Rotoballer’s Lou Cappetta brings you comprehensive Sunday fantasy football advice so you can set your lineup with confidence .
Week 4 NFL Matchups: Fantasy Football Analysis & Sit/Start Advice
Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns, Sunday 9/29, 1PM
Matchup We Love: Bengals DEF
The Browns surprised everyone last week with an upset win against the Vikings. I picked the Vikings defense to have a big day against the Browns, and I was dead wrong, so I would be crazy to go against the Browns again, right? Wrong! Anyone who watched the Bengals defense give Aaron Rodgers fits last week knows this Bengals’ D has the chance to have a big day against Cleveland. Expect turnovers galore.
Analysis: If the Bengals’ DEF is not owned in your league, grab them. If you own them, start them with confidence.
Matchup We Hate: Cleveland Running Backs
You might have felt all smooth and savvy plucking Mcgahee or Ogbonnaya off the waiver wire after T-Rich got traded, but this is a really messy situation you should avoid right now. Cinci defensive backs are going down like flies, but their rushing D remains stout and without Mcgahee knowing the pass protection game, I fully expect Cleveland to lean on the pass game and the great matchups that Gordon and Cameron have found themselves in.
Analysis: Stay far away from any of the CLE tailbacks this week.
Key Injuries: Brandon Weeden QB, CLE (out), Giovanni Bernard RB, CIN (probable)
New York Giants @ Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday 9/29, 1PM
Matchup We Love: Chiefs DEF
The KC defense is the truth. They are a defense you can start every week with confidence, no matter the matchup. As a Giants fan it pains me to say it, but with this matchup, the Chiefs’ D becomes a must-start. The Giants offense is one-dimensional and turnover-prone, and those two things lead to a boatload of fantasy points for opposing defenses. There’s no way the Giants get shut out again like they did last week, but it could be a long day for Eli and company.
Analysis: The Kansas City Defense is a must-start this week.
Matchup We Hate: Eli Manning, QB
No, I’m not going to pick on David Wilson again. I am sticking with the Giants, however, and picking Eli Manning as a must-sit. Unless you’re in a two-QB league, Eli Manning is arguably unrosterable right now. He has great receivers, and can easily put up solid numbers, but opposing defenses know he has no choice but to throw, throw, throw. Manning has always had his share of turnovers, but they are now coming at an alarming rate. After last week’s 38-0 trouncing, Eli is just too unpredictable to trust at a very deep position.
Arizona Cardinals @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday 9/29, 1PM
Matchup We Love: Doug Martin, RB
For a guy that went number two overall in many drafts, it’s been a bit of a slow start for Doug Martin. Then again, it’s been a pretty tough start for anyone who plays on the offensive side of the ball for the Bucs. This week, Martin has a nice shot for a breakout game against a defense who has shown that it can be scored upon in the early going. To top it off, the strong suit of the Arizona defense is it secondary, meaning Martin could end up with plenty of opportunities to make something happen in running the ball or in the short passing game. With a rookie QB, expect Martin to see a lot of touches.
Analysis: This may end up being the game you’ve been expecting from Doug Martin. Make sure he’s in your lineup.
Matchup We Hate: Larry Fitzgerald, WR
If you own Larry Fitzgerald, he’s more than likely your number one WR, meaning you probably don’t want to sit him. However, if you’re deep at one of the deepest positions in fantasy football, then you might want to consider it. Why? Well for starters, he’s already banged up. He’s also going against a very good Tampa pass defense, and will probably draw coverage from Darrelle Revis much of the time.
Analysis: Start Fitzgerald if you must, but if you have better matchups on your roster, consider sitting him.
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday 9/29, 1PM
Matchup We Love: Trent Richardson, RB
Trent Richardson had a pretty decent debut last week in a tough matchup against the 49ers. It looks like the learning curve in Indy for the running back might be much shallower than many, including myself, thought. As I’ve stated before, Jacksonville is terrible, so it’s easy to like any player with star potential to have a good day against them. The Colts have also shown so far this year that they are committed to running the ball more. That adds up to strong good possibility that T-Rich gets off to a hot start as a Colt.
Analysis: Richardson may still take some knocks and share some carries as he gets more familiar with his new surroundings, but not against the worst team in the NFL. Start him.
Matchup We Hate: The Entire Jaguars Team
In every matchup column I’ve done this season, I’ve sort of picked on the Jaguars. I feel bad, but every week in my research, I have to pick through the Jags players whom I hate the most. Well, the truth is, I don’t like any Jaguars players. Even talented guys like Cecil Shorts and MJD, who are capable of huge games, are just too inconsistent for me to recommend putting in lineups. Sorry, Jags fans.
Analysis: Unless you drafted MJD as your number one RB, I recommend not starting any Jaguars.
Washington Redskins @ Oakland Raiders, Sunday 9/29 4:25PM
Matchup We Love: Darren McFadden, RB
The only things that have kept Darren McFadden from being one of the elite rushers in the NFL are injuries and the team he plays for. So far in 2013, McFadden has been healthy, and outside of an understandable trouncing at the hands of the Broncos, the Raiders have been surprisingly competitive. This week, McFadden will get to run against the worst rushing defense in football. If you own him, you should be licking your chops at the thought of a James Starks-esque performance. Until the ‘Skins prove they can stop the run at all, any starting RB going against them needs to be in fantasy lineups.
Analysis: Start Darren McFadden with confidence, and expect a big day.
Matchup We Hate: Redskins DEF
This should go without saying, but maybe you have a defense with a terrible matchup this week so you looking on your waiver wire. Maybe you notice that the Redskins defense is going against a Raiders team on which nobody is great, and now may be without starting dual-threat QB Terrelle Pryor due to a concussion. After all, Washington’s defense can’t possibly be that bad, right? Wrong! They are that bad, and while the Raiders are not a great team, they do have a few playmakers on the offense, and speed everywhere. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel– if you need a defense this week, look elsewhere.
Analysis: If you own the Washington defense, you’re probably winless. DO NOT START THEM. If you’re looking for a defense for matchup purposes, look elsewhere.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Minnesota Vikings, Sunday 9/29, 1PM
Matchup We Love: Ben Roethlisberger, QB
I’m really worried about the Steelers’ offense. Lack of a running game and injuries to the offensive line have been a recipe for disaster for them so far this year, but as worried as I am about Pittsburgh’s offense, I’m even more concerned about the Vikings’ pass defense. After Matt Stafford threw all over them in Week One, they got beat on last-minute TD passes by Jay Cutler and Bobby Hoyer. Big Ben had his struggles last week, but he still has talented receivers who can catch the ball, and he was still able to put up over 400 yards. If you have Cam Newton or Aaron Rodgers, who both are on bye weeks this week, and Roethlisberger is still available in you league, go grab him and start him.
Analysis: Big Ben makes for a good spot-start against a questionable Minnesota secondary. If you have QB issues, or have a guy on a bye week, grab Roethlisberger and start him.
Match-up We Hate: Kyle Rudolph, TE
Honestly, with the exception of Adrian Peterson, I’m not a fan of any of the Vikings’ offensive players going against the Steelers’ defense. I’m picking on Rudolph for the simple fact that he’s struggled so far this year, and is on pace to fail to achieve the breakout season that many had predicted for him. I think he will end up having a good season, but I don’t see him turning it around against a very tough Steelers’ defense.
Analysis: Start Kyle Rudolph as a bye week fill in only, otherwise try to find a better matchup on your waiver wire.
New York Jets @ Tennessee Titans, Sunday 9/29, 4PM
Matchup We Love: Jets DEF
The Jets find themselves in a similar situation as last week, as they face a team that has been very good defensively, but has struggled on offense. Just like last week, the hot defensive pickup has been the Titans’ defense, while Rex Ryan’s guys still sit on more than 50 percent of waiver wires. The Jets went into last week as the second-ranked defense in the NFL, then went out and put a whoopin’ on the Bills that included eight sacks of EJ Manuel. Sure, the Jets will have to face Chris Johnson, but look what they did to CJ Spiller last week, and last I checked, he was pretty good, too.
Analysis: There are many players who get drafted in fantasy because of their names, and I feel like the Jets’ defense, because they bear the name “Jets”, are the opposite. If they went overlooked in your league and are still available, grab them if you need defensive help.
Matchup We Hate: Chris Johnson, RB
As I stated above, the Jets stifled CJ Spiller last week, and have a defense that reminds everyone why Rex Ryan was once considered a hot coaching commodity. That doesn’t bode well for a guy who may be the least exciting “elite” running back in football. While I don’t think Johnson will be dominated, he will be the Jets main focus, and could be in for one of his ho-hum games, to the tune of something like 70 yards rushing, very little involvement in the passing game and no scores. The former CJ2K looks to be nothing more than a solid, unspectacular back now. That’s not a bad thing, but he’s probably more of a matchup play now than a must-start, and the Jets defense just isn’t the right matchup.
Analysis: As a flex play he may be useful, but If you’re using Johnson as one of your top two running backs, you may want to look elsewhere.
Baltimore Ravens @ Buffalo Bills, Sunday 9/29, 1PM
Matchup We Love: Joe Flacco, QB
The Bills are not a very good team, and after losing to the Jets last week, they certainly proved that. Rookie QB Geno Smith, despite some turnovers, was able to have a nice day against the Bills’ defense last Sunday. Smith has plenty of upside, but he’s nowhere near the QB Joe Flacco is, nor does he have the same diversity of weapons. Maybe they won’t be huge numbers, but Flacco should have a nice day this week.
Analysis: Flacco makes for a nice spot-start for Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton owners. If you own him and don’t have a better matchup this week, start him.
Matchup We Hate: EJ Manuel, QB
With the bye weeks beginning this week, you may see guys like EJ Manuel getting picked up and started. While I like Manuel as a long-term QB and really love his upside, I’d look for QBs who have better matchups this week. The Baltimore defense isn’t what it once was, but it’s still not a defense against which I’d want to start a rookie quarterback.
Analysis: If you need a QB, grabbing EJ Manuel is probably not the answer you’re looking for, especially against the Baltimore defense.
Make sure to check back here at RotoBaller.com tomorrow for the reminder of our Sunday matchups, and again on Sunday morning for any last minute updates, as well as the Monday night matchup analysis. For fantasy advice on demand, definitely check out the RotoBaller.com Fantasy Football chat room.