Posted: Wednesday, November 1, 2017
This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 9 of the 2017 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 Drew Brees, 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 Deshaun Watson (HOU, QB)UPDATE: Deshaun Watson tore his ACL during practice. Out for season.
We've got to start this week's Where to Put'em with Deshaun Watson. He is ranked #1 among all QBs this week and is the second highest-scoring QB in fantasy this year. Coming off a monstrous 402-yard, 4 touchdown game against Seattle last week, he'll face the league's second-worst pass defense in the Colts. They give up 290 yards through the air, and whether Watson wants to go through the air or on the ground, he's going to be too tough to stop.
Start 'em Matthew Stafford (DET, QB)
Ranked 11th this week is Matthew Stafford who has not been the most consistent fantasy quarterback this season. He put up a solid 423 yards last week against the Steelers, and a matchup against a middle-of-the-road Packers secondary should keep his fantasy numbers up. Over the last three games, Green Bay has given up 20.6 fantasy points to opposing QBs (Brees, Keenum, Prescott). Plus, Stafford has averaged 2.5 passing touchdowns every time he has visited Lambeau Field.
Start 'em Aaron Jones (GB, RB)
Ranked 13th this week among his peers is rookie Aaron Jones who has earned himself a seat at the table. Jones was the only real highlight that the Rodgers-less Packers had in Week 7's loss to the Saints. With a full workload, he rushed for 131 yards and a score while chipping in 3 receptions for 7 yards. He out-touched Ty Montgomery 20-5, so while it remains to be seen how this timeshare will work out, the matchup is pretty good. The Lions don't give up a ton of yards (91.6/avg) on the ground, but they have given up double-digit fantasy points to lead rushers all but twice this year including a combined 42 points to the Saints backfield in Week 6.
Start 'em Doug Martin (TB, RB)
While Martin hasn't put up big numbers the last two weeks, he has been given the touches. He's got the workload, and every pass-catching back that has faced New Orleans this year has put up double-digit fantasy points (ppr). In fact, they have averaged 13.7 fantasy points against the Saints who are giving up an average of 120 yards on the ground. As long as Martin gets his share of touches, he should justify his #14 ranking.
Start 'em Devin Funchess (CAR, WR)
After the Panthers traded away Kelvin Benjamin this week to the Bills, Devin Funchess becomes the #1 option in Carolina. He's been getting an average of 8 targets per game, so we might only see a small uptick there, but he'll be Newton's first read and that has some value. Funchess is ranked 23rd this week putting him square on the bubble for WR2/3 that has consistently given up double-digit production to each team's #1 WR including 22.5 points to Robby Anderson (NYJ) last week.
Start 'em Will Fuller (HOU, WR)
Will Fuller is a name that we haven't seen inside the Top 15 this year, but there he is ranked #15 this week (PPR). He finally came alive last week ending the day with 5 catches for 125 yards and 2 scores. He'll have Indy's second-ranked secondary this week, and while won't likely repeat those numbers, he's got enough upside to consider starting as a WR2.
Start 'em Jimmy Graham (SEA, TE)
Jimmy Graham has not topped 72 yards all year, but he has found the endzone 4 times in the last three games. He has finally become the redzone target that we (and Russell Wilson) have been expecting. Even if he doesn't find the endzone against the Redskins this week, the matchup is strong enough that he's back in must-start territory. Ertz and Kelce put up 20+ fantasy points (PPR) so a double-digit day is not out of the question.
Start 'em Vernon Davis (WAS, TE)
Vernon Davis is not a name that we've seen crack our Top 10 this year. He's got a nice matchup and it looks like Jordan Reed is a question mark this week meaning that more targets should come Davis' way. He's ranked 7th this week and should finish the day as a TE1.
Start 'em Arizona Cardinals (ARI, DEF)
The Cardinals have not lived up to fantasy expectations this year, but fear not. A matchup with the 49ers has a way of turning those things around.
Start 'em Ryan Succop (TEN, K)
One of the league's best fantasy kickers is still available in almost a third of most leagues across all major platforms. That's just not right. He's ranked #1 this week and should have little trouble putting up double-digit fantasy production.
Sit 'em Andy Dalton (CIN, QB)
It doesn't matter how great AJ Green is. This is a defensive matchup to avoid at all costs. Dalton is ranked 25th this week putting him outside even QB-flex territory. Here's why: nobody gives up fewer yards through the air than Jacksonville. Last week was the first time that a QB even hit double-digit fantasy points (Jacoby Brissett) and he only managed 11 points! Deshaun Watson, Marcus Mariota, Ben Roethlisberger, and others have averaged just 7 fantasy points. He's not worth starting this week.
Sit 'em Joe Flacco (BAL, QB)
Assuming that Flacco plays (concussion), he has a bad matchup with Tennessee. The Ravens offense has had its share of difficulties this year, and the Titans aren't going to make that any easier. Except for big days from Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson, QBs in the tier of Joe Flacco have managed just 11 fantasy points against this defense.
Sit 'em LeGarrette Blount (PHI, RB)
With Jay Ajayi being traded to the Eagles, there's going to be less and less touches to go around in that backfield. Blount (ranked 46th) has largely disappointed this season, and a tough matchup against Denver is likely to lead to more disappointment. The Broncos gave up a measley 7.6 fantasy points (PPR) to Kareem Hunt and Melvin Gordon over the last two weeks. There's no reason to think Blount will do much better. On a sidenote, if you own Wendell Smallwood, he's safely droppable.
Sit 'em Darren McFadden (DAL, RB)
It looks like Ezekiel Elliott has finally been sidelined for his six-game suspension. That means that we're likely to finally see RunDMC hit the field this season. No longer will he be a healthy scratch. There's been plenty of speculation about how the timeshare situation will work with McFadden and Alf Morris, but if you've been following FFN this year, you'll know that Morris is the guy that we want to own in this situation. The FFN rankings say that McFadden will outperform Morris, but I wouldn't be so quick to make that assessment.
Sit 'em Alshon Jeffery (PHI, WR)
It's not like you're going to sit Alshon Jeffery, but if you have the depth, at least consider it this week. He's ranked 24th so he's likely in that WR2/3/Flex range, but don't be surprised if he disappoints. The Broncos give up the 6th-fewest yards per game through the air (188.1) and have largely kept some of the biggest names in check.
Sit 'em Terrelle Pryor (WAS, WR)
It looks like the Terrelle Pryor experiment has failed in Washington. Pryor has averaged less than 3 catches and 32 yards per game. He failed to catch his lone target last week leaving fantasy owners upset. Even though he's technically on top of the depth chart, he has effectively been supplanted by Josh Doctson. It looks like Pryor may now be droppable in all formats.
Sit 'em Austin Hooper (ATL, TE)
Austin Hooper caught 4 of his 6 targets last week for 47 yards and found the endzone. He's been an up or down player this year. He's ranked 18th this week facing a Carolina defense that has given up the third-fewest yards through the air.
Sit 'em Eric Ebron (DET, TE)
Green Bay has been very middle of the road against the pass, but while we like Matthew Stafford to have a nice game, Eric Ebron is a different story. Only one tight end has seen double-digit fantasy production and that was Jason Witten and only in PPR formats. Ebron isn't used enough like Witten and will likely not see enough targets to be worthy of a starting role on your team. He's ranked 24th this week putting him well outside starting territory.
Sit 'em Miami Dolphins (MIA, DEF)
If you started the Dolphins defense the last two weeks, you know that things are not right in Miami these days. In what should have been a defensive point grab last week, we instead found ourselves flirting with a doughnut in the points column for fantasy. A matchup with Oakland isn't ideal. Leave Miami alone.
Sit 'em Adam Vinatieri (IND, K)
It's tough to see a guy like Adam Vinatieri not putting up the numbers like he's done for us for so many years. Unfortunately, the Colts offense is sputtering, and if they can't get into Vinatieri range, there's no points to be had. Unfortunately, we need to leave him on the bench.