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Rock And A Hard Place – Week 9

Four teams are on a bye in Week 9: New England, New York Jets, San Francisco and St. Louis. That means an elite quarterback, several viable running backs and receivers, and a few incredible tight ends are out. Add to it the many players that are being ruled out or won’t play, and you might start talking yourself into guys you normally wouldn’t consider.

Below, I’ll list the player, their Week 9 matchup, and the percentage of leagues in which he is owned according to our friends at


The hope is that you don’t find yourself in a situation like this. The hope is that you dodge the bullet. But hope won’t help you come Sunday.

Let’s move on to this week’s targets, keeping in mind that these aren’t every week starters. Instead, these are guys that should only be used if you’re in some kind of roster emergency, whether it be related to bye weeks or injuries.


Brandon Weeden vs. BAL – 29 percent

. Surprising, huh? Normally, I wouldn’t think of starting a rookie against the Ravens, but this isn’t the typical Ravens defense. Ray Lewis is out. Lardarius Webb is out. Ed Reed is hobbled, and Terrell Suggs is still on the mend. And with the exception of last week’s rock fight against San Diego, Weeden has been pretty good lately. Fantasy Sharks has him projected to put up 270 yards, a score and a pick, and I think those numbers are his minimum.

Ryan Tannehill at Indianapolis – 18 percent.
Another rookie. Tannehill has been better than I thought he’d be this season. He left last week’s game early with a quad/knee bruise, but he appears on track to start on Sunday against an Indianapolis defense that’s been generous to opposing quarterbacks. Assuming he plays the whole game, he’s a great option. If he doesn’t, grab Matt Moore instead. We have him projected for 180 yards and a score, and I think those are easily reached, and then some.

Running Back

Jonathan Dwyer at New York Giants – 51 percent.
I don’t understand how a guy can go for 100-plus yards in two straight games and still be available in so many leagues. I understand that Rashard Mendenhall is getting healthy, but he’s not back yet. And when people in Pittsburgh start comparing you to Jerome Bettis, you’re getting the job done. We have him slotted for 80 total yards, and I’ll take the over.

Joique Bell at Jacksonville – 16 percent.
This one’s a bit of a long shot. Mikel Leshoure is questionable. Even if he plays, Bell is still the third down back and will give him an occasional break. If Leshoure doesn’t go, the Jaguars defense has been giving up points to opposing runners in bunches. We have him projected for 120 total yards, and while I think that’s a little ambitious, he does have that kind of opportunity given that offense (and that defense).

Wide Receiver

Titus Young at Jacksonville – 58 percent.

This is simple math. Matthew Stafford just had an incredible game. Calvin Johnson is playing through an injury. Nate Burleson is on Injured Reserve. Young caught a pair of touchdowns last week, and teams will continue to dare the Lions to throw to anyone not named Johnson. Young and tight end Brandon Pettigrew will be the beneficiaries. I like him to hit the 90 yards and touchdown we project.

Cecil Shorts vs. Detroit – 23 percent.

Shorts has emerged from relative anonymity. He’s very fast, and he’s now one of Blaine Gabbert’s most trusted targets. This week’s game with the Lions should turn into a shootout, meaning Shorts will have plenty of targets coming his way. Fantasy Sharks projections have him estimated at 85 yards and a touchdown. Sounds about right.

Tight End

Logan Paulsen vs. Carolina – 6 percent

. With Fred Davis out and Chris Cooley playing himself back into shape, Paulsen is making the most of his opportunity. He’s caught four passes in each of his last two games, totaling 119 yards. Robert Griffin III is looking his way, and I like Paulsen to easily hit the five-catch, 40-yard estimate we are expecting.

Dwayne Allen vs. Miami – 8 percent.
He’s Indianapolis’ backup tight end, in case you were wondering. Coby Fleener is out for Sunday’s game, and this is an offense that has already handed the keys to their capable rookie signal caller, Andrew Luck. Our site has him projected for 40 yards receiving, and I like Allen’s chances this week.

Good luck in Week 9.

Drew Magyar is a staff writer and can be reached at “What Did We Learn” will be posted each Tuesday morning during the season, and “Rock and a Hard Place” will be posted each Friday morning.

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