Fantasy football Week 9: Zeke Elliott locked in

Dallas Cowboys‘ Dak Prescott is the fantasy football’s No. 9 scoring quarterback, and may be staring down his final start of the near future with Tony Romo on the mend.

With an increasingly healthy Dez Bryant at his disposal, and heading into a favorable matchup with a feeble Cleveland Browns defense, the rookie is among those players worth consideration for a weekly fantasy start. He will likely finish among the top five fantasy quarterbacks of the week.

Mike Davis, Kenny Stills and Tavon Austin each join Prescott among the ranks of likely breakout players.

The season’s mid-way point also brings some red flags worth recognition. Like Antonio Brown, who faces a Baltimore Ravens defense which has allowed just one touchdown in 11 games facing the Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro wide receiver.

Here are this week’s locks and flyers.

Quarterback

Of the five defenses allowing an average of more than 19 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, one is on a bye week (Cincinnati Bengals) and another played on Thursday (Atlanta Falcons). The Indianapolis Colts defense has thus far been able to remain below that threshold — if only just.

That number will rise this week after Aaron Rodgers ($9,100), who has scored over 23 points in consecutive games.

Although Prescott ($7,600) is primed for a let-me-play performance, Sam Bradford ($7,400) is set for a showdown with a Detroit Lions secondary that has allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. his top target, Stefon Diggs, has also been removed from the injured list. Either are well worth consideration for those fantasy commissioners who like to save some salary at the quarterback position.

Running back

DeMarco Murray ($8,100) and Ezekiel Elliot ($9,200) are each on the road facing inferior run defenses this week. With both seemingly set for similarly explosive performances the only difference will be the $1,100 salary savings with taking Murray over Elliot.

After an early fumble one week ago, Mark Ingram ($6,700) was removed from the New Orleans Saints‘ 25-20 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Now, seven days removed from his benching, Ingram will get a crack at a San Francisco 49er defense that ranks last in fantasy point allowed to his position (24.7). In his only previous matchup with a bottom-10 team in that category, Ingram enjoyed his best game of the year, scoring 20.7 fantasy points against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3.

Wide receiver

With the caution flag waving high above Brown’s head, and Julio Jones having already played this week, Week 9 brings fantasy commissioners the opportunity to play three mid-level receivers, rather than one top-tier and a pair of wishes.

En route to 45.1 fantasy points over the past two weeks, Davante Adams ($7,100) has garnered 30 targets. Kelvin Benjamin ($7,400) and Stefon Diggs ($6,500) each bring massive up-side potential.

Benjamin and the Carolina Panthers are tuned up for a showdown with the Los Angeles Rams, in need of a win to shock the fading heartbeat of their playoff hopes. Diggs returned from a hamstring injury last week against the stingy Chicago Bears defense, posting 17.6 fantasy points.

The trio have major upside and are an affordable play as a group.

Tight end

Greg Olsen ($7,500), a pass-catching cohort of Benjamin, will, like his teammate, be the recipient of a heavy workload. With top Panthers ball carrier Jonathan Stewart missing two practices this week — though, no injury information was disclosed by the team — this could be the type of game that ends with quarterback and reigning league MVP Cam Newton throwing more than 40 passes.

Looking to recover from back-to-back down performances, Coby Fleener ($5,800) returns to the Bay Area where he was a standout college performer. The 49er defense currently finds itself in the middle of the pack (No. 14) allowing 6.6 points per game to the position. But, Fleener and the Saints passing attack brings a history of success to San Francisco.

Kicker

On its way to a 30-point afternoon, the Green Bay offense will hand multiple gimme opportunities to kicker Mason Crosby ($4,700). Through the first seven games of the season Crosby has attempted just 14 field goals, making 13. The Colts have allowed 24 attempts in their eight games, and 11 fantasy points per game (second-most) to opposing kickers.

An accurate kicker (93%) primed for three-plus field goal attempts — not to mention the three additional extra-point attempts — makes Crosby a lock for a double-digit output.

Defense/special teams

The Philadelphia Eagles defense ($4,600) 11.4 fantasy points per game is good enough for second-most in the league. The New York Giants offense features a league-worst rushing attack (70.3 yards per game) and sputtering passing game led by one of the league’s least-mobile quarterbacks.

In a rivalry game, the improved Eagles will look to flex their collective muscles and force their will upon the hated Giants.

Perfect lineup

QB – Rodgers

RB – Murray

RB – Ingram

WR – Adams

WR – Benjamin

WR – Diggs

TE – Fleener

K – Crosby

D/ST – Eagles