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Week 9 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Disclaimer ... Before you start reading, please understand that we are not in the business of stating the obvious and wasting your time (or ours), so you won't be reading here why you need to start Aaron Rodgers, Arian Foster, Calvin Johnson or any other top-tier players. We're here to help you make a decision on players you are on the fence about.

It's hard to find a team more maligned than the Panthers this year. They are 1-6, they recently fired general manager Marty Hurney and quarterback Cam Newton has been criticized for his inconsistent on-field performance and poor press conferences.

Maybe a suggestion box is in order, as Newton said.

Fantasy owners have been frustrated with the Panthers, especially Newton and Steve Smith. Both were drafted as starting options on average in the majority of leagues (Newton in Round 1 and Smith in Round 5), but neither has lived up to the billing. Newton is the No. 17 Fantasy quarterback in standard leagues and Smith is the No. 32 receiver.

I'm starting Newton and Smith over ...
Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith at CLE
Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne vs. MIA
Andy Dalton and A.J. Green vs. DEN
Matt Ryan and Julio Jones vs. DAL
Tony Romo and Dez Bryant at ATL

One suggestion from us would be to take advantage of a great matchup, which the Panthers have this week at Washington. The Redskins should help Newton and Smith shine, and we would start both with confidence.

The Redskins have struggled against opposing quarterbacks all year as six have reached at least 21 Fantasy points, with six passing for at least 310 yards and four throwing three touchdowns in a game. Even Newton should do well against this defense.

Smith is still looking for his first touchdown in 2012, but the Redskins have allowed 10 touchdowns to opposing receivers and 12 have reached double digits in Fantasy points. We like the way Smith has played of late with 14 catches for 201 yards on 25 targets against Dallas and Chicago, and that momentum should carry over to this game.

Full Disclosure from Week 8
Start of the Week
Player Fantasy Pts. (proj.) Fantasy Pts. (actual) Start % Pos. rank
Sam Bradford, QB, Rams 18 12 13 21
Brandon Weeden, QB, Browns 18 5 43 27
Recommended starts that made us look good
Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers 22 26 66 7
Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos 14 19 91 2
Heath Miller, TE, Steelers 12 10 86 4
Recommended sits that made us look good
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers 18 11 64 23
Steven Jackson, RB, Rams 8 4 60 39
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Lions 7 4 51 40
Recommended starts that made us look bad
Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins 13 3 87 41
Kenny Britt, WR, Titans 10 3 52 56
Lance Moore, WR, Saints 10 2 71 65
Recommended sits that made us look bad
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions 17 37 62 1
Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers 15 28 17 5
Titus Young, WR, Lions 5 22 11 1

Quarterback

Start 'Em

Matthew Stafford (at JAC): There's only one more thing Stafford needs to do to prove he's over his early-season struggles -- throw a touchdown to Calvin Johnson. That's the only thing missing after his breakout performance in Week 8 against Seattle with a season-high 37 Fantasy points. The Stafford you remember is back and he should keep rolling against the Jaguars, who have allowed multiple touchdowns to every quarterback they've faced in the past five games.
Ben Roethlisberger (at NYG): The Giants have struggled against opposing quarterbacks at home. Tony Romo, Brandon Weeden and Robert Griffin III have each reached at least 19 Fantasy points in New York and including Josh Freeman, every quarterback against the Giants at home has thrown multiple touchdowns. Roethlisberger is coming off a solid outing against the Redskins with 26 Fantasy points and this game could be a shootout with Eli Manning.
Josh Freeman (at OAK): Only Aaron Rodgers has been better than Freeman the past three weeks with 98 Fantasy points compared to 92. We'll see if Freeman can keep up this pace with his fourth game in a row with at least 28 Fantasy points, but it's worth the risk to start him if you're stuck at quarterback. The Raiders have done a nice job in pass defense of late with no quarterback getting multiple touchdowns in their past three games, but Matt Ryan is the only passer of worth they've faced over that span, including matchups against Jacksonville and Kansas City. Freeman should play well enough for a fourth game in a row.
Matt Schaub (vs. BUF): Schaub is always a risky starting option because the Texans run the ball with so much success. But like their last game against Baltimore in Week 7, this is a good week for the Texans to do whatever they want on offense. The Bills also have given up some big games to opposing quarterbacks this season with Mark Sanchez, Matt Cassel, Tom Brady and Alex Smith each getting at least 22 Fantasy points. Schaub has at least 20 Fantasy points in three of his past five games, and he should do well coming off the bye week.
Michael Vick (at NO): Vick will remain the starting quarterback for the Eagles and we're excited based on his matchup with the Saints. Six of the seven quarterbacks who have faced the Saints have reached at least 22 Fantasy points, with five of those passers throwing for at least 300 yards. This is a great matchup for Vick to pad his stats, and we hope he takes advantage of what could be his final chance as a starter. Vick also has at least 19 Fantasy points in four of seven games and even though he's been turnover prone, Philadelphia's struggles are not entirely his fault.

Week 9 quarterback sleepers
Jay Cutler (at TEN) Six quarterbacks have multiple touchdowns vs. TEN this year.
Russell Wilson (vs. MIN) Five quarterbacks have at least 19 Fantasy points vs. MIN this year.
Brandon Weeden (vs. BAL) Had 320 passing yards in first meeting with BAL in Week 4.

Sit 'Em

Joe Flacco (at CLE): It's really odd what happens to Flacco at home compared to on the road. In four home games this season he's averaging 23 Fantasy points a game, but on the road that number drops dramatically to six points per contest in three games. He's on the road this week and it's hard to trust him even with a favorable matchup against the Browns, who gave up 24 Fantasy points to Flacco in Baltimore in Week 4. In four career games at Cleveland, Flacco is averaging just 168 passing yards with four touchdowns and one interception and his production will likely be minimal again.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (at HOU): Fitzpatrick only has two games this season with fewer than 19 Fantasy points, but they were his previous two road outings at San Francisco and Arizona. The Texans have given up some big games to opposing quarterbacks with Peyton Manning and Rodgers combining for 668 passing yards and nine touchdowns, but those are the only quarterbacks with at least 19 Fantasy points against Houston this year. We're backing away from Fitzpatrick in this matchup and would only use him as a bye-week replacement in deep leagues or in two-quarterback formats.
Christian Ponder (at SEA): Three legit quarterbacks have come into Seattle and only Brady has escaped with a positive Fantasy outing of more than 14 points. The other two were Romo and Rodgers, who combined for 23 Fantasy points. Ponder has been miserable of late with 19 Fantasy points in his past two games combined against Arizona and Tampa Bay and we would stay clear of him even in two-quarterback leagues.
Andy Dalton (vs. DEN): Dalton's past two home games have not gone well with matchups against Miami and Pittsburgh. He has combined for 21 Fantasy points in those two games and he should struggle again this week. The Broncos have given up multiple touchdowns to the past three opposing quarterbacks they've faced in Brady, Philip Rivers and Drew Brees, but only Brady reached 20 Fantasy points. Dalton's turnovers have become a problem and the Broncos should be able to limit his production.
Carson Palmer (vs. TB): The Bucs have been abused by opposing quarterbacks this season in yards allowed, but they don't give up a lot of passing touchdowns. Every quarterback except Brady Quinn in Week 6 and Ponder in Week 8 has passed for at least 280 yards against the Bucs, but only Eli Manning and Brees have multiple touchdowns. They actually have more interceptions (10) than passing touchdowns allowed (nine), and Palmer's production could be limited. He has at least 18 Fantasy points in five of seven games this year, but 18 points is probably his ceiling for this matchup if Tampa Bay's pass defense continues to play at a high level.

Bust alert: Tony Romo (at ATL): Romo has played well of late with at least 20 Fantasy points in two of his past three games. But he's been plagued by interceptions and missed touchdowns by his receivers, especially Dez Bryant, who is dealing with a hip injury this week. Romo has five interceptions in his past four games, with nine on the season, and Atlanta has done well against opposing quarterbacks. The Falcons have only allowed multiple passing touchdowns twice this season, one of which was Week 4 against Newton. They have limited Peyton Manning, Rivers, Griffin, Palmer and Vick to 17 Fantasy points or less in each game, and Romo will struggle to be a Top 12 quarterback this week.

Running back

Start 'Em

Trent Richardson (vs. BAL): There was concern with Richardson's ribs last week, but he put those concerns at ease with 24 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers. He should do well going forward and Richardson already had 15 Fantasy points at Baltimore in Week 4. The Ravens defense is a shell of what they used to be and six running backs have already reached double digits in Fantasy points, including three in a row. Richardson should add to that total.
Rashad Jennings (vs. DET): Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) is out for the second game in a row, which will allow Jennings to get the majority of touches for the Jaguars. He had over 100 total yards in Week 8 at Green Bay, but he lost a fumble. The Lions have only allowed three touchdowns to opposing running backs, but they have allowed either 100 total yards or a touchdown to every running back in the past four games against Marshawn Lynch, Matt Forte, LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson. Jennings isn't in that class, but he should keep the streak alive.
Fred Jackson (at HOU): The Texans run defense is solid, even without standout linebacker Brian Cushing (knee). They have only allowed Jones-Drew to score against them on a reception in Week 2 and just three running backs have reached double digits in Fantasy points. But Jackson said his injured knee is close to 100 percent and in his past two games he has 25 carries for 124 yards and a touchdown and 13 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. C.J. Spiller will share carries and Spiller is worth using as a starting option as well. But Jackson should continue to have success even in a tough matchup and should be active in all leagues.
Jonathan Stewart (at WAS): Stewart will be the featured back for the Redskins in a matchup we obviously like for the Panthers. The Redskins have allowed either a touchdown or 100 total yards to an opposing running back in every game this season with seven touchdowns total. Stewart has one game this season with double digits in Fantasy points, which was Week 2. But he has gotten the majority of playing time the past two games ahead of DeAngelo Williams and we expect him to shine.
Daniel Thomas (at IND): Owners in deep leagues should consider Thomas a starter as either a No. 2 running back or flex option because he's been playing well of late and continues to get work. You should still keep Reggie Bush active, but the Miami Herald reported that Thomas played 43 snaps in Week 8 at the Jets compared to 20 for Bush. Thomas also has three touchdowns in his past four games and continues to steal touchdowns from Bush. The Colts have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing running backs this year with five reaching double digits in Fantasy points, so we like Thomas as a sleeper with upside.

Week 9 running back sleepers
Isaac Redman (at NYG) He gets all the touches with Jonathan Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall out.
Ronnie Brown (vs. KC) Has 15 catches in past three games and is a useful flex for PPR leagues.
Jacquizz Rodgers (vs. DAL) The more Michael Turner struggles the better Rodgers will start to look.
Joique Bell (at JAC) Something is up with Mikel Leshoure, which could give Bell plenty of touches.
Justin Forsett (vs. BUF) Ben Tate (hamstring) is hurting, which gives more work for Forsett.

Sit 'Em

Alex Green (vs. ARI): You can understand why Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy is upset with Green because he's had every opportunity to succeed but failed. In his past three games, Green has 22, 20 and 22 carries against Houston, St. Louis and Jacksonville and has combined for just 18 total Fantasy points. The Cardinals have struggled against opposing running backs of late with Jackson, Spiller and Adrian Peterson each reaching double digits in Fantasy points in two of the past three games, but Green might lose carries to James Starks. He's just too risky to trust in most leagues.
Donald Brown and Vick Ballard (vs. MIA): Be cautious starting Brown and Ballard since the two should split carries, with Brown likely starting again with his knee healthy. Brown had more carries than Ballard in Week 8 at the Titans at 14 to 12, but Ballard reached double digits in Fantasy points with an amazing touchdown catch. This is a tough matchup for Ballard and Brown since the Dolphins have not allowed a running back to score on the ground since Arian Foster in Week 1 and have not allowed double digits to a rusher since Mike Goodson in Week 2.
LaRod Stephens-Howling (at GB): Stephens-Howling will remain the starter for the Cardinals, but his performance in Week 8 against San Francisco with three Fantasy points is closer of what you can expect than his 20-point outing at Minnesota in Week 7. He can still be a flex option in deeper PPR leagues, but he's not going to produce at a high level most weeks in standard formats. The Packers also have allowed just one rushing touchdown to a running back at home in four games, which was Frank Gore in Week 1.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (vs. DEN): Green-Ellis has not had more than seven Fantasy points in his past five games and he's averaging just 3.1 yards per carry over that span. He hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 3, and the Broncos have allowed just three rushing touchdowns to a running back this season. Even though Green-Ellis has at least 16 carries in six of seven games this year he's not producing enough to start in most formats.
Michael Turner (vs. DAL): The Turner I feared before the season has showed up the past two games and he could struggle again this week. He had 11 carries for 33 yards against Oakland in Week 6 and 24 carries for 58 yards at Philadelphia in Week 8. He is averaging a career-low 3.8 yards per carry, and he has only one game this season with more than 80 rushing yards. Dallas has allowed six touchdowns to opposing running backs, but only three have reached double digits in Fantasy points. Lynch in Week 2 is the only running back to rush for 100 yards against the Cowboys and if Turner doesn't score, then his production will be minimal.

Bust alert: Chris Johnson (vs. CHI): When Johnson started to turn things around with his performance against Pittsburgh in Week 6 we pointed to two games on his upcoming schedule where he could struggle. It was this week against the Bears and next week at Miami. You probably can't afford to bench Johnson in most leagues, especially since he has double digits in Fantasy points in four of his past five games. But keep in mind Chicago hasn't allowed a running back to score since Brown in Week 1 and Cedric Benson in Week 2 is the only rusher to reach 100 total yards. Since then the Bears have shut down Steven Jackson, DeMarco Murray, Jones-Drew, Mikel Leshoure and Stewart. If you start Johnson in the majority of formats as expected then just lower your expectations in this tough matchup.

Wide receiver

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Start 'Em

Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson (at NO): With Vick still starting we now have high hopes for Maclin and Jackson. Both have struggled this season since they each have just two games with double digits in Fantasy points. But this is a good week to start them in all leagues since the Saints have given up the most Fantasy points to opposing receivers with 13 touchdowns allowed and 11 reaching double digits in Fantasy points. If Maclin and Jackson don't have success this week then it's time to worry.
Josh Gordon (vs. BAL): The rain and wind in Week 8 hurt Gordon with his matchup against San Diego as he was held to three catches for 46 yards on five targets. Look for him to rebound in this matchup with the Ravens, who have given up three touchdowns to receivers in their past two games, which is when standout cornerback Ladarius Webb (knee) got hurt. For the season, the Ravens have allowed five touchdowns to opposing receivers and five to reach double digits in Fantasy points and Gordon had four touchdowns in three games prior to Week 8 when he wasn't playing in miserable weather.
Denarius Moore (vs. TB): Moore is on an impressive run and we expect him to remain hot against the Buccaneers. He has a touchdown in four of his past five games, including three in a row, and he has at least seven Fantasy points in each outing over that span. Palmer continues to look for Moore, who has eight targets in every game this season, and Tampa Bay has allowed six touchdowns to opposing receivers and nine to reach double digits in Fantasy points.
Titus Young (at JAC): With Nate Burleson (leg) out for the rest of the season you can count on Young being more consistent. He had nine catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns last week against Seattle on nine targets and since Burleson went down in Week 7 at Chicago he has 17 targets for 15 catches, 181 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Broyles is also worth a look in deeper leagues this week and the Jaguars, who have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing receivers, will have their hands full with this entire receiving corps, especially if the real Calvin Johnson shows up.
Lance Moore (vs. PHI): Moore was a disappointment last week at Denver with three catches for 25 yards, but he should rebound this week at home. In two home games this season against Washington and Kansas City he has 10 catches for 190 yards and two touchdowns, and he scored five times in seven home games in 2011. The Eagles have been abused of late by opposing receivers with five getting double digits in Fantasy points in the past four games and four touchdowns to receivers over that span. This game should be high scoring and Moore should be heavily involved.

Week 9 wide receiver sleepers
Golden Tate (vs. MIN) The No. 2 WR vs. MIN has a touchdown in each of the past two games.
Anquan Boldin (at CLE) Had nine catches for 131 yards in Week 4 vs. CLE.
Cecil Shorts (vs. DET) His 22 targets the past two games are hard to overlook.
Donnie Avery (vs. MIA) MIA has struggled with No. 2 receivers of late.
Andre Roberts (at GB) Has 14 catches for 168 yards and one TD past two games.

Sit 'Em

Kenny Britt (vs. CHI): Britt's knee is not 100 percent and it's showing in his play. He has just one game with double digits in Fantasy points on the season and he's combined for six Fantasy points the past two games against Buffalo and Indianapolis with only 11 targets. He will likely see plenty of Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman and that will be a difficult matchup. The Bears have only allowed four touchdowns to opposing receivers and just five have reached double digits in Fantasy points.
Sidney Rice (vs. MIN): The Vikings have done a solid job of limiting No. 1 receivers thanks to Minnesota cornerback Antoine Winfield. Reggie Wayne is the only No. 1 receiver to score against the Vikings, including matchups with Vincent Jackson, Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson. That trio combined for 11 Fantasy points and Rice will likely also be held to single digits. He scored last week at Detroit, but the last time he scored in consecutive games was in 2009 when he played with the Vikings.
Santana Moss (vs. CAR): Moss has been solid of late and has done a nice job taking over as the No. 1 receiver for the injured Pierre Garcon (foot) with 42 Fantasy points in his past four games with four touchdowns over that span. But he could struggle this week. The Panthers have only allowed five touchdowns to opposing receivers and just three have reached double digits in Fantasy points. Of the four receivers who have at least 90 receiving yards against Carolina (Ramses Barden, Roddy White, Miles Austin and Brandon Marshall), all had at least nine targets a game. Moss has nine targets once, which was last week at the Steelers, so he would likely need to remain heavily involved to be successful.
Steve Johnson (at HOU): Aside from Jordy Nelson in Week 6, who had nine catches for 121 yards and three touchdowns, the Texans have shut down No. 1 receivers this year, including Demaryius Thomas and Torrey Smith. That duo combined for seven Fantasy points and Johnson could face similar production. He does have four touchdowns on the season, but he has one game with more than 80 receiving yards this year. In the three games where he didn't score he has 13 combined Fantasy points. We would use him as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver at best in the majority of leagues.
Hakeem Nicks (vs. PIT): Give Nicks credit for playing through this knee injury that cost him three games from Weeks 3-5. But in the three games since he's been back he has just 13 Fantasy points combined and he only has one touchdown on the season, which was Week 2. We probably won't see Nicks playing at his best until after the Giants' bye in Week 11 and this is a tough matchup for him. The Steelers have only allowed three receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points this year despite allowing seven touchdowns. It's hard to bench Nicks when he's active, but you might consider it this week if you have other alternatives.

Bust alert: Torrey Smith (at CLE): The last time Smith faced the Browns in Week 4 he had six catches for 97 yards and a touchdown, but that game was at home with Cleveland missing standout cornerback Joe Haden. In the past two games against Wayne and Malcom Floyd, Haden held them to a combined 10 catches for 89 yards and no touchdowns, albeit with Floyd playing in a storm. Smith faced Haden twice in 2011 and finished with three catches for 70 yards. And Smith, like his quarterback, struggles on the road. In three road games this year Smith is averaging three catches for 43 yards and no touchdowns.

Tight end

Start 'Em

Greg Olsen (at WAS): We'll continue our love for the Panthers this week with Olsen, who gets a dream matchup against the Redskins. The Redskins have surrendered the second-most Fantasy points to opposing tight ends with seven touchdowns allowed and five reaching double digits in Fantasy points. The Steelers had two tight ends score against Washington in Week 8. A tight end has scored at least seven Fantasy points in seven of eight games against the Redskins this year.
Jermaine Gresham (vs. DEN): The Broncos defense has done a nice job this season, but stopping tight ends has been a problem. They have allowed six touchdowns to opposing tight ends and four have reached double digits in Fantasy points. Now, it's been an impressive group of tight ends who have scored against Denver, including Heath Miller, Tony Gonzalez, Owen Daniels, Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham. But Gresham could also present problems for this defense, especially if he gets enough targets. He has a touchdown in two of the three games where he has at least seven targets.
Joel Dreessen (at CIN): Dreessen has been in a slump of late since he's gone two games without a touchdown following a three-game scoring streak. Facing the Bengals could be a good remedy since they have allowed a touchdown or 90 total yards to an opposing tight end in five of seven games, including two in a row. Dreessen continues to split production with Jacob Tamme, but we would take a flier on Dreessen as a starting option in deeper leagues, especially with Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Vernon Davis off this week.

Week 9 tight end sleepers
Dwayne Allen (vs. MIA) No Coby Fleener (shoulder) should mean more targets for Allen.
Kellen Davis (at TEN) TEN has allowed seven touchdowns to opposing tight ends this year.
Scott Chandler (at HOU) HOU has allowed four touchdowns to opposing tight ends this year.

Sit 'Em

Jermichael Finley (vs. ARI): Finley's problems have been well-documented of late with his shoulder injury and poor play. He will eventually break out of this funk, but he has just seven Fantasy points combined in his past four games and hasn't scored since Week 1. He's been one of the bigger disappointments for Fantasy owners this season. The Cardinals have only allowed two touchdowns to opposing tight ends but none since Week 2, including matchups with Brent Celek, Scott Chandler, Kyle Rudolph and Davis.
Dennis Pitta (at CLE): The last time Pitta faced the Browns in Week 4 was the beginning of his demise. He came into that game with 30 Fantasy points through the first three games and left with no catches. Since then, Pitta has combined for eight Fantasy points over four games. The Browns have only allowed one tight end to score since Week 1 and last week held Gates to two catches for 14 yards, although rain helped with that effort. We hope Pitta can turn things around soon, but we need to see him play well first before recommending him in most leagues.
Brent Celek (at NO): Celek has just one touchdown on the season and has not reached double digits in Fantasy points since Week 2. In his past two games against Detroit and Atlanta he has six Fantasy points combined. The Saints haven't done much right on defense this season, but they have done well against tight ends. Dallas Clark is the lone tight end to score against New Orleans and the only one to get more than four Fantasy points, including matchups with Fred Davis, Olsen, Finley and Gates.

Bust alert: Kyle Rudolph (at SEA): Rudolph has been one of the best surprises this season, but he's in a mini-slump with his performance the past two games. He has just one Fantasy point combined against Arizona and Tampa Bay, but the troubling thing is his six targets over that span. We wish Ponder would force the ball more in Rudolph's direction and maybe that happens this week. Seattle has allowed just two touchdowns to opposing tight ends, but both came in their past three games against Hernandez and Delanie Walker. Otherwise they have limited Jason Witten, Finley, Olsen, Gronkowski and Brandon Pettigrew to seven Fantasy points or less in each game. Rudolph's problem is if he doesn't score then his production is limited. His best game without a touchdown is six Fantasy points in Week 1.

Defense/Special teams

Start 'Em

Week 9 sleeper DSTs
Chargers vs. KC
Dolphins at IND
Lions at JAC

Broncos (at CIN): The Broncos defense is matching their offense with an impressive run of late. In their past two games against the Chargers and Saints they have two defensive touchdowns, five interceptions, five sacks and two fumbles with 39 Fantasy points combined. In Dalton's last eight games he has 13 interceptions going back to last year's playoff loss at Houston with at least one interception in each outing. There's a good chance that streak continues since the Broncos have seven interceptions on the year.

Sit 'Em

Cardinals (at GB): A short week followed by a trip to Green Bay is bad news for the Cardinals DST. They also have struggled of late. Since getting 25 Fantasy points in Week 3 they have watched their production decline to six points in Week 8 against San Francisco. The game against the 49ers was their first without a turnover all season and Rodgers hasn't thrown an interception since Week 5, with the Packers scoring 32 points a game in their past three outings. The Chargers, Dolphins and Lions are owned in just 40 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com or less and are better starting options than the Cardinals this week.

Kicker

Start 'Em

Week 9 sleeper Ks
Kai Forbath vs. CAR
Nick Novak vs. KC
Connor Barth at OAK

Garrett Hartley (vs. PHI): The Eagles are among the worst teams in Fantasy points allowed to opposing kickers and Hartley should rebound from a poor game in Week 8 when he had just two extra points at Denver. Hartley only has one game with double digits in Fantasy points in 2012, but the Eagles have allowed five kickers to hit that mark this year, including three in a row. Lawrence Tynes in Week 4 is the lone kicker not to have multiple field goals against the Eagles this season.

Sit 'Em

Dan Bailey (at ATL): The Falcons have done a solid job against opposing kickers this season. Sebastian Janikowski is the lone kicker to make multiple field goals against the Falcons this year with two and no kicker has reached double digits in Fantasy points. They have held Matt Prater, Janikowski and Alex Henery to eight Fantasy points or less. Bailey has double digits in Fantasy points in two of his past three games and two in a row on the road, but the Falcons should be able to limit his production this week.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Saints' QB Brees on Graham: 'Can't dwell on who you don't have'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(2:47 pm ET) Saints quarterback Drew Brees lost a huge offensive weapon in tight end Jimmy Graham this offseason, but the Pro Bowler is still confident in the weapons he'll have this year, per The Times-Picayune.

"You can't dwell on who you don't have," Brees said."I love Ben Watson and Josh Hill and I feel like they can make a big impact for us."

The Saints traded Graham to the Seahawks this offseason, but added runningback C.J. Spiller, who has already impressed Brees.

"There's really nothing he can't do," Brees said of Spiller.

Graham caught 85 passes for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns last season for the Saints.


Broncos LT Ryan Clady suffers torn ACL in practice
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2:45 pm ET) Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady suffered a torn ACL in practice on Wednesday and will probably miss the 2015 season, the team announced. 

This is a crucial blow for the Broncos offense, which will rely a lot on its offensive line under Gary Kubiak. Options to replace Clady at left tackle are Michael Schofield or rookie Ty Sambrailo.

Sambrailo was taken in the second round of the 2015 draft and Schofield was a third-round pick in the 2014 draft. 


Agent: Absence of Browns RB Duke Johnson due to family issue
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:42 pm ET) Browns running back and unsigned third-round pick Duke Johnson did not miss voluntary OTAs this week because of any contract squabble, the Northeast Ohio Media Group is reporting. Rather, he was sidelined due to a family matter.

"We did not instruct him to miss OTAs," said agent Alex Gavilla. "We're not trying to take an aggressive negotiating strategy. Duke is very close to his family and he had a personal matter to attend to. He has no plans of holding out of anything."

Johnson, who will compete with Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell for playing time, is the only one of 12 Browns draft picks to remain unsigned. But the two sides are close.

"We're looking at all of the deals that relate to Duke and just trying to find a middle ground with the team," Gavilla said. "We're in constant communication with the Browns front office and having good dialogue."


Titans WR Hakeen Nicks seeking comeback season
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:28 pm ET) Fading wide receiver Hakeem Nicks claims he can still be the premier player he was with the Giants now that he is wearing a Titans uniform. But he also understands that he must prove it.

"(I'm) motivated, determined and ready to work," he told The Tennessean. "I am ready to bring it all and lay it on the line, man. I just want to get back in the rhythm of being talked about as one of the best receivers in the league, as I was in the past. ... I need to go out there and prove it. No need to say words."

Nicks enjoyed successive 1,000-yard seasons in 2010 and 2011 and tallied 24 touchdowns in his first three years in the NFL. But he faded to the point in which he caught a career-low 38 passes for 405 yards and four touchdowns a year ago.

"I feel like where I am at in my career - I just turned 27 - I feel like I still have a lot in my tank," he said. "I wanted to go somewhere and prove I can still be a No. 1 receiver and be the guy I was in the past, statistically and being a guy that likes to make plays and be on the feld consistently.

"With six years of experience, playoff experience and a Super Bowl, I thnk I can definitely bring (leadership) to a team. And I want to compete for Super Bowl teams here."


Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles wants to play another six years
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(1:45 pm ET) Jamaal Charles is 29 but hasn't showed any signs of slowing down. 

In his battle to prove that you can hit the 30-year mark in age and still be a capable running back in the NFL, Charles said it's his goal to continue playing this game for an additional half-decade.

“I want to play another six years so, my form is to keep on taking my diet," Charles said, via the Chiefs' official team site. "I’m seeing guys at 37 or 38 still playing football in the trenches and that’s somewhere where you don’t want to play. So I just want to change the game with the running backs. I want this to last longer and then when I retire, I’ll be happy with where I end my career at.”

Charles ran for 1,033 yards and nine touchdowns while going for 291 receiving yards and five touchdowns. 


Eagles' Chip Kelly on Tim Tebow: 'He's a quarterback'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:29 pm ET) There's no longer a mystery as to what the Eagles brought Tim Tebow in to do. He's a quarterback.

Coach Chip Kelly said the team is not looking for Tebow to play another position, per NFL.com.

"He's a quarterback," Kelly said. "That's how we're looking at Timmy. We're not looking at him at any other position."

Kelly emphasized that Tebow has improved behind center.

"You guys will see him today. Watch him throw. I think he's improved," Kelly said of Tebow. "He's spent a lot of time in the last few years in terms of working on his game."

Tebow hasn't played in the NFL since 2012.


Kelly: 'We've to plenty of time' to wait for Eagles QB Sam Bradford
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:20 pm ET) Chip Kelly has stated that Eagles presumed starting quarterback Sam Bradford must get back on the field and prove something before he is proclaimed as such.

It hasn't happened yet. He was limited in workouts this spring and has been absent from OTA drills, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. Chief competitor Mark Sanchez has recieved the first-team reps instead.

Bradford is just nine months removed from a torn ACL, his second in two seasons. Kelly stated that Bradford is on schedule with his rehab and could do some 7-on-7 work next week.

"We've got plenty of time," Kelly added.


Russell Wilson's agent: Contract talks 'encouraging'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:11 pm ET) Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has greatly outplayed his rookie contract and the two sides have been working on negotiations for some time. Mark Rodgers, his agent, has a positive outlook on the talks, per The Seattle Times.

“I would characterize our talks as ongoing, fluid, robust at times, thoughtful,” Rodgers said.  “And we’ve made progress. I would characterize them as positive and encouraging.”

Wilson's agent, Mark Rodgers, said that his client is prepared to play this season without a new deal despite the ongoing negotiations.

“There really are no deadlines,’’ Rodgers said. "Financially, we planned long-term for him to play for the $1.5 million dollars (in 2015). So there isn’t any expectation of additional money coming in from the Seattle Seahawks this coming year.’’

Wilson threw for 3,475 yards with 20 touchdowns last season, leading the Seahawks to their second-consecutive Super Bowl appearance.


Lions G Manny Ramirez ahead of Laken Tomlinson on first unit
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:03 pm ET) Many believed that guard and first-round pick Laken Tomlinson was a shoo-in to start for the Lions this season.

Not so fast.

Fellow newcomer Manny Ramirez, for whom the team traded in a swap with Denver, began OTAs this week working with the first team. Tomlinson was on the second unit.

Jim Caldwell explained why, praising the 32-year-old Ramirez along the way.

"He's a guy that's certainly going to add some girth and power and experience in the (interior)," Caldwell told MLive.com. "But, also, you can just tell from a leadership standpoint, I mean, he's tremendous. Real solid guy, just a person that's well-rounded, has a good sense of what being a real pro is. ... I think you'll see some of that wear off on some of our younger guys."

Ramirez was a full-time starter with the Broncos in each of the last three seasons.


Packers OLB Julius Peppers sent home from OTA's with illness
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:55 pm ET) Packers outside linebacker Julius Peppers was absent from organized team activities on Thursday, per Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Peppers was sent home because of an apparent illness before practice started for the day.


 
 
 
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