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Five up, five down for Week 9

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.

No Patriots or Frank Gore for your teams in Week 9, so we will have to scramble to fill in for some quality starters as well as find new bench players for your Jets and Rams, who thankfully also have the week off. With that in mind, here are some options to get you through Week 9.

Get 'em active ...

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers (at WAS)
Current own/start %: 99/65
I'd start him over: Eli Manning (vs. PIT), Ben Roethlisberger (at NYG), Tony Romo (at ATL)
I know Cam had two more interceptions and no touchdowns against the Bears, but I was encouraged by the fact that he threw for 314 yards against a very tough pass defense. He was able to lead the Panthers on six scoring drives against the Bears and just missed a rushing touchdown when the ball was dislodged as he was going into the end zone. All told, he was responsible for 351 yards of total offense against the Bears and should fare much better this week against the Redskins. The Skins have surrendered a league-high 19 passing touchdowns this year and have the lowest-ranked pass defense at 325 yards per game as well. Six of the eight quarterbacks who have faced Washington have produced at least 21 points and have finished in the Top 12 at the position for the week. I know Cam has been slumping but when he is good, he is really, really good. Look for that to be the case as he finally delivers a monster Fantasy week for your teams in Week 9 against the 'Skins.

Other QBs with favorable matchups: Matthew Stafford (at JAC), Michael Vick (at NO), Robert Griffin III (vs. CAR), Josh Freeman (at OAK), Carson Palmer (vs. TB), Andrew Luck (vs. MIA), Ben Roethlisberger (at NYG); Bye Week Broski: Matt Schaub (vs. BUF), Philip Rivers (vs. KC), Jay Cutler (at TEN), Brandon Weeden (vs. BAL)

Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos (at CIN)
Current own/start %: 100/93
I'd start him over: Darren Sproles (vs. PHI), Fred Jackson (at HOU), Ahmad Bradshaw (vs. PIT)
We got a "Roll Willie Roll" from Brian Westbrook on Fantasy Football Today last week and it worked out very well, so I am going back to the well with Willis McGahee in Week 9. Bill has now produced at least 100 total yards in four straight games and is averaging 14 points per game during that span. He should fare very well against the Bengals this week because when McGahee scores, he produces an average of 17.3 Fantasy points per game. That is important because he is a great bet to score against a Bengals defense that has allowed a running back rushing touchdown in six out of seven games this year. They have allowed eight total running back rushing scores on the year, which is the second most in the NFL. The Bengals are also giving up an average of 20.14 Fantasy points per week to the running back position and have allowed six backs to produce 11 or more points in a single game. With McGahee really developing into a dual threat back (126 receiving yards in his last three games) and a goal line hammer for the Broncos, look for another monster game from the 31-year old stalwart.

Rashad Jennings, RB, Jaguars (vs. DET)
Current own/start %: 95/67
I'd start him over: Jonathan Stewart (at WAS), Michael Turner (vs. DAL), Chris Johnson (vs. CHI)
Jennings has not been the prettiest runner since taking over for Maurice Jones-Drew, but if you like a baseline of at least 100 total yards, which I do, then he is a solid starter for your teams in Week 9. In three career games with at least 20 touches, Jennings has produced at least 100 total yards in all of them and has scored in two of them. He averages 14.7 points per game as the main man and is a great dual-threat back. Over the last two weeks, Jennings has been the target of 17 passes and has caught 13 of them for 104 yards. He has produced at least six catches and 50 yards in each game and should continue that trend against the Lions. The Lions have allowed 18 running back receptions in their last three games and have allowed at least 10 running back points in each. Over the last three games, the Lions are giving up 14.3 points per game to running backs and with Jennings the only show in town, he is a great bet to hit 10 points again this week. That makes his a solid No. 2 running back or a great flex option with enhanced PPR value for your teams.

Other RBs with favorable matchups: Doug Martin (at OAK), Trent Richardson (vs. BAL), Darren McFadden (vs. TB), Jamaal Charles (at SD), Ryan Mathews (vs. KC), DeMarco Murray/Felix Jones (at ATL), Alfred Morris (vs. CAR), Darren Sproles (vs. PHI), Jonathan Dwyer (at NYG), Reggie Bush (at IND); Bye Week Broksis: Jonathan Stewart (at WAS), Daniel Thomas (at IND)

Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders (vs. TB)
Current own/start %: 99/78
I'd start him over: Hakeem Nicks (vs. PIT), Antonio Brown (at NYG), Jeremy Maclin (at NO)
Denarius Moore is becoming a dominant No. 1 receiver right before our very eyes and has elevated himself to must start status as far as I am concerned. Moore has seen at least eight targets in every game this year and has produced at least 100 yards or a touchdown in four of his last five games. He has not produced fewer than seven Fantasy points in a game during that span and has shown the development to produce even when the deep ball is taken away. During that five-game run, Moore has caught 53.4 percent of his targets and is averaging a solid 8.1 yards per target. That is significant because it shows his maturation as a receiver in just his second season. Last year, Moore caught just 43 percent of his targets and was a boom or bust player who relied solely on the deep ball to produce. Last year, only one of his six touchdowns came from inside the red zone, whereas he has already hauled in three scores from inside the 20-yard line. Carson Palmer counts on Moore to deliver every week and that is exactly what he has done. Look for that to continue against the Buccaneers in Week 9 as the opposing top target has now scored against them in back to back games. For the year, the Bucs are allowing just under 29 points per game to the wide receiver position and in the last two weeks alone, four receivers have produced at least 10 points against them and six have produced at least seven! Roll with Moore this and every week going forward, because the kid is a stud.

Other WRs with favorable matchups: Jeremy Maclin/DeSean Jackson (at NO), Percy Harvin (at SEA), Calvin Johnson/Titus Young (at JAC), Mike Wallace/Antonio Brown (at NYG), Steve Smith (at WAS), Randall Cobb/Jordy Nelson/James Jones (vs. ARI), Eric Decker/Demaryius Thomas (at CIN), Brian Hartline (at IND), Andre Johnson (vs. BUF), Mike Williams/Vincent Jackson (at OAK), Marques Colston/Lance Moore (vs. PHI), Miles Austin (at ATL), Malcom Floyd (at KC), Anquan Boldin (at CLE) Bye Week Broskis: Darrius Heyward-Bey (vs. TB), Cecil Shorts (vs. DET), Josh Gordon (vs. BAL), Donnie Avery (vs. MIA), Ryan Broyles (at JAC), Andre Roberts (at GB), Santana Moss (vs. CAR), Golden Tate (vs. MIN), Brandon LaFell (at WAS)

Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers (at WAS)
Current own/start %: 83/48
I'd start him over: Jermichael Finley (vs. ARI), Kyle Rudolph (at SEA), Martellus Bennett (vs. PIT)
If you do not have Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Dustin Keller or Vernon Davis this week or if you have been saddled with Jermichael 'Bust' Finley, Greg Olsen may be a great solution to pickup and play in Week 9. Olsen has not done anything in weeks and is available in a good number of leagues, which makes him an ideal tight end 'Bye Week Broski' against the awful Redskins. The 'Skins are absolutely atrocious at defending tight ends this year and are currently allowing a league-high 12.1 Fantasy points per game to the position. The 'Skins have allowed seven tight end touchdowns this year, tied for the most in the league with the Titans. A tight end has scored in six of eight games against Washington this year and in every game but one, the opposing starter has produced at least seven Fantasy points. Even Martellus Bennett was able to catch five passes for 79 yards against Washington in Week 7 before disappearing again in Week 8. The 'Skins have allowed at least 15 tight end points in three of the last four games and if there was ever a time to dial up Olsen in your starting lineup, this is it.

Other TEs with favorable matchups: Jermaine Gresham (vs. DEN), Antonio Gates (vs. SD), Heath Miller (at NYG), Brent Celek (at NO), Owen Daniels (vs. BUF); Bye Week Broskis: Kellen Davis (at TEN), Brandon Myers (vs. TB)

Ride the pine ...

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Eli Manning, QB, Giants (vs. PIT)
Current own/start %: 100/78
I'd rather start: Cam Newton (at WAS), Andrew Luck (vs. MIA), Josh Freeman (at OAK)
In his last three games, Eli Manning has exactly two passing touchdowns, three interceptions and has been held under 200 yards passing twice. In their last three games, the Steelers have allowed exactly three passing touchdowns and held opposing quarterbacks under 200 yards passing twice. In fact, the Steelers have gone four straight games holding quarterbacks to 16 or fewer Fantasy points and they have not allowed one Top 12 quarterback during that span, despite facing Michael Vick, Andy Dalton and Robert Griffin III. Eli is in a slump and could not even top the 20-point barrier against the awful Redskins pass defense. Eli is a stud and capable of a breakout at any point against any opponent, but given the excellent quarterback play around the league right now, I do not think you need to start him this week in a difficult matchup against a Pittsburgh defense that has been the eighth toughest on quarterbacks all year long, allowing just 15.29 points per game.

Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens (at CLE)
Current own/start %: 90/14
I'd rather start: Carson Palmer (vs. TB), Philip Rivers (vs. KC), Matt Schaub (vs. BUF)
Joe Flacco does not like playing on the road. Perhaps he has the best bed in the world back in Baltimore or he really needs the exact same routine to produce, but the fact of the matter is that he is a much better quarterback when the team plays in Baltimore. In his last nine road games, Flacco has thrown for multiple passing touchdowns only once and he has been held below 250 yards passing six times. In his last two games at Cleveland, Flacco has thrown for a grand total of 260 yards passing and two touchdowns, which is fine production for one game, but horrendous for two. Over the last two weeks, the Browns pass defense seems to have regained its 2011 form with Joe Haden back in the lineup. In those two games, they have not allowed a single passing touchdown to either Andrew Luck or Rivers and neither quarterback was able to pass for more than 186 yards. The pass defense is improving and I expect to see a run-oriented attack from the Ravens in Week 9, so I'd pass on Joey Flaccs.

Other QBs with tough matchups: Ryan Fitzpatrick (at HOU), Andy Dalton (vs. DEN)

Michael Turner, RB, Falcons (vs. DAL)
Current own/start %: 100/77
I'd rather start: Rashad Jennings (vs. DET), Reggie Bush (at IND), Chris Johnson (vs. CHI)
In his last three games, Michael Turner has not run for 70 yards in a single game and is averaging less than seven Fantasy points per game despite scoring one touchdown. During that span, Turner has rushed for a total of 158 yards 53 carries, which is a paltry 2.98 yards per carry. For the year, Turner has produced 70 or more rushing yards in only two games and has failed to produce 60 yards on four separate occasions. The Cowboys have allowed four rushing touchdowns in the last three games and Turner will have to hope he scores, otherwise he will be in for another four or five point day. The Cowboys have allowed only one running back all year -- Marshawn Lynch -- to run for more than 80 yards against them all year. In their last five games, the 'Boys have been pretty much lockdown against some of the best runners in the NFL. During that span, Dallas has held Doug Martin (53 yards, 2.8 yards per carry), Matt Forte (52, 4.0), Ray Rice (63, 3.9), Jonathan Stewart (35, 3.5) and Ahmad Bradshaw (78, 3.5) in check on the ground. Only Ray Rice produced 10 or more Fantasy points from that group and I don't expect Turner to be the second unless he can fall into the end zone. I don't like to start people who need a score to be relevant, so I am sitting good ol' ankle weights in Week 9.

Other RBs with tough matchups: BenJarvus Green-Ellis (vs. DEN), Donald Brown/Vick Ballard (vs. MIA)

Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs (at SD)
Current own/start %: 100/63
I'd rather start: Denarius Moore (vs. TB), Mike Williams (at OAK), Titus Young (at JAC)
Dwayne Bowe has never produced more than 10 Fantasy points in his second meeting with the Chargers at any point in his career. In fact, in his second go around with the Chargers every year, Bowe averages just 5.25 points per game for his career. Bowe has not hit the 70-yard mark in three straight games, nor has he found the end zone in that span against relatively soft pass defenses in Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Oakland. In fact, Bowe has found the end zone in only three of his last 18 games, which is pretty remarkable for a guy we think of as a touchdown maker. It becomes even scarier for Bowe when you consider that he has only produced 10 or more Fantasy points in a game without a touchdown catch five times in his career. Bowe is unhappy in Kansas City and I think his Fantasy owners will remain unhappy with his production this Thursday night.

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings (at SEA)
Current own/start %: 95/53
I'd rather start: Greg Olsen (at WAS), Brandon Pettigrew (at JAC), Jermaine Gresham (vs. DEN)
In his last two games, Kyle Rudolph has seen a grand total of six targets and has caught two of them for just 17 yards. He has produced exactly one Fantasy point in those two games and could struggle again in Week 9 against the Seahawks. For the year, the 'Hawks have not allowed a single tight end to score 10 Fantasy points and they have surrendered only two tight end touchdowns. Aaron Hernandez is the only tight end who has produced more than seven Fantasy points against this pass defense that has held Vernon Davis, Jermichael Finley, Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witten, Jermichael Finley and Greg Olsen all to six or fewer Fantasy points. It was just two weeks ago that Seattle shut out Vernon Davis and while Brandon Pettigrew did have seven catches for 74 yards last week, that kind of game is not in the cards for Rudolph. He has never had nine targets in a game like Pettigrew did last week and Rudolph has eclipsed 40 yards receiving in a game just twice in his breakout year. Look for another option until Rudolph gets it going again for your teams.

Some WRs and TEs with tough matchups: Kenny Britt/Nate Washington (vs. CHI), Sidney Rice (vs. MIN), Steve Johnson (at HOU), Torrey Smith (at CLE), Martellus Bennett (vs. PIT), Dennis Pitta (at CLE)

Good luck this week!

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Nathan at @NathanZegura .

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Player News
Colts' Andrew Luck considered skipping Pro Bowl
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) After losing 45-7 to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck admitted he thought about not playing in the Pro Bowl, reports The Indianapolis Star.

Luck felt embarrassed after the championship game and had to think about turning around and playing a week later.

"I mean, it is a privilege, but I am hurting in a sense," Luck said. "But I realize it's an honor to be voted in and the fans really enjoy it. So, I did it."

While Luck was proud of his team for advancing to the championship game, he said this season’s playoff loss was worse than the previous two.

"I think every loss in the playoffs leaves a really, really terrible taste in your mouth," Luck said. "But this one has been worse than the other two because we did get so close. And the way we lost, it was just embarrassing."


NFL warns Marshawn Lynch with 15-yard penalty for obscene gesture
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) The NFL has issued a warning to Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch if he decides to make his obscene gesture in the Super Bowl, vice president of officiating Dean Blandino told ESPN Saturday. If Lynch performs his gesture, Seattle will be assessed a 15-yard penalty.

Meaning if Lynch makes his gesture after scoring a touchdown, the kickoff will be from the 20 yard line. Lynch was fined $20,000 for making his gesture after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship game last week.


Matthew Slater: NFLPA 'instructed' Pats not to address Deflategate
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater told reporters that the NFL Players Association has "instructed" New England players to not publicly address Deflategate, according to the team's official website. The 29-year-old Slater is a team representative for the union.

"I'd love to get into that with you, but we have been instructed by our union as players to reserve comment on this situation," Slater said. "It's an ongoing investigation, so in order to protect our players, we’re going to go ahead and not talk about that."

The NFL found 11 of 12 game balls the Patriots used in the first half in Sunday's AFC Championship against the Colts were significantly underinflated after being deemed legal before the game. The investigation is being led by NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash and Ted Wells. The league has yet to release its findings.

Coach Bill Belichick also addressed the media in an impromptu press conference to reveal that his team conducted an "internal study," which revealed that the Patriots "followed every rule to the letter."

Like Slater, Belichick vowed not to speak on Deflategate again. New England will square off against Seattle in the Super Bowl on Feb. 1.


Report: Colts LB Andrew Jackson arrested for DUI, careless driving
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) Colts linebacker Andrew Jackson was arrested in Kentucky early Friday morning for careless driving and DUI, per the Indianapolis Star. He was booked just before 5 a.m. and released from jail at 12:30 p.m. the same day.

Jackson, a sixth-round pick in the 2014 draft out of Western Kentucky, was a marginal contributor for Indianapolis last season, contributing only on special teams and short-yardage scenarios. He registered 10 tackles and one sack in 13 games his rookie season.


Justin Forsett: The Ravens 'expressed that they want me back'
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) Justin Forsett told reporters following Friday's Pro Bowl practice that the Ravens have expressed interest in bringing him back next season, according to NFL.com. Forsett, who replaced Arian Foster's spot in the exhibition game, noted that he has not engaged in any contract discussions with the team, but remains optimistic of a possible deal in the offseason.

"That is the plan, they gave me my shot, they trusted me and believed in me enough to give me that shot so I'd like to stay," Forsett said. "They expressed that they want me back. I want to be back, so we'll see what happens."

Forsett, 29 is seeking his first multiyear contract of his career after playing for five teams in seven seasons. He broke out for 1,266 rushing yards this season, fifth-most in the NFL, and led all running backs with 5.4 yards per carry.


WR Emmanuel Sanders says Peyton Manning will return to Broncos
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/24/2015) Although Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders' only communication with Peyton Manning was through a postseason text message, he believes that the veteran quarterback will return for another season, he told NFL.com on Friday.

Sanders and the Broncos were eliminated by the Colts in the AFC divisional round. Since that loss, the Broncos' coaching staff has been overhauled, with coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase heading to Chicago.

"Well, Gase is definitely in Chicago right now," Sanders said. "And Peyton says he's going to come back, but I'm not really worried about it, I really just want to win a Super Bowl. So that is all that is on my mind."

Gary Kubiak was hired to take Fox's place in Denver, and Sanders said that if Manning doesn't return, backup Brock Osweiler would fit "really well" in the team's new offensive scheme.

"Yeah, I think Brock is a quarterback that is on the rise, he's going to continuously get better and I feel like Kubiak's offense fits him really well," Sanders said.

Sanders signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Broncos last March. He earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl after totaling 101 catches for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns -- all career highs.


Seahawks GM on Lynch: 'I kind of love his act'
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) Seahawks general manager John Schneider said little Friday about Marshawn Lynch's future with the franchise.

"I mean, he's under contract next year," Schneider said in an interview with The Seattle Times. "He's a warrior. Goes out there every weekend and lays it on the line. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better running back in the National Football League."

Lynch has been rumored to be cut after this season to save money. He is set to make $5 million in base salary in 2015. Schneider also said he has no problem with the way Lynch behaves both on and off the field.

"I kind of love his act," Schneider said.


Colts' Robert Mathis may not be ready for training camp
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis is still recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon and could miss an extended period of time, including training camp, general manager Ryan Grigson said.

"No, he’s still in recovery," Grigson said when asked if he’s confident Mathis will be ready for training camp. "He’s a freak and you hope that he has an athletic genetic freak type of recovery so that he’s ready day one of training camp. But that information is not clear yet or a timeline is not there because it’s a tough injury. Hopefully in a couple months from now, we’ll be able to have some information on that."

Mathis torn the tendon in early September and missed the entire season. Without Mathis, the Colts were led by rookie Johnathan Newsome with 6 1/2 sacks in 2014.

"Obviously having [Mathis] out was a big hole," Grigson said. "But we don’t make excuses. That stuff gets forgotten and it should because a lot of teams win without key players. The next man up is for real. We found a way to still get pressure and play without his presence, but it makes it a heck of a lot harder, I promise you that. Just having him out on the field, even if he didn’t get out of his stance, it’s still going to command two blockers or more. That completely changes the complexion of a game just having him physically out there."


Seahawks' Carroll: Sherman, Thomas will be fine for Super Bowl
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Friday cornerback Richard Sherman (elbow) and free safety Earl Thomas (shoulder), who both sustained injuries in the NFC title game vs. Green Bay, will be fine to play in the Super Bowl.

As of Friday, the Patriots were 1-point favorites for the Super Bowl.


Steelers re-sign punter Brad Wing to one-year deal
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/23/2015) The Steelers have re-signed punter Brad Wing to a one-year deal, the team announced Friday.

Wing had 61 punts for Pittsburgh in 2014 for 2,668, avergaing 43.7 yards per attempt. He ranked 26th in the league with a 39.5 net yards average on the season.


 
 
 
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