Week 9: Sit 'em
Flacco has been a boom-or-bust fantasy option this season as he's posted four games with one or zero touchdowns, and if you eliminate his five-touchdown performance against an anemic Tampa defense in Week 6, the Ravens' signal-caller has a ho-hum 9:7 touchdown-to-interception ratio. In the Week 2 home meeting with the Steelers, Flacco was held to just 166 yards through the air but also tossed two touchdown passes. With Dennis Pitta out for the season and Owen Daniels expected to miss a few more weeks due to a knee injury, Flacco will enter a raucous Heinz Field without his security blankets over the middle. He is more of an option in two-quarterback leagues this week against a Steelers defense that has the sixth-best pass rush according to Pro Football Focus.
With six teams on bye this week, some fantasy owners might be forced to the waiver wire for a Week 9 replacement. Depending on the size of your league, the Dogfather might appear to be your best option now that Rex Ryan has come to his senses and benched the turnover machine that is Geno Smith. The 34-year-old Vick was less than impressive in relief of Smith, completing 18 of 36 passes for 153 yards and no touchdowns but salvaged his stat line by adding eight carries for 69 yards in the blowout loss to Buffalo. Vick tossed an interception, lost two fumbles and was sacked four times in Week 8. Translation: Grab the Kansas City defense if it is sitting on your waiver wire. The Chiefs have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points per game to the quarterback position, including a league-low 196 passing yards per. For those thinking that Vick could save the day with a rushing score, Kansas City's defense is the only unit in the league that has yet to allow a touchdown on the ground.
The third-round pick out of Auburn was a hot waiver-wire commodity after his Week 7 performance against Seattle when he rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Those expecting a repeat performance from the rookie were left disappointed as the Rams' backfield morphed back into a committee during St. Louis' Week 8 drubbing in Kansas City. Mason and Zac Stacy each received eight touches, and Benny Cunningham got the ball five times.This rotation combined with an inept Brian Schottenheimer calling the plays is a recipe for disaster worth avoiding, especially this week when the Rams travel to San Francisco. The 49ers are coming off a bye week and have allowed just 72 rushing yards per game and five total touchdowns to running backs. The St Louis offense will be hard-pressed to match its scoring average (19 PPG) following the losses of left tackle Jake Long and leading wide receiver Brian Quick to season-ending injuries this past week. All signs point to a San Francisco blowout win that will render the Rams' crowded backfield a fantasy wasteland.
Run DMC has been working his way back into fantasy relevance this season after many fantasy owners blackballed him due to the chronic injuries and mediocre production that have marred his once-promising career. McFadden is averaging 65 yards from scrimmage per game with 21 catches and two touchdowns, making him a useful flex play when the matchups are favorable. He's reached double-digit points in his last six outings in PPR formats but could find it difficult to make it seven straight this week against Seattle. Per Football Outsiders' Defense-adjusted Value Over Average metric (DVOA), only Detroit is stingier up front than the Seahawks, who have limited opposing backs to three rushing scores and 3.7 YPC this season. Oakland will likely continue to hold claim to the league's worst run game (averaging just 70 yards per game) following this week's trip to hostile CenturyLink Field.
The Darren Sproles clone was bottled up on Thursday Night Football as Denver's stout run defense held him to just 36 yards on 13 carries, including a worthless 23-yard scamper on the game's final play. Oliver saved his day in PPR leagues by adding seven catches for 27 yards and has 21 receptions in his last five games. Prior to Week 7, he topped the century mark on the ground in consecutive weeks but has been just a lower-end RB2 in the past two games, averaging 71 total yards with no touchdowns. Oliver's fantasy star could be fading further with news that Ryan Mathews has a chance to return for the Week 9 trip to Miami. Mathews has been out of action since he sustained a sprained knee in Week 2, and his return would result in yet another dreaded RBBC. Further clouding the fantasy prospects of the Chargers' running game is the fact that Pro Football Focus ranks their offensive line as the worst run-blocking unit in league. That could result in pedestrian numbers against a Dolphins defense that is allowing just 3.7 yards per carry to RBs.