Here's what you need to know heading into Week 9.
1. What's gotten into Andy Dalton?
|Photo by: Andy Lyons|
2. Frank Gore; a model of consistency.
San Fran's workhorse is back at it again, ranking second in the NFL in rushing touchdowns (7), and averaging 93 yards rushing per game over the last six weeks. In the last seven years, Gore has hit the 1,000-yard mark six times, and he's on pace for 1,200+ yards and 14 scores this season. The 30-year-old won't help you as much in PPR leagues, with only 8 catches this year, but if he continues at this rate, Gore will finish the 2013 season as a top 10 fantasy RB, same as always.
3. Read-option QBs are struggling.
The trio of Robert Griffin, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson were all the rage last year, so in most leagues, they were drafted higher than they should have been. The end result? Owners of these quarterbacks are now scrambling for help. Wilson has been the best of the bunch, but still ranks outside the top 10 at the position in most leagues, and has only hit 300 yards passing once all season. Kaepernick has the 49ers ranked 26th in the NFL in passing offense, which puts him in the bottom-half of the league in fantasy points. Griffin has been all over the place with his performances, but unlike the other two, his second half schedule features several weak pass defenses, so he's probably the most likely to turn things around.
4. Who is Marvin Jones?
Jones was the main beneficiary from Dalton's career game last Sunday, hauling in 9 receptions for 122 and 4 touchdowns. The second-year man out of Cal has now emerged as the No. 2 receiver to A.J. Green. A year ago, Jones only had 18 catches and 1 score. Through Week 8 this season, he already has 24 receptions and 7 TDs. Even before his big outing Sunday, Jones found the end zone twice the two weeks prior and had 7 catches. In the coming weeks, the 23-year-old could be a solid flex play, especially with several weeks of byes still to come.
5. Carolina's D has been impressive.
Carolina's defense was pretty much an afterthought entering the year, and for the most part, went undrafted. However, following their performance last Thursday against the hapless Bucs, they now rank in the top 3 in most leagues in total defensive fantasy points. In most formats, this D has hit double-digits for five-consecutive weeks, the longest active streak in the NFL. Granted, the matchups over the last month were favorable, but the Panthers are now scoring enough points on the offensive side of the football to where their defense can be used on a weekly basis.
The Underrated 15 For Week 9:
1. Andy Dalton
2. Alex Smith
3. Cam Newton
- Running Backs
1. Ryan Mathews
2. Eddie Lacy
3. Le'Veon Bell
- Wide Receivers
1. Harry Douglas
2. Antonio Brown
3. Golden Tate
- Tight Ends
1. Scott Chandler
2. Kyle Rudolph
3. Martellus Bennett
- Defense/Special Teams
3. New Orleans
*Catch me on Fantasy Football Live every Sunday morning from 8:00 till 9:00 on Sports Radio 560 WNSR Nashville, as well as 95.9 FM, or online @ wnsr.com.