Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2015
This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 9 of the 2015 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 Aaron Rodgers, Rob Gronkowski, or Antonio Brown. 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)
He may not have set the world on fire in his return last week, but don't let that stop you from starting Big Ben this week. His #4 ranking on FFN is indicative of what the industry thinks he can accomplish against the Raiders who give up the 2nd-most passing yards per game (302 yds).
Start 'em Eli Manning (NYG, QB)
What a difference a year makes when we see Eli Manning outranking his brother, but that's what we've got this week as Eli and the Giants take on the Bucs. Eli won't throw 6 touchdowns like he did last week, but if Kirk Cousins and Blake Bortles can rack up 30 and 28 points respectively, Eli should do nicely here.
Start 'em DeAngelo Williams (PIT, RB)
With Le'Veon Bell out for the year, it is the DeAngelo Williams show in Pittsburgh. Williams has played tremendously well when given the opportunity. While Oakland has been tough against the run, most of that has been against lower tiered players. DeAngelo has a legitimate chance at finishing in the Top 10 this week.
Start 'em Doug Martin (TB, RB)
Coming into this week's rankings at #6 is Doug Martin who has a sweet matchup against the G-Men who give up double-digit points to opposing backs. Run DMC put up 20+ points on them in Week 7 and DeMarco Murray nearly did the same the week before. Martin should come through nicely here.
Start 'em Dez Bryant (DAL, WR)
Normally we wouldn't have to tell you to start Dez Bryant, but after advising you (correctly) last week in the FFN newsletter to sit him, we're suggesting you plug him back in your lineups going forward. He may struggle a bit yet this week with Matt Cassel, but he's Dez and the potential to surpass his #18 ranking this week is always there.
Start 'em Amari Cooper (OAK, WR)
As expected, Amari Cooper struggled on Revis Island last week, but he'll be off the leash this week against a Steelers secondary that has allowed the 7th-most passing yards per game and has given up double-digit fantasy points to everyone from Michael Floyd and Kamar Aiken to Torrey Smith and Kenny Britt. Cooper is much more talented than they are.
Start 'em Benjamin Watson (NO, TE)
The Saints have not been as impacted by the loss of Jimmy Graham as many pundits would have us believe. Benjamin Watson has stepped up and filled that void quite nicely. His #9 ranking this week against a tough Titans secondary is indicative of what the industry thinks he'll be able to produce. Brees is still an elite QB.
Start 'em Heath Miller (PIT, TE)
It's been a while since we've seen Heath Miller crack the Top 10, but with Ben Roethlisberger back under center, everyone's fantasy value gets a bump up. The rapport between Big Ben and Miller was on display last week. Each time Roethlisberger found himself under pressure, Miller was and will continue to be that safe security blanket.
Start 'em Atlanta Falcons (ATL, DEF)
With the benching of Colin Kaepernick, the Niners offense is officially in shambles. Davis and Bush are gone. Hyde is hurt. Pierre Thomas is coming off his couch to play. There's not much to get excited about in San Fran these days. Look for Atlanta to capitalize on that.
Start 'em Robbie Gould (CHI, K)
The Chargers give up the 5th-most points per game, and even if Jay Cutler and company can't get into the endzone, they'll get close enough to let Robbie Gould do his job. Gould has seen double-digit games in almost every game this year. Start Gould with confidence.
Sit 'em Teddy Bridgewater (MIN, QB)
Coming in this week at #21 is Teddy Bridgewater who will face a Rams defense that has faced some big names (Wilson, Rodgers, Palmer, Roethlisberger) and not allowed more than 15 points to any of them.
Sit 'em Andrew Luck (IND, QB)
Except for the last 5 minutes of Monday Night's game against Carolina, Andrew Luck looked like a JV team backup QB. With several QB's on bye this week, you're going to have to start Luck, but lower your expectations against a Denver defense that has made every QB look mediocre this season including Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr, and Matt Stafford.
Sit 'em Frank Gore (IND, RB)
The high-powered offense that we were expecting to see in Indy has fizzled by most standards and that's not likely to pick up this week against Denver. Nobody gives up fewer yards on the ground than the Broncos and expectations for Gore (and the Colts in general) couldn't be lower.
Sit 'em Melvin Gordon (SD, RB)
The Bears give up an average of 7 points per week to RB's including keeping Latavius Murray, Marshawn Lynch, and Chris Johnson under that mark. None of those guys have the type of ball-control difficulties that Gordon has this year. We're expecting a tough road for Gordon on Monday night.
Sit 'em Stefon Diggs (MIN, WR)
In PPR formats, Diggs may still do well because the only receivers who have seen any success against the Rams this year are the ones who get the short, quick passes. St Louis has held Randall Cobb, Larry Fitzgerald, and Antonio Brown to 10 or fewer points (std).
Sit 'em DeSean Jackson (WAS, WR)
We're expecting DeSean Jackson to be back on the field this week, and boy do the Redskins need him. He stretches the field which helps both the passing AND running game. As tempting as he might be to start, this is his first game back and he's facing a Patriots secondary that has been tough on WR's this year.
Sit 'em Jason Witten (DAL, TE)
Witten has been a blocking TE for most of this season failing to live up to expectations. He'll face a stingy Philly defense that gives up an average of 4.1 points per game (std). With Romo under center, Witten pulled in 5.6 points earlier this year, but our money is on Witten doing more blocking to give Cassel some breathing room.
Sit 'em Vernon Davis (DEN, TE)
Yes, the upgrade at QB will be better for Vernon Davis, but don't rush out to start him simply because he has Peyton Manning under center. Davis has to learn the playbook, and besides Olsen and Gronk, nobody has gotten more than 7 points on a shaky Indy defense.
Sit 'em Indianapolis Colts (IND, DEF)
It's tough to say many good things about the Colts these days...on both sides of the ball. With Peyton coming back to town and the Colts fresh off an overtime loss on Monday night, the Broncos should roll over Indy this week.
Sit 'em Phil Dawson (SF, K)
At this point it almost seems like we could basically take any of the Niners and put them on this list, but the simple fact is that unless San Fran can move the ball effectively, they can't get into scoring position. Dawson is having one of his worst seasons because of that fact. Keep him on the bench.