Week 9 news and notes

  • Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin (ankle) was able to practice on Friday and is expected to play against the Bears in Week 9 . While this is good news if Boldin is on your fantasy team, chances are he’ll be at least somewhat limited if he is active against the Bears. Based on his lack of fantasy success thus far, Boldin should be started with caution. Downgrade WR Steve Breaston on rank lists.
Vikings Steelers Football

Rashard Mendenhall is expected to see most of the carries for the Steelers down the stretch. (Paul Spinelli / Associated Press)

  • Eagles RB Brian Westbrook (concussion) didn’t practice on Friday and is listed as questionable for Week 9, but he’s fully expected to start against the Cowboys. Barring setbacks, he should be active on fantasy teams. With Westbrook back in the mix, rookie RB LeSean McCoy should be downgraded on rank lists. He’ll be a risky flex starter at best in this NFC East tilt.
  • Bengals RB Cedric Benson rushed for 120 yards and one touchdown in his first start of the season against this week’s opponent, the Ravens. If Benson has 100 or more rushing yards against Baltimore in Week 9, he would join former Steelers RB Jerome Bettis as the only player to have 100-plus rush yards against them twice in a single season. Benson is a must-start fantasy back.
  • Lions RB Kevin Smith (shoulder) practiced on Friday and appears set to start in Week 9, according to the Detroit Free Press. It appears safe to start Smith in fantasy leagues. His teammate, WR Calvin Johnson (knee) was also able to practice and appears on track to return to action. Barring setbacks, Megatron should be active in all fantasy leagues against the Seahawks.
  • Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that RB Willie Parker (turf toe) still isn’t 100 percent and might not be the rest of the regular season. Unless you have RB Rashard Mendenhall on your roster and need him as a fantasy handcuff, Parker should be released in most leagues.
  • Colts QB Peyton Manning has thrown for at least 300 yards in six of his seven starts this season. He is second in the NFL in both passing yards (2,227) and passer rating (109.3) after eight weeks. Manning is also 13-1 as a starter against this week’s opponent, the Houston Texans. He’s thrown for 33 touchdowns and five interceptions with a 116.5 passer rating in those contests.
  • Bears WR Devin Hester (ankle) was able to practice on Friday and is expected to play in Week 9 against the Cardinals. Hester, who told reporters that he went 100 percent, could be forced to forfeit his kick-return duties. However, he appears safe to start in fantasy leagues in what looks like a favorable matchup at Solider Field.
  • Pewterreport.com reports that Buccaneers WR Antonio Bryant has more swelling in his surgically-repaired knee and is questionable to face the Packers. He’ll likely be a gametime decision. Regardless of his status, fantasy owners should be avoiding Bryant and all Buccaneers offensive skill position players with rookie QB Josh Freeman under center.
  • Patriots WR Wes Welker has 46 receptions, 484 yards and four touchdowns in five games this season. He’s also scored at least one touchdown in three straight games. In four career games against his former team, the Miami Dolphins, Welker has 28 receptions for 362 yards and two touchdowns. His teammate, WR Randy Moss, had eight catches for 125 yards and three touchdowns in his last game against Miami.
  • The Colts defense will be without DBs Bob Sanders, Kelvin Hayden and Marlin Jackson in Week 9, so it’s time for fantasy owners to upgrade QB Matt Schaub on their rank lists. It’s also a positive for WR Kevin Walter, who should see more targets with TE Owen Daniels done for the season.
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