Fins Fantasy: Best Matchups for Week Six in Fantasy Football
Due to overwhelmingly positive reviews from my mother, I have decided that my weekly fantasy articles are to be a combination of last week’s format and the previous four weeks’ format from now on. It is painfully apparent to my millions, if not tens of fans that I am much more adept at writing about the entire NFL than I am at writing about the Miami Dolphins exclusively. So, that all being said, let’s take a look at Miami’s matchup against the Titans and its potential fantasy ramifications.
To be honest, I have absolutely no clue what the Dolphins are going to look like on either side of the ball this week, and that’s true for every so-called fantasy football expert. But, if there’s one thing that won’t stop me from writing, it’s a total lack of information. I mean, it certainly doesn’t stop Roger Goodell from doing his job. I think that Miami’s offensive scheming will largely remain the same, simply with different personnel and better execution. Chief among these slight changes will probably be more two tight end sets, more playing time for DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills, and a committal to establish the run.
Dolphins’ Key Fantasy Matchups:
Ryan Tannehill– I don’t think Ryan Tannehill will put up big numbers whether the offense as a whole improves or not. The Titans have one of the league’s most underrated secondaries, and I’ve been touting Jason McCourty as one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the NFL for years. Even if Dan Campbell scares the Titans into submission, I can’t see a scenario in which Tannehill is a trustworthy starting QB this week.
Dolphins’ VERY Crowded Receiver Corps– It looks as though Greg Jennings is being phased out of the offense much quicker than ol’ Joe Philbin had in mind. Which means that this is absolutely the best thing that could happen to this receiver corps. Whether it’s being done to give DeVante Parker more reps or to get the very talented Kenny Stills involved in the offense (as he was against the Jets two weeks ago) doesn’t matter, as long as they’re getting Greg “I’m scared of footballs” Jennings out of the lineup. Whether Rishard Matthew’s role is being reduced to give way to the receivers behind him remains to be seen, but there is definitely a lot of uncertainty surrounding this deep cast of pass-catchers. Only Jarvis Landry’s role is sure to remain the same, but his likely matchup against McCourty does not bode well for his fantasy production. My recommendation would be to play Landry if you’re in a PPR league or do not have any other feasible options. As to the other guys, I’d wait a week or two to see what Dan Campbell’s new pecking order looks like.
Lamar Miller– The Dolphins’ run game has been awful this year, but much of that comes from the general refusal by Philbin and company to operate a balanced offense. I think that Campbell is going to commit to the run game, even if the Dolphins fall behind a little bit. I expect a heavy dosage of two TE sets, and more Dion Sims so that he can accomplish exactly that. I actually think Miller will have his best game of the season thus far (which isn’t saying much), 18 carries for 75yds and a TD.
As far as other Miami fantasy players go, I would avoid starting the Dolphins’ Defense until they look competent, and I’d avoid starting Jordan Cameron until we know for sure that he’s healthy. Now on to the rest of the NFL:
Must Start QBs:
Peyton “The Sheriff” Manning vs. Cleveland Browns– Before you all get out your pitchforks and torches for putting Peyton in the must start section, just hear me out. As poor as the Broncos’ Offense has been, not all of it is on Peyton. Don’t get me wrong, he’s been bad, but his performance has been exacerbated by injuries (and poor play) along the O-line and by poor play in the RB corps. And contrary to popular belief, he’s actually been able to move the ball down the field, and makes a couple of really good throws a game. And in addition to having a weak arm, his decision making has been surprisingly off as well, and that has affected his production, especially in the Red Zone. On the bright side, if there’s anyone who can fix mental errors, it’s The Sheriff. And considering his favorable matchup against a weak Browns’ defense that is also missing Pro-Bowl corner Joe Haden, even though I’m pretty biased, I love Peyton’s chances to put up big numbers this week.
Blake “Wait, I’m Good?!?” Bortles vs. Houston Texans- All Jags jokes aside, Blake Bortles has been a very good fantasy QB this year, hell, I’d go as far as calling him a good QB in general. Imagine what he could be doing if he had an O-line that wasn’t just a group of five revolving doors. His constantly developing rapport with his young receiver corps, and improved mechanics have showed me that Bortles is going to be a solid starting QB based on matchup for the remainder of the season. And this week’s matchup against a very weak Houston defense, even with JJ Watt, is definitely favorable.
QB Matchups I Don’t Like:
Eli “The Deputy” Manning vs. Philadelphia Eagles- Eli Manning has been very good this season in terms of fantasy football. But if Odell Beckham is limited, or heaven forbid inactive with his hamstring injury, it’s going to be a long night for Eli and company. The Eagles defense has actually been pretty good, and they’ve definitely had Eli’s number over the past few years. Ultimately his performance will live or die on Beckham’s limitations, and that’s not a chance I’d be willing to take.
Josh McCown vs. Denver Broncos- Old, journeyman, Browns’ QB whose best weapon is a 30 year old tight end, going against the best defense in the league. Yeah, McCown’s streak of good games is coming to a swift, and probably laughable, end.
Must Start RBs:
Eddie Lacy vs. San Diego Chargers- Eddie Lacy has been disappointing this year to say the least. That being said, he was banged up at the beginning of the year, and owners that kept him in each of the last two years after similar slow starts didn’t regret it one bit. Maybe we all just have to accept that Lacy starts of the year slow, and then suddenly turns it on when people start to doubt him. If that truly is the case, then this is the week Lacy gets back on track, as he and the Packers face off against a soft Chargers run defense. I fully expect him to put up big numbers this week.
Dion Lewis vs. Indianapolis Colts- At this point we all know how ugly this matchup has been in the past for the Colts defense. But, honestly, the Colts run defense isn’t as bad as in years past. But, unfortunately for the Colts, and me by extension, Dion Lewis is no ordinary running back. In addition to being a shifty runner, he’s a superb receiver out of the backfield, and he’s most arguably been the most complete RB that the Pats have had in years. None of that bodes well for a Colts’ team known for allowing nearly 200 yds and 3 TDs per game to Patriots’ running backs in the last 3 games that they’ve faced off. I’d wager at least 40% of daily lineups in Fanduel and DraftKings will have him or Blount in this game, and considering they’re dirt cheap for their production, it makes absolute sense.
RB Matchups I Don’t Like:
Melvin Gordon vs. Green Bay Packers- The Green Bay Packers’ Defense is coming off of a week where they allowed nearly 160 yards on the ground to a rookie running back. The issue for the Chargers is that Melvin Gordon is no Todd Gurley, not by a long shot. Gordon hasn’t impressed in any game so far this year, and considering the Packers will probably be blowing out the Chargers for most of the game, he may not even have the chance to impress this week.
Charcandrick West/Knile Davis vs. Minnesota Vikings- Fantasy owners that picked up either Knile Davis or Char…ca…coa…uh…Charizard West this week expecting either one of them to become immediate fantasy starters are in for a rude awakening. Jamaal Charles is one of the most talented RBs of the last decade and was the second highest scoring RB in fantasy terms before his injury in spite of the Chiefs’ defunct offense. Without Charles’ talent as a runner and receiver the Chiefs’ will undoubtedly struggle against a good Vikings’ Defense, and I don’t think either of Jamaal’s replacements are even close to legitimate starting options, at least until one of them wins the job outright. That being said, either one of them could still be a sneaky play in daily fantasy leagues, as their inexpensiveness would allow you to spend big on other positions.
Must Start WRs:
Demaryius Thomas vs. Cleveland Browns- Demaryius Thomas, along with the rest of the Broncos’ Offense, has been very inconsistent this season. Coming off a very pedestrian week (55 yards) that saw Emmanuel Sanders as Peyton Manning’s primary receiver, I expect Thomas to rebound this week against a Joe Haden-less Browns’ secondary. I definitely am expecting him to increase his TD total of 1 this year, and I can easily see him going over 100 yards as well. Emmanuel Sanders could be a good play as well.
Calvin Johnson vs. Chicago Bears- If you read my article last week, you saw that I had Megatron listed in the other column, where I said that he must be seen as a matchup based starter from now on. Well, now Calvin Johnson has a favorable matchup against a soft Bears’ secondary. Look for Calvin to have his best game of the season, as much of his mediocre stat lines came as a result of brutal matchups (his last 3 games were against Denver, Seattle, and Arizona).
Donte Moncrief vs. New England Patriots- Moncrief may be in for a big night in fantasy, assuming Andrew Luck comes back. Even though he had a sub 1 point performance last week, Moncrief has looked like the most impressive weapon in the Colts’ arsenal this year. And just because Andre Johnson had one good game, doesn’t mean we should forget about his consecutive 0 catch performances in the two weeks prior. Luck has looked to have a better rapport with Moncrief than any other receiver so far this year, and considering the Patriots always place emphasis on neutralizing T.Y. Hilton, look for Moncrief to get plenty of one on one matchups.
WR Matchups I Don’t Like:
Martavis Bryant vs. Arizona Cardinals- Most Martavis Bryant owners are going to put him in the lineup anyway, but there are so many factors that will probably result in a dud for Bryant’s first game back from suspension. The first of which is that Mike Vick is no Big Ben to say the least. Second, and probably just as important, is the strength and depth of Arizona’s secondary. The Cardinals have absolutely shut down opposing wideouts over the last few weeks, and I wouldn’t expect it to be any different this week. Dwight Freeney’s triumphant return to the NFL certainly doesn’t hurt Arizona’s ability to rush the passer either.
Sammy Watkins vs. Cincinnati Bengals- I love Sammy Watkins’ talent, but considering he’s probably not going to be playing at 100%, and it’s likely that EJ Manuel is going to start on Sunday in place of the injured Tyrod Taylor, I don’t like his chances at all against a very good Cincinnati Defense. His startling lack of targets through the first 3 games (13 total) also doesn’t paint a very pretty picture.
Travis Benjamin vs. Denver Broncos- You’d be a madman to start just about any wide receiver short of Julio Jones against the vaunted Denver Broncos’ secondary. And Travis Benjamin < Julio Jones.
Must Start TE:
Travis Kelce vs. Minnesota Vikings- Travis Kelce hasn’t recorded an outstanding game since a 106 yard, 2TD effort in week one against the Texans. In fact, he’s had fewer than 7 points combined in the last two weeks. But, with Jamaal Charles’ season ending injury, more weight will be put on Kelce to perform as the team’s new number one weapon, especially in the Red Zone. If the Chiefs have any touchdowns on offense this week, I’m sure Kelce will have been involved, seeing as Alex Smith still hasn’t received the memo that wide receivers do, in fact, exist.
TE Matchup I Don’t Like:
Jimmy Graham vs. Carolina Panthers- Jimmy Graham has been one of this season’s biggest fantasy busts so far. Not all of it is on him, but I don’t like his chances against a stout Carolina Defense that is getting 2013 DPOY Luke Kuechly back this week from a concussion. Until Seattle figures out a way to get Jimmy involved consistently, you simply cannot trust him if he doesn’t have a favorable matchup.
Must Start Defenses:
Denver Broncos Defense/ST vs. Cleveland Browns- The Broncos Defense/ST have put up double digit fantasy points every week this year. Their worst game was against the Vikings where they only forced one turnover and allowed 20 points. Oh yeah, they also had 7 sacks in that game. So… keep playing the Broncos’ Defense. Wade Phillips 2016 anyone?
Minnesota Vikings’ Defense/ST vs. Kansas City Chiefs- The Vikings Defense is pretty good, and the Chiefs’ offense with Jamaal Charles was average at best. Let’s just be nice and say the Chiefs’ offense without Jamaal Charles is a flaming pile of dog crap.
Defensive Matchups I don’t like:
Buffalo Bills’ Defense/ST vs. Cincinnati Bengals- This is more a testament to how good Cincinnati’s offense looks than it is anything else. The Bills defense is good, but Hue Jackson has his offense looking like one the best in the NFL, just behind New England’s and Green Bay’s. If Andy Dalton continues to play like an MVP candidate, I don’t see a scenario in which the Bills slow down the Bengals.
New England Patriots’ Defense/ST vs. Indianapolis Colts- This is probably just wishful thinking, as the Patriots haven’t had anything less than a stellar day against the Colts since Peyton Manning was the QB, but I have a feeling that this game isn’t going to be as easy for the Patriots as the media thinks it will be.