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Fantasy Football: Week 9 NFL Matchups & Sit/Start Advice (Part 1)

Week Nine is underway after the Bengals fell to the Dolphins in OT.  Hopefully, you got off to a better start this week than Andy Dalton. If not, no worries, there are still plenty of matchups to sort through.

Week 9 NFL Matchups: Fantasy Football Analysis & Sit/Start Advice


Minnesota Vikings @ Dallas Cowboys, Sunday 11/3, 1PM

Dez Bryant at training campMatchup We Love: Dez Bryant, WR

Now that the Dez-gate tirade stuff is behind us, I have to say I love the uber-talented Dallas wideout this week. The guy is surely going to be playing with a chip on his shoulder, and there is no way that Tony Romo is only going to target him six times after last week. The Minnesota defense is pretty poor, and the secondary may be the worst part of that defense. I'd be willing to put money on Bryant having the best numbers of any receiver this week.

Analysis: Dez Bryant is a must start this week.

Matchup We Hate:  Greg Jennings, WR

Greg Jennings has shown some signs of his former self this season, but for the most part he's been a bit of a disappointment. I think the guy can still play, but the quarterback situation in Minnesota is a disaster right now. At best, Jennings is a bye-week fill-in, and he can't be trusted on a week-to-week basis. I know he has a favorable matchup against the Cowboys and their banged-up defense, but I'm still not trusting him, especially after he was limited at practice all week due to injury. In fact, I think Dallas puts a solid whoopin' on the Vikings.

Analysis: If you need a bye-week fill-in at WR or a flex spot and want to play the matchups, I get it. Nevertheless, make sure to check the injury report if you do. I think I'd look for a more reliable option first.

Key Injuries: DeMarco Murray RB, DAL (probable), DeMarcus Ware DE, DAL (questionable), Miles Austin WR, DAL (questionable), Greg Jennings WR, MIN (questionable), Josh Freeman QB, MIN (questionable)

Start 'Em: Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Dallas DEF, Adrian Peterson, Jerome Simpson


San Diego Chargers @ Washington Redskins, Sunday 11/3, 1PM

Matchup We Love: Ryan Mathews, RB

If you stayed the course with Ryan Mathews, kudos to you. The San Diego running back is back on the fantasy map after a very solid couple of weeks that included a 17-point fantasy performance against the Jaguars. I still think he's a matchup play right now, but matchups don;'t get much more favorable than going against Washington defense. If he was dropped in your league, it's time to grab him if he's still available.

Analysis: Start Ryan Mathews this week as he makes for a great flex play against Washington.

Matchup We Hate: Chargers DEF

The Redskins have had their problems this season, but they can still score, and they have playmakers on offense. The Charges defense is a matchup-only play from week to week, and honestly there are very few matchups against which I'd use them. I know RG3 and company can struggle with turnovers at times, but I'm not taking any chances, even with a banged up RG3. If you need a defense this week, there are certainly better options out there.

Analysis: Look for better matchups elsewhere and leave the Chargers defense alone this week.

Key Injuries: Pierre Garcon WR, WAS (probable), Robert Griffin III QB, WAS (probable), Eddie Royal WR, SD (questionable)

Start 'Em: Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen, Antonio Gates, Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead, Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Santana Moss, Pierre Garcon


Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Seattle Seahawks, Sunday 11/3, 4PM

Matchup We Love: Timothy Wright, TE

Once a week or so, I tend to pick a player that defies the logic of statistics. It's more of a gut feeling. This week my gut has Tampa tight end Timothy Wright as a matchup I love, even though he is facing a tough Seattle defense. The Seahawks have been tough on opposing tight ends, especially on their home turf, but there is still a reason to believe that Wright can have some success this week. He's been very productive the past few weeks, and with Mike Williams out, Wright is surely going to be a top end zone target. I think the defense will focus on not letting Vincent Jackson beat them. I could be wrong, but I think Wright will see plenty of targets this week, and may even find the end zone.

Analysis: If you'd rather play the numbers and bench Wright, I'm ok with that, but I like him this week. I say start him.

Matchup We Hate: Vincent Jackson, WR

He's been a top-10 receiver in most leagues, but I think Vincent Jackson is going to have a rough go of it for the remainder of the season. He's got a rookie quarterback throwing to him, and now that the Bucs are without Mike Williams and Doug Martin for the rest of the year, Vincent Jackson is the only legitimate threat opposing defenses have to worry about. Jackson is going to be the focal point of opposing defenses, and it starts this week against the best secondary in football. Things continue to go from bad to worse in Tampa, and I have a feeling that Jackson production is going to nosedive.

Analysis: I'm sitting Vincent Jackson this week, and looking for a desperate owner to trade him to.

Key Injuries: Doug Martin RB, TB (out), Mike Williams WR, TB (out), Marshawn Lynch RB, SEA (questionable)

Start 'Em: Vincent Jackson, Timothy Wright, Bucs DEF, Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Golden Tate, Seahawks DEF


New Orleans Saints @ New York Jets, Sunday 11/3, 1PM

Matchup We Love: Saints DEF

The Saints defense has been much better this year than in recent memory, and they are now a defense you can use with confidence against certain matchups. I loved them last week against the Bills, and they didn't disappoint, putting up a very nice 11 fantasy points. They have another favorable matchup against the Jets this week, and while turnover-prone rookie Geno Smith has played much better at home this year than on the road, I think he could be in for a long afternoon.

Analysis: I picked up the Saints defense last week in one of my leagues, and will be using them again this week. Don't be surprised if they put up 10-plus points against the Jets. Start them with confidence.

Matchup We Hate: Jimmy Graham, TE

If you own Jimmy Graham, you almost certainly have a backup tight end, and while it's hard to bench a guy like Graham if he's cleared to play, I'd give serious thought to sitting him this week against a tough Jets defense. Graham is still not 100 percent, and word is spreading that the Jets plan on covering him with Antonio Cromartie. That could mean a below average day at best for Graham.

Analysis: Antonio Cromartie can cover anyone. I really don't like using a banged up Jimmy Graham against him. Weigh your options before using Graham this week.

Key Injuries: Jimmy Graham TE, NO (questionable), Cameron Jordan DE, NO (questionable), David Nelson WR, NYJ (questionable), Santonio Holmes WR, NYJ (out)

Start 'Em: Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles, Saints DEF, Geno Smith, Bilal Powell, Jets DEF


Pittsburgh Steelers @ New England Patriots, Sunday 11/3, 4:25PM

Matchup We Love: Both Defenses

Recently, it has seemed as though the Patriots are going to be in for a low-scoring, defensive struggle every week, a trend that will continue this week when the Pats welcome the Steelers to Foxboro. Both offenses have had their share of struggles this year, so it's really a no-brainer that both teams' defensive units make for solid plays this week. Overall, I think I trust the Patriots offense a little more than Pittsburgh's, so I give the slight edge to New England's defense.

Analysis: This is going to be one tough football game, and with the Steelers and Pats both struggling at times on offense this year, both the Steelers and Patriots defenses are must starts.

Matchup We Hate: Tom Brady, QB

While answering questions in the RotoBaller chat room, I had someone ask me if they should start Tom Brady or Jake Locker this week. I laughed at first, but as I gave it some thought, I realized it was a tougher decision than it should have been. That right there speaks volumes of Tom Brady's fantasy value right now. There have been 28 quarterbacks who have put up more fantasy points to date than the Patriots' QB, and the more I think about it, the more I'm beginning to believe the guy is no longer a "must-start" player from week to week. Whenever you use Brady, you are going to have worry about his young and inconsistent receivers and the injury status of his top targets, Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski, before even looking at the defense he's facing. I don't want that headache especially against Pittsburgh's defense.

Analysis: If you want to roll with Brady, it's understandable, but it's not a crazy idea to sit him and roll the dice on a guy with a more favorable matchup.

Key Injuries: Danny Amendola WR, NE (probable), Rob Gronkowski TE, NE (probable), Aqib Talib DB, NE (questionable), Leon Washington RB, NE (questionable), Brandon Bolden RB, NE (probable), Markus Wheaton WR, PIT (out), David DeCastro G, PIT (out)

Start 'Em: Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Stevan Ridley, Brandon Bolden, Patriots DEF, Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Le'Veon Bell, Steelers DEF


Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers, Sunday 11/3, 1PM

Matchup We Love: Harry Douglas, WR

I liked Harry Douglas last week against a tough secondary, and he came through yet again with his second consecutive 100-yard day. The best number was his whopping 18 targets, and the Cardinals did exactly what I said they would do...not let Tony Gonzalez beat them, and take their chances with the Atlanta receivers. As crazy as it sounds, I think that trend will continue this week, and even though the Carolina defense is one of the better ones in the league this year, I think Douglas will find some success simply based on the number of targets he's sure to get. Not sure if he'll find the end zone, but he'll be a great play in PPR leagues.

Analysis: The Falcons have to throw the ball to someone, so despite a tough matchup, Harry Douglas should see plenty of balls thrown his direction. I say start him, especially in PPR leagues.

Matchup We Hate: Steven Jackson / Jacquizz Rodgers, RBs

Steven Jackson returned last week and ran for six yards on 11 carries against the Arizona Cardinals. No, that's not a misprint. Jaquizz Rodgers had been uninspiring as Jackson's injury replacement, and loses goal line touches to Jason Snelling. All three of those guys will be active this week, and it makes for a very muddled backfield, facing a tough defense to boot. Both Jackson and Rodgers may see targets in the passing game, so they make more sense in a PPR format. Still, this is a bad matchup, and no one really knows how the touches will be distributed, or if Jackson is even 100 percent yet. He didn't look like he was last week.

Analysis: I'm not touching the Atlanta running backs this week unless I'm desperate at the position.

Key Injuries: Osi Umenyiora DE, ATL (questionable), JAson Snelling RB, ATL (probable), Roddy White WR, ATL (questionable), Jonathan Stewart RB, CAR (out), DeAngelo Williams RB, CAR (probable), Marvin McNutt WR, CAR (probable)

Start 'Em: Matt Ryan, Harry Douglas, Tony Gonzalez, Falcons DEF, Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen, Brandon LaFell



In case you missed them, here are some other RotoBaller Week 9 articles.  Let’s win some leagues!


As always, you can find all of our weekly waiver wire recommendations on our famous waiver wire pickups list. And if you haven’t joined the best and largest fantasy football chat room community on the web, check out the Fantasy Football chat room for live fantasy advice, sit/start questions, and more.

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