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NFC South Player Analysis
Matt Wilson, FantasySharks.com, Staff Writer

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs Cleveland Browns)

QB Mike Glennon: Even though Josh McCown (thumb) is healthy again, Glennon is expected to get the start against a Cleveland Browns defense that has yielded an average of 247 passing yards and 1.5 touchdown passes per game since Week 5. Consider the second-year pro a weak fantasy play as usual. ( 199 yds pass with 2 TDs and 1 Int; 6 yds rush )

QB Josh McCown: The journeyman passer is healthy again, but McCown (thumb), who started Tampa Bay's first three games of the season, is operating as the backup to Mike Glennon for now. ( 43 yds pass; 2 yds rush )

RB Doug Martin: Heading into late Wednesday morning, the Week 9 playing status of Martin (ankle) was unknown. We'll project for the third-year pro on the assumption that he will start against a Cleveland Browns defense that allowed an average of 104 rushing yards per game and two rushing touchdowns to enemy running backs during the last month. We'll provide an update later in the week. ( 59 yds rush; 2 catches for 18 yds )

RB Bobby Rainey: If Doug Martin (ankle) is unable to suit up, Rainey likely would get the start against a Cleveland Browns defense that surrendered an average of 104 rushing yards per contest and two rushing scores to opposing ball carriers since Week 5. We'll project for him on the assumption that Martin will play. Look for an update later in the week. ( 47 yds rush; 3 catches for 25 yds )

RB Charles Sims: The rookie third-round selection is eligible to return this week after spending the first eight weeks of the regular season on the injured reserve/designated to return list because of an ankle injury. We'll provide an update later in the week and add projections if it's necessary.

RB Mike James: ( 8 yds rush; 1 catch for 2 yds )

WR Vincent Jackson: Although Jackson draws a nice matchup against a Cleveland Browns defense that yielded the seventh-most fantasy points to enemy receivers during the last month, it's hard to recommend the 10th-year pro as anything more than a risky option because of his inconsistency. On the season, Jackson has scored just twice, and he has amassed more than 70 receiving yards in just one game. ( 4 catches for 60 yds )

WR Mike Evans: Even though Evans draws a favorable matchup against a Cleveland Browns defense that gave up the seventh-most fantasy points to the receiver position during the last month, it's hard to trust the rookie wideout. ( 5 catches for 57 yds )

WR Louis Murphy: His two catches for 11 yards on two targets last week was Murphy's worst outing in a Buccaneers uniform. It was a reminder to fantasy owners that slot receivers can be inconsistent. Despite a favorable matchup versus a Cleveland Browns defense that surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts during the last month, Murphy is not a recommended fantasy play. ( 2 catches for 20 yds )

WR Russell Shepard: ( 1 catch for 6 yds )

WR Robert Herron: ( 1 catch for 4 yds )

WR Solomon Patton: ( 1 yd rush )

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins: Consider the rookie a weak play against a Cleveland Browns defense that gave up the sixth-fewest fantasy points to the tight end position during the last four weeks. On the season, Cleveland has allowed only two touchdown receptions to tight ends. ( 3 catches for 36 yds )

TE Brandon Myers: With just three catches in Tampa Bay's last four games, Myers clearly has taken a backseat to rookie Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Myers lacks fantasy appeal. ( 2 catches for 18 yds )

TE Luke Stocker: ( 1 catch for 3 yds )

PK Patrick Murray: Consider Murray a weak play versus a Cleveland Browns defense that yielded the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing kickers during the last month. ( 2 XPs, 1 FG )

Def Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Consider Tampa Bay a weak play. During the last month, the Buccaneers allowed 34.67 points per game and amassed just 1.67 takeaways per outing. In addition, they notched just one sack. In that same time frame, the Cleveland Browns offense scored an average of 22.3 points per game. The Browns also surrendered 1.5 sacks per contest and committed 1.3 turnovers per outing. ( 1 sack, 1 Fumble )



New Orleans Saints (vs Carolina Panthers)

QB Drew Brees: The must-start Brees draws a favorable Thursday night matchup against a Carolina Panthers defense that has surrendered an average of 266.5 passing yards and 2.0 scoring strikes per game since Week 5. ( 341 yds pass with 3 TDs and 1 Int; 3 yds rush )

RB Mark Ingram: THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE: Pierre Thomas (shoulder) and Khiry Robinson (forearm) are both INACTIVE for Thursday Night Football. Ingram will handle the bulk of the Saints' rushing duties again with Travaris Cadet operating as a passing-down back. Ingram has nice fantasy RB1 upside against a Carolina Panthers defense that yielded the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs during the last month. ( 87 yds rush and 1 TD; 4 catches for 33 yds )

RB Pierre Thomas: WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: As expected, Thomas (shoulder) officially has been ruled OUT for Week 9.

RB Khiry Robinson: THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE: Khiry Robinson is INACTIVE for Thursday Night Football.

RB Travaris Cadet: WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Pierre Thomas (shoulder) has been ruled OUT for Week 9, so Cadet will operate as the Saints' passing-down back Thursday night. He likely won't touch the ball more than 10 times since Mark Ingram is expected to be productive against a soft Carolina Panthers front seven. Bump up Cadet in PPR leagues. ( 19 yds rush; 4 catches for 40 yds )

WR Marques Colston: Consider Colston a strong play versus a Carolina Panthers defense that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to enemy wideouts since Week 5. ( 6 catches for 77 yds )

WR Brandin Cooks: Coming off the first two-score game of his young career, the rookie Cooks is a strong play against a Carolina Panthers defense that yielded the fifth-most fantasy points to the receiver position during the last month. ( 4 yds rush; 6 catches for 74 yds )

WR Kenny Stills: Stills operates as a situational deep threat, which makes his week-to-week fantasy production unpredictable. If you're desperate for receiver help in a week with six teams on a bye, Stills has a favorable Thursday night matchup against a Carolina Panthers defense that gave up the fifth-most fantasy points to enemy wideouts during the last four weeks. Consider him a lottery ticket. ( 1 yd rush; 3 catches for 43 yds )

WR Robert Meachem: ( 1 catch for 16 yds )

WR Nick Toon: ( 1 catch for 8 yds )

TE Jimmy Graham: Last week, he played 43-of-69 snaps, catching five passes for 59 yards and one touchdown on six targets. Graham (shoulder) obviously is healthy enough to return to must-start status. The fifth-year pro scored in both of his matchups against the Carolina Panthers last season. THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE: Graham (shoulder) is ACTIVE for Thursday Night Football. He is not 100 percent healthy, but Graham still was productive last week (5-59-1) against the Green Bay Packers. He obviously needs to be in your starting lineup. ( 4 catches for 55 yds and 1 TD )

TE Ben Watson: ( 2 catches for 14 yds )

TE Josh Hill: ( 1 catch for 14 yds )

PK Shayne Graham: Consider Graham a solid option versus a Carolina Panthers defense that gave up 9.0 points per game to enemy kickers during the last month. ( 3 XPs, 2 FGs )

Def New Orleans Saints: The New Orleans defense is a weak play. During the last month, the Saints yielded 26 points per game. They also racked up 2.67 sacks per contest and 2.0 takeaways per outing. In the same time span, the Carolina Panthers offense scored 23.5 points per game, allowed 2.0 sacks per contest and committed only 1.8 turnovers per outing. ( 2 sacks, 1 INT )



Carolina Panthers (vs New Orleans Saints)

QB Cam Newton: Forget about his dismal outing last week. Newton will bounce back Thursday night against a leaky New Orleans Saints secondary that surrendered 324.67 passing yards and 1.67 touchdown passes per game during the last month. Consider Newton a solid fantasy play. ( 229 yds pass with 2 TDs and 1 Int; 36 yds rush )

QB Derek Anderson: ( 22 yds pass )

RB DeAngelo Williams: After sitting out the last four weeks, a now-healthy Williams (high ankle sprain) is expected to start Thursday night against a New Orleans Saints defense that yielded 64 rushing yards per game and two rushing touchdowns during the last month. In case you've forgotten, Williams rarely catches passes and rarely receives goal-line touches. He will operate in a timeshare with Jonathan Stewart. But in a week that has 6 teams on a bye, consider Williams a flex option play. WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Williams (high ankle sprain) is listed as PROBABLE for Week 9. ( 51 yds rush; 2 catches for 15 yds )

RB Jonathan Stewart: Since a now-healthy DeAngelo Williams (high ankle sprain) will resume his starting job, Stewart will slide back into his change-of-pace role in Carolina's committee backfield. Stewart will square off Thursday night against a New Orleans Saints defense that allowed 64 rushing yards per game and two rushing touchdowns during the last month. ( 37 yds rush; 2 catches for 16 yds )

RB Chris Ogbonnaya: Since the DeAngelo Williams/Jonathan Stewart tandem will receive most of Carolina's backfield touches Thursday night, Ogbonnaya slides down the depth chart into fantasy irrelevance. ( 11 yds rush; 1 catch for 7 yds )

RB Fozzy Whittaker: WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Whittaker (thigh) has been ruled OUT for Week 9.

WR Kelvin Benjamin: Consider the Panthers' No. 1 wideout a strong play as a fantasy WR1 on Thursday Night Football versus a New Orleans Saints defense that surrendered the second-most fantasy points to enemy receivers during the last month. ( 6 catches for 79 yds and 1 TD )

WR Jerricho Cotchery: The 32-year-old possession receiver looks like a decent play for those desperate at WR on Thursday night against a New Orleans Saints defense that yielded the second-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts since Week 5. ( 5 catches for 49 yds )

WR Jason Avant: ( 3 catches for 27 yds )

WR Brenton Bersin: ( 1 catch for 12 yds )

WR Philly Brown: ( 3 yds rush; 1 catch for 10 yds )

TE Greg Olsen: The New Orleans Saints gave up the second-fewest fantasy points to enemy tight ends during the last month, but they didn't face any top performers at the position. Look for Olsen to rebound from his season-worst 1/16/0 outing last week. ( 5 catches for 59 yds and 1 TD )

TE Ed Dickson: ( 1 catch for 7 yds )

TE Brandon Williams: ( 1 catch for 3 yds )

PK Graham Gano: Gano looks like a decent play Thursday night against a New Orleans Saints defense that gave up 8.67 points per game to enemy kickers during the last month. ( 2 XPs, 2 FGs )

Def Carolina Panthers: The Carolina defense looks like a weak play. Since Week 5, the Panthers have yielded 28 points per outing. They also have averaged 2.0 sacks and 2.0 takeaways per game. The efficient New Orleans Saints offense, during the last month, scored 34.67 points per contest. New Orleans also gave up just 1.0 sack per outing and committed 2.0 turnovers per game. ( 2 sacks, 1 INT, 1 Fumble )



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