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Grantland Fantasy Island Week 9 Previews

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I haven’t posted much on the Fantasy Island competition over at Grantland, primarily because I haven’t sent in content in a few weeks. Well, I did this week. You can read all of the Week 9 previews over at Grantland. Here’s one of mine:

Bears at Titans

Player to Start: Jay Cutler

Ranked outside of the top 20 quarterbacks in most leagues, Cutler has been a sensational disappointment in 2012. How much of a disappointment? He has fewer fantasy points than Mark Sanchez. Holy crap. If your starting quarterback is off this week, though, Cutler makes for an interesting one-week option. He faces a Titans defense that has allowed 17 passing touchdowns — second-worst in the NFL — and a higher YPA than the Redskins. With Cortland Finnegan out of town, I don’t think the Titans have anyone to match Brandon Marshall’s physicality on the outside. Cutler will go to him early and often, en route to 300 yards and two touchdowns.

— Jonathan Bales

And a few of my previews that didn’t get selected. . .

Eagles @ Saints

Player to Start: Michael Vick

When you look at Vick, you see an aging, turnover-prone quarterback on the verge of losing his job. When I look at Vick, I see a highly-underrated and motivated passer whose turnover problem is bound to regress. Facing a Saints defense that has allowed one-half yard more per pass (sacks included) than any other team in the league in what could very well be a shootout, bet on Vick to turn things around on Monday night.

Bills @ Texans

Player to Start: Arian Foster

Obviously I know you’ll be starting Foster regardless of your roster, but the running back is in store for what could be a historic day in Week 9. Leading the NFL in carries, Foster faces a monumentally-poor Bills run defense; Buffalo has allowed 6.0 YPC in 2012, while the second-worst run defense—that of the Atlanta Falcons—has given up only 5.1 YPC. The Bills have been so bad that they’ve given up far more rushing yards than any other team despite playing only seven games and facing just the ninth-most rushes. On top of that, they’ve allowed 13 rushing touchdowns while no other team has given up double-digit scores on the ground. I’d be shocked if Foster doesn’t run for at least 1,000 yards and 12 scores in this one.

Cardinals @ Packers

Player to Start: Jermichael Finley

Finley hasn’t been able to step up with Greg Jennings out, but don’t forget that the tight end has battled a shoulder ailment of his own. He’s also basically learning a new position, playing as an in-line tight end way more than ever before. Just 20.9 percent of Finley’s targets have come in the slot in 2012. Finley will get things turned around as he adjusts, particularly because he’s going to score at a much higher rate than we’ve seen thus far. His career touchdown rate of 9.7 percent is almost three times as high as what he’s given us this season.

Bucs @ Raiders

Player to Start: Darren McFadden

On paper, this doesn’t look like a great matchup for Run DMC. Averaging only 3.3 YPC and 0.29 touchdowns per game in 2012, McFadden will face a defense that has allowed the second-lowest YPC in the league. A player who thrives on big runs, McFadden has fewer dashes of 15 yards than Willis McGahee this season. At some point, however, that’s going to change, and you don’t want McDadden on your bench when he goes off for 200 total yards. My prediction is that happens in Week 9.

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