Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2018
This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 9 of the 2018 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 Ryan Fitzpatrick (TB, QB)
Is it time for Fitzmagic again? We'll see. The Buccaneers were the last NFL team to get a rushing touchdown from a running back this year and that says a lot about their run game. The Bucs are a pass-first team, and with Fitzpatrick getting the start, we expect him to throw a lot. He's ranked inside our Top 10 this week.
Start 'em Russell Wilson (SEA, QB)
Wilson is playing incredibly efficient right now averaging 11 yards per attempt. He has been providing fantasy owners with 2-3 touchdowns every week, but his lack of volume generally has put him at low-end QB1 territory. Against a high-powered Chargers offense, we should get a chance to see him throw it more.
Start 'em Jared Goff (LAR, QB)
Ranked 5th this week is Jared Goff and the undefeated Rams playing in what should be a shootout with Drew Brees and the Saints. Goff put up 354 yards and 2 scores against New Orleans last year, good for 25.4 FP, and that's exactly what the Saints are giving up the last 4 weeks.
Start 'em Latavius Murray (MIN, RB)
It doesn't look like Dalvin Cook will be back until after the bye next week. This could be the last time that Latavius Murray will be fantasy relevant for this season and it's a nice matchup. Detroit gives up the 2nd-most yards on the ground per game (144.6) and Murray has averaged 5.1 yards per carry over his last four games. Look for 15+ touches in this one.
Start 'em Aaron Jones (GB, RB)
With Ty Montgomery traded to the Ravens, the Green Bay backfield got a little less crowded this week. After turning in 86 yards and a score on 12 carries last week, Aaron Jones has finally emerged as a legitimate fantasy starter. He's ranked 24th this week (PPR) putting him in RB2 territory.
Start 'em Adrian Peterson (WAS, RB)
Adrian Peterson rushed 26 times for 149 yards and a touchdown and caught a seven-yard score in Washington's Week 8 win over the Giants. Even at age 33, Peterson has settled in as the centerpiece of Washington's offense. He will be a legitimate RB1 play this week against the Falcons who have given up 28.5 FPG to RBs the last 4 weeks.
Start 'em Courtland Sutton (DEN, WR)
The real winner in the Demaryius Thomas trade was Courtland Sutton who immediately moves up to #2 on the depth chart. He figures to solidify himself into Thomas' old role as an every-down player next to Emmanuel Sanders. He was the top add of the week on waivers as an upside WR2 the rest of the way.
Start 'em Josh Gordon (NE, WR)
In what should be one of the more anticipated games of the season, the Patriots will face the Packers on Sunday night. Gordon had a quiet day last week against stud CB White as expected, but the matchup against Green Bay is much better with a group of young DBs who've given up 6 WR TDs in their last three games. Look for Gordon to be a WR3 with upside.
Start 'em Amari Cooper (DAL, WR)
If you're still on the Amari Cooper roller coaster, keep your seat belt fastened. There's a strong chance that the Cowboys try to feature his talents on Monday night. Hopefully that translates to points. Given that he's ranked 43rd this week, the industry doesn't think very highly that this will happen. Admittedly, it's tough to trust to him and Cooper is a bit of a roll of the dice, but he did have a good game against them last year with 17.2 fantasy points.
Start 'em Jared Cook (OAK, TE)
Cook led the Raiders with 74 receiving yards and ranked 2nd with 5 targets and 4 catches in the 1st game post-Amari Cooper trade. He'll remain a big part of this passing game the rest of the way, making him an every-week fantasy starter. The Niners have allowed an 8-114 line to Travis Kelce and a 5-104 to Jimmy Graham this year.
Start 'em George Kittle (SF, TE)
Kittle has caught 5+ balls for 57+ yards in 6 of 8 games. His ceiling is elevated this week against a Raiders defense that just coughed up 133 yards and 3 scores to Colts TEs last week.
Start 'em Kansas City Chiefs (KC, DEF)
What's not to like with the Chiefs this week as Baker is getting sacked 4+ times per game, and the Browns just made major coaching changes.
Start 'em Stephen Gostkowski (NE, K)
Stephen Gostkowski has made 10 field goals in his last three games. Enough said.
Sit 'em Baker Mayfield (CLE, QB)
Quarterbacks have done pretty well against the Chiefs earlier this year putting up 25.5 fantasy points; however, Kansas City has held Case Keenum, Andy Dalton, Tom Brady, and Blake Bortles to an average of just 16 fantasy points over the last four weeks. Mayfield is a tough start this week.
Sit 'em Dak Prescott (DAL, QB)
Fresh off a bye, Dak Prescott completed 22-of-35 passes for 273 yards and one touchdown, chipping in another 33 yards and one score on the ground in the Cowboys' Week 7 loss to the Redskins. He'll face a Titans defense that has been pretty solid against the pass. Dak is only really revelant in 2-QB leagues this week.
Sit 'em Derek Carr (OAK, QB)
Carr is coming off one of his best outings of the season, completing 75% of his passes for 244 yards and 3 scores against the Colts. Now comes another plus draw against a 49ers defense that's allowed multiple passing TDs in 7 of 8 games this season, but the Raiders offense is sputtering right now making Carr tough to trust.
Sit 'em Derrick Henry (TEN, RB)
Can lightning strike twice for Derrick Henry? Not likely. He'll face an improving Dallas defense that is giving up the 9rd-fewest yards per game on the ground. In fact, over the last three weeks, the Cowboys have given up a paltry 3.4 yards per carry and no rushing touchdowns.
Sit 'em Alex Collins (BAL, RB)
The Steelers give up the 6th-fewest yards per game on the ground, and only three running backs have scored double-digit fantasy points (Joe Mixon, Kareem Hunt, and Carlos Hyde) all year. When Collins faced Pittsburgh back in Week 4, he managed just 8.5 fantasy points (9.5 PPR). With a crowded backfield in Baltimore, it's difficult to trust Collins right now as anything more than an RB3/Flex play.
Sit 'em Ito Smith (ATL, RB)
A hot name on the waiver wire when Freeman went down, Ito Smith has failed to live up to expectations. That's not likely to change this week against the Redskins. Washington has given up 2.8 YPC to running backs over the last four weeks - Smith has managed just 2.0 YPC over that same time span.
Sit 'em Demaryius Thomas (HOU, WR)
Demaryius Thomas was added to the Texans just this week and will have to learn the offense. He will certainly be an upgrade for the Texans in three-receiver sets after they lost Will Fuller (knee) for the season, but this week he's really more of a desperation play as a low-end WR3/Flex.
Sit 'em Allen Robinson (CHI, WR)
It's unclear whether or not Allen Robinson will suit up this week as he continues to deal with a groin injury. If he does, he'll face a Buffalo defense that gives up the 6th-fewest yards through the air (222.8) - not an ideal situation to count on.
Sit 'em Corey Davis (TEN, WR)
Corey Davis has become the top passing option for the Titans, but he'll spend much of the game battling Dallas' top CB Byron Jones. The Dallas secondary is legit and Davis hasn't been on the same page with Marcus Mariota over the last few weeks (example: 3-of-7 for just 10 yards before the bye). Look for Davis to be no more than a WR3/flex play this week.
Sit 'em Hayden Hurst (BAL, TE)
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it is 'important' to get first-round TE Hayden Hurst 'involved going forward'. Given that he's had just one catch on five targets since returning from a foot injury in Week 5, he's going to have to do a lot to get involved. Hurst is just not fantasy relevant right now.
Sit 'em Benjamin Watson (NO, TE)
The Rams are giving up just 9.6 points per game to tight ends over the last four weeks. Watson is averaging just 38 weekly yards making him more of a TE2 - fine if you need a streamer.
Sit 'em Los Angeles Chargers (LAC, DEF)
This just isn't the same San Diego Chargers defense that we saw last year. With Russell Wilson and the Seahawks giving up a measly 2.3 FPG to DSTs the last 4 weeks, look for another option.
Sit 'em Ryan Succop (TEN, K)
Kicking comes down to opportunity, and there just isn't enough opportunity for Ryan Succop right now. He's put up two field goals in his last two games. There are better options out there.