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First, I'd like to apologize for not publishing a week eight Start 'Em/Sit 'Em. My business got the best of me last week and I simply didn't have the time. In fact, I shouldn't say that. The time when I normally write this article became occupied and I didn't find or make the time elsewhere. So I'm sorry. I guess you could say it was a bye week for me, too. Hopefully your team(s) survived and/or you made some money. Onward.
I should take at least a paragraph here to gloat... I mean, enhance my credibility... by letting you all know that my three teams went a combined 6-0 over the last two weeks. I knew I'd hit my stride at some point. That brings my records up to 3-5, 6-2, and 3-5 (12-12 overall). Many players helped over that time-frame, but the biggest headline had to have been Drew Brees going absolutely ham with 7 TD passes. It felt so great to start him and not have to face him at all that week.
Here's some advice for week nine:
Philip Rivers, SD (vs Chicago Bears) - He's a boss. He throws a ton and is truly one of the great QBs in the league. Look at his last five. 300+ in every single game and 503 yards just a couple weeks ago. Mad fantasy points every week. Why should this week be any different? That's right. It shouldn't. The Bears defense is garbage and the game is in SD
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (vs Oakland Raiders) - Bell is gone so Ben's going to have to do more. They have great receivers and Ben's good. He's at home and the Raiders defense is still pretty bad.
Andy Dalton, CIN (vs Cleveland Browns) - He's been legit this year. The Browns defense (and whole team really) is quite banged up and Dalton will have the home-crowd behind him.
Teddy Bridgewater, MIN (vs St. Louis Rams) - He disappoints weekly in the fantasy world. The Rams defense isn't the unit to get right against.
Jay Cutler, CHI (@ San Diego Chargers) - I think Jay and really the whole Bears offense relied so heavily on Matt Forte, that Jay's going to take a hit. He threw a lot to Forte. And when the pressure mounts on Cutler, he tends to throw picks in bunches. It doesn't help that they'll have to travel this week.
Andrew Luck, IND (vs Denver Broncos) - Let's see. OC was just fired. May have broken ribs. Hasn't been good all year. Going against the #1 defense in the league. They just demoralized Aaron Rodgers and held him to 77 yards. What more do you need?
Mark Ingram, NO (vs Tennessee Titans) - The Saints offense absolutely exploded last week and it was largely due to Drew Brees' brilliance. I have a feeling that three things are going to happen this week in NO: the Saints are going to score a lot, the Saints are going to get a lead and run the ball, and the Titans are going to be very focused on stopping Brees and the pass.
LeSean McCoy, BUF (vs Miami Dolphins) - Call it a hunch. Tyrod Taylor could be coming back which makes that entire offense more potent. Plus, the Dolphins DL has been underperforming.
Doug Martin, TB (vs New York Giants) - The Giants defense is HORRIBLE!
T.J. Yeldon, JAX (@ New York Jets) - Here is is again (this time in bold): @ New York Jets.
Pierre Thomas, SF (vs Atlanta Falcons) - So many reasons: the 49ers are bad, Thomas is old, he's been sitting on his couch (probably), people are overly excited because they know his name and don't know the other backs in SF, those other backs are more likely to receive work, etc.
Shane Vereen, NYG (@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - The Bucs have been surprisingly stingy against opposing RBs, especially at home. Vereen's touches are extremely inconsistent.
Emmanuel Sanders, DEN (@ Indianapolis Colts) - Peyton bounced back in a big way last week and Sanders has been great all year. Additionally, the Colts defense is a favorable match-up for opposing WRs. He'll get targets.
Mike Evans, TB (vs New York Giants) - Refer to what NO did to this Giant defense last week.
Randall Cobb, GB (@ Carolina Panthers) - There's absolutely no way Aaron Rodgers is going to have two poor performances in a row. Also, Cobb lines up in the slot a lot and Norman (the Panthers stud CB) pretty much stays to the outside.
Mike Wallace, MIN (vs St. Louis Rams) - See what I wrote about Teddy Bridgewater above. Wallace is far too hit-or-miss and Diggs has taken a lot of looks.
Jarvis Landry, MIA (@ Buffalo Bills) - The Bills have a great defense that only performs better at home. They don't allow the opposition's top receiver to do well. Period.
T.Y. Hilton, IND (vs Denver Broncos) - Again, the Broncos defense is magical. Aqib Talib is a beast. Luck hasn't been good. The Colts are in disarray.
Jordan Reed, WAS (@ New England Patriots) - This guy is now a must-start. He's basically one of the top five best receiving/fantasy TEs in the game right now. The Redskins target him more than just about any other team targets their TEs, too. Could be the brightest of bright spots for the 'Skins this week.
Gary Barnidge, CLE (@ Cincinnati Bengals) - I guess we should probably believe by now...
Heath Miller, PIT (vs Oakland Raiders) - So weird... when Ben plays, Miller's a top TE. When Ben's out, Miller's unstartable. Ben's playing. Plus, the Raiders are terrible against TEs
Julius Thomas, JAX (@ New York Jets) - Much like all other offensive positions, TEs don't perform well against the Jets.
Richard Rodgers, GB (@ Carolina Panthers) - It's tough sledding against Carolina in Carolina. Also, it seemed like GB was a little out-of-sync last week. Might be tough to right the ship this week...
Vernon Davis, DEN (@ Indianapolis Colts) - People are way too excited. He just got there. Does he even know the playbook? They have two other decent TEs who were already playing fine. Plus, he's getting older and hasn't shown anything for a while now. I don't think he's just going to automatically become a TE1 in fantasy or something. I need to see a week or two first. I'm not expecting much.
Please leave any fantasy related questions you might have in the comments section and I'll try to answer as many and as quickly as I can. It's fun to get everyone's perspectives on this week's matchups floating around down there and I'm always interested to see what kind of decisions different fantasy players have to make. These are just general ideas for standard leagues, but we can all give and receive advice for unique situations as they come up.