While those regular-leaguers have all but closed the book on 2013, us daily fantasy players get to keep going.
There are many benefits to playing daily fantasy sports, but being able to squeeze every last ounce out of the fantasy football season has to be near the top of the list. I hope you have at least a $1 tourney team out their this week at your site of choice, be it FanDuel or Draft Kings.
This is the week when some starters will sit — most of the fantasy football community expects Jamaal Charles to give way to Knile Davis early because the Chiefs’ playoff situation is set in stone — and some young players will get an opportunity to stake their claim for a 2014 starting spot. That all means we’re going to have a lot of volatility. The kind of thing that wins tournament games.
Let’s get to the matchups:
Overall matchups factor in fantasy points allowed at each position for the last five weeks. Players from teams on this list have high probabilities of succumbing to the matchups. Also, this ranking has proven to have a better than 50/50 rate of determining good fantasy defenses. Don’t follow it blindly, but if the Fantasy Pros say one team is going to be top 5, your ranking says it’s going to be top five and the matchup is there, it’s probably worth spending a few extra bucks to get them.
Excellent matchups: Detroit vs. Minnesota, Chicago vs. Green Bay, Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland, Denver vs. Oakland.
Worst matchups: St. Louis vs. Seattle, Arizona vs. San Francisco, Baltimore vs. Cincinnati, Kansas City vs. San Diego, Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh.
Best matchups: Matthew Stafford vs. Minnesota, Philip Rivers vs. Kansas City, Ben Roethlisberger vs. Cleveland, Thad Lewis vs. New England, Peyton Manning vs. Oakland, Cam Newton vs. Atlanta, Nick Foles vs. Dallas.
Worst matchups: Kellen Clemens vs. Seattle, Matt Cassel vs. Detroit, Tom Brady vs. Buffalo, Andy Dalton vs. Baltimore, Carson Palmer vs. San Francisco, Aaron Rodgers vs. Chicago.
Talking points: Sometimes winning in daily fantasy is about starting a player that nobody else is starting that week. Considering his saucy matchup against a New England team that has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks over the last five weeks and his value salary, Thad Lewis might fit that bill. There are quite a few high-priced QBs in the best matchup list. Cam Newton is the best value of those upper-level guys and is a player with a very high floor this week. … Some of my research this week pointed me toward Andy Dalton, Matt Cassel and Aaron Rodgers this week. I’m reconsidering because of these rankings.
Best matchups: Knowshon Moreno vs. Oakland, Eddie Lacy vs. Chicago, Alfred Morris vs. New York Giants, Ryan Mathews vs. Kansas City, Matt Forte vs. Green Bay, Jonathan Grimes vs. Tennessee, LeSean McCoy vs. Dallas.
Worst matchups: Rashard Mendenhall/Andre Ellington vs. San Francisco, Frank Gore vs. Arizona, Adrian Peterson vs. Detroit, Zac Stacy vs. Seattle, Steven Jackson vs. Carolina, Pierre Thomas vs. Tampa Bay, Ray Rice vs. Cincinnati.
Talking points: Jonathan Grimes is one of those minimum-priced players about to get a starter’s workload for the first time all season. Those are the kinds of players who can break tournament games wide open if they hit. Even if he doesn’t hit, he should get 20 touches (he has 7 career carries and 2 career catches in two seasons as an undrafted free agent). … I know AP is superhuman, but he’s banged up and facing a defense that doesn’t allow many points to opposing running backs. I’m staying away. … Knowshon Moreno’s price and matchup make him almost a must start. He has 55 catches, sixth-most against running backs this season, and he’s going up against a Raiders defense that can’t stop pass-catching backs.
Best matchups: Calvin Johnson/Nate Burleson vs. Minnesota, Keenan Allen/Vincent Brown vs. Kansas City, Antonio Brown/Emmanuel Sanders/Jerricho Cotchery vs. Cleveland, Josh Gordon vs. Cleveland, Dez Bryant vs. Philadelphia, T.Y. Hilton/Da’Rick Rogers vs. Jacksonville, Kendall Wright vs. Houston, Denarius Moore/Rod Streater vs. Denver, Brandon Marshall/Alshon Jeffery vs. Green Bay, Dwayne Bowe vs. San Diego, Doug Baldwin/Golden Tate vs. St. Louis, Torrey Smith vs. Cincinnati, Jeremy Kerley vs. Miami.
Worst matchups: Tavon Austin vs. Seattle, Julian Edelman vs. Buffalo, Anquan Boldin vs. Arizona, Pierre Garcon vs. New York Giants, Vincent Jackson vs. New Orleans, Greg Jennings vs. Detroit, Roddy White vs. Carolina, Hakeem Nicks vs. Washington.
Talking points: The Lions and Calvin Johnson aren’t talking, but there is a report that Johnson has a severe knee injury. He was certainly limited last week. I’m staying away, but I’ve got Burleson as a minimum-priced lottery ticket in a couple lineups. … Just like in the quarterback ranks, some research pointed me toward some of the players on the worst matchups list: Julian Edelman, Pierre Garcon, Greg Jennings and Roddy White.
Best matchups: Vernon Davis vs. Arizona, Scott Chandler vs. New England, Tony Gonzalez vs. Carolina, Greg Olsen vs. Atlanta, Joseph Fauria vs. Minnesota, Michael Hoomanawanui vs. Buffalo, Martellus Bennett vs. Green Bay.
Worst matchups: Tyler Eiffert vs.Baltimore, Rhett Ellison vs. Detroit, Marcedes Lewis vs. Indianapolis, Kellen Winslow vs. Miami, Julius Thomas vs. Oakland, Anthony Fasano vs. San Diego.
Talking points: In lineups where I’m not starting Jimmy Graham I’m taking either Vernon Davis as a high-priced option or Joseph Fauria as a low priced option. Davis burned the Cardinals for 30 points earlier this season. Fauria could benefit if Calvin Johnson is hindered by his knee.
Best matchups: Randy Bullock vs. Tennessee, Matt Prater vs. Oakland, Caleb Sturgis vs. New York Jets, Robbie Gould vs. Green Bay, Rob Bironas vs. Houston, Blair Walsh vs. Detroit.
Worst matchups: Dan Bailey vs. Philadelphia, Jay Feely vs. San Francisco, Phil Dawson vs. Arizona, Justin Tucker vs. Cincinnati, Mike Nugent vs. Baltimore, Josh Scobee vs. Indianapolis, Steven Hauschka vs. St. Louis, Dan Carpenter vs. New England, Ryan Succop vs. San Diego.
Talking points: That Bears-Packers game could be a shootout, making Robbie Gould a solid play at a low price. … Prater is the one player over the minimum I’m rostering this week. … Hauschka, even with a bad matchup, is at a value price and has been one of the most consistent kickers this season.
Best matchups: Vikings vs. Detroit, Packers vs. Chicago, Giants vs. Washington, Bears vs. Green Bay, Lions vs. Minnesota, Saints vs. Tampa Bay, Steelers vs. Cleveland, Cowboys vs. Philadelphia.
Worst matchups: Browns vs. Pittsburgh, Chiefs vs. San Diego, Ravens vs. Cincinnati, Raiders vs. Denver, Falcons vs. Carolina, Chargers vs. Kansas City, Jaguars vs. Indianapolis, Rams vs. Seattle.
Talking points: I have Miami in pretty much every one of my lineups this week. Where there are no Dolphins, there are Saints and Seahawks.