NFL Start ‘Em: 11 Fantasy Football Players With Sweetheart Matchups In Week 4
by Pat Mayo | 1:04 pm, September 26th, 2012
Each week, Pat Mayo of
RotoExperts.com will be bringing you 11 fantasy football players with favorable matchups. Whether it’s a wide receiver facing a weak-kneed secondary, a running back taking on a dinged-up front seven, or a team defense preparing to eat a cupcake rookie quarterback, these are the guys who are poised for a big fantasy output this Sunday.
This week, Pat says Philip Rivers will reward you, it’s about time for Anquan Boldin to give you something, and an NFC East defense is primed for plug-and-play dividends. Here are his sweetheart matchups.
1.1. Michael Turner
Carolina is better than the team that was shellacked last Thursday night by the Giants. Not markedly better, there’s no chance they’ll lay another steamer on the field - especially with nine days to prepare. Still, the Panthers have never had an answer for Michael Turner. While not quite “The Burner” anymore, Turner has never looked slow in his semiannual domination of Carolina. He’s averaging over 100 total yards and a TD in his last four outings with the Cats. At home, somehow, he’s actually more dominant. Since joining the Falcons in 2008 Turner has filled his robust belly with mouthwatering panther meat at the Georgia Dome: 428 yards rushing, eight touchdowns.
2.2. Philip Rivers
The frustration that comes with owning Philip Rivers is not exclusive to Fantasy Football. He resides on a special plane in the Fantasy universe with J.R. Smith, Tim Lincecum, Andrew Bogut and Adrian Gonzalez. Rivers’ awful trait of coming up small against weak defenses is disheartening, and it cramps the style of everyone playing match up roulette in their QB slot every week. But the Chiefs have presented no challenge to opposing quarterbacks so far this season. Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Ryan Fitzpatrick have posted nine combined touchdowns against Kansas City through three games. Rivers is already heating his branding iron.
3.3. Ben Tate
Ben Tate is unpredictable, but his upside is so enticing. If Arian Foster were to suffer the same fate as Peter James Bond, Tate would be a Top 10 running back. It’s a long shot but,
dozens of people do spontaneously combust each year - it’s just not really widely reported. For this week, we’re going on the premise that Foster has all his atoms intact and getting his usual dose of carries. That leaves Tate owners in the infuriating position of whether or not to throw him in a FLEX spot or fill in for an injured C.J. Spiller, Matt Forte, etc. Usually, the games where Tate fares the best are against lousy defenses. He has just five useful Fantasy outings playing second fiddle to Foster. The competition: Cleveland, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and Tennessee… twice. In trying to halt Houston’s rushing attack, the Titans have tried nothing, and they’re out of ideas. And those two games were last season. Tennessee’s defense is considerably worse this year. It’s definitely a risky play, but it’s one that could yield massive dividends.
4.4. Kyle Rudolph
For those of you who just learned Kyle Rudolph is the only Viking outside of Percy Harvin that can actually catch, you have impeccable timing. If you were fortunate and won your waiver claim on Christian Ponder’s best pal, make sure to start him in this week. Christmas spirit has hit Detroit early this year. The Lions have been filled with generosity towards opposing tight ends, allowing an average of six catches, 82 yards and a score in three games. Rudolph is a must play.
5.5. Antonio Gates
If Rivers is going off, he’s bringing someone along for the ride. And this is great opportunity to get Antonio Gates going. Gates was targeted seven times last week, and despite managing just three catches, it was encouraging to see him play the entire game. On top of being the second most generous team to opposing QBs, Kansas City ranks in the Top 10 for tight ends too. While the Chiefs have only allowed 12 receptions to the big men, they are giving up over 10 yards per catch and a TD per game.
6.6. DeSean Jackson
New York hasn’t been able to impede any top end receivers this season. Dez Bryant, Vincent Jackson and Steve Smith all produced quality outings against the Giants and DeSean Jackson should add his name to that list Sunday. Jermey Maclin looks like he’ll suit up this week, but his hip will keep him limited, leaving Jackson to see the bulk of the opportunities downfield. The Giants don’t have the personal to match Jackson’s speed, and with this game unlikely to give the scorekeepers a moment to enjoy their free hot dogs, expect a lot of big plays from Michael Vick.
7.7. Anquan Boldin
There’s a trend forming for the Thursday night games: One team is simply not going to try. Between the Ravens and Browns, who do you think that team will be? The absence of Joe Haden has crippled Cleveland’s pass defense and Joe Flacco is no stranger to running up the score. There are plenty of better options in Baltimore’s offense, but there will be enough to go around for Boldin to get his. He’s still getting looks – 16 targets in three games – and this is setting up like a great spot if you need him this week.
8.8. Cedric Benson
Cedric Benson is a prime example of opportunity over talent in Fantasy football. The
aquatics enthusiast has been the benefactor of sustained usage the last two weeks - most notably in the passing game. Opposing defenses have to commit every available resource to slowing down Aaron Rodgers. Be it two deep safeties or, as we witnessed Monday night, extra blitzers, there’s no extra man to cover Benson when he leaks out. The odds are zero on Benson breaking a giant play, so the yardage through the air may never materialize, but the catches will. And that makes him exponentially more valuable in PPR formats. Plus, he’s squaring off with the Saints defense that has ceded far and away the most points to running backs this season.
9.9. Cowboys Defense/Special Teams
The Bears strolling into Jerry’s Palace is a jackpot for the Cowboys defense. If you thought Jay Cutler laid a verbal smackdown - or possibly a lyrical People’s Elbow - on J’Marcus Webb in the Packers game, wait until DeMarcus Ware slaps him around. Cutler will spend so much time launching vitriol towards Webb he’ll need a Snickers at halftime to recharge his blood sugar. Sacks, turnovers and touchdowns are the defining characteristics of a classic Cutler performance, and Monday night is a prime time for him to churn out a sinker. If I were Cutler I wouldn’t be
Smokin’ Joe cool, I’d be closer to acting like Terrence Newman on a rollercoaster.
10.10. Josh Freeman
Josh Freeman is completing just over half of his passes and has been held under 250 yards passing every game. Doesn’t matter. The Redskins are going to make him look like Warren Moon. Washington treats every pass like it’s a gadget play that they’re totally unprepared for. They’re underwhelming coverage has allowed precisely three passing TDs in each game and are only getting more beat up each week. Josh Freeman isn’t a must start, but if you’re stuck for a pivot, he’ll do.
11.11. Lawrence Tynes
To quote the late Owen Hart:
Enough is enough and it’s Tynes for change! Swapping kickers from week-to-week is my preferred strategy, but if you can find one that plays in a great offense the results are the same, plus it will save you a fortune on Tylenol. Manning and Co. haven’t had an issue pushing the ball towards opposing endzones this year and whether they score seven or settle for three is up to the defense. Knowing Philadelphia, it’s going to be three. The Eagles have been excellent inside their own twenty, forcing competition into a field goal on 75-percent of their redzone visits. As a result, Philly has allowed the fourth most FG attempts in the NFL. It helps Tynes has been terrific too. Also, he’s no nugget.
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