Fantasy Player Rankings After Week 9

Fantasy Football Fantasy Football Awards

By Guest Writer John Belaska:


Here comes week ten. The playoff picture will be decided within the next few weeks. The teams at the bottom really have no chance at making the championship at this point. The teams at the top, by now, should have a good idea if they will matchup up well in the playoffs. These next few weeks are all about those teams in the middle. The teams whose records are sandwiched between the big dogs and down-and-outs are looking to pile up a few more wins to ensure they make the playoffs. The final push is the most important part of the season. By this time, players who were previously unknown are starting to break out and the big name players really start to feel the wear and tear of the sixteen game NFL season. Here are the best options at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver going forward.



Courtesy of ICON SMI

Courtesy of ICON SMI


5. Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts)

When Reggie Wayne was lost to injury, fantasy owners who start Andrew Luck on a weekly basis were holding their breath. No reason to fear. Last week, Luck hooked up with T.Y. Hilton for three touchdowns in a comeback victory against the Houston Texans. It appears Luck will be just fine. Hilton broke out late last season and is going to do the same this year. Luck is one of the finer quarterbacks in the league because his play is so balanced. Not only is he very accurate through the air, but he can use his legs to get out of bad situations as well as any other quarterback in the league. He also has no problem trying to run the ball in the endzone himself. Along with his 1843 passing yards and 13 touchdown passes, Luck has ran for an additional 183 yards and scored three times on the ground. Look for him to have a big game in both areas this weekend against the St. Louis Rams.


4. Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys)

Tony Romo has really improved this year. Last year he threw way too many costly interceptions, but he has been able to cut out that nasty habit in 2013. He is one of three quarterbacks, including Manning and Brees, to have thrown at least 20 touchdown passes this season. DeMarco Murray is starting to get healthy again. This addition in the run game will really help open up more passing lanes for Romo. This week the Cowboys have a tough matchup against the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have the fifth best pass defense in the NFL, however this matchup still looks like it will be a shoot out. The Saints are going to throw early and often, as they always do. The Cowboys will be trying to keep pace with them all day. Romo might get picked off once or twice during this game, but there is no reason why he will not be able to throw some touchdowns and a boat load of yards as well.


3. Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions)

Last week, we had Matthew Stafford ranked this high but fully expected him to drop below Aaron Rodgers this week. With Rodgers injured, it looks like Stafford will be keeping this top three position for a while. Stafford is third in passing yards with 2617 and has tossed 16 touchdowns to only six interceptions. He also has score twice on the ground. The Lions offense looks more dangerous every week. Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush are top tier pass catchers. This weekend the Lions take on the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. The Bears have been playing poor defense so it should be a cake walk for Stafford and company. He is a must start each week, but this week is just looking too good for him.


2. Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)

The Saints are not playing as well as they were at the beginning of the season, but Drew Brees is still putting up good stats. Last week he may have thrown two inceptions, but he also throw for 381 yards and two scores. A minor concern for Brees owners is the loss of running back Darren Sproles. Sproles is a huge boost to the Saints’ backfield and is one of the best running backs at catching the ball out of the backfield. However, this would be a much bigger problem if Mark Ingram had not just returned to the lineup. No, Ingram is not the same type of player as Sproles, but he still is a back that defenses must account for. Drew Brees should be able to put huge great numbers this week at home against the Dallas Cowboys whose passing game is the second worst in the league.


1. Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos)

Peyton Manning and the Broncos are coming off their bye week. The well-earned rest will pay good dividends to Manning owners as he is going up against the San Diego Chargers and his old offensive coordinator. Manning had more time to prep for the game and will be able to find the weaknesses in the defense. There is no reason to fear him going up against one of his old coaches. Remember, at the end of the day this is Peyton Manning we are talking about.

Honorable Mention: Philip Rivers (SD), Cam Newton (CAR), Russell Wilson (SEA)


Running Backs    jamaalcharles


5. LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles)

It is about time LeSean McCoy finds the endzone. McCoy currently leads the NFL in total yards from scrimmage. He has 726 rushing yards and 320 receiving yards. At the beginning of the season, it looked like nobody was going to take the rushing title from him, however this might not be the case. Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson are nipping at his heals and McCoy has yet to have a week off. His number of yard per game has really decreased recently. Last week’s receiving touchdown gave us something to be excited about, but it is getting harder and harder to see McCoy being a top three running back at the end of the season. This week will be difficult for him. Green Bay has the fifth ranked rushing defense. Chip Kelly’s offense will have to put the ball in the air more than usual if they are to beat them. More than likely, McCoy will not be seeing many redzone carries because the Eagles will have score from a distance.


4. Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks)

Marshawn Lynch is a conundrum. It is so hard to predict what he will do next. In the last two weeks, he has not scored a touchdown against two teams, the Rams and the Buccaneers, who he should have easily burned. The game against the Rams was a huge disappointment. At least he ran for 125 yards against the Bucs. His streakiness is a major concern with the fantasy playoffs coming up. If he cannot get it together soon, fantasy owners are going to be very sad when their star player ends up doing nothing for them in a huge game. On paper Lynch should be able to have a good game against the Atlanta Falcons, but at this point nobody can say for sure.


3. Matt Forte (Chicago Bears)

The loss of Jay Culter is a huge deal for Matt Forte owners. Forte has been forced to carry the ball a lot more since the quarterback went out. Cutler is on the verge of returning, but it does not appear he will be in the lineup this weekend against the Detroit Lions. Once again, Chicago will be forced to pound the rock as much as possible to move the chains and keep the clock moving. However, if the Lions take an early lead, Forte’s production as a rusher will be hurt. The Bears would still use him in the passing game, but with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery on the outside, they will take their chances throwing the ball down field with their veteran backup quarterback, Josh McCown. If the Bears can keep the game close Forte will have a big day, but if not he might end up not meeting many fantasy owner’s expectations.


2. Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings)

Adrian Peterson has a very good chance at leading the league in rushing yards once again. He has already had his bye week, unlike Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy. He only trails McCoy’s 777 rushing yards by 66 yards. Peterson could also end up scoring the most rushing touchdowns this season as well. He is currently tied for second most in the league at seven with Frank Gore and Matt Forte. All three trail Knowshon Moreno by one touchdown. Moreno and the Broncos have some tough matchups coming up including two against the league’s best defense, the Kansas City Chiefs. As long as the Vikings keep giving the ball to their best player, Peterson owners have a lot to be excited about during the final stretch of the season. This weekend the Vikings are playing the Redskins. Peterson should be able to post another 100 yard game against the 22nd ranked rushing defense.


1. Jamaal Charles (Kansas City Chiefs)

Jamaal Charles is the best overall running back in the league. He is currently second in total yards and has scored a total of eight times. In the past two week, Charles has seen a decrease in his fantasy production. Last week was the first time all season he has failed to put up at least ten fantasy points; only rushing for 90 yards and catching one pass for an additional six. Should fantasy owners be concerned about this? It depends on if the Chiefs can find another way to move the ball. Kansas City has no passing attack whatsoever. If Alex Smith can start moving the chains through the air, Jamaal Charles will see his fantasy production rise. If this does not happen the star running back will continue to see his number of fantasy points decrease. It is also concerning that following this week’s bye; the Chiefs are going to start the toughest part of their schedule. Charles will remain a top three running back, but he might get pushed out of the top chair if the passing game does not have a big turnaround.

Honorable Mention: Knowshon Moreno (DEN), Frank Gore (SF), Eddie Lacy (GB)


Wide Receivers    calvinjohnson


5. Dez Bryant (Dallas Cowboys)

Dez Bryant is always a threat to score. He has caught 51 passes for 705 yards and eight touchdowns so far this season. He very easily could move up higher on this list if the number of targets he receives per game increases, but as it stands in the past couple of weeks he has only been getting between five and seven receptions per game. This week Bryant will be facing a tough New Orleans’ pass defense, but Romo will be forced to throw early and often. The game looks to be very high scoring and there is no reason to think one of those scores will not belong to the Cowboys’ best wide receiver. If the Cowboys want to win this game Bryant must have a big game. He is a good fantasy option this week, but should be seen as a boom or bust player.


4. Wes Welker (Denver Broncos)

Even after the bye week, Broncos’ wide receiver Wes Welker still leads all wide receivers in touchdowns. The remainder of the season looks to be difficult though. The Broncos still have two games against the Chiefs. This weekend the Broncos are playing the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers have a young linebacker corps that has been over performing this season and well as one of the best safeties in the league, Eric Weddle. Welker, a slot receiver by trade, will have to deal with both these forces all game long. Weddle’s attention will be set on Welker on early downs and Demaryius Thomas in deep passing situations. Expect Eric Decker to be the top wide receiver for Denver this weekend.


3. A.J. Green (Cincinnati Bengals)

The emergence of Marvin Jones and good play from Andy Dalton has really benefitted A.J. Green. Green currently leads the league in receiving yards with 862. He is also tied for the most receptions this year at 57 with the Houston Texans’ Andre Johnson. Along with these impressive stats, the young wide out has scored five times this season. Green will continue to be a dominant force the remainder of the season and should be able to have a pretty good game this weekend against the underperforming Baltimore Ravens.


2. DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles)

After two lost weeks, DeSean Jackson and the Philadelphia offense has really turned around. The Eagles were led by quarterback Nick Foles, who threw for seven touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders. Jackson caught five passes for 150 yards and a touchdown in the outing. Jackson’s season has been a rollercoaster so far due to inconsistency at the quarterback position. If Nick Foles can continue to play the position at a high level, Jackson will remain as a top three wide receiver for the rest of the season. DeSean Jackson and the Eagles have a chance to put up another big day in the passing game against the Green Bay Packers who have been stout against the run, but are struggling when teams throw the ball.


1. Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions)

Calvin Johnson is the best wide receiver in the game. He has 47 receptions, 823 receiving yards, and seven touchdowns. These numbers will only get better as the season moves forward. Matthew Stafford is playing better than he ever has in his career. The Lions are coming off a bye week and are facing the Chicago Bears this weekend. The Bears are not built for comeback wins. The Lions will want to throw the ball deep early in the game and when they do, Calvin Johnson will be the one going up for those passes. If you are concerned about him matching up against Charles Tillman all day, you do not need to fear. Nobody can stop Megatron.



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