Week 9 of the Page 2 Fantasy Football Challenge is upon us. Each week, a guest picker chooses a QB, RB and WR. The only players off-limits are those selected by the previous week’s guest picker. The guest — St. John’s graduate John Meyer, a data analyst by day and a Timberwolves blogger for Canis Hoopus by night — will go head-to-head against Star Tribune writer Michael Rand, who is not allowed to pick anyone projected to score in the top 10 by NFL.com experts at their respective positions:


QB: Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

NFL.com QB projection: No. 8

Matchup: Raiders

Oakland allows 302 passing yards per game, second-to-last in the NFL. Losing Le’Veon Bell for the season seriously stings, but Big Ben should help them cope in the short term with a monster game through the air.



RB: Devonta Freeman, Falcons

NFL.com RB projection: No. 1

Matchup: 49ers

This season’s fantasy darling is set for another field day against a soft 49ers rush defense. Swapping quarterback Colin Kaepernick for Blaine Gabbert most certainly won’t help San Francisco compete.


WR: Odell Beckham Jr., Giants

NFL.com WR projection: No. 2

Matchup: Buccaneers

OBJ put up the rare wide receiver hat trick (3 TDs) against the Giants last week. As long as his hamstring cooperates, he’s poised to make noise again this Sunday in Tampa.


QB: Peyton Manning, Broncos

NFL.com QB projection: No. 18

Matchup: Colts

Oh, how the mighty have fallen — at least when it comes to fantasy football. Manning might have the Broncos at 7-0, but he’s a very average fantasy QB right now. But he’s going into Indianapolis for what figures to be an emotional game. I’m a sucker for a story line and I’m hoping for a big game.


RB: Jeremy Hill, Bengals

NFL.com RB projection: No. 22

Matchup: Browns

The Browns are so bad against the run that I don’t mind picking a guy stuck in a dreaded running back job-sharing role (with Giovani Bernard). If Hill gets a lot of work, look out.


WR: Alshon Jeffery, Bears

NFL.com WR projection: No. 12

Matchup: Chargers

I saw enough of Jeffery last week against the Vikings to be convinced that Jay Cutler has rekindled the connection with his go-to receiver. Bank on 100 and another score for Jeffery vs. San Diego.


Winner: Steven Shega — Philip Rivers (24.0), Le’Veon Bell (5.8), Julio Jones (20.2). Total: 50.0.

Loser: Michael Rand — Andy Dalton (9.6), Doug Martin (7.8), Stefon Diggs (15.5). Total: 32.9.

Overall standings: Guest pickers 7-1.