The Matchup Machine: Week 9 October 31, 2013  |  Scott Watson


In fantasy football, it’s easy to draw conclusions after the first couple of weeks and stick to those same conclusions all year long.  But, just like everything else in life, fantasy football is a constantly evolving matter.  Take, for example, team defense.  As the season progresses, that defense who gave up a lot of points at the beginning of the year, may no longer be the creampuff it once was.  Here are a few examples of some defenses that may be performing differently now, than the last time you checked:

Teams allowing more rushing yards to RBs

Atlanta
•   First three games: allowed an average of 65 yards rushing to opposing RBs per week
•   Last four games: allowed an average of 130 yards rushing to opposing RBs per week

Cleveland
•   First four games: allowed an average of 55 yards rushing to opposing RBs per week
•   Last four games: allowed an average of 108 yards rushing to opposing RBs per week

Dallas
•   First four games: allowed an average of 61 yards rushing to opposing RBs per week
•   Last four games: allowed an average of 111 yards rushing to opposing RBs per week

 

Teams allowing fewer rushing yards to RBs

New York Giants
•   First four games: allowed an average of 101 yards rushing to opposing RBs per week
•   Last four games: allowed an average of 53 yards rushing to opposing RBs per week

Philadelphia
•   First four games: allowed an average of 105 yards rushing to opposing RBs per week
•   Last four games: allowed an average of 71 yards rushing to opposing RBs per week

Washington
•   First three games: allowed an average of 137 yards rushing to opposing RBs per week
•   Last four games: allowed an average of 80 yards rushing to opposing RBs per week

 

Teams allowing more passing yards:

New Orleans
•   First three games: allowed an average of 205 yards passing to opposing QBs per week
•   Last four games: allowed an average of 278 yards passing to opposing QBs per week

New York Jets
•   First four games: allowed an average of 224 yards passing to opposing QBs per week
•   Last four games: allowed an average of 286 yards passing to opposing QBs per week

San Francisco
•   First four games: allowed an average of 209 yards passing to opposing QBs per week
•   Last four games: allowed an average of 260 yards passing to opposing QBs per week

 

Teams allowing fewer passing yards:

Atlanta
•   First three games: allowed an average of 315 yards passing to opposing QBs per week
•   Last four games: allowed an average of 236 yards passing to opposing QBs per week

Green Bay
•   First three games: allowed an average of 322 yards passing to opposing QBs per week
•   Last four games: allowed an average of 225 yards passing to opposing QBs per week

San Diego
•   First three games: allowed an average of 358 yards passing to opposing QBs per week
•   Last four games: allowed an average of 247 yards passing to opposing QBs per week

Bear in mind that these changes are in some cases due to an actual change in the defense, while others may be due to playing stronger or weaker opponents.  Regardless of the source of change, the point is don’t assume things will be the same all season long.  In order to maximize your roster’s potential it’s important to stay in tune with the current landscape.  That being said, let’s take a look at some Week 9 Matchups….

 

Atlanta @ Carolina
NFC South game between a team on the rise and a team on the decline…

•   What to do with Matt RyanJulio Jones is gone, and it looks like Roddy White will be out for at least another week.  The return of Steven Jackson did not provide the spark Atlanta needed.  It doesn’t appear that the Carolina defense will be doing any favors for their rival to the south.  Carolina has not allowed a 300-yard passer since Week 1 and they have yet to allow an opponent to throw for more than 1 passing TD in a game.  Meanwhile, Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers will face a defense that allows less than 75 yards per game to opposing RBs.
•   Four of their past five games, Atlanta has allowed opposing RBs to rush for an average of 121 yards per game at over 5 yards per attempt.  Sounds like a great first game for Jonathan Stewart, who is expected to join DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert in the Carolina backfield for the first time this season.

 

Tampa Bay @ Seattle
College coaches having very different experiences coaching in the pros…

•   Does Tampa have a viable offensive threat outside of Vincent Jackson?  Since Mike Glennon took over, Jackson has been targeted an average of 15 times per game.  If Seattle blanketed Jackson all game, would Tampa be able to move the ball on offense?  Compounding on Tampa’s lack of offensive weapons, Seattle is allowing just over 200 yards passing to opposing QBs and they have allowed a total of one passing TD to their last three opponents.  Oh, what?  Seattle is at home?  Well then…the Seattle defense is allowing an average of 178 yards passing to opposing QBs per home game and has not allowed a passing TD while playing at home all season.
•   Since their bye week, Tampa has surrendered exactly 31 points to each of their opponents.  Those points have mainly come through the air – 8 passing TDs in those games.  Sidney Rice is out, but Percy Harvin could be in, very in.  Prior to last week, Tampa had not allowed a rushing TD to an opposing RB all year.  Last week, DeAngelo Williams was the first and probably not the last.  Marshawn Lynch has a TD streak of sorts on the line: he has not gone two games without scoring all season and he did not score on Monday night..soooo.

 

Pittsburgh @ New England
Two perennial playoff teams struggling to gain momentum…

•   If you are a LeVeon Bell owner, this could be the week you get excited to start him (it could be).  In their last four games (since they lost Vince Wilfork), New England has allowed an average of 129 yards rushing to opposing RBs.  Another vote of confidence for Bell is that New England has played good pass defense: they have allowed just one QB to pass for over 300 yards all season.
•   Excluding yards lost due to sacks, only Houston has allowed fewer yards to opposing teams than Pittsburgh (310 per game).  And since their bye, three weeks ago, the Pittsburgh D is playing even better: allowing a total of just one passing TD and an average of 14 points per game.  If benching Tom Brady is an option, this might not be a bad week to do it, and hope that next week’s bye brings a return of normalcy to the New England offense come Week 11.

Below is data produced by the Matchup Machine.  A quick reminder of how the Matchup Machine works: the higher the score, the better the matchup.  Scores are calculated using data from the first eight weeks of 2013.  The data only takes into account the strength of the opponent, not the strength of the player.  For example, Tony Romo has highest QB score this week.  That does not mean he is the best QB, it means he is playing Minnesota who offers the best matchup for QBs.  Minnesota is allowing opponents an average of 300 passing yards and 2+ passing TDs per week.  Take a look and good luck in Week 9!

 

MATCHUP MACHINE CHART - WEEK 9 - IMAGE

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