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Value Plays: Week 9

A look at players who could have unexpected big fantasy weeks.

This article will take a weekly look at players who could provide value in a given week. The basis for this value will be the difference between the Top 200 forward, a look at the top 200 players with the whole season in mind, and the weekly rankings. Both of these are from the Insider content. An emphasis will be on the players with the largest differences between the season outlook and this week only. Also, a preference will be given to differences for the higher ranked players. Some of these differences will be due to injury, matchup of the week, or short-term situation. Now, let's take a look at this week's value players.


Drew Brees

  • Top 200 ranking: 11
  • Weekly ranking: 2
  • Difference: +9

Brees is coming off a massive game in the victory against the Giants last Sunday. This week's contest against the Titans should enable the prolific passer to enjoy another big outing at home in the dome. Now, we do not expect another seven-touchdown game, but this strong matchup coincides with many good quarterbacks on bye this week. Start Brees with confidence against a Tennessee team who switched coaches mid-week.

Matt Ryan

  • Top 200 ranking: 16
  • Weekly ranking: 5
  • Difference: +11

Ryan and company leave the comfortable confines of the dome to travel to the left coast to face the 49ers. This is a San Francisco team in the midst of turmoil. Ryan could have a monster outing against a defense that has seemed to surrender at times the past two games. We like the Atlanta quarterback's chances of topping 300 passing yards and two scores.

Running Back

Ronnie Hillman

  • Top 200 ranking: 31
  • Weekly ranking: 20
  • Difference: +11

Hillman is coming off a strong fantasy outing against the Packers last Sunday evening. We expect the Broncos to run the ball often this week against the Colts. Indianapolis is yielding 28 fantasy points (PPR) to opposing running backs. The Hillman-Anderson combination should be strong again in this contest. There should be enough handoffs for each runner to be content as we expect Denver to jump out to a lead and control the game on the ground.

Danny Woodhead

  • Top 200 ranking: 17
  • Weekly ranking: 13
  • Difference: +4

Woodhead was little used against the Ravens last Sunday. With the season-ending injuries to Keenan Allen and Branden Oliver, we see Woodhead's role increasing against the Chicago Bears this week. This game could set up as a shootout with the two quarterbacks throwing often. His larger role in the passing game will offer six-to-eight targets in the game. The one concern is the lack of touchdowns. Maybe the scoreless streak ends this week.

LeSean McCoy

  • Top 200 ranking: 20
  • Weekly ranking: 12
  • Difference: +8

McCoy and the Bills running game have high hopes for this week's matchup against the Dolphins. Let's remember last Thursday night's shellacking of Miami by the New England running attack. McCoy is finally healthy, and coming off a bye week. He makes a low-end RB1 this week, especially with a bevy of star tailbacks off for the bye week.

Wide Receiver

Martavis Bryant

  • Top 200 ranking: 24
  • Weekly ranking: 15
  • Difference: +9

Bryant just missed a couple of big gains last week in Ben Roethlisberger's return to the field. We like his chances of making plays down the field against Oakland. We expect the Steelers to throw often with LeVeon Bell sidelined for the season. This game as the feel of a 100 yards and a couple of scores for the star receiver.

Emmanuel Sanders

  • Top 200 ranking: 14
  • Weekly ranking: 8
  • Difference: +6

Sanders and company should profit from the Colts secondary. Indianapolis is 21st in the league in yielding fantasy points (PPR) to opposing wide receivers. Sanders did not have a strong fantasy against Green Bay but we expect him to rebound. This is a plus matchup for the Broncos offensive players.

Odell Beckham, Jr.

  • Top 200 ranking: 10
  • Weekly ranking: 5
  • Difference: +5

It will be difficult for Beckham to top the three-score outing against the Saints last week. New Orleans does have a poor secondary. But, so does the Buccaneers, the Giants opponent for Week 9. Tampa Bay ranks 29th (out of 32 teams) at yielding fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Those pass catchers average a collective 42 PPR points per week. This is a great matchup for Beckham.

Tight End

Antonio Gates

  • Top 200 ranking: 13
  • Weekly ranking: 3
  • Difference: +10

After missing a game, many had low expectations for the All Pro tight end a week ago. Well, he exceeded all hopes. With Keenan Allen gone for the season, a high scoring game like the one we expect on Monday night will offer many opportunities for Gates to light up fantasy scoreboards. The Ladarius Green injury will help matters, too.

Gary Barnidge

  • Top 200 ranking: 10
  • Weekly ranking: 4
  • Difference: +6

Barnidge and company face in-state rival Cincinnati on Thursday night. The Bengals give up the fourth most fantasy points (PPR) to opposing tight ends. The average tight end scores 16 fantasy points against the Bengals. Barnidge is better than average and has a great chance to exceed that number. The only concern is quarterback Johnny Manziel, who likes to take shots down the field as opposed to the dink-and-dunk Josh McCown.

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