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Game Capsules: Week 9 Game Caps

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Miami (+4) at Kansas City, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: The Dolphins enter winless, although they played competitively in New York last week and have lost back-to-back games by only a field goal. Matt Moore has a 1:4 TD:INT ratio while fumbling four times since taking over at QB for Miami, but he gets a Kansas City defense Sunday that has recorded an NFL-low nine sacks this season. Brandon Marshall hasn't scored since Week 2, but he continues to get targeted heavily and is coming off a tough stretch in the schedule. Daniel Thomas is questionable with a hamstring injury... After opening the year 0-3, the Chiefs have won four straight, including an overtime victory Monday night against the Chargers. Matt Cassel has thrown just one touchdown while committing five turnovers over the past two contests, but he gets a banged up Dolphins secondary this week that has allowed a 14:2 TD:INT ratio on the year. Rookie Jonathan Baldwin impressed during his second game as a pro last week and could soon make Steve Breaston irrelevant in fantasy leagues. Jackie Battle isn't exciting, but he should continue to carry the load.

Predictions: Matt Moore throws for 200 yards with a touchdown to Brandon Marshall, while Daniel Thomas suits up and produces 70 yards from scrimmage with a score. Jackie Battle produces a similar line, while Matt Cassel adds 240 passing yards with a TD toss to Jonathan Baldwin, as the home team prevails. Chiefs 20-17.

Tampa Bay (+9) at New Orleans, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: Tampa Bay has a winning record, but they have played five of their seven games at home and have been outscored by 38 points. After throwing six picks all of last season, Josh Freeman has 10 already in 2011, although New Orleans has struggled to force turnovers. Mike Williams has really disappointed his fantasy owners, but his 63 targets are tied for the eighth-most in football, and the team has already had its bye. LeGarrette Blount (knee) is expected to return to action, and he's even going to be given the opportunity to act as the passing down back with Earnest Graham out for the year... One week after scoring 62 points - the most since the merger - the Saints lost as 14-point favorites in St. Louis on Sunday. Drew Brees has thrown 32 interceptions over his past 22 games, but the Bucs have allowed 8.2 YPA this year, which is tied for the second-most in the NFL. Mark Ingram (heel) looks highly questionable to play. The Saints should be focused coming off such an embarrassing loss and having already been defeated by Tampa Bay earlier this season, so expect their A game Sunday.

Predictions: Josh Freeman throws for 225 yards with a touchdown to Kellen Winslow, while LeGarrette Blount totals 80 yards and reaches the end zone. New Orleans' RBBC totals 110 yards with a TD run by Chris Ivory, while Drew Brees finishes with 300 passing yards and three touchdowns, with Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Robert Meachem the recipients, as New Orleans bounces back.
Saints 31-20.

Atlanta (-7) at Indianapolis, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: The Colts enter 0-8 and with a strong argument they are the worst team in the league. After back-to-back strong games, Curtis Painter has posted a 1:4 TD:INT ratio over the past three contests, although in fairness all have come on the road. Indy returns home for the first time in nearly a month Sunday, and Joseph Addai's (hamstring) status remains up in the air. Pierre Garcon leads all wideouts in targets over the past five weeks, and while this looks like a mismatch on paper, the Falcons are hardly a juggernaut... The Falcons are 4-3 coming off a bye, and in a competitive division, they can ill afford to overlook Indianapolis on Sunday. The Falcons are in the midst of playing seven straight dome games, which is certainly favorable. Matt Ryan has not played well this season, but he faces an Indy secondary Sunday that has allowed an NFL-high 111.2 QB rating to opposing passers this year. Julio Jones is expected to return from his hamstring injury.

Predictions: Curtis Painter throws for 230 yards with a TD to Pierre Garcon, while Indy's backfield totals 80 yards with a touchdown run by Delone Carter. Michael Turner responds with 100 rushing yards and hits pay dirt, while Matt Ryan adds 260 passing yards with scoring strikes to Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White, as Atlanta wins it. Falcons 24-20.

Cleveland (+11) at Houston, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: Cleveland is 3-4 on the year, but their three victories have come against opponents with a combined 2-20 record. Colt McCoy and company struggle to stretch defenses vertically, but at least it appears Peyton Hillis may be able to return from his hamstring injury. The team will likely need a big special teams play from Josh Cribbs to have any shot at an upset Sunday... At 5-3, the Texans are favorites to win the AFC South this season, and they are also huge favorites to win Sunday, with the biggest line of the week. Matt Schaub is facing a Cleveland secondary that has surprisingly allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this year and is likely to once again be without Andre Johnson (hamstring). Arian Foster should once again act as Houston's offensive centerpiece Sunday.

Predictions: Colt McCoy throws for 200 yards with a TD to Greg Little, while Peyton Hillis totals 70 yards and scores. Arian Foster answer with 125 yards from scrimmage and scores two touchdowns in a big game, while Matt Schaub adds 240 passing yards with a TD toss to Kevin Walter, as Houston comes out on top. Texans 27-17.

New York Jets (+1) at Buffalo, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: While the Pats are likely still considered favorites to win the division, this is a big matchup for playoff consequences down the road. These two teams have big splits this season, with them going a combined 8-0 at home and just 1-5 on the road, so the venue could prove huge come Sunday. Buffalo may be able to run the ball on the Jets, but their passing attack is heavily reliant and underneath routes, so they don't match up well against New York's secondary. For what it's worth, Ryan Fitzpatrick has struggled mightily throughout his career against the Jets (4.6 YPA, 3:2 TD:INT ratio over four games)... While the spread doesn't indicate as much, most advanced metrics peg the Bills as the superior team so far in 2011, but New York is coming off its bye. Mark Sanchez has produced multiple touchdowns in six of seven games this season, with the disaster against Baltimore the one outlier. He's actually been a sneaky fantasy option. Sanchez will have to protect the ball Sunday, as Buffalo leads the NFL with 14 interceptions this year.

Predictions: Ryan Fitzpatrick throws for 200 yards with a touchdown to Scott Chandler, while Fred Jackson adds 90 yards from scrimmage and scores. Shonn Greene counters with 70 rushing yards and a TD run of his own, while Mark Sanchez throws for 250 yards with scoring strikes to Dustin Keller and Santonio Holmes, as the road team prevails in an extremely close contest. Jets 21-20.

San Francisco (-3.5) at Washington, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: The Redskins have lost three in a row, including a 23-0 defeat to the Bills last week, which marked the first time a Mike Shanahan coached team was ever shut out. John Beck was simply brutal Sunday, getting just 6.3 YPA while throwing two picks with zero touchdowns. Buffalo entered with an NFL-low four sacks on the season and somehow managed to record a whopping 10 against Beck and the Redskins. Washington badly needs to address the quarterback position. Using either Ryan Torain or Roy Helu is a risk this week while facing an SF front seven that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this year... The 49ers are a surprising 6-1, winners of five straight. Their offense is far from elite, however, especially the passing attack. On the other hand, their defense is legit, having allowed the fewest amount of points in the NFL. The Redskins should struggle to move the ball Sunday, but this is also a set up for the underdog to win in unexpected circumstances.

Predictions: John Beck throws for 170 yards with no touchdowns, while Ryan Torain gets 60 rushing yards but reaches the end zone. Frank Gore answers with 90 total yards and runs in a TD, while Alex Smith throws for 210 yards with a touchdown toss to Vernon Davis, as San Francisco wins it. 49ers 17-16.

Seattle (+11.5) at Dallas, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: Although they are alone in second place in their division, the Seahawks enter 2-5 on the year and with the tough task of facing a Dallas team on the road that should be motivated after getting embarrassed on national television last week. It remains unclear why Tarvaris Jackson didn't start last week if he was capable of doing so, but he impressed after replacing Charlie Whitehurst, throwing for 323 yards against a strong Cincinnati defense. Jackson will likely remain inconsistent and is hardly a QB1 in fantasy terms, but it's worth noting he's quietly got 8.1 YPA over his past three games. Sidney Rice has missed practice this week with a foot injury... The Cowboys are just 1-3 over their past four games, and in a tough NFC East, they really can't afford to overlook a Seattle team entering as big underdogs. Dallas is so volatile, as they seemingly could either win or lose to any team in football in any given week. Tony Romo, Miles Austin and Dez Bryant don't seem to be on the same page, but all are capable of blowing up down the stretch. DeMarco Murray is a must-start without Felix Jones (ankle), but the Seahawks have allowed just 3.2 YPC this season, which is the lowest in football.

Predictions: Tarvaris Jackson throws for 220 yards with a touchdown to Doug Baldwin, while Seattle's ground game is stymied. DeMarco Murray counters with 80 yards from scrimmage and a TD run, while Tony Romo gets back on track, throwing for 280 yards with scoring strikes to Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, as Dallas wins handily. Cowboys 27-10.

Cincinnati (+2) at Tennessee, Sunday 4:05 p.m.

Comments: The Bengals have won four straight games, with their defense scoring a touchdown inside the final three minutes in each of the past three contests. Andy Dalton has been solid as a rookie, whereas teammate A.J. Green might already be a star. Cedric Benson returns from his suspension Sunday, and he'll likely be heavily involved in the offense... The Titans are 4-3 and just a half game out of first place in the AFC South, and they will be playing their third straight home game this week. After throwing for eight touchdowns over the first four games this season, Matt Hasselbeck has just three over his past three contests. He gets a Cincy secondary that has yielded just six passing scores in all of 2011. Chris Johnson remains one of the biggest (healthy) fantasy busts in recent memory. He can no longer be trusted.

Predictions: Andy Dalton throws for 190 yards with a touchdown to A.J. Green, while Cedric Benson adds 70 rushing yards and a TD run. Chris Johnson and Javon Ringer combine for a similar line, with the latter scoring. Matt Hasselbeck adds 220 passing yards with a scoring strike to Jared Cook, as the home team prevails on a late field goal. Titans 23-20.

Denver (+8.5) at Oakland, Sunday 4:05 p.m.

Comments: The Broncos are just 1-4 over the past five games, including a blowout 45-10 loss at home versus Detroit last week. Tim Tebow wasn't a disaster last week from a fantasy perspective, but he was downright awful for the Broncos, to the point his future playing time is now in question. Tebow completed just 18-of-39 passes, got 4.4 YPA and committed two turnovers to just one touchdown while playing at home. In fact, he's lucky just one of his three fumbles was lost. After Kyle Orton took four sacks over his final four games before being benched, Tebow has taken a whopping 13 sacks over his two starts. He'll get another opportunity to prove himself, but so far his doubters look right. It looks like Willis McGahee (hand) will return to action Sunday... Oakland hopes Carson Palmer has a much firmer grasp of the playbook coming off its bye, but the team will be without Darren McFadden (foot) this week. Palmer and company will face a Denver secondary that has allowed 8.1 YPA and a 14:3 TD:INT ratio this season. It's surely a plus matchup, but fantasy owners would best be advised to take a wait-and-see approach with the Raiders' passing attack right now. Michael Bush should be in store for a nice game Sunday.

Predictions: Tim Tebow throws for 160 yards but adds another 40 on the ground and scores. Willis McGahee adds 70 total yards and reaches the end zone as well, while Michael Bush counters with 110 total yards and hits pay dirt. Carson Palmer adds 230 passing yards with scoring strikes to Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore, as Oakland comes out on top. Raiders 24-20.

New York Giants (+9) at New England, Sunday 4:15 p.m.

Comments: The Giants enter 5-2 but with the NFL's toughest upcoming schedule, including a trip to New England on Sunday, marking their first road game in five weeks. Eli Manning has got 8.8 YPA on the year, which is second only to Aaron Rodgers. He's been fantastic so far in 2011 and should be able to move the ball on a suspect New England secondary. However, the Giants are likely to be playing without Hakeem Nicks (hamstring) and Ahmad Bradshaw (foot)... The Patriots enter 5-2 and typically play terrific following a loss. The Giants' strong pass rush could cause problems, but New York's secondary is beatable, so a shootout could be in store. Tom Brady will be plenty motivated, as the last time these teams met the Giants ended New England's at going 19-0. Aaron Hernandez (knee) and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (toe) are both questionable but expected to play Sunday.

Predictions: Eli Manning throws for 280 yards and two touchdowns, with Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham the recipients. Brandon Jacobs adds 75 rushing yards and scores, while BenJarvus Green-Ellis produces a similar line. Tom Brady adds 320 passing yards with scoring strikes to Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, as New England wins on a late field goal. Patriots 27-24.

St. Louis (+3.5) at Arizona, Sunday 4:15 p.m.

Comments: St. Louis pulled the upset of the season last week, winning as two touchdown underdogs and doing so handily. Steven Jackson has had a resurgence this year, and he gets an Arizona front seven that has allowed an NFL-high 11 rushing scores in 2011. Sam Bradford (ankle) returned to a limited practice this week, but he remains questionable to return to action Sunday. Brandon Lloyd's fantasy value took a big jump with the trade to St. Louis... After winning the season opener, the Cardinals have lost six straight, including blowing a 24-3 lead to the Ravens last week. Beanie Wells may remain hampered by his knee injury, but he should be able to play through it, and he gets a plus matchup against a Rams front seven that has allowed 5.2 YPC this season. Kevin Kolb, however, is highly questionable with a turf toe injury. Kolb has been below average during his first year in Arizona, but backup John Skelton would likely be a downgrade regardless.

Predictions: Sam Bradford returns and throws for 225 yards with a TD to Brandon Lloyd. Steven Jackson adds 100 yards from scrimmage and a TD run of his own, while Beanie Wells answers with 80 yards on the ground and scores. John Skelton gets the start for the Cardinals, resulting in 180 passing yards with a touchdown toss to Early Doucet, as Arizona wins by a field goal. Cardinals 23-20.

Green Bay (-5.5) at San Diego, Sunday 4:15 p.m.

Comments: Green Bay enters undefeated and coming off its bye, but this is a pretty significant spread while being on the road. Aaron Rodgers has got 9.9 YPA with a 20:3 TD:INT ratio on the year and is the clear MVP frontrunner. The Chargers have been solid against the pass, but this defense is hardly elite. For having the best offense in football, it's tough to predict which WR will go off in a given week, and James Starks and the rushing attack isn't all that productive for fantasy teams as well... San Diego is coming off a short week and one of the worst losses you'll ever see, as a botched snap ruined an otherwise sure victory. The team hasn't lost at home this season, and while they are capable of losing to any team, they also have the upside to beat a team like Green Bay, even with inferior coaching. Ryan Mathews (groin) looks unlikely to play, but Mike Tolbert will be back in action. Philip Rivers has somehow committed 14 turnovers over seven games this year, but he should be able to move the ball against a Packers secondary that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. How San Diego performs in the red zone will be key.

Predictions: Aaron Rodgers throws for 300 yards and two touchdowns, with Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley the recipients, while the Green Bay rushing attack is held relatively in check. Mike Tolbert answers with 100 yards from scrimmage with a TD run, while Philip Rivers adds 300 passing yards with scoring strikes to Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates, as San Diego pulls off the upset. Chargers 24-23.

Baltimore (+3) at Pittsburgh, Sunday 8:20 p.m.

Comments: Following an ugly loss to the Jaguars, the Ravens found themselves down 24-3 at home and as near two touchdown favorites last week to the Cardinals. While they ultimately came back to win, this hardly looks like the dominant one that beat the Steelers 35-7 in Week 1 (a game in which they forced seven turnovers). Baltimore is just 1-2 on the road this year, and Joe Flacco has posted a 1:4 TD:INT ratio over the past four games. He gets a tough task Sunday night against a Pittsburgh defense that has ceded an NFL-low 5.8 YPA this season... Since Week 1, the Steelers have yet to allow more than 20 points in a game this year and enter winners of four straight. Ben Roethlisberger has posted an 11:2 TD:INT ratio over the past four contests, but he faces a Baltimore secondary Sunday that has allowed an NFL-low 65.5 QB rating. The Ravens have also yielded just 3.3 YPC with two rushing scores in 2011, so this should be a defensive battle in primetime.

Predictions: Joe Flacco throws for 175 yards with a TD toss to Torrey Smith, while Ray Rice adds 80 yards from scrimmage. Rashard Mendenhall is held in check, while Ben Roethlisberger throws for 220 yards with a scoring strike to Antonio Brown, as Pittsburgh wins a physical battle. Steelers 20-16.

Chicago (+8.5) at Philadelphia, Monday 8:30 p.m.

Comments: The Bears come in winners of three of their last four games and coming off a bye, but they have a challenge playing in Philly on Monday night. After taking 14 sacks over the first three games of the season, Jay Cutler has been dropped just seven times over the past four contests, although he does get an Eagles secondary that has been performing better of late. Matt Forte, who is on pace to finish with 2,494 yards from scrimmage, should once again be the focal point of Chicago's offense, especially since the Eagles have allowed 5.0 YPC on the year... Philadelphia finally looked like the "Dream Team" last week, beating the Cowboys 34-7, moving Andy Reid to 13-0 during his career coming off byes. Michael Vick has got 9.0 YPA at home this season, but LeSean McCoy should play a huge role Monday night, as the Bears have allowed 5.2 YPC, which is the second-highest in the NFL this season. Among backs with at least 60 carries, McCoy's 5.6 YPC mark this year leads all of football.

Predictions: Jay Cutler throws for 240 yards with a touchdown toss to Johnny Knox, while Matt Forte adds 110 yards from scrimmage only to watch Marion Barber punch in a goal-line score. LeSean McCoy counters with 130 total yards and continues his trend of scoring in every game so far this season, while Michael Vick adds 250 passing yards (along with 40 more on the ground) with scoring strikes to Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson, as Philly wins it. Eagles 27-20.