I would say fantasy football is a lot like chess, but then I would have to understand chess first. Yes,
I do understand the player moves, and even managed to chalk up a few victories on the computer (on the level that’s about five below novice). But knowing how to play and being a master at the game are two very different things. The part of chess that does relate to fantasy football, though, is staying ahead of your opponent. In chess, you want to be at least three moves ahead of your opponent, the same goes for our beloved game of fantasy.
Now that the calendar has flipped to November, it’s time to start plotting ahead of your opponents. November often brings with it trade deadlines for fantasy football leagues. No, it’s probably not happening tomorrow, but soon enough. Players that have glaring weaknesses will try frantically to make moves before the clock strikes midnight, but the seasoned owner is already contriving his plans.
It’s always better to be ahead of the rush. You have less competing offers and have a better chance at avoiding the cutoff. Many of you are likely feeling good about your roster, not noticing many gaping holes in your lineup. If that is the case, I’m sure you can identify holes in your competition without much thought. Position yourself now, so you can then take advantage of the rush later. I’m sure just about all of you can pick up a bargaining chip that could pay dividends whether it’s a few days or a few weeks out.
Until then, here’s the good, bad, and plenty of everything else for Week 9.
I love seeing
Steven Jackson in a St. Louis Rams jersey every week, but I got to admit, part of me thought it’d be cool to see him in green and yellow to finish out the season and probably his career. Not that I wanted to see him shipped off by any means, but it would’ve definitely been better for his fantasy value and great to see a warrior like him finally get to compete in the big arena (aka the postseason). It obviously didn’t happen, and the rest of me (the mostly sane part) is glad it didn’t. Now I get to continue to watch him put fear into the eyes of opposing secondaries (the few times our offensive line creates holes for him) on a weekly basis.
Titus Young could make a difference for your team the rest of the way. Is every week going to be 100 yards and multiple touchdowns? Of course it is. If he did it once, he can easily do it again, right? Maybe not. But teams are clearly focusing all their attention on limiting
Calvin Johnson, so Young will rarely, if ever, face double coverage. He has the wheels to make plays, but also maybe a few loose ones upstairs. If he keeps his mind right, he could be one of those adds that comes through in spades.
Matchups I like this week
Cam Newton vs. Washington
. Newton turned a corner last week; unfortunately it was still in the wrong direction. Against Chicago, Newton barely registered double digits, coming away with a whopping 11 points. Newton’s two weeks prior add up to only 24 points combined. So with such miserable production in recent weeks, why would you want to roll the dice with him this week? Law of averages? Nope. Change in attitude? Doubtful. It’s all about the opportunity, or better yet, the opponent. The Redskins are giving up close to 23 points per week to opposing quarterbacks. And maybe Newton wants to remind everyone that last year, he was everyone’s Robert Griffin III.
Matt Forte vs. Tennessee.
Forte has some difficult matchups looming, but this week isn’t one of them. Tennessee is 30th out of 32 teams when it comes to limiting running backs. They’re surrendering over 24 points per week to the position. Get him active and enjoy it, because this could be his best outing the rest of the way.
Denarius Moore vs. Tampa Bay.
Denarius Moore is about as hot as you can get right now, in a completely platonic way of course. Since his first week back in the lineup, Moore has yet to receive less than eight targets in a game. He’s not catching all of them, but he is making the most out of those that he does. Moore has scored a touchdown in four of his last five matchups. This week the Raiders get to welcome the Buccaneers to town along with their bottom rung pass defense.
Matthew Stafford bounced back in a big way last week against Seattle, putting up his highest point total for the season and the highest of all players in Week 8 (based on standard scoring). If he keeps it going this week against Jacksonville, who is middle of the road, then it might be time to call off the hit man.
Doug Martin’s performance last week was definitely a surprise. Not that there were a ton of people doubting his ability, he was a first-round draft choice this year, but putting up more than 30 points against a Minnesota defense that had previously done well against the run, clearly exceeded expectations. The bad news is, Martin just lost his best offensive lineman for the rest of the season with Carl Nicks being placed on Injured Reserve. I don’t think Martin drops off the face of the fantasy earth, especially against an Oakland defense this week that is generous to running backs, but it will be something to keep an eye on moving forward (particularly as we near trade deadlines).
Tough Matchups for Studs this week:
Aaron Rodgers vs. Arizona
. Since Week 4,
Aaron Rodgers has been trucking along. No need to shift gears boys, we’re making good time. In four consecutive weeks Rodgers put up at least 30 points, with a 50-point outing mixed in just for the heck of it. Until, that is… last week, where he put up 17 points against Jacksonville, who isn’t particularly known for their defense. With
Greg Jennings still out of the lineup,
Jordy Nelson facing another game time decision and
Jermichael Finley’s season long slump, Rodgers’ weapons are dwindling.
James Jones and
Randall Cobb have stepped up big time in the absence of the other playmakers, but now they stand a tougher matchup against a good Arizona secondary. Feel free to roll with Rodgers, just don’t expect another Ulysses S. Grant ($50 bill). Arizona doesn’t like handing them out.
Adrian Peterson vs. Seattle.
Peterson has only been held under double-digit fantasy points twice the entire season, oddly enough versus two of his easiest matchups (Indianapolis and Tennessee). He could very well surpass the 10-point barrier this week, but it won’t be easy against the Seahawks; they’re giving up only 10.75 points to running backs on a weekly average.
Julio Jones vs. Dallas
Julio Jones and
Roddy White continue to alternate weeks on which each player gets to shine. “No, no Roddy, I got to light it up last week, it’s your turn. If you say so, Julio. How do you pronounce your real name by the way?” Factor in a couple other things: Jones’ big weeks have come on the road, his low weeks have come at home, vice versa for White, plus a good Dallas secondary; it might be another down week for Jones. I’m not benching, but I am tempering expectations.
Alex Smith. Smith is on a bye this week, so you’re not playing him anyways, but he is worth mentioning after he just toasted the Arizona defense for 27 points. Do you remember his point totals for the previous two weeks? Two points against the New York Giants and 10 points against Seattle. That has been Smith’s season in a nutshell (I prefer pistachios by the way). He puts up a big week surrounded by duds. When the San Francisco 49ers come back from vacation, they face St. Louis and Chicago, both with great defenses against the pass.
Matchups to Avoid this week
Christian Ponder vs. Seattle.
Two weeks ago, Ponder threw for a paltry 58 yards against Arizona. Last week he bumped up the yards about five times over with 251, but still only managed only 15 fantasy points. Now he gets to travel out to Seattle, to face a tough defense in an unfriendly environment. Unless
Percy Harvin takes a dump off to the house, or
Kyle Rudolph rediscovers his end zone prowess, I don’t see this ending well for Ponder. Relying on touchdowns can be a tricky thing, especially with a back like
Adrian Peterson standing a few feet away eager for some paydirt.
Fred Jackson vs. Houston
Fred Jackson went into Buffalo’s bye week with back-to-back double-digit performances, but so did
C.J. Spiller. Now the dynamic duo gets to travel to Houston and faceoff against the No. 3 defense against running backs. I imagine that Buffalo will be playing from behind for most of the game, which gives the edge to Spiller.
Santana Moss vs. Carolina.
Moss has a difference making quarterback, which could of course “make a difference,” but I don’t like this matchup one bit. With the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers on a bye this week, that leaves the Panthers as the best defense this week against wide receivers. The only way I see this working out for Moss is if they ignore him, trying to take away
Robert Griffin III and
Alfred Morris. I’m looking elsewhere for a wide receiver this week. Keep moving people, nothing to see here.
Until the next go-round.