The fantasy matchup stats you need to know for Week 9
Jeff Ratcliffe identifies the most noteworthy situation for fantasy players in each game this weekend.
The fantasy matchup stats you need to know for Week 9
Play the matchups in fantasy football, and you’ll win more often than you lose. Now that we’re in the thick of the bye weeks, knowing the matchups to avoid and exploit becomes even more important. Bellow you’ll find the key matchup stats to know from each of the 12 remaining games this week.
Don’t forget to also take a look at the best and worst wide receiver matchups for the week. Also, we now have our fantasy positional matchups chart, which allows you to quickly identify all of the best matchups each week for all offensive and IDP positions. You may also find our O-Line/D-Line matchup chart helpful.
Just a quick note about the recommendations. Downgrading a player is not the same as sitting a player. If an RB1 is downgraded, that means he moves to an RB2 for the week, and vice versa for upgrades. These matchup recommendations and others are reflected in our weekly rankings, which are an invaluable tool in lineup decision making each week.
NY Jets @ Miami
Tough matchup, but Jay Ajayi is still an RB1.
The Jets have been relatively stout against the run this season, allowing just 3.7 yards per carry and the third-fewest forced missed tackles per game (1.63) to opposing running backs. However, they’ve shown that they’re not completely immune to giving up a big day, as David Johnson torched the Jets back in Week 6. Ajayi isn’t likely to hit the 200 mark again this week, but with the way he’s running, he should be locked in all lineups as an RB1 play.
Pittsburgh @ Baltimore
Start Terrance West, but be careful.
This is a fantastic matchup for the Ravens run game. There’s no two ways around it. The Steelers surrender the third-most PPR points per game to opposing running backs, with five rushing touchdowns yielded in their last two games. While West figures to see the majority of the early-down work, fantasy owners should be aware that Kenneth Dixon is looming. The Ravens want to get Dixon more involved, and they’re coming out of a bye. West has upside, but he should be considered more of an RB2 play this week.
Philadelphia @ NY Giants
Don’t rely on Eli.
It’s been an up-and-down season for Eli Manning, which has made him a maddening fantasy option. Those looking for help at quarterback this week will want to look elsewhere. The Eagles have been a brutal matchup for opposing signal callers this season, allowing an average of just 234 yards and 1.1 touchdowns through the air. It’s also tough to trust Carson Wentz in this contest. Both the Eagles and Giants are bottom-10 fantasy matchups for quarterbacks.
Jacksonville @ Kansas City
Start the Chiefs D/ST.
Blake Bortles has struggled mightily this season and enters the week as the No. 29 quarterback in our grading system. Things aren’t likely to get much better this week, as he faces a Chiefs team that averages 1.1 interceptions per game, which is tied for second in the league. Bortles has thrown nine picks so far this season, so a multi-interception game could be in store. Those looking for upside at the D/ST position, will want to fire up the Chiefs this week. As for Bortles, it’s a good idea to fade him.
Detroit @ Minnesota
Downgrade Matthew Stafford.
At this point in the season, you’re likely well aware of the Vikings defense. But just in case you’re debating starting Matthew Stafford this week, here are some things to consider: So far this season, the Vikings have given up more than one passing touchdown just once, and that was back in Week 2. Minnesota gives up just 226 passing yards per game, and they lead the league with an average of 1.3 interceptions per game. Stafford is on the outside of the QB1s looking in this week.
Dallas @ Cleveland
Ezekiel Elliott is poised to explode.
This is the perfect storm of matchups for Elliott. Not only has the Dallas run game been firing on all cylinders, but they also get to face one of the league’s worst run defenses this week. Cleveland gives up the fifth-most PPR points per game to opposing running backs, and only the 49ers surrender more rushing yards per game to the position. Elliott is this week’s top running back play, and it isn’t close.
Carolina @ Los Angeles
Lance Kendricks is a desperation TE play.
This one is for the dumpster diving crowd. If you’re hard up at tight end and need a shot in the dark, Kendricks is worth consideration. He’s seen six-or-more targets four times this season and gets a solid matchup here. Carolina yields nearly one touchdown per game and the fourth-most PPR points per game to opposing tight ends.
New Orleans @ San Francisco
DuJaun Harris? DuJuan Harris!
Okay. Maybe we’re not that excited about Harris, but he is in play this week with Carlos Hyde looking to be on the wrong side of questionable with a shoulder sprain. When we last saw the 49ers in Week 7, Harris was the surprise lead back with 11 carries. The 49ers are likely to also use Mike Davis on early downs and give the receiving work to Shaun Draughn. However, Harris figures to get the majority of carries in a strong matchup against a Saints team that gives up the most PPR points per game to opposing running backs. Those in need of an RB play may want to take a long look at Harris.
Tennessee @ San Diego
Derrick Henry is more than just a flex play.
With DeMarco Murray hobbled by a toe injury, the Titans are likely to get Henry more involved in this contest. Last week, Henry touched the ball 20 times and finished as a top-10 fantasy running back. While Murray is still the lead back, look for more of a committee situation on Sunday. Both Murray and Henry should have no problem against a Chargers defense that will be without both starting inside linebackers. San Diego gives up the second-most PPR points per game to opposing running backs.
Indianapolis @ Green Bay
Downgrade Frank Gore.
This is a game where you want as many pieces of the passing game as possible while fading the run game for both teams. Keep in mind that Ty Montgomery is more of a receiving option, so he’s certainly in play for fantasy lineups this week. The same can’t be said for Gore, who gets the worst matchup for opposing running backs. The Packers surrender just 3.3 yards per carry to opposing backs with just two scores allowed to the position this season.
Denver @ Oakland
Derek Carr comes back to earth.
It’s very tempting to roll with Carr this week following his massive 500-yard performance in Week 8. But the Broncos are a much better defensive unit than the Bucs. Denver has allowed multiple touchdown passes just once this season, and they’re holding opposing passers to a league-low 202 yards per game. Carr owners are better off looking elsewhere this week.
Buffalo @ Seattle
It’s tough to trust the Bills RBs.
LeSean McCoy got a limited practice in on Thursday, but he’s still very much up in the air for this contest. With the Bills bye coming up next week, there’s certainly a chance he sits or is limited in this contest. He’s a risky play, as is Mike Gillislee. Even on a full workload, Gillislee isn’t more than an RB2 option on the road in Seattle. The Seahawks are a brutal matchup for running backs. Seattle has held opposing rushers to 3.4 yards per carry and have allowed just two rushing touchdowns to the position this season.
Jeff Ratcliffe | Director of Fantasy
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is 2016's second-most-accurate ranker in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.