Fantasy Football: Week 9 Pickups
Daniel Thomas, RB (MIA)--The Dolphins are a surprising 4-3 on the season and a lot of that success can be attributed to the running game. While Reggie Bush has been the main back for the majority of the season, Daniel Thomas has once again resurfaced and has become a contributor to the team’s offense. Thomas was given 15 carries in Week 8, which was one more carry than Bush and was able to find the end zone for the third time this season. He rushed for just 42 yards in the game, but the fact that he was given more carries than Bush is a good sign moving forward for Thomas and anyone looking to add him this week. Considering the Dolphins upcoming schedule, Thomas should get a lot more chances to be productive given he gets the Colts, the Titans and the Bills over the next three weeks. Currently he is owned in less than half of leagues throughout the fantasy world, so if you are in need of running back help, give Thomas a chance.
Ronnie Hillman, RB (DEN)--In a blowout win over the Saints on Sunday night, Ronnie Hillman was given a chance to show off his running ability and was very productive in scrub time. Hillman finished with 14 carries for 86 yards in the Broncos win which averages out to 6.1 yards per carry. He is a completely different running back than Willis McGahee as Hillman is more of a speedster than a power runner between the tackles, so he could be a nice change of pace in the running game as the season progresses. The Broncos took him in the third-round of this year’s draft, and as of now he is already ahead of Knowshon Moreno and Lance Ball on the depth chart. While I don’t think he will get as many carries as he received this past week, he is still worth picking up this week considering what he can do with limited carries and his playmaking abilities.
Ronnie Brown, RB (SD)--With Ryan Mathews continuing to have problems holding onto the ball, the door has once again opened for Ronnie Brown to get extended playing time out of the Chargers backfield. Brown was given just four carries on Sunday, but he hauled in seven receptions for 85 yards, which was the most on the team. The weather was a big factor in the Chargers offensive game plan last week which benefited Brown, who is the better of the two running backs in the passing game and after this performance he should get plenty of more looks in that role. Following Sunday’s loss to the Browns, Norv Turner committed to Mathews as the team’s primary running back, but if the fumbling issues continue Brown should get even more action as the season progresses.
Cecil Shorts, WR (JAC)--The Jaguars passing game has taken a few steps in the right direction over the last few weeks and a lot of that production can be credited to the emergence of Cecil Shorts. Over the last two games Shorts has been very active in the Jaguars passing game including being targeted 22 times that time frame hauling in 12 of the ball thrown his way including one touchdown. A lot of attention was given to Justin Blackmon entering the season after the team used a first-round pick on him, but he has failed to live up to his expectations. Others in the Jaguars passing game, including Mercedes Lewis and Mike Thomas, have been non-existent, which has helped build great chemistry between Blaine Gabbert and Shorts. As the season progresses, Shorts production should stay constant considering the Jaguars favorable matchups for the remainder of the season. As for now Shorts is worth picking up for immediate help in deep fantasy leagues with the potential of becoming a WR No. 2 by season’s end.
Ryan Broyles, WR (DET)--The Lions may have lost Nate Burleson for the season in Week 7, but the emergence of Ryan Broyles has quickly put Lions fans at ease with his instant production. In his first two games of the season Broyles has already scored a touchdown in each contest, which is already more than his teammate Calvin Johnson who has only found the end zone once in seven games. Broyles will have to compete with fellow wide receiver Titus Young for the No. 2 spot on the roster, but either way, he will find himself on the field a lot considering the amount of times the Lions pass per game. An advantage that Broyles has over most wide receivers on the waiver-wire is that he gets to lineup opposite Johnson who is at least double-teamed, if not tripled-teamed, in most situations which leaves open receivers down field. This should only lead to the continuing development of Broyles as the season progresses, making him a solid buy for the rest of the season.
Tony Moeaki, TE (KC)--Although Tony Moeaki has had a quiet season thus far, his four receptions for 57 yards on Sunday caught my attention and likely the attention of fantasy competitors. After missing the entire 2011 season Moeaki was a late-round flyer, at most, in fantasy leagues if drafted at all despite a solid fantasy season in 2010. Now back and fully healthy, Moeaki is starting to look like his old-self which could pay dividends for those willing to invest. The Chiefs are awful, which means they are down a lot in games and will need to pass if they want to try and escape with a win. This should open the door for Moeaki to continue to put up good fantasy numbers as the season progresses especially in the red zone. At 6’3, Moeaki is a big target when the team gets near the end zone, so when Dwayne Bowe gets double-teamed look for Matt Cassel to look for his next best option, which is Moeaki at this point. So if you are weak at the tight end position, he could give you some depth for the foreseeable future.
Logan Paulsen, TE (WAS)--With Fred Davis out for the season after suffering an Achilles’ injury in Week 7, Paulsen steps in as the team’s primary tight end and has now contributed in both games in his new role. Paulsen has eight receptions over the team’s last two games and appears to have gained the trust of rookie quarterback Robert Griffin. Once Davis went down with the injury, the Redskins quickly signed Chris Cooley, who they waived after training camp, but he was a non-factor in his first game back. As the Redskins offense continues to build an identity it should only help Paulsen as he becomes the safety net in the passing game. With both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez on a bye this week, Paulsen could be a great help this week if owners do not have a backup plan in place and for the rest of the season.
Nick Foles, QB (PHI)--The Eagles are considering making a move at the quarterback position, which means those who own Michael Vick should run to the waiver-wire and pick up Nick Foles before it is too late. Foles, who looked good during the preseason, has yet to take a snap this season and may get the start against the Saints on Monday night. If he does start, he is an immediate plug-in considering the lack of defense the Saints have displayed so far this season. Foles is a perfect quarterback for Andy Reid’s West Coast Offense and could pay dividends to those who are willing to take a chance on him. Obviously this suggestion will change if the Eagles decide to stick with Vick, but if they do give him a chance, he should be a solid fantasy producer moving forward.
Matt Moore, QB (MIA)--Although no structural damage was reported from Ryan Tannehill’s leg injury, Matt Moore may be in line to start this weekend when the Dolphins take on the Colts. There is really no reason for the Dolphins to rush their franchise quarterback back if he isn’t ready considering Moore is a very good backup and has shown he can get the job done in the past. In terms of fantasy, Moore was a solid play most weeks last season and can likely produce similar numbers if given the opportunity again this season. If Tannehill’s injury takes a turn for the worst, Moore becomes a solid pickup especially with the Colts, the Titans and the Bills on the schedule the next three weeks. A lot of his production value will stem from Tannehill’s recovery, but if he is ruled out this weekend, Moore is worth adding for those with Tom Brady or Alex Smith on a bye week.
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Matthew Beck is a Fantasy Sports Columnist for Rotoinfo.com. If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail him at email@example.com. Also follow him on Twitter @MatthewRBeck for up-to-date Q&A and fantasy information. And, to make setting your Fantasy Football lineup easy, be sure to utilize RotoInfo.com’s new NFL Lineup Grids.