Week 9: Sit 'Em
Coming off a 116 yard, one touchdown, one interception performance against the Dolphins, Tom Brady can no longer be considered an every week must start in fantasy leagues. Brady has thrown just two touchdowns over the past four games, and with a tough match-up against the league's second ranked pass defense this week, fantasy owners should strongly consider looking into better options. The Steelers have given up an average of just 181 yards per game through the air. With the way Brady has been struggling, he is barely a top 10 quarterback option this week.
It took Matt Ryan 61 attempts to pass for 301 yards against the Cardinals in Week 8. The Julio Jones-Roddy White less QB also had four interceptions with just one touchdown. Now Ryan and the struggling Falcons face another tough match-up in Carolina. The Falcons' run game was non-existent in Week 8. With White still missing from the lineup and Jones long gone, Ryan was forced into making tough throws that turned into big plays for the Arizona defense. Now Matty Ice matches up against the league's ninth ranked pass defense; the Panthers have allowed an average of 222 yards per game. Fantasy owners with another decent quarterback option should consider leaving Ryan on their benches this week.
Even after he rushed for a career-high 89 yards in Week 8, trusting Lamar Miller in Week 9 isn't so easy. With six teams on byes, this is another beggars-can't-be-choosers week and FFToolbox currently ranks Miller inside the top 24. However, those with other options should consider them. Miller has been splitting carries with Daniel Thomas throughout the season and it's the other guy getting the ball at the goal line. Now, the Dolphins wisely took advantage of New England's defensive softness up the middle by feeding Miller (18 carries to nine for Thomas). Cincinnati, Miami's next opponent, does not have such issues. The Bengals are a top 10 unit against the run and allow the seventh fewest points to fantasy RBs. That's enough to deter fantasy owners from putting Miller into their lineups this week
After missing the past two weeks with a knee injury, Demarco Murray should return to the field in Week 9. The Cowboys lead back has scored three touchdowns in his six games, but has topped 100 rushing yards just once in that span. Dallas faces a struggling Vikings defense this week. Whether Murray can take full advantage is the question. Owners hampered by issues can certainly use the playmaking back. Just understand the potential high risk for this week as Murray may be eased back into the lineup. We'll know more about his status as the week progress. If Murray is still hampered at all by his knee injury, don't hesitate to keep him on your bench for one more week.
Despite averaging 90 receiving yards per game, Torrey Smith has found the endzone just once on the season. Smith was kept in check by Ike Taylor and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 7, and will be in for another tough battle with Joe Haden and the Browns this week. Facing off with Haden in Week 2, Smith caught seven balls for 85 yards -- numbers which will be trickier to duplicate on the road. While Smith can still be kept in lineups as a WR3, I would not count on him to put up starter worthy numbers in two WR leagues.