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What Did We Learn – Week 9

Marshawn Lynch is on a roll. In Week 9, Lynch and the Seahawks faced a tough Dallas run defense. Or so we thought. After LeSean McCoy torched them last week, the Cowboys once again found themselves getting burnt by an opposing back. Lynch appears to be over his injury troubles from earlier this season, as he had 23 carries for 135 yards and a score. That makes four straight games with a touchdown. He’s got a decent schedule throughout the rest of the season with a game against Baltimore this week and Chicago and San Francisco in weeks 15 and 16. He’s an interesting name, but given his performance recently, other owners may be over-valuing him. Try to upgrade.

Next three games: BAL, @STL, WAS.

DeMarco Murray is officially a stud. In case you didn’t already know, Murray is now a guy you start no matter what. The Seahawks boasted a stingy run defense heading into Sunday’s matchup, but when the dust had settled, Murray stood with 139 yards on 22 carries. He also added 47 yards on four catches. He hasn’t found pay dirt much, but he would have scored had it not been for a facemask penalty close to the end zone. Murray also has a favorable schedule coming up, and should be a solid bet down the stretch, even when Felix Jones gets healthy. His owners probably value him very highly, but it’s certainly worth asking.

Next three games: BUF, @WAS, MIA.

Brandon Marshall may be happier with Matt Moore than Chad Henne. In the four games that Matt Moore has started for the Dolphins, Marshall has been targeted 39 times. On Sunday, he caught 8 balls for 106 yards and a score. We’re beginning to see glimpses of the receiver that we saw in Denver, as Marshall has become a weapon that other teams must once again game plan for. With the likelihood that Miami will be down and throwing (a lot), Marshall is worth targeting for the right price.

Next three games: WAS, BUF, @DAL.

Roy Helu is the guy in Washington? I use the question mark because we’re talking about running backs on a Mike Shanahan-coached team. Seasoned fantasy players know that this is never a good thing, but Helu managed to play pretty well against a tough San Francisco defense. His rushing stats weren’t all that great, as he managed just 41 yards on 10 carries, but he set a franchise record for receptions with 14 catches for 105 yards. While we can’t count on Helu to put up 100+ receiving yards each week, the Redskins offense is now in John Beck’s hands. I don’t recommend watching a Redskins’ game, but if you did, you’d see Beck seems scared to throw downfield, meaning he will check down to his backs, a lot. Helu is well-suited for Shanahan’s running scheme, and with news coming on Monday that Ryan Torain will be used only when Helu is tired, I’ll tentatively elevate Helu in my running back rankings.

Next three games: @MIA, DAL, @SEA.

Chris Johnson is a buy-low target. Not many are on board with this yet, and following a 14-carry, 64-yard performance, I usually wouldn’t be targeting a guy, but Johnson was facing a Cincinnati defense that has given up an average of just 84.5 yards per game on the ground this season. He ran hard, made some defenders miss, and even caught four balls for 46 yards. It’s a modest 10-point effort for Johnson, but he received 14 carries to Javon Ringer’s four. In addition, his six games look like this: @CAR, @ATL, TB, @BUF, NO and @IND. Of those six, only Atlanta has a rush defense above 20th in the league. I’m betting that Johnson can be had cheaply, and I’m buying.

Next three games: @CAR, @ATL, TB.

Willis McGahee might prefer Tim Tebow under center. Coming off surgery on a broken hand less than two weeks ago, McGahee got off to a slow start on Sunday. But as the day wore on, McGahee began to break off bigger chunks of yardage, eventually busting through the line en route to a 60-yard touchdown run. But McGahee’s success may be due to the run threat provided by Tebow, as both of McGahee’s touchdowns came on option reads, meaning Tebow reads a defensive lineman before handing it to the back, or keeps the ball and takes off himself. On Sunday, McGahee finished with 20 rushes for 163 yards and two touchdowns. He’s a mid-to-low end RB2 the rest of the way, and if someone is willing to sell-low on him, I’m interested.

Next three games: @KC, NYJ, @SD.

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