Okay folks, we are onto week nine in the NFL season and another major week full of byes for many top players. With the amount of players that are not available, it will be paramount to find solid bye week replacements in order to grab another victory this weekend. Looking back at week eight, we saw Megatron being Megatron and shredding the Cowboys’ defense, Marvin Jones doing a great impression of Megatron by carving up the New York Jets’ secondary, and the Jacksonville Jaguars showed that they are just as bad in London as they are back in the United States.
Week eight meant a chance to cement your team as a true contender at the top of your division or one that may just play spoiler down the stretch. Also, another week of fantasy football means another week of hits and misses from this column. The hits: Kris Durham, Ryan Succop, Fred Jackson, Mike Brown, Jordan Reed, Harry Douglas, Jarrett Boykin and Zac Stacy. The rest are classified as misses.
Remember: This column is not designed to spotlight the top options at each position. If you are looking for advice on start/sit options or top players at a specific position, check out our rankings and other columns throughout the week. This is going to be a weekly spotlight of one player from each game this weekend that has a shot to be a nice flex or last starting option (a WR3 or RB3 for example). Will they all produce a large number of points? No. These are nice lottery tickets to fill in on your team and give you a chance to steal the win.
Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills
Alex Smith (Kansas City Chiefs) – I got to give Alex Smith some props for putting up nice point totals week after week despite the lack of points the real Chiefs’ offense put up on the scoreboard. He plays it real safe on the offensive end, but he does put up some yards and some touchdowns here and there. But what makes him a good start this week (besides all the other players on a bye) is the fact that the Bills’ defense struggles against opposing passing games. The Bills give up the second most points to opposing quarterbacks and I’m sure this poor play is not going to stop against the undefeated Chiefs. Smith gets 250 yards and two touchdowns.
Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys
Terrance Williams (Dallas Cowboys) – I just cannot trust anyone on the Minnesota Vikings right now, even Adrian Peterson. So, this picks has to come from the Dallas end of things and I’ll take Williams, who has four straight games with a score. He’s probably past the diamond class, but it is hard to find a player that is not a known commodity I would take a chance on in this game. Williams gets six catches for 75 yards and a score.
Tennessee Titans at St. Louis Rams
Nate Washington (Tennessee Titans) – Washington improves his stock when Jake Locker is back in the lineup and throwing the rock. When looking at the stats, Washington has a per game average of four receptions and 62.2 receiving yards when Locker is the quarterback, which is a big jump from the stats with “Fitz Magic” under center. The Rams have given up 11 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers and I expect Washington to grab one along with five other catches and a total of 75 yards.
New Orleans Saints at New York Jets
Kenny Stills (New Orleans Saints) – Welcome to the NFL Kenny Stills! Stills looks to have emerged as the deep threat in the Saints offense these past two games and someone Drew Brees likes to take a few shots a game with. While he may not be a really good PPR play with his lack on targets and catches each week, he does have the homerun potential to break a big one each week. Now, the Saints get a Jets’ secondary that got torched by Marvin Jones … Marvin Jones!! Brees will spread it around and Stills will get his deep ball. He gets three catches for 80 yards and a score.
San Diego Chargers at Washington Redskins
Ryan Mathews (San Diego Chargers) – Mathews looks to have cemented a nice place on the fantasy landscape. While he may not score many touchdowns, he has established himself as a flex option with RB2 appeal based on matchups. He has two straight 100 yard games and now faces a Redskins team that gives up a lot of yards and points to running backs throughout the season. Mathews could have a big day this Sunday. I foresee 110 yards and a score this week.
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
Drew Davis (Atlanta Falcons) – Matt Ryan just keeps throwing and throwing and throwing some more. He needs to in order to keep up with the amount of points that his defense keeps giving up and to supplement the Falcons’ horrid running game. Drew Davis may have had only one start so far this year, but he is now one of the major options in the Falcons’ passing game. He grabbed five balls for 77 yards and a score last week and with all the players on a bye, Davis could be a sneaky flex/WR3. He gets four catches for 55 yards against the Panthers.
Philadelphia Eagles at Oakland Raiders
Terrelle Pryor (Oakland Raiders) – It is his second appearance in this column and much like the last time, it is due to the matchup (and also due to the many teams on a bye). His running ability helps put up a nice base of points for your team. What is great is that he faces the Eagles, who are very weak at stopping the run game, in addition to the pass game. Pryor gets 225 yards passing and one passing touchdown along with 55 yards rushing and one rushing touchdown.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks
Tim Wright (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – Mike Williams is now out for the year and this opens up the second passing option job on the Buccaneers’ offense. I expect Wright to take control of this job as Mike Glennon will need to find someone else to throw to on Sunday besides the sure-to-be double covered Vincent Jackson. He’s been targeted six or more times in three of the last four games and grabbed a score a week ago. The Bucs will most likely be playing from behind and will be passing the ball early and often. Wright snatches five catches for 50 yards and a score.
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Jacoby Jones (Baltimore Ravens) – The good news: Joe Flacco is throwing his way often after his comeback from an early season injury. The bad news: Flacco and the Ravens are struggling to move the ball with any consistency on the offensive end. Jones grabbed four catches for 32 yards last game and I expect a bit more in Cleveland. Jones gets four catches for 55 yards.
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots
Emmanuel Sanders (Pittsburgh Steelers) – Which Sanders will show up this week? The one against Baltimore who had two targets, or the one, in this past game, who had 11 targets. Sanders is just a byproduct of the up-and-down nature of the Steelers offense on a per game basis. The Steelers will need to establish a consistent passing attack to keep up with the Patriots and have the chance to spring the upset. Sanders needs to be a playmaker for Big Ben and he will get 55 yards on five catches.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
DeAndre Hopkins (Houston Texans) – Hopkins has to like that new quarterback Case Keenum has been looking his way. Against the Chiefs, Hopkins had three catches for 76 yards and a score. Now, the Texans get the Colts at home on a Sunday night and will be in a situation where they need to throw the rock around to keep up. Toss in the fact that the Texans’ running backs are banged up and you get a sneaky play of Hopkins as a flex/WR3. Hopkins gets five catches for 80 yards and a score.
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
Myles White (Green Bay Packers) – I’m assuming there will be no James Jones this week for the Packers and White will resume his position in the slot for the Aaron Rodgers led offense. White grabbed five catches on seven targets for 35 yards against the Vikings last week. He’s no Randall Cobb out of the slot, but he can be productive if given the chance. He’s got the chance to be a nice flex option in a PPR league if you are desperate. He gets five catches for 50 yards against Chicago.
As you head out into the rest of week nine in the NFL, take these suggestions with a grain of salt. This is all about filling that last flex spot in your starting lineup with a guy that has a good matchup or a solid chance of production. These guys are my best options for that to occur. I wish everyone luck in their ninth week of the season and hope your team solidifies a playoff position.