Week 9 fantasy football tips:
Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh) showed some rust last week after four weeks off, but he should be more of his old self this week back at Heinz Field. Over the 2013-15 seasons, Roethlisberger averages 2.3 touchdowns per game at home versus 1.3 on the road, while the Oakland Raiders allow the second-most passing yards in the NFL at over 300 yards per game this season.
▪ Peyton Manning (Denver) makes his second return to Indianapolis as a Bronco. In 2013, Manning connected for 386 yards and three touchdowns. This isn’t the same Peyton Manning, but he is coming off a 340-yard game and should play inspired ball in this one. Look for Emmanuel Sanders to outperform, while Demaryius Thomas takes on shutdown corner Vontae Davis.
▪ Sticking in the Manning family, Eli Manning (N.Y. Giants) remains a strong start. He is coming off an epic six-touchdown game, and Tampa has allowed 16 passing touchdowns in the red zone this season, the most in the league.
▪ With Khiry Robinson lost for the season, Mark Ingram (New Orleans) should be even busier, especially around the goal-line. Ingram averages 100.5 yards per game this season with five touchdowns, but Robinson had four more touchdowns. That production should go Ingram’s way now.
▪ Martavis Bryant (Pittsburgh) has at least eight targets in his three gamesthis year (he didn’t have a game with eight targets last year). Bryant could go off for a two-touchdown game at any time.
▪ It’s tough to sit star players, but Stefon Diggs (Minnesota), T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis) and Allen Robinson (Jacksonville) all have tough draws this week. Diggs draws a stout St. Louis defense. For Hilton, Denver allows a league-low 172 passing yards per game, and Robinson will be shadowed by Darrelle Revis.
▪ With six teams on a bye, you may be in the market for a kicker. On a per game basis, Connor Barth (Tampa Bay) has been a top-three kicker over the past month. Barth has nine field goals in his past three games and has made all 17 kicks since being signed. Chris Boswell (Pittsburgh) was signed before Week 5, and also hasn’t missed a kick.
Week 9 sleepers
▪ With seven touchdowns in his past two games, Derek Carr (Oakland) is getting close to must-start status, especially with Oakland-Pittsburgh looking like a shootout. After a modest game against the Jets, the Raiders’ Amari Cooper should get back on track. He is on pace for 87 receptions, 1,290 yards and seven touchdowns and could be the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year.
▪ While Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay) isn’t going to light up the Giants for 500-plus passing yards and seven touchdowns like Drew Brees did last week this is an attractive start for Winston. He has played well of late with no interceptions his past three games. The Giants allow 315 yards passing per game, the most in the NFL.
▪ Jeremy Langford (Chicago) will draw the start with Matt Forte (knee) likely out on Monday night. Langford will have a heavy role, and he was a workhorse at Michigan State, where he set a school record for career rushing touchdowns. San Diego allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
▪ Losing Keenan Allen (San Diego) is a major blow, especially with Philip Rivers on pace for 5,607 passing yards, which would set the NFL record. That pace will slip but receivers Stevie Johnson, Malcom Floyd and Dontelle Inman all become sleepers for increased production.
▪ With Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin still not at 100 percent, Robert Woods (Buffalo) will likely be the Bills’ No. 1 receiver this week. Woods played 97 percent of snaps in the Bills’ last game and produced with nine receptions, 84 yards and a score.
▪ The Atlanta Falcons defense has to be a strong sleeper this week. The 49ers will start Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, and their starting running back will either be Kendall Gaskins (signed off the practice squad last week) or Pierre Thomas or Shaun Draughn, who haven’t been on an NFL roster all season until this week.
Alan Satterlee is a co-owner and senior writer for DynastyFootballWarehouse.com, a comprehensive fantasy football strategy site.