Week 9???? Really? I can't believe we are this far into the season and I hope that all of you are still well into your quest to the playoffs, or at least fighting for that spot. The questions never end in fantasy football, and this week is no different. We have plenty of questions about wide receivers, when is it time to drop that hurting star before he ends your season, teams you can trust, and what to do with mixed up backfields. How do you win your fantasy matchups this week? It's Hallamentary, of course! Thanks as always to my man Javon Parris for the idea!
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Can you drop Greg Jennings? Hurricane Sandy is not only going to cause damage and power outages across the East Coast, but it could cause damage to your fantasy team. Jennings’ surgery has been delayed due to the weather, and until we know when the surgery will be performed, it will just prolong the period that he will be out of the Packers’ lineup. And on top of that we don’t know how long Jennings will be out after abdominal surgery. Given that this is Week 9 coming up and fantasy playoffs often start just five or six weeks away, how much longer can you wait on Jennings? The surgery isn’t supposed to be season-ending, but holding him on your roster might be season ending for you. Unless you have a deep roster or a huge lead in your league I think it is safe to cut him free.
Should you be starting Steve Smith? He still hasn’t scored a touchdown yet this season, but Smith (and the Panthers’ passing game) has seemed to find its pulse again. He has seven catches in each of his last two games, and in Week 8 topped 100 receiving yards for the third time this season. I do expect the Panthers to get it in gear and start to look more like the offense that was there in 2011. I would say if you have been sitting Smith, now’s the time to get him back into your starting lineup. He and Cam Newton are too good to be this bad.
Is it time to trade Ray Rice? Not only has he been a big disappointment after being a top three pick in most fantasy drafts, but Rice’s touches have been declining steadily. Since carrying the ball 20 times in Week 3, Rice’s carries have dropped ever since, hitting (hopefully) a floor at just nine against the Texans. Should you be looking to move your top player for someone that is going to help you win. I have two words for you…..HELL NO! If you have him, don’t worry, he’s going to be just fine. For those of you who don’t have Rice, I would find his owner before Sunday and see if you can trade for Rice on the cheap. This guy is just way too good and there’s no doubt in my mind he will turn it around.
Can you trust anyone on the Dolphins offense going forward the rest of the way? All of a sudden in the past few weeks, several Dolphins players haven’t necessarily been consistent, but they have been showing flashes. Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas, Brian Hartline, Devone Bess, and even Anthony Fasano have helped fantasy players over the past month. Can you continue to use these guys? Hell, they have some great matchups down the stretch with teams with less than stellar defenses such as Buffalo twice, New England twice, Indy, Tennessee, and Jacksonville. I say in PPR leagues Hartline is a no brainer, you can play him. In that format I even like Devone Bess as he catches everything that is thrown his way, he just doesn’t have enough balls thrown to him. I don’t mind Anthony Fasano against those matchups that I outlined above. As for the running game, Bush isn’t a bad flex option but that’s about all I like him for, and unfortunately right now I can’t see playing Thomas right now, but I do have hopes for him in the future and he could be a factor in the fantasy playoffs, but we shall see how the next few weeks pan out.
What do you do with the Bills’ backfield? It has been four weeks since both Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller have been healthy and so far they have been splitting carries fairly equally, within a few one way or the other, and it hasn’t been the same guy getting more carries from game to game. The good news is that outside of the two games where they were blown out, both guys have been successful. Even better news is that both guys are also used out of the backfield as receivers too. Honestly right now I could see starting either guy if he is on your roster, especially during these lean bye weeks. Both guys are very talented and unless you are stacked at the position, I feel comfortable playing Buffalo running backs. You might have to watch out if they are playing a very strong opponent and are in danger of getting run over and not running much, but I like these guys better than most running backs by committee.
Should you be starting Josh Freeman? A revisiting. Two weeks ago I said that he’s a nice bye week replacement and in the right situation I could see starting him. Well in the last three weeks he has thrown for 1010 yards and nine touchdowns. Yeah, I’d say that he’s startable almost in any situation now. With the signing of Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams re-emergence, and Doug Martin getting his ass in gear, the Bucs offense has turned into a reliable source of fantasy points. Unless you have Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, or even Peyton Manning, you have to consider giving Freeman the start on a weekly basis.
Can you start any Saints’ running back? Granted they were behind pretty quickly against the Broncos, but I can’t take that into account when considering how poor the Saints’ running game has been in 2012. It has been since Week 3 since ANY running back for the Saints topped even 50 yards! Pierre Thomas has seemed to be the runner of choice the past couple of weeks, but it has even taken him three weeks to get to 100 yards combined. There is, however, an exception to the rule in PPR leagues and that is Darren Sproles. He’s averaging nearly six catches per game, and has four receiving touchdowns. That is the only running back on the Saints that I can even see having on a roster, never mind starting.
OK, what’s going on with the Colts backfield? Before Donald Brown went down, it was pretty clear cut, Brown got the vast majority of the carries which was between 16-18 per game and he was doing ok. However, Brown needed knee surgery, which gave the opportunity for Vick Ballard to get some carries. Well, Ballard did pretty well in those two games, averaging about 70 yards per contest. Brown returned in Week 8, and now we have ourselves a cluster of a situation. Against the Titans Brown led the team with 14 carries for 80 yards, but Ballard was right behind him with 12 rushes for 55 yards and he also caught the game winning touchdown. So, what should you expect in Week 9 and going forward? I still think that you will see Brown continue to get the majority of the carries, but Ballard will have a role as well. While Brown was getting 16-18 rushes a game before his injury, he might be looking at 13-14 now, while Ballard could be at 8-10. I could still start Brown in a flex position on bye weeks, but I would probably take Ballard out going forward.
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