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In The Spotlight - Week 9 Recap

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Week 9 Fantasy Headlines:

  • Doug Martin Torches the Raiders for 251 Rushing Yards & Four TDs
  • Chicago’s Defense Keys 51-20 Bears Rout of the Titans
  • Andrew Luck Sets New Rookie Single-Game Passing Yardage Record
  • Mikel Leshoure’s Three Rushing Scores Help Lift Detroit to .500
  • Despite a Big Game From AP, the Vikings Lose to the Seahawks
  • P. Manning’s Streak of 300-Yard Games Ends, But Broncos Still Win
  • Isaac Redman’s Big Rushing Effort Helps the Steelers Upset the Giants
  • No TD Passes For E. Manning For the Second Week in a Row
  • Falcons Stay Perfect Despite No TD Passes From Matt Ryan

GAME SUMMARIES & FANTASY COMMENTARY:

Bye week: New England Patriots (5-3), New York Jets (3-5), San Francisco 49ers (6-2) and St. Louis Rams (3-5).

THURSDAY NIGHT GAME:

San Diego Chargers 31 (4-4) | Kansas City Chiefs 13 (1-7)

Fantasy Focus – Chargers: San Diego’s defense scored twice (fumble recovery in the end zone and a pick-six). Aside from an ugly pick in the end zone during the final seconds of the half, Philip Rivers (18/20 for 220-2-1) was an efficient game manager. Malcom Floyd (4-48-1 on four targets) scored for the first time since Week 1 while Antonio Gates (3-43-1 on three targets) caught his third touchdown pass in the last month. Making his debut in a Chargers uniform, Danario Alexander (3-61-0 on three targets) successfully used his speed to stretch the field in place of injured Robert Meachem (hamstring), who didn’t play. Ryan Mathews (13-67-0 rushing and 2-5-0 receiving) received his smallest number of rushing attempts since Week 5.

Fantasy Tip: The Chargers have been operating a more conservative offense since their Week 7 Bye, and the scheme is sapping the value out of the remaining fantasy-relevant San Diego players. I doubt things will improve. The disappointing Rivers – I’m sure you wrote him off weeks ago – has averaged just 27 pass attempts per game during the last two weeks, which has dragged down the production of Floyd and Gates. Floyd looks like a low-end WR3, and the disappointing Gates looks like a high-end TE2 right now. The Chargers’ commitment to a more balanced offense, however, hasn’t boosted the value of Mathews, because he has been stuck in a committee with Ronnie Brown during the last two weeks. Brown has averaged 12 total touches and 87 total yards per game during that stretch. Mathews is a fringe fantasy play right now. Alexander? It’s doubtful the injury-prone wide out has any decent fantasy value with Meachem expected to return.

                                                                                                                                                                      

Fantasy Focus – Chiefs: With Matt Cassel back under center, Dwayne Bowe (8-79-0 on 10 targets with one lost fumble) has returned to fantasy relevance, but he hasn’t scored or compiled 100-plus receiving yards in a contest since Week 4. Steve Breaston (2-17-0 on two targets) and Dexter McCluster (2-17-0 on six targets) were the next two most-productive wide outs. Jamaal Charles (12-39-0 rushing and 3-27-0 receiving) was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter after suffering a neck injury and what was believed to be a concussion. Kansas City’s most explosive player hasn’t scored since Week 4 and hasn’t amassed more than 60 total yards in a contest since Week 5. Shaun Draughn (1-6-1 rushing and 2-21-0 receiving) scored the Chiefs’ only offensive touchdown of the game on a six-yard run late in the fourth quarter. Peyton Hillis (7-14-0 rushing and 1-7-0 receiving) was a non-factor.

Fantasy Tip: It’s a no-brainer that Bowe’s value is tied to Cassel. If Quinn gets the nod again, Bowe’s value is decimated. Charles is expected to start next week, so don’t waste your time trying to acquire Draughn or Peyton Hillis – unless you’re trying to handcuff Charles.

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EARLY SUNDAY AFTERNOON GAMES:

Denver Broncos 31 (5-3) | Cincinnati Bengals 23 (3-5)

Fantasy Focus – Broncos: Peyton Manning (27/35 for 291-3-2) fell just nine passing yards short of extending his streak of four games with 300-plus passing yards and three touchdown tosses. Eric Decker (8-99-2 on 11 targets) served as Manning’s preferred target in this contest, and the red-hot Decker has caught seven touchdown passes in his last five contests played. Joel Dreessen (4-38-1 on four targets) hauled in his fourth scoring strike in his last five outings played. Demaryius Thomas (6-77-0 on eight targets) had a quiet game. Cincinnati also held Willis McGahee (23-66-0 rushing and 1-4-0 receiving) in check, which snapped his streak of four contests with at least 98 total yards. Backup runner Ronnie Hillman touched the ball just two total times, amassing nine total yards. By the way, the Broncos opened the second half with a team-record 105 kickoff return from Trindon Holliday.

Fantasy Tip: Opposing defenses have been selling out to contain Thomas in the red zone, but he remains a WR1. It looks like Dreessen has supplanted Tamme as the preferred option in Denver’s tight end by committee, but that could change quickly. Tamme (3-18-0 on four targets versus the Bengals) hasn’t scored since Week 1.

Fantasy Focus – Bengals: The elite A.J. Green (7-99-1 on nine targets) has scored at least once in six straight contests. Jermaine Gresham (6-108-0 on eight targets) amassed a career high in receiving yardage on a season-best six grabs. Andy Dalton (26/42 for 299-1-1) faced constant pressure from Denver all game long; he was sacked five times. Dalton’s interception, which came in the second quarter, was a momentum killer. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (17-56-1 rushing and 2-(-3)-0 receiving) scored for the first time since Week 3.

Fantasy Tip: Green-Ellis has been nothing special outside the New England offense, but the Bengals don’t have a better option. He has no 100-yard rushing games and has run for more than 90 yards just once in 2012. Consider Green-Ellis a flex or a middle-to-low-end RB2 going forward.

Baltimore Ravens 25 (6-2) | Cleveland Browns 15 (2-7)

Fantasy Focus – Ravens: Baltimore decided to go back to basics, relying on Ray Rice (25-98-1 rushing and 2-6-0 receiving) and Bernard Pierce (7-26-1) to power the offense. Rice carried a season-high 25 times and notched his third rushing score in his last three games played. Leaning on Rice and Pierce in this road contest against a soft Browns run defense was a wise strategy, because Joe Flacco (153-1-0) has not played well away from M&T Bank Stadium in recent weeks. Flacco has tossed a combined two touchdown passes in his last three road contests while averaging just 162 passing yards per game. Torrey Smith (4-46-1 on nine targets) hauled in Flacco’s lone scoring strike while Anquan Boldin (5-57-0 on five targets) topped all Ravens receivers. Dennis Pitta (2-33-0 on three targets) continues to be a non-factor.

Fantasy Tip: Don’t worry about Pierce stealing a huge number of carries going forward. The Ravens only use him to give Rice an occasional breather, nothing more. What has Pitta been struggling? Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh admitted recently that Pitta has received a lot more defensive attention following a hot start to the season.

Fantasy Focus – Browns: Rookie Trent Richardson (25-105-0 rushing and 6-31-0 receiving) toted the rock a career-high 25 times and notched his second straight 100-yard game. He was the only Browns running back to carry the ball in this contest. Brandon Weeden (20/37 for 176-0-2) had an unexpectedly bad game against a soft Baltimore secondary. The rookie passer often ignored open receivers underneath, preferring to force the ball down the field unnecessarily into tight coverage. Weeden has not tossed a touchdown pass in two straight games. Greg Little (5-52-0 on seven targets) was Cleveland’s most productive wide out, but he didn’t make any big plays while rookie Josh Gordon (2-38-0 on three targets) was quiet.

Fantasy Tip: Cleveland has a Week 10 Bye. After sitting out five games due to a hamstring injury, Mohamed Massaquoi (1-6-0 on three targets) returned to the field. Although Little and Gordon both started against Baltimore, Massaquoi could challenge for more playing time down the road.



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