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Week 9 Rankings


Updated 11/3/2013 at 3:15 PM ET. No. 64 receiver Kenbrell Thompkins removed from ranks.

Updated 11/3/2013 at 7:45 PM ET. Deji Karim and Ray Graham removed from ranks, Dennis Johnson inserted in Karim's position at No. 45. 

Eddie Lacy returned from his concussion in Week 5. What’s he done since? Nothing much, just led the NFL in rushing. The league’s top runner both for the month of October (395) and over the past three weeks (296), Lacy hasn’t been held below 82 yards on the ground since returning from Brandon Meriweather’s savage helmet-to-helmet hit, and has posted at least 97 yards from scrimmage every time out.

How’s he done it? A healthy workload, for starters. Lacy averaged 27 touches per game in October, leading all running backs in both carries (97) and touches (108). That’s a lot of work, particularly for a player with all of six career appearances. But the Packers wouldn’t be feeding Fat Eddie if he hadn’t earned it, and earned it he has. Lacy hasn’t quite looked like he’s running all over the ghost of Lennay Kekua — as he did in the BCS Championship Game — but he’s come close. Lacy has broken 15 tackles since rejoining the starting lineup, which is as many as Adrian Peterson has over his past four games. He’s already ninth amongst running backs by Pro Football Focus’ “missed tackles” count. Lacy follows his blockers extremely well, but often gets more than what’s blocked because he’s already shedding defenders with the best of them.

He’s also doing his best work in the meat of the game, averaging 4.6 yards per tote on carries 11-20. That number plunges to 2.7 on carries 21 and over, but it’s largely a function of predictable runs in clock-killing mode. Lacy is basically doing everything that’s expected of a traditional lead back, getting at least what’s blocked, punishing defenders, catching the occasional pass and salting away games. Now he’s getting rewarded with a dream matchup in the Bears, who have watched their run defense completely fall apart over their past four games, allowing 660 yards and eight touchdowns to opposing running backs. It’s why Lacy’s No. 6 ranking this week is conservative, but his future schedule is why it won’t be an anomaly. Lacy’s Week 10 matchup with the Eagles is tougher than fantasy owners might assume, but his upcoming tilts with the Giants, Vikings, Lions, Falcons and Cowboys are not. Lacy is going to keep eatin’, and fantasy owners are going to keep winning. In a year where so many running backs have underperformed, Lacy has overperformed his 45.0 ADP to the tune of every-week RB1 status.   

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $80,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 9. It's just $10 to join and first prize is $8,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link

Week 9 Quarterbacks

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Aaron Rodgers vs. CHI -
2 Drew Brees at NYJ -
3 Cam Newton vs. ATL -
4 Philip Rivers at WAS -
5 Tony Romo vs. MIN -
6 Andrew Luck at HOU -
7 Robert Griffin III vs. SD Probable (knee)
8 Russell Wilson vs. TB -
9 Andy Dalton at MIA -
10 Terrelle Pryor vs. PHI -
11 Tom Brady vs. PIT Probable (shoulder)
12 Matt Ryan at CAR -
13 Jake Locker at STL -
14 Nick Foles at OAK Probable (concussion)
15 Alex Smith at BUF -
16 Joe Flacco at CLE -
17 Ryan Tannehill vs. CIN -
18 Ben Roethlisberger at NE -
19 Josh McCown at GB -
20 Case Keenum vs. IND -
21 Jason Campbell vs. BAL -
22 Geno Smith vs. NO -
23 Christian Ponder at DAL -
24 Kellen Clemens vs. TEN -
25 Mike Glennon at SEA -
26 Jeff Tuel vs. KC -

QB Notes: What has Aaron Rodgers done since losing Randall Cobb and James Jones in Week 6? Complete 49-of-65 passes (75.4 percent) for 545 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions. He’s posted his second and third highest QB ratings of the season. Just a quarterback losing his No. 2 and 3 receivers (not to mention his tight end), no big deal. Rodgers is going to put the screws to Chicago’s regressing defense. … In theory, heading to the Meadowlands is an imposing matchup for Drew Brees. Whereas the Jets are getting shredded by the pass on the road — opposing QBs are 95-of-146 (65 percent) for 1,084 yards, 7.42 yards per attempt, 12 touchdowns and only one interception in four games — they’ve been a different unit at home, holding enemy passers to a 53.0 completion percentage, 6.34 YPA and 3:2 TD:INT ratio. The reality, however, is that they’ve yet to face anyone like Brees, instead shutting down the likes of Josh Freeman, E.J. Manuel, Ben Roethlisberger and a struggling Tom Brady. It’s no secret that the Saints are harder to stop in the Superdome, but a Jets pass defense that allowed five touchdowns to Andy Dalton in Week 8 isn’t going to be slowing Brees down, no matter the venue.

If there’s one touch of gray to the best three-game stretch of Cam Newton’s career, it’s that it’s come against three of the league’s shabbier teams in Minnesota, St. Louis and Tampa Bay. Not that it’s the reason Newton has shot back into the stratosphere. No matter the competition, it’s hard to do what Newton’s done — 77.3 completion percentage, 667 passing yards, 106 passing yards and eight total touchdowns. But even if Newton’s return to greatness has been fueled by sub-par competition, the good news is, there’s more of it on tap in Week 9. Only eight teams are allowing more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Falcons. That’s despite the fact that they’ve faced only two top-15 fantasy QBs, and only three in the top 20. Newton is going to make Atlanta’s nightmare season a whole lot worse on Sunday. … Philip Rivers comes off his bye against a team allowing 8.4 yards per attempt (31st) and a 65.8 completion percentage (25th). Sounds like a good matchup for a player with a 73.9 completion percentage (No. 1 in NFL) and 8.56 YPA (No. 4).

24.7 percent of Tony Romo’s 185.9 fantasy points came in his 506-yard afternoon against the Broncos. If you remove his best game of the season — which is rarely a fair exercise — he’s averaging a mere 19.9 points, which would rank 20th in the league. Yet another appetizing matchup, however, keeps him in the top five. … The Houston Texans’ No. 1 ranking against the pass is one of the more fraudulent statistics in all of football. The main reason opposing passers are dropping just 146 yards per game on the Texans? They don’t need more because of the big early leads their teams have been rolling up. Digging a little deeper, you find the Texans actually have a bottom-12 QB rating against (90.0), and have picked off only three passes (tied for last). Even without Reggie Wayne, Houston is not an imposing matchup for Andrew Luck. The only problem will be if the Colts make like everyone else and rush out to a huge early lead. … Coming off a game where he was roughed up beyond all recognition, Robert Griffin III gets a Chargers team allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. RGIII will also be pleased to know that both by sack counts and Pro Football Focus’ metrics, the Bolts have a bottom-12 pass rush. Expect the zone read to be back, and for RGIII’s fantasy numbers along with it.

Heading into Week 8, we were highly skeptical Andy Dalton would turn the best two-game stretch of his career into the best three-game stretch of his career against the Jets. He didn’t. Instead he had the single best game of his career, throwing for five touchdowns in a 49-9 rout. Averaging 345 yards over his past three starts, Dalton faces another stiff test in a stout Dolphins defense on the road in a short a week. He’s simply been too good to be ranked as anything other than a QB1 in a week where six teams are on bye, however, and has flat-out earned his promotion ahead of the likes of Tom Brady and Matt Ryan. … Speaking of Brady and Ryan, why should you trust Brady more than Ryan this week? It’s far from a cut-and-dry argument, but whereas Brady finally has a stacked deck on offense, Ryan is stuck with Harry Douglas, Drew Davis and the remains of Steven Jackson. Both have imposing matchups — Brady gets a Steelers defense allowing the third-fewest points to opposing QBs, Ryan a Carolina unit allowing the second fewest — but Brady is at home, while Ryan is away from the Georgia Dome carpet where he’s always been a far superior player. We’re splitting hairs, but the long and short of it is, both are on the QB1 borderline, and shaky bets to produce as top-10 options.

Nick Foles would probably like to forget Week 7. His fantasy owners have to forget it in a week where six teams are on bye. Foles’ Week 7 mania ignored one critical truth: Good players > good circumstances. But Foles’ résumé is just thick enough to throw out one bad game and trust him in a solid matchup. … Trusting Josh McCown isn’t for the faint of heart. But going up against an injury-ravaged Packers defense allowing 7.6 yards per attempt and an opposing 96.1 QB rating, it’s worth gambling that Marc Trestman’s guiding hand can lead him to a top-20 week, especially after McCown showed very well in Jay Cutler’s Week 7 absence. … If there’s one thing Case Keenum had in his Week 7 debut, it was gumption, relentlessly challenging Kansas City’s defense downfield. He was rewarded with six completions of at least 25 yards. He’s worth a rental in two-QB leagues. … The odds seem low that Jason Campbell will be able to repeat his surprise Week 8 success, but he’ll have a fighting chance against a Ravens defense allowing an uncharacteristically soft 8.0 yards per attempt.       

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Week 9 Running Backs

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Jamaal Charles at BUF Probable (knee)
2 Adrian Peterson at DAL -
3 LeSean McCoy at OAK -
4 Matt Forte at GB -
5 Marshawn Lynch vs. TB Probable (knee)
6 Eddie Lacy vs. CHI -
7 Alfred Morris vs. SD -
8 Stevan Ridley vs. PIT -
9 DeMarco Murray vs. MIN -
10 Ryan Mathews at WAS -
11 Darren McFadden vs. PHI Sidelined (hamstring)
12 Ray Rice at CLE -
13 Zac Stacy vs. TEN Questionable (ankle)
14 Le'Veon Bell at NE -
15 Fred Jackson vs. KC Probable (knee)
16 Trent Richardson at HOU -
17 Danny Woodhead at WAS -
18 Giovani Bernard at MIA Questionable (ribs)
19 Lamar Miller vs. CIN -
20 C.J. Spiller vs. KC Questionable (ankle)
21 Darren Sproles at NYJ Questionable (concussion)
22 Chris Johnson at STL -
23 Mike James at SEA -
24 Steven Jackson at CAR -
25 Ben Tate vs. IND -
26 Pierre Thomas at NYJ -
27 Bilal Powell vs. NO -
28 Chris Ivory vs. NO -
29 Mike Tolbert vs. ATL -
30 Brandon Bolden vs. PIT Questionable (knee)
31 Willis McGahee vs. BAL -
32 Jacquizz Rodgers at CAR -
33 Shonn Greene at STL -
34 Roy Helu vs. SD -
35 DeAngelo Williams vs. ATL Probable (quadriceps)
36 BenJarvus Green-Ellis at MIA -
37 Bernard Pierce at CLE Probable (hamstring)
38 Arian Foster vs. IND -
39 Daniel Thomas vs. CIN -
40 Donald Brown at HOU -
41 Jonathan Stewart vs. ATL -
42 Joseph Randle vs. MIN -
43 LeGarrette Blount vs. PIT -
44 Brian Leonard at SEA -
45 Dennis Johnson vs. IND -
46 Chris Ogbonnaya vs. BAL Probable (ribs)
47 James Starks vs. CHI -
48 Tashard Choice vs. KC -
49 Benny Cunningham vs. TEN Questionable (ankle)
50 Mark Ingram at NYJ -
51 Bryce Brown at OAK -
52 Lance Dunbar vs. MIN Probable (hamstring)
53 Michael Bush at GB -
54 Marcel Reece vs. PHI -
55 Felix Jones at NE -
56 Robert Turbin vs. TB -
57 Ronnie Brown at WAS -
58 Fozzy Whittaker vs. BAL -
59 Isaiah Pead vs. TEN -

RB Notes: For the first time all season, Jamaal Charles did not score a touchdown in Week 8. He made up for it by surpassing 100 yards from scrimmage for the eighth time in eight games. … Adrian Peterson has carried the ball just 36 times over his past three games. To put that into gut-wrenching perspective, Joseph Randle has eight more carries in the same timeframe. A corrective should be in order against the Cowboys, who are allowing 4.4 yards per carry despite DPOY-level play from Sean Lee. Only eight teams are surrendering more fantasy points to enemy running backs than Big D. … A distant 14th in fantasy running back points over the past three weeks, LeSean McCoy still ranks seventh on the season. Like Peterson, it’s only a matter of time before Shady reasserts himself as a top-three option, and that time could very easily be Week 9. McCoy remains Pro Football Focus’ top-rated back by a whopping 6.1 points. … How the Bears offense will look without Jay Cutler is the biggest fantasy wild card of Week 9, but one thing we know for sure? Matt Forte is going to feature more heavily than ever. Only four players are averaging more yards from scrimmage.

Alfred Morris continues to lead all running backs with 5.23 yards per carry. If not for Washington’s baffling abandonment of the run after going up 21-7 last weekend, Morris would have coasted to his second 100-yard game of the season. As it is, he’s averaging 81 weekly yards (No. 3 in the league), and poised for a monster second half. … The matchup is right for Arian Foster (hamstring) — the Colts are allowing 4.5 yards per carry and 122.3 yards per game — but his health might not be. A game-time decision who will likely fall down the ranks as his missed practice time mounts. Ben Tate (ribs) is in the same GTD/falling-ranks boat. Playing at far less than 100 percent, he wouldn’t be more than an RB3 if he got the start in Foster’s absence. Who would get the rock if neither suits up remains unclear. … Averaging 4.96 yards per carry over his past 56 totes, Stevan Ridley has four touchdowns over his past four games. Who knows why Ridley was benched for the first quarter of last week’s win, but the Pats offense took flight once he was reinserted. The Pats’ clear lead back is back in the RB1 conversation after early-season shenanigans had him as low as FLEX territory. … On track to return from his two-week absence, DeMarco Murray (knee) gets a Vikings defense crumbling in all phases, and allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing running backs.    

If you’re going to trust Ray Rice for Week 9, it’s not because of what he’s done thus far this season. That would be 2.81 yards per carry, and exactly one 100-yard afternoon. But there are some things working in the would-be superstar back’s favor. Namely, his health. Playing hurt since Week 4, Rice said he got his “burst” back going into the Ravens’ Week 8 bye, and that he “wouldn’t kid you if I said I was feeling good.” He continued: “Obviously I've got my step back, and that's exciting for me going into the second half of the year." Then there’s Baltimore’s 5-0 record coming off bye weeks under John Harbaugh. The common denominator in those five victories? Power — and we do mean power — run games. The Ravens have averaged 37 rushes for 134.4 yards in their post bye-week performances under Harbaugh, scoring eight touchdowns in the process. The Ravens’ feature back for four of those games, Rice has averaged 23 carries for 92 yards coming off byes since 2009. It’s a near certainty that Rice and Bernard Pierce will be the focal point of the Ravens’ game plan. What Rice makes of it remains anyone’s guess, but a week healthier behind an offensive line growing accustomed to new LT Eugene Monroe, the circumstances couldn’t be better as Rice looks to put his disappointing start behind him.   

One of the league’s most productive and impressive backs since taking over as the Rams’ starter in Week 5, only injury can hold Zac Stacy (ankle) back. Fresh off stinging the Seahawks’ supposedly impenetrable run defense for 134 yards on 26 carries (5.2 YPC), Stacy will be squaring off with a Titans D allowing the seventh most points to enemy rushers. As long as he’s declared “good to go” on Friday’s injury report, Stacy is locked-in as an RB2. Even if he ends up a game-time decision that plays, Stacy will be no worse than a strong FLEX play. … Coming off his first back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances since December 2011, Ryan Mathews gets a Redskins defense allowing the third most points to rival runners. Mathews has hurt you before — and almost certainly will again — but with six teams on bye, he’s a must-start RB1/2 in a cake matchup. … Darren McFadden already has twice as many rushing scores (four) as he had in all of 2012. DMC’s 3.7 yards per carry leaves much to be desired, but locked into heavy workloads alongside attention-getting dual-threat QB Terrelle Pryor, his volume is the kind all fantasy owners seek. … Le’Veon Bell’s 13-carry, 24-yard Week 8 would have been one of the biggest duds of the season had he not: 1. Scored a touchdown. 2. Caught five passes. Bell’s talent is highly ordinary, but the matchup is right for a volume back in an injury-ravaged Patriots run defense allowing 130.8 yards per game.        

Fred Jackson has crashed back down to earth over his past four games, managing just 169 yards rushing on 53 carries (3.18 YPC). F-Jax’s 3.4 receptions per game have kept his RB2 value afloat, but he’ll be a touchdown-dependent option if C.J. Spiller (ankle) is ready to return. For now, the Bills are taking a day-to-day approach with Spiller, who would be a high-upside RB3 if he can return from his first missed contest in 44 games. … This could be Trent Richardson’s final week in the top-20 if he fails to take advantage of yet another plum matchup in the Texans. … Chris Johnson’s schedule is supposedly easing up, but he’s going on the road to take on a Rams team that held Marshawn Lynch to eight carries for 23 yards in Week 8. Averaging a monumentally pathetic 2.39 YPC over his past four games/46 carries, CJwhateverK is lucky to even still be on the FLEX radar. Making matters much worse is that Shonn Greene is supposedly being ticketed for 15 carries per game going forward. … Check out Evan Silva’s Thursday Matchups column for the rub on up-and-down RB2s Lamar Miller and Giovani Bernard. … Coming off the sorriest display of his career, Steven Jackson gets a team allowing less than 80 rushing yards per game, and only 3.7 yards per carry. S-Jax is a desperation option for the time being. … If Jonathan Stewart (ankles) is active, give him at least a week before reinserting him into your starting lineup.

Week 9 Receivers

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Dez Bryant vs. MIN Probable (hamstring)
2 Jordy Nelson vs. CHI -
3 A.J. Green at MIA -
4 Josh Gordon vs. BAL -
5 Pierre Garcon vs. SD Probable (calf)
6 Brandon Marshall at GB -
7 DeSean Jackson at OAK Probable (ankle)
8 Andre Johnson vs. IND Probable (leg)
9 Antonio Brown at NE -
10 Torrey Smith at CLE -
11 Vincent Jackson at SEA -
12 Keenan Allen at WAS -
13 Denarius Moore vs. PHI -
14 T.Y. Hilton at HOU -
15 Terrance Williams vs. MIN -
16 Alshon Jeffery at GB -
17 Steve Smith vs. ATL -
18 Kendall Wright at STL -
19 Stevie Johnson vs. KC Probable (hip)
20 Harry Douglas at CAR -
21 Mike Wallace vs. CIN -
22 Danny Amendola vs. PIT Questionable (concussion)
23 Jarrett Boykin vs. CHI -
24 Brian Hartline vs. CIN -
25 Marvin Jones at MIA -
26 Emmanuel Sanders at NE -
27 Golden Tate vs. TB -
28 Greg Jennings at DAL Probable (knee)
29 Nate Washington at STL -
30 Julian Edelman vs. PIT Questionable (thigh)
31 Dwayne Bowe at BUF Probable (groin)
32 Vincent Brown at WAS -
33 Darrius Heyward-Bey at HOU Questionable (hamstring)
34 Aaron Dobson vs. PIT -
35 James Jones vs. CHI Questionable (knee)
36 Jeremy Kerley vs. NO Sidelined (elbow)
37 Ted Ginn vs. ATL -
38 Kenny Stills at NYJ -
39 DeAndre Hopkins vs. IND -
40 David Nelson vs. NO Probable (quadriceps)
41 Brandon LaFell vs. ATL -
42 Lance Moore at NYJ -
43 Drew Davis at CAR -
44 Eddie Royal at WAS -
45 Stephen Hill vs. NO Probable (foot)
46 Rod Streater vs. PHI -
47 Jerome Simpson at DAL -
48 Jason Avant at OAK -
49 Chris Givens vs. TEN -
50 Marlon Brown at CLE -
51 Rishard Matthews vs. CIN -
52 Donnie Avery at BUF Probable (shoulder)
53 Dexter McCluster at BUF -
54 Cole Beasley vs. MIN -
55 Myles White vs. CHI -
56 Riley Cooper at OAK -
57 Jacoby Jones at CLE -
58 Greg Little vs. BAL -
59 Robert Woods vs. KC -
60 Cordarrelle Patterson at DAL -
61 Austin Pettis vs. TEN Probable (-)
62 Davone Bess vs. BAL -
63 Leonard Hankerson vs. SD Probable (foot)
64 Doug Baldwin vs. TB -
65 Tiquan Underwood at SEA -
66 Andrew Hawkins at MIA -
67 Darius Johnson at CAR -
68 LaVon Brazill at HOU -
69 Santana Moss vs. SD -
70 Damian Williams at STL -
71 Robert Meachem at NYJ -
72 Tavon Austin vs. TEN -
73 Jerricho Cotchery at NE -

WR Notes: Dez Bryant is just one score away from his third consecutive nine-touchdown season. … Fantasy’s No. 2 wideout by average points, Jordy Nelson also remains the league’s most effective deep threat by Pro Football Focus’ metrics. His 11 catches of 20-plus yards are tied for fifth in the league, while he’s one of only eight pass catchers averaging a touchdown per game. Aaron Rodgers has a 148.3 QB rating when throwing to his No. 1 receiver. … Coming off three straight 100-yard games, A.J. Green will do battle with shutdown CB Brent Grimes, but won’t draw his shadow, as Grimes doesn’t play “sides.” Green is as locked in as ever with Andy Dalton playing the best football of his career. … Does No. 4 seem high for Josh Gordon? It shouldn’t. Averaging a 100-yard game every other week, Gordon is second in yards per catch (18.2) and fourth in yards per game (97) despite playing with three different quarterbacks. There will likely be the occasional dud with Jason Campbell under center, but Gordon has earned his ranking the hard way, and appears unlikely to relinquish it. … Pierre Garcon’s rank is admittedly aggressive, but averaging 6.7 catches per game, he’s going to get every opportunity to soak up yardage against San Diego’s soft pass defense. Things like Garcon at No. 5 happen when the Broncos, Calvin Johnson and Victor Cruz are all on bye.

Fantasy’s No. 11 receiver thus far this season, Brandon Marshall’s No. 6 rank can be seen as either overly aggressive or overly cautious. Aggressive because he’ll be missing his football soulmate in Jay Cutler, cautious because, hey, this is Brandon Marshall. Either way, Marshall is No. 7 in fantasy points amongst wideouts active for Week 9, and can’t be dropped out of the top 10 just because his quarterback has changed. Don’t expect the world, but certainly don’t expect a dud. … DeSean Jackson has essentially settled in as a more consistent version of his typically boom-or-bust self. He’s on pace to shatter his previous career highs in catches (62) and yards (1,156), but has also failed to clear 65 yards in five of his past six games. He’s a threat for a 150-yard game any given week, but you have to take the good with the bad. … Fantasy’s most targeted receiver (49) by a wide margin over the past three weeks, Vincent Jackson should get enough looks against the Seahawks to make up for a bad matchup. … Antonio Brown’s weekly averages — eight catches for 90 yards — cry for a higher ranking, but the shutdown shadow of Patriots CB Aqib Talib has been long this season, while Bill Belichick’s obsession with taking away his opponent’s No. 1 threat isn’t exactly a secret.

Rather than worry about Andre Johnson’s quarterback, focus on the fact that he’ll have fresh legs after Houston’s bye, and has cleared 88 yards in four of seven games this season. He’s been held below 76 only twice. That’s not to mention the fact that he displayed good chemistry with Case Keenum in Week 7. … Torrey Smith leads the league in 20-plus yard receptions and yards per catch (20.3). He’s ninth in yards per game (89.9). No. 11 is a conservative ranking. … Averaging 5.8 catches for 93 yards since breaking out in Week 3, Keenan Allen has a dream matchup in a Redskins defense allowing the fifth most fantasy points to opposing wideouts. … Harry Douglas may be the new master of garbage time — he caught seven passes for 82 yards after Atlanta fell behind 24-6 midway through the third quarter last week — but should obviously be treated as more for fantasy purposes after racking up 19 catches for 270 yards and a touchdown since stepping in as Atlanta’s No. 1 receiver. The party is going to end at some point, but for now he’s all Matt Ryan has to throw to. … Finally locked into an every-down role, T.Y. Hilton is ideally positioned to make the leap from WR3 to every-week WR2.   

Coming off his first bad game since Week 2, Denarius Moore will do battle with burnable Eagles “No. 1” CB Cary Williams. Held below 66 yards only once since his Week 2 goose egg, Moore’s perceived value has yet to catch up with his on-field production. … Alshon Jeffery would be higher in these ranks were the Bears offense not a great unknown for Week 9, but regardless, you can’t bench a receiver who’s No. 3 in average fantasy points over the past five weeks. Jeffery caught four passes for 105 yards with Josh McCown under center in Week 7. … Steve Smith has a cake matchup in the Falcons’ disintegrating defense, but still having failed to clear 70 yards in a game this season, he can’t be trusted as more than a low-end WR2. … Having seamlessly slid in as Aaron Rodgers’ No. 2 receiver, Jarrett Boykin is locked in as a WR2 until James Jones (knee) returns. Jones’ Week 9 status remains unknown. … Kendall Wright’s lack of touchdowns are capping his ceiling, but averaging 5.7 catches, he’s a highly consistent WR3. … Mike Wallace’s usage has been baffling this season, but the fact that he’s second in drops (eight) isn’t helping his cause.

Danny Amendola was underwhelming in his Week 8 return, but it’s not as if his upside has suddenly evaporated. He’s a weekly threat for 8-9 catches. Only his injury issues have him this low. … What Brian Hartline lacks in upside, he makes up for it in consistency. Averaging a weekly 5/63, his numbers have nowhere to go but up in the absence of Brandon Gibson. … There are red flags with Marvin Jones. Yes, he’s caught 15 passes for 250 yards and six freaking touchdowns over his past three games, but he’s done so on only 19 targets and 69 snaps. That being said, it’s pretty safe to assume he’s earned himself a bigger workload with his monster performances. It’s easy to complicate fantasy analysis, but sometimes it’s as simple as: “This guy has six touchdowns over his past three games. You should probably start him.” … With Antonio Brown getting the Aqib Talib treatment, Emmanuel Sanders is a sneaky bet for 7-8 catches. … Per Pro Football Focus, no receiver has created more missed tackles than Golden Tate’s nine. … Don’t expect any miracles from Percy Harvin (hip) if he makes his 2013 debut. He’ll almost certainly be on a snap count, and worked in slowly. … Don’t expect Darrius Heyward-Bey to suddenly start producing like a No. 2 receiver just because he is one.   

Week 9 Tight Ends

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Rob Gronkowski vs. PIT Probable (hamstring)
2 Antonio Gates at WAS -
3 Jordan Cameron vs. BAL -
4 Jimmy Graham at NYJ Questionable (foot)
5 Jordan Reed vs. SD Probable (hip)
6 Jason Witten vs. MIN -
7 Tony Gonzalez at CAR -
8 Martellus Bennett at GB Probable (knee)
9 Charles Clay vs. CIN -
10 Greg Olsen vs. ATL -
11 Coby Fleener at HOU -
12 Kyle Rudolph at DAL -
13 Heath Miller at NE -
14 Tim Wright at SEA -
15 Garrett Graham vs. IND -
16 Tyler Eifert at MIA -
17 Jared Cook vs. TEN -
18 Delanie Walker at STL -
19 Scott Chandler vs. KC -
20 Jermaine Gresham at MIA -
21 Zach Miller vs. TB -
22 Anthony Fasano at BUF Probable (knee)
23 Andrew Quarless vs. CHI -
24 Dallas Clark at CLE -
25 Zach Ertz at OAK -
26 Ben Watson at NYJ -
27 Zach Sudfeld vs. NO -
28 Brent Celek at OAK -
29 Lance Kendricks vs. TEN -
30 Mychal Rivera vs. PHI -
31 Sean McGrath at BUF -
32 Ladarius Green at WAS -
33 Levine Toilolo at CAR -
34 Ryan Griffin vs. IND -
35 John Carlson at DAL -

TE Notes: Rob Gronkowski’s had one great game and one bad one since returning. He has a bear of a matchup in the Steelers, but Week 8 dud or not, he’s one of the few truly matchup-proof players in fantasy football. … On pace for the most catches of his career (96) and most yards (1,136) since 2009, Antonio Gates is primed for a big game against a Redskins defense that doesn’t defend any position well. … Maybe the questions about Jordan Cameron can finally stop? He’s put up big numbers with three different quarterbacks, and been held below 60 yards only twice. On pace for 98 catches, 1,192 yards and 12 touchdowns, it would take the total collapse of Cleveland’s offense to prevent Cameron from finishing the season as a high-end TE1. He has an excellent matchup in a Ravens defense allowing the eighth most points to rival tight ends. … If you started Jimmy Graham last week, you went home happy, but just three targets and 18 snaps? That’s not a weekly recipe for success, even if they all come on third down or in the red zone. Graham’s workload should increase after he escaped Sunday’s win without setbacks, but he’ll be more of a top 4-5 option than his usual 1-2 until he proves he’s ready to resume his normal role.  

No. 5 is admittedly aggressive for Jordan Reed, but where would rank the lad? Behind a smothered Tony Gonzalez? An underperforming Jason Witten? The rookie tight end has cleared 50 yards in four straight weeks, and drawn at least nine targets in back-to-back games. He’s the No. 2 option in a passing attack that’s slowly — and we do mean slowly — but surely getting on track. Reed should continue to pad his résumé in the coming weeks. … Speaking of Witten, he’s averaging just 4.6 catches for 50.4 yards in an offense that hasn’t been on track as much as Tony Romo’s numbers would suggest. He’s got a solid matchup in the Vikings, but has cleared 50 yards just once in his past five games, and is strangely averaging only seven targets. Witten is still a TE1, but a decidedly low-upside one for the time being. … Getting straight up mugged by opposing defenses, it’s definitely time to temper expectations for Tony Gonzalez in Atlanta’s post Julio Jones (and Roddy White) offense. He’s still a TE1 — have you seen what else is out there? — but no longer a difference-making one.

Martellus Bennett is perhaps the biggest question mark of Chicago’s post-Jay Cutler offense, but the matchup is right in a Packers defense allowing the third most points to opposing tight ends. … Charles Clay is not a sexy option, but it’s hard to argue with his 48.7 yards per game, which is 10th amongst tight ends active for Week 9. The same is true of his 29 catches. … Greg Olsen has drawn only 12 targets during Cam Newton’s three-game hot streak. … Kyle Rudolph has two good games in his past three, but with another quarterback change afoot, he’s still a TE1 shot in the dark. … Coby Fleener has big time room to grow in the absence of Reggie Wayne, but the most inconsistent fantasy tight end this side of Kyle Rudolph, he’s still just on the TE1 borderline until he proves goose eggs are no longer a potential outcome. … Tim Wright has a poor matchup in a Seahawks defense allowing the fourth fewest fantasy points to rival tight ends, but with three five-catch performances in his past four games, he’s well worth a flier in all formats.

Week 9 Kickers

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Stephen Gostkowski vs. PIT -
2 Blair Walsh at DAL Probable (hamstring)
3 Dan Bailey vs. MIN -
4 Garrett Hartley at NYJ -
5 Matt Bryant at CAR -
6 Nick Novak at WAS -
7 Adam Vinatieri at HOU -
8 Greg Zuerlein vs. TEN -
9 Kai Forbath vs. SD -
10 Mason Crosby vs. CHI -
11 Steven Hauschka vs. TB -
12 Justin Tucker at CLE -
13 Alex Henery at OAK -
14 Shaun Suisham at NE Probable (hamstring)
15 Sebastian Janikowski vs. PHI -
16 Caleb Sturgis vs. CIN -
17 Dan Carpenter vs. KC -
18 Rob Bironas at STL -
19 Robbie Gould at GB -
20 Nick Folk vs. NO -
21 Ryan Succop at BUF -
22 Mike Nugent at MIA -
23 Graham Gano vs. ATL -
24 Billy Cundiff vs. BAL Probable (quadriceps)
25 Rian Lindell at SEA -
26 Randy Bullock vs. IND -

Week 9 Defense/Special Teams    

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Seahawks Def/Spec Team vs. TB -
2 Chiefs Def/Spec Team at BUF -
3 Bengals Def/Spec Team at MIA -
4 Panthers Def/Spec Team vs. ATL -
5 Colts Def/Spec Team at HOU -
6 Ravens Def/Spec Team at CLE -
7 Titans Def/Spec Team at STL -
8 Saints Def/Spec Team at NYJ -
9 Raiders Def/Spec Team vs. PHI -
10 Packers Def/Spec Team vs. CHI -
11 Cowboys Def/Spec Team vs. MIN -
12 Patriots Def/Spec Team vs. PIT -
13 Chargers Def/Spec Team at WAS -
14 Browns Def/Spec Team vs. BAL -
15 Rams Def/Spec Team vs. TEN -
16 Texans Def/Spec Team vs. IND -
17 Eagles Def/Spec Team at OAK -
18 Steelers Def/Spec Team at NE -
19 Jets Def/Spec Team vs. NO -
20 Dolphins Def/Spec Team vs. CIN -
21 Bills Def/Spec Team vs. KC -
22 Bears Def/Spec Team at GB -
23 Falcons Def/Spec Team at CAR -
24 Buccaneers Def/Spec Team at SEA -
25 Redskins Def/Spec Team vs. SD -
26 Vikings Def/Spec Team at DAL -
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