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Don’t head out to that sports bar or neighborhood man-cave to meet up with your fantasy crew unarmed. Make Fanosis your 1-stop place to cop or drop and get locked and loaded for that well-deserved winning weekend. Combined and condensed below are the consensus latest lines from Las Vegas, my selections and why, along with final score predictions to give you a better read on how strongly I feel for or against the spread in quick access format because your time is precious and let’s face it, who has just one fantasy team anymore?

Four undefeated teams remain (Patriots, Broncos, Bengals, and Panthers), six teams have byes. Week 8 had the favorites edging out the underdogs 7-5-2. An unbelievable week of injuries will definitely effect this week’s play. Use discretion, as always, and monitoring the up-to-the-minute changes and injury info is crucial. 

Week 9 kicks off with plenty of intrigue:

CLEVELAND BROWNS @ CINCINNATI BENGALS

The Line: Bengals -11

The Game: Thursday, 5:30PM PT, NFL NETWORK/CBS

The Skinny: If you’re not compelled to watch this game, you’re not a die-hard football guy (or gal). The potential for an awesome storyline here is irresistible; the franchise-best 7-and-0 Bengals facing Mr. Hype himself, Johnny Football in the role of underdog. The ‘dog wins and Johnnymania’s back in gear. Yes, Johnny Manziel is making what might be the start of his real career, not that fabricated circus you saw last year. The talk of his maturing and growing football savvy is not just talk, it’s actually game tested now…though the jury is still waiting for more evidence before a ruling on whether or not he passed the test.

Gamewise, the Cincinnati Bengals look too good to have a let up here, and I’m certain the Manziel hype alone is their motivation to reach 8-and-0. A.J. Green should have fairly big numbers against a Cleveland secondary that regained, then re-lost its best cover man Joe Haden. He and Donte Whitner are ruled out for this. That’s a shame because the Browns have an outside chance at an upset, but more so with those two leaders back there. Look for receiver Marvin Jones to get a few more touches this week from the Red Rifle, Dalton, who will probably have the natural urge to outplay his opponent, with all the hype and attention going the opposite way most of the week. The defense is fourth in points allowed. Additionally, the Bengals are the only team in the NFL that has not lost versus the spread this season…which could simply mean they are due.

On the Cleveland side, Johnny B. Good is who I’m hoping to see. If I have to watch an undefeated team face a grease fire, I want fuel added so I can yell, THE ROOF IS ON FIRE! WE DON’T NEED NO WATER… — You get my point, so here’s the potential petro I foresee: Manziel is a scrambler/gambler by nature. If you don’t remember or didn’t know, receiver Travis Benjamin exploded on the scene when Johnny Manziel made his appearance earlier in the season. Benjamin is great at freeing himself up on the fly as Johnny breaks away, and tight end “Barnyard” Barnidge is one of this season’s biggest surprises. Watch for the deep ball to Travis to be the key, however, especially if they get too far behind because it’s basically their only shot at winning…and Johnny doesn’t know how to play to lose. McCown was taking more “hits on quarterback” than anybody so In the wise words of a cheap ol’ werewolf flick I loved as a kid, “You can’t tame what’s meant to be wild.”  Hey, it’s only money. I’m betting mine on Manziel to beat the spread…Note: Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” is playing in the background.  Bengals Win, 34-27

GREEN BAY PACKERS @ CAROLINA PANTHERS

The Line: Packers -2.5

The Game: Sunday, 10AM PT, FOX

The Skinny: The interesting stats here to me is that the Panthers have outscored the Packers on the season, 191 to 174. Aaron Rodgers has better receivers to throw to even without Jordy Nelson — so what gives, and why is his team ranked 27 in the league in passing yards? Oh, don’t look now but with Carolina’s good defense, Aaron Rodgers could lose two in a row while undefeated Cam Newton continues to find ways to win. The 7-and-0 Panthers go as Cam goes, and he’s showing no signs of letting up. Panthers Win, 26-24 

WASHINGTON REDSKINS @ NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

The Line: Patriots -14

The Game: Sunday, 10AM PT, FOX

The Skinny: Whoa boy, this feels like a bait’em game to me. The Jets, Colts, Bills, and Steelers all lost to the Patriots by one score only, having scored in the final minutes. Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins may still be hyped after his team’s thrilling come from behind victory. It’s too bad the ‘skins don’t play the pass as good as the run. The scary factor added to this is that LaFell should be up to game speed in his third week back. Too many weapons, the best coaching and quarterback versus a good run defense means the Patriots won’t run much. Nothing but trouble.  Patriots Win, 35-20 

TENNESSEE TITANS @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

The Line: NO CURRENT LINE DUE TO THE STATUS OF MARCUS MARIOTA 

The Game: Sunday, 10AM PT, FOX

The Skinny: (Since Mariota will be practicing and is “expected to start,” I’m handicapping). Drew Brees won’t have the week he had last week facing the N. Y. Giants’ porous secondary, the Titans’ defense is better. I do expect Marcus Mariota (expected to play) to play it on the safe side with short-ish passes, and the team seems to play better under him. With Mariota, I give them 4 points. If he stays in and healthy they could upset. But, that’s if…  Saints Win, 23-17

MIAMI DOLPHINS @ BUFFALO BILLS

The Line: Bills -3

The Game: Sunday, 10AM PT, CBS

The Skinny: The return of Buffalo’s QB Tyrod Taylor and running back Karlos Williams, plus the ended season of Miami’s pass rusher Cameron Wake heightens the Bills’ chances. This is also a better measuring stick for Dolphins coach Campbell to gauge his team as opposed to the Patriots last week. The Bills are already equipped with the confidence as they’ve already beat the Dolphins earlier this season…Philbin’s Dolphins lost 41-14. They should be able to withstand any point-threatening surge Miami might have.  Bills Win, 21-17 

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS @ NEW YORK JETS

The Line: Jets -7.5 (RYAN FITZPATRICK ANNOUNCED AS STARTER)

The Game: Sunday, 10AM PT, CBS

The Skinny: (Ryan Fitzpatrick will start, handicapping this accordingly) The QB Fitzpatrick will play with soreness in his non-throwing hand, so running the ball makes sense to me. Running back Chris Ivory should have a great day while the Jaguars rank next to last in passing percentage. Brandon Marshall (ankle) didn’t practice Wednesday but said he felt good, and Eric Decker, who also didn’t practice (knee), said he’s good to go Sunday. Wednesday was just a day of rest.   Jets Win, 23-10 

OAKLAND RAIDERS @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS

The Line: Steelers -4.5

The Game: Sunday, 10AM PT, CBS

The Skinny: This should be interesting as the Raiders are no longer an automatic win for opponents. Clearly, new ownership has some know-how. Amari Cooper is on a Rookie of the Year pace and exactly what the doctor ordered for QB Derek Carr’s past woes. The Steelers’ Roethlisberger was not quite 100% last week in his return so look for a sharper performance. The Le’Veon Bell loss is huge but DeAngelo Williams runs with more power and the drop-off is as minimum as it gets. With the weapons they still have, it’s too hard to pick against them despite their defense as flaky as they can be — near the bottom but rise up to hold the Bengals to 16 points? But I’m not convinced the Steelers will have all cylinders firing.  Steelers Win, 31-28 

ST. LOUIS RAMS @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS   

The Line: Vikings -2

The Game: Sunday, 10AM PT, FOX

The Skinny: This game opened in Vegas at Vikings -3.5. Slightly crazy since the two teams rank close on both sides of the ball; the bottom two in passing offense, 7th and 8th in total defensive yards allowed, 2nd and 3rd in points allowed behind Denver. The Vikings are a quiet force with a strong secondary. Teddy Bridgewater is a passing quarterback with capable running abilities, and run he will facing the Rams front four and then some. Beyond the printed numbers, the Rams defense is better overall and closer to being the 2nd or 3rd best in the league when you consider their offense often doesn’t allow them a break. Then there is this: Minnesota has not played the quality that the Rams have faced. Their toughest opponents were the Denver Broncos before some adjustments were made and Peyton started looking better, and Kansas City without J. Charles. The Rams have played the likes of Seattle, Arizona, Pittsburgh and Green Bay, and they are still second in points allowed and have not given up a touchdown since week 5 (minus a bye). Take the points. Rams Win, 20-14

NEW YORK GIANTS @ TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 

The Line: Giants -2.5

The Game: Sunday, 1:05PM PT, FOX

The Skinny: New Yorkers, get over last week’s offensive performance by the G-men, it won’t be returning for the balance of the season. However, they are half that good the majority of the time and will most likely score half the output of week 8. Jameis Winston and the Bucs have been improving under the radar, scoring more points the past 4 weeks so this should be interesting. The significant difference is on defense where the Bucs have nearly twice as many sacks while only two games separate sacks allowed. I’m betting that last week’s electric surge drained the Giants just enough to be vulnerable here.  Bucs Win,  24-23 

 ATLANTA FALCONS @ SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

The Line: Falcons -7

The Game: Sunday, 1:05PM PT, FOX

The Skinny: Bloody hell, do I have to? This game opened at Falcons -2.5 and the news of Kaepernick’s benching jumped the number to -7, but it should be closer to -17. Gabbert’s the “best option to win,” really? But quarterback is not their only deficiency and NaVorro Bowman can’t play every position. Look for Julio Jones to have a big game, and Devonta Freeman may end up leading all backs in fantasy points. The way I’ll look at this game is that Blaine doesn’t finish at Kaep returns.  Falcons Win, 34-13 

DENVER BRONCOS @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

The Line: Broncos -5.5

The Game: Sunday, 1:25PM PT, CBS

The Skinny: Opening spread was Denver -3, and it’s broadening thanks to common sense, and the Broncos’ acquisition of tight end Vernon Davis. Manning doesn’t need to play his best here to cover but if he’s on, look out. Andrew Luck is averaging about 2 INTs per game and after what was done to Aaron Rodgers, I have to postponed my hopes in the Colts’ turnaround. Maybe they find some comfort at home.  Broncos Win, 28-12 

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES @ DALLAS COWBOYS

The Line: Eagles -2.5

The Game: Sunday, 5:30PM PT, NBC

The Skinny: On paper, it appears that the Eagles only need to make sure Greg Hardy is blocked at all times to win this game. However, the predictability of Bradford and the offense is a toughie. I like how the Cowboys defense rose a notch or two against the Seahawks last week, and Dez Bryant should be more productive now that the feeler game is out of the way. The Cowboys are 0-and-5 without Tony Romo, but I don’t see Philly as the team once feared behind Chip Kelly’s offense. Key stat here: Carolina is the leading run team (mainly via Cam) and Seattle is next, yet where was Beast Mode last week? The Eagles are ranked in the middle, and add a scare or two to the play of Sam Bradford and you have the makings of Dallas winning their first Romo-less encounter.  Cowboys Win, 20-17 

CHICAGO BEARS @ SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

The Line: Chargers -4

The Game: Monday, 5:30PM PT, ESPN

The Skinny: The Chargers are a petite 4-point favorite despite Chicago’s loss of Matt Forte…says a lot in itself. Home field advantage deceives as thy are 2-and-6 in the last 6 home games. Now they are pretty banged up. The problem is, the Bears are ranked 29th in points allowed per game and 29th against the run despite while 4th in pass yards allowed. Chargers don’t have a ground game and will pass a bunch. They are 27th against the run so replacement Jeremy Langford should debut the fantasy top ten this week. Time of possession seems key here. I side with Chicago beat the spread.  Chargers Win 24-23 

BYE: Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans

Last weeks vs. the spread (disclaimer games excluded): W6 – L8 (Season total: W46 – L41)

MY FANTASY FOOTBALL STARTERS (STANDARD-LEAGUE POSITION):

QB – Tom Brady, New England

RB – Devonta Freeman, Atlanta / Todd Gurley, St. Louis

WR – Julio Jones, Atlanta / Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh

TE – Rob Gronkowski, New England

K – Blair Walsh, Minnesota

Def – Denver Broncos / Any team playing the 49ers (w/Gabbert starting)

That’s a wrap! Thanks, and good luck, Mr. Betting Mann! 

About Author

Tony Lopez

Tony Lopez is a die-hard Rams fan and Rams representing writer at Fanosis, as well as an avid fantasy football player that has won championships at Yahoo, ESPN, NFL(dot)com and FOX. An ex-employment specialist at Goodwill of Southern California's main headquarters, he has work with prison programs and has L.A. certified training to aid people with disabilities. He is also a poet and ghostwriter.