Fantasy football: Rivers could be on rebound this week

Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, fending off the Raiders' Kevin Burnett during a rough outing, this week will go against the Patriots' porous run defense.
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, fending off the Raiders' Kevin Burnett during a rough outing, this week will go against the Patriots' porous run defense. (MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ / Associated Press)
Posted: November 02, 2013

Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 9.

Watch 'em roll

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers at Redskins. After a torrid start to the season, Rivers cooled off considerably in the two games before the team's bye. Slot him back in your lineup against the generous Washington secondary.

Le'Veon Bell, RB, Steelers at Patriots. His rushing score salvaged a rough outing against the Raiders last week. But despite Bell's struggles, the Steelers kept handing him the ball. That bodes well as the team heads to New England, which fields the second-worst run defense in the NFL.

Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers at Redskins. Coming off a week of rest preceded by two straight 100-yard rushing days, Mathews is primed for another strong outing against one of the league's rushing-defense doormats.

Terrance Williams, WR, Cowboys vs. Vikings. Though he caught just two passes last week (one of which he turned into a 60-yard score), the rookie was targeted 10 times throughout the game. Meanwhile, Jason Witten has been marginalized and Miles Austin is a no-show whether he's active or not.

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears at Packers. Josh McCown has had two weeks to prepare for this matchup, after filling in admirably when Jay Cutler went down against the Redskins. Jeffery posted 105 yards on seven receptions in that game. He'll continue to produce against the Packers' subpar pass defense.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Tony Romo, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck; RBs Eddie Lacy, Zac Stacy; WRs Keenan Allen, Steve Smith, Denarius Moore, DeSean Jackson, Golden Tate, Pierre Garcon, Josh Gordon, Harry Douglas, T.Y. Hilton, Kendall Wright.

Roll 'em back

Tom Brady, QB, Patriots vs. Steelers. Pretty boy is putting on a brave face, but there's clearly something amiss with his hand and with the Patriots' passing game. Pittsburgh comes to town sporting one of the NFL's stingiest pass defenses, having surrendered just five TDs through the air all season.

Chris Johnson, RB, Titans at Rams. Johnson has not had the rebound season many of us expected, exacerbated by the Titans' unfortunate tendency to remove him at the goal line. St. Louis' defensive line has been very stingy of late, which doesn't bode well for Johnson.

Steven Jackson, RB, Falcons at Panthers. Normally we'd give Jackson a pass for a subpar performance in his first game back from injury. Not this time. Not only does the high-mileage veteran look as if he's favoring his tender hamstring, but Carolina's run defense is the league's second-best.

Marques Colston, WR, Saints at Jets. Though Andy Dalton and Co. torched the Jets last week, Antonio Cromartie remains one of the best cover corners in the league. He'll likely be matched up against Colston, who hasn't scored since Week 1.

Stevie Johnson, WR, Bills vs. Chiefs. There's no telling who will be under center for Buffalo on Sunday, but whoever it is will be rattled around by one of the game's elite defenses. Johnson is coming off a strong outing against the Saints, but he'll have a much tougher time finding daylight against the Chiefs.

More thumbs down: QBs Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, Jake Locker; RBs Trent Richardson, C.J. Spiller, Willis McGahee, Chris Ivory, Mike James, Pierre Thomas; WRs Drew Davis, DeAndre Hopkins, Emmanuel Sanders, Julian Edelman, Kenbrell Thompkins, all Vikings, Jets and Rams WRs.

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