Well, the Stud and Duds are back after a brief hiatus and it is better than ever, or at least exactly the same as it was before.
So much has happened over the past few weeks of the fantasy season that I do not even know where to begin to summarize and subsequently hypothesize about the future of the fantasy season. There have been breakout players, heartbreaking injuries, and some interesting player movement. Two years ago if you told someone, anyone, even your mom who only likes the uniforms, that Terrell Owens would be a Bengal, Randy Moss would be a Titan, and Shawne Merriman would be a Bill they would have pointed and laughed at you like the time you wet yourself in your elementary school cafeteria... I mean if that sort of thing happened to you. Not me. Moving on. Without further ado, here are my Stud and Dud picks for Week 9 of the NFL fantasy season.
Stud: Eli Manning
Here comes the juice box guy. As of late Eli Manning has been a nice little hot streak with at least 2 TD passes in each of the last 3 games, and 4 last week against Dallas. Despite looking like he is permanently moping around the field, and the sidelines, he has put together one of the most dynamic passing attacks in the NFL this season. They can beat you long over the top with Hakeem Nicks, or they can abuse you underneath with the sure hands of Steve Smith and Mario Manningham. This trio of wideouts has done nothing but pay dividends for the Giants, which is reflected in their current 4 game win streak.
This Week Eli is looking to continue his run against a Seattle Seahawks team that is missing their quarterback, and leader, Matt Hasselback. This means the Seahawks will be more disjointed than ever under Charlie Whitehurst and the Giants offense will see a lot of the football. With these added chances Eli Manning will have a field day against Seattle’s 29th ranked secondary who most recently gave up 33 points to Jason Campbell and the Raiders. Right now the Seahawks are undefeated at home, but with Eli and his vast amount of offensive weaponry I simply do not see that being the streat that continues through week 9.
Dud: Matt Schaub
Personally, Matt Schaub has been one of my biggest fantasy players of the season. Coming into the year he was poised to battle guys like Peyton Manning and Drew Brees as one of the best in the fantasy game, but with the rise of Arian Foster and the Texans running game it simply has not worked out that way. This is not to say he is having a horrible season, far from it, but when you’re expecting you to carry you to the Promised Land, it has been a struggle. As of right now Schaub has 201 passing yards or less in 4 of his 7 games so far, and besides the ridiculous game he had against Washington, he has simply seemed average. Sad. Now he is simply a talented quarterback on a run first offense. Now, more than ever his flaws are surfacing and has had serious issues when he’s pressured, which was evident this past Monday Night when he was knocked around against Division foe Indianapolis. With this in mind, he runs into a San Diego defense that is out to prove that they are much better than their record would indicate. They will bring the pressure hard up front and force Schaub to move around a lot more than he is used to which will inevitably lead to mistakes, or an even heavier run focused attack.
Stud: Matt Forte
This is a huge risk, but there could be a huge reward involved as well. It is a risk because Matt Forte has struggled mightily all year to run the football. He has only played in two games where he has averaged over 3 yards per carry, and has only a single 100+ rushing yard game on the season. Not exactly the numbers you look for in a stud fantasy pick, but what he does provide is explosiveness. He has the talent to open up a defense and run wild for a day, the problem is you never know when its going to happen, which is why I’m taking a stab at it and saying week 9 will be his week. The Bears have come way down from a hot start and need a big game to get them going. What better team to play against than the winless Bills when you need a boost? The Bills have sacrificed massive yardage against the run already this year to the likes of Jamaal Charles (177 yds), LaDanian Tomlinson (133 yds, TD), and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (98 yds, TD). I would say that Forte plays very similar to the latter two and if the Bears can get something going on offense he could be poised for another big day.
Dud: Cedric Benson
Cedric Benson has been relatively consistent all season as he usually racks up somewhere between 60 and 70 yards on the ground per game, but will that happen this week against a pissed off Steelers defense? I think not. Troy Polamalu and James Harrison will be out for blood as they look to stick it to the man and keep playing football their way: hard, fast, and violent. None of this is sounding too good for Benson and the Bengals. By the way… have I mentioned this is a divisional game? There is just no way that Benson hits the end zone or his season average for yards per game. The Steelers only give up 58.1 yds/g on the ground and have only allowed a total of two rushing touchdowns on the season. This is not to say that Cedric Benson isn’t a talented back, because he certainly is, but Benson hasn’t scored since Week 3 and this isn’t the first time the Steelers have shut down a talented running back this season. This is the damage, or lack thereof, done so far this season:
Michael Turner: 42 yards, 0 TDs
Ricky Williams / Ronnie Brown: 62 yards (combined), 0 TDs
Peyton Hillis: 41 yards, 0 TDs
Ray Rice / Willis McGahee: 59 yards (combined), 1 TD
Stud: Reggie Wayne
Not too much of a stretch on this one, but with the major hits that the Indianapolis offense has taken due to the injuries of Austin Collie and Dallas Clark it is more important than ever for Reggie Wayne to step up and take over. It is obvious they are going to keep feeding the man the ball, this past Monday night he was targeted 11 times but had just 4 catches. Wayne has really only had one massive game thus far this season when he put up 15 catches for 196 yards and the Colts are going to need more of that to stay competitive in the highly talented AFC. This weekend against Philadelphia could be the start of Reggie Wayne’s rise back to the top of his game. Philly’s pass D has struggled at times, ranking in the bottom ¼ of the league, and has sacrificed the big play a lot more than once, giving up 13 receiving TDs on the year. For evidence of this you need not look any further than Kenny Britt’s single-handed destruction of the Philly secondary when he racked up 225 yards and 3 touchdowns two weeks ago. I can not see the Eagles doing much to stop Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne as he has his second big day out of this 2010 season.
Dud: Marques Colston
The Saints offense has been more enigmatic than ever this season. There are certain things that are consistent like Drew Brees’ ability to spread the ball around, but they have been so up and down it’s hard to tell who is going to come out on top that week. With that even spread offense no receiver really stands out as “the man” for the Saints. Colston leads the team in receiving yards, but Lance Moore leads the team in receiving TDs. Plus the return of Reggie Bush could mean more passing out of the backfield and an emphasis on the short game. All signs pointing to an off week for Marques Colston, especially against a Panthers team that has a top-5 passing defense and one that he struggled against already this season, at home of all places. Although Colston has a TD in each of the last two games they both came against weaker secondaries, and one has to keep in mind that the Panthers have yet to give up a 100 yard game to a wide out yet this year.
Stud: Jacob Tamme
I don’t think anyone really knows who this guy is or what he is about, but when Peyton Manning is your quarterback you better be ready to catch the ball, and Jacob Tamme certainly was last week. Tamme has stepped into the starting role left vacant by the injured Dallas Clark and made his presence known with 6 catches for 64 yards and a TD on Monday Night Football against division rival Houston. That’s a big way to make your first start. Could it all be a fluke? Yes. Could it all be because it was the Texans? Also yes, but I’m willing to give him another week to follow through and this is why…
The Philadelphia Eagles do not tend to give up a lot of yards to opposing tight ends, but what they do tend to do is leave tight ends wide open in the End Zone. In 3 out of their last 4 games the Eagles have held opposing tight ends to 3 catches (Tony Gonzalez), 5 catches (Vernon Davis), and 2 catches (Chris Cooley), but out of those 10 total catches, 4 of them have been touchdowns. That is why I think Tamme will hit pay dirt for the second straight week.
Dud: Kevin Boss
Kevin Boss has always been a reliable receiver for the New York Football Giants, but with their influx of young talent at the wide receiver position he has become an afterthought of sorts this season. Hakeem Nicks has stepped up huge and Steve Smith has put together another solidly productive year, not to mention the impact of Mario Manningham,but all of this has essentially left Boss in the dust. Strangely enough this is the same scenario he was in last season. He had one big game early, not a ton of catches, but after week 8 he went on to catch 5 touchdowns and have two more 70+ yard games. Unfortunately I so don’t see that happening. Eli has gotten too comfortable with his receiving corps to all of a sudden change things up and start throwing underneath. Boss may get a few looks in the Red Zone here and there, but for now it just does not look good, especially against a Seahawks defense that has not given up more than 35 yards to a tight end in their last 4 games.