Hits & Misses – Week 9: Baseball is finally over!

Now that baseball is finally over, we can focus on the sport that should have a spotlight at this point in the year…football. Before we get to the players though, remember to enter in our contest to win a $50 NFL.com gift card simply by predicting the top fantasy quarterback of the week (my QB “hits” might help you out!) Also, if you’re feeling generous, head over to the Fantasy Football Librarian’s site and vote for FFGeekBlog.com in her first annual Readers’ Choice Poll.

Anyways, that’s enough self-promotion…here are our “Hits” and “Misses” for week nine, listing players you want to make sure are in your lineup, as well as those you might consider shelving for the week (or at least lowering your expectations!)

Quarterback
Hits
Misses
Aaron Rodgers, Packers @ TB – Against the last two good quarterbacks they’ve played (Brady/McNabb), the Bucs have given up a combined 573 yards and six touchdowns. Rodgers is also a good quarterback. Matt Schaub, Texans @ IND – For a guy leading the NFL in passing yards, Schaub hasn’t looked especially sharp when faced with a good defense (Jets/Raiders/Bills.) This week he plays at Indianapolis and while it’s in a dome, the Colts have been good against the pass and should limit the Matt Schaub’s production.
Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks vs DET – Last time I had Hasselbeck on the “hits” list, he put up an absolute stinker (112 yards, 0 TD)…but I’m giving him another chance to redeem himself. He’s playing the Lions, at home, and should put up big numbers. Eli Manning, Giants vs SD – Although the Chargers defense has padded their stats with games against the Raiders and Chiefs recently, they’ve still been pretty good against the pass. The Giants passing game does not seem to be in sync all of a sudden and I have a feeling that they turn to their running game to carry them to victory in this one.
Alex Smith, 49ers vs TEN – If you’re in a bind at the QB position, Smith makes a decent plug-in play this week against a bad Titans pass defense (although they played surprisingly well against the Jaguars last week.) Jake Delhomme, Panthers @ NO – You shouldn’t be starting Delhomme anyways, but definitely do not play him IN New Orleans against a solid Saints pass defense.
Running Back
Hits
Misses
Pierre Thomas, Saints vs CAR – Thomas looked great against the Falcons last week, rushing for 91 yards and a score on just 14 carries (and catching a touchdown pass as well.) Expect a big dose of the PT Cruiser against the Panthers this week, as they’ve given up a rushing touchdown to the past six teams they’ve played. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers @ DEN – Mendenhall’s carries have dropped off dramatically with the return of Willie Parker and if he wants to put up decent fantasy numbers, he’s going to have to break a couple long runs against a good Broncos defense.
Brandon Jacobs, Giants vs SD – I expect big things from the Giants running game this weekend, led by the big man himself, who has rushed for around five yards per carry over the past three games. New York needs to right itself after three straight losses and a return to the running game could be what gets it started. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos vs PIT – Moreno has had fumbling problems this year and the Steelers are solid against the run. Look elsewhere if you have any other options available this week.
Ryan Grant, Packers @ TB – After being shutdown by the Vikings last week (as I predicted), Grant now gets a perfect game to rebound as the Packers head to Tampa Bay. Against the last bad run defense he played, Ryan Grant put up 148 yards and a score. Expect another big game against the Bucs. Laurence Maroney, Patriots vs MIA – He didn’t do a whole lot against the Buccaneers two weeks ago, so why would you expect him to put up decent numbers against a team that has an actual run defense.
Wide Receiver
Hits
Misses
DeSean Jackson, Eagles vs DAL – While he’s completely full of himself (did you see his interview on MNF a few weeks ago?), he truly is electric when he’s running in open space. The Cowboys haven’t been all that good against wide receivers this year and I expect Jackson to have a big game as McNabb throws the ball A LOT. Miles Austin, Cowboys @ PHI – Austin has been on fire since taking over as the starter in Dallas and you might call me crazy for calling him a “miss” this week, but I’m just trying to lower your expectations. He may have the NFL record for yards in a wide receivers first three starts, but now he has a tough match-up with an Eagles defense that has been brutal to opposing wide-outs over the past few weeks.
Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars vs KC – How he only had two catches for nine yards against the inept Tennessee defense last week is beyond me. Expect Sims-Walker to turn things around this week against an almost equally as bad opponent. Steve Smith, Giants vs SD – Maybe it’s because they’re so bad against the run, but the Chargers have been surprisingly solid against the pass this year. The Giants have a lot of mouths to feed in the receiving game and I expect a huge dose of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw from New York this weekend.
Michael Crabtree, 49ers vs TEN – While they played tough against the Jaguars last week, I’m not convinced that the Titans have completely turned it around on the defensive side of the ball. Crabtree has been surprisingly solid for a rookie with limited time on the team and should have a big day. Santonio Holmes, Steelers @ DEN – The great Broncos defense is one thing, but when Holmes admits that he’s had some trouble breathing while playing in Denver in the past, it makes me less inclined to recommend you have him in your line-up this week.
Tight End
Hits
Misses
Jason Witten, Cowboys @ PHI – The Eagles have been one of the worst teams in the league this year in terms of slowing down opposing tight ends, giving up big games to Kellen Winslow, Chris Cooley, Zach Miller and Chris Cooley over the past four weeks. Expect Witten to be the next to exploit them. Heath Miller, Steelers @ DEN – The Broncos have done a great job limiting the production of opposing tight ends this year, including the likes of Jason Witten, Antonio Gates and Todd Heap. Miller will also have the Denver altitude (and crowd) to worry about.