Patrick Daugherty

Goal Line Stand

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Week 9 Rankings

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Updated 11/3/2013 at 3:15 PM ET. No. 64 receiver Kenbrell Thompkins removed from ranks.

Updated 11/3/2013 at 7:45 PM ET. Deji Karim and Ray Graham removed from ranks, Dennis Johnson inserted in Karim's position at No. 45. 

Eddie Lacy returned from his concussion in Week 5. What’s he done since? Nothing much, just led the NFL in rushing. The league’s top runner both for the month of October (395) and over the past three weeks (296), Lacy hasn’t been held below 82 yards on the ground since returning from Brandon Meriweather’s savage helmet-to-helmet hit, and has posted at least 97 yards from scrimmage every time out.

How’s he done it? A healthy workload, for starters. Lacy averaged 27 touches per game in October, leading all running backs in both carries (97) and touches (108). That’s a lot of work, particularly for a player with all of six career appearances. But the Packers wouldn’t be feeding Fat Eddie if he hadn’t earned it, and earned it he has. Lacy hasn’t quite looked like he’s running all over the ghost of Lennay Kekua — as he did in the BCS Championship Game — but he’s come close. Lacy has broken 15 tackles since rejoining the starting lineup, which is as many as Adrian Peterson has over his past four games. He’s already ninth amongst running backs by Pro Football Focus’ “missed tackles” count. Lacy follows his blockers extremely well, but often gets more than what’s blocked because he’s already shedding defenders with the best of them.

He’s also doing his best work in the meat of the game, averaging 4.6 yards per tote on carries 11-20. That number plunges to 2.7 on carries 21 and over, but it’s largely a function of predictable runs in clock-killing mode. Lacy is basically doing everything that’s expected of a traditional lead back, getting at least what’s blocked, punishing defenders, catching the occasional pass and salting away games. Now he’s getting rewarded with a dream matchup in the Bears, who have watched their run defense completely fall apart over their past four games, allowing 660 yards and eight touchdowns to opposing running backs. It’s why Lacy’s No. 6 ranking this week is conservative, but his future schedule is why it won’t be an anomaly. Lacy’s Week 10 matchup with the Eagles is tougher than fantasy owners might assume, but his upcoming tilts with the Giants, Vikings, Lions, Falcons and Cowboys are not. Lacy is going to keep eatin’, and fantasy owners are going to keep winning. In a year where so many running backs have underperformed, Lacy has overperformed his 45.0 ADP to the tune of every-week RB1 status.   

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $80,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 9. It's just $10 to join and first prize is $8,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link

Week 9 Quarterbacks

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Aaron Rodgers vs. CHI -
2 Drew Brees at NYJ -
3 Cam Newton vs. ATL -
4 Philip Rivers at WAS -
5 Tony Romo vs. MIN -
6 Andrew Luck at HOU -
7 Robert Griffin III vs. SD Probable (knee)
8 Russell Wilson vs. TB -
9 Andy Dalton at MIA -
10 Terrelle Pryor vs. PHI -
11 Tom Brady vs. PIT Probable (shoulder)
12 Matt Ryan at CAR -
13 Jake Locker at STL -
14 Nick Foles at OAK Probable (concussion)
15 Alex Smith at BUF -
16 Joe Flacco at CLE -
17 Ryan Tannehill vs. CIN -
18 Ben Roethlisberger at NE -
19 Josh McCown at GB -
20 Case Keenum vs. IND -
21 Jason Campbell vs. BAL -
22 Geno Smith vs. NO -
23 Christian Ponder at DAL -
24 Kellen Clemens vs. TEN -
25 Mike Glennon at SEA -
26 Jeff Tuel vs. KC -


QB Notes: What has Aaron Rodgers done since losing Randall Cobb and James Jones in Week 6? Complete 49-of-65 passes (75.4 percent) for 545 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions. He’s posted his second and third highest QB ratings of the season. Just a quarterback losing his No. 2 and 3 receivers (not to mention his tight end), no big deal. Rodgers is going to put the screws to Chicago’s regressing defense. … In theory, heading to the Meadowlands is an imposing matchup for Drew Brees. Whereas the Jets are getting shredded by the pass on the road — opposing QBs are 95-of-146 (65 percent) for 1,084 yards, 7.42 yards per attempt, 12 touchdowns and only one interception in four games — they’ve been a different unit at home, holding enemy passers to a 53.0 completion percentage, 6.34 YPA and 3:2 TD:INT ratio. The reality, however, is that they’ve yet to face anyone like Brees, instead shutting down the likes of Josh Freeman, E.J. Manuel, Ben Roethlisberger and a struggling Tom Brady. It’s no secret that the Saints are harder to stop in the Superdome, but a Jets pass defense that allowed five touchdowns to Andy Dalton in Week 8 isn’t going to be slowing Brees down, no matter the venue.

If there’s one touch of gray to the best three-game stretch of Cam Newton’s career, it’s that it’s come against three of the league’s shabbier teams in Minnesota, St. Louis and Tampa Bay. Not that it’s the reason Newton has shot back into the stratosphere. No matter the competition, it’s hard to do what Newton’s done — 77.3 completion percentage, 667 passing yards, 106 passing yards and eight total touchdowns. But even if Newton’s return to greatness has been fueled by sub-par competition, the good news is, there’s more of it on tap in Week 9. Only eight teams are allowing more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks than the Falcons. That’s despite the fact that they’ve faced only two top-15 fantasy QBs, and only three in the top 20. Newton is going to make Atlanta’s nightmare season a whole lot worse on Sunday. … Philip Rivers comes off his bye against a team allowing 8.4 yards per attempt (31st) and a 65.8 completion percentage (25th). Sounds like a good matchup for a player with a 73.9 completion percentage (No. 1 in NFL) and 8.56 YPA (No. 4).

24.7 percent of Tony Romo’s 185.9 fantasy points came in his 506-yard afternoon against the Broncos. If you remove his best game of the season — which is rarely a fair exercise — he’s averaging a mere 19.9 points, which would rank 20th in the league. Yet another appetizing matchup, however, keeps him in the top five. … The Houston Texans’ No. 1 ranking against the pass is one of the more fraudulent statistics in all of football. The main reason opposing passers are dropping just 146 yards per game on the Texans? They don’t need more because of the big early leads their teams have been rolling up. Digging a little deeper, you find the Texans actually have a bottom-12 QB rating against (90.0), and have picked off only three passes (tied for last). Even without Reggie Wayne, Houston is not an imposing matchup for Andrew Luck. The only problem will be if the Colts make like everyone else and rush out to a huge early lead. … Coming off a game where he was roughed up beyond all recognition, Robert Griffin III gets a Chargers team allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. RGIII will also be pleased to know that both by sack counts and Pro Football Focus’ metrics, the Bolts have a bottom-12 pass rush. Expect the zone read to be back, and for RGIII’s fantasy numbers along with it.

Heading into Week 8, we were highly skeptical Andy Dalton would turn the best two-game stretch of his career into the best three-game stretch of his career against the Jets. He didn’t. Instead he had the single best game of his career, throwing for five touchdowns in a 49-9 rout. Averaging 345 yards over his past three starts, Dalton faces another stiff test in a stout Dolphins defense on the road in a short a week. He’s simply been too good to be ranked as anything other than a QB1 in a week where six teams are on bye, however, and has flat-out earned his promotion ahead of the likes of Tom Brady and Matt Ryan. … Speaking of Brady and Ryan, why should you trust Brady more than Ryan this week? It’s far from a cut-and-dry argument, but whereas Brady finally has a stacked deck on offense, Ryan is stuck with Harry Douglas, Drew Davis and the remains of Steven Jackson. Both have imposing matchups — Brady gets a Steelers defense allowing the third-fewest points to opposing QBs, Ryan a Carolina unit allowing the second fewest — but Brady is at home, while Ryan is away from the Georgia Dome carpet where he’s always been a far superior player. We’re splitting hairs, but the long and short of it is, both are on the QB1 borderline, and shaky bets to produce as top-10 options.

Nick Foles would probably like to forget Week 7. His fantasy owners have to forget it in a week where six teams are on bye. Foles’ Week 7 mania ignored one critical truth: Good players > good circumstances. But Foles’ résumé is just thick enough to throw out one bad game and trust him in a solid matchup. … Trusting Josh McCown isn’t for the faint of heart. But going up against an injury-ravaged Packers defense allowing 7.6 yards per attempt and an opposing 96.1 QB rating, it’s worth gambling that Marc Trestman’s guiding hand can lead him to a top-20 week, especially after McCown showed very well in Jay Cutler’s Week 7 absence. … If there’s one thing Case Keenum had in his Week 7 debut, it was gumption, relentlessly challenging Kansas City’s defense downfield. He was rewarded with six completions of at least 25 yards. He’s worth a rental in two-QB leagues. … The odds seem low that Jason Campbell will be able to repeat his surprise Week 8 success, but he’ll have a fighting chance against a Ravens defense allowing an uncharacteristically soft 8.0 yards per attempt.       

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Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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