'Philip Rivers' photo (c) 2006, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Week 9 is the week of Halloween (more on that in a moment including how amazing I look in costume). More appropriately for most though is that Week 9 starts the second half of the NFL season. In this piece we're not going to be worried about what will happen in the second half of the season though, that's too broad for our context here. Instead, we'll be focused on what is going to happen in Week 9 specifically. Which matchups will give you the best chance to emerge victories in this week's battle? In what follows we'll give you some thoughts.


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BYE WEEK: Arizona, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, NY Giants, San Francisco


Keenan Allen has averaged 96.3 yards a game in his past three outings. The Redskins get beat badly by the pass an are allowing the 5th most points to wideouts in a PPR league.

Tavon Austin leads NFC rookies with 31 receptions. He's also caught exactly six passes in his last three games after recording six receptions in each of his first three games.

Le'Veon Bell has scored on the ground in 2-straight games. The Pats have allowed only four rushing scores this season but the second most yards per game on the ground (131).

Dwayne Bowe went off for eight catches, 102 yards and two scores the last time he faced Buffalo. Bowe has scored only two times this season, doesn't have one game with more than five receptions, and hasn't hit 70 yards in a game with Alex Smith under center.

Tom Brady has been awful of late but perhaps the Steelers are the tonic he needs. In his last three games against the Steelers he's tossed nine scores, hasn't thrown one interception and is averaging 316 passing yards a game.

Antonio Brown is leading the NFL with an average of eight receptions a game. The last time he faced the Patriots he had nine receptions for 67 yards an a score. Emmanuel Sanders caught a career best seven passes last week and has a score in two of his last three games. Heath Miller had seven receptions for 85 yards the last time he faced the Patriots.

Dez Bryant likes to yell on the sidelines. Dez Bryant also likes to score touchdowns as he has 18 in his last 16 games. He scored once the last time he faced the Vikings who have allowed eight receiving scores in seven games to wideouts this season.

Brent Celek had four receptions for 75 yards in his last game against the Raiders. He hasn't had a game of 75 yards this season and has a total of 36 yards in his last three games.

Jared Cook has scored the 11th most points at the tight end position this season (PPR). He hasn't reached 10 fantasy points since Week 1. He faces his old team, the Titans, who are one of the 10 worst defense against TEs in PPR.

Andy Dalton has thrown for at least 325 yards and three scores in his last three games. He faces the Dolphins who have allowed an average of 245 passing yards and barely a TD a game through the air (nine passing scores in seven games).

Harry Douglas, in case you hadn't noticed, has 19 receptions on 25 targets the past two weeks. He's also racked up 270 yards. The Panthers are tough on wideouts though allowing the sixth fewest fantasy points in a PPR including just two scores.

It's too bad if Arian Foster doesn't play against the Colts because he annihilates them to the tune of 150.4 rushing yards a game in five career matchups.

Fred Jackson has five rushing scores in his last six games. It's not certain if C.J. Spiller will work this week or not. Regardless, the Chiefs are a tough matchup. They've only allowed two rushing scores through eight games.

Greg Jennings has gone for 100 yards in three of four games versus Dallas. Jennings only has two games this year with more than 45 yards and not a one with 100 yards.

Pierre Garcon has caught at least five passes in all seven games this season.

A.J. Green has gone for at least 100 yards in 3-straight games and he's averaging 91.8 yards a game this season, second best in the AFC (more on that below).

T.Y. Hilton has faced the Texans twice and the results have been impressive: seven receptions, 189 yards and two scores.

I mean, seriously, how good do I look as Captain America? Better with Wonder Woman next to me, right?

Chris Ivory gets to face his former team, the Saints, this week. Ivory had 34 carries in Week 7 before dipping down to six last week. On the year he has 40 carries in the other six games if you remove Week 7. Pretty hard to trust him in the matchup.

In his last four games Alshon Jeffrey is averaging five receptions, 114 yards and 0.5 touchdowns an outing. The Packers are allowing 248 yards and 1.71 passing scores a week.

Charles Johnson has 18.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles in his last 20 games. He's also got five sacks in his last four games against ATL for those of you in IDP leagues.

Chris Johnson faces a Rams defense that, until Week 8, was one of the worst run defenses in football. Still, he's remarkably failed to rush for 40 yards in any of his last four games this season.

Stevie Johnson has caught a TD pass in 3-straight games against the Chiefs and KC has allowed six scores in eight games to wideouts.

Marvin Jones has six touchdowns the past three weeks despite playing only a third of the Bengals offensive snaps. There's simply no way he can maintain that scoring pace, and he' certainly isn't going to if he's only on the field for 20 snaps a week.

Eddie Lacy has gone for at least 95 yards from scrimmage in four games. The Bears are allowing running backs an average of 133.4 yards from scrimmage a week.

Jake Locker has thrown only one interception against eight touchdowns in his last four starts. He faces a Rams team that is allowing 228 passing yards and 1.75 passing scores a game after thrashing the Seahawks on MNF.

Andrew Luck has thrown for four scores and no interceptions in two games against the Texans. The Texans have been tough against QBs this season allowing only 10 passing scores and the fourth fewest points to signal callers.

Inexplicably, the Seahawks didn't even try to run the football in Week 8 against the Rams porous run defense. Look for that situation to be rectified in Week 9 against the Bucs, even if they are strong against the run (94.6 yards a week and three rushing scores all year). Marshawn Lynch has scored 25 times in his last 22 games at home.

Brandon Marshall likes the big lights having caught a TD pass in his last three MNF games.

Dexter McCluster had seven catches for 67 yards an a score last week, and he caught five balls for 70 yards the previous game. He's a passable flex option with six teams on bye and Alex Smith as his quarterback, but he's also scored a total of five times in 51 career games and is still on pace for just 46 receptions a year after he caught 52 passes.

Lamar Miller is coming off a game in which he had a season best 112 yards from scrimmage (89 rushing, 23 receiving). Teammate Daniel Thomas is averaging an impressive 5.1 YPC the past two weeks (21 carries for 107 yards). The Bengals represent a tough matchup as they've allowed the 8th fewest PPR points to runners this season.

Denarius Moore faces an Eagles defense that blows chunks against wideouts. They are the worst D in football in a PPR having allowed 142 receptions, literally 34 more than anyone else, and 14 touchdowns to wide receivers (only the Bills are worse with 15).

Alfred Morris is averaging 100.7 yards a game on the ground since Week 12 of last season, the second best mark in football. He's scored 12 times in that time frame, the best in football. He also reasserted himself as the lead dog over Roy Helu last week. The Chargers have been solid against the run allowing 105 yards a game an only two rushing scores this season.

David Nelson has hauled in 12 balls for 160 yards the past two weeks for the Jets. With Santonio Holmes appearing likely to miss another game, Nelson isn't a horrible flex fill-in for a PPR setup this week as the Saints have allowed six scores in seven games to wide receivers.

Jordy Nelson beats everyone and the Bears are no exception. Nelson has 12 receptions, 199 yards and two scores in his last two against the Bears. James Jones is someone to watch too if he plays since he's scored five times in his last three games against the Monsters of the Midway.

Cam Newton has thrown for four touchdowns and no interceptions the last two times he's faced the Falcons. Oh yeah, he's also run for 202 yards and two more scores.

Greg Olsen has scored in 3-straight games against the Falcons. ATL has been beaten by tight ends for five scores in seven games this season.

Jordan Reed has caught 17 balls for 224 yards an a score in his past two games.

Ray Rice has run for 958 yards against the Browns, the most against any team in his illustrious career, while Bernard Pierce has run for two scores in his last three games against he Browns. The Ravens are coming off a Bye week so let's hope the rectified their blocking issues. The Browns are middle of the pack allowing 104 rushing yards a game but they've allowed nine rushing scores in eight games.

Stevan Ridley has four rushing scores in three games. The Steelers have allowed nine rushing scores in just seven games.

Philip Rivers, in four road games, has completed 78 percent of his passes for seven scores and an average of 325 passing yards. The Redskins are hideous against the pass allowing 274 yards a game and more than two TD passes a game.

Aaron Rodgers has won his last six games against the Bears (including the playoffs), and he's 5-0 at home versus the Bears.

Jacquizz Rodgers has four touchdowns in his last three games. In Week 8 he was on the field for 12 less snaps than Steven Jackson who touched the ball 14 times leading to 13 yards (yes you read that right). They face a Carolina team that is ranked 15th against RBs in a PPR but they have allowed only three total scores to runners this season.

Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for 752 yards and five scores in his last two games against the Patriots. He's also one passing score from 200 for his career. The Patriots are currently allowing a mere 215.5 passing yards a game and just nine scores in eight games.

Tony Romo is currently a top-5 QB in the fantasy game. He faces the Vikings this week, the team that is allowing the third most points to QBs per game this season (including 16 touchdowns in seven games).

Matt Ryan has thrown for 13 scores against three interceptions versus the Panthers over six . Of course, no Jones and maybe no White as well makes his challenge more difficult.

Quietly, Torrey Smith has averaged 89.9 yards a game this season, 4th best in the AFC. The leader in that department is Josh Gordon who averages 97 yards a game. The duo faces off in Week 9.

Darren Sproles has 197 receptions since 2011, the most in football for a running back. The Jets have allowed the third fewest points to running backs this year in a PPR format as they've permitted an average of four receptions to runners a contest.

Kenny Stills was a top-5 WR last week thanks to 129 yards and two touchdowns. Make sure you note though that he has a total of 13 receptions and 23 targets this season. In Week 7 Vincent Jackson had 10 receptions and 22 targets. Stills just doesn't get enough work to trust him. Speaking of Jackson he's caught 24 balls for 331 yards and four scores in his last three games.

DeAngelo Williams isn't at 100 percent, and Jonathan Stewart might play this week, but he's still scored in 3-straight games against the Panthers. Teammate Mike Tolbert has scored four times in his last three games and could be in for a decent workload depending on how things shake out with DWill and JStew. Yes, I just used two abbreviations for the runners as if we're homies who drink Long Island's together at the pub every Friday night.

Terrance Williams has scored in 4-straight games. He's the first Cowboys' rookie ever to do that.

Tim Wright scored fort the first time last week. He faces a Seahawks team that has allowed only one score to the tight end this season.

Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Thursday at 7 PM EDT & Friday's at 9 PM EDT. For more of Ray's analysis you can check out BaseballGuys.com or the BaseballGuys' Twitter account where he tirelessly answers everyone's questions.


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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

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