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 biggest news for Week 9 of the NFL season has to be Doug Martin running for 251 yards and 4 TDs. Those numbers made him just the second player in NFL history to rush for at least 250 yards and score four touchdowns in one game. To speak in fantasy terms, Martin scored 55.20 points in NFL.com PPR scoring, a full 16 points above the No. 2 fantasy player (Brandon Marshall) this week.
On the other end of the spectrum, I think we may have seen Michael Vick play his way to a backup position with the Eagles. Granted, there are some concerns with coaching calls in-game, but Vick didn't do himself any favors with a 99-yard pick-six late in the first quarter. I would take a wait-and-see approach with Vick this week, but be ready to pull the trigger if (and when) he gets benched. As ugly as it was to watch, Vick did manage to finish as the No. 10 fantasy QB this week with his 272 passing yards, 53 rushing yards, TD and INT. QB1 stats are QB1 stats, but winning is the ONLY thing people judge you on in sports, and Vick isn't winning.
Let's take a look at some of those ups and downs in this week's Winners and Losers report.
Russell Wilson – QB, Seahawks: I had a discussion on Facebook with a Seahawks fan about Wilson and my point is that he is simply average as a QB. The evidence in this point is the fact that he threw for just 167 yards despite it being a relatively close game with the Vikings. The reason he makes the winners list is because he also threw 3 TDs.
Carson Palmer – QB, Raiders: Palmer is only owned in 60.1 percent of NFL.com leagues, but he was the No. 1 fantasy QB in Week 9 ahead of even Aaron Rodgers. Palmer tossed the pigskin around the field for 414 yards, 4 touchdowns and a 2-point conversion. But, he also found the defense three times for INTs. Despite the interceptions, Palmer was stellar and showed that there is still life in the veteran QB. He is worth owning in all formats as the Raiders have the eighth-best strength of schedule for fantasy QBs going forward.
Doug Martin – RB, Buccaneers: The reigning Offensive Rookie of the Month for October put on a show against the Vikings as he ran for 251 yards and 4 touchdowns. He was also able to reel in 4 passes for 21 yards and take home the No. 1 spot overall in Week 9 (55.20 in NFL.com PPR scoring). Martin started off slowly, but he has the making a fantasy MVP if his stats continue as they have over the last three weeks.
Mikel Leshoure – RB, Lions: Finally we saw signs of life from Fo' Sho' Leshoure! The Lions RB rumbled his way to a mere 70 yards rushing, but crossed the goal line three times for a total of 25.00 FP (fantasy points) in NFL.com scoring. I think this has more to do with the Jaguars defense than a sudden emergence of fantasy value from Leshoure, but his owners will take whatever they can get from him at this point.
Chris Johnson – RB, Titans: CJ2K was having an uneventful day until early in the fourth quarter he found a seam and broke an 80-yard run for a touchdown. Because of that one run, he finished with 141 yards rushing and a TD, good enough for third on the RB rankings for Week 9. The game was out of hand at that point and I was fully expecting the Bears defense to give up something big, and this does nothing to change my views on CJ2K going forward.
Brandon Marshall – WR, Bears: All three of Jay Cutler's TD passes went Marshall's way, so the 9 catches for 122 yards were just icing on the cake for fantasy owners this weekend. Marshall finished with 39.20 FP in NFL.com scoring, nearly 10 points ahead of the No. 2 WR this week (Eric Decker with 29.90). To put that in perspective, Laurent Robinson had 6 catches for 41 yards, and scored 10.10 FP this week.
T.Y. Hilton – WR, Colts: Hilton is owned in just 0.7 percent of NFL.com fantasy leagues, but that number is sure to change after his performance this week. The rookie managed to rack up 6 catches for 102 yards and a TD, and finished No. 4 in WR rankings this week. He almost had another touchdown earlier in the game, but it slipped through his fingers. I wouldn't pick up Hilton unless you are in a deep league format.
Jermaine Gresham – TE, Bengals: Gresham was someone that I recommended to my social media fans because the Broncos defense allows the fourth-most fantasy points to TEs in PPR formats at 15.9 PPG. Gresham was able to rack up 6 catches for 108 yards, and just like Miami WR Brian Hartline, his catches and yardage were enough to put him in the No. 1 spot for TEs this week.
Chicago Bears Defense: The Bears defense scored 27.00 FP in NFL.com scoring, and that put them with the sixth-highest total for ALL fantasy football. It is rare that a defense scores as many points as a top-tier offensive player, but that is what the Bears did with their 4 recovered fumbles, 2 sacks, 2 defensive TDs, 1 INT and 18 points allowed. Needless to say, my phone was blowing up with texts from Chris 'Da Bears fan all morning long.
Eli Manning – QB, Giants: The Giants offense was a bust this week as they managed just one touchdown (Andre Brown 1-yard run) and two field goals. Manning managed just 125 yards passing, no TDs and an INT, stats his owners have not become accustomed to seeing. The Steelers defense gets the credit here, so chalk this one up as a bad game and keep plugging Manning into your QB1 spot to finish out the season.
Matt Ryan – QB, Falcons: The Cowboys pass defense is one of the better ones in the NFL (3rd in YPG allowed at 187.7 and 2nd in passing TDs allowed at 7), so it isn't a shock to see Ryan finish with 0 TD passes in Week 9. Ryan was able to throw for 342 yards, but the lack of scoring ranked him No. 18 for fantasy QBs this week.
Matthew Stafford – QB, Lions: Sometimes the worst thing a QB can do for fantasy teams is play a really bad team in reality. Why is that you ask? Because when they get up early on the scoreboard, NFL coaches don't run the score up. Thus, the offense slows down and the running game becomes a bigger focus than the passing game. That is what happened to Stafford this week and he finished with a modest 285 yards passing and no TDs.
Robert Griffin III – QB, Redskins: And on the other end of the rookie QB spectrum we have RGIII with his 215 yards passing, 53 yards rushing and no end zone visits. This was one of those games where I figured the QBs (RGIII and Cam Newton) would play a bigger role and the score would jump up into the 50s for combined score. But, that didn't happen and RGIII owners suffered because of it.
Willis McGahee – RB, Broncos: There is a reason why I don't own McGahee in a single one of my leagues, so I should have known better than to start him in my advice columns this week. Whatchu Talk'n Bout Willis finished with an empty 66 yards rushing in Sunday's game against the Bengals, and ranked out as a flex play when looking at FP scored (8.00).
Jamaal Charles – RB, Chiefs: Charles is someone that I would sell before the fantasy trade deadline (if yours hasn't already passed) because the Chiefs passing attack is just too erratic to take the heat off the run. Charles finished Thursday night's game with 39 yards rushing, and 3 catches for 37 yards. He ranked out as a low-end RB2, and not the RB1 owners drafted him to be.
Santana Moss – WR, Redskins: Too many people got excited when Moss scored 3 TDs in the last two weeks, and he now sits at 62.7 percent owned in NFL.com fantasy football leagues. He followed up his impressive Weeks 7 & 8 performances by hauling in a single pass for 2 yards this week, and it wasn't even a touchdown pass! I told people to stay away from Moss as they would regret it when he remembers that he is Santana Moss, and that is just what he did this week.
Hakeem Nicks – WR, Giants: I am starting to lose faith that Nicks is going to come around this season and make a meaningful fantasy contribution. Nicks managed just one catch for 10 yards, barely enough to register a blip on the fantasy radar. I wouldn't cut him because he has the skills to put up 10 catches for 199 yards and a TD, just as he did in Week 2 against the Buccaneers. Let's just hope he comes out of the Week 11 bye on the same page as Eli Manning.
Titus Young – WR, Lions: Young was someone I had high expectations for due to Calvin Johnson's alleged injury. But that wasn't the case as he was able to catch just 2 passes for 20 yards, and let a wide-open touchdown pass go right through his hands. I still think the kid has a ton of upside in the second half of the NFL season, so stick with him and hope he works on his hands during practice this week.
Brandon Pettigrew – TE, Lions: When NFL.com was projecting Pettigrew to put up 18.10 FP (6 catches for 61 yards and a TD) in Week 9, I knew right then and there he was someone to avoid like the plague. As much as I love playing fantasy football on NFL.com, they have a terrible projection system. What he did do was finish with a single catch for 11 yards, and a No. 24 ranking at TE this week.
Washington Redskins Defense: It's a good thing the Redskins defense is owned in just 7.8 percent of NFL.com leagues, because they were horrible against the Panthers on Sunday. Not only did they allow 21 points, but they didn't have a single scoring stat to speak of for fantasy owners. No sacks, no INTs, no fumbles recovered, nothing. The only good news is that they broke even with a 0.00 scoring this week. But, that also means you would have been just as well off with the 49ers, Rams, Jets or Patriots defenses this week, and they all had byes!