Fantasy owners have an idea of where they stand as we enter Week 9. At this point, a 6-2 fantasy owner should start stashing players to help down the stretch. At the same time, a 3-5 owner will need to take risks to avoid losing at all costs. Questions? Leave a comment, or ask me on Twitter @briansflood.
• Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals (Owned in 42 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, 27 percent of Yahoo! leagues and one percent of ESPN leagues) -- Jones appears in this column for the second consecutive week. Unfortunately, not enough fantasy owners listened, as he is still available in many leagues after his four-touchdown performance in Week 8. Jones' huge week has him firmly on fantasy radars now, but keep in mind that he only played 19 offensive snaps on Sunday -- don't expect a repeat performance. It's remarkable that four of those 19 snaps resulted in touchdowns, but Mohamed Sanu is still technically ahead of Jones on the depth chart. Jones is the better player and should pass Sanu at any moment, but he's a boom-or-bust fantasy option until he does. It's not a bad idea to sell high if you snagged him prior to Week 8.
• Kenny Stills, New Orleans Saints (13 percent, 12 percent, one percent) -- It took the rookie from Oklahoma half a season, but one of my favorite fantasy sleepers has finally emerged, catching three passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns last week. He doesn't see enough targets to be relied upon regularly for fantasy purposes, but his big-play ability makes him a high-upside play for desperate owners. Eventually he'll move up the depth chart and become a fantasy star, but that might not happen until next year. In the meantime owners will have to hope he catches a deep touchdown against the Jets in Week 9.
• LaVon Brazill, Indianapolis Colts (Two percent, one percent, zero percent) -- Much like Marvin Jones last week, Brazill is an option for desperate fantasy owners to start in Week 9. We're still not completely sure who will pick up Reggie Wayne's targets, but Brazill has a chance to be that guy. He is talented enough to emerge as Luck's new favorite weapon, and Luck will throw touchdowns no matter what. It's not like Darrius Heyward-Bey is a sure thing. Brazill will surely have a bigger role when he faces the Texans Week 9.
FARRAR: The latest news on the most prominent injuries in Week 8
• Lance Dunbar, Dallas Cowboys (Seven percent, two percent, two percent) --The Cowboys could look to Dunbar for an increased workload if DeMarco Murray can't suit up against the Vikings this week. Joseph Randle is still around, too, so Dunbar is only worth consideration for desperate owners in deeper leagues. Dunbar returned from a hamstring injury to run for 16 yards on five caries in limited action. It appears the Cowboys are bringing him back slowly, but he has a chance for double-digit touches in Week 9 if Murray remains sidelined.
• Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers (33 percent, 10 percent, three percent) -- Stewart is expected to make his season debut in Week 9 when the Panthers host Atlanta. An ankle injury cost Stewart the first half of the season, but he could be returning at the perfect time. DeAngelo Williams has struggled lately, not surpassing 65 rushing yards since Week 3. Stewart averaged 5.4 yards per carry as recently as 2011 and his fresh legs could carry him far. The Panthers coaching staff has always kept Stewart involved in the offense and he could help fantasy owners upon his return.
• Andre Brown, New York Giants (42 percent, 21 percent, 18 percent) -- If Brown is available in your league and you have an extra bench spot, pick him up. The Giants have a bye in Week 9, but Brown could be the new starting running back when they return in Week 10 vs. Oakland. Before suffering a fractured leg in the preseason, Brown was a coaching staff favorite, and fantasy owners were concerned that he would steal carries from David Wilson. At this point, the Giants backfield is in shambles, with Wilson, Brandon Jacobs, Michael Cox and Peyton Hillis taking turns showing off their mediocrity. Brown claims he's "ready to go," and there is a legitimate chance he could lead the Giants in rushing going forward.
• Shane Vereen, New England Patriots (65 percent, 39 percent, 72 percent) -- Much like the Giants with Brown, the Patriots should see Vereen return in Week 10. He suffered a wrist injury in Week 1 and was placed on short-term IR. Vereen should be a significant part of the Patriots offense upon his return and should be stashed in all fantasy leagues.
BANKS: Cowboys continuing their reign of mediocrity never seen before
• Jason Campbell, Cleveland Browns (Five percent, four percent, one percent) -- Need a bye-week replacement for Peyton Manning or Matthew Stafford? Want to really shock your opponent? Try picking up and starting the Browns' signal caller for Week 9. Campbell is the latest quarterback to snag Brandon Weeden's job and he threw for 293 yards with two touchdowns against the Chiefs in Week 8. Campbell has a chance to surpass those totals when he faces the Ravens on Sunday. The reason Campbell is expected to be a serviceable fantasy play is because of his weapons. Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron can explode on any given week.
• Tim Wright, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (15 percent, five percent, zero percent) -- The rookie from Rutgers is turning into a legitimate threat for the Bucs. Wright was targeted eight times for five catches and 48 yards last week against Carolina. He found the end zone for his first career touchdown and is clearly gaining the confidence of quarterback Mike Glennon. Unfortunately for Wright, the Bucs travel to Seattle in Week 9 and the coaching staff has said it wants Glennon throwing fewer times, but Wright is still a serviceable option for an owner scrambling for help at tight end.
MORE WEEK 9 FANTASY FOOTBALL CONTENT:
GONOS: Start 'Em, Sit 'Em -- Tough it out for one more big week of byes
SI STAFF: Player Rankings -- The best replacements for Manning, Stafford
BELLER: Player Stat Projections -- What will Dalton do this week?
EDHOLM, MIGLIO: Midseason Awards -- Broncos offense cleans up
SI STAFF: Weekly Roundtable -- Who's the fantasy MVP of the first half?
FLOOD: Waiver Wire -- Desperate for starters? Look at Brazill, Campbell
McQUADE: Risers & Sliders -- Dalton put on a performance for the ages
BELLER: Early Week 9 Advice -- Brady should not be trusted as a starter