Whos Hot Whos Not 2016 Week 9

By Jen Ryan
Jen Ryan Week 9 presents us with another round of brutal bye weeks.

We will all be without our Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, and Washington Redskins. The good news is, there are 26 other teams playing football this weekend. Some teams have fantastic matchups (how ‘bout them Cowboys?) while others will be playing in some low scoring, slug fests (Bills/Seahawks has the second-lowest Vegas line this week at 44). Make sure you use our Ease of Schedule tool (http://www.footballdiehards.com/eosforecast.cfm) as a reference for determining your matchups. Now, here’s a moment of truth from last week.

I Knew It

Josh McCown, QB: 49 att, 25 comp, 341 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT – QB11
McCown was a top-half QB last week, and even with the two picks McCown lit up the Jets’ secondary.
Frank Gore, RB: 9 att, 37 rush yds, 3 rec, 25 yds, 1 TD – RB20
I somewhat blew it here on Gore who had one of his worst games in recent weeks, but when someone scores and finishes as an RB2, we have to figure that as a decent play.
Ryan Mathews, RB: 4 att, 10 yds, 1 rec, 1 yd – RB30
The Eagles refuse to let Mathews carry the load. Can we drop him at this point?
Tyrod Taylor, QB: 38 att, 19 comp, 183 yds, 4 rush, 48 yds – QB15
New England punished the Bills and as I expected, Taylor took the brunt of it.
Jack Doyle, TE: 2 rec, 36 yds – TE21
The Chiefs have still allowed just one touchdown to tight ends this season, and it was not Doyle.

I Blew It

Brandon Marshall, WR: 4 rec, 68 yds – WR41
I have no explanation for Marshall’s paltry statline. Quincy Enunwa is starting to look like the WR1 in New York.
Jacob Tamme, TE: 2 rec, 19 yds – TE33
Sure, he left the game with an injury but still, he did not deliver.
Alshon Jeffery, WR: 4 rec, 63 yds, 1 TD – WR17
The touchdown saved his day, and shame on me for doubting Jeffery, who I mentioned averages 20 points over his past seven meetings against the Vikings.
Let’s move on to Week 9.

Who’s Hot

Fire Starter: QB: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys @ Cleveland Browns
I have yet to write up Prescott, despite my shameless Cowboys devotion. The matchup here is simply too good. He may seem like an obvious start yet he is hovering around 80% ownership in ESPN leagues. More people are still holding onto Russell Wilson than they are Prescott. The Browns are a sinking ship and couldn’t plug a quarter-sized hole with a dinner plate at this point. I am writing up Prescott here because the top play from the Dallas Cowboys this week will be the other rookie, but Prescott’s goal-line vulturing gives him an edge for me as my top play.

RB: Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints @ San Francisco 49ers
It’s incredible that suggesting starting Ingram is probably considered a “hot take”, but here we are. Ingram has been in Sean Payton’s dog house and he finds himself in an excellent matchup to paw his way out of it. Fumbles have found Ingram on the bench, but let’s not forget he has 15 red zone carries this year. That is the same amount as Lamar Miller and more than Jordan Howard, Spencer Ware, Frank Gore, and Le’Veon Bell to name a few. Running back money is made in the end zone and Ingram may find himself in a committee this week, but he should be the red zone guy. The 49ers are dead-last in the league against the run and have allowed a league-high 1,137 yards on the ground and ten touchdowns.

WR: Sammie Coates, Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens
By some stretch of a miracle, Ben Roethlisberger will be returning this week, despite going under knee surgery just two weeks ago. Antonio Brown owners are cheering, but those of you who nabbed Coates off of your waiver wire should be thrilled as well. He too is returning from injury that saw him slow down over the past two weeks. Prior to Weeks 6 and 7, Coates played a minimum of 56% of the teams’ snaps in four out of 5 games and saw 31 targets from Big Ben while averaging over 84 yards per game. He is a flex play with WR2 upside this weekend with him being at full health and having Roethlisberger back under center.

TE: Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers vs. Tennessee Titans
I hope you haven’t taken Old Yeller out to the yard yet and shot him because Gates is my sneaky play this week in season-long leagues and daily fantasy. Hunter Henry has already been declared out this week, while both Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams are questionable. Dontrelle Inman will be the Chargers WR1 this weekend, but it is Gates I am looking at. Rivers will rely heavily on his old friend, as he has been over the past two weeks even with Henry active. Like most tight ends, Gates will need a touchdown to turn in TE1 value and he has a good chance to do so.

Who’s Not

Ice Cold: QB: Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans @ San Diego Chargers
I am not implying that the Chargers are the ’85 Bears here, but Mariota will be without Delanie Walker this weekend and that could hurt his numbers more than we anticipate. On top of that, DeMarco Murray is dinged up, and he’s been a huge beneficiary in bailing Mariota out when he is being rushed. Speaking of, Joey Bosa has been a quarterback nightmare since (finally) seeing the field for the Chargers. I could be wrong here, as the matchup for Mariota is a positive one against the 24th-ranked pass defense, but I see Mariota struggling with his studs ailing.

WR: Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos
I hate even writing about Crabtree in a remotely negative light, but the fact of the matter is that the Bronco’s defense is no joke. The way to relieve pressure off of Derek Carr is to use the run game to open up the play action. Latavius Murray will see his volume but he is not exactly an imposing threat in the backfield. This is a brutal week for byes so you are realistically starting Crabtree if you own him, but I recommend bracing yourself for a subpar day in terms of what you are used to.

RB: Matt Forte, New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins are a far better passing defense (8th) than there are rushing defense (21st). Forte has faced stiffer competition this season but the Dolphins are familiar with the Jets and know that they way to beat them is to dare Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw the ball. The way they will do that will be stacking the box and stifling the run. Sure, Forte can burn the Dolphins not only on the ground but with short underneath passes, but I suspect their main focus will be taking him out of this game and forcing Fitzpatrick to throw the ball.

TE: Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks vs. Buffalo Bills
Graham has defied injury odds and been a value this season for those who took a chance on him. The Seahawks are also a much better home team than they are a road team. If you look at the Bills numbers against tight ends, you would be hesitant to roll out Graham. They have allowed one touchdown this season and that touchdown went to Rob Gronkowski last week. In fact, the Patriots are the only team where tight ends have been able to put up more than 44 yards against the Bills. Gronk and Martellus Bennett are the only tight ends with a lick of talent that the Bills have faced so Graham certainly has that in his favor, but I would not be counting on him this week.

I know some of these suggestions may seem like head-scratchers but as I say each week, what good would I be doing you if I told you to start Ezekiel Elliott against one of the worst rush defenses or Kyle Rudolph against the league-worst defense against tight ends? Wouldn’t it be a disservice to you if I told you to bench Tyrod Taylor on the road against the Seattle Seahawks? It would, which is exactly why I won’t do it. Be sure to take advantage of our Ease of Schedule tool for your tough decisions. Good luck this week!