Cowboys and Browns – Dak Prescott
As much as us watching from home would think that Prescott has all but locked up the starter’s role for the remainder of the year, there remains a shadow of a doubt that Jerry Jones will pull a Jerry Jones. Jones feels as though he owes Romo one last hurrah and believes that this is his final swing for the fences. Only Jerry Jones would leverage the total success of his team in order to get his ego stroked. With Romo on the verge of his return, Prescott has to build upon last week’s extreme success. He needs to put on a straight-up laser show against the lowly Browns in order to finally put Jones’ dream of Romo holding the Lombardi to bed. Prescott now has a full arsenal at his disposal with the return of Dez Bryant and will have the best play-action fake in the league thanks to the success of Ezekiel Elliott. We’re hoping that his yardage reaches close to 300 and that he tosses for at least two scores. Lighting up the Browns after showing up big against the Eagles will hopefully be enough to retain the starter’s gig for not only the second half of the season but for 2017 and beyond.
Jaguars and Chiefs – Nick Foles
When Foles was with the Rams, he was a complete and total joke, a non-factor in fantasy. But before that, with head coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia, Foles was throwing for touchdowns at a rate that only Peyton Manning could rival. He has his familiar friend in Jeremy Maclin out wide, elite tight end Travis Kelce over the middle, new found buddy Tyreek Hill stretching the field, and either Spencer Ware or Charcandrick West underneath. That’s a lot of fire power for a conservative, yet effective offense. Foles could find a lot of success thanks to great yards after the catch from his targets. We’re not even joking here when we say that there is the chance that Foles could build a case to remain the starter. As mentioned before, he has a history with his coach and the loss of Jamaal Charles for what should be the remainder of the season means that the Chiefs can’t be as reluctant to air it out. Alex Smith is not the man you want under center if you need to throw 35 times a game. We like Foles as a dice roll daily play here while also seeing if he can create a future for himself.
Eagles and Giants – Darren Sproles
Since the preseason, the coaching staff has been indicating that they want less Ryan Mathews and more Darren Sproles. That thought has been merely words until now as Sproles role has largely fluctuated from being featured to being obsolete. That looks to finally be changing here at the halfway point as the coaching staff has finally had their fill of Mathews’ inability to move the ball. Sproles should be highly featured here in both the passing and running game. It’s all on Sproles as to how he’ll be utilized after this Week 9 game. If he comes out and puts on a vintage showing and proves that he can be effective between the tackles, he’ll likely finish the second half of the season as an RB2-ranked option. If he comes out showing his age and proving that his lack of strength prevents him for running between the big boys up front, he could fall back in the depth chart as the Eagles turn to Wendell Smallwood. It’ll also be important to pay attention to see if Ryan Mathews still gets the call when in close. Losing red zone opportunities will knock down Sproles’ value, even if he is effective.
Panthers and Rams – Cam Newton
If you won last week’s matchup with Newton as your quarterback, you deserve a salute and a pat on the back. Newton’s yardage was average and he lost two rushing touchdowns in close to Jonathan Stewart. At this point in the season, the numbers we have from the 2015 MVP have been disappointing. His halfway numbers have him on pace to pass for just over 3,000 yards with 16 touchdowns. His rushing numbers would finish with under 400 yards and 6 touchdowns. This is a quarterback that many had as their consensus QB1 on draft day, placing him somewhere near the 3rd or 4th round. Just for reference, Marcus Mariota, who may even be a free agent in your league, is on pace for closer to 4,000 yards with 28 passing touchdowns and more rushing yards. Newton has to have a big game in order to right his ship and inflate his overall season stats and LA could very well be the team to allow him to do so. After a zero touchdown game last week, he owes patient owners an IOU payback. If he can’t put up multiple touchdowns here in Week 9, Newton will find himself outside the top-end QB options for the rest of the season. He’ll be listed behind Tom Brady, Drew Brees, a healthy Ben Roethlisberger, Derek Carr, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, and maybe even Matthew Stafford, making him a borderline top-ten option.
Saints and 49ers – Tim Hightower
The average yards per carry left a lot to be desired but the overall yardage total is still better than anything that we’ve seen from the Saints’ running game this season. Yes, the 4-touch fiasco on the goal line was brutal, but New Orleans sent a powerful message by not putting Ingram back into the game. This week, it’ll be very interesting to see if it was a one-game punishment or if the Saints are willing to move on from their former first round pick. Ingram has been a total letdown since being drafted. Just recently, Ingram stated that it’s not fumbles that define him, and we agree. It’s more of being a yearly bust and seeing long stretches of missed time that we believe defines Ingram. If Sean Payton and the Saints continue to run Hightower into the ground and leave Ingram pouting on the bench, drafters will officially have seen their 3rd round pick turn into waiver wire material. If New Orleans backs off the punishment plan and Ingram runs with more purpose with a fire under his butt, owners could have an RB1 for rest of the year. That’s no exaggeration. Ingram leaves this game with either all or no value.