Onto the Back 9.
For golfers that make it out to the course as often as I do, the Back 9 is where one of two things happen – (1) you go all Stella and get your groove back, or (2) the wheels fall off completely. I’m not a terrible golfer, but I doubt I’ll ever par the course unless there are windmills or a clown’s mouth involved … or a whole lot of cheating. The problem is I don’t get out to swing the sticks as often as I would need to.
The Front 9 is usually where I knock off the rust that has accrued since the last time I was able to dupe the wife and kid. So after the turn, it’s make or break (clubs) time. The first sleeve of balls is long gone, either in a squirrel’s nest or swimming with the fishes. Time to put a new ball on the tee and swing away. If it’s a good day, it’ll be mostly short grass and par putts from here on out. If not, I’ll be spending the rest of the day strolling on the beach or through the woods … and eventually back to the clubhouse to get my 6-iron reshafted.
Heading into Week 10, there shouldn’t be any rust left. If there is, grab another cocktail at the clubhouse before making the turn. We’re heading into the home stretch, where each week counts more than the last. It’s always great to get off to a fast start, but it’s even better to finish well.
To help you do just that, here’s the good, the bad, and plenty of everything else for Week 10.
Matchups I like this week:
QB Matt Ryan at New Orleans.
In Ryan’s first five weeks of action, he didn’t score less than 21 points in a single game. The last three weeks have been a little different, since he’s only surpassed the 20-point barrier once in that span. He had a good outing in Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles, throwing for three touchdowns, but his 10 points against Oakland in Week 6 and 13 points last week against Dallas has caused some alarm. Week 10’s faceoff against the league’s worst pass defense will either right the ship or send owners looking for lifeboats.
RB Stevan Ridley vs. Buffalo.
Ridley had put up two single-digit days in a row before travelling to St. Louis (via England) in Week 8. Against the Rams, Ridley was able to rack up more than 120 yards and a score, restoring a bit of faith with his owners. Now, New England is fresh off of their bye and welcoming a pitiful Buffalo rush defense to town. Ridley’s points should come in big chunks this week.
WR Stevie Johnson at New England.
Rough isn’t a strong enough word to describe Johnson’s season so far. He’s had four weeks where he’s surpassed 10 points and four where he’s failed to reach it. The problem is, when he’s gone over, it’s just barely (between 11-13 points), and when he’s been held under it’s been way under (Week 4 = 2 points, Week 5 = 3 points, Week 6 = 8 points, Week 9 = 2 points). The last time Johnson played New England was one of his two-point outings, but the Patriots still aren’t great against wide receivers and I’m guessing they’ll be focusing more on Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.
Tough Matchups for Studs this week:
QB Drew Brees vs. Atlanta.
Brees is still the No. 1 player in all of fantasy land, making him the studliest of all studs, but their division rival is a Top 10 defense against quarterbacks. This game should be well worth the cost of admission.
RB Arian Foster at Chicago.
Foster got passed up by Doug Martin as the No. 1 running back in fantasy football last week. The decline has already started. Maybe not. Foster still has failed to score less than 15 points in a game this year. The Bears defense is impressive … wait, I meant to say ridiculous, but it’s still Foster. Enjoy the enjoyment.
WR Demaryius Thomas at Carolina.
Thomas was eclipsed by teammate Eric Decker last week. Thomas had 77 yards receiving; Decker had 99 yards and two touchdowns. That’s a decisive victory. But Thomas is still a special talent, and should find room to get open against a decent Carolina secondary and close the gap on Decker.
Matchups to Avoid this week:
QB Matt Cassel at Pittsburgh.
Brady Quinn hasn’t been cleared to play yet, so Cassel will get another start in Week 10 against Pittsburgh. I said “get” but “stuck” in the starting role would’ve probably made more sense. This is a bad offense against a good defense. Sometimes it’s that simple.
RB Steven Jackson at San Francisco.
Jackson has reached double digits once this season. Once. This week he’s playing the 49ers. Standard rule applies for running backs facing San Francisco. But …
hey, Steven, Can I get that jersey? I meant the one you’re wearing.
WR Sidney Rice vs. New York Jets.
Rice has scored in three of his last four games. That’s good for the goose
and the gander…if that’s what male and female Seahawks were called. Unfortunately, I don’t think it is. And unfortunately for Rice, he’s playing a good Jets secondary. Oh well, three out of five still ain’t bad.
Other difficult matchups: St. Louis wide receivers at San Francisco, New York Jets wide receivers at Seattle, DeSean Jackson vs. Dallas.)
Until the next go-round.