RotoWire Partners

Week 9 Waiver Tips: Cutler, Freeman, and Bills' Opponents

Mark Stopa

Mark Stopa has been sharing his fantasy insights for Rotowire since 2007. Mark is the 2010 and 2012 Staff Picks champion (eat your heart out, Chris Liss) and won Rotowire's 14-team Staff League II in consecutive seasons. He roots for the Bills and has season tickets on the second row, press level to the Rays.

I want to take a poll. Who's a bigger idiot, Mike Shanahan, for benching Donovan McNabb for Rex Grossman with the game on the line, or Brad Childress, for cutting Randy Moss just a month after giving up a third-round pick for him? It's insane that NFL franchises make worse management decisions than the typical fantasy football team.

Anyway, with 8 weeks of the NFL season in the books, it's become clear which defenses you should be exploiting for matchup purposes:

Bills: pass defense - 7.5 YPA, 15 TDs; run defense - 5.0 YPC, 188 yards/game (34 more than the next-worst team), 8 TDs
Texans: pass defense - 7.8 YPA, 16 TDs, 299 yards/game
Jaguars: pass defense - 8.7 YPA, 17 TDs, 267 yards/game; run defense - 11 TDs
Cowboys: pass defense - 8.0 YPA, 15 TDs
Falcons: pass defense - 7.8 YPA, 11 TDs, 260 yards/game

Bucs: run defense - league-worst 5.2 YPC
Lions: run defense - 4.9 YPC, 8 TDs
Colts: run defense - 4.9 YPC, 8 TDs
Broncos: run defense - 4.6 YPC, 14 TDs (only one other team has more than 8), 155 yards/game

At this stage of the season, these teams aren't likely to improve these stats in any meaningful way, so if you're struggling on a bye-week decision, keep these stats in mind.

Jay Cutler, QB, Bears: If he can't do it this week, against the Bills, a.k.a. the league's worst defense, he never will.

Josh Freeman, QB, Bucs: I think the Falcons are going to destroy the 5-2 Bucs this week, as the Bucs aren't nearly as good as their record reflects. If I'm right, there will be plenty of passing opportunities for Freeman against a defense allowing 7.8 YPA, 11 TDs and 260 yards/game.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Bucs: Cadillac Williams' problem in 2010 hasn't been injuries - he's stunk. Blount has taken advantage, hurdling Williams (and Cardinals defenders, last week, in a cool highlight) on the depth chart. The Bucs have had a carousel at RB at times this year, but it sure seems like Blount is the guy. He should be owned in all formats.

Mike Hart, RB, Colts: The Colts are among the most tight-lipped teams in the league about injuries, so the severity of Joseph Addai's injury is unclear. After watching Hart on Monday night, though, I have to wonder - what's the hurry for Addai to return? With Hart, the Colts don't miss a beat. (Note: Hart just limped off with an ankle injury, something that plagued him in college, so check updates this week. Whoever is starting for the Colts at RB this week is worth a claim.)

Keiland Williams, RB, Redskins: Oft-injured Ryan Torain is hurt again. The Redskins have a bye in Week 9, but the chance that Williams becomes the starter makes him a solid claim this week. Even if Torain heals up, Williams is closer to a starting role than most backups given Torain's running style.

Shonn Greene, RB, Jets: I think the Jets are going to rebound in a big way this week, and they'll do it on the ground against a Lions team allowing 4.8 YPC and 8 TDs. Even with Greene getting a third of the RB touches in New York, I think he's good for 60-70 yards and a score against Detroit.

Starting WRs for Chargers: Philip Rivers has an ideal matchup this week against a Texans defense that allows more fantasy points to opposing QBs than any team in the league (not to mention 16 passing TDs and a league-worst 299 yards/game). But other than TE Antonio Gates, who is Rivers going to throw to? This feels a bit like Peyton Manning and the Colts - it doesn't matter who plays at WR, the Chargers are going to pass, and they're going to succeed. This week, whether it's Patrick Crayton, Craig Davis, or even Seyi Ajirotutu, feel free to start whoever is starting for the Chargers if you need a flyer.

Nate Washington, WR, Titans: Things don't look good for Kenny Britt when his head coach, Jeff Fisher, is saying he hopes Britt isn't out for the season. Expect Washington to emerge as the Titans top wideout, as he showed last week. Justin Gage, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury, is a deeper sleeper.

Brandon Tate, WR, Patriots: It seems like we're back to the old days with Tom Brady, where he lacks a "go-to" receiver and throws to the guy who's open. In other words, Brady will be fine for fantasy purposes, but the value of everyone around him is diluted. For instance, Tate seems like he has value, as the Patriots deep threat, but he's getting just 3-4 targets per week, and it's tough to rely on Tate as a starter when he's getting that little in the way of production. I suppose Tate has upside given the Patriots prolific offense, but barring injuries to other receivers, I don't expect that upside to be tapped this year.

Nick Folk, K, Jets: The Jets face the Lions, Browns, and Texans the next three weeks. That seems like a nice recipe for points from their kicker.

Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jaguars: When I saw clips of Lewis' TDs against the Cowboys,I felt like I was watching a man play football against a bunch of teenagers. Lewis isn't targeted frequently enough, but he seems to have finally emerged in this, his fifth season, posting seven TDs already.

Greg Olsen, TE, Bears: Olsen has had a miserable season in Mike Martz's offensive system, which is known for being unfriendly for tight ends. This week, though, Olsen gets a Bills defense that has allowed seven TDs to opposing tight ends. I don't see Olsen as a weekly starter, but, as with Cutler, above, if Olsen is ever going to do anything, it's this week.

Jacob Tamme, TE, Colts: A subscriber asked last week if Tamme was a weekly starter in light of Dallas Clark's season-ending injury. I responded by saying I would take a "wait and see" approach. Well, I waited, and I've seen enough - Tamme is worth starting in most leagues. I still think tight end has become a very deep position in fantasy football, but Tamme strikes me as having similar value to a lot of other TEs in the 8-12 range.

Vikings D/ST: Coming off a game against the Patriots, I suspect Minnesota will be on waivers in a fair number of leagues. That's good, as they face the Cardinals this week, at home. Whether it's Derek Anderson or Max Hall under center for Arizona, the Vikings will have a better chance at a pick-six than most teams this week.