Week 9 in the NFL means we are now entering the 2nd half of the season. Each week from here on out more important than the previous week. You may have some players on bye weeks or players struggling with their situations, or a few players similar that you’re just not sure to start. Let’s take a look at some players I like this week at the skill positions.
Bye week teams this week: Detroit, Minnesota, Carolina, Jacksonville
Michael Vick (PHI)- The Eagles offense is clicking on all cylinders right now, that should continue this week against the Bears. Vick threw for 333 yards against them last season. The Bears meanwhile are giving up the 8th-most points to QB’s. He’ll make plays with his legs too, you can bet on that.
Prediction: 21/29 225 yards, 2 TD, 40 yards rushing
Phillip Rivers (SD)- Rivers has been a fantasy nightmare so far this season and could be hiding an injury. At this point, he may be more of a matchup QB for your fantasy team. Mindful of that, this is still a pretty darn good matchup against the Green Bay Packers.
With all three RB’s banged up, Rivers will have to throw a ton. And outside of Charles Woodson making some plays, the Packers secondary isn’t shutdown-worthy by any means. Don’t expect him to go off, but expect a decent game from him instead.
Prediction: 22/45 248 yards, 2 TD/INT
Matt Cassel (KC)- Played alright this past Monday night against the Chargers, throwing for 261 yards but also a couple of INT’s as well. This week he gets the Miami Dolphins who are giving up the 5th-most points to QB’s. He also may have another target forming in Jonathan Baldwin at his disposal. If you need to, give him a shot in this great match-up.
Prediction: 20/33 235 yards, 2 TD/INT
Steven Jackson (STL)- He ran with explosiveness last week against the Saints, something I haven’t seen in a while from Jackson. He’s finally healthy and a great schedule of soft run defenses begin this week starting with the Cardinals. They were beat for 3 TD’s by Ray Rice last week and Jackson will find pay dirt too.
Michael Bush (OAK)- If you can pick up Bush, go and get him right away. I really like him this week, even more if Darren McFadden misses this week’s tilt (latest word is the Raiders may rest him in Week 9). Even if McFadden plays, he clearly will not be 100%, so get Bush in your lineup, at the worst he should be a great flex play for those owning him. He’ll get the rock for sure against the Broncos as Carson Palmer will try to settle in at QB.
Shonn Greene (NYJ)- Greene finally gave owners something to cheer about with his 112 yards rushing two weeks ago against the Chargers. He faces a Bills defense susceptible to giving up big running plays. The Jets have gone back to a ground and pound type offense and Greene will try to get it going again this week. He averaged slightly better than 5 yards per carry last season vs. Buffalo. Start him.
Prediction: 23/90 (has a shot at scoring a TD)
Pierre Garcon (IND)- It hasn’t been the Manning-to-Garcon show, but Pierre has put up numbers to keep him around a Top-10 WR so far this season. He was targeted 15 times last week against the Titans, so he’s Curtis Painter’s favorite target. According to Yahoo! Sports, Garcon has averaged 103.5 yards receiving in his last two home games. He’ll face an average Falcons secondary. Start if you need to.
Brandon Lloyd (STL)- Lloyd hasn’t missed a beat since being traded to the Rams, and he too has a nice match-up against the Cardinals. Even with A.J. Feeley at QB, Lloyd caught six passes for 53 yards and a touchdown in the win over New Orleans. Lloyd is good no matter who is throwing him the ball.
Jeremy Maclin (PHI)- He’s putting together a solid season thus far after health scares before the season began. Against the Bears, he should have another solid game. He scored against them last season and has four touchdowns so far this season.
Sidney Rice (SEA)- Rice posted his second 100-yard receiving day of the season last week against the Bengals. This week they’ll face a Cowboys defense that will be without CB Mike Jenkins, so he’s in line for another good day. Keep in mind he got it done with Tavaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst throwing him the ball.
Juilo Jones (ATL)- Back from injury and it comes at the right time against the Colts who have given up the 2nd-most points to WR over their last four games.
Jason Witten (DAL)- Witten is Romo’s safety valve so he’ll look for him often against a depleted Seahawks secondary at home this week. They will try to get him going because the run game may not be able to get going. Look for a decent game.
Jermichael Finley (GB)- Finley has been lost in the shuffle a little bit this season, he has 10 catches in his last four games. He caught a TD but only gained 13 yards on the day against the Vikings two weeks ago. Look for a big game against the Chargers this week, a team that was lit up by the Patriots TE’s earlier in the season.
Players I don’t like this Week 9:
Matt Schaub (Hou vs Cle), Ben Roethlisberger (Pit vs Bal), Mark Sanchez (NYJ @ Buf), Joe Flacco (Bal @ Pit)
Rashard Mendenhall (Pit vs Bal) , DeMarco Murray (Dal vs Sea), LeGarrette Blount (TB @ NO)
Larry Fitzgerald (ARI vs STL, I wouldn’t advocate sitting him, just temper expectations with Skelton at QB), Anquan Boldin (Bal @ Pit), Andre Johnson (Hou vs Cle, he’s still not healthy enough to play, but check on him again)
Owen Daniels (Hou vs Cle), Antonio Gates (SD vs GB), Vernon Davis (SF @ Was)
Good luck to all in Week 9!