Underrated/Overrated: Stumble vs. Ravens hiding Sanchez's value
Minus game against Ravens, Mark Sanchez ranks 15th in NFL in efficiency
Michael Crabtree has the most targets among Niners receivers this season
Steelers are losing potential production with their use of Rashard Mendenhall
Week 7 was the week of the quarterback, with rosters being filled with worldbeaters like John Beck, Carson Palmer, and Mr. Exciting himself, Matt Moore. Week 8 shifted the Wheel of Disappointment over to the running backs, where owners were scrambling to find value in the likes of DeMarco Murray, Bernard Scott and Jackie Battle.
Hard to say where the big decisions in Week 9 will lie -- other than how low Tebow's QB rating will be -- but what we can tell you is that Marky Mark has been funky in a good way in NYC, while Kolb has been wilting like a hothouse flower in the heat of the Arizona desert.
Mark Sanchez, QB, Jets (60 percent owned)
Sanchez is not known for his fantasy value, but he has flown under the radar this season. Were it not for his historically bad, Tebow-esque performance against Baltimore in Week 4, Sanchez would have scored 14-plus points every week. That kind of consistency isn't going to turn you into a champion, but it's reliable and won't run you off a bridge, either. Sanchez currently ranks 29th in passing efficiency among QBs, but take out the Baltimore game and he jumps to 15th. It's tough to be the gunslinger in the NYC market, just like it's hard to be the singer who replaces Steve Perry in Journey. Don't let the media scrutiny fool you -- Sanchez is a decent backup option and a workable matchup play.
Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers (40 percent owned)
After a brutal start to the season and a few nagging injuries, the Texas Tech product found himself slumming it on the waiver wire in most leagues. Crabtree has 46 targets -- far and away the most on the 49ers -- and has started to show some good chemistry with Alex Smith, who deserves his own article for his improved play. Last week, he found the end zone for the first time this season against Cleveland. The 49ers have a schedule softer than Chris Johnson the rest of the way so look for Crabtree to start producing on a consistent basis, which is a sentence that hasn't been written by a sportswriter in several years.
Donald Brown, RB, Colts (4 percent owned)
Brown got the ax in the early going, languishing on the bench behind fellow Big East product Delone Carter. Joseph Addai continues to struggle with injuries, so Brown has had a second chance to strut his stuff. Brown has put up 25 points in the last three weeks, but more impressively has added almost 6 points to the Colts offense above expectation, making him the top producer in the Colts' backfield. If Addai continues to have trouble getting back to full strength and continues to have trouble being a running back that gains yards, Brown is certainly worth a look, particularly in deep leagues.
Kevin Kolb, QB, Cardinals (65 percent owned)
It appears the Cardinals savior is not quite living up to the title. Kolb has yet to score 20 fantasy points in a given week, and has scored 12-plus only three times. That's unforgivable from a starting QB, much less a QB who is making the scratch that Kolb is making. Kolb ranks just 25th in passing efficiency, contributing to an offense that has scored 30 points less than a league-average team would in similar situations. So how is he still getting started over the likes of Colt McCoy and Alex Smith?
Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets (89 percent owned)
The ex-Super Bowl MVP has had a brutal season so far in New York. Holmes has scored less than 4 points in three separate games and has yet to register more than 12 points in a week. Add in a meager 53 percent catch rate and the fact that he is third on the team in targets, behind Plaxico Burress and Dustin Keller, and you have a WR3 at best. Don't buy the brand name. Keep him if you've got him since his trade value isn't there, but don't be hesitant to make a switch on the waiver wire.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers (99 percent owned)
After finding the end zone 13 times in 2010, Mendenhall has scored just three teams in eight games. The Steelers O-line is a M*A*S*H unit right now, but even when it was healthy, Mendenhall was being outpaced in efficiency by notable All-Pro Isaac Redman. Looking at the numbers, Mendenhall has scored 10-plus points just twice this season. In fact, for every 10 times the Steelers run the ball with Mendhenhall, they are losing a full point below expectation. It's no wonder Big Ben and company threw the ball 50 times on Sunday against New England. It was also because Bill Belichick thought that he could win with no cornerbacks, but that's an article for another day.
Nik Bonaddio is the CEO of numberFire, a sports analytics platform that provides algorithmic modeling for sports. You can follow him @numberfire. Keith Goldner is the Chief Analyst at numberFire. You can follow him @drivebyfootball. You can also follow numberFire on Facebook.