WR Miles Austin – Cowboys
Week 9: 2 Rec (6 Targets), 16 yards
With Dez Bryant coming into his own and Jon Kitna at the helm, Miles Austin’s value has plummeted. The reality is, with Austin having just one breakout season under his belt, it will be hard to tell how he will fare from here on out with Kitna throwing him the ball. He is a talented receiver, though, and he is still getting plenty of targets.
RB Reggie Bush – Saints
Week 9: DNP
The Saints are regaining their form on offense, and Reggie Bush is regaining his playing status very soon. The likelihood is that he will play after the Saints’ bye week, and New Orleans has missed Bush’s presence a lot more than many of us expected. I have seen him available on waivers in many leagues, and he should come cheap if an owner has needs elsewhere. He is especially valuable as a RB2 in PPR formats from week 11 forward.
RB Pierre Thomas – Saints
Week 9: DNP
Basically, see above. Thomas has missed much more time than initially expected, but ankle sprains can be fickle. The Saints were not much of a rushing team to begin with, but Chris Ivory filled in admirably for Pierre Thomas. Ivory separated a shoulder, and Thomas has been lurking for a few weeks now. I expect him to be back along with Bush in Week 11, and I know that many owners have given up on Thomas because of his nagging injury. He should be a decent RB2 and good flex/RB3 play when the Saints resume their schedule, with a ton of upside if he regains his form quickly and stays healthy.
QB Matt Schaub – Texans
Week 9: 21/32, 266 Yds, 1 INT, 1 Fum
Matt Schaub is killing his fantasy owners, yours truly included, with his hot/cold performance issues. Over the past couple of weeks he has thrown for just one touchdown against four turnovers. Arian Foster has been stealing a lot of Schaub’s thunder with his breakout season, but an equilibrium has to be established. With Schaub throwing the ball to Andre Johnson and Co., and the threat of Foster out of the backfield, Schaub should get the ball into the end zone a lot more often as the season wears on. Get him now, though, because he plays the woeful Jacksonville secondary this weekend and then likely will not be this cheap until it is too late. Of course, weigh in the fact that he faces some tough defenses down the stretch.
WR Calvin Johnson – Lions
Week 9: 1 Rec (4 Targets), 13 yards
Revis Island was fully operational this past Sunday when Megatron was shut down, despite Matthew Stafford’s good game. It might be a tough negotiation to buy low, but the argument here is that Johnson has now lost two quarterbacks and has Drew Stanton throwing to him. The fact of the matter is, though, that Megatron has put up points for a myriad of bad quarterbacks over the years, and I do not see that changing when Stanton takes the wheel. All that is moot when Shaun Hill does return; according to the Lions, they are holding out hope that he will even play this Sunday against the Bills. This is likely Calvin Johnson’s low-point in value, so get him while you can.
WR Brandon Marshall – Dolphins
Week 9: 5 Rec (8 Targets), 30 yards
Yet again, Marshall failed to find the end zone in a bad loss to the Ravens. Chad Henne has regressed a bit over the past couple of weeks, allowing his interception total to overtake his touchdowns. This has been especially bad because Marshall was drafted so highly, and his fantasy outputs have been just decent enough to tease his owners. Never fear; as Mike Clay pointed out last week, his touchdown percentage should normalize as the season progresses. Henne targets Marshall a lot, and this should translate to some big fantasy games down the road. Marshall might have one or two more subpar weeks, but he is targeted much too often to be held in check for much longer.
TE Jacob Tamme – Colts
Week 9: 11 Rec (17 Targets), 108 Yds, 1 TD
Tamme is the second coming of Dallas Clark. Actually, with Peyton Manning driving that passing offense, I think you could stick Dwight Freeney at tight end and he would catch a few passes. Tamme has been targeted often, even more so than Clark had been before his injury; because Tamme has earned Peyton’s trust, that means he will continue to get looks. He is almost a sell-high candidate, but I have managed to steal him in a few leagues and he has immediately made an impact for my teams, so I plan to keep him. He has huge value in PPR formats, practically being a WR1 at the TE position.
WR Steve Johnson – Bills
Week 9: 11 Rec (14 Targets), 145 Yds
One of this season’s fantasy surprises has been Steve Johnson, henceforth known as Galvatron. Although his scoring streak was snapped, he racked up 145 yards on 11 catches. His fantasy star has slowly been on the rise, and he would be a sell-high candidate if it were not for his schedule in the next couple of weeks. The Bills get Detroit and Cincinnati, two very nice wide receiver matchups, before their schedule toughens considerably. I would hold on to Johnson and even start him at WR2 or WR3 next week, then I would return to PFF Fantasy and check out more fantasy advice.
WR Santonio Holmes – Jets
Week 9: 5 Rec (9 Targets), 114 Yds
Sherlock led the Jets receivers with 9 targets and 5 receptions this past weekend against Detroit, and that is a harbinger of things to come. Unfortunately, his value is still depressed because he has yet to truly break out this season and he has Mark Sanchez at quarterback, but the Jets have some tasty fantasy matchups coming up for their receivers. Holmes has seen his snap count increase in each game (41-46-65-74) and seems to have ascended to Sanchez’s top wideout option. He is a solid WR3 option with good upside moving forward.
RB Ronnie Brown – Dolphins
Week 9: 9 Rush, 59 Yards, 1 TD
The Dolphins gashed the Ravens on their first drive of the game this past Sunday, then inexplicably abandoned the run game. As one announcer put it, though, Brown looked like he had his spark back when Miami gave him his shots. The Dolphins have been a run-heavy team over the past couple of seasons, and they would do well to re-establish that identity. With Brown running hard and Marshall keeping defenses honest, Brown should see his fantasy production increase through the rest of the season. Do not give up on Brown.
WR Nate Burleson – Lions
Week 9: 7 Rec (8 Targets), 114 Yds, 1 TD
Marooning a teammate on Revis Island has its benefits. Actually, Burleson has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance over his past four games playing opposite of Johnson, but the ride is coming to an end. Again, the loss of Matthew Stafford hurts Burleson, though Shaun Hill may return. Detroit plays Buffalo and Dallas (which could be great on defense if they come to play), then they get New England, Chicago, Green Bay, and Tampa Bay. Burleson’s career does not paint a pretty picture for the rest of his fantasy season. He has got good value right now, so sell him while he’s hot.
RB Peyton Hillis – Browns
Week 9: 29 Rush, 184 Yds, 2 TDs
It is not that I think Hillis is going to have a huge dropoff, but in the spirit of the theme for this article, I think Hillis’ value cannot go any higher for the season. Now is the perfect time to sell; you can get a good package in return, especially if you are in need of some depth. A few weeks ago, I argued that Hillis is due for a dropoff; I have been wrong thus far, but I still think his value is at its peak.
WR Seyi Ajirotutu – Chargers
Week 9: 4 Rec (5 Targets), 111 Yds, 2 TDs
Philip Rivers has been the clear-cut number one fantasy quarterback this season, and he has made a lot of receivers look good in the process. Ajirotutu was the latest to step up for the injury-plagued Chargers. Unfortunately for him and his owners, the depleted receiving corps has a bye week to recuperate. With the imminent return of Vincent Jackson in week 12, and the return of Antonio Gates, Legedu Naanee, and Malcolm Floyd, Ajirotutu’s value basically spiked immediately. You are best served getting whatever you can for him, but he will be pretty much droppable after the Chargers regain their receiver depth.
QB Brett Favre – Vikings
Week 9: 36/47, 446 Yds, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Quickly, pawn him off to a Matthew Stafford owner before it is too late! Brett had a monster day… against the Arizona Cardinals. One might argue that Sidney Rice’s imminent return means Favre will stabilize as the season progresses, but there is a reason that I coined the verb “Favred”, as in my good friend was “Favred” when Brett threw a pick-six late in the 4th quarter against the Jets while my good friend was up by 7 in his fantasy matchup and playing against the Jets D/ST. In other words: you cannot trust Favre. He might blow up, but there is a strong chance he will blow up in your face if you keep him.
Questions and comments are always welcome via Twitter – @PFF_Zerodev