Time to get real…and week nine fantasy rankings

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It’s time to get real folks. By this point in the season you know what your fantasy team is. You’re either off to a fast start and primed for playoffs or you’re sputtering and praying to sneak in to a wildcard spot. Let’s start with the owners who have come out of the gate on fire.

If you’re 6-2 or 7-1, the playoffs are almost a certainty and you’re feeling good about the consistency of your roster. Something you have done, whether by luck or by strategy, has led you to an excellent start and you can just hover around .500 the rest of the season while coasting into the playoffs. I’ve never been in a league where 9-4 can’t get you into the playoffs. But be careful not to get complacent, because complacency is the demise of a successful fantasy team. Yes your team is killing it thus far, but you’re now the team everyone is gunning for.  Make sure you’re staying active on the waiver wire. Start looking at players with excellent playoff schedules and begin looking forward to the prize. The best thing I can say is: Don’t lose focus. Keep on doing what got you here and you should be punching your ticket to the playoffs any week now.

Next up is the middling, .500 teams. Chances are this is where the majority of you are. It’s the average, the middle of the road. You’ve had some good wins; you’ve suffered some tough defeats. But that’s all in the past. Now you’re a .500 team that needs to pick up steam to make the playoffs. Trades (if your deadline hasn’t already passed) become very interesting. If one player in the trade goes off, it could spark you to a few wins and a playoff spot. If one player busts, you could find yourself on the outside looking in. Find the good matchups, watch for solid players being dropped as roster spots become more of a premium.  You’ve got a 50/50 shot at making it to the big dance, it’s time to find the holes on your team, address them, and pray for the best

Lastly is the team of struggle. The team that had the best draft in the entire league, the one featuring Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, Zac Stacy, a sneaky pick of Ray Rice, a stud WR2 in Victor Cruz. Yeah that team is now 2-6 and miserable. While hope isn’t lost, your chances of sneaking into the playoffs are slim to none. You’re in Jets, Jaguars, Buccaneers territory…man, that is a territory I never want to visit. But don’t think it’s impossible. In the majority of leagues, a winning record will get you a wildcard spot. So you’re 2-6? Feel free to start that 5 game win streak this Sunday. If I’m you, I’m looking at trades to shake up my team because why not? Make some bold calls and swing for the fences. Worst-case scenario: you lose this week and play spoiler the rest of the season to your best friends (worst enemies).  If you can’t make playoffs, why not bring your rivals down with you?

 

 

Some random notes before rankings:

·      Man this bye week is awful. The following teams are scoring as much as you and I this week: Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans. That means the following are out:

 

o   Aaron Rodgers (2nd ranked QB)

o   Matt Forte (3rd ranked RB)

o   Jay Cutler (6th ranked QB)

o   Matt Ryan (9th ranked QB)

o   Matthew Stafford (10th ranked QB)

o   Eddie Lacy (11th ranked RB)

o   7 of the top 22 WRs (Cobb, Nelson, Tate, Julio, Watkins, Alshon)

 

·      A.J. Green terrifies me this week. Now I’ll probably end up eating crow on this one but if I have the WR, I’m not starting him unless I absolutely have to. A toe injury for an athlete like Green may not seem like much but it affects his ability to plant his feet, make cuts and run crisp routes. If I’m a Green owner, I’m giving him a week to get fully acclimated.

 

·      DeMarco Murray is another stud that worries me a little this week. Yes it may be ridiculous to worry about a guy on pace to set the single-season rushing record. A guy that has at least 100 yards rushing in 8 straight games (unreal). But Murray is facing a Cardinals defense ranked as the toughest against the run in the league. They have yet to allow a 100 yard rusher on the season. Now while they haven’t faced anyone of DeMarco’s talent (LeSean McCoy comes closest), I still think this is a matchup to slightly worry about. Obviously if you have Murray he’s absolutely a lock in your starting lineup. But I would warn you to temper your expectations.

 

·      Giovani Bernard is dealing with multiple injuries, most notably a banged up hip, which forced him out of last week’s game against the Ravens.  Gio didn’t practice yesterday and if I own him, I’m running to waivers and picking up  Jeremy Hill if he’s available. Be warned, there’s a very real shot Bernard is inactive come Sunday.

 

·      Thursday Night Football Prediction:

 

o   Saints 31 – Panthers 17

The Panthers are the 9th worst defense against the pass and 5th worst against the run. The Saints, although they tend to struggle on the road, are looking to take control of a weak NFC South division and I think they come out firing. Brees and Ingram seem primed for huge games and I think it’s another lopsided Thursday Night affair.

 

 

 

WEEK 9 RANKINGS

 

 

QB

1.  Andrew Luck

2.  Peyton Manning

3.  Drew Brees

4.  Tom Brady

5.  Colin Kaepernick

6.  Philip Rivers

7.  Cam Newton

8.  Russell Wilson

9.  Carson Palmer

10. Tony Romo

11. Alex Smith

12. Ben Roethlisberger

13. Eli Manning

14. Brian Hoyer

15. Nick Foles

16. Ryan Fitzpatrick

17. Andy Dalton

18. Teddy Bridgewater

19. Ryan Tannehill

20. Joe Flacco

 

RB

1.  Arian Foster

2.  Marshawn Lynch

3.  DeMarco Murray

4.  Jamaal Charles

5.  LeSean McCoy

6.  Lamar Miller

7.  Le’Veon Bell

8.  Andre Ellington

9.  Mark Ingram

10. Ahmad Bradshaw

11. Giovani Bernard

12. Ronnie Hillman

13. Alfred Morris

14. Ben Tate

15. Justin Forsett

16. Jerick McKinnon

17. Chris Ivory

18. Branden Oliver

19. Frank Gore

20. Denard Robinson

21. Shane Vereen

22. DeAngelo Williams

23. Trent Richardson

24. Andre Williams

25. Jonas Gray

 

WR

1.  Antonio Brown

2.  Dez Bryant

3.  Jeremy Maclin

4.  Demaryius Thomas

5.  Kelvin Benjamin

6.  T.Y. Hilton

7.  Andre Johnson

8.  Emmanuel Sanders

9.  A.J. Green

10. DeSean Jackson

11. Mike Wallace

12. Steve Smith

13. DeAndre Hopkins

14. Brandin Cooks

15. Keenan Allen

16. Vincent Jackson

17. Brandon LaFell

18. Terrance Williams

19. Rueben Randle

20. Odell Beckham Jr.

21. Doug Baldwin

22. Marques Colston

23. Mohamed Sanu

24. Cordarrelle Patterson

25. Andrew Hawkins

26. Michael Crabtree

 

TE

1.  Rob Gronkowski

2.  Julius Thomas

3.  Jimmy Graham

4.  Greg Olsen

5.  Antonio Gates

6.  Dwayne Allen

7.  Travis Kelce

8.  Jordan Reed

9.  Larry Donnell

10. Clay Harbor

11. Vernon Davis

12. Zach Ertz

13. Jace Amaro

14. Jared Cook

15. Mychal Rivera

 

D/ST

1.  Seahawks

2.  Bengals

3.  Chiefs

4.  49ers

5.  Browns

6.  Texans

7.  Vikings

8.  Colts

9.  Redskins

10. Chargers

 

Flex

1.  Arian Foster

2.  Marshawn Lynch

3.  DeMarco Murray

4.  Antonio Brown

5.  Dez Bryant

6.  Jamaal Charles

7.  LeSean Mccoy

8.  Jeremy Maclin

9.  Demaryius Thomas

10. Rob Gronkowski

11. Lamar Miller

12. Le’Veon Bell

13. Julius Thomas

14. Kelvin Benjamin

15. Andre Ellington

16. Mark Ingram

17. T.Y. Hilton

18. Jimmy Graham

19. Ahmad Bradshaw

20. Giovani Bernard

21. Ronnie Hillman

22. Andre Johnson

23. Emmanuel Sanders

24. Alfred Morris

25. A.J. Green

26. DeSean Jackson

27. Mike Wallace

28. Ben Tate

29. Justin Forsett

30. Jerick McKinnon

31. Steve Smith

32. DeAndre Hopkins

33. Brandin Cooks

34. Keenan Allen

35. Chris Ivory

36. Branden Oliver

37. Frank Gore

38. Greg Olsen

39. Antonio Gates

40. Vincent Jackson

41. Brandon LaFell

42. Denard Robinson

43. Shane Vereen

44. DeAngelo Williams

45. Terrance Williams

46. Rueben Randle

47. Dwayne Allen

48. Trent Richardson

49. Odell Beckham Jr.

50. Doug Baldwin