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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

Matt Cassell vs. MIA

Cassell has been hot and cold this season with three stellar fantasy games and four terrible ones. This figures to be a stellar week as he faces a Dolphins pass defense giving up the second most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Cassell has played very well in his three best matchups, and the Dolphins provide another opportunity for Cassell to get a fantasy start for owners whose starter is on a bye or whose matchup is not as favorable.

Matt Ryan vs. IND

Ryan has been a fantasy disappointment, ranking 18th in average fantasy points for quarterbacks in standard scoring leagues. The combination of Roddy White and Julio Jones hasn't produced the numbers most predicted. This week should be a chance for Ryan to begin to turn his season around against a Colts pass defense that has allowed the most passing touchdowns (15) in the NFL and ranks fourth in most fantasy allowed to quarterbacks. The Falcons offense should fare well this week; look for Ryan to have perhaps his best game of the season.

Chris Wells vs. STL

While Wells is still battling a knee injury, he had 22 carries and solid performance in a tough matchup last week against the Ravens. Wells might have finally turned the corner in his career after two lackluster seasons. He's been productive in every game but one this season and figures to keep this consistency going against a Rams run defense giving up the second most fantasy points to running backs this season. Wells might be limited to 15-18 carries, but that is probably all he will need to have another good day.

Mario Manningham vs. NE

With Hakeem Nicks battling a hamstring injury, Manningham figures to benefit the most in this favorable matchup against the Patriots. Manningham has come on lately, catching 16 passes in the last three weeks, and is due for a big yardage day. That day may be this Sunday as he faces a Patriots pass defense that has surrendered the most fantasy points to wide receivers and has given up at least one touchdown in all but one game this season. All signs point to Manningham having his best game of the season on Sunday.

Darrius Heyward-Bey vs. DEN

After two horrendous seasons, Heyward-Bey is finally beginning to show some promise. In the last four weeks he has essential matched his production for the entire 2010 season. The hot streak should continue against a Broncos pass defense allowing the third most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Look for Carson Palmer to be much better than he was in relief of Kyle Boller and for Heyward-Bey to continue his strong play in 2011.

WEAK PLAYS

Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. NYJ

Fitzpatrick has been pleasant surprise for fantasy owners, ranking 10th in fantasy points per game, ahead of such fantasy stalwarts as Tony Romo and Philip Rivers. Fitzpatrick has struggled in his two toughest matchups (Bengals, Eagles), averaging only eight fantasy points compared with his 15.3 season average. Expect much the same this week in his battle against the Jets, who rank as the top fantasy pass defense and have given up only two touchdowns while collecting 10 interceptions in the last six games.

Ben Roethlisberger vs. BAL

Roethlisberger is hot, throwing 11 touchdowns in the last four weeks while breaking 350 yards in each of the last two weeks. Roethlisberger faces his biggest rival this week in a huge revenge game for the Steelers. Roethlisberger had his worst fantasy game of the season in Week 1, and while he should be better this week, it is hard to imagine a huge performance against the NFL's second-ranked fantasy pass defense. The Ravens have not allowed more than one passing touchdown in a game this season and have five straight games of holding quarterbacks to 220 yards or less.

Jackie Battle vs. MIA

Battle would seem to be a great play against the 0-7 Dolphins, but the Dolphins rank as the fourth-toughest fantasy run defense, giving up only two rushing touchdowns all season. They are on a run of allowing less than 100 rushing yards to running backs in four of the last five weeks. Look for Battle to be in for a battle in his toughest matchup to date as a starter.

Plaxico Burress vs. BUF

Burress is coming off his best fantasy game of the season in a three-touchdown performance against the Chargers. While it might be tempting to start him, Burress only has 18 catches this season and averaged only a little more than five fantasy points per game in standard leagues before his breakout game against San Diego. The Bills have shown steady improvement against the pass this season and have only allowed an average of 11.5 fantasy points to wide receivers the last two weeks. Look for Burress to come back to earth and be nothing more than a possible flex starter this week.

Robbie Gould vs. PHI

Gould ranks a solid 10th in average points per game for kickers and is an outstanding 14-15 in field goals this season. This week, Gould faces the toughest matchup for a kicker this season in an Eagles team that allows just six field goal makes in seven games and an average of 5.1 points to kickers in standard scoring leagues. What's more, when the Bears score, it is likely to be a touchdown as the Eagles are 31st in the league in red zone touchdown percentage allowed, giving up touchdowns on two out of every three drives inside the 20.