Fins Fantasy: Best & Worst Matchups in Week 11
Well everyone, it’s Week Eleven of the NFL season, and I still haven’t gotten my career as a male stripper off the ground. So, I guess I’ll just have to continue to write these articles to pay my bills. Yes, I know, disappointing indeed. But, even more disappointing is that my ideas for fantastic male stripper names like “Really Big Ben”, “Purple People Pleaser”, “Belichick me out”, “Peyton Man-thing”, and “Andrew [expletive]” will likely never see the saturated, bright light of a cheap strip club. So, with the realization that I’ll never live out a lifelong dream, let’s move on to this week’s fantasy matchups.
Miami Dolphins vs. Dallas Cowboys Matchup analysis:
This week’s matchup against the Dallas Cowboys has a great deal of significant fantasy matchups, with most of them being positive. Dallas has actually possessed a fairly good pass defense for much of the year, as they rank in the top 10 against both QBs and WRs. These stats may actually be a little bit deceiving though. They’ve performed very well against adequate and below average QBs, but they’ve struggled mightily against QBs that actually know how to throw a football. They performed very well against Sam Bradford (twice), Russell Wilson, Jameis Winston, and the ever-so-inconsistent Eli Manning, but have really struggled against good QBs like Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Matt Ryan. The point that I’m trying to make is that they aren’t quite as good as the statistics indicate, and Tony Romo’s comeback could mean more reason for Ryan Tannehill to air the ball out.
If Tannehill is forced to air the ball out, there are really only two receivers that he can consistently rely upon to move the chains. Jarvis Landry, Tannehill’s safety blanket, is still the primary red zone threat, and is the only consistent receiver on the team. A true PPR stud, Landry remains a solid WR2 in PPR leagues while performing well enough to be a solid Flex/WR3 in standard scoring formats. While the matchup isn’t fantastic, I’d still recommend starting Landry, even if his big play ability is limited by his Peyton Manning-like straight line speed. Meanwhile, Rishard Matthews is the only consistent big play threat on the Dolphins’ roster. That’s right, I’m done choosing Kenny Stills as a potential sleeper after another 0 point week. He has plenty of talent, but doesn’t get consistent snaps unless Miami is being blown out.
While there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the potential fantasy production of the passing game, the potential fantasy production for star RB Lamar Miller should be much easier to predict. The Cowboys have the 3rd worst run defense in fantasy football, allowing almost 23 points per game to opposing RBs. Considering Lamar Miller has been the highest scoring RB over the past 5 weeks, including 7 touchdowns in those contests, he’s an absolute must start.
Must Start QBs:
Derek “Thank God I’m not a Detroit Lion” Carr vs. Detroit Lions- Derek Carr struggled a little bit last week against a championship-caliber Minnesota Defense, but I think he’ll bounce back against a Detroit Defense, which has allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing QBs this season. Carr has been a star this season, and ranks top 10 in fantasy points. His rapport with receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree have made the Raiders’ offense among the most dangerous in the league, so look for them to have a field day against a Lions team with the league’s worst scoring defense.
Matt “Thank God I’m not a Cleveland Brown” Stafford- Stafford has definitely been inconsistent this season, seeing as the strong-armed and way overpaid QB had even benched for Dan “Still better than Curtis Painter” Orlovsky at one point in the season. However, this week’s matchup against the porous Raiders’ secondary (7th most points allowed to QBs) is a favorable matchup if you need a short-term starter or cheap QB option in daily leagues.
Other QB Matchups I like:
Phillip “The Garbage Man” Rivers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Carson Palmer vs. Cincinnati Bengals
QB Matchups I don’t like:
Russell “Miracle Water” Wilson vs. San Francisco 49ers- As I made clear last week, Russell Wilson is a bad fantasy QB with an awful case of “Below Average-itis”, and a penchant for making irresponsibly bold claims (earlier in the year he had the gall to endorse “Recovery Water”, claiming that it cured a concussion that he had). This matchup against the 49ers’ defense isn’t bad, but Wilson has neither recorded 300 yards passing yet this year, nor recorded a 2TD game since a Week Two loss to Green Bay.
Other Bad QB Matchups:
Jay Cutler vs. Denver Broncos
Joe Flacco vs. St. Louis Rams
Must Start RBs:
Charcandrick West vs. San Diego Chargers – Char…can..charlie…carson…Chameleon West has been incredible in his last three games as Jamaal Charles’ replacement. In those three games he has not dipped below 120 yards from scrimmage, and has 4 TDs including a dominant 2TD game against the Denver Broncos’ top-rated defense. This weeks’ matchup against a soft Chargers’ defense that has allowed the most points per game to opposing RBs this season, is as juicy of a matchup as you can get. Fantasy owners should start Charmander West with the expectation of getting RB1 numbers, with the potential of being the highest scoring RB of the week. He could also be an excellent value pick in daily leagues for those that aren’t afraid of getting screwed over after starting DeAngelo Williams in a similar situation last week.
Frank “The Suddenly Convenient Truth” Gore vs. Atlanta Falcons- Frank Gore has been a very solid RB2 this season, and is coming off of arguably his best game of the season with a 100+ yard (from scrimmage) game against the formidable Broncos’ defense. Actually competent offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski will again look to lean on the ageless RB in order to keep the pressure off of Matt Hasselbeck, so the opportunities are definitely going to be there against a Falcons’ Defense that has allowed the 8th most fantasy points to opposing RBs. Look for Gore to be a solid RB2 with RB1 potential this week.
Other Good RB Matchups:
Jonathan Stewart vs. Washington Redskins
Todd Gurley vs. Literally any team
Latavius Murray vs. Detroit Lions
RB Matchups I don’t like:
Doug Martin vs. Philadelphia Eagles- Doug Martin hasn’t necessarily reverted to his play that had him regarded as the biggest RB draft bust, not named “Trent”, but he hasn’t been the RB that we saw earlier in the year either. He’s struggled a little bit against soft run defenses in recent weeks, which doesn’t bode well for a matchup against an Eagles’ defense that allows the 5th fewest points per game to opposing running backs. Keep Martin on the bench this week if you can, and don’t take the risk of pegging him for a comeback game in daily leagues either.
Other Bad RB Matchups:
Jeremy Hill/Gio Bernard vs. Arizona Cardinals
Melvin Gordon vs. Literally any team
Justin Forsett vs. St. Louis Rams
Must Start WRs:
Amari Cooper vs. Detroit Lions- Amari Cooper is a special receiver catching balls from a special QB going up against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. So yeah, he’s a must start. Also, something to note: When Amari Cooper inevitably goes for 100+ yards and a TD, it’ll be really fun watching the human equivalent of a beige paintjob, Jim Caldwell, struggle to summon the emotion necessary to say “I’m displeased.”
Sammy Watkins vs. New England Patriots- When Sammy Watkins has a favorable matchup, he’s as dangerous as any wide receiver in the NFL. He’s coming off a poor game in the stat sheet (3 catches for 14 yards), but has spent the entire night trying to do something few are capable of: escaping Revis Island. However, the week before that, he went for 168 yards and a TD against pro bowler Brent Grimes in a blowout win over the Miami Dolphins, so he’s obviously capable of big games. This week’s matchup against Malcolm Butler and the Patriots’ secondary is favorable (5th most points to WRs). Watkins even beat Butler for 60 yards and a TD in their Week Two matchup. Now that Watkins is healthy, and has developed a rapport with Tyrod Taylor, I fully expect him to have a big game in the stat sheets.
Sleeper Pick: Leonard Hankerson vs. Indianapolis Colts- Leonard Hankerson is my sleeper pick for this week, primarily because of the man he’ll probably be lining up against for most of the game. While Julio Jones will face his toughest test yet, Pro Bowler Vontae Davis should be shadowing the all-pro receiver for most of the day. Hankerson will be “shadowed” by none other than Greg “Oh, you’re already behind me” Toler. Let me put it this way: Greg Toler in coverage versus me on a date are very similar. They both end in very similar ways: we get burned badly, fall flat on our asses, and go home with our heads held low in shame. The only difference is: I end up paying $60 for a meal and a lifetime of emotional damage, while Greg Toler is making over $5.5 million this year to be the worst Colts’ corner since Albert “Slip n’ Slide” Mcgee in the early 1950s.
Other Good WR Matchups:
Brandon LaFell vs. Buffalo Bills
Calvin Johnson Jr. vs. Oakland Raiders
Michael Crabtree vs. Detroit Lions
Steve Johnson vs. Kansas City Chiefs
WR Matchups I don’t like:
Jeremy Maclin vs. San Diego Chargers- Jeremy Maclin is an average receiver, but he’ll be covered by future Pro Bowler Jason Verrett. Considering Alex Smith is still perplexed by concepts like “throwing to the outside” and “wide receivers”, he probably won’t be getting a whole lot of opportunities either.
Randall Cobb/James Jones vs. Minnesota Vikings- The two Packers’ receivers have become far too unreliable to start, unless the matchup is extremely favorable. They couldn’t even get separation against one of the worst secondaries in the league last week, as the unreliable pair combined for 53 yards (In all fairness to Cobb, Jones was held without a catch). This week’s matchup isn’t good, seeing as Minnesota possesses one of the best defenses in the league, even if their secondary can be vulnerable against elite wide receivers. I’d keep Cobb and Jones on the bench, and I would definitely avoid rolling the dice on either of them in daily leagues.
Other Bad WR Matchups:
T.Y. Hilton vs. Atlanta Falcons
Larry Fitzgerald vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Alshon Jeffery vs. Denver Broncos
Must Start TE:
Travis Kelce vs. San Diego Chargers- Travis Kelce has been somewhat of a disappointment since his monster Week One performance, but I like him to put up solid numbers against a soft Chargers’ defense this week. The Chargers are the 10th worst defense against fantasy tight ends, which is slightly below average, while Kelce has still been a solid TE1. I’d take a gamble on Kelce this week, as Alex Smith can’t keep throwing to just Jamaal Charlescandrick West. Right?
Other Good TE Matchups:
Jason Witten vs. Miami Dolphins
Eric Ebron vs. Oakland Raiders
TE Matchup I don’t like:
Jimmy Graham vs. San Francisco 49ers- Graham was held to just 3.1 points when he played the 49ers earlier in the year, and has been far less effective as a Seahawk than he was as a Saint. While a lot of this can be attributed to extremely limited opportunities in a run-first-because-our-QB-is-an-overrated-game-manager-offense, he still has been unable to capitalize on the few opportunities that he’s given.
Other Bad TE Matchups:
Owen Daniels/Vernon Davis vs. Chicago Bears
Tyler Eifert vs. Arizona Cardinals
Must Start Defensive Matchup:
Denver Broncos Defense/ST vs. Chicago Bears- The Broncos’ Defense is coming off their two worst performances of the year fantasy wise. So why start them? Chicago’s offense is so-so, while Denver gets back no.1 corner Aqib Talib back this week from suspension. The Broncos still possess the best fantasy defense by a wide margin, and benching them this week would be a mistake.
Defensive Matchup I don’t like:
Vikings Defense/ST vs. Green Bay Packers- The Vikings’ Defense is fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but the Packers’ offense, even in it’s struggles, does not give many opportunities for a defense to score. Rodgers still rarely turns the ball over, and has the ability to explode for a 4TD game at a moment’s notice.