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Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em - Week 9 Matchups Analysis

Jonathan Taylor - Fantasy Football Rankings, NFL Injury News, DFS Lineup Picks

Welcome back RotoBallers to our Week 9 matchups analysis and Start Em, Sit Em column for fantasy football. It was another wild week in the NFL, featuring far too many injuries, several of which were significant. Despite the injuries, there were still a lot of boom performances, including four passing touchdowns from three different signal-callers and three rushing or receiving touchdowns from two more individuals. After wrapping up the London series, the NFL is on location in Germany this week. It means another game at 9:30 AM EST, so make sure your lineups are set and ready to go. Also, our brief hiatus from teams being on bye has ended and we now have the Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, and San Francisco 49ers on bye. It causes us to lose several key starters, which will bump up the value of the remaining players. There are also a lot of changes and injuries at the QB position this week that will have an impact.

For anyone new to the column, each week we'll be analyzing every game from the Sunday slate and the Monday Night Football game, helping you optimize your fantasy lineups and take down your opponent. Check back regularly for any updates on player injuries or other pertinent information. Additionally, you'll notice there are players that are obvious starts included in the "matchups we love" section in the interest of making sure everyone is covered. Furthermore, there will be times when one wide receiver or running back is listed individually but their teammates are included as part of the write-up. I also want to express my gratitude for some of the great resources that help me write this article each week such as RotoBaller's player pages, rbsdm, Pro Football Focus, Rotovitz, FTN Fantasy, Fantasy Life, Pro Football Reference, NFL Next Gen Stats, DraftKings Sportsbook, and Fantasy Points, along with all of you for reading this article.

There is also a separate article for the Thursday Night Football game each week, so be sure to read that. Hopefully, your roster is still somewhat intact and set up nicely for another multi-team bye week. Regardless of where you stand, it's a new week with another shot to get the win. If you have any additional lineup questions, follow me on Twitter/X @JoshCon, and feel free to ask away. Let's dive into the matchups.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

Matchups Analysis - 9:30 AM ET - Germany Game

Miami Dolphins at Kansas City Chiefs

Spread: Chiefs -2.0
Implied Total: Dolphins (24) vs. Chiefs (26)
Pace: Dolphins (19th) vs. Chiefs (24th)
Dolphins Off. DVOA: 48.6% Pass (3rd), 26.4% Rush (1st)
Chiefs Off. DVOA: 36.9% Pass (4th), -12.0% Rush (21st)
Dolphins Def. DVOA:
8.5% Pass (17th), -1.5% Rush (28th)
Chiefs Def. DVOA: -13.7% Pass (4th), -4.1% Rush (23rd)

Matchups We Love:

Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC)

Mile High was unkind to Mahomes, who was dealing with an illness entering the game. It's not unusual for him to struggle there. However, this time he lost, and lost badly. Mahomes finished with zero passing touchdowns for the first time since October of 2021. While he certainly deserves his fair share of blame for committing three turnovers, an area he's struggled this season, the receivers continuing to drop passes is killing their offense. They lead the league with 15, including one by Skyy Moore in the end zone on Sunday. Jalen Ramsey made his debut for Miami in Week 8, which was highlighted by a near pick-six. The Dolphins defense isn't a cakewalk of a matchup anymore, but with so few elite signal-callers available this week, Mahomes remains in this section as a must-start.

Travis Kelce (TE, KC)

Kelce did his best to put the team on his back, but it was to no avail. Six catches for 58 yards is a major letdown, which tells you all you need to know.

Tua Tagovailoa (QB, MIA)

Tagovailoa made easy work of the New England defense despite two turnovers of his own. After falling on his face twice against legitimate contenders (Buffalo and Philly), he'll get a chance to prove the third time's a charm.  Similar outlook here. Kansas City's defense is tough, so he's a bit of a fade this week, but the ceiling is too high not to chase.

Dolphins WRs

Always great to see the concentration of targets Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle receive. Against the Patriots, they combined for a 56% target share, 50% of the receptions, 72% of the receiving yards, and two of the three receiving touchdowns. It's them and the backfield.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Raheem Mostert (RB, MIA)

The backfield we spoke about is led by Mostert. It wasn't a dominant performance, but he led the way with 13 carries and found the end zone. The reason it was just okay is that his usage went down and they were without Terron Armstead again, who is back at practice and questionable to play. He saw 56% of the snaps, 54% of the carries, and 0% of the targets. Salvon Ahmed actually earned the most targets with four while Jeff Wilson Jr. earned two. The matchup is easier on the ground and he saw 100% of the rushing attempts inside the five, so he's still a top-15 back.

Isiah Pacheco (RB, KC)

Pacheco's problem was more the offense, which gave the ball away five times, ending many of their drives before they got going. It also didn't help that they trailed the entire game, although he did earn four targets. It's a great matchup and the offense is likely to bounce back, so he's in the top 15 as well.

UPDATE: Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been ruled out, which means one less body to take work away from Pacheco.

Rashee Rice (WR, KC)

Rice was nearly as productive as Kelce and finished second in targets yet again. He still sits ninth in yards per route run at 2.80 and eighth in targets per route run at 30% among qualified receivers. He deserves another shot as a top-36 wideout.

Injuries:

De'Von Achane (knee)
Chris Brooks (ankle)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (illness)

 

Matchups Analysis - 1:00 ET Games

Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons

Spread: Falcons -3.5
Implied Total: Vikings (17) vs. Falcons (20.5)
Pace: Vikings (6th) vs. Falcons (12th)
Vikings Off. DVOA: 19.4% Pass (12th), -18.9% Rush (25th)
Falcons Off. DVOA: -2.0% Pass (25th), -4.4% Rush (15th)
Vikings Def. DVOA:
1.1% Pass (12th), -13.2% Rush (12th)
Falcons Def. DVOA: 25.0% Pass (28th), -14.6% Rush (11th)

Matchups We Love:

Bijan Robinson (RB, ATL)

Robinson scored his first career rushing touchdown on Sunday, which was helpful because the rest of his output left a lot to be desired. He returned to his lead-back role, continuing to split touches with Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson. The biggest disappointment came in the receiving game, where he earned five targets but caught zero of them. His touchdown came after the switch from Desmond Ridder to Taylor Heinicke. Ridder was held out initially for concussion concerns but did get cleared to play and seemed to be benched in favor of Heinicke, who has been named the starter in Week 9. It's good news for Robinson and the offense as a whole.

Matchups We Hate:

Vikings RBs

Losing Kirk Cousins for the year is a massive blow for the Vikings. It all but craters their chances to contend and will diminish their ability to score points. That translates to the backfield, which Alexander Mattison leads, but also features Cam Akers. They're currently fourth in pass rate over expectation, so the probable shift in philosophy to a more balanced attack should mean more opportunities for these two. Unfortunately, there'll be fewer goal-line carries and likely fewer total offense plays run because their pace (sixth) will drop as well. The matchup isn't great with rookie Jaren Hall at the helm, so Mattison is a risky flex option with Akers as a full bench.

Other Matchups:

Falcons WRs

Heinicke is capable of supporting at least one if not multiple receiving options. Drake London left the game with a groin injury and has yet to practice this week. It seems he's trending toward being out, which is why this group lands in this section. If he's active and healthy, then he's in the top 24 with a good matchup, but relying on one of Van Jefferson or Mack Hollins is not a good move. It'd be the tight ends who benefit if London is absent.

UPDATE: London has been ruled out for Sunday as expected. It's best to focus on the tight ends and avoid this group, but Hollins would be the favorite.

T.J. Hockenson (TE, MIN)

The hope for Hockenson is that he'll succeed on volume because they rely so heavily on their tight ends, which at that position will be sufficient for him to remain in the top 12. However, the top five ceiling we've become accustomed to is all but gone now.

Jordan Addison (WR, MIN)

The Vikings acquired Joshua Dobbs to try to salvage their season, which is a curious decision. Their remaining schedule is pretty good, so they may land the final Wild Card spot, but that's the best-case scenario at this point. It makes trusting K.J. Osborn and Jordan Addison (to a lesser extent) very challenging, especially this week because we don't know what to expect from Hall. Addison was amid a full breakout, so he's still in play, but Osborn is off the radar while we evaluate the offense this week.

Kyle Pitts (TE, ATL)

Having now accepted that Pitts is in a timeshare with Jonnu Smith, the floor is just much lower. Although Smith ran more routes, Pitts earned five targets to his one, which is promising. The production wasn't great with three catches for 35 yards, but with Heinicke taking over, there's reason for a more rosy outlook. Additionally, it looks like London could be out, which raises the floor and ceiling for this duo, especially Pitts, who's a streamer regardless.

Injuries:

Justin Jefferson (hamstring)
Drake London (groin)

 

Seattle Seahawks at Baltimore Ravens

Spread: Ravens -6.0
Implied Total: Seahawks (19) vs. Ravens (25)
Pace: Seahawks (20th) vs. Ravens (26th)
Seahawks Off. DVOA: 32.3% Pass (7th), -5.6% Rush (16th)
Ravens Off. DVOA: 22.8% Pass (11th), 21.1% Rush (2nd)
Seahawks Def. DVOA:
10.0% Pass (19th), -18.7% Rush (8th)
Ravens Def. DVOA: -27.3% Pass (1st), -20.2% Rush (5th)

Matchups We Love:

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL)

Baltimore's offense is firing on all cylinders right now. Jackson played pretty well, but the touchdowns went to Gus Edwards this week. It was a slow grind in a game they won easily by leaning on their ground attack with 29 rushing attempts compared to 27 passing, but that should change this week against Seattle, who's easier to attack through the air.

Mark Andrews (TE, BAL)

Despite the lower passing volume, Andrews came through by finding the end zone. He's always a threat in the red zone.

Zay Flowers (WR, BAL)

Similar story here for Flowers, who led the team in targets and receptions but didn't have the production against Arizona. He jumps back into the top 24 because he's such a focal point despite the matchup against Tariq Woolen and Devon Witherspoon, who have been playing well. Odell Beckham Jr. operated as the No. 2 wide receiver again with Rashod Bateman and Nelson Agholor less involved. Chasing any of those three isn't a wise move.

Matchups We Hate:

Geno Smith (QB, SEA)

The backfield has zero touchdowns in the past two games, enabling Smith to throw for two in each of those contests. It's been more fruitful, but traveling to Baltimore is not a great spot to use him as a streamer. With injuries and bye weeks, you may have to consider him because of his weapons, but he's not the preferred choice.

Other Matchups:

Gus Edwards (RB, BAL)

Edwards got into the end zone once from the seven-yard line and twice from the one. If you played him in the juicy matchup, you were rewarded. If you had Jackson or one of the receiving options, you were infuriated. Edwards is an entirely touchdown-dependent option because he's earned just a 3% target share on the year, but there are weeks that he'll pay off big. His rushing attempts percentage has climbed steadily since Week 3 with a season-high of 68% in Week 8 and he has 13 red zone carries in the past three weeks. The matchup is tougher, but he remains a top-24 back. Justice Hill only saw four carries but did finish with four receptions for 40 yards. He's a flex option that might get you there on his pass-catching.

Kenneth Walker III (RB, SEA)

As we alluded to above, Walker's touchdown streak came to an end two weeks ago, causing his fantasy numbers to drop. The team also found something in Zach Charbonnet and rode the hot hand, giving him five carries (three fewer than Walker) and two targets (the same as Walker). It was the closest their touches have been all season. Plus, Charbonnet played 10 more snaps. There's a potential for this backfield to turn into more of a 50/50 split, which would be problematic for Walker, who's often inconsistent from play to play. The matchup drops Walker outside the top 15 while Charbonnet becomes an intriguing flex option.

Seahawks WRs

Entering the season, DK Metcalf seemed like a prime candidate for touchdown regression after hauling in just six in 2022. Through eight weeks, he has just two, which is again about half of what is expected given his volume and usage. He finished with a 38% target share but only caught five balls for 67 yards. Meanwhile, Tyler Lockett, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Jake Bobo all found pay dirt on fewer targets. It'll be tough sledding against the Ravens, but Lockett stays inside the top 24 with Metcalf, who keeps struggling with a hip injury, in the top 36 and Smith-Njigba as a possible flex option.

Injuries:

None

 

Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns

Spread: Browns -10.0
Implied Total: Cardinals (14.25) vs. Browns (24.25)
Pace: Cardinals (4th) vs. Browns (13th)
Cardinals Off. DVOA: 2.4% Pass (22nd), 2.1% Rush (7th)
Browns Off. DVOA: -21.2% Pass (31st), -6.2% Rush (17th)
Cardinals Def. DVOA:
29.2% Pass (29th), 6.8% Rush (31st)
Browns Def. DVOA: -21.0% Pass (2nd), -22.1% Rush (3rd)

Matchups We Love:

Amari Cooper (WR, CLE)

Everything was set up for Cooper to bounce back, and he delivered with six receptions for 89 yards on 11 targets. He nearly scored a touchdown, too. It's another plus matchup this week, and we suspect it'll be P.J. Walker tossing him the pigskin once again. It's not great for his overall ceiling because Walker's completion percentage (49.5%) and touchdown to interception ratio (1:5) are brutal, but he's a lock to lead the team in receiving, giving him a solid case as a top-24 receiver. Elijah Moore has a respectable 21% target share on the year, but only 63% of those have been catchable, and it's yet to result in a finish inside the top 40. He's a no-go until Deshaun Watson returns.

UPDATE: In a surprising turn of events, Watson is going to play on Sunday. It pushes Cooper up a few spots and makes Moore a little more intriguing, but haven't seen a healthy Watson for several weeks now, so the outlook for the pass-catchers mostly stays the same.

David Njoku (TE, CLE)

Arizona was been a dream matchup for tight ends in 2022, and while they've been tougher this year, some of that is the personnel they've faced. Add in that Njoku has been averaging seven targets per game the past four weeks and it's hard not to want him in your lineup. He scored for the first time last week as well, putting him in the high-end streamer tier.

Browns RBs

The Browns continue to pound the rock, including another 40 attempts on Sunday. It does enable multiple backs to be viable in the offense, at least in terms of workload. Jerome Ford was questionable to play, creating an opportunity for Kareem Hunt to lead the way. He played the most snaps and saw the most carries with 14, one of which was a trip to the end zone. Pierre Strong Jr. was the next man up with 10 carries, followed by Ford, who did suit up, with nine. The backfield only earned four total targets, so no one really emerged in the passing game. The matchup is excellent, so it's worth taking a shot on one, maybe even two players here. If he's off the injury report, Ford will likely retain his starting role followed by Hunt, making those two the ones to go with while Strong is a desperation flex option.

Matchups We Hate:

Emari Demercado (RB, ARI)

Demercardo looked good against the Baltimore defense. He racked up 78 yards on 20 rushing attempts but earned just one target. After burying Damien Williams and Keaontay Ingram in Week 7, Ingram ran more routes and earned one target on 37% of snaps. He also played 100% of the snaps in the two-minute drill, prohibiting Demercado from being involved as a receiver. After missing back-to-back practices, there's a chance Demercado is inactive. If he were to miss, Ingram would be the target, but with Clayton Tune likely to start, it's not a situation to get excited about.

UPDATE: Demercado has been ruled out, making Ingram the starter with Tony Jones Jr. and Corey Clement as the backups.

Marquise Brown (WR, ARI)

The Cardinals parted ways with Joshua Dobbs, meaning they'll turn to rookie Clayton Tune unless Kyler Murray is ready this week. The reports are that he'll get the nod in Week 10, so with Tune at the helm, Brown drops to the flex range based purely on volume. Michael Wilson looks like he may miss this week with a shoulder injury, but he's not someone to start regardless.

UPDATE: Murray has been ruled out as expected. It'll be Tune this week.

Trey McBride (TE, ARI)

McBride crushed his opportunity as a full-time starter with 10 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. It's another poor matchup this week against the Browns and now he figures to be catching passes from Tune, so the potential breakout is on hold for one more week. It's best to look to other options if possible.

Other Matchups:

None

Injuries:

James Conner (knee)
Zach Ertz (quad)
Emari Demercado (toe)
Michael Wilson (shoulder)

 

Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers

Spread: Packers -3.0
Implied Total: Rams (17.75) vs. Packers (20.75)
Pace: Rams (22nd) vs. Packers (5th)
Rams Off. DVOA: 14.2% Pass (15th), 4.5% Rush (6th)
Packers Off. DVOA: 14.6
% Pass (14th), -22.7% Rush (28th)
Rams Def. DVOA:
11.9% Pass (22nd), -2.2% Rush (26th)
Packers Def. DVOA: 22.5% Pass (27th), -3.1% Rush (24th)

Matchups We Love:

Darrell Henderson (RB, LAR)

Henderson still operated as lead back with 15 touches for 75 yards, but Royce Freeman remained a factor, stealing nine carries and a touchdown. Freeman had 100% of the attempts inside the five-yard line and played in 75% of the two-minute drill snaps. Considering the game was a blowout, running the ball 24 times is an indication of their commitment to their rushing attack. Matthew Stafford has yet to practice, which likely means we'll see Brett Rypien as the starter. It would be a downgrade for the whole offense, but it may cause them to lean even more on Henderson, keeping him around the top 24.

Matchups We Hate:

Jordan Love (QB, GB)

While the Vikings aren't as easy a matchup as they were earlier in the year, failing to score more than 10 points and one offensive touchdown is a bad sign for Love and Co. He's passed for multiple touchdowns just once in his past five games and failed to hit 200 passing yards in two of those. It's a better matchup this week against the Rams, but it's hard to envision much of a ceiling, despite the matchup.

Tyler Higbee (TE, LAR)

Just as Higbee had a nice game, they likely lose Stafford. With a backup signal-caller, it's best not to trust too many options in this offense. He's still a streamer but the level of risk rises.

UPDATE: Stafford has been ruled out as expected.

Other Matchups:

Rams WRs

A similar sentiment here for Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua. Kupp is still a top-24 wideout because of his elite talent and the fact that he's typically the first read. Nacua is dealing with a knee issue and becomes more of a flex-range receiver with Rypien throwing him the ball. It is a better matchup for these two given that the Packers traded away Rasul Douglas, so the path to success is there.

UPDATE: Stafford has been ruled out as expected.

Aaron Jones (RB, GB)

The Packers ran the ball just 17 times and Love stole four carries. Furthermore, A.J. Dillon played more snaps, ran more routes, and finished with just two fewer touches than Jones. It's another decent matchup against Los Angeles, landing them both as flex options with the edge still to Jones.

Packers WRs

Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, and Jayden Reed all earned six or more targets. It's good that they're being utilized, but it lowers their ceiling when the distribution is so widespread. Of the three, it was Doubs who found the end zone and Reed who totaled the most yards (83). Reed played his highest snap percentage of the season at 78%. Additionally, he boasts the highest yards per route run of all three at 1.90 and a similar targets per route run rate of 22%. Watson remains the big play threat that can win you a week, Doubs a focal point around the red zone, and Reed a blend of volume and production. All three are top-36 receivers you can call your shot on.

Luke Musgrave (TE, GB)

There are too many mouths to feed. In Week 8, it was Musgrave who got left behind with just two receptions. It's a top-five matchup in terms of fantasy points allowed, so he's still a streamer, but one with plenty of volatility.

Injuries:

Kyren Williams (ankle)
Ronnie Rivers (knee)
Matthew Stafford (thumb)
Puka Nacua (knee)

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Houston Texans

Spread: Texans -3.0
Implied Total: Buccaneers (18.5) vs. Texans (21.5)
Pace: Buccaneers (9th) vs. Texans (11th)
Buccaneers Off. DVOA: 12.7% Pass (17th), -27.1% Rush (31st)
Texans Off. DVOA: 33.6% Pass (5th), -26.8% Rush (30th)
Buccaneers Def. DVOA:
4.3% Pass (15th), -12.8% Rush (13th)
Texans Def. DVOA: 12.7% Pass (24th), -11.8% Rush (16th)

Matchups We Love:

None

Matchups We Hate:

C.J. Stroud (QB, HOU)

Stroud had the worst game of his young career against the Panthers, which feels personal after all the talk of them regretting not taking him first overall. After starting with 44 and 47 passing attempts in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively, he's seen a steady decline to fewer than 30 the past two weeks. It's hard to determine the reasoning behind it, but it has certainly affected his production as he's been under 200 passing yards the past two weeks as well. The matchup is middle of the road, but he's a risky streamer with the reduced opportunities.

Texans RBs

Despite the dedication to toting the rock 30 times, they finished with only 110 rushing yards. The pre-bye week split continued between Dameon Pierce and Devin Singletary. Pierce finished with two more carries but earned zero targets. Singletary is emerging as the preferred back, but against the Buccaneers, who are 13th in run defense DVOA, 12th in rushing yards per attempt allowed, and third in defensive EPA per run, neither lands inside the top 24 unless Pierce, who missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, is inactive.

Other Matchups:

Buccaneers WRs

The Buccaneers were outmatched for three quarters but made it interesting in the fourth. Mike Evans was a no-show until he caught a late touchdown while Chris Godwin also scored en route to his fourth straight productive outing. These two are becoming more like the tandem we've seen for many years where both are valuable assets. Evans still gets the lean here but both are in the top 36.

Rachaad White (RB, TB)

White was more efficient than usual against the banged-up Bills defense, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Where he made his mark though was as a pass-catcher when the offense was in comeback mode. He was peppered with checkdowns, catching seven passes for 70 yards. It's unlikely things play out again that way in Houston, but he's a top-24 option because of his receiving role.

Baker Mayfield (QB, TB)

It's hard to get a gauge on Mayfield here because the defense was allowing him to complete short passes, which propped up his yard total last week. He has the weapons to come through and the matchup is good enough it could work out, so he's a streamer in such a messy week.

Texans WRs

The Texans ran so much that they used Tank Dell as a runner three times for 15 yards. Sadly, he barely finished with more receiving yards (16) on just three receptions. Things weren't much better for Nico Collins, whose four catches for 30 yards trailed Noah Brown. We knew Brown would fill in for Robert Woods as the third wideout, so playing 72% of snaps makes sense. However, we didn't anticipate him becoming the No. 1 option for Stroud. Woods is going to be out again, so these three will be the starters. Collins stays the favorite as a top-36 receiver while Dell and Brown become flex players against the susceptible Buccaneers secondary.

Injuries:

Robert Woods (foot)
Dameon Pierce (ankle)

 

Washington Commanders at New England Patriots

Spread: Patriots -2.5
Implied Total: Commanders (19.25) vs. Patriots (21.75)
Pace: Commanders (14th) vs. Patriots (2nd)
Commanders Off. DVOA: -5.6% Pass (26th), -2.3% Rush (12th)
Patriots Off. DVOA: -0.6% Pass (24th), -10.2% Rush (19th)
Commanders Def. DVOA:
29.7% Pass (30th), -19.4% Rush (6th)
Patriots Def. DVOA: 9.8% Pass (18th), -19.2% Rush (7th)

Matchups We Love:

Rhamondre Stevenson (RB, NE)

There were reports of other teams inquiring about Ezekiel Elliott. Unfortunately for Stevenson, he was not traded, so he'll continue to be a thorn in his side. The shared workload and two catches on four targets are an issue. Fortunately, he and the Patriots get the joy of being the first ones to face the Commanders without Chase Young and Montez Sweat, who they shipped to the 49ers and Bears for picks. Sweat sits fourth in the NFL in tackles for loss, which is a big part of their run defense. Furthermore, it dramatically changes their pass rush, providing more time for Mac Jones to survey the field and sustain drives. While it doesn't skyrocket Stevenson into must-start territory, he's certainly in the top 24. It also makes Elliott a potential flex option.

Matchups We Hate:

Commanders RBs

After siphoning work away from Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson, Chris Rodriguez Jr. did not play a single snap on Sunday. It enabled Robinson to resume his role as the lead back on the ground with 10 carries while Gibson led the way through the air with five receptions. The concern here is twofold. First, the matchup is tough. Second, the game script should favor the Patriots, forcing them to throw more. Robinson stays in the flex range with a low ceiling while Gibson is better suited for full-PPR formats.

Other Matchups:

Patriots Passing Attack 

As we referenced above, the firesale Washington had on defense opens the door for someone to step up. Kendrick Bourne tore his ACL, so he's done for the season. Demario Douglas is an ascending talent with 13 targets in the past two weeks. He played the most snaps among all passing options in Week 8 and deserves consideration as a top-36 receiver, particularly in full PPR due to his lower aDot. After that, it's a bit of Russian roulette at the receiver position with JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, and Jalen Reagor mixing in. It's best to move past them and focus on Hunter Henry as the other potential option here. He's a streamer.

Sam Howell (QB, WAS)

I did not think Howell would torch the Eagles' secondary twice, but he did. The trade for Kevin Byard did not slow down the receivers, largely thanks to 52 throws from Howell. He tossed four touchdowns and totaled over 400 yards. That level of production is hard to repeat, but it's fair to anoint him as a streamer yet again given that Washington ranks second in pass rate over expectation and just traded away their two best defensive players.

Commanders WRs

When the passing volume and production are that high, everyone can succeed, which is exactly what happened. Curtis Samuel entered the contest with a foot injury and exited early seeming to re-aggravate it. That allowed Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and even Jamison Crowder to each hit five-plus receptions for 64-plus yards and a touchdown. Dotson was especially effective, going over 100 yards. New England ranks 28th in coverage, according to PFF, making McLaurin and Dotson top-30 receivers with top-20 upside if Samuel, who has yet to practice, misses.

UPDATE: Samuel has been ruled out, adding excitement for McLaurin and Dotson with Crowder as a flex option in deeper formats.

Logan Thomas (TE, WAS)

Thankfully for Thomas, he was the recipient on the other remaining passing touchdown. He also hauled in six passes for 44 yards. He's back in the top 12 given his volume.

UPDATE: Samuel has been ruled out, ensuring Thomas will be a focal point once again.

Injuries:

Curtis Samuel (foot)
Kendrick Bourne (knee)
DeVante Parker (concussion)

 

Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints

Spread: Saints -8.5
Implied Total: Bears (16.25) vs. Saints (24.75)
Pace: Bears (25th) vs. Saints (10th)
Bears Off. DVOA: -9.4% Pass (29th), 0.9% Rush (9th)
Saints Off. DVOA: 7.8% Pass (19th), -4.1% Rush (13th)
Bears Def. DVOA:
29.8% Pass (31st), -16.2% Rush (10th)
Saints Def. DVOA: -5.7% Pass (8th), -7.8% Rush (19th)

Matchups We Love:

Alvin Kamara (RB, NO)

The Saints obliterated the Indianapolis defense for 38 points, which was the second-most on the week behind Dallas. They did most of their damage on the ground this time, too. Kamara was of course a part of that, handling 17 carries for 59 yards and a score. His targets dropped to five, which is a more sustainable number, but he scored there as well. Jamaal Williams and Kendre Miller combined for nine rushing attempts, but Kamara is seeing more than enough work to maintain his top-12 spot. Williams seems to be No. 2 on the depth chart, which could provide some flex value, but with Taysom Hill also involved, it's hard to trust him in your lineup.

Matchups We Hate:

Bears RBs

With Roschon Johnson back in the lineup, it was predictably a mess. D'Onta Foreman had nine carries and two targets, Johnson had six and four, and Darrynton Evans had four and four. It relegates all three to being touchdown-dependent unless Evans or Johnson can take hold of the receiving role. Tyson Bagent flopped against the Chargers, who are not an elite defense by any means but are much more competent than the Raiders. The Saints have been more susceptible on the ground than we're used to, but with three players sharing the work, it's best to avoid them all.

Bears Passing Attack

Bagent's Cinderella story came to a crashing halt with two interceptions and a beatdown from Los Angeles. Traveling to New Orleans is unlikely to produce a different result, limiting the excitement for everyone outside of DJ Moore as a top-36 receiver with a low ceiling across from Marshon Lattimore and Cole Kmet as a streamer.

UPDATE: Justin Fields did return to practice on Friday and is listed as doubtful. It's highly unlikely he plays, but it's technically possible.

Other Matchups:

Derek Carr (QB, NO)

After back-to-back weeks of playing 96% of the snaps, that number dropped to 83% in Week 8. Hill is lining up all over the field as a runner, receiver, and passer. It's not as if it's happening a lot, but it tends to be near the goal line, which reduces the upside for Carr. The Bears defense, which just acquired Montez Sweat, has been playing better, but Carr has the weapons to succeed so he's still a streamer.

Saints WRs

The quarterbacks combined for just 20 completions, resulting in a lackluster day for Chris Olave and Michael Thomas. Rashid Shaheed broke out twice for huge plays, totaling 153 yards and a touchdown on three targets. We've seen him blow up like this from time to time, which is what makes him an ideal fit as a flex option if you can tolerate the volatility he brings. Olave and Thomas are becoming difficult to feel confident in, but they keep getting plenty of targets. Unfortunately, only 65% have been deemed catchable for Olave and 72% for Thomas. Olave stays in the top 24 with Thomas in the top 36 against the Bears.

Taysom Hill (TE, NO)

Hill has now found the end zone three times in the past two weeks. Juwan Johnson caused his targets to drop, but if you're on a platform that allows you to play him at tight end, then it's worth considering him over other streamer options because of his versatility.

Injuries:

Khalil Herbert (ankle)
Justin Fields (thumb)

 

Matchup Analysis - 4:25 ET Games

Indianapolis Colts at Carolina Panthers

Spread: Colts -2.5
Implied Total: Colts (23.25) vs. Panthers (20.75)
Pace: Colts (1st) vs. Panthers (8th)
Colts Off. DVOA: 14.1% Pass (16th), 6.7% Rush (4th)
Panthers Off. DVOA: -8.0% Pass (29th), -24.0% Rush (29th)
Colts Def. DVOA:
11.5% Pass (21st), -5.6% Rush (21st)
Panthers Def. DVOA: 4.2% Pass (14th), 18.2% Rush (32nd)

Matchups We Love:

Jonathan Taylor (RB, IND)

Taylor was on his way to taking over as the clear lead back, out-touching Zack Moss 12 to seven after the opening drive of the third quarter. It seemed like he may have rolled his ankle, but regardless of what happened, he saw just one touch after that. In the end, Moss played more snaps, saw one more carry, and ate into the goal-line attempts. Taylor earned an extra target, but it was essentially an equal split. Taylor isn't on the injury report, so there's no cause for concern in Week 9. The Panthers are an awesome matchup, putting both in play as top-24 backs.

Colts WRs

As projected, the Colts threw a lot (41 attempts) with a concentration on Michael Pittman Jr. and Josh Downs. They combined for 54% of the targets, 65% of receptions, 48% of the receiving yards, and one of the two receiving touchdowns. When the passing attack is so focused on just two players, it's easy to keep putting them out there every week even against Troy Hill, who has been a tough matchup in the secondary.

UPDATE: Downs got in another limited practice on Friday and is listed as questionable. He should be good to go, but we'll confirm his status over the weekend.

Adam Thielen (WR, CAR)

New offensive coordinator, no problem. Thielen was far and away the most targeted, finishing with eight receptions for 72 yards. He just continues to get it done for fantasy. He sits ninth in the NFL in target share (29%), sixth in receptions (57), and 12th in receiving yards (581). Jonathan Mingo was the No. 2 receiver with five targets, but we'll need more passing volume from Bryce Young for him to be usable. Thielen goes back into the top 20 with Mingo as a flex option because of the fantastic matchup.

UPDATE: DJ Chark Jr. is listed as questionable for Sunday's game. His absence would allow Mingo to see more work.

Chuba Hubbard (RB, CAR)

We were told the days of Miles Sanders dominating the touches were over, and it turned out to be true. In fact, it was closer to the opposite. Hubbard played 66% of the snaps, saw 71% of the rushing attempts, earned more targets, and had 100% of the goal-line work. Meanwhile, Sanders finished with two carries and zero targets. It's possible the lopsided nature of the split changes in Week 9, but you have to assume Hubbard will lead the way. It's a great matchup, thrusting him into the top 24 while Sanders becomes unstartable until we see more out of him.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Gardner Minshew (QB, IND)

Minshew has the weapons to elevate his passing numbers, particularly touchdowns. He's an average NFL quarterback, but if you need a streamer at the QB position, he's in contention after six scores in two games.

Injuries:

Jelani Woods (hamstring)
DJ Chark Jr. (elbow)
Josh Downs (knee)

 

New York Giants at Las Vegas Raiders

Spread: Raiders -1.5
Implied Total: Giants (18) vs. Raiders (19.5)
Pace: Giants (16th) vs. Raiders (17th)
Giants Off. DVOA: -24.2% Pass (32nd), -28.9% Rush (32nd)
Raiders Off. DVOA: -17.3% Pass (30th), -22.5% Rush (27th)
Giants Def. DVOA:
5.3% Pass (16th), -1.5% Rush (27th)
Raiders Def. DVOA: 11.4% Pass (20th), 2.9% Rush (29th)

Matchups We Love:

Saquon Barkley (RB, NYG)

New York entered the battle of New York without Daniel Jones. They then lost Tyrod Taylor midway through the game, forcing them to rely on Tommy Devito. He completed two passes for a loss of a yard, prompting the team to hand the ball off to Barkley 36 times for 128 yards. Thankfully, Jones will return to salvage the offense. Barkley's workload makes him a must-start, even if the upside is lower in this offense.

Josh Jacobs (RB, LV)

The Raiders are working through a transition of their own having fired their GM and coach, followed by a change at quarterback from Jimmy Garoppolo to Aidan O'Connell. It's entirely warranted after the brutal performance the team put forth on Monday. Jacobs was the lone bright spot in that one, finding the end zone on one of his 17 touches. It's a matchup that will be led by the tailbacks, putting him in play as a top-15 back.

Matchups We Hate:

Michael Mayer (TE, LV)

The last time we saw O'Connell under center was in Week 4, which was before the Mayer breakout. While it's possible he stays a focal point, it's risky to trust him this week.

Other Matchups:

Davante Adams (WR, LV)

Adams must have been thrilled with all the changes because it looked like he was ready to go NBA superstar on the Raiders management team and force a trade. Fortunately, they've cleaned house, so you have to imagine he gets his massive target share back. He had 13 with O'Connell in Week 4 while Jakobi Meyers had just four. It's a small sample size, but it's best to tread cautiously with Meyers. The Giants are an improved defense, and Adams becomes a top-15 receiver with Meyers in the flex range.

Giants WRs

Jones back at the helm is good news for the receiving corps as well. It was a terrible week for everyone, including Wan'Dale Robinson, Darius Slayton, and Jalin Hyatt, who have been the starters. The matchup is decent, so taking a shot on Robinson or Slayton as a flex option makes sense.

Injuries:

Tyrod Taylor (ribs)
Darren Waller (hamstring)

 

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

Spread: Eagles -3.0
Implied Total: Cowboys (22) vs. Eagles (25)
Pace: Cowboys (27th) vs. Eagles (28th)
Cowboys Off. DVOA: 14.6% Pass (13th), -14.5% Rush (23rd)
Eagles Off. DVOA: 25.8% Pass (9th), 6.3% Rush (5th)
Cowboys Def. DVOA:
-16.6% Pass (3rd), -16.5% Rush (9th)
Eagles Def. DVOA: 12.2% Pass (23rd), -25.7% Rush (1st)

Matchups We Love:

Jalen Hurts (QB, PHI)

Hurts was lights out against the Commanders after digging himself a hole with turnovers. He led the Eagles back with four touchdowns and 319 passing yards. This week marks the first of the two annual matchups between these divisional rivals, who are both bound for the playoffs. In 2022, they alternated backup quarterbacks in their two matchups, with the team that had their starter winning both times, so it'll be the first we see these two square off since the 2021-2022 season. Dallas boasts the better defense, especially through the air, but that won't prevent Hurts from producing.

A.J. Brown (WR, PHI)

Brown broke the record he tied the week prior by posting 130 receiving yards. Since his historic run began in Week 3, he's totaled 49 receptions for 831 yards and five touchdowns in six games. It's absurd. As a bonus, the game script and passing volume from Hurts led to a superb day for DeVonta Smith as well with seven catches for 99 yards and a score. Smith moves into the top 24 with what could be a shootout in Philly.

CeeDee Lamb (WR, DAL)

Lamb managed to outdo Brown by hauling in 12 passes for 158 yards and two scores. It was a monster game for Lamb, who hadn't met preseason expectations entering Sunday. The Cowboys' defense set up short fields, enabling the offense to score time after time. Brandin Cooks happened to catch one of the four passing touchdowns Dak Prescott threw; otherwise, neither he nor Michael Gallup was a factor. The lack of clarity makes it hard to trust anyone other than Lamb.

Matchups We Hate:

Tony Pollard (RB, DAL)

Pollard just keeps running into issues in the red zone. The team now has 15 offensive touchdowns with 10 through the air and only five on the ground, one of which went to Prescott. They aren't leaning on their rushing attack in that area as much as they historically have. Pollard also only earned one target while Rico Dowdle had two. We know it'll be hard to be efficient running against Philadelphia, so he'll need to either score or catch passes to produce. His role and usage keep him in the top 24, but he's not a must-start.

Other Matchups:

D'Andre Swift (RB, PHI)

The Eagles average 32 rushing attempts per game, which is third in the league, making their 22 on Sunday an abnormality. Swift still had the bulk of them, but did yield five targets to Kenneth Gainwell, who had the higher target share and saw the only RB goal-line carry. It's a tough matchup, but both offenses should compete, so he's in the top 15 with Gainwell as a risky flex.

Dallas Goedert (TE, PHI)

While Goedert had seven targets, it only turned into four receptions for 36 yards. The dynamic duo at receiver and newly signed Julio Jones accounted for all four touchdowns. Dallas is an average matchup for tight ends, keeping him in the top 12.

Dak Prescott (QB, DAL)

Prescott played incredibly well, especially compared to how he looked over the first six weeks. 19% of his passing yards and 40% of his passing touchdowns in 2023 came last week, which is obviously an outlier. That being said, there is reason to be optimistic given the need for them to throw and the way the Philly secondary has been getting torched. He's in the top 12.

Jake Ferguson (TE, QB)

Ferguson came through with a trip to the end zone. He had just four receptions for 47 yards, so he'll likely need to find pay dirt again this week, but he's a capable streamer.

Injuries:

None

 

Matchup Analysis - Sunday Night Football

Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals

Spread: Bengals -2.0
Implied Total: Bills (24.25) vs. Bengals (26.25)
Pace: Bills (29th) vs. Bengals (23rd)
Bills Off. DVOA: 52.2% Pass (2nd), 0.6% Rush (10th)
Bengals Off. DVOA: 5.9% Pass (20th), -6.8% Rush (18th)
Bills Def. DVOA:
4.2% Pass (13th), -11.4% Rush (17th)
Bengals Def. DVOA: 1.0% Pass (11th), -2.9% Rush (25th)

Matchups We Love:

Joe Burrow (QB, CIN)

We got all the evidence required to declare Burrow as back to form on Sunday. Going on the road to Santa Clara and playing a near-perfect game in a decisive win is extremely impressive. Granted the 49ers have been reeling as of late, but he averaged 8.8 yards per attempt while completing 87.5% of his passes for 283 and three. Perhaps more importantly in terms of his health, he ran the ball well too with six carries for 43 yards. He's ready for a prime time matchup at home against the Bills in a rematch of the Divisional round from last year's playoffs.

Ja'Marr Chase (WR, CIN)

No surprise here. Chase was cooking yet again and figures to roast the Buffalo secondary that has struggled with injuries, prompting them to add Rasul Douglas. Tee Higgins was better, but still played second fiddle to Chase with six targets. It's worth noting that Burrow only threw the ball 32 times, which could easily climb to 40 or more this week. With one of the higher over/unders on the week, he's very much in play as a top-24 receiver, even with the addition of Douglas. Tyler Boyd found the end zone but was not much involved beyond that. You likely have better flex options than Boyd.

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)

Allen threw his eighth interception of the season, which is a concerning number through eight weeks. They moved the ball with ease between the 20s, especially in the first three quarters, but really struggled in the red zone. In four trips, they came away with two touchdowns, one field goal, and a turnover on downs. It's an area they'll need to be better if they're going to score at the same rate as Cincinnati. In the end, Allen got it done for fantasy with three total touchdowns and over 300 total yards.

Bills WRs

The Bills were missing two tight ends, leading to a lot more three wide receiver sets. It allowed not only Stefon Diggs to perform, but Gabe Davis and Khalil Shakir did even better than Diggs. All three had 70-plus receiving yards. Quintin Morris is back to practice, so Shakir's snaps might take a hit. However, Diggs is locked in and Davis is a top-36 receiver given his recent usage and touchdown pace.

Dalton Kincaid (TE, BUF)

In his first game without Dawson Knox, Kincaid finished with the third-most targets (seven) while hauling in five of those for 65 yards and a score. It was exactly what you hoped for with him as a solo act. Knox will miss multiple weeks, so there'll be another opportunity for Kincaid to shine as a top-12 tight end.

Matchups We Hate:

James Cook (RB, BUF)

The matchup is more favorable on the ground than through the air, but that's not the identity of this team. In addition, the Bills decided to address their ineptitude at the goal line by signing Leonard Fournette. It's likely more of an indictment on Latavius Murray than Cook. Plus, they're without Damien Harris. Nevertheless, we know Fournette is a capable pass-blocker, so he could eat into the snaps Cook has been getting. Cook is reliant on yards because he rarely gets a shot near the goal line. It moves him outside the top 24.

Other Matchups:

Joe Mixon (RB, CIN)

Mixon had his best outing of the season against a stout defensive line. Not only did he total a season-high 87 rushing yards, but he also finished with the 12th-highest PFF grade, 10th-most missed tackles forced (three), sixth-most yards after contact (57), and ranked third in rushing yards over expected per attempt (1.76). He performed at an elite level. The Bills have been gashed on the ground, thrusting Mixon into the top 12.

Injuries:

Dawson Knox (wrist)
Damien Harris (neck)

 

Matchups Analysis - Monday Night Football

Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets

Spread: Chargers -3.5
Implied Total: Chargers (21.75) vs. Jets (18.25)
Pace: Chargers (3rd) vs. Jets (15th)
Chargers Off. DVOA: 33.5% Pass (6th), -12.5% Rush (22nd)
Jets Off. DVOA: -5.7% Pass (27th), -18.2% Rush (24th)
Chargers Def. DVOA:
19.2% Pass (26th), -6.4% Rush (20th)
Jets Def. DVOA: -8.3% Pass (6th), -9.2% Rush (18th)

WEATHER: This game is forecasted to have moderate wind but it shouldn't affect the passing options too much.

Matchups We Love:

Austin Ekeler (RB, LAC)

Without Mike Williams or a healthy Joshua Palmer, the Chargers utilized Ekeler more as a receiver, resulting in seven catches for 94 yards and a touchdown through the air. It was a vintage performance when you add the 15 carries he saw as well. Their run game continues to rank bottom five in success rate, run blocking, and rushing first down percentage. It was on full display against the Bears, averaging 2.2 yards per carry as a team. The matchup is better on the ground, but Ekeler will need to be involved in their passing attack, which is likely to occur.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Breece Hall (RB, NYJ)

How the Jets were able to beat the Giants is beyond me. Hall took a short pass 50 yards to the house for their only touchdown in a 13-10 victory. Outside of that play, he had just 42 yards on 17 touches, which is indicative of the injuries they're dealing with on their offensive line. Furthermore, it's because the defense doesn't fear the passing attack. In Week 8, Hall faced eight or more defenders in the box a league-high 58.33% of the time. His workload keeps him in the top 24 with the shot at an explosive play.

Garrett Wilson (WR, NYJ)

Wilson has finished with double-digit targets in three of his past four contests. He's the only show in town amongst their receiving options. He boasts a targets per route run of 27% and a yards per route of 1.98. He's performing well enough to remain a top-24 receiver.

Keenan Allen (WR, LAC)

After an incredible start to the year, Allen's production has dipped significantly. He's averaging about 60 yards per game over the past four weeks and hasn't scored in the last two. He's still the clear leader on the depth chart, but without another reliable threat, defenses are taking away his ability to get open downfield. Against Sauce Gardner and the New York secondary, it'll be the volume that keeps him afloat. They're allowing the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers by a significant amount, which means counting on secondary options like Palmer or Quentin Johnston, who had his best day last week, is risky.

UPDATE: Palmer has been ruled out as expected. Johnston moves into his role but still isn't a good option against the Jets.

Justin Herbert (QB, LAC)

Herbert crushed the Bears as he should, tossing three touchdowns for nearly 300 yards. New York is going to make it tough for him to find big plays and force the Chargers to go methodically down the field. Herbert's done a good job of limiting the turnovers for the most part this season, which will be one of the keys to this matchup. He drops outside the top five but stays in the top 10.

Gerald Everett (TE, LAC)

After missing last week, Everett will return to action. His absence allowed Donald Parham Jr. to find the end zone for a nice game. Unfortunately, with both active, it takes away the appeal for the most part. He's a touchdown-dependent streamer.

Injuries:

Joshua Palmer (knee)



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Puts up Massive Score for Fantasy Owners at Sonoma
Martin Truex Jr4 days ago

Runs Out of Gas on Last Lap at Sonoma, Finishes 27th
Todd Gilliland4 days ago

Keeps Momentum Rolling with Top 10 at Sonoma
Brad Keselowski4 days ago

Avoids Chaos To Place 13th
Chase Elliott4 days ago

Scores Strong Finish of Fourth At Sonoma
Ryan Blaney4 days ago

Quietly Obtains Seventh At Sonoma
Julian Marquez4 days ago

Gets KO'd Early At UFC Louisville
MMA4 days ago

Zach Reese Gets 20-Second KO Win At UFC Louisville
Ricky Turcios4 days ago

Gets Submitted At UFC Louisville
Raul Rosas Jr.4 days ago

Picks Up Submission Win
Dustin Jacoby4 days ago

Gets Upset At UFC Louisville
Dominick Reyes4 days ago

Gets KO Win At UFC Louisville
Cam Waters4 days ago

Will Start 31st In His Cup Series Debut
NASCAR4 days ago

Should DFS Players Roster Bubba Wallace At Sonoma?
Zane Smith4 days ago

Is Zane Smith Worth Rostering At Sonoma?
Tyler Reddick4 days ago

Expect Tyler Reddick To Compete For The Win At Sonoma
Evander Kane5 days ago

Continues Slump In Game 1 Against Florida
Connor McDavid5 days ago

Finishes Stanley Cup Final Debut Scoreless
Brandon Montour5 days ago

Makes Franchise History In Saturday's Win
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