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

Austin Ekeler - 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. Last week was terrific, fantasy points were raining from the sky for all to have, resulting in massive scores for many fantasy managers. That was fantasy football at its best. Plus we had several exciting moves leading up to the trade deadline. There are six new teams on bye this week including the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, and San Francisco 49ers, which sidelines several key fantasy options across all four offensive positions, making some of the lesser options more intriguing.

For those who are unfamiliar, each week we'll be analyzing every game from the Sunday slate, helping you optimize your fantasy lineups and take down your opponent. Check back regularly for any updates on player injuries or other pertinent information.

I will cover the entire Sunday slate of games plus the Monday Night Football game. There is also a separate article for the Thursday Night Football game each week, so be sure to read that as well. Hopefully, your team went off and is prepared to win another wild week, which is what we'll be doing here. If you have any additional lineup questions, follow me on Twitter @JoshCon, and feel free to ask away. Let's dive into the matchups.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy football rankings for 2024 fantasy football drafts:

 

Matchups Analysis - 1:00 ET Games

Los Angeles Chargers at Atlanta Falcons

Spread: Chargers -3.0
Implied Total: Chargers (26.25) vs. Falcons (23.25)
Pace: Chargers (2nd) vs. Falcons (31st)
Chargers Off. DVOA: 17.3% Pass (11th), -17.4% Rush (28th)
Falcons Off. DVOA: 20.7% Pass (8th), 5.9% Rush (10th)
Chargers Def. DVOA:
2.5% Pass (13th), 0.9% Rush (23rd)
Falcons Def. DVOA: 23.8% Pass (30th), 2.0% Rush (26th)

Matchups We Love:

Austin Ekeler (RB, LAC)

Until this offense has a healthy receiving corps, all that matters for Ekeler is he's active. His 27.0% target share is ridiculous for a running back, plus the matchup is good. He's a must-start.

UPDATE: Ekeler has been removed from the injury report, he's good to go.

Justin Herbert (QB, LAC)

The matchup is also very good for Herbert who finally came through in Week 7 before their bye, although it did require 50-plus passing attempts to get there. With Mike Williams out and Keenan Allen still recovering from an injury he reportedly tweaked during the bye week, Herbert will have to rely on secondary weapons and Ekeler yet again. It does lower his ceiling because of the decrease in the talent level of the receivers but he's still a top-12 quarterback.

Chargers WRs

Joshua Palmer is positioned for another huge opportunity. He's had six or more targets in four of his last five games, three of which were good for fantasy. He'll rely on volume and a poor Atlanta secondary to come through, making him a top-36 receiver. Similarly, with Allen still banged up, DeAndre Carter enters the mix as a flex option. He's riskier if Allen is active but still has the potential for a good game.

UPDATE: Allen has been ruled out, making Palmer a top-36 receiver and Carter a flex option.

Gerald Everett (TE, LAC)

If there's one clear takeaway from the paragraph above, it's that Everett is in play as a top-12 tight end because of the opportunity he has.

Matchups We Hate:

Drake London (WR, ATL)

Marcus Mariota attempted his most passes since Week 1, yet London still only had five targets and failed to produce. The hope for London to be relevant is fading, keeping him on your bench again this week.

Other Matchups:

Kyle Pitts (TE, ATL)

Speaking of tight ends with an opportunity, Pitts posted his best game of the season last week in a battle featuring two high-scoring teams that few would have predicted. It's unlikely that level of production occurs again when Los Angeles comes to town, but he remains a streaming option with elite upside.

Tyler Allgeier (RB, ATL)

Allgeier operated as the lead back again, playing on 60% of offensive snaps. He was also utilized in the receiving game with three catches for 46 yards and a score. The Chargers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs, setting him up as a top-36 play with top-24 upside. Caleb Huntley led the team on the ground with 16 carries for 91 yards, making him a possible flex play depending on your other options.

UPDATE: Cordarrelle Patterson has been activated from the injured reserve list and is activbe. He moves into the starting role as a top-36 back, dropping Allgeier to a flex play. Huntley becomes a very risky flex option.

Injuries:

Mike Williams (ankle)

Damien Williams (ribs)

Cordarrelle Patterson (knee)

Keenan Allen (hamstring)

Austin Ekeler (abdomen)

 

Miami Dolphins at Chicago Bears

Spread: Dolphins -4.5
Implied Total: Dolphins (25) vs. Bears (20.5)
Pace: Dolphins (22nd) vs. Bears (25th)
Dolphins Off. DVOA: 36.2% Pass (3rd), -4.0% Rush (19th)
Bears Off. DVOA: -19.0% Pass (31st), -3.8% Rush (18th)
Dolphins Def. DVOA:
17.8% Pass (29th), -10.6% Rush (9th)
Bears Def. DVOA: 8.2% Pass (18th), 5.3% Rush (28th)

Matchups We Love:

Tua Tagovailoa (QB, MIA)

The Dolphins' passing attack is right there with the Chiefs, Bills, and Eagles as one of the league's best. Leading it is Tagovailoa, who has shown us a ceiling most other quarterbacks simply don't have. He's earned a spot in your lineup each and every week, making the matchup against the Bears no exception.

Dolphins WRs

The best part of their passing attack for fantasy is that it's incredibly concentrated on Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. They've accounted for 57.8% of the team's receptions, 59.6% of the receiving yards, and 44.8% of the receiving touchdowns. They're both must-starts.

Raheem Mostert (RB, MIA)

It was a bit of a down game for Mostert, mostly because he only caught one pass, but the matchup against the Bears is fantastic. As strong favorites, they should be able to run the ball effectively and run it often. The team did ship out Chase Edmonds to reunite Jeff Wilson Jr. with head coach Mike McDaniel, which could reduce the workload for Mostert, especially long-term, but he remains a top-20 back with top-12 upside this week.

Justin Fields (QB, CHI)

Fields proved to be matchup-proof because of his rushing baseline, overcoming a tough matchup against Dallas. He's now thrown for 150-plus yards and one or more touchdowns in each of the past four games, adding at least 47 yards on the ground with a rushing touchdown in two of those four contests, creating a baseline of about 20 fantasy points. Now consider he takes on the Miami pass defense this week, and he's a top-12 quarterback with a ton of upside if the touchdowns hit.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Mike Gesicki (TE, MIA)

Gesicki came through with a touchdown yet again. Backup Durham Smythe has eaten into his snap percentage the past two weeks after missing Week 6, but Gesicki remains the preferred option at the position and red zone threat. He's a streaming candidate against Chicago.

Bears WRs

The Bears made a move of their own to acquire Chase Claypool. He joins Darnell Mooney as the 1A or 1B in this passing attack ahead of the other receivers and tight Cole Kmet. Mooney would still be the better play this week because of his familiarity with the offense. He gets a juicy matchup, making him a top-36 receiver, and Claypool a risky flex play given his circumstances.

Bears RBs

David Montgomery resumed his workhorse snap percentage, playing 70% of them compared to just 28% for Khalil Herbert. Unfortunately, it didn't matter because when Herbert was in the game he was getting the ball. Herbert out-carried him 16-15, rushing for 46 more yards, and scored a rushing touchdown. Montgomery did take on the receiving back role, but there's no denying the team wants to keep Herbert involved.  They've got another challenging matchup on deck, making each a top-36 back with the upside in favor of Herbert.

Injuries:

None

 

Carolina Panthers at Cincinnati Bengals

Spread: Bengals -7.0
Implied Total: Panthers (17.75) vs. Bengals (24.75)
Pace: Panthers (10th) vs. Bengals (23rd)
Panthers Off. DVOA: -28.3% Pass (32nd), 1.5
% Rush (12th)
Bengals Off. DVOA: 13.8% Pass (14th), -9.7% Rush (22nd)
Panthers Def. DVOA:
14.8% Pass (27th), -12.1% Rush (7th)
Bengals Def. DVOA: -4.8% Pass (7th), -6.6% Rush (15th)

Matchups We Love:

Joe Burrow (QB, CIN)

The Bengals' offense reverted back to short, quick passes resulting in 18 of Burrow's 35 attempts (51.4%) going to tight ends and running backs with only 6.6 yards per attempt. Fortunately for fantasy, he was able to toss two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to save his day, but after one game without Ja'Marr Chase, things are trending downward. The Panthers do create an opportunity for him and the passing attack to bounce back, keeping him in the top 10.

Bengals WRs 

It was the same story for Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, combing for seven receptions on 10 targets. Again though, both found pay dirt to salvage an otherwise lackluster performance. They both deserve another shot against Carolina, although expectations may need to be tempered. Higgins is in the top 15 while Boyd remains in the top 24.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Joe Mixon (RB, CIN)

While the matchup isn't as great for the rushing attack, Mixon is as much a receiver as anyone else on the team, especially when the offensive line cannot hold up. Only rushing the ball eight times is problematic, but his role in the passing game keeps him in the top 15.

DJ Moore (WR, CAR)

The Panthers found themselves in an unexpected shootout with the Falcons, sparking a massive outing for Moore, which he capped off with a beautiful 62-yard touchdown grab. In addition to the huge play, he was a target hog once again with 11 of them. Moore is the focal point of the offense, keeping him in the top 24 despite a difficult matchup.

Hayden Hurst (TE, CIN)

Hurst did enough at the tight end position to keep your team afloat, which is what he can be relied upon to do. On top of that, he also has a chance to score each and every week because he's part of a high-powered offense.

Panthers RBs

D'Onta Foreman was one of three running backs to score three total touchdowns on Sunday, all of which came on the ground. He also rushed for 118 yards on 26 carries. Chuba Hubbard returned to practice, which would certainly lower the ceiling for Foreman, but you would expect him to remain the starter. He's a top-36 back with Hubbard and a top-24 back without him.

UPDATE: Hubbard has been ruled out, making Foreman a top-24 back with another full workload.

Injuries:

Ja'Marr Chase (hip)

Chuba Hubbard (ankle)

 

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

Spread: Packers -4.0
Implied Total: Packers (26.75) vs. Lions (22.75)
Pace: Packers (29th) vs. Lions (7th)
Packers Off. DVOA: 16.1% Pass (12th), 8.5% Rush (9th)
Lions Off. DVOA: 12.0% Pass (16th), 10.2% Rush (7th)
Packers Def. DVOA:
-3.7% Pass (9th), 12.4% Rush (31st)
Lions Def. DVOA: 26.8% Pass (32nd), 7.2% Rush (30th)

Matchups We Love:

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)

Rodgers did everything he could against the Bills and actually finished with 200-plus passing yards and two passing touchdowns. If there is a get-right matchup for your passing attack, the Lions' defense at home is it. The total points scored in the Lions' home games this year are 73 in Week 1, 63 in Week 2, 93 in Week 4, and 58 last week. All the offensive pieces for both teams are in consideration, including Rodgers who warrants a spot in the top 12.

Aaron Jones (RB, GB)

The one player who blew up against Buffalo was Jones. They stuck to their game plan of feeding him the ball, resulting in 20 carries for 143 yards and four receptions for 14 yards. They relied so heavily on their ground game that even AJ Dillon had 10 carries for 54 yards. It's a great matchup with a high over/under, landing Jones in the top 12. Dillon also possesses flex value given the potential for a high-scoring contest.

Packers WRs

Romeo Doubs made an impressive 19-yard touchdown catch, demonstrating he is up to the challenge issued by Rodgers. Consistency is likely to be an issue moving forward but he should be back in the good graces of Rodgers, at least for now. It's unclear whether Allen Lazard will return to action but Lazard would be a top-36 receiver if he plays with Doubs as a flex option, who moves into the top-36 if Lazard misses given the matchup.

UPDATE: Lazard is active for Sunday's game.

Robert Tonyan (TE, GB)

Tonyan actually found pay dirt in this one but the play was called back due to a penalty. He still finished second in targets and led the team in receptions though, solidifying him as a streaming option in a perfect matchup.

Lions RBs

D'Andre Swift finally made it back on the field but he's far from healthy, which significantly reduced his role in the running game and at the goal line. Jamaal Williams had double as many carries and found the end zone twice, an area he has excelled in with eight on the year behind only Nick Chubb. The matchup should allow each of them to be fantasy relevant, keeping them both in the top 24.

UPDATE: Swift is active but will be used sparingly with a limited workload, which reduces his ceiling, and keeps Williams in the top-24.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Jared Goff (QB, DET)

Goff was excellent against Miami, but the offense just kept scoring on the ground instead of through the air. Unfortunately, the Packers have a much better pass defense, which could prove difficult for Goff. Having lost T.J. Hockenson via trade, and still without DJ Chark, there may not be enough weapons for him to blow up again. He's still a streamer because of the potential for a high-scoring game but he falls outside the top 12.

Lions WRs

Amon-Ra St. Brown is primed to resume his massive target share and return to fantasy glory, especially without Hockenson on the roster. Another week to get even healthier and no real target competition means a lot of volume, locking him in the top 15. After him, it's Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond, both of whom are flex-worthy receivers that will be involved.

UPDATE: Reynolds is inactive, creating more upside for Raymond who will be next up behind St. Brown.

Injuries:

DJ Chark (ankle)

Allen Lazard (shoulder)

Randall Cobb (ankle)

Christian Watson (concussion)

D'Andre Swift (ankle, shoulder)

Josh Reynolds (back)

 

Las Vegas Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars

Spread: Raiders -2.0
Implied Total: Raiders (25) vs. Jaguars (23)
Pace: Raiders (20th) vs. Jaguars (15th)
Raiders Off. DVOA: 0.0% Pass (22nd), 9.1% Rush (8th)
Jaguars Off. DVOA: 13.3% Pass (15th), -1.2% Rush (16th)
Raiders Def. DVOA:
23.9% Pass (31st), -5.0% Rush (18th)
Jaguars Def. DVOA: 10.9% Pass (20th), -4.6% Rush (20th)

Matchups We Love:

Travis Etienne Jr. (RB, JAX)

Etienne has become one of the better pure runners, plus he is starting to catch more passes, he had three last week. He handled 24 carries, solidifying him as a workhorse back, which, with his explosiveness is dangerous. He's a must-start in a good matchup.

Evan Engram (TE, JAX)

Engram has quietly become the No. 1 option in Jacksonville, which is more of an indictment on the receivers than it is on him excelling as a tight end. That said, his steady volume and secure role, make him a commodity at the position, thrusting him into the top 12 given the great matchup.

Davante Adams (WR, LV)

Adams missed Thursday and Friday's practices with an illness last week, which persisted into the game, and even this week including a missed practice on Wednesday. It's hard to give him a complete pass, although the offense didn't do him any favors either. Thankfully, he practiced in full on Thursday, signifying he's overcome the illness and should be ready to go on Sunday.

Josh Jacobs (RB, LV)

Jacobs's rushing attempts (10) and production (54 scrimmage yards) also suffered because of the ineptitude of the offense, and the 17-point halftime deficit they faced.  The Jaguars present an opportunity for the entire offense to bounce back, making Jacobs a top-12 back with immense upside if they get rolling again.

Raiders TE

The hope is that Darren Waller can return to action this week, however, Foster Moreau becomes an adequate replacement if he misses. Waller would be firmly in the top 10 with added risk in his first game back, while Moreau would be a strong streaming option if Waller is out.

UPDATE: Waller has been ruled out, making Moreau a streaming option.

Matchups We Hate:

Derek Carr (QB, LV)

It doesn't get much worse than Sunday's performance, so naturally, things will be better this week against the Jaguars, who are a decent matchup. After a hot start during the first three weeks, he's averaged about 193 passing yards and 0.75 passing touchdowns per game since. The quarterback position has been difficult this season but Carr lacks the ceiling that some of the other top-15 quarterbacks possess this week, making him a risky streamer.

Other Matchups:

Trevor Lawrence (QB, JAX)

Lawrence is frustrating to watch because he constantly makes rookie mistakes that impede the success of the offense. The red zone interception he threw was a killer, which is what the turnovers continue to be. The silver lining is that he faces one of the easiest passing defenses in the NFL, which should help improve his output. For fantasy he's been very boom-bust, finishing in the top five twice but outside the top 20 four times. The matchup puts him in the streaming category this week.

Jaguars WRs 

As mentioned, Lawrence has struggled and Engram is taking over. Neither of which is good news for Christian Kirk, who led the team with seven targets but only caught three passes for 40 yards. The Broncos do have Patrick Surtain II as part of a strong secondary, so the matchup is a lot better this week, however, Kirk has been disappointing in four of the past five games. He's a top-36 receiver while Zay Jones remains a flex play.

Injuries:

Darren Waller (hamstring)

Mack Hollins (heel)

 

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots

Spread: Patriots -5.0
Implied Total: Colts (17.75) vs. Patriots (22.75)
Pace: Colts (9th) vs. Patriots (27th)
Colts Off. DVOA: -19.0% Pass (30th), -27.9% Rush (32nd)
Patriots Off. DVOA: -2.5% Pass (25th), -4.7% Rush (20th)
Colts Def. DVOA:
10.8% Pass (20th), -13.6% Rush (6th)
Patriots Def. DVOA: -17.0% Pass (5th), 2.4% Rush (27th)

Matchups We Love:

Jonathan Taylor (RB, IND)

Taylor is clearly struggling with his ankle, limiting his explosiveness. He only has four breakaway runs (15-plus yards) all season on 107 attempts. For context, he finished with 23 last year on 332 attempts. The other issue is that the offense is generating fewer red zone opportunities than it did last season, something that is unlikely to improve with Sam Ehlinger at the helm. Taylor has a great matchup so he stays in the top 15 but he's not the dominant player he can be at this moment.

UPDATE: Taylor has been ruled out, opening the door for Deon Jackson to take on the lead role. While he had an awesome performance in Week 6, that was with Matt Ryan at the helm feeding him with dump-offs. Jackson is still in play but he's more of a top-36 back with top-24 upside.

Matchups We Hate:

Colts WRs (Passing Attack)

The passing attempts (23) and offensive plays (58) both dropped with Ehlinger in for Matt Ryan. Obviously, less volume and less opportunity for volume is problematic for the receivers. Michael Pittman Jr. still led the team with nine targets, and Alec Pierce was next in line with five, but they have less upside as a result of the change in personnel. The Patriots have a tough defense and head coach Bill Belichick will be salivating over the opportunity to scheme against what is essentially a rookie quarterback making his second NFL start. Pittman drops outside the top 20 while Pierce remains a flex option.

Other Matchups:

Rhamondre Stevenson (RB, NE)

Damien Harris entered at full health, creating a chance to assess the backfield breakdown. Harris returned to having a role, playing on 41% of offensive snaps, handling 11 carries and one target. However, this did not impact Stevenson's ability to produce. He still saw more carries (16) and far more receptions (seven) than Harris. Additionally, when New England was in the red zone, which only occurred three times, he was given two goal-line carries compared to one for Harris. Stevenson is far more explosive and is now clearly the lead back. The Colts are a very difficult matchup but as favorites with some short fields and a lead, Stevenson will be in line for another good day as a top-15 back.

UPDATE: Harris has been ruled out, Stevenson becomes a must-start after what we saw with Harris out.

Jakobi Meyers (WR, NE)

Once DeVante Parker left with an injury, it was all Meyers who received 12 targets, the most since Week 2. Meyers's volume has been a little more volatile than we're used to but he remains the No. 1 option in the passing attack and seems to have solved his pay dirt problems, scoring in three of the past four games. Indianapolis is a plus matchup through the air, pushing Meyers into the top 30 with top-24 upside.

Injuries:

Ty Montgomery (ankle)

DeVante Parker (knee)

Jonathan Taylor (ankle)

Damien Harris (illness)

 

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

Spread: Bills -11.5
Implied Total: Bills (28.75) vs. Jets (17.25)
Pace: Bills (5th) vs. Jets (3rd)
Bills Off. DVOA: 38.4% Pass (2nd), -14.7% Rush (25th)
Jets Off. DVOA: 1.1% Pass (21st), -2.0% Rush (17th)
Bills Def. DVOA:
-18.8% Pass (4th), -15.9% Rush (5th)
Jets Def. DVOA: -3.8% Pass (8th), -10.9% Rush (8th)

Matchups We Love:

Josh Allen (QB, BUF)

Allen looked like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the two halves against Green Bay. He was dominant during the first two quarters before falling apart down the stretch with two interceptions, one of which was egregious, particularly by his standards. You can expect he'll be motivated to take down the Jets, whose defense has improved but is no match for Buffalo's passing attack.

Bills WRs

Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis will be a significant part of their massive implied total, as double-digit favorites. Typically, it would mean more running plays to ice the game but that's not the way this offense operates. You can expect three-plus passing touchdowns and a big day for both receivers, in spite of the Jets' defense showing improvement, and Sauce Gardiner in coverage.

Matchups We Hate:

Jets WRs

Garrett Wilson flashed for the first time in weeks, creating excitement for his potential, in large part because Corey Davis was out and Elijah Moore only played 10 offensive snaps. That said, Zach Wilson passed for 250-plus yards twice last season and once during the first seven weeks, so his career-high 355 passing yards on Sunday is most definitely an outlier. His statistics were great for fantasy, however, he thoroughly cost his team on the field. You can expect the Jets to do everything possible to limit his passing attempts when the Bills come to town. Wilson returns to being a flex play.

UPDATE: Davis has been ruled out, which adds a little more intrigue to Wilson.

Bills RBs

Devin Singletary was on fire to open the game, unfortunately, they went away from him during the second half in favor of James Cook. Further muddying the waters, is the acquisition of Nyheim Hines, who is an excellent pass-catcher. With three backs in a pass-first offense, none are great options this week.

Jets RBs

The hope was it would be a Michael Carter week given that James Robinson was new to the team and had yet to learn the offense. Whether it was the talent of Robinson or the lack of trust in Carter, the team elected to split the carries pretty evenly, seven to five for Carter, although he was more of a factor in the passing game. Facing the Bills' stout defense with a shared workload, neither back is someone to force into your lineup.

UPDATE: Robinson is active, keeping Carter as a top-36 back with Robinson a flex option.

Other Matchups:

Dawson Knox (TE, BUF)

Knox is also a strong candidate to haul in a touchdown considering he has one in back-to-back games. His volume is far from secure, so that's the way he'll need to produce but he's a streaming option nonetheless.

Tyler Conklin (TE, NYJ)

Conklin also reaped the rewards of the increased passing volume, leading the team with 10 targets that he turned into six catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns. At the tight end position, these kinds of performances are almost impossible to find so he remains a streaming candidate.

Injuries:

Corey Davis (knee)

 

Minnesota Vikings at Washington Commanders

Spread: Vikings -3.5
Implied Total: Vikings (23.5) vs. Commanders (20)
Pace: Vikings (6th) vs. Commanders (18th)
Vikings Off. DVOA: 9.0% Pass (18th), 11.5% Rush (4th)
Commanders Off. DVOA: -7.2% Pass (28th), -19.5% Rush (30th)
Vikings Def. DVOA:
11.1% Pass (22nd), -6.5% Rush (16th)
Commanders Def. DVOA: 14.8% Pass (28th), -20.6% Rush (2nd)

Matchups We Love:

Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN)

Cousins exceeded two touchdowns for the first time all year, throwing his usual two while adding one on the ground. Not only will he maintain his 250 yards and two-touchdown performances moving forward, but he should also have a higher ceiling with the addition of T.J. Hockenson. Additionally, the matchup against Washington is great, thrusting him into the top 12.

Vikings WRs

Similarly, the matchup bodes well for wide receivers, locking in the yard king, Justin Jefferson. If he can just start finding the end zone, he'll go completely nuclear for fantasy. His teammate Adam Thielen received seven targets, turning in a nice six-for-67 outing, proving he can produce without a touchdown. He's inside the top 36 given the matchup and his touchdown upside.

Commanders WRs

Terry McLaurin now has back-to-back successful weeks since Taylor Heinicke took over, providing optimism he will at least possess similar value to what he had last season. The offense as a whole is performing better, leading to more opportunities for scoring and sustaining drives. McLaurin is a top-24 receiver in a decent matchup. Curtis Samuel was also utilized in both the receiving and running game, adding four carries to his four receptions for 79 total yards, making him a top-36 option.

UPDATE: Jahan Dotson has been ruled out as expected.

Matchups We Hate:

Commanders RBs

The matchup isn't great, and what's more problematic is the usage of all three backs. Brian Robinson is inefficient and continues to lose work to Antionio Gibson, who seems to have passed J.D. McKissic as the primary receiving back. Robinson's workload is too low to start him with any confidence and McKissic rarely gets more than two or three carries, leaving Gibson as the best choice. He's in the top 36.

UPDATE: McKissic has been ruled, which cements Gibson as a top-36 back and brings Robinson into consideration as a flex play.

Other Matchups:

Dalvin Cook (RB, MIN)

Cook looked fully healthy coming out of the bye week, resuming a workhorse role with 20 carries and five receptions for over 100 scrimmage yards. Alexander Mattison only had five carries and no receptions, removing the concern of him eating into Cook's workload. The Commanders are much easier to pass against but his usage locks him into the top 10.

T.J. Hockenson (TE, MIN)

As mentioned above, Hockenson was traded to the Vikings to replace Irv Smith Jr., who is expected to miss most of the season. The matchup is actually the most difficult for tight ends, which probably has a lot to do with the personnel they've faced, however, in his first game with a new team, Hockenson is a slight fade because we don't know how involved he'll be. He's still in the top 15 though.

Injuries:

Carson Wentz (thumb)

Irv Smith Jr. (ankle)

Jahan Dotson (hamstring)

 

Matchups Analysis - 4:00 ET Games

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

Spread: Cardinals -2.0
Implied Total: Seahawks (23.5) vs. Cardinals (25.5)
Pace: Seahawks (14th) vs. Cardinals (4th)
Seahawks Off. DVOA: 31.0% Pass (5th), 0.5% Rush (13th)
Cardinals Off. DVOA: -5.6% Pass (27th), -10.4% Rush (23rd)
Seahawks Def. DVOA:
3.2% Pass (14th), -9.5% Rush (10th)
Cardinals Def. DVOA: 11.8% Pass (23rd), -9.4% Rush (11th)

Matchups We Love:

Geno Smith (QB, SEA)

It's been since Week 5 that Smith had a huge game but he's been steady outside of the last time he played Arizona when he failed to throw a touchdown. Coincidentally, that's who he plays this week. Neither offense looked very good in their last meeting but the over/under suggests we are in for a treat this time. He has added production on the ground most weeks, so with both his dynamic receivers on the field, he's always a threat for a big game, keeping him in the top 12.

Seahawks WRs

DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are still an elite duo. They're both in the top 24 in yards per route run, targets per route run, and air yards. The matchup is favorable, earning them a spot in your lineup.

Kyler Murray (QB, ARI)

Murray has looked excellent since DeAndre Hopkins returned, and is coming off a shootout with the Vikings as the QB3 on the week. With another high-scoring affair on deck, he's a must-start with top-five upside.

Cardinals WRs

Hopkins is the engine that makes the offense go, especially without Marquise Brown, so it's no surprise to see a massive performance from him. The shortened season seems to have given him an edge, resulting in explosive plays. He had the fourth-most yards per route run two weeks ago and the tenth-highest last week. He's a must-start as well. Rondale Moore played on 99% of offensive snaps last week, operating as the second outside receiver in two-wide receiver sets and then shifting to the slot when Robbie Anderson or Greg Dortch was on the field. If Moore's usage stays anywhere near that number, he'll be a top-24 receiver in this offense.

Zach Ertz (TE, ARI)

The Seahawks are giving up the most points to fantasy tight ends, plus Ertz is heavily involved, so he stays in the top 12 this week.

Matchups We Hate:

None

Other Matchups:

Kenneth Walker III (RB, SEA)

Walker III dominated the carries again last week, forcing his way into the end zone to cap off his day. He also led the backfield in routes run with 19, which yielded one target. The matchup is below-average but his ability to break off long runs, nine on the season, and score touchdowns, five in the past four games, keeps him in the top 15.

Cardinals RBs

Eno Benjamin got another start with James Conner out, this time he shared the backfield with Darrel Williams though. He still received nine carries and seven targets, but only produced 45 total scrimmage yards. After back-to-back limited practices for Conner, it sounds like he'll make his return this week, complicating the situation. Conner and Benjamin would likely share starting duties, making both risky flex plays.

UPDATE: James Conner is active, reducing the upside for both him and Benjamin.

Injuries:

Marquise Brown (foot)

James Conner (ribs)

Darrel Williams (hip)

 

Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Spread: Buccaneers -3.0
Implied Total: Rams (19.75) vs. Buccaneers (22.75)
Pace: Rams (26th) vs. Buccaneers (1st)
Rams Off. DVOA: 1.4% Pass (20th), -15.2% Rush (26th)
Buccaneers Off. DVOA: 20.7% Pass (9th), -20.9% Rush (30th)
Rams Def. DVOA:
10.6% Pass (19th), -18.5% Rush (4th)
Buccaneers Def. DVOA: -12.3% Pass (6th), -4.6% Rush (19th)

Matchups We Love:

Buccaneers WRs

Mike Evans and Chris Godwin each had eleven targets last week. Unfortunately, they only caught six of them but Godwin produced 75 yards and Evans had 123 yards. They're the top-two options and face a beatable Los Angeles pass defense, keeping both in the top 15.

Matchups We Hate:

Rams RBs

This backfield is a mess, and the Rams did nothing at the trade deadline to clean it up. Not only did they not acquire anyone new, but they also decided not to trade Cam Akers, who they are now working with to reintegrate into the offense. Ronnie Rivers led this group in carries, receptions, and targets last week, which only adds confusion. The Tampa Bay run defense is not the scary matchup it once was, but none of these players are trustworthy, especially if Akers is active on Sunday.

UPDATE: Akers is active for Sunday's game, making all three backs best left on your bench.

Other Matchups:

Cooper Kupp (WR, LAR)

Kupp had a scary moment at the end of the game, tweaking his ankle on a meaningless play. Fortunately, he was able to practice on Thursday, indicating he should be able to suit up on Sunday. As long as he's active, he'll be in your lineup.

UPDATE: Head coach Sean McVay stated Kupp will play on Sunday.

Tom Brady (QB, TB)

Brady and the Buccaneers scored in the first quarter and then not again until the fourth quarter last week. The offense is still struggling and the defense is not shutting down opponents the way they were last season. In terms of fantasy, the yard totals have been great with 290 or more passing yards in four of the past five games, it's just the passing touchdowns that have fallen off. The Rams' passing defense hasn't been as strong, creating an opportunity for Brady to succeed with his elite receivers, he's in the top 15 this week.

Leonard Fournette (RB, TB)

Fournette's inefficiencies on the ground are not new, but being targeted only three times is a problem. He still played on 72% of offensive snaps but Rachaad White tied him with three targets and stole four carries. The Rams are tough to run against, and Fournette has now seen a decrease in targets steadily since Week 5, dropping him outside the top 15.

Tyler Higbee (TEW, LAR)

Higbee now seems to be competing with Allen Robinson II, who he trailed in targets, to be the No. 2 option, which lowers his floor and creates additional risk in playing him. He's still involved, and on a decent offense, so he's a top-15 play but not a must-start anymore.

Injuries:

Cameron Brate (neck)

Cooper Kupp (ankle)

Russell Gage (hamstring)

 

Matchups Analysis - Sunday Night Football

Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs

Spread: Chiefs -12.5
Implied Total: Titans (16) vs. Chiefs (28.5)
Pace: Titans (32nd) vs. Chiefs (13th)
Titans Off. DVOA: 2.1% Pass (19th), 0.0% Rush (15th)
Chiefs Off. DVOA: 42.7% Pass (1st), 0.5
% Rush (14th)
Titans Def. DVOA:
4.4% Pass (15th), -21.5% Rush (1st)
Chiefs Def. DVOA: 12.6% Pass (26th), -5.8% Rush (17th)

Matchups We Love:

Patrick Mahomes (QB, KC)

Mahomes was sitting at home while all the craziness happened last week, so it'll be nice for him to get in on the action against the Titans. He's been on fire as of late, making him a must-start in a good matchup.

Travis Kelce (TE, KC)

We also get back the king of the tight end position, Kelce himself. He's an obvious must-start.

Derrick Henry (RB, TEN)

Henry single-handedly defeated the Houston Texans last week with his sixth-career 200-plus rushing-yard game. He takes on a vulnerable Chiefs defense, setting him up for another 100-plus yard game.

Matchups We Hate:

Chiefs RBs

It will be intriguing to see how much work Isiah Pacheco receives coming out of the bye after being named the starter in Week 7. Although he's the most interesting, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon will still be involved, so against a very stout Tennessee defense, the entire backfield is a fade.

Other Matchups:

Chiefs WRs

Kansas City made their move early, acquiring Kadarius Toney from the Giants. While there is optimism for him long-term, in the interim he only really hurts the other receivers, most likely Mecole Hardman or Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The matchup is very good, and JuJu Smith-Schuster is the player to trust, he's a top-36 play with the other two as volatile flex options.

Injuries:

Treylon Burks (toe)

Ryan Tannehill (ankle)

UPDATE: Tannehill has been ruled out, meaning Malik Willis will make his second career start.

 

Matchups Analysis - Monday Night Football

Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints

Spread: Ravens -2.5
Implied Total: Ravens (25) vs. Saints (22.5)
Pace: Ravens () vs. Saints ()
Ravens Off. DVOA: 33.6% Pass (4th), 11.7% Rush (3rd)
Saints Off. DVOA: -0.9% Pass (23rd), 10.8% Rush (6th)
Ravens Def. DVOA:
2.3
% Pass (12th), 1.9% Rush (25th)
Saints Def. DVOA: 2.2% Pass (11th), -8.8% Rush (12th)

Matchups We Love:

Alvin Kamara (RB, NO)

Kamara's positive touchdown regression was due, but three touchdowns in one game is impressive. What's noteworthy is that two of them were through the air, which is bound to continue because the Saints are still dealing with an injured receiving corps, including Michael Thomas, whose season is over. Kamara's volume as a receiver makes him a must-start.

Chris Olave (WR, NO)

As mentioned above, Thomas is done for the year, so Olave will remain the No. 1 option, even once Jarvis Landry returns. Olave was disappointing against the Raiders because they were up 17 points at halftime and stopped throwing the ball. The Ravens will undoubtedly score more points, forcing the Saints to throw the ball more, leading to a better day for Olave, who is in the top 24.

UPDATE: Landry has been listed as questionable for Monday's game. he becomes a flex option, especially in full-PPR formats, if he plays.

Matchups We Hate:

Ravens RBs

The easiest path to success against New Orleans is through the air. It's also still a committee in the backfield with Gus Edwards, when healthy, Kenyan Drake, and Justice Hill. It's unclear whether Edwards will suit up, he would be the lead back and preferred option if he plays, otherwise, Drake would be next in line. The starter will be a volume-based top-36 back with touchdown upside.

UPDATE: Edwards missed practice again on Friday and has been listed as doubtful for Monday's game.

Andy Dalton (QB, NO)

Dalton finished as the QB14 last week facing one of the easiest pass defenses. Furthermore, both his touchdowns came on dump-offs to Kamara. The Ravens pose a more difficult challenge and it's unlikely he has the same good fortune this week, making him a risky streamer.

Other Matchups:

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL)

Jackson is an incredible athlete, however, he still needs weapons to throw the ball to. He managed to grind out a win and finish as the QB8 without Mark Andrews or Rashod Bateman last week, mostly thanks to rookie tight end Isaiah Likely. Jackson is still a must-start but his ceiling drops without Bateman and would take a massive hit without Andrews.

Ravens TE

If Andrews is cleared to play, it's impossible not to start him unless you have an amazing replacement. Similarly, if he's ruled out, then Likely assumes his role and offers about 80% of his value, which equates to a top-12 tight end.

UPDATE: Andrews has been ruled out. making Likely a top-12 tight end.

Taysom Hill (TE, NO)

On the other side of the field, Hill continues to find the end zone, keeping him on the radar as an upside streaming option.

Injuries:

Mark Ingram II (knee)

Jarvis Landry (ankle)

Gus Edwards (hamstring)

Mark Andrews (back)

 



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