QB: Michael Vick at NO – Despite not attaining the lofty goals we set for him, Michael Vick hasn’t been that bad this season. Over his last four games, he has averaged 229.5 passing yards and 41.5 rushing yards with a 6:2 TD-to-INT ratio. This week the Eagles face a historically bad Saints defense that has given up more yards than any team in NFL history through its first seven games. The Saints have given up at average of 25.3 points to opposing quarterbacks. If that’s not enough for you, they also allow the highest opposing quarterback rating and yards per attempt. Don’t worry about Vick, he’ll start this week and couldn’t ask for a better matchup.
RB: Alfred Morris vs. CAR – After his 59-yard effort against the Steelers, I’ve heard owners express concern over Alfred Morris. The Redskins fell behind early and were forced to rely on the pass-game; it isn’t a reflection on Morris or too concerning for the future. He will continue to be dominant on the ground despite his lack of pass-catching involvement. With a plus-matchup against the Panthers on the horizon, Morris must be started.
Jonathan Stewart at WAS – Jonathan Stewart doesn’t have the best matchup but what’s most important for him is the Panthers’ ability to move the ball – something I don’t think they will struggle with against the Redskins. With all the rumors of DeAngelo Williams being traded, there’s never been more clarity in the Panthers’ backfield. Loaded with talent and finally given the opportunity, Stewart shall perform this weekend.
Ryan Mathews vs. KC – Owners who are losing confidence in Ryan Mathews must stay the course. His talent will equate to fantasy numbers sooner, rather than later. He has a plus matchup this week against the Chiefs and I expect the Chargers to be more creative in how they involve their most talented weapon. Still averaging 4.3 yards per carry, Mathews hasn’t wowed owners with big plays like he has in previous years – don’t give up just yet, it’s coming.
Rashad Jennings vs. DET – Despite his low yards per carry as the Jaguars starting back, Rashad Jennings will continue to thrive based on the volume he’ll be given each week. In two games since attaining the starting gig, Jennings has racked up 38 carries and 13 catches. He’s extremely involved in the offense and that’s not changing. Continue to start him over part-time players.
WR: Randall Cobb vs. AZ – Although he had just 28 yards and a touchdown last week, Randall Cobb must continue to be treated as a WR1 until Greg Jennings returns. Averaging 6.2 catches for 77.2 yards with four touchdowns in his last five games, Cobb is quickly becoming one of the league’s most exciting playmakers. This week he faces the same Cardinals defense that made Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss look like open-field playmakers.
Jeremy Maclin at NO – Despite totaling just 33 receiving yards against the Falcons, Jeremy Maclin must be inserted into fantasy lineups for this week’s dream matchup. In terms of fantasy points, no defense has allowed opposing wide receivers to score more points than the Saints defense. Start Maclin with confidence.
DeSean Jackson at NO – DeSean Jackson is facing off against the same historically bad defense as Vick and Maclin. The Saints secondary has given up as many big plays as any defense in the league – expect DeSean’s electrifying playmaking ability to get in on the action.
Titus Young at JAC – I hyped Titus Young a lot this offseason and was as excited about Nate Burleson’s injury as a kid in a candy shop. Young brings elite deep speed to the Lions’ offense and has already provided Stafford with another difference-maker on offense. Young will continue to draw favorable coverage because he’s playing with some guy named Calvin Johnson on his team.
TE: Greg Olsen at WAS – No tight end draws a better Week 9 matchup than Greg Olsen. I do not believe that he’s an every-week starter but with Gronkowski, Vernon Davis, and Dustin Keller on bye, you could do a lot worse than Olsen. Giving up an average of 12.3 fantasy points to opposing tight ends, few pass-defenses have been leakier than the Redskins.
QB: Eli Manning vs. PIT – Coming off three straight sub-par performances, Eli Manning draws a matchup with the Steelers’ strong secondary. Giving up just 182.6 pass yards per game, good for tops in the NFL, this isn’t an ideal matchup for Manning to get back on track. Still immensely talented, you could do worse than Manning as your quarterback.
RB: Fred Jackson at HOU – In good matchups I see nothing wrong with starting C.J. Spiller or Fred Jackson but when they face a team like the Texans – I feel quite repulsive. No team playing this week has given up fewer points to running backs. With the porous Bills defense there’s a very good chance they fall behind and neither running back receives the touches owners were hoping for. Spiller, on one hand, can survive with fewer touches because of his big-play ability. I wouldn’t say the same for Fred Jackson.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs. DEN – Already not a big fan of Green-Ellis, the fact that he’s facing the stout Broncos’ run-defense doesn’t help. Only the Texans have given up fewer points to opposing running backs and it’s not like Green-Ellis is an imposing back. Sit him if you have other options.
Alex Green vs. AZ – Although he’s still the Packers lead-back, Alex Green has been ineffective while holding the starting gig. During his three-game tenure as the starter, Green has carried the ball 64 times for just 154 yards, good for a disappointing YPC of just 2.41. Don’t expect things to change against a Cardinals defense that has been effective against opposing backs.
WR: Sidney Rice vs. MIN – Despite catching six passes for 55 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks, I wouldn’t feel comfortable starting Sidney Rice. His potential is capped by the Seahawks’ run-heavy philosophy and Russell Wilson’s limitations as a passer. Facing a solid Vikings pass-defense, this isn’t the week to bet on Rice.
Kenny Britt vs. CHI – Although he practiced in full today, Kenny Britt has yet to produce effectively enough to justify starting him against the Bears. Still recovering from his knee injury, Britt was two penalties away from a big game last week. Still playing with limited snaps, just 23 of the Titans’ 36 pass plays last week, I wouldn’t feel good about starting Britt.
Andre Roberts at GB – Despite catching seven passes for 65 yards last week, Andre Roberts and the Cardinals’ offense shouldn’t be trusted. The Cardinals scored just three points against the 49ers and more ugliness should be expected against the Packers’ defensive unit. Larry Fitzgerald is the only Cardinals’ skill player I would trust.
TE: Jermichael Finley vs. AZ – As disappointing as any player in the league, Jermichael Finley can’t capitalize on his enormous potential. Even with Jennings out most of the season, Finley has topped 50 receiving yards just twice all year and hasn’t topped 60 yards once. Don’t worry Finley isn’t making up for that with touchdown catches, because he only has one of those this season. Playing on just 25 of the Packers’ 40 passing plays last week, I’ve given up on Jermichael Finley.
Thanks for reading! Hit me up on Twitter @BraudeM or post below for any lineup questions you guys have!