3 Up, 3 Down, Week 9: Surviving A Brutal Bye Week

3 Up, 3 Down, Week 9: Surviving A Brutal Bye Week

3 Up, 3 Down is a Sports Mockery fantasy football series detailing six players trending, you guessed it, up or down. It will be posted every week to help you get ready for the upcoming fantasy football week. For each category, there’s guaranteed to be at least one running back and one wide receiver. The third player will be selected from any position

It’s already Week 9 of the NFL season, which means it is crunch time for fantasy owners as they prepare for the final stretch of the regular season. There’s six teams on bye this week, and five of them have big fantasy stars. Here’s the Week 9 edition of 3 Up, 3 Down. (Stats used are from ESPN and Rotoworld).

3 Up

Running Back: Ahmad Bradshaw

Week 9 Opponent: New York Giants,  Monday, 8:30 PM ET

Bradshaw has put up fantastic numbers this year (fantasy double digits in six of eight weeks) and when watching the games he look like the far superior back to Trent Richardson. The two will continue to split touches, but Bradshaw is the far better fantasy option.

In Week 9, Bradshaw and the Colts will take on the New York Giants, Bradshaw’s former team. The Giants allow the fourth-most points to opposing running backs. Players returning to face their former team have had big games so far this year. DeSean Jackson (vs Eagles) and Steve Smith (vs Panthers) are a few examples from this season that come to mind.

Bradshaw’s ability to find the end zone on the ground (2 rushing TDs) and through the air (6 receiving TDs) should help him sustain his RB1 scoring pace. He’s consistently good, a tough quality for fantasy owners these days.

ESPN Projection: 14

Wide Receiver: Andrew Hawkins

Week 9 Opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

Owners who don’t play in deeper leagues may not know who Andrew Hawkins is. He’s a wide receiver on the Cleveland Browns who’s quietly putting together a nice year, and he’s only owned in 16% of ESPN leagues. He’s averaging 7.1 points per game over the course of the season, and 12.5 over the past two weeks.

In Week 9, the Browns take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receiving corps. Hawkins should be able to put up another solid performance this week. He could be a great pick up for owners who need to fill holes in their lineup left by Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Sammy Watkins, and Calvin Johnson all being on bye during Week 9.

ESPN Projection: 13

Wide Receiver: Jeremy Maclin

Week 9 Opponent: Houston Texans, Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

Hard not to like a guy who just racked up 30 points in Week 8 (with Patrick Peterson defending him for part of the game), and now faces a Houston defense that allows the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers.

Maclin has been averaging 13.2 point per game, and has reached double digits in five of the Eagles seven games. There’s no reason to think he won’t this week against the Texans. Owners should start Maclin with confidence.

ESPN Projection: 15

3 Down

Running Back: LeVeon Bell

Week 9 Opponent: Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, 8:30 PM ET

LeVeon Bell has been having a monster season. He’s reached 100 yards from scrimmage in each game this season, and he’s racked up double digits fantasy points in all but one of the Steelers games this year. That one game was against the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens are the best team in the NFL at shutting down running backs. They allow just 10 points per game to opposing backfields, nearly seven points less than the NFL average.

In a week with tons of teams on bye, there’s no reason LeVeon Bell owners shouldn’t still start him, but they should be prepared for decreased production. ESPN’s projection of 18 points is outrageous. As a Bell owner, I hope I’m way off on this one, but I’m bracing for the worst this week. Be happy with double digit points from LeVeon.

ESPN Projection: 18

Wide Receiver: Keenan Allen

Week 9 Opponent: Miami Dolphins, Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

Kennan Allen has been struggling through a pretty brutal sophomore slump. He had a decent week against the Broncos, but he’s still averaging just 5.5 points per game.

The Miami Dolphins pass defense is much tougher than the Denver defense. The only receiving corps to score a touchdown in Miami was the Green Bay Packers back in Week 6. The Dolphins shut out the Patriots and Chiefs receivers from scoring.

An inconsistent receiver like Allen against a tough defense like the Dolphins is a recipe for fantasy disaster.

ESPN Projection: 11

Running Back: Chris Ivory

Week 9 Opponent: Kansas City, Sunday, 1:00 PM ET

Ivory may have gotten lucky, and somehow found the end zone twice against the Bills, but I don’t expect lightning to strike the same place twice.

“Ivory found the end zone twice against a defense that hadn’t yielded a rushing touchdown. He gets a chance to repeat that remarkable feat in Week 9, as the Chiefs are the last team to prevent a single rushing score.” – ESPN

Adding to the unlikelihood that Ivory sustains his success is the fact that the Jets offense has been a disaster recently. The Chiefs should have no problem shutting the Jets down.

ESPN Projection: 4

Recap

3 Up: Ahmad Bradshaw, Andrew Hawkins, Jeremy Maclin

3 Down: LeVeon Bell, Keenan Allen, Chris Ivory

That wraps up this week’s edition of 3 Up, 3 Down. As always, thanks for reading. Comments are welcome! Post your start/sit questions on the Sports Mockery facebook wall.

The results from last week can be found on the next page.

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