Last week, my journey down the matchups based on Football Outsiders’ team defense analysis led me to start Austin Davis, Brian Quick and Justin Forsett, three of the biggest sleeper picks of the week last week.
Had Rashad Jennings and Jimmy Graham stayed healthy — they both started strong — I feel like I could have put up a great number.
Still, I won enough to play another day because of these matchups. I believe they can help you cash in the Millionaire Maker tournament at Draft Kings. Maybe you might even win it.
Let’s get to the quarterback matchups:
1. New Orleans is on bye
2. Colin Kaepernick vs. St. Louis — And here’s a pick I wasn’t even considering for Sunday’s lineups. Kaepernick offers a run/pass combo that can be a fantasy gold mine.
3. Ben Roethlisberger vs. Cleveland — A lot of people are saying play Le’Veon Bell this week. Bell is a good play, but I have to believe Roethlisberger drops back plenty with Joe Haden hobbled.
4. Philip Rivers vs. Oakland — Like Brohamma said in the comments earlier this week, San Diego’s offense is going nuclear and now they get to beat up the fumbling Oakland defense.
5. Joe Flacco vs. Tampa Bay — Flacco was my quarterback in the first Millionaire Maker lineup I made. I’ve since changed my team, but I wrote down the lineup and will likely make it a secondary lineup in another tournament.
6. Charlie Whitehurst (or Jake Locker) vs. Jacksonville — This feels like a trap this week. It’s not like the Jaguars got any better, it just doesn’t feel right in my gut. Also Checkdown Charlie White-hurts at quarterback.
7. Jay Cutler vs. Atlanta — Everybody — EVERYBODY — is screaming about Matt Ryan to Julio Jones this week. The Bears defense is banged up. I get it. Jay Cutler’s got a better matchup.
8. Carson Palmer (or Drew Stanton or Logan Thomas) vs. Washington — So this quarterback mess has the potential to provide a good value — if Stanton or Palmer play — or a great opportunity for the Washington defense if Logan Thomas plays. It’s a 4 p.m. game. I’m staying away from this mess. EDIT: It looks like Palmer is going to play. Reports say he was lobbing passes in practice so I’m a little concerned. There could still be opportunities for the receivers, but I’m avoiding Palmer.
9. Matthew Stafford vs. Minnesota — Not a lot of people on Stafford either. There’s no Megatron, but Golden Tate is no Starscream. He’s been decent on his own.
10. Andy Dalton vs. Carolina — With A.J. Green on the sideline this week, fantasy owners are going avoid Dalton. But without Green in the past, Mohamed Sanu and Giovani Bernard picked up the slack.
1. Cam Newton vs. Cincinnati — The Patriots proved Cincinnati’s pass D can be beat last week. Cam has weapons in the passing game, but Vegas predicts only 18.25 total points for Carolina.
2. Teddy Bridgewater vs. Detroit — The Lions defense is the second most efficient overall, it’s the No. 2 rushing defense and the No. 2 passing defense. Some people are promoting Bridgewater as a good contrarian play this week, but I’m reluctant to follow.
3. Ryan Tannehill vs. Green Bay — It’s not a good matchup for Tannehill or his top receivers, Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline.
4. Geno Smith vs. Denver — Playing against Denver always means there’s a chance for garbage time. I’m just not sure Smith can even take advantage of that without turning the ball over a couple times.
5. Kyle Orton vs. New England — I can’t think of any reason why I’d start Kyle Orton at quarterback after last week. Well, other than his 308 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception last week in his first Bills start against that vaunted Lions defense listed above. New England’s pass defense is susceptible to running backs who can catch passes. Check. And they aren’t particularly great against opposing WR1s like Sammy Watkins. Check. My big concern with starting Orton as a low-priced, low-owned contrarian play is Bill Belichick. I look for the Patriots to take Watkins out of the equation which may not beat the Bills (it probably will), but it will definitely lower Orton’s ceiling.
6. Houston played Thursday night
7. Austin Davis vs. San Francisco — I won’t be starting Davis on Monday night against the 49ers.
8. Nick Foles vs. New York Giants — As bad as the Giants looked early in the season, they now have the fifth best defense in the league and the eighth-best pass defense. When the defense and special teams score all of the Eagles’ points there’s no reason for Foles to throw for 400 yards.
9. Tom Brady vs. Buffalo — After beating last week’s matchup against the top-rated Bengals pass defense we have to ask which Patriots team we might see against Buffalo. I’m still staying away.
10. Matt Ryan vs. Chicago — Again, yes, the Bears are without Peanut Tillman. Ryan and Cutler are going to be in a shootout. But if I have to choose one to start in the Millionaire Maker, it’s going to be Cutler.