The Best Fantasy Matchups of Week 9
I think I have finally figured out the easiest way to get verified on Twitter. Just play the Oakland Raiders. That’s it. What was that? I’m pretty sure that most of us heard that Nick Mullens is getting the start Thursday night and our first thought was, who? I had to Google the guy just to get some information and the Raiders made this guy look like gold. We all know what Gruden is doing in Oakland but he just can’t come out and say it. Gruden wants the number one pick in the draft and I’m pretty sure he’s going to get it. Just think, only nine years, ten weeks, and five days remaining on his contract. The Raiders play the Chargers next week and the Chargers might as well rest Rivers and just play the third string guy. Anyway, let’s jump into the matchups for this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Carolina Panthers 1:00 PM ET Kickoff, O/U 55.0 (Bank of America Stadium)
Last week Cam Newton absolutely smoked the Baltimore Ravens and this week, well, this week he gets the Bucs and we all know what happens when a QB (or any offensive player) plays the Buccaneers, it turns into fantasy gold. The Bucs give up an average of 318 passing yards and given Newtons ability to run the ball as well makes him my number one QB on the week. Alongside Cam Newton, you have several other options on this offense that should throw up some serious points on your fantasy team. Christian McCaffrey has to be someone that, if I had him on my team right now, I’d be loving this matchup. McCaffrey’s utilization in the passing game alongside with the fact that he gets the touches anywhere on the fields makes him a sure fire start against this Bucs defense that, and I can’t say this enough, is awful. Torrey Smith has been ruled out of this game so I’d absolutely love to start DJ Moore this week. This is a fantastic matchup for Moore to continue to shine. Last week against Baltimore, he had five receptions for 90 yards as well as 39 rushing yards. He’s a great option this week especially if you’re needing some help with the bye week. Another guy I’d like to touch on is Devin Funchess. He’s coming off of a terrible week but before that, his last two games gave him a total of 136 receiving yards and two touchdowns. You can start him with confidence this week as I look for him to get back on track.
Kansas City Chiefs vs Cleveland Browns 1:00 PM ET Kickoff, O/U 52.0 (FirstEnergy Stadium)
Okay, so you probably see the Chiefs here and say “ha, alright, I’m skipping this section because this is where he’s going to tell me to just play all the Chiefs.” I’m going to take a saying from the great Lee Corso here, NOT so fast my friend. I’m actually going to talk a little about the Browns, here. Now, it is true that you will be starting all of your Chiefs, I’m also here to say that you can start a few of the Browns and that’s saying something! Baker Mayfield has been, okay. The Browns are clearly going to be down in this game and Mayfield is going to have to throw. Unlike last week when he only had 180 yards in the air, I have a feeling that he’s going to be closer to the 280-300 yard mark this week along with a couple of touchdowns. The Rookie is still learning the system and that is obviously going to hurt him sometimes but I expect Mayfield to show what he can do this week against a “meh” Chiefs defense. Now, the reason I said you can start a “few” of your Browns is because there’s really only three other options I’m willing to put into my starting lineup and that obviously starts with Jarvis Landry. Landry is second in the NFL in targets so far this season and I’d expect at least ten or more of them in this game. I don’t think we see another eight for 39 like we did last week against the Steelers. Landry will turn it around in this game and could be on the receiving end of one of Mayfield’s touchdown passes. Man, we were all let down last week when David Njoku put up a big zero in the points column but don’t expect the same this week. With a new coaching staff in the mix, Baker will find Njoku often and will also be (hopefully) on the receiving end of a Mayfield TD pass as well. Don’t bench Njoku just because of the goose egg from last week. Start him with confidence. The last guy here is Nick Chubb, who, in the last two weeks has seen 18 carries a game. He only had 65 rushing yards last week but the Steelers D-line is fantastic and that was expected. This week, he gets to face the team that is second in fantasy points per game given up to running backs. Expect Chubb to have another 18 carries and when the Browns get into the red zone, he could also find himself in the end zone.
LA Rams vs New Orleans Saints 4:25 PM ET Kickoff, O/U 57.5 (Mercedes-Benz Superdome)
Now this game is one of those games where you pretty much just start anyone you have on either team. I mean, what do you even say that hasn’t already been said about these two teams? They’re both fantastic and this game should edge more towards the over. You already know about the Gurley, Kamara, Thomas, Woods, Cooks, Kupp, Brees, and Goff. What do I even say here? I guess we can talk about Mark Ingram who, except for the week he came back, probably hasn’t produced like you thought he would. He’s still getting the volume that you want to see but in the red zone, it has been the Kamara show. I don’t think sitting Ingram is the right choice here as this offense can score and we’ve seen the Kamara/Ingram duo work before. Put Ingram in your flex spot and I think he finds the end zone in this one. In his defense, he’s had some bad matchups with the Ravens and Vikings. This one (on paper) doesn’t look great for him either but I just have a gut feeling about him this week. Another guy that isn’t talked about a whole lot is Tre’Quan Smith. Last week, Brees only threw for 120 total yards because he didn’t really have to throw much more than that due to the turnovers that the Vikings just gave the Saints. Smith continues to out snap Cam Meredith and in a game that’s projected to be this high scoring, I think he could also be a flex play for you.
Green Bay Packers vs New England Patriots 8:20 PM ET Kickoff, O/U 56.0 (Gillette Stadium)
“But Tom’s kind of – he’s an outlier, he’s a unicorn. There’s not many like him.” That’s a direct quote from Aaron Rodgers and he’s not wrong. Brady is magical and majestical, except whenever he scrambles because then he kind of looks like a fawn trying to walk for the first time. Tune into this game because you’re going to see two of the best QBs of all-time playing each other. Rodgers vs Brady. This is going to be exciting. Okay, I’m done fanboying out over TB12 and I just realized that I called Brady magical and majestical and I don’t even care what you think about it. Anyway, let’s break this game down. Aaron Rodgers only threw one TD pass last week but that was in part of the Ty Montgomery fumble that could’ve had Rodgers lead the Pack down the field for a game-winning TD pass. This week though, he’s is going to bounce back because of two reasons. Number one, because he’s Aaron Rodgers and number two because that Patriots secondary isn’t very good. Now, you may be wondering, who is Rodgers going to throw the ball to this week? I’ll tell you who. Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. That’s the only time I’m going to type out his name so if you see MVS, you know who I’m talking about. Rodgers and Adams have a fantastic rapport and it shows. Through the last three games, Adams hasn’t gone below 132 receiving yards per game and he’s about to go to four games. The Pats are ranked 27th against the pass and Adams should have a field day. MVS should be more involved again this week, especially since Geronimo Allison is listed as doubtful to play. In a game where Allison was healthy, MVS out targeted him. Now with Allison probably out this week, he’s got some serious upside in this game and I’d start him. Especially, again, if you’re dealing with a lot of bye weeks for your main starters.
On the other side of the ball, Brady threw for 324 yards and no touchdowns, yes I said no touchdowns. The Packers are ranked 6th against the pass but they just traded away Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, one of their best defensive weapons. With Clinton-Dix gone, I expect this to be a little of a different game for Brady. He’s got guys like James White and Julian Edelman to count on to real in a lot of his throws. Last week, Edelman reeled in nine catches for 104 yards. He is questionable for the Sunday night game but I don’t see any doubt in him playing and getting another 100 yards and even a score. James White has been such a fantastic weapon for the Patriots and for your fantasy team that you should never have him on your bench except for week 11 when the Pats go on the bye. His receiving abilities and the trust that he has with Brady makes him such a great play week in and week out. He had 13 targets last week and he should see a lot of the same this time around as well. Here’s an interesting tidbit of information. White is second in the league in catches from the RB position behind Saquon Barkley. Even with guys like Gurley and Kamara, White is second. That’s saying a lot. You need to have him in your lineup and you can just sit back and enjoy the points rolling in. The last two guys I’d like to touch on is Rob Gronkowski and Josh Gordon. First, Gronk is listed as questionable to play Sunday night and that’s a bit concerning to me. If you’re the Gronk owner here, you need to monitor this closely. We saw what happened against Chicago so you truly never know. You need to have a backup plan ready if he is ruled out. If he is playing, even though he has underperformed since week one, you still put him in your lineup because he can certainly blow up with a couple of scores. Josh Gordon has been a boom or bust guy so far since joining the Patriots but I feel like he’s going to be more of a boom this week than the bust. His big-play ability makes him a very interesting play this week and I’d certainly start him. If Brady can connect this Gordon on a long bomb TD, it’ll certainly be worth the start. Just sit back and enjoy this game because sooner than you think, the new guys like Mahomes, Goff, and Mayfield will be taking over while the vets sit back and watch them make history.