James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Bengals fantasy section, but he also does the Miami Dolphins fantasy section. Crossing over, Morris writes the fantasy sections for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and get all your NFL news before it hits the national media.
The Bengals have just a few days to get ready for Week 9 as they travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins on Thursday night. I’ve received a lot of questions asking if I feel conflicted this week since I write for both the Bengals and the Dolphins. The answer is simple for me, no.
You see, fantasy football is all about statistics. Numbers drive the game and they are what I use for predictions. I can honestly say that there is no bias for me when it comes to what team I write for. I will NEVER say to start player X because he is a Bengal or a Dolphin. If I say to play
This week the Cardinals, Broncos, Lions, Jaguars, Giants and 49ers are all on a bye. With there being several fantasy starters out, creativity on the waiver wire, as well as depth on your team, is going to play an important role in pulling out a victory. I can’t possibly cover every possible scenario in this article, so make sure you email me or find me on social media to ask your team specific questions.
Andy Dalton – QB, Bengals: Over the past month Dalton has put up a monstrous line of 1,246 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, which has him ranked second on NFL.com in their standard scoring format. That is above Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees. Now, the Dolphins are no slouches at stopping fantasy QBs as they are ranked 10th in the NFL with 18.2 fantasy PPG allowed. But, the team is also dealing with some issues right now with Jonathan Martin and not being able to move the ball effectively on offense. One has to wonder how these “distractions” will affect the play on the field given a short week. I love Dalton as a top 10 QB this week with upside into the top 5.
Tony Romo – QB, Cowboys: For a QB to be owned in 99.1 percent of NFL.com leagues, yet be started in just 50.4 percent of them, it shows a lack of confidence in his ability. Romo is ranked fourth for QBs this season on NFL.com’s standard scoring format, and takes on the Vikings this week who give up the third-most fantasy points to QBs this year with an average of 24.0 PPG. Romo should have a top 5 QB day this week.
Philip Rivers – QB, Chargers: The Chargers are on the road this week, but are coming off a bye and should be healed and rested. Rivers is ranked eighth in NFL.com standard scoring for QBs and owned in 86.0 percent of their leagues. The problem with him is he is started in just 25.0 percent of those leagues. This is where keeping current with information comes into play as guys like Matt Ryan, Colin Kaepernick and Tom Brady are all started in over double the leagues as Rivers, yet are ranked 12th, 13th and 20th, respectively. The Redskins give up 23.8 PPG to QBs this year, which is fifth-worst in the NFL.
DeMarco Murray – RB, Cowboys: Murray missed Weeks 7 and 8 with knee troubles, but practiced on Wednesday and appears to be ready to start against the Vikings on Sunday. Joseph Randle and Co. have been less than exciting in Murray’s absence, and the Vikings give up a whopping 24.0 fantasy PPG to RBs this season, second worst in the NFL. Baring any setbacks with his knee, I have Murray slated as a RB1 in my personal rankings for Week 9.
Zac Stacy – RB, Rams: The Titans have problems on offense and defense, but this week we only really care about the defensive issues. RBs score an average of 20.0 fantasy PPG on the Titans (seventh worst in NFL) and Stacy is sixth for RBs in fantasy points scored over the past two weeks on NFL.com’s standard scoring format. He’s owned in just 58.1 percent of their leagues, so go make sure he is owned in yours.
Keenan Allen – WR, Chargers: Even though Allen is a rookie, he has stepped up for the Chargers and become the go-to guy in the WR corps. Over the past four games he has 23 catches for 369 yards and 2 TDs, good enough to rank him 17th on NFL.com during that span. This week the Chargers get the generous Redskins pass defense (fifth-most fantasy points to WRs at 27.2 PPG average). I see Allen as a strong WR2 with upside if the game is close.
Denarius Moore – WR, Raiders: Even though Moore is owned in 78.5 percent of NFL.com leagues, he is started in just 37.4 percent of them. Now, almost all of that is because Terrelle Pryor is his QB, and he is not a longterm solution for a starting QB in the NFL in my opinion. He will have his good weeks and his bad weeks, and the problem is you probably won’t be able to predict when either will happen. But, this week the Raiders get to take on an Eagles defense with as many holes as a piece of Swiss cheese. Moore should be able to get you WR2 points with possible upside into the WR1 range if Pryor can hold it together.
Antonio Gates – TE, Chargers: Gates is owned in 96.1 percent of NFL.com leagues, yet he is started in a staggering 34.9 percent of them this season. I could understand that number if it were a weekly number as people forgot to get him out of their lineup while he was on a bye. But, it’s not. It begs the question of who is the other TE these GMs have on their roster that they would sit down the fifth-ranked TE on NFL.com? The Redskins give up 12.3 fantasy PPG to TEs this season, which is 12th-worst in the NFL. But, I think Gates can do even better than that and have him ranked in my personal top 3-4 this week.
Tennessee Titans Defense: I know this seems odd since I said to start Stacy at RB right? Wrong. Stacy could get you 100 rushing yards and a TD, and the Titans defense could still have a monster game. You see, Kellen Clemens is one of the last QBs you want starting for your team, and he looked out of sync with his WRs last week. He hesitated when making decisions with the ball, and could end up playing pitch-n-catch with the Titans defense most of the night. The Titans defense is owned in just 15.2 percent of NFL.com leagues, and is a sneaky fantasy play this week for those who own the Cardinals, Broncos or 49ers defenses.
Jason Campbell – QB, Browns: As owners struggle to find bye-week fillers for their roster, Campbell’s name has to come up in the QB talks because he threw for 293 yards with 2 touchdowns last week. The problem is the Ravens are ranked 15th in the NFL with 19.5 PPG allowed and you can be sure they won’t overlook him when working up the defensive gameplan. This is an important game for the Ravens as they are 3-4 on the season and need a win to get back to .500 with the Bengals being 6-2 and running away with the division.
Mike Glennon – QB, Buccaneers: Over the past month Glennon has put up 51.66 fantasy points in NFL.com standard scoring formats, which ranks him 13th. That puts him as the No. 1 fantasy QB in the QB2 category and a prime candidate to start when you need a replacement, right? Wrong. The Seahawks are No. 1 in the NFL with 13.9 fantasy PPG allowed to QBs this year, and coach Greg Schiano believes the team has asked Glennon to throw too much. What that means to me is the Bucs will try to establish the run and scale back the passing attempts this week. I would sit Glennon unless he is the last possible QB on the waiver wire.
Steven Jackson – RB, Falcons: S-Jax owners have been waiting for him to get back on the field after taking him roughly around the back of Round 2. The problem is the Falcons offense is going through a transition after losing Julio Jones for the season, still being without Roddy White, and forced to use a running back by committee approach with Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling. The Panthers give up just 15.0 fantasy PPG to RBs this year, 11th-fewest in the NFL. Jackson is more of a flex player than a true fantasy starter this week as he tries to get back into the flow of the offense.
Fred Jackson – RB, Bills: C.J. Spiller got in some limited work at Wednesday’s practice, but there is still no word on his availability for this week’s game. That means Jackson is the starter again for Week 9 until we hear otherwise. However, the Chiefs are third in the NFL with 12.6 fantasy PPG allowed to RBs this year and Thad Lewis isn’t going to make any defense respect the pass with his 217.3 YPG passing, 3 TDs and 2 INTs in three games so far. If Spiller does play, even on a limited basis, it will take touches away from a RB who already has to face the NFL’s No. 1-ranked fantasy defense this season.
Percy Harvin – WR, Seahawks: Harvin had a setback with his hip injury last Thursday, and hasn’t practiced since. The Seahawks aren’t trying to push Harvin back even though they lost Sidney Rice for the year with a torn ACL, making Harvin a huge question mark to play this week. The truth is even if he does suit up and play, you can be sure his snaps will be limited. The risk here doesn’t outweigh the possible reward, and the truth is I would wait until AFTER Harvin has his first “good” game before playing him. I’d rather miss one good week, than play him and get garbage stats while he tries to get back into game shape.
Dwayne Bowe – WR, Chiefs: The Bills are the worst team in the NFL at stopping fantasy WRs (33.7 fantasy PPG) this season. With that said, Bowe is currently ranked 60th among NFL.com WRs in their standard scoring format, and has scored double-digit fantasy points in just two games this season (Weeks 2 and 4 where he scored a touchdown). Bowe is owned in 82.9 percent of NFL.com leagues, and I personally cut ties with him in my league this week after he posted just 7 yards receiving. Sad as it is, that wasn’t even his season low (he had 4 yards against the Eagles in Week 3).
Jared Cook – TE, Rams: We all know that TE is a boom-or-bust position in fantasy football, which is why more and more leagues are moving to a flex spot instead of a traditional TE only spot. Because of how thin the position is, you pretty much have 10 TEs that are worth playing each week, another 2-3 that are bubble players, and then a hodge-podge of guys that should be sitting on the waiver wire. Cook to me is one of those waiver wire players, yet he is owned in 68.0 percent of NFL.com leagues right now. He has one of the worst QBs in the NFL throwing to him and hasn’t posted numbers worth talking about since Week 1 of the NFL season. Owners have been chasing those points all season long and sadly Cook hasn’t provided anything more than hopes and dreams. If you need a sleeper TE this week, go snag Coby Fleener off waivers (owned in 14.4 percent of NFL.com leagues) and give him a play.
Chicago Bears Defense: The Bears take on the high-powered Packers offense this week. Truth be told, I don’t think they have a chance to win without Jay Cutler under center. If this game gets out of control early, the Bears will be forced to let Josh McCown throw the ball, and that’s not a good thing for a guy who hasn’t played more than three games in a single season since 2007. Add to that the fact that you have about as much of a chance in picking the winning lottery numbers as you do to predict which Bears defense will show up, and you have a recipe for disaster. Don’t just assume you can play them and ride it out. There is a real possibility of them actually LOSING you points in this one! Go get the Titans or Colts defense and plug them in this week.