Fantasy Ins and Outs: Week 9

Here’s who I like and who I don’t like in fantasy for this upcoming week:

Quarterbacks

IN: Matt Cassel, Chiefs
Cassel is coming off a so-so statistical game against the Chargers and has been a bit inconsistent of late (back-to-back two-interception games). But this week the Chiefs are facing the lowly Dolphins, who have given up the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Cassel has the weapons (Dwayne Bowe and Jonathan Baldwin) to put up some nice numbers if you’re looking for a bye week replacement.

OUT: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills
Fitzpatrick’s fantasy numbers have faltered after a quick start (averaging around 10 points per game the last few weeks). Buffalo’s opponent, the New York Jets, have been very effective at containing opposing quarterbacks this season (they’re giving up the fewest fantasy points to the position) so Fitzgerald will have his work cut out for him on Sunday. The Bills’ offense will go through running back Fred Jackson and not through the air. Look for other options.

Running backs

IN: LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers
After missing Tampa Bay’s last two games with a left knee sprain, Blount is back and ready to take on a bigger workload. The Bucs are a bit shorthanded in the backfield with Earnest Graham out for the season, but that’s good news for Blount owners — he doesn’t have anyone else competing for carries. Tampa is facing a New Orleans team that has struggled to stop the run this year, most recently giving up 159 yards to Steven Jackson last week.

OUT: Chris Johnson, Titans
It was only a matter of time until CJ2K made the “out” list. Not only has Johnson been the biggest fantasy disappointment with only has one 100-yard game and just a single touchdown, but now he’s splitting carries with Javon Ringer. Throw in the fact that the Titans are facing a very stout Bengals D this week (second against the run and giving up just 85 rushing yards per game), and there’s little reason to have Johnson in your lineup in Week 9.

Wide Receivers

IN: Brandon Lloyd, Rams
The Rams’ passing game has been on life support, but Lloyd has given the unit a lift since coming over from Denver, leading the team in receiving yards in both his games with St. Louis. Lloyd is facing a weak Cardinals secondary on Sunday that’s giving up 277 passing yards per game, and it’s likely that Sam Bradford will be back under center. Even if Bradford doesn’t play, A.J. Feeley has shown faith in Lloyd (at least six receptions in each of his last two games) so it’s safe to roll with the Rams receiver this week.

OUT: Pierre Garcon, Colts
What a difference a couple of weeks make. In Week 4 and 5, Garcon had 271 yards. The three weeks since then, he’s averaged just over 49 yards. Curtis Painter is struggling (just one touchdown and four interceptions in the Colts’ last three games) and that’s had an impact on the passing game. The Falcons defense is getting better week after week, so it might be wise to keep Garcon on the bench until the Indy offense becomes more stable.

Tight Ends

IN: Brent Celek, Eagles
The Eagles tight end had his best game of the season by far last week after putting up 94 yards and scoring a touchdown (his second in as many games) against the Cowboys. The Bears are giving up the most fantasy points to tight ends this season, so Celek is definitely worth a play. Just keep an eye out — Celek missed practice earlier this week with a hip contusion, but with the Eagles facing the Bears on Monday night an extra day of rest might be just what the doctor ordered.

OUT: Heath Miller, Steelers
It’s hard to bench any player on the Steelers offence with the way Ben Roethlisberger has been playing lately, but Miller has a tough matchup this week. Yes, he’s scored a touchdown in three of his last four games and had a solid game last week (85 yards), but the Ravens have effectively defended tight ends. Baltimore is giving up around 2.5 fantasy points per game to the position, so don’t be surprised if Miller is shutout on Sunday.

Kickers

IN: Matt Bryant, Falcons
Bryant has had an up and down fantasy season, much like the entire Falcons offense. He’s ranked 20th in fantasy points for the position, but is just had one of his best games of the season (11 points in Week 7, just the second time he’s hit double digits). Atlanta is coming off a bye, so the offense should be ready to rock against a struggling Indy team that’s giving up the third-most fantasy points to kickers this season. Bryant could do some damage.

OUT: Jay Feely
Coming into this week’s matchup, there are a lot of questions surrounding the Cardinals offense. With Kevin Kolb suffering with turf toe, it’s likely John Skelton will make his first start of the season on Sunday, plus running back Beanie Wells is questionable with a knee injury (although he’ll likely play). How will the offense perform against a Rams D that showed signs of life last week against the Saints? I think there are too many uncertainties right now to play Feely with any confidence.

Defenses

IN: Cowboys
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan took responsibility after the Cowboys got torched by the Eagles last week, and you can expect his troops to come out and play some much better football for their coach this week. The Dallas D has something to prove and the unit is facing the right team to turn things around: the lowly Seahawks. Defenses that have faced Seattle have put up the most fantasy points this season.

OUT: Bears
Did you see what the Eagles did to the Cowboys last week? Why should we expect anything different this week against a lesser defense? Philly may be the top rushing team in the league (180 yards per game), but Michael Vick will test that weak Chicago secondary on Monday (ranked 28th in the league against the pass). The Eagles are starting to hit their stride and the Bears will have issues containing Vick, so it might be best to give their D the week off.

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