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Week 9 Studs/Duds

Powell1

Well we are now over the mid-way point in the season and bye weeks are in full effect. The Broncos, Lions, 49ers, Giants, Cardinals, and Jaguars (aren’t they off every week?) are all on byes. This will be a tough week for some teams and the pickings are slim in terms of wavier wire additions. There is no room to get cute this weekend so regardless of match up you’re probably starting who you got. Here are a few guys I’d feel confident in this week and some I’d temper expectations for:

Studs

Jake Locker – QB – Tennessee Titans

Locker has been playing very well so far this season and has averaged 20 fantasy points over his last 4 games. The Titans face a Rams team coming off a short week and a hard fought Monday night game against Seattle. While the Rams defense has looked better of late, they have given up the fourth-most passing TDs this season and are allowing 7 yards per attempt. Locker is coming off a 326 yard, 2 touchdown performance against the 49ers two weeks ago and I expect to see him keep it going this week. Mid-range QB1 value this week in my opinion especially if he can add some rushing yards as well. He’s real cheap on FanDuel and could be a steal in daily formats.

Bilal Powell – RB – New York Jets

Powell saw the majority of the snaps last week in the Jets’ blowout loss to the Bengals, showing us that Chris Ivory really won’t play in games in which the Jets are down big and need to throw. That’s an encouraging sign for Powell owners as the Saints come to town this week. The Jets could be down early and will lean on Powell heavily again. The Saints have also allowed a league-worse 4.8 yards per carry this season. There will be more holes for Powell to run especially if the Jets are getting killed. I look for Powell to bounce back this week and provide fantasy owners with a nice game. Mid-range RB2 value for Bilal this week is in reach and I like him on daily sites as well.

Brandon LaFell – WR – Carolina Panthers

Jake Myers shares some of my thoughts on LaFell in his Flex Suspects column this week. Basically it comes down to this: the Falcons stink right now and they can’t cover anyone, especially not number two receivers (TDs in four of the last five), and the Panthers (especially Cam Newton) have been on a roll the past three weeks. LaFell is a big target who has shown he can beat coverage and get open; his problem has been that he can’t catch the ball when it comes to him. I like him this week as a Flex play that could help bridge the bye-week gap for some teams.

Duds

Joe Flacco – QB – Baltimore Ravens

Ah, the $120 million man. I guess $120 million buys you a 59% completion percentage and an 8:8 TD to INT ratio these days. Flacco has underachieved this year and so have the Ravens as a whole. They can’t run the ball and their offensive line hasn’t been able to block anyone. I’ll give Flacco a little break because he lost his two main weapons in Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta in the offseason, but he just hasn’t looked good this year. I think that will continue this week when the Ravens face a tough Cleveland Browns defense that can cover and get after the quarterback. Flacco has struggled as of late against the Browns (3 TDs in his last 3 games) and I don’t see that changing Sunday. If the offensive line can’t block the Brown’s pass rushers, we will see check-down Joe in full effect again dumping everything off. He’s not worth starting in standard leagues or in daily formats.

Steven Jackson – RB – Atlanta Falcons

Perhaps the most disappointing story so far this season has been the underachievement of the entire Falcons team. Injuries have taken a big toll on both sides of the ball and they just can’t seem to get anything going. S-Jax started the year off with a bang before getting injured in week 2 and had a poor showing last week in his first game back. The 30-year old grinder might finally be starting to show all the wear and tear he has endured throughout his career with the Rams. I’d stay away from Jackson this week against one of the best front-sevens in the NFL in Carolina. They have a stout run D and have given up only 2 rushing touchdowns all season.

Antonio Brown – WR – Pittsburgh Steelers

Antonio Brown has been a stud so far this season for the Steelers. He has been the only reliable, consistent option for Big Ben to throw to and he’s on pace for a ridiculous 128 catches. The Steelers get a banged up Patriots secondary this week in Foxboro. Corner Aqib Talib is expected to play but it has been reported that he won’t shadow Brown. I’d expect the Patriots to combat Brown with a heavy dose of zone coverage and for him to see a lot of safety Devon McCourty (PFF’s best overall rated safety and second in coverage).  Brown has never been able to consistently score touchdowns and he has a total of two this season and they both came in week 3 at Chicago. I’d still expect to see 5 or 6 catches from Brown but would temper my expectations.

Week 8 Results:

RGIII didn’t pan out last week as he looked awful, but Brady looked equally as bad so I got a spilt-decision for QBs. Darren McFadden had 2 touchdowns and a nice day on the ground and D-Will got his first TD of the year (obviously the week I pick him as a Dud). Mike Floyd caught a TD and had a nice game whereas Bowe put up another stinker (1 rec, 7 yards). Drop him. Good luck this week.

Studs

Weekly Rank (Standard)

Robert Griffin III

QB23

Darren McFadden

RB2

Michael Floyd

WR21

Duds

Weekly Rank (Standard)

Tom Brady

QB22

DeAngelo Williams

RB16

Dwayne Bowe

WR50

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