Fins Fantasy: Best Matchups Around the NFL in Week Ten
Well everyone, it’s week ten of the NFL season, and you all know what that means, don’t you? If you guessed: “Jacob is finally succumbing to his rapidly deteriorating mental state, and is on the verge of packing up his Reggie Wayne jersey, Coldplay CDs, and polo shirts so that he can move to Indianapolis where he’ll live as as a health insurance salesman by day, and a male stripper by night to pay for Colts’ tickets” you’re actually correct, but you’re about a week too early. So, until that fateful moment in time, I’ve got fantasy matchups to analyze and articles to write. And, with that interesting modicum of knowledge, let’s get rolling.
Miami Dolphins vs. Philadelphia Eagles Matchup Analysis:
I feel bad for the Dolphins, I really do. Playing three good teams (Patriots, Bills, and Eagles) in a row is never easy, and I want to see them succeed. Sure, it’s mostly because I’m tired of writing negatively about the team that I kind-of-like-sometimes-on-occasion. There is no “but” here. That’s actually the only reason. Even so, there is still a silver lining. This week’s matchup against the Eagles is a little bit easier than the last two, at least on paper. While the Eagles’ top-5 run defense will certainly make things difficult for Lamar Miller and the team’s ability to establish the run, the Eagles’ pass defense is nothing special. It’s not exactly a cakewalk matchup, but it does bode pretty well for Ryan Tannehill (at least in comparison to recent weeks), and his ability to put up some nice numbers. Furthermore, the Eagles’ loss of standout rookie Jordan Hicks for the season enhances the Dolphins’ offensive prospects considerably, as Hicks will be tough for the Eagles to replace, especially on such short notice.
If Miami’s receiver corps wasn’t such a giant cluster [expletive], this would be a great matchup. The Eagles have allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to wide receivers, and have a propensity for allowing big plays. In PPR formats I’d recommend starting the ever-reliable Jarvis Landry, who’s coming off of an 11 catch game against the Bills, and could also be a threat in standard formats with a great matchup this week. But, as always, you should temper expectations with Landry, seeing as even though he had that 11 catches on 13 target game last week, he only managed to gain 69 yards off of said catches. He also has only managed to record a single 100 yard outing in 24 career games. This week, and I know at least a few of you will hate me for this, I actually really like Kenny Stills’ prospects. He was the team’s leading wide receiver (Lamar Miller actually outgained him) with 74 yards last week off of only 3 catches. The reason I like Stills this week is the aforementioned porousness of the Eagles’ defense and their propensity for giving up big plays.
As Miami’s top deep threat, Stills warrants consideration as a high upside sleeper pick, especially if the game develops into a shootout. Rishard Matthews could also be in for a pretty good week. But like I said, predicting which Miami wide receiver will have a good week is difficult. It’s essentially the equivalent of me trying to get through prom night. Sure, I can try to do it, but ultimately, the result is inevitable: I’m going to end up looking like an idiot, sobbing uncontrollably on the dance floor.
As I said last week, the Dolphins’ defense has very little fantasy value with the loss of Cameron Wake. In fact, their run defense is the third worst in the league in fantasy football, so a matchup with one of the most potent RB duos in the league is a nightmare waiting to happen. Keep the Phins’ defense sidelined or, better yet, on the waiver wire.
Must Start QBs:
KC1 vs. New Orleans Saints- Kirk Cousins has been very consistent this season. He’s a lock for 200 yards, 1 TD, and at least 1 INT every week. So, he hasn’t been good, mind you, but consistency is kind of this guy’s thing. Outside of an outstanding 4TD outing against the hapless Bucs’ defense in week 7, he’s shown flashes of potential that have generally been rendered moot by crippling turnovers. However, this week’s matchup against the Saints is the best one that a QB can have. They rank dead last against the pass, and have allowed a ridiculous 24.5 points per game to opposing QBs. Kirk Cousins may be a considerably risky play, but if you’re in a tight spot due to injuries or the bye week, he could make for a solid one week starter. I also love him as a daily league fantasy sleeper if you want to spend big at other positions.
Blake Bortles vs. Baltimore Ravens: This matchup was easier to pick than some of you might think. Blake Bortles has actually been the 9th highest scoring fantasy QB this season, thanks to his improved play in addition to a rash of injuries and regressions at the position. He may throw a few too many picks but he throws a whole lot of TDs to go along with them, and in fantasy that’s all that matters. He may not have learned how to consistently get his team a win, but he’s definitely been a good matchup based QB in the world of fantasy football, and I expect that to continue against the Ravens’ 2nd worst rated pass defense. Start Bortles if you need a high upside stopgap or daily league option.
Other Good QB Matchups:
Eli “The thorn in Tom Brady’s hairless ass” Manning vs. New England Patriots
Joe “Let’s Party” Flacco vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Drew Brees vs. Washington Redskins
QB Matchups I Don’t Like:
Russell “Miracle Water” Wilson vs. Arizona Cardinals- Not only is Russell Wilson a bad fantasy QB with an equally terrible matchup, but also he endorsed “Recovery Water” at the beginning of the year, claiming that it cured a concussion that he had. That irresponsible message to his fellow players should be enough for anyone to avoid him. You know, that and his inability to throw a football. And yes, I am a hater.
Other Bad QB Matchups:
Carson Palmer vs. Seattle Seahawks
Marcus Mariota vs. Carolina Panthers
Must Start RBs:
DeAngelo Williams vs. Cleveland Browns- DeAngelo Williams has been incredible in the 4 games in which he’s received significant action this season, especially in a 200+ yard, 2 TD outing he had against the Raiders last week. In fact, the games in which he received the majority of the snaps in the absence of Le’Veon Bell, Williams went under 100 yards from scrimmage just once. He had 92… and 3TDs in that game. This week’s matchup against the worst run defense in football (the Browns have allowed 147 rushing yards per game this season) makes Williams a virtual must start in every format under the sun. Essentially, if you don’t have both Todd Gurley and Adrian Peterson, he should be in your starting lineup.
Demarco Murray/Ryan Matthews vs. Miami Dolphins- Sorry, Dolphins fans. The fact of the matter is that: Miami’s run defense is among the worst in the league, and Philadelphia’s 1-2 punch of Murray and Matthews may be the best in the league. Both Murray and Matthews are good starts this week with very high upside.
Other Good RB Matchups:
Justin Forsett vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Mark Ingram vs. Washington Redskins
Todd Gurley vs. Literally any team
RB Matchups I Don’t Like:
Marshawn “Beast Mode?” Lynch vs. Arizona Cardinals- Make no mistake, Marshawn Lynch has not been himself this season. Lingering injuries have sapped much of the ability that made him a premier player at the RB position over the last 5 years. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a very good player, he just isn’t the every week starter that we’ve become accustomed to over the last few years. Personally, if you have RBs with better matchups, go with them, because Arizona’s defense is well above average.
Other Bad RB Matchups:
Latavius Murray vs. Minnesota Vikings
Any Giants RB vs. New England Patriots
Ronnie Hillman vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Must Start WRs:
Emmanuel Sanders vs. Kansas City Chiefs- While Demaryius Thomas may lead the Broncos in receptions and receiving yards, there are two very critical stats in which he is second to Sanders: touchdowns and, much more importantly, fantasy points. Thomas only has one TD on the year, and it came in week 3 against the Lions. Yeah the [expletive] Lions. Sanders on the other hand has 4 TDs on the year, including an 87 yard, 2 TD outing the last time he played the Chiefs. While I think the Broncos’ receivers are in line for a good game against a Chiefs’ defense, which allows 32 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (good for the most in the NFL), I think Sanders is the safer option considering his much greater TD efficiency.
Allen Robinson vs. Baltimore Ravens- The emergence of Allen Robinson has been a Godsend to the Jaguars’ franchise, and to fantasy owners around the nation. He actually ranks 7th amongst wide receivers in fantasy points, and has had 4 straight weeks with 12+ points, including an impressive 121 yard performance last week against Darrelle Revis. This juicy matchup against a Baltimore Ravens’ secondary that couldn’t stop my little sister from scoring a TD, is certainly favorable. It may be worth mentioning that I don’t even have a sister. So, yeah, start Robinson this week.
Brandon LaFell vs. New York Giants- Just because Brandon LaFell plays on a team notorious for cheating, deflating balls, having awful fans, smelling bad, spitting on puppies, and sacrificing children, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have him on your fantasy team. After leading the Patriots in receiving last week (102 yards), he seems to have shaken off all the rust, regaining Tom “Cheats and Whines” Brady’s trust in the process. This week’s matchup against a pedestrian Giants’ defense is favorable, and should be the next step in bringing LaFell to the forefront of fantasy relevance again. I’d recommend grabbing him in daily leagues while he’s still an affordable option.
Other Good WR Matchups:
Kamar Aiken vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Stefon Diggs vs. Oakland Raiders
James Jones/Randall Cobb vs. Detroit Lions
WR Matchups I Don’t Like:
Jeremy Maclin vs. Denver Broncos- Sure, Aqib “The Optometrist” Talib is suspended, but the combination of Chris Harris Jr. and Bradley Roby should be more than enough to shut down a fringe talent like Maclin.
Alshon Jeffery vs. St. Louis Rams- Alshon Jeffery has been an absolute revelation for the Bears’ offense since he returned from injury, averaging 138 yards per game in the three games he’s played. So why is he in this column, you ask? The Rams have allowed the 4th fewest points to opposing wide receivers, and his questionable tag on account of tweaking his groin on Wednesday is a huge call for concern. I’m not saying to bench the guy, but definitely monitor his status and consider your options before Sunday’s games start. I’d definitely avoid him in daily leagues too.
Other Bad WR Matchups:
Larry Fitzgerald vs. Seattle Seahawks
Travis Benjamin vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Any Niners’ WR vs. Atlanta Falcons
Must Start TE:
Jordan Reed vs. New Orleans Saints- The former Gator has been a solid option at TE this year when healthy, and this week’s matchup against what may be the worst defense in the league is as good as it gets. After all, the Saints just allowed Delanie Walker to have a career day, which your very own handsome, smart, lovable fantasy football writer called last week too. Start Reed this week as a surefire TE1 in standard, PPR, and daily leagues alike.
Other Good TE Matchups:
Gary Barnidge vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Eric Ebron vs. Green Bay Packers
TE Matchup I Don’t Like:
Owen Daniels vs. Kansas City Chiefs- Owen Daniels is coming off a career week in which he had six catches for 102 yards and a TD. So why not start him? The Chiefs have allowed the fewest fantasy points to tight ends this year, and held Daniels to just 19 yards in their week 2 matchup. That, and increased competition from Vernon Davis are more than enough to warrant a stern benching.
Other Bad TE Matchups:
Jimmy Graham vs. Arizona Cardinals
Heath Miller vs. Cleveland Browns
Must Start Defensive Matchup:
Carolina Panthers Defense/ST vs. Tennessee Titans- The Panthers’ Defense has been very good all year in fantasy terms, while the Titans’ offense has been toothless most weeks. Look for the Panthers to feast on an easy matchup.
Defensive Matchup I Don’t Like:
Vikings Defense/ST vs. Oakland Raiders- The Vikings’ Defense has been great all year, but the Raiders’ offense has been even better. I honestly would avoid starting just about any non-Denver Broncos Defense against the Raiders from now on. The Derek Carr-Amari Cooper combo is deadly. Latavius Murray and Michael Crabtree aren’t half bad either.