Start These 10 Players In Week 9

November 4 2:59pm
Joe Fortenbaugh

The good news: The bye weeks are almost over!

The bad news: The trade deadline is almost here.

It’s time to make that last-second push towards the fantasy postseason.  Don’t be afraid to lay it all on the line in an attempt to take your team to the next level.

Before we get to our Week 9 starts, lets take a look at two games I’m eyeing up for Week 9 (last week: 2-0, overall:  3-1):

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-3.5) at Washington Redskins:  Can somebody please tell me why this line is only SF -3.5?  Washington can’t score and the Niners are 6-0 against the spread in their last six games as a favorite.  I’ll take Jim Harbaugh’s crew over that mess in Washington any day of the week.

CINCINNATI BENGALS (+3) at Tennessee Titans:  Another line that has me a bit puzzled, as the Bengals are 8-0 against the spread in their last eight games against AFC opponents.  Tennessee may be 4-3 this season, but they’re 0-4 against the spread in their last four games in the month of November.

10 Players To Start

Matt Cassel, QB, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Miami): The Kansas City signal-caller has thrown for 260+ yards in three of his last four starts and has a tasty Week 9 matchup against a Miami Dolphins defense that is surrendering an average of 23.9 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (3rd-most in NFL).  Cassel won’t shoot the lights out in this one, but he makes for a solid bye week start if you need a replacement for Cam Newton or Matthew Stafford.

Michael Bush, RB, Oakland Raiders (vs. Denver): While it hasn’t been made official as of yet, it looks like starting running back Darren McFadden (foot) won’t return to action until Week 10.  Enter backup Michael Bush, who gets a crack at a Denver Broncos team that ranks 17th in the NFL in run defense (117.7 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of 15.6 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.  The Broncos have done a decent job against the run this season, but Bush will see a boatload of carries making him an excellent RB2/flex option for Week 9. [UPDATE: McFadden has been ruled out this weekend]

Brandon Lloyd, WR, St. Louis Rams (at Arizona): Lloyd has already been targeted 25 times in just two starts since being traded to St. Louis and even found the end zone last weekend, despite having A.J. Feeley at quarterback.  We don’t care who is under center for the Rams in Week 9, as they’re going up against an Arizona Cardinals defense that ranks 30th in the NFL against the pass (277.6 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 26.1 fantasy points per week to opposing wide receivers (t-5th-most in NFL).  Rest easy knowing Lloyd is walking into a very favorable matchup.

Brent Celek, TE, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. Chicago): After a brutally slow start to the 2011 season, Celek has caught fire over the past two games, hauling in 11 passes for 136 yards and two scores on an impressive 18 targets.  It may be a fluke, but we’ll take our chances against a Chicago Bears defense that is giving up more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than any other team in the league (12.1 pts/gm).

Oakland Raiders, D/ST (vs. Denver): Considering the fact that it’s been headline news for close to four days, we take it you all saw how bad Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow played last weekend.  The former Heisman Trophy winner may have pulled out a win two weeks ago at Miami, but he’s completing only 46.1% of his passes this season and has fumbled the ball four times over his last two starts.  With running back Willis McGahee once again out of action, we have a feeling this offense is going to struggle Sunday at Oakland.

Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers (vs. Green Bay): Hard to believe it’s come to this, but we feel it’s necessary to inform all Philip Rivers owners that you should start the San Diego signal-caller Sunday against the Packers.  It’s been a rough year for Rivers, but Green Bay is surrendering an average of 22.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (4th-most in NFL) and currently ranks 31st in the NFL against the pass.  Expect a strong effort from the former N.C. State standout.

Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals (vs. St. Louis): Wells is battling a knee injury and has missed some practice time this week, but he’s expected to start Sunday when St. Louis comes to town.  Good thing for fantasy owners, because the Rams are giving up an average of 25.0 fantasy points per week to opposing running backs (2nd-most in NFL) and currently rank dead last in the NFL in run defense (165.6 yds/gm).  Wells will see enough touches to bring home a solid stat line.

Mario Manningham, WR, New York Giants (at New England): He’s been a bit of a disappointment this season, but Manningham has been targeted eight or more times in each of his last three starts and finally found the end zone for the first time this season in Week 8 against Miami.  Considering the fact that the Patriots rank dead last in the NFL in pass defense (323.1 yds/gm) and are surrendering more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than any other team in the league (29.1 pts/gm), we think you should take your chances and put Manningham in the starting lineup.

Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (at Tennessee): Benson is back from his one-game suspension meaning he should be rested and ready to go Sunday at Tennessee against a Titans defense that ranks 27th in the NFL against the run (129.3 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of 21.9 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (7th-most in NFL).  That may have been a long sentence, but we were so excited about this pick that we thought adding a period would only slow us down.

Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Miami): Bowe’s been targeted ten or more times in each of his last three starts, meaning quarterback Matt Cassel has no problems looking his way early and often.  You can’t help but smile knowing that these two are going up against a Miami Dolphins defense on Sunday that is surrendering an average of 25.3 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this season (7th-most in NFL).  Kansas City’s offense should have no problems putting up points in Week 9.

Joe Fortenbaugh wants you to know that if you ever have a fantasy question, you can hit him up at National Football Post.com or on Twitter:  @JoeFortenbaugh

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