it was announced that he would play and that Ben Tate, the man with four broken ribs, would see much less of a workload during the game. Well, apparently a back issue trumps four broken ribs and it was Tate who was left to do the heavy lifting this week. Unfortunately though, most Foster owners started him and left Tate on the bench. Not that Tate had that big of a day, but hey, the guy’s got four broken ribs, right? Beware of this situation next week as Foster will likely say he’s ready to go again…at least until his menstrual cycle kicks in.
New Buffalo Soldier?
For those who sat and watched the Bills/Chiefs game, I’m sure many of you are now wondering if it’s a good idea to pick up Marquise Goodwin, who finished with two catches for 64 yards and looked pretty smooth on his 59-yard touchdown catch against a tough Chiefs’ defense. The answer is an unequivocal no. While Goodwin and Tuel seemed to jell nicely on the field, it’s because they’re used to working with each other on the second team in practice so often. With EJ Manuel likely to return in the next week or two, Steve Johnson and Robert Woods, each of whom saw more targets than Goodwin, will be the go-to guys with guys like Scott Chandler and T.J. Graham mixing in. Save your waiver priortity/FAAB budget for someone who matters. With just four teams on a bye in Week 10, there will be plenty of other, and much better, options available.
The New Zac Attack
Ah yes, it’s never a quality fantasy article until you can throw in a Saved By the Bell reference, right? Personally I never watched it (too old, I suppose), but that little mention goes out to my little cousin who did some unspeakable things to that Tiffany Amber Thiessen poster he had hanging up on the wall in his room. But I digress. For me, the new Zac Attack is none other than Rams running back Zac Stacy who told you exactly where you could stick your tough match-ups over these last two weeks. Facing the Seahawks and then the Titans, Stacy has rumbled to 261 yards with two touchdowns and also kicked in an extra 51 receiving yards this past week. He’s been the true beast in the NFC West these last two weeks and given the fact that the Rams are planning on running him heavily to help support quarterback Kellen Clemens, Stacy should probably be considered a must-start now regardless of match-up. He’ll see the Colts next week before heading into the bye and considering they give up 124.9 rushing yards per game, Stacy owners should be licking their chops.
You probably have to be a little older to remember those all-nighters where you and your idiot friends sat there and played Tecmo Bowl tournaments from sundown to sun-up. But if you do, then you all remember those three or four plays that just couldn’t be defended no matter how many times it was run and no matter how ready you were for it. That was the case Sunday with the Redskins who ran the fullback dive with Darrel Young against the Chargers every time they had the ball inside the five-yard line. The Chargers just couldn’t stop it. But unlike the video game, it’s not going to continue. Do not pick up Young. It’s not going to happen again. If you fell for the Roy Helu three-touchdown game and sat Alfred Morris in favor of him, then you know what I’m talking about. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, then shame on me for being such an idiot for not undersatnding the inner-workings of the Shanahan mind.
Bench Me? Bench You!
So you put Tom Brady on the bench this week, huh? In favor of who? Andy Dalton? Alex Smith? Jake Locker? Suckers! Brady’s been tough to take for the most part this season, but to not realize that he just needed a game or two with his top guys back in the lineup and bench him in a favorable match-up for some inferior back-up is just ridiculous. If you lost your game this week because Brady was sitting on your bench, you got what you deserved.
Quick Hits Coming Off the Bye
If Jaguars receiver Mike Brown is available in your league, grab him. With Justin Blackmon suspended for the duration of the season, Cecil Shorts becomes the new No. 1 while Brown moves up the depth chart and will see mad targets in garbage time. Why garbage time? Because every Jags game is garbage time.
Running back Andre Brown makes his season debut this week for the Giants and you’re going to want to use him in his match-up with the Raiders. Yes, the match-up is favorable, but also considering his primary competition for touches is a fat, banged up Brandon Jacobs or a bumbling Peyton Hillis, he’s going to get a ton of work. Yes, even at the goal line.
If you were patient and held onto Anquan Boldin all this time, your wise decision is about to pay off. With Mario Manningham coming back this week, the Panthers are not going to be able to double-team Boldin as everyone else has done since Week 2 and the receiver is finally going to be able to show you that Week 1 was not just a fluke.
And finally, fingers crossed that Rashard Mendenhall’s toe is still a problem. Apparently, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians needs to see Andre Ellington alone in the backfield one more time before realizing that Mendenhall is just a disaster.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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