Steve Rudy, Jr.
Corner Lockdown - Week 9

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Running Around the League

St. Louis rookie Zac Stacy had his best game of the season against the best defense in the league. He ran for 134 yards on 26 carries and absolutely dominated the usually run-halting Seattle defense. Unfortunately for Stacy, he suffered a sprained ankle in the fourth quarter and may not be able to play in Week 9. Fantasy owners in need of running back help should add backup Daryl Richardson in hopes that Stacy can’t play. It could be a nice spot start against a Tennessee run defense that has allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to running backs. Richardson looked decent Monday night and has pass-catching ability so keep an eye on this situation as it gets closer to the weekend.

Don’t look now, but it appears that heralded rookie running back Montee Ball is finally starting to have some fantasy value. In Week 8, Ball claimed the backup role from fumbling-prone Ronnie Hillman . He got 11 carries and managed 37 yards and his first career touchdown. Though the rushing numbers aren’t very impressive, the interesting part about Ball’s day was that he was the primary running back used in goal line plays for Denver. The Broncos have wanted to give him more reps, but he’s still learning the offense. At the very least you should stash him, as Ball could be a major contributor moving forward on an offense that moves the ball better than anyone.

Shark Sleepers

Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Indianapolis

Heyward-Bey should see an expanded role in the offense now that Reggie Wayne is out for the season. He is the clear No. 2 receiver and will be in on all passing plays and most offensive plays from here on out for the Colts. Heyward-Bey is still just a sleeper based on his past, but he has a ton of upside because of his speed and the fact that Andrew Luck is his quarterback. If you’re in need of a receiver for Week 9 take a look here as he is coming off a bye week and found the end zone in his last game. Someone has to start getting the 10-plus targets that Wayne got each game and it makes sense that most will go to T.Y. Hilton and Heyward-Bey. He’s still an inconsistent player with suspect hands, but Luck makes everyone around him better. Heyward-Bey could be in line for a very solid second half of 2013.

Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets

Aside from his Week 7 performance where he rushed for 104 yards, Ivory has had a terrible 2013 campaign. It’s not that he’s not running well, it’s that he hasn’t seen a ton of work. Bilal Powell has been the feature back most weeks and Ivory hasn’t been able to find his groove in the Jets offense. He’s coming off another bad week where he was once again underutilized. Ivory had just six carries for 11 yards against the tough Cincinnati run defense. New York was behind the entire game so it mostly threw the ball, anyways. Look for Ivory to have a more prominent role on Sunday against his former team, New Orleans. You know he’s going to be chomping at the bit to get on the field and will play hard. And it would be just like coach Rex Ryan to play Ivory more than usual in hopes that his running back can get hot against his old team. I think he gets double-digit touches in this game and finds pay dirt, but be aware of the fact that the Jets could fall behind early just as they did last week and may have to throw more than they want to.

Lock of the Week

Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego

The new favorite target of Philip Rivers is coming off a bye week and is ready to pick apart the dismal Washington Redskins defense. Allen is getting plenty of balls thrown his way and is putting together a solid rookie season. He did have a disappointing Week 7 against Jacksonville, but look for that to change on Sunday as the Chargers get a pass defense that is allowing the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Allen is a lock to see double-digit targets and should easily surpass 90 yards in the game. Throw in a touchdown and you have the makings of a very good day at the office. He is a strong WR2 and even a low-end WR1 in points per reception leagues for Week 9.