Week #9 in Fantasy and Reality Football
It’s not a beautiful thing. Many things aren’t, but week #9 in the NFL is filled with “beer-goggle” types of matchups. In the right frame of mind, distorted by mind-altering drugs and alcohol especially, we can all find something to like. But, realistically, there is a lot of “meh” and “ughh” and outright vomit inducing “blahhhhh.”Â
Best of the Week’s Best
New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens
This is probably the game that revs the NFL fans engines the hottest this week, but it shouldn’t. The Patriots offense has struggled even though the points scored has been legitimate or better every week while the Ravens haven’t been very special, with one exception – the run game. They lead the league in rushing, which isn’t a surprise when you have a quarterback who is top ten in rushing inÂ the entire league.Â Tom Brady has 18 moreÂ CAREERÂ rushing yards than Lamar Jackson hasÂ THISÂ SEASON. That’s crazy – but that’s todays NFL and that’s Lamar Jackson. The NFL is transitioning away from the Tom Brady’s of the world and towards the Lamar Jackson’s. This is a mistake that is going to kill the quality and the interest in this league, but this game is a sign of the coming times.
Lamar Jackson is an elite athlete with explosive, difference-making potential, but he can’t throw. A quarterback that can’t throw. That’s todays NFL. Athleticism and mobility – we’ll worry passing in the most extreme passer-friendly era of the NFL’s history second. He is going to have to win this game with his arm.
For the Patriots, this is a test game and it is a perfect one to prove they are for real, even if it could be slightly misleading. The Ravens lead the league with 204.1 rushing yards per game while the Patriots one weakness, and statistically it hasn’t been one, has been the run. The Browns and Bills both ran on this Patriots defense even though the Patriots ranked fourth best against the run, allowing 85.2 yards per game and only two total touchdowns.Â
The Patriots have been extremely aggressive, both with a lot of blitzing and relying on man-to-man coverage. Combine that overall approach in their schemes with their traditional focus stopping whatever their opponents do best, forcing them to win with what they do second best. This is the perfect game for the Patriots to combine them.Â
The Patriots are going to load up the box with 8 or 9 defenders to stop Mark Ingram from running all over them with a secondary consequence, keeping Lamar Jackson in the pocket. They will force Jackson to throw, something he doesn’t do very well.Â
The Ravens have a respectable possession receiver in Willie Snead and an explosive, big-play deep threat in Marquis “Hollywood” Brown, but they aren’t anywhere near as dangerous as Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. were last week or who the Steelers brought to the field in week #1. This will allow the Patriots to be even more aggressive attacking Jackson with the blitz and loading up the box to help stagger to the run. The Ravens are a run-first, second and third team (258 attempts – 3rd ranked in the NFL). They aren’t going to change what they do even though, as Patriots fans know well, they should. That means that the Patriots will be forced to put up a wall all day long and because the Ravens won’t adapt, they will be rewarded for doing it.Â
Tight End Mark AndrewsÂ
The unknown and a possible wild card is Mark Andrews. He is a legitimate pass catcher at tight end (55 Targets – 36 Receptions – 449 receiving yards and 3 TDs) with the size to hold his own in the run game. That allows him to remain on the field in both run and pass situations, which will provide the Ravens with an opportunity for good one-on-one matchups and a legitimate play-action pass game plan today.Â
Marquise Brown may make a big play or two and Willie Snead will catch 6-7 passes, but for the Ravens to win this game it has to be low scoring and Andrews will have to be a key player in key spots. He will be the best secondary option to the run game and will need to be an important player on third down moving the chains and sustaining drives and in the red zone as well.Â Â
The 1pm SlateÂ
Minnesota Vikings @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Vikings have an explosive all around, MVP-possible, bell-cow running back in Dalvin Cook along with explosive passing weapons in Adam Thielen (expected to return today) and Stefon Diggs, and the expectation is that they will get their best wide receiver, Adam Thielen, back on the field today. That, along with the Kansas City Chiefs and their weapons, this looks like a good 1pm slate game for fans. The downside. Patrick Mahomes is unlikely to play and while Kirk Cousins has been on fire lately, he isn’t a quarterback most fans get lathered up and juicy to see. That doesn’t make this game a downer for the Debbie’s, but it does muffle the excitement. Luckily for this matchup, there aren’t many others to compete with for must-see game of the day or the time slot and it is scheduled to be the number one out-of-market game in Boston and it will compete against a ho-hum pair of teams, the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers.
* Start Adam ThielenÂ Â If he plays for the Vikes he plays for you.
*Â Seriously consider Dalvin Cook in Daily Fantasy SportsÂ
He is expensive, but this should be a high-scoring game and Cook should go off in it. These are the games to target in Daily Fantasy sports and the best players in it are always serious considerations at any price.
*Â Don’t be Fantasy fooled by Alexander MattisonÂ
Mattison has a chance to be a really good running back in 2020 and beyond, but week #8 was more of a mirage than an indicator of things to come in 2019, even in a good matchup. The only way Mattison is relevant in week #9 is if Dalvin Cook is injured or the Vikings blow out the Chiefs early. “Vikings blow out Chiefs at Arrowhead!!!” That’s not a heading I expect to see on Monday morning. Stay away from Mattison.
* Kyle Rudolph
Tight Ends Sucks. Because of that fact, Rudolph is good…this week. One touchdown and 147 receiving yards this season. Meh. Chiefs defense allows 12.96 points per game to tight ends, ranking them 12th worst in football – better. High scoring game – weak defense against the position.Â Buyin RudyÂ this week.
Indianapolis Colts @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Both teams are ho-hum in pretty much every sense of the term. They lack marque names, for the most part. Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell are gone, neither Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger or T.Y. Hilton are playing and James Connor may not either. The Colts will look to run while the Steelers will look to just remain competitive.
Both defenses are ho-hum statistically. They aren’t defenses to target because of how poorly they are against any specific position and yet they aren’t good enough to make aÂ Start, aÂ SitÂ either. As I said, ho-hum across the board.
* Jaylen Samuels
Intriguing, explosive skill set and with James Connor’s status looking bleak, Samuels could be a high-volume play at a bargain-basement price this week. If you’re looking for a bargain with volume Jaylen Samuels is your savior in DFS and yearly leagues.
* Marlon Mack is a must-start in yearly leagues, but I want to be on record:Â
I think he has a huge day. This matchup and expected game flow makes for an intriguing DFS play. It would be an EXTREMELY ODD stack, but Jaylen Samuels and Marlon Mack would be a contrarian play that could have cash in your pocket and competitors scratching their heads.Â Just sayin.Â
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins
“Throw up in my mouth.” I don’t want to be stuck watching this one, but I actually think this is going to be a weird, Halloween-esque, type of mess and watching a train wreck, while heinous, can be captivating. Lots of craziness and oddities, most ugly but a few might be pretty too.
All that being said. Le’Veon Bell is a still a talented player and Sam Darnold can’t be THIS bad. Miami IS this bad. Both are interesting DFS plays. I want no part of anything Miami, but Bell and Darnold are contrarian and affordable.Â
Tampa Bay @ Seattle Seahawks
This one, because of the weakness of weakness of the league in the whole and week #9 in particular, is one of the prime games. Jameis Winston should be playing in the Jets/Dolphins game because of the Jekyl and Hyde style he brings to the position. He could throw five touchdowns or five interceptions and if it goes to overtime, maybe both. Russell Wilson lacks enthralling offensive weapons, but the Seahawks can score. I am hoping it’s wet and sloppy and we get some lunacy due to conditions. Snow would be a lot to ask…. but I am asking anyway.
* DK MetcalfÂ is a red zone machine and with the bye week dinging a lot of us, he is a solid Flex play this week. And, if the price is reasonable, an interesting one-off, non-stack play.Â
* Chris CarsonÂ has been a DFS staple because of the volume, but this week he sits in DFS and drops to a Flex in yearly leagues. It feels extremely odd to write this, but Tampa Bay is GREAT against the run. It hurts my throat to say that but the numbers are the numbers and Tampa’s run D has the numbers to back it up.
* Stacking in Seattle
I can see either a Wilson/Metcalf/Lockett stacked with Chris Godwin or a Winston/Evans/Godwin stack with DK Metcalf from the Seahawks thrown in from the other side in this one. I don’t love the Bucs stack because it may be a popular one and because I am not ready to immediately jump back on the Mike Evans bandwagon. I want shares in this one regardless of how I choose to spend my budget. I will be using individual plays like Godwin, Lockett or Metcalf if I need to save money on my budget and Russell Wilson is a serious consideration as maybe the best QB in Fantasy this week.Â Â
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