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Start/Bench – Week 9

Week 8 of the NFL season represented both the best of times and the worst of times from a fantasy football standpoint. Drew Brees and Eli Manning put on an offensive duel for the ages combining for a record 13 passing touchdowns making many fantasy owners very happy. On the flip side of that were Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning combining for zero touchdowns and an interception on Sunday night.

Adding injury to insult were the season-ending injuries to Le’Veon Bell as well as Steve Smith and Keenan Allen along with what appears to be at least a multiple-week injury suffered by Matt Forte.

Once again this week, there was an offensive coordinator change as the Indianapolis Colts jettisoned Pep Hamilton. Former Cleveland head coach Rod Chudzinski will be the new offensive coordinator in Indianapolis. The Detroit Lions made a similar move last week and lost to the Chiefs 45-10.

Take that for what it is worth.

With six teams on a bye this week the waiver wire will be smoking hot as owners scramble to fill the void on their rosters that these injuries/byes have created.

With that in mind let’s get to it!

 

QUARTERBACK

STUDS

Aaron Rodgers
Tom Brady
Cam Newton
Matt Ryan
Tyrod Taylor
Carson Palmer -bye week-
Drew Brees
Philip Rivers

Join the Club

Drew Brees, NEW ORLEANS: The Saints offense is humming along smoothly now and Brees is spreading the wealth. In his 500-plus passing yards and seven-touchdown performance last week, nine different players caught a pass and five different players had touchdowns. The Saints have too many weapons clicking on offense to not start Brees every week moving forward.

Time to Take a Seat

Russell Wilson, SEATTLE: Perhaps the Seahawks can right the ship during the bye week but unless we see proof, Wilson is no longer an every week must-start. In his last three games, Wilson has three touchdowns and three interceptions. More disturbing is that he has zero rushing scores this year and is not running the ball as effectively as he has in the past.

Andrew Luck, INDIANAPOLIS: Something is seriously wrong with Luck and we may not know the full extent of what it is until after the season. His decision-making has been awful and he’s tossed 12 interceptions that could easily be 15-16 due to defenders drops. A new offensive coordinator is not going to fix Luck’s problems over night. He is no longer a weekly must-start until we see a drastic turnaround by this struggling offense.

 

START

Eli Manning, NY GIANTS at Tampa Bay: Eli is knocking on the door of the ‘stud’ list after his six-touchdown performance last week. It’s the memory of Weeks 6-7 when he threw one touchdown and two interceptions that have us wanting to see more consistency. Manning should have another big week against a Tampa defense that has allowed 10 total touchdowns to quarterbacks in their last three games.

 

Andy Dalton, CINCINNATI: Yes, he had his worst fantasy game of the season but Dalton led the team to a big win and has scored 17 total touchdowns on the season. Even after a pair of picks last week, Dalton has turned the ball over only five times in seven games. This week he should bounce back against a Cleveland defense that’s allowed 17 touchdowns to quarterbacks.

 

Ben Roethlisberger, PITTSBURGH vs. Oakland: With Le’Veon Bell out for the season, the Steelers offense is going to be put in the hands of ‘Big Ben.’ After a shaky return last week, look for a big game from Roethlisberger against the Raiders. In the first two weeks of the season without Bell, Ben threw four touchdowns and one interception while averaging 360 passing yards. The Raiders just allowed Geno Smith to hang 265 passing yards with a pair of scores on them and Smith is no Roethlisberger.

 

Jay Cutler, CHICAGO at San Diego: The return of Alshon Jeffery has bolstered Cutler’s fantasy value and he has a nice matchup this week out west. Even without the injured Matt Forte and Eddie Royal Cutler will still have Martellus Bennett and Jeffery to abuse the Chargers secondary. In the past three games, the Bolts have allowed seven total scores to quarterbacks while failing to intercept a pass and Cutler has posted five scores and one pick. This one should be a shootout.

 

BENCH

Andrew Luck, INDIANAPOLIS vs. Denver: An injured (ribs, shoulder, wrist) and struggling Luck against a defense like Denver’s is a no-brainer bench. The Broncos just held a healthy Aaron Rodgers to 77 passing yards while sacking him three times. In his last two games, Luck has thrown five touchdowns as well as five interceptions. In the last four games, the Broncos defense has racked up 18 sacks forced seven turnovers (three being interceptions) and scored twice. This could get ugly early and we need to avoid Luck this week.

 

Teddy Bridgewater, MINNESOTA vs. St. Louis: The high hopes that folks had for Teddy heading into 2015 have drastically faded. While he is helping the Vikings win, he is not posting anything fantasy-wise. He is a game manager that will have difficulty even doing that this week against a tough St. Louis defense. The Rams defense has amassed 26 sacks on the season while also forcing 13 turnovers. This game is going to be the Todd Gurley vs. Adrian Peterson show and Teddy belongs nowhere near fantasy lineups.

 

Sam Bradford, PHILADELPHIA at Dallas: Nope. Not even the bye week has us believing that Bradford will emerge as a fantasy option this week. With a nine touchdown to 10 interceptions ratio for the season, Bradford continues to appear lost in this offense. Back in week two, the Cowboys held Bradford to 224 passing yards and picked him off twice. They also held Bradford to a single touchdown pass and sacked him once. Lest we forget, there was no Greg Hardy on the Dallas defense in week two and there is now. It’s going to be a long day for Bradford.

 

Johnny Manziel, CLEVELAND at Cincinnati: A bruised and battered Josh McCown is not going to play (at least as of Tuesday evening) on a short week. That leaves the ship in Manziel’s hands. Ugh. The Bengals defense stepped up huge last week sacking Ben Roethlisberger three times while also picking off three passes. A healthy McCown would have a hard time posting fantasy worthy numbers on the road in a short week and Johnny Manziel has no shot. Should McCown somehow start we also advise benching him.

About Wally Spurlin

Wally Spurlin is a Fantasy Football Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writer Association (FSWA). Spurlin’s work has appeared in print publications, including the FSWA award winning 2014 USA Today Fantasy Football magazine as well as the 2015 edition. Wally is also a weekly co-host on the Fantasy Football Feeding Frenzy pod cast on Fantasy Sharks Radio at Blog Talk Radio.Follow him on Twitter @WaltonSpurlin