Week 9 Matchup Rankings: Team Defenses To Exploit
This has been a crazy (and by that I mean bad) week for many Fantasy Football owners. So many top players were lost to injury last week (Le’Veon Bell, Keenan Allen, Steve Smith), forcing owners to scramble for replacements. Combine that with the fact that there are six teams on bye for Week 9 and you have quite a few starting lineups with massive holes in them. If you’re one of those owners with this problem, then hopefully it will make you feel better knowing that you are far from alone. With that, we are going to take a look at some matchups you might be able to exploit this week.
[caption id="attachment_100439" align="alignright" width="444"] Malcom Floyd will be more of a deep threat for the Chargers without Keenan Allen around. Photo Credit: Andy Terhaar[/caption]
- Washington Redskins: Is there anyone you wouldn’t start on the New England Patriots in this game? The biggest questions would be LeGarrette Blount and Brandon LaFell. Dion Lewis is, by far, the more dynamic player in the run game. Whereas, Blount is more the bulldozer. Blount comes in as a flex option this week, but then again, any running back still standing right now is valuable. LaFell is in the same situation. I want to play him, but he’s not an automatic start. I’ll chalk up the drops to rust; he will get better, and playing in that offense will afford him ample opportunity.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Well, Eli Manning is not going to throw for six TDs again in this game, but half that number certainly wouldn’t surprise me. Larry Donnell is likely to miss the game with a neck injury and I’d rather not touch anyone in the running game if possible (to many cooks in the kitchen there). Dwayne Harris has become a sneaky play and Reuben Randle could return this week as well.
- Chicago Bears: Steve Johnson and Malcom Floyd were hot pickups this week and for good reason. The loss of Keenan Allen was devastating and neither Johnson nor Floyd can make up for it. Floyd is the deep threat here while Johnson will be more of an underneath guy. Both have value and are Fantasy starts on Sunday. Also, assuming Ladarius Green (ankle) plays this week, don’t be surprised to see the Chargers use quite a few two-TE sets.
- Tennessee Titans: Well, we all saw what a healthy Drew Brees did to the Giants’ secondary last week. Yeah, he won’t do that again, but this is another tasty matchup in that dome. I’m starting all of my Saints, and the injury to Khiry Robinson (leg) should result in more goal line touches for Mark Ingram.
- Cleveland Browns: I’m a believer that Jeremy Hill is only going to get better as the season rolls along, especially when the weather changes and pounding the rock is considered smarter than throwing the ball. Marvin Jones is someone I’d like to start tonight as well, as Cleveland will be without Joe Haden (concussion) and will be spending a good deal of their defensive effort trying to slow down J. Green.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: As of now it looks like Ryan Fitzpatrick (thumb) will start for the Jets on Sunday, but I wouldn’t want to start him and would be careful with Brandon Marshall (ankle, knee) as well. The question may not be whether they will start, but whether they will finish the game.
- Indianapolis Colts: Peyton Manning looked great coming off the bye week against the Packers on Sunday night, and no matter what he states publicly the adrenalin will be flowing in this game. I wouldn’t be so quick to add Vernon Davis, though; we have no idea how much he will play Sunday; how much of the offense he knows, or whether he will have any chemistry with Manning. Be careful here. J. Anderson may also have earned a bigger share of the RB touches with his performance last week.
- Oakland Raiders: Here is hoping you were able to claim DeAngelo Williams off the waiver wire. He will be an adequate replacement for Bell. I’m also not worried about Ben Roethlisberger. He has a history of not playing well in his first game back from injury, but this week everything should go back to normal. I know everyone loves Martavis Bryant, but let’s not forget that since his big first game (6-137-2) he has combined for 7-94-1 over the past two weeks. He is truly a boom or bust player and is not a must-start.
- New York Giants: The Bucs don’t have the weapons to take advantage of the Giants’ deficiencies on defense. Vincent Jackson is iffy at best to play Sunday (I doubt he plays) and even if Austin Seferian-Jenkins plays (limited in practice), he really isn’t a must-start, Top-10 TE. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and CB Prince Amukamara could return for the G-men.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: Derek Carr certainly looks like he has taken that next step, not to Fantasy stardom, but as a Top 12 Fantasy QB. It’s pretty amazing what adding a superstar in the making, like WR Amari Cooper, can do for you; and don’t forget about Michael Crabtree.
- San Francisco 49ers: Matt Ryan has had several good matchups in a row now, but while Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman have taken advantage, Ryan really hasn’t. He’s still a Top 10 Fantasy QB, but barely. Tight end Jacob Tamme, however, could be a good start if you have Jimmy Graham or Travis Kelce out on bye.
- San Diego Chargers: I recommend starting Jeremy Langford in this game if you own him. The Bears are only telling us that Matt Forte will be out for this week, but that’s enough to start Langford with confidence. The Chargers will be worried about Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery, which should leave room for Langford to run through.
- New Orleans Saints
- Buffalo Bills
- Dallas Cowboys: Perhaps the bye week will have fixed the offensive problems for the Eagles. Perhaps their offensive line is now healthier, maybe that fixes the run game, maybe Sam Bradford will be more accurate, maybe Jordan Matthew’s hand has healed and he will stop dropping passes? Maybe not.
- Miami Dolphins: I would not just assume that Tyrod Taylor will just pick up where he left off and run with reckless abandon. He may be healthy enough to start for Buffalo, but that doesn’t mean his knee is 100 percent healthy. If he can’t run, his passing isn’t good enough to make him a Top 10 Fantasy QB. Karlos Williams can be used again if you need RB help. While he won’t get a ton of touches, he should once again be the goal line back.
- Minnesota Vikings
- Philadelphia Eagles: I’ll get this out of the way quick, I didn’t have Dez Bryant in my Top 20 WR last week, and don’t have him in there this week either. Sure, the Eagles don’t have a Richard Sherman, but it will still be Matt Cassel throwing the ball to Bryant. While he will put up better numbers than last week, it still won’t be enough for me.
- New York Jets: When you see how the Jets played last week, it almost makes you want to start any Jaguars player you can find. But you just have to believe they will play better, don’t you? Either way, I can’t pass up Allen Robinson and you may not have enough RB depth to sit J. Yeldon. The question is really about Allen Hurns; he is someone you should pass on if you have another option.
- Green Bay Packers
- Carolina Panthers: This may not be the game for Green Bay to get healthy. You have to start Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb; there’s really no other choice there. It’s a good idea to sit James Jones, and perhaps even Eddie Lacy if you have that kind of depth. Unfortunately, in the two leagues in which I own Lacy, I don’t have that kind of depth; so he will start.
- New England Patriots: I love Jordan Reed; he’s a Top 10 TE when healthy, but keep in mind that one thing Bill Belichick excels at is taking away an opponents top weapon, or what he perceives to be their biggest threat. If he believes that threat is Reed, he could be in for a rougher day than expected.
- Cincinnati Bengals:
- Atlanta Falcons: How bad have you played when Blaine Gabbert is brought in to replace you? Colin Kaepernick has been terrible and he deserves this demotion, but this is also a financial move. By keeping him off the field, the 49ers are protecting him from a potential injury that would guarantee his contract for next season. Unless you’re desperate, you shouldn’t be starting anyone from the 49ers in Fantasy.
- Louis Rams: You still have to start Adrian Peterson, but don’t expect this to be the week that he breaks his touchdown drought. Stefon Diggs is also not an automatic play, as he would be behind similar players like Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead, and Stevie Johnson this week.
- Denver Broncos: If you were thinking about trading Andrew Luck, now might be the time with this matchup and the Colts having a bye next week. However, keep a couple of things in mind. First, Luck is still putting up solid Fantasy numbers week in and week out. Second, the Colts’ schedule gets much more Fantasy-friendly after the bye. With all that in mind, the news that TY Hilton has a foot injury and may not play this week should make you consider benching Luck if you have a viable alternative.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.