Posted: Saturday, November 1, 2014
This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst fantasy football matchups for Week 9 of the 2014 NFL season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.
This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Peyton Manning, Jimmy Graham, or LeSean McCoy. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.
Start 'em - Ben Roethlisberger (PIT, QB)
We're going to ride the hot hand right now and Ben Roethlisberger fits that description. He won't repeat his insane performance from last week, but with Jimmy Smith out for the Ravens and Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant splitting the field, Big Ben has the potential to put up big numbers.
Start 'em - Colin Kaepernick (SF, QB)
The last time Colin Kaepernick faced the Rams, he went off for 343 yards and 3 scores. St Louis is giving up the 7th-most fantasy points to opposing QB's and Kaepernick is fresh off his bye week. Expect a solid day from him this week.
Start 'em - Ronnie Hillman (DEN, RB)
No Montee Ball means more Ronnie Hillman. Fantasy owners who have him have had the luxury of watching him put up great numbers. That should continue this week agains the Patriots who are giving up the 2nd-most fantasy points (ppr) to RB's. Great matchup!
Start 'em - Ahmad Bradshaw (IND, RB)
If we had told you in August that Ahmad Bradshaw would be a Top-5 fantasy back, you would have laughed at us, but don't look now - Bradshaw is on fire. Even with Trent Richardson back, Bradshaw is a must start. The Giants give up 170 scrimmage yards to RB's (2nd most) and Bradshaw is in line for a solid day.
Start 'em - Brandon LaFell (NE, WR)
This one could go either way, but we like Brandon LaFell's chances this week even with a tough matchup against the Broncos. There are so many options in that NE passing game, but Tom Brady seems to love this guy targeting him 11 times last week. LaFell hauled in all 11 passes for 124 yards and a score. Gronk should get the double coverage making LaFell an attractive option again.
Start 'em - Mike Wallace (MIA, WR)
Another one that could go either way is Mike Wallace. He disappointed fantasy owners last week with a sweet matchup against the Jaguars, but look for him to bounce back against the Chargers. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and after complaining this week about Miami's inability to throw downfield, we're looking for Tannehill to take a couple of shots.
Start 'em - Larry Donnell (NYG, TE)
Don't shoot us if he disappoints, but Larry Donnell 'should' do very well against the Colts on Monday night. Indy has let TE's run all over them giving up the 2nd-most fantasy points to them this year. Look, if Heath Miller can put up big #'s, a guy with the size and talent of Donnell should easily surpass that.
Start 'em - Antonio Gates (SD, TE)
If you didn't know, this weekend it's time to turn back your clocks. In your home, turn the clocks back 1 hour. On your fantasy team, turn your clock back three years, because Antonio Gates is once again an elite TE. The 3rd-best fantasy TE remains a must start.
Start 'em - Cincinnati Bengals (CIN, DEF)
If fantasy sports were a grade school gym class, the Jacksonville Jaguars would be the kid that gets picked last. If you're looking for a defense to do well, you pick the kid playing against the kid who gets picked last. That would be the Cincinnati Bengals this week facing a Jacksonville team giving up the most fantasy points to DST's every week.
Start 'em - Phil Dawson (SF, K)
The Rams are giving up the 7th-most fantasy points to kickers this year and there's no denying that Phil Dawson plays better at home. Against the Eagles and Chiefs, he put up double digit fantasy points. We're expecting the same this Sunday afternoon.
Sit 'em - Michael Vick (NYJ, QB)
A hot name on the waiver wire this week was Michael Vick although I wouldn't rush out to claim him just yet. Even with a match up against his old coach (Andy Reid), Vick is not going to perform like the Michael Vick of old - particularly against a Chiefs defense that is giving up the 2nd-fewest fantasy points to opposing QB's.
Sit 'em - Robert Griffin III (WAS, QB)
Another guy that many fantasy owners want to simply plug in and play is Robert Griffin III who should be back in action this Sunday. The temptation to pick him up and start him is tough, but consider that this is his first game back, he's only had a week of practice, and he's facing a Vikings defense that gives up the 4th-fewest fantasy points. Wait until after his Week 10 bye.
Sit 'em - Darren McFadden (OAK, RB)
For a while there, it looked like the time machine took us back to when Run DMC was a fantasy-relevant RB again. Have Doc Brown pull the DeLorean over, because McFadden will be all 2014 this week. He's sharing duties again with MJD and facing a Seahawks defense that is giving up the 4th-fewest fantasy points (ppr) to RB's this year.
Sit 'em - Darren Sproles (PHI, RB)
Another guy returning from injury is Darren Sproles and he's a risky play in all scoring formats this week. Even though Houston gives up the 7th-most fantasy points (ppr) to RB's, we're expecting LeSean McCoy to shoulder most of that work.
Sit 'em - Eric Decker (NYJ, WR)
We'd sit both Eric Decker and Percy Harvin this week. The Chiefs are tough on wide receivers giving up the 6th-fewest fantasy points to the position, and let's face it - the Jets are a team in shambles. A change at QB might provide a small spark, but against the Chiefs it likely won't start anything on fire.
Sit 'em - Vincent Jackson (TB, WR)
One of this year's fantasy bust candidates is Vincent Jackson. Cleveland is tough on receivers and VJax is playing injured. Jackson hasn't seen the endzone since Week 5, and with Mike Evans and ASJ eating into his targets, he likely won't again this week. Trade rumors or not, VJAX should be benched.
Sit 'em - Heath Miller (PIT, TE)
We haven't seen Heath Miller reach the century mark in quite a while, but he did so last week against the Colts. There's little to no chance of him repeating that kind of performance this week against the Ravens who he has historically struggled against averaging 38 yards per game the last 10 times he faced them on the road. Baltimore has given up the 4th-fewest fantasy points to TE's this year.
Sit 'em - Charles Clay (MIA, TE)
With a sweet matchup against Jacksonville last week, Charles Clay let fantasy owners down big time with just 1 catch for 1 yard. The Chargers are the NFL's toughest defense on TE's surrendering the fewest fantasy points to them all year.
Sit 'em - Miami Dolphins (MIA, DEF)
We're putting the Dolphins in the sit column knowing full well that many of you claimed them on the waiver wire this week after a monstrous performance against the Jags last week. When they face the Chargers this week, they'll face Philip Rivers and a San Diego team that is firing on all cylinders right now.
Sit 'em - Josh Brown (NYG, K)
For some reason, kickers have a difficult time putting up fantasy points against the Colts who surrender the 8th-fewest fantasy points to them this year. Brown is the 30th-ranked kicker this year and hasn't kicked a field goal in his last two games.