Week 9 of our fantasy Big Ten league turned into a low-scoring slog, which seems appropriate at this time of year during conference season. Fortunately for me, Non-Gingervitis wasn't nearly as points-challenged as Rittenberg's Trombone Shorties.
My team scored 94 points -- our second lowest output of the season -- yet easily outpaced the Shorties, who mustered a mere 67 -- 30 points below Adam's previous season-worst total. I was led by Ohio State's Braxton Miller, who scored 34 fantasy points against Penn State, and Northwestern's Venric Mark (17) and waiver-wire pickup Antavian Edison (11) helped make up for Denard Robinson's early exit at Nebraska.
The return of Penn State's Matt McGloin to the roster helped the Shorties (21 points), but Taylor Martinez (15), Allen Robinson (six) and Montee Ball (four) were all held well below their norms. And Adam's Cubs-like work on the waiver wire reached an all-time comedy high, as his pickup of the Purdue defense yielded him -- wait for it -- minus-7 points against Minnesota. That, folks, is hard to do.
With the win, I took a 5-4 lead in the season series. It's a close race with four weeks to go. Here are this week's waiver-wire moves, as some bye weeks are making things interesting:
Adam adds Indiana RB Stephen Houston and drops Wisconsin RB Montee Ball
Rationale: Ball and the Badgers are off this week, and I need points. Houston provided them last week with three touchdowns, and I've liked what I've seen from him lately. He faces an Iowa defense that had no answer for the run last week, and Indiana is seeking more balance in its offense.
Brian adds Iowa RB Damon Bullock and drops Northwestern RB Venric Mark
Rationale: Mark has been a gem, but Northwestern has a bye this week. Bullock ran well last week while going for more than 100 yards and should get plenty of opportunities this week with Mark Weisman banged up. Indiana's run defense leaves something to be desired.
Adam adds Ohio State's defense and drops Purdue's defense
Rationale: I know this move will shock everyone, as Tim Tibesar's unit really helped my team last week in yet another Rittenberg special on the waiver wire. Anyway, the Buckeyes looked stout defensively against Penn State, and Illinois' offense, while better last week, still has a lot of problems. What could possibly go wrong with this pickup?
Rationale: Another move necessitated by the bye week. Stoneburner seems to be picking things up and is becoming a go-to target for Braxton Miller. Loading up on Buckeyes this week against Illinois isn't a bad idea.
Adam adds Nebraska's kickers and drops Northwestern's kickers
Rationale: The Wildcats are off this week, and while I don't think we'll see a ton of points in East Lansing, Nebraska's Brett Maher should get some opportunities for field goals. I like what I've seen from Maher in recent weeks -- especially last Saturday against Michigan -- and expect another nice performance from the do-it-all senior specialist.
Brian adds Penn State's defense and drops Wisconsin's defense
Rationale: Once again, the Badgers are off in Week 10. I'll happily sub in the Nittany Lions, especially against a Purdue team that seems out of sync in a lot of ways. It's a road game, but this won't exactly be a hostile environment for the visitors.
Our complete rosters for Week 10:
The Trombone Shorties
Penn State QB Matt McGloin
Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez
Indiana RB Stephen Houston
Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell
Penn State WR Allen Robinson
Nebraska WR Kenny Bell
Ohio State defense
Michigan QB Denard Robinson
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller
Iowa RB Damon Bullock
Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde
Ohio State WR Jake Stoneburner
Purdue WR Antavian Edison
Penn State defense