Fins Fantasy: A Guide to Fantasy Football During the Dolphins’ Bye

Well, Dolphins’ fans, it’s the bye week so I won’t be writing about anything Dolphins related today, rather I’m going to distract you by writing a fantasy analysis on good teams that none of you really give a damn about. So, because I’m a nice person, and because I’m contractually obligated to, I’m going to provide you all with some of my mystical fantasy knowledge this week through key matchups that I like. So, without further delay, here is… whatever the hell this is going to turn out to be.

Must Start QBs:

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Peyton “The Sheriff” Manning vs. Oakland Raiders– Sure, Peyton Manning (Praise be unto him) has been an average QB this season, but this upcoming game against the Oakland Raiders is the best matchup he’s had all year. Not only is their secondary weak outside of Charles “Has anyone seen my dentures?” Woodson, but Peyton (Praise be unto him) has shredded the Raiders during his tenure as a Bronco for 1,901 yards and 16TDs to only 2INT in 6 total games. For those of you too lazy to get out a calculator, no worries I got you, that comes out to 317 yards a game and 2.67 TDs to .33INTs per game. Honestly, those are the numbers I’m expecting out of him this week, but I will love him either way.

Disclaimer: In case you lack basic deductive reasoning, Peyton Manning is my favorite player of all time, so I am, in fact, biased.

Phillip “Bolo Tie” Rivers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers- I’ve never been a huge fan of Phillip Rivers, but when you’ve had as much success as he has (he currently leads the league in passing yards) you’ve got to play him against a relatively weak Pittsburgh secondary. I can honestly see him being the highest scoring QB this week, especially with pro-bowler Antonio Gates coming back from suspension.

Marcus “Tim Tebow that can throw” Mariota vs. Buffalo Bills- You’d think being a UF student would mean that I worship the ground that Tebow walked on, but I’m an NFL fan first and a College Football fan second. Anyway, Mariota is looking like the best rookie QB since Andrew Luck, when RG3 infamously stole rookie of the year from him in 2012. Additionally, the Bills’ Pass defense has been surprisingly leaky since they blindsided the Colts in week one.

QB Matchups I Don’t Like:

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Matt Stafford vs. Arizona Cardinals- Matt Stafford has been nothing short of awful his first few games of the season, and this week’s matchup against a very good Cardinals’ defense is likely to make that trend continue. Megatron and Golden Tate’s recent struggles certainly don’t help the situation either. Losing Eric Ebron to injury certainly hurts too.

Derek Carr vs. Denver Broncos- Derek Carr has emerged as a viable fantasy QB week in and week out, but the Broncos boast the league’s top overall and passing defense. I’d keep him sidelined for sure this week.

Must Start RBs:

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Justin Forsett vs. Cleveland Browns- Justin Forsett has yet to record a TD this season, but he is coming off a very strong 150 yard outing against the Steelers. This strong showing, coupled with the fact that Cleveland has one of the worst run defenses in the league (I know, shocking, right?) leads me to believe he will have another big game. The Ravens will also look to include him as a focal point of the offense as a result of the ageless Steve Smith’s recent back injury. I can easily see him with another 100+ yard outing with a TD to boot.

Todd Gurley vs. Green Bay Backers- Normally, I would not recommend starting a running back short of Jamaal Charles when playing Green Bay at home, seeing as it’s usually a blowout where the visiting team needs to abandon the run by the 2nd quarter, but Gurley is different. Gurley is simply too talented not to start at an RB2 or Flex position. The Rams are also going to look to feature him heavily, as that’s the only way they’ll even stand a chance against Aaron Rodgers and company.

RB Matchups I Don’t Like:

Devonta Freeman

Isaiah Crowell vs. Baltimore Ravens- Isaiah Crowell has had a good string of games the last few weeks, but Duke Johnson is the starting RB in Cleveland right now. Personally, I would never start a backup RB on the Browns against the Baltimore Ravens, and that’s just the way it is.

Devonta Freeman vs. Washington Redskins- If you’re the lucky son of a bitch in your league that has Freeman, well, my hat is off to you for a savvy fantasy move. I’m also going to tell you to proceed with caution, as this week’s matchup against a sneaky good Redskins’ run defense looks to be a difficult one. I’m not telling you to bench him, just warning you as a friend.

Must Start WRs:

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Keenan Allen vs. Pittsburgh Steelers- Keenan Allen has reestablished himself as a high end WR2 or borderline WR1 this season in fantasy football. For those of you who drafted him in the 5th round, as I did, congratulations on being fantasy football geniuses. Now reap the benefits of watching a revitalized Keenan Allen tear apart a weak Pittsburgh secondary, and laugh at all of the people that said you were stupid for drafting him. Sucks to suck, MOM!

Disclaimer- I love my Mom very much, and this was done purely for comedic effect, as she doesn’t even know who Keenan Allen is. She only knows who Peyton Manning because of that shrine I put up in….nevermind.

Emmanuel Sanders vs. Oakland Raiders- I also like Demaryius Thomas this week, but the law of averages says that it’s about damn time Sanders has a big game. He’s been a solid WR2 all season, but if Peyton has the game I think he will, then Sanders is going to be putting up WR1 numbers.

Kamar Aiken vs. Cleveland Browns- Aiken is far from a sure thing this week, but he’s put up solid stat lines two out of the last three weeks. Steve Smith’s injury, coupled with a good matchup leads me to believe he could be a good flex starter in a pinch if you need one this week. It doesn’t hurt that Joe Flacco plays much better at home than he does on the road too.

WR Matchups I Don’t Like:

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Amari Cooper vs. Denver Broncos- I love Amari Cooper as the next great Wide Receiver in the NFL, just not this week. The Denver Broncos boast the league’s best pass defense, and facing off against a defense as good as this Denver Defense is, is tough. Having to go toe to toe with pro-bowler Aqib Talib is a tall order for any receiver, even one as good as Cooper. If you lack any realistic options to start in his place, you may be in for a disappointing week.

Percy Harvin vs. Tennessee Titans- Percy couldn’t do diddly poo last week as the top receiver last week, even in Sammy Watkins’ absence. He’s simply too prone to bust to be a reliable starter, especially against a solid Tennessee secondary.

Calvin Johnson vs. Arizona- Odds are you won’t listen to me on this one, but it’s time to start looking at Calvin Johnson as a matchup based starter. Johnson has struggled against good secondaries this season, and Arizona’s fits that bill. I predict Patrick Peterson will shut down Calvin Johnson, and hold him to no more than 60 yards.

Must Start TE:

Charles Clay vs. Tennessee Titans- The ex-Dolphin has been quite the solid fantasy option these last few weeks. Injuries to Shady McCoy and Sammy Watkins have left him as the most reliable option in the passing game, and the Titans have surrendered big numbers to TEs this season. I expect that trend to continue this week.

TE Matchup I Don’t Like:

Zach Ertz vs. New Orleans Saints- This isn’t even a bad matchup, but Zach Ertz has been flat out gross this season. I wouldn’t consider starting him until he has a few halfway decent games under his belt.

Must Start Defensive Matchups:

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos Defense/ST vs. Oakland Raiders- As I’ve said multiple times, Denver has the best defense in the league right now, both in reality (not that anyone cares about that) and in fantasy. Unless they’re playing Green Bay or New England, they’re a must start, and boy am I glad I got them off waivers before Week 1. That was definitely the best move I’ve made all year. Now that I’m done patting myself on the back, I’m also going to point out that this is the best defense Manning has had since the 2005-06 season, when he won the Super Bowl. This year’s Von Miller, Demarcus Ware, and T.J. Ward may be 2006’s Robert Mathis, Dwight Freeney, and Bob Sanders. When you add Shane Ray as a DPR, and two elite CBs in Aqib Talib and Chris Harris, you get a very dangerous defense indeed.

New York Giants Defense/ST vs. San Francisco 49ers- The Giants Defense has been surprisingly good this season. Their opportunistic style of play leads to a lot of turnovers, and considering they’re playing Colin “Squidward” Kaepernick, who listed “crapping all over the bed” as his favorite pastime in an interview with ESPN, I’d say they’re in for a big week.

Defensive Matchups I Don’t Like:

Rather than listing specific defenses that I don’t like this week, I’m just going to tell you some things that you think would be obvious. And yes, this is mostly because I’m lazy and didn’t realize how long this magnum opus of an article was going to take me.

  1. Don’t start poor defenses.
  2. Don’t start any defense against a top-tier offense, even a good one like the Cardinals or Jets.
  3. Always do your research, and look at the matchups.
  4. Just because the Dolphins fired Kevin Coyle doesn’t mean the defense will be fixed immediately, it will be better to be sure, but it won’t be great that quickly.

Good luck on all of your fantasy related endeavors, and thanks for reading the long post. Until next time…

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