Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2016
This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 9 of the 2016 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.
Please Note: 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 Philip Rivers (SD, QB)
In the last two weeks, the Titans gave up 27 fantasy points to both Blake Bortles and Andrew Luck. On the season, they give up 259 yards through the air. Even though Philip Rivers (FFN ranking #8 this week) hasn't been lighting up the world recently, he should have a nice game against Tennessee.
Start 'em Dak Prescott (DAL, QB)
Ranked 7th this week is the rookie Dak Prescott facing a Browns team that gives up more total yards per game (421.5) than any other team. Cleveland gives up an average of more than 20 fantasy points each week to opposing QBs making Prescott a solid QB1.
Start 'em Devontae Booker (DEN, RB)
If you follow our weekly advice and get our Blitz newsletter, you know that we're high on Denver's Devontae Booker. Oakland gives up the 5th-most rushing yards per game to RBs, and with CJ Anderson on IR, Booker is in line to get the bulk of those yards.
Start 'em Jay Ajayi (MIA, RB)
It's statistically improbable that Jay Ajayi gets another 200-yard day, but with his role now solidified in Miami, I wouldn't be afraid to use him against the Jets who gave up an average of 15.4 fantasy points (19 PPR) to Crowell, Johnson, Bell, Michael, McCoy, and Hill. Like Vegas, fantasy owners should continue to ride the hot hand.
Start 'em Ty Montgomery (GB, WR)
Assuming that he plays (sickle cell trait), Ty Montgomery should continue to surprise fantasy owners with a positive fantasy day. The Colts give up the 2nd-most yards through the air (287.8) making Montgomery a nice WR2 with upside in what will likely be a shootout at Lambeau Field.
Start 'em Donte Moncrief (IND, WR)
Lining up against Montgomery will be 4th-ranked TY Hilton and 18th-ranked Donte Moncrief. Moncrief made his way back into fantasy lineups last week and came back with a bang finding his way into the endzone. We expect this to be a high-scoring affair with most of the damage done through the air. Consider Moncrief a WR2 or very strong flex play.
Start 'em Antonio Gates (SD, TE)
It's been a while since we've seen Antonio Gates in our Top 5, but he comes into this week's rankings at #3 against a Titans defense that gave up an average of 9.5 fantasy points (14.5 PPR) over the last three weeks. With Gates overtaking Hunter Henry in targets, look for him to be active in fantasy lineups and DFS this week.
Start 'em Kyle Rudolph (MIN, TE)
Ranked 6th this week is Kyle Rudolph facing a Lions defense that let C.J. Fiedorowicz, Delanie Walker, and Jack Doyle score double digit points against them. In fact, no other defense has surrendered more fantasy points to the TE position than Detroit. Rudolph is in for a nice day.
Start 'em Carolina Panthers (CAR, DEF)
While the Panthers have been less than stellar in fantasy land for much of the season, they did turns things around last week against Arizona. Those fortunes should continue this week against the Rams - a team that gives up more defensive fantasy points than any other team in the NFL.
Start 'em Mason Crosby (GB, K)
A matchup with the Colts in Green Bay is just what the fantasy doctor ordered for Mason Crosby. Indy have given up an average of 10.25 fantasy points every week this year. Kickers just barely failed to reach double digits in 3 games this year. Expect double-digit production from Crosby on Sunday.
Sit 'em Matthew Stafford (DET, QB)
Even though the Vikings basically puked all over themselves on Monday night against the Bears, their defense is still formidable. Minnesota allows the 4th-fewest passing yards and 2nd-fewest fantasy points to QBs. Wentz, Osweiller, and Manning averaged 7.3 fantasy points while Aaron Rodgers performed the best at just 17 fantasy points. Expect Matthew Stafford to struggle.
Sit 'em Russell Wilson (SEA, QB)
If you think Russell Wilson is back to 100% after watching what should have been a cake-matchup last week, then I've got some land in Florida to sell you. Wilson stunk it up against the Saints so a matchup against Buffalo and their 13th-ranked pass defense isn't helpful for fantasy owners.
Sit 'em Ryan Mathews (PHI, RB)
While HC Doug Pederson said this week that Ryan Mathews is still the lead back, actions last week spoke much louder than his words. Given the snap count, Darren Sproles is clearly the lead back (63 snaps to 8). Even the FFN ranking have Sproles ahead of Mathews. A matchup with the 10th-ranked Giants defense only makes the problem worse.
Sit 'em Matt Asiata (MIN, RB)
With Jerick McKinnon expected back this week, the prospects for a nice day out of Matt Asiata become awfully slim. Detroit has allowed 9.5 fantasy points to opposing rushers this season and the 17th-fewest rushing yards. There won't be enough yards or points to go around to make Asiata worth starting.
Sit 'em Jeremy Maclin (KC, WR)
Scrolling through the FFN rankings this week, you'll find KC's number one wideout ranked among other teams' number two's and three's. Jeremy Maclin just hasn't been the receiver that we though he'd be. Perhaps a change at QB this week will help, but we're not counting on it. Jacksonville has held opposing #1 WRs to 10.5 fantasy points which equals Maclin's best fantasy day this year.
Sit 'em Marvin Jones (DET, WR)
You'll find both Marvin Jones and Golden Tate with equal fantasy projections in the rankings this week (#25 & #26). Against the Vikings last week, Jeffery and Meredith averaged 7 fantasy points. Green-Beckham/Matthews averaged 3.9. Hopkins/Fuller averaged 10. Beckham Jr/Cruz averaged 3.6. Expect this duo to struggle.
Sit 'em Julius Thomas (JAC, TE)
Not a single TE has scored double digit fantasy points against Kansas City this year. Jesse James from Pittsburgh was the closest and that was in PPR format. With Blake Bortles in seemingly disarray, it's tough to expect much out of Julius Thomas this week. Given his #20 ranking this week, the industry apparently agrees.
Sit 'em Charles Clay (BUF, TE)
We all know that Seattle has a solid defense, but did you know that over the past three weeks, the Seahawks have surrendered just 1.7 fantasy points (3.7 PPR) to opposing tight ends? Clay only caught 2 of his 6 targets last week for just six yards and injured his shoulder trying for a deep pass. A brutal defensive matchup combined with a banged-up Charles Clay equals a poor fantasy day.
Sit 'em Buffalo Bills (BUF, DEF)
I can't provide enough warnings to fantasy owners to stay away from Buffalo right now. After two disappointing weeks where the Bills provided a big doughnut (or negative in some leagues), a matchup with Seattle (even with a struggling Russell Wilson) will make it three straight terrible weeks.
Sit 'em Robbie Gould (NYG, K)
This isn't the same lifelong Bears kicker anymore. Robbie Gould has become a replacement, and as fond as we are of his past efforts, this is a game that he shouldn't be in your fantasy lineup. Philly has only allowed one kicker to hit double digit fantasy points with all averaging just 5.8 fantasy points.