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Weekly Matchups: Strong Plays, Weak Plays Week 9

Kyle Fisher

Kyle Fisher

Kyle Fisher writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


STRONG PLAYS

LaDainian Tomlinson vs. DET

While Tomlinson has cooled a bit from his hot start, gaining just 109 yards on the ground in his last two weeks, he has scored three touchdowns and continues to be the top option in the Jets backfield. Tomlinson should heat up this week against a Lions run defense ranked last in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to running backs. The Lions have allowed 11 total touchdowns to running backs; second most in the league, so Tomlinson should continue his visits to the endzone while gaining the yardage necessary to have a huge fantasy day.

Wes Welker vs. CLE

Despite the Patriots winning ways, Welker has been in a bit of a slump. Welker has just seven catches for 49 yards in his last two weeks and hasn’t caught a touchdown pass since Week 2. Welker may find his slump buster in the form of the Browns pass defense. The Browns rank 27th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers and have given up at least one touchdown pass to receivers in five straight weeks. Look for Welker to break out in a big way and perhaps have his best game of the season.

Matt Forte vs. BUF

Forte has just 52 yards on just 18 carries in his last two games as the Bears have been airing it out at an alarming rate (88 of their last 119 plays). However, the Bears are coming off a bye week and face one of the friendliest run defenses in the league in the Bills. The Bills rank 31st in fantasy points allowed to running backs and rank last in yards rushing allowed. The Bills have allowed at least 131 yards on the ground in every game but one this season. While the Bears will still throw a lot, it is unlikely they will continue to throw at such a high rate, especially in a matchup where Forte can take the pressure off Jay Cutler.

Mike Williams vs. ATL

Williams leads all rookies with 32 catches and has caught at least four passes in five straight games. This streak should continue this week in what appears to be a favorable matchup for Williams against the Falcons. The Falcons rank 28th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. Furthermore, they have given up an amazing 40 catches for 597 yards and six touchdowns in the last two weeks. Look for Williams’s strong rookie season to continue in one of the best matchups of the week.

MIN DEF vs. ARI

The Vikings defense is perhaps one of the most disappointing units in football. Last season it led the NFL with 48 sacks and ranked second in the league against the run. This season the Vikings rank 30th in the NFL with just six sacks and are just 13th in the league against the run. However, Minnesota could party like its 2009 this week against a Cardinals offense ranked 31st in sack percentage allowed, last in fumbles lost per game and 30th in pass intercepted percentage. If there is ever a week when the Vikings will look like a top-5 fantasy defense, it’s this week.

WEAK PLAYS

Carson Palmer vs. PIT

Palmer struggled some last week against Miami but from a fantasy standpoint has been fairly hot. Palmer has thrown at least two touchdowns in each of his last four games and has topped 300 yards twice in those games. However, this week Palmer gets one of his toughest tests of the season against the Steelers. While the Steelers give up yards in the air, they have surrendered the fifth fewest fantasy points to the quarterback position in large part because they have only given up six touchdown passes against 10 interceptions. Palmer has been up-and-down all season and this looks to be a down week.

Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. CHI

Fitzpatrick has been the Bills’ best offensive player this season and even in an off game against the Chiefs still had 223 yards passing (1 TD) and 43 yards rushing. Since getting the starting nod in Week 3, Fitzpatrick has yet to throw up a really bad game, but this may the matchup that produces his first of the season. The Bears have yielded the fewest points to fantasy quarterbacks this season and have given up a league-low four touchdown passes. Fitzpatrick has put up quality starter numbers most of the season, but it may be time for him to ride the pine.

Ray Rice vs. MIA

Rice has been somewhat of a disappointment as he is averaging just four yards per carry this season and just over three catches a game. This week’s matchup shouldn’t help matters as he faces a Dolphins defense giving up the fourth fewest points to running backs this season. The Dolphins have really been hot lately as they have allowed just one rushing touchdown in four weeks and no team has broken 100 yards since Week 3. Furthermore, the Dolphins have given up the fourth fewest receiving yards to running backs and no touchdowns all season. Rice will most likely continue to frustrate his owners with what looks to be another pedestrian performance.

Steve Smith vs. NO

Smith got back on track last week with nine catches against the Rams, but he hasn’t scored since Week 2 and has yet to break the 100-yard barrier this season. Things won’t get any better this week against a Saints pass defense giving up the fewest points to wide receivers (by more than four fantasy points a game) -- the Saints held Carolina receivers to just five catches for 49 yards in Week 4. Look for Smith’s tough season to continue this week as Carolina’s air attack is grounded.

Brent Celek vs. IND

During the preseason Celek was thought to be one of the top fantasy TE targets. Fast forward eight weeks and Celek ranks just 18th in standard scoring leagues and has yet to break 50 yards in any game this season. Things don’t get any easier this week against an Indianapolis pass defense that is the top defense against tight ends, allowing just 2.7 fantasy points per game in standard scoring leagues. The Colts haven’t allowed more than 61 yards to the position in any game this season, so Celek’s struggles should continue.