Hindsight is a beautiful thing. It allows us to see everything so clearly, making everything we should have done in the past seem obvious. It works in all facets of reality, and it is equally as effective in the fantasy world. If only we knew that Calvin Johnson would suffer an ankle injury or that DeMarco Murray would launch an assault on the record books, we could have adjusted our draft boards accordingly. Alas, we will always have to rely on foresight when filling our fantasy rosters.
At the same time, hindsight does not give us a window into everything we need to know. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future performance, even within the same season. The history of fantasy is littered with players who lit up scoreboards in the first half of the year, only to fall off dramatically in the second half. It takes a combination of hindsight and foresight to accurately predict what will happen the rest of the season once we are midstream.
With that, allow me to present the SI.com First Round Redraft. The following is meant to reflect what the first round would be if you were starting a league from scratch right now. What players have done to this point of the season is important, but equally as important is what they will do for the rest of the year. The goal is to combine hindsight and foresight into an all-seeing eye that grants us the sort of fantasy omniscience heretofore only dreamed of by the most brazen of fantasy owners.
If Aaron Rodgers could play every game against the Bears, he’d probably already have all of Peyton Manning’s records by now. Rodgers threw six touchdowns in the first half of Green Bay’s Sunday night’s 55-14 shellacking of their division rival. He probably would have set the NFL record for most touchdown passes in a game, if not for the good sense of the Packers’ coaching staff to get him out of the game halfway through the third quarter. In two games against the Bears this year, Rodgers threw for 617 yards, 11.22 yards per attempt, and 10 touchdowns against zero interceptions. He did grab one record on Sunday with a 73-yard scoring strike to Jordy Nelson – it was his 16th career touchdown pass of 70 or more yards, a number no other quarterback has reached in NFL history.
The Week 9 Byepocalypse was felt across the fantasy community, especially at the wide receiver position. With nine regular starting fantasy receivers taking a seat last week, guys like Allen Hurns, Odell Beckham Jr., Taylor Gabriel, Corey Washington and Jarvis Landry were among the top-24 scorers at the position last week. Receivers aren’t quite as affected this week, but another Byepocaplypse is upon us.
Teams with a bye in Week 10 include New England, Indianapolis, San Diego, Minnesota, Houston and Washington. That means three of the top-five scoring quarterbacks (Andrew Luck, Tom Brady, Philip Rivers) are out. All six of those teams contribute a regular starting running back to the fantasy community, including top-10 scorers Arian Foster, Ahmad Bradshaw and Alfred Morris.
Finally, three of fantasy’s top-seven tight ends — Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Gates and Julius Thomas — are out, as is a fourth, Jordan Reed, who generally starts for his owner.
Who will be the surprise starters at quarterback, running back and tight end this week? Find out in the Week 10 edition of Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em.
The following recommendations are based on 12-team leagues that start one quarterback, two running backs, two receivers, one RB/WR flex, one tight end and one defense. Starters include the top-12 quarterbacks, tight ends and defenses and top-24 running backs and receivers. The remaining backs and receivers are considered for the flex position, with the best 12 players making it as starters.
This week for the first time all season, fantasy owners will be forced to juggle six teams coming off of byes and six teams going on byes. That makes for another active waiver wire, as owners pick up players with great matchups to replace their stars resting on bye weeks. In Week 9, owners of players such as Aaron Rodgers, Matt Forte, Jordy Nelson and Julio Jones, may have smartly started one-week mercenaries with good matchups like Brian Hoyer, Denard Robinson and Jarvis Landry.
Unfortunately, many of the good fantasy matchups this week (whoever plays the Jaguars, Raiders and Jets) consist of teams loaded with fantasy stars. So finding an unowned gem in those matchups might prove difficult.
With that said, there are a ton of quarterbacks available this week for those looking to replace Andrew Luck, Tom Brady or Philip Rivers. The three owners of those players will be battling for the fantasy services of Mark Sanchez, Kyle Orton or Derek Carr. More importantly, owners of Arian Foster (groin) will have to cross their fingers in hopes Alfred Blue is passed over by owners needing players for Week 10, since Houston is on a bye this week.
Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III starred immediately upon entering the NFL, but the third quarterback taken in the 2012 draft, Ryan Tannehill, has come into his own this season. All his talents were on display in the Dolphins’ 37-0 drubbing of the Chargers on Sunday.
Last week, Drew Brees threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns. He was not the top-scoring quarterback in standard-scoring leagues.
Kyle Orton racked up 238 yards and four touchdowns. He may have been the highest-scoring quarterback who went to Purdue, but he was not the highest scoring quarterback overall.
Andrew Luck cracked 400 yards and threw for three scores. There have been seasons, even recent ones, where that would have been the best quarterback performance of the year. 2014 is not one of those seasons.
Tom Brady carved up the Bears, amassing 354 yards and five touchdowns. Surely that had to be the highest-scoring fantasy game from a quarterback, right? Wrong.
The honor belonged to Ben Roethlisberger, who bested Luck and the Colts by throwing for a career-high 522 yards and six touchdowns. Week 9 of the 2014 season marked the first time that four quarterbacks – Roethlisberger and Luck, along with Aaron Rodgers and Nick Foles – threw for 400 yards in the same week. It was also the greatest explosion of fantasy points to date this year.
What brand of fireworks are in store for fantasy owners this week? Find out in our stat projections for Week 9.
After a quadruple-play of NFL games from 9 a.m. ET until midnight Sunday, many of us were able to watch more live football in one day than we had ever watched before. Scouting for this week's waiver wire has never been easier. Luckily, there were tons of points being scored this week, with six games totaling over 50 points and two teams topping the mark by themselves.
Unfortunately, we get Bye-mageddon II in Week 9, as six teams take the weekend off, so don’t get used to all of those high fantasy scores you saw on your league’s scoreboard this week. You’ll see some mediocre quarterbacks with good matchups, goal-line running backs and low-volume wide receivers work their way into fantasy lineups in Week 9.