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Sunday Morning Huddle: Week Nine

As always, there’s a ton of information out there this morning. We’re not going to waste your time by repeating the news and notes about who’s in or out this week, since that’s really not what you visit us for. We’re also not going to do another article on starts or sits this week – we already have week five’s personalized lineup advice for you as part of the premium content package. Again, there are 100 places you can go for game day reports, so we’re doing something different on Sundays for our premium content subscribers. The Sunday Morning Huddle goes through each game and states what we’re looking to see from a dynasty perspective. We pick one player from each team who have our eye on and describe why their weekend performance is a key one for them in relation to their dynasty value.

Early Games

Arizona at Green Bay

Dynasty owners would love to see either LaRod Stephens-Howling or William Powell get something going so they can either rely on them as a fill-in or just cut them loose and look elsewhere. With the offensive line of Arizona, it’s just tough seeing either of these two getting anything done.

Speaking of last straws, this should really be it for James Starks. Alex Green has been failing miserably as the featured back for the Packers, so Starks looks to be in line for some work this week. Can he deliver?

Detroit at Jacksonville

Who would have ever imagined the words “Calvin Johnson” and “first round bust” being uttered in the same sentence this year. Unfortunately, Johnson hasn’t been the Megatron of old and we need to start seeing him breakout soon or last year is going to look more and more like a mirage than a future expectation.

Cecil Shorts has quietly emerged for the Jaguars over the past month. He has 12 catches for 195 yards and a touchdown over the past two weeks as Blaine Gabbert’s go-to receiver. While this passing offense is far from lethal, Shorts is taking advantage.

Chicago at Tennessee

How good is Brandon Marshall right now?  Owners who took a chance on a resurgence in Chicago has been greatly rewarded so far. He’s always been like a ticking time bomb, but it’s been refreshing to see all the headlines this year be in regards to his performance on the field.

The Titans have promised to get Jared Cook more involved in the offense. He’s been close to waiver wire material in some leagues for some impatient owners. Does he start to integrated into the flow this week?

Denver at Cincinnati

Virgil Green has been quietly picking up more snaps for the Broncos, but don’t be fooled – Jacob Tamme has been in on most passing downs. Regardless, Green is a player to watch in dynasty leagues as a young tight end with big upside. Let’s pay attention to the target numbers today.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been pretty underwhelming for the Bengals so far, but he’s still getting a lion’s share of the carries.  However, he’s starting to simply look worn down. With the Bengals opting out of trading for another back at the deadline, Green-Ellis is assured of being used extensively.  Can he hold up?

Carolina at Washington

For the Panthers, Jonathan Stewart has been installed as the featured back in the offense, but predictably struggled against the Bears last week. You would figure the Panthers throw a ton against the Redskins today (look for Steve Smith to have a big day), but it would be nice to see Stewart look like the Stewart of a couple of years ago as well.

Leonard Hankerson of the Redskins has been inconsistent filling in for Pierre Garcon so far this year and his owners are getting pretty frustrated. It’s time for Hankerson to start showing us some consistency.

Baltimore at Cleveland

The Ravens have promised to get Ray Rice more involved in the offense after seemingly forgetting about him (again) last week. When that happens, look for big numbers.

The Browns have little hope for much this year, but Josh Gordon has certainly flashed some serious potential. The Ravens defense isn’t as dominant as in year’s past and Gordon is on pace for nearly 800 yards this season. Let’s see if he can get deep on Baltimore once or twice today.

Miami at Indianapolis

For the Dolphins, Daniel Thomas has been quietly (or not so quietly for Reggie Bush owners) picking up goal line carries and some additional work as of late. In fact, Thomas had 15 carries to Bush’s 14 last week. If that continues, the emergence of Bush as a RB2 this year is going to be pretty short lived.

Dwayne Allen was an afterthought after Coby Fleener in most rookie drafts this year, but he has a great opportunity to make his mark with Fleener out with an injury. On the year, Allen has 17 catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns, while Fleener has produced 21 catches for 222 yards. It’s certainly looking like Allen was a better value pick in rookie drafts at the moment since he was taken at least two rounds later than Fleener in most of them.

Buffalo at Houston

There have been indications in Buffalo that they believe Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the long-term answer. He may not be the short-term answer against the dominant Texans defense today. Regardless, he has to start picking up his play or this is going to be his last year at the helm of the Bills.

Arian Foster against the last place rushing defense of the Bills. This should be fun!

Late Games

Minnesota at Seattle

Percy Harvin has emerged as one the best players in dynasty leagues this year. He’s always been a fine WR2 and borderline WR1, but he’s stepped up his game this year to the point where he could be a viable option for fantasy MVP when all is said and done. He’ll have his hands full with the 12th man in Seattle today, but I wouldn’t bet against him.

The Seahawks are still looking for viable receiving options and Sidney Rice is finally starting to emerge again. With Russell Wilson playing better, Rice could be a solid trade target for a contending team even with his injury risk.

Tampa Bay at Oakland

Mike Williams is enjoying a resurgence this year and actually led the Bucs in targets last week as the defense focused on Vincent Jackson. He has 436 yards in just seven games this year after posting just 771 all of last season. It’s possible we see his first 1,000 yard season if he can keep playing this well.

For the Raiders, Denarius Moore has emerged as the number one option in the passing game. In his six games this year, he has 419 receiving yards and four scores as Carson Palmer’s go-to option. He’s averaging nearly nine targets per game and that bodes well for the second half of the year.

Pittsburgh at NY Giants

Mike Wallace has 15 catches on 24 targets in the past two weeks. While his yards per catch is down nearly four yards from last season, owners in PPR leagues aren’t complaining. After starting slowly, Wallace is starting to really grasp the new offense and start paying dividends for his owners. Now, if he can just cut down on the drops…

With the running backs playing well behind him, the pressure is on Ahmad Bradshaw to perform well each and every week to continue getting the workload he wants. Any mistake or poor performance from Bradshaw is going to create an even bigger mess in New York. Let’s see how he can do against the Steelers today.

Sunday Night Football

Dallas at Atlanta

You can put Tony Romo, Dez Bryant or a host of other on this list, but let’s see what the resurgent Jason Witten has in store for an encore performance after last week’s 18-catch, 167 yard monster.

After being on a ton of sleeper lists early in the year, Jacquizz Rodgers has been able to produce just 3.5 yards per carry so far this year. Meanwhile, Michael Turner has averaged 3.8 yards per tote. Turner is even producing more in the passing game in terms of yards per reception (8.3 to 6.9). While there’s no doubt Turner is slowing down, Rodgers hasn’t done enough to take over. After a solid performance last week, let’s see if Rodgers can start gaining a little ground (literally).

Monday Night Football

Philadelphia at New Orleans

This is Michael Vick’s last stand. ‘Nuff said.

With Darren Sproles out for a month or so with a broken hand, Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory and Mark Ingram have a chance to see many more opportunities. However, if I’m a savvy dynasty owner, I’m picking up Travaris Cadet off waivers before Monday. His skill set is much more similar to Sproles and he was very impressive in the preseason. We have a pretty good idea of what Thomas, Ivory and Ingram are at this point, so rolling the dice on Cadet would be advised if you have the room on your roster.

Have a great weekend!

Ken Kelly
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