Fantasy Football Matchup Madness

Posted By: on September 5, 2013

Welcome to the first edition of our new weekly article focusing on the best and worst match-ups of the week to plan your starting roster against. We will look into individual battles as well as schemes that could cause potential problems or create great opportunities for players to put up big numbers. For you daily fantasy players, keep an eye on our recommended plays as these guys seem very likely to outperform their salaries based on the X’s and O’s.

Big Game Potential 

Here we look at what players have favorable match-ups that could lead to an explosive performance. These are guys that you want to get into your line up even if it means benching a usual starter. In salary cap leagues, it’s time to go all in for these players.

Patriot RBs vs. Buffalo Bills

The Bills ranked 31st in opponents rushing yards a season ago, and did not show much in the preseason that makes us think this year will be any different. The Bills D yielded 4.6 yards per attempt in their four preseason games and this defense is one you want to see your back lining up against.

We all know that the Pats offense runs through Tom Brady, but this is a different Patriots team than in recent years. With all sorts of question marks at wide receiver and their best pass catch (Rob Gronkowski) still recovering from offseason surgery, look for Belicheck to lean heavily on his two headed monster in the backfield early in the season. Steven Ridley will see plenty of work on early downs as the Pats will look to soften up the Buffalo front. Shane Vereen is going to get his touches too, but expect to see him getting to work out of the slot as well as in the back field.


Ridley – 125 yds rushing 1 TD, 3 catches 20 yds
Vereen – 45 yds rushing, 5 catches 45 yds, 1 TD

Tampa Defense vs. New York Jets

It is not so much that we like the Bucs’ D–they were ranked dead last against the pass last year–but the Jets are going to have one of the worst offenses in the league. Can anyone name a single skill position player on the Jets that could start on any other team in the league? Because I sure can’t think of a single one. Rookie QB Geno Smith will be getting his first start which is problematic in itself, but he has no weapons around him to help take some of the pressure off.

Expect Tampa to be aggressive and pack the box early to take away the run game and then get after the rookie QB. The much improved secondary led by former Jets CB Darrelle Revis and hard hitting safety Dashon Goldson will create some big plays that should lead to turnovers, which means fantasy points. The Bucs should be able to build an early lead forcing Smith to throw more frequently allowing even more chances for sacks and interceptions.


Tampa Bay D – 10 point allowed, 3 sacks, 3 ints, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery

Ben Roethlisberger vs. Tennessee Titans

Tennessee was in the bottom third of every defensive category last year and Big Ben will look to take advantage of that porous unit this week. The Steelers want to be a run first physical team, but with their new workhorse RB is on the shelf for at least week one and that means they will look to Roethlisberger to lead the charge. Pittsburgh is a team at a crossroad, for the first time in a long time they are not the odds-on favorite to win the AFC North which will lead to their ever-confident QB playing with a chip on his shoulder.

Even with the loss of stand-out WR Mike Wallace, this is still a solid receiving corps. Antonio Brown and Emmanual Sanders are a great one two combination and rookie speedster Marcus Wheaton will take over as the big-play threat for Big Ben. Tennessee struggled to get after the QB last season and if given time, Ben will pick apart any defense and pile up chunks of yardage in the passing game. Look for Roethlisberger to take over this game early and try to make a statement that the Steelers are not a team on the decline.


Ben Roethlisberger – 375 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT

Honorable Mentions

Any Redskins skill player vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Editor’s note…. OUCH!)
Patriots D vs. Buffalo Bills
Andrew Luck vs. Oakland Raiders
Falcons WRs vs. New Orleans Saints
David Wilson vs. Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo and Cowboy’s passing offense vs. New York Giants

Bad Day Looms

This section will focus on those players that have unfavorable match-ups that could cause lower than expected production. These are guys that you want to avoid starting if at all possible.

Steve Smith vs. Seattle Seahawks

Smith has a lot going against him this week: he’s another year older… and slower, he’s facing the best secondary (and the self proclaimed best CB) in the league, and the Panthers did very little in the offseason to draw the attention of opposing secondaries to the other side of the field. Having always been a boom and bust player, this matchup has bust written all over it for Smith. Carolina will look to pound the ball early in this game to try and get the secondary to sneak up which means less looks for Smith. It also does not that TE Greg Olson who may have to help on pass protection against the aggressive Seahawks’ front 7.

It is possible that Smith could break a big play, but I am not one to count on one play to make a fantasy day. Smith will see a lot of one on one matchups with the physical Richard Sherman which will not bode well for the small WR. It is also likely that the Panthers will not even try to challenge Sherman much leading to even less looks for Smith.


Steve Smith – 4 catches, 30 yards, 0 TDs

Mike Wallace vs. Cleveland Browns

Over the past two seasons Wallace only has 6 receptions and 77 yards in 3 games against the Browns. He now finds himself with a much less accomplish QB throwing him the ball and Cleveland has a much improved D. Without much of a threat to run the ball it is unlikely that there will be many play action attempts which is where the speedy Wallace excels. The lack of run game will also allow Cleveland to give CB Joe Haden safety help so he can be more physical at the line of scrimmage and Wallace struggles getting off of press coverage.

As always, there is that chance that the speedster could break a big play but with the expected bracket coverage that seems unlikely. This game is also not going to be a shoot out with the Browns looking to control the ball by running Trent Richardson.


Mike Wallace – 3 catches, 45 yards, 0 TDs

Eddie Lacy vs. San Francisco 49ers

This is a slight cop out as no back should be expected to have a good game against the 49ers stout defense, but Lacy has been getting so much lately,  it’s was worth pointing out the bad matchup. San Fran has one of the most fearsome defenses in the league and they specialize in shutting down the opponent’s run game.

The other factor that will hurt Lacy in the opener is that the Niners have carved up the Packers’ defense in recent years. There is no reason to take the ball out of Aaron Rodgers‘ hands and if the Packers fall behind early, Green Bay will take to the air to try and close the gap. Lacy is a good back and he will have productive days this season, but this will not be one of them.


Eddie Lacy – 25 yds rushing, 3 catches,  8 yds receiving

Dishonorable Mentions

Daryl Richardson vs. Arizona Cardinals
Chris Johnson vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Steve Johnson vs. New England Patriots
Demarco Murray vs. New York Giants
Philip Rivers vs. Houston Texans
Ravens Defense vs. Denver Broncos

The Close

That is your Week 1 Matchup Madness, I hope this helps you out when making some of those tough sit-start calls when setting your roster for the ever important week 1 Game. Look for our next installment in week 2 and good luck this week!

Fantasy Football Impact: Miami Dolphins 2013 Draft

Posted By: on August 25, 2013

Miami made the first big splash in the draft, moving up to get Dion Jordan at No. 3 overall. Jordan is an explosive player who will give the Dolphins a fierce combination of outside rushers with the rookie running opposite Cameron Wake.

The Dolphins continued to build on defense with four additional selections. They addressed the loss of Jake Long in the third round with Dallas Thomas out of Tennessee. The only offensive skill players Miami took were Dion Sims (TE, Michigan State) and Mike Gillislee (RB, Florida).

Fantasy Impact

Dion Jordan can be an explosive pass rusher, and working with an established player like Wake will give him good matchups. The defense should see added sacks and take-aways, and Jordan could be a great draft and stash option in IDP leagues.

That is about all of the impact you will probably see from this draft class this season.

 Draft Results

13Dion JordanDEOregon
254Jamar TaylorCBBoise State
377Dallas ThomasOTTennessee
393Will DavisCBUtah State
4104Jelani JenkinsLBFlorida
4106Dion SimsTEMichigan State
5164Mike GillisleeRBFlorida
5166Caleb SturgisPKFlorida
7250Don JonesSSArkansas State

Fantasy Football Impact: Buffalo Bills 2013 Draft

Posted By: on August 22, 2013

Having decided it was time to part ways with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo was clearly in need of a quarterback coming into this draft. Though they greatly overpaid for him at No. 16 overall the Bills got their man in E.J. Manuel from FSU. Buffalo also build great depth around Steve Johnson at WR, adding Robert Woods (USC) and Marquise Goodwin (Texas). Both rookies will have a shot to earn real playing time and could be fantasy factors as early as 2013. On the defensive side of the ball, Buffalo added a big play linebacker with Kiko Alonso (Oregon) and solid depth at the safety position with Duke Williams (Nevada) and Johnathan Meeks (Clemson).

Fantasy Impact

Manuel is a mature and experienced player who will likely overcome many of the issues that rookie signal-caller normally struggle with and is surrounded by a number of enticing weapons. A recent minor knee procedure will keep Manuel out of the lineup on opening day, but it will not be long before he takes over for veteran Kevin Kolb. If an when he overtakes the role Manuel’s rushing ability presents us with QB2 upside on a week to week basis.

Robert Woods will be a very good pro and if someone at the quarterback position can get him the ball he will be productive immediately. Opponents simply must respect Buffalo’s run game and with Stevie Johnson attracting the secondary’s attention, Woods will have opportunity to work against one on one coverage out of the slot. Don’t go reaching for him, but this guy could be a steal in the later rounds and is a potential first-rounder in dynasty rookie drafts.

Like Woods, Marquise Goodwin could find himself being fantasy relevant. Goodwin is a straight burner who posted one of the top 40-times at combine. I do not see him consistently putting up solid fantasy numbers but he’ll be good for a few long catches and has the chance to develop into a nice complimentary option.

Expect Kiko Alonso to provide some big plays at the middle linebacker spot and he makes a solid late-round pick in IDP drafts. The Bills Defense should be better than it was last year, but I think everyone said the same thing a year ago.

Dustin Hopkins was drafted so you know he is going to be the kicker for Buffalo, and everyone needs a kicker right?

Draft Results

116E.J. ManuelQBFlorida State
241Robert WoodsWRSouthern California
246Kiko AlonsoLBOregon
378Marquise GoodwinWRTexas
4105Duke WilliamsFSNevada
5143Johnathan MeeksSClemson
6177Dustin HopkinsPKFlorida State
7222Chris GraggTEArkansas


Fantasy Football Impact: New Orleans Saints 2013 Draft

Posted By: on August 15, 2013

Only having 5 picks and quite a few areas of need, the Saints focused on filling those needs with the best players available at every turn in the draft. Kenny Vaccaro is ready to step in and start at safety a spot where the defense desperately needs some help there (well really, they need help everywhere). New Orleans got a pair of athletic big men in the third round with OT Terron Armstead from Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and Georgia NT John Jenkins. They finished out the draft with some depth selections by adding WR Kenny Stills and LB Rufus Johnson.

Fantasy Impact

Stills will be competing for time as the 3rd or 4th receiver behind Marcus Colston and Lance Moore and after Joseph Morgan was lost for the season in training camp, the rookie has areal shot to earn a healthy number of snaps. Stills is a solid, experienced player that should be able to contribute immediately in the Saints’ high-flying offense. Unfortunately, we all know how New Orleans likes to spread the ball around so while there will undoubtedly be some big games if he can crack the lineup, there will be some zeros thrown in there as well. Heading into the draft it is difficult to envision Stills as more than bye-week fill-in, but there is certainly upside for more..

Vaccaro and Jenkins are big pieces that will help get this defenseive unit back on track, but you simply cannot plug a hole in this dam that is the Saint’s D with just one finger. While Rob Ryan’s presence should make them more aggressive, the players on the field still have to make the tackles.

Draft Results

115Kenny VaccaroSTexas
375Terron ArmsteadTArkansas-Pine Bluff
382John JenkinsDTGeorgia
5144Kenny StillsWROklahoma
6183Rufus JohnsonLBTarleton State

Fantasy Football Impact: Carolina Panthers 2013 Draft

Posted By: on August 14, 2013

The Panthers had serious problems stopping the run last year and used their first two picks to sure up the interior defensive line. Star Lotulelei was at one time considered a prospect for the No. 1 overall pick, but slipped due to a health scare related to a heart condition. Kawann Short, the team’s second selection, also has the potential to make an impact and should compete for a starting role immediately. The other name that will catch some eyes from this draft class is Kenjon Barner, RB out of Oregon. Barner ran all over the Pac-12 last season, but the question remains: how will he fit into an already crowded backfield in Carolina?

Fantasy Impact

Barner is an interesting prospect–his skill set from running the read option spread in Oregon would fit very well with QB Cam Newton–but there are already way too many mouths to feed in this backfield. Barner could be worth stashing in dynasty leagues with the hope that he is able to find work in a year or two when the other backs have moved on.

The defense has to be better against the run with the additions up front. Lotulelei and Short will help to eat up blockers to allow Luke Kuechley and Co. to roam freely. However, Carolina did absolutely nothing to improve their secondary, which could prove troublesome when having to face both the Saints and Falcons each twice a year.

Draft Results

114Star LotuleleiDTUtah
244Kawann ShortDTPurdue
4108Edmund KugbilaGValdosta State
5148A.J. KleinLBIowa State
6182Kenjon BarnerRBOregon

Fantasy Football Impact: Atlanta Falcons 2013 Draft

Posted By: on August 13, 2013

For a team that was tied for the best record in football last season, Atlanta had a lot of areas of need to address this offseason. They used free agency to take care of the hole at running back, bringing in Stephen Jackson to be their new workhorse, and added a pass rusher in Osi Umenyora. The Falcons chose to focus on their defensive needs through the draft, primarily in the secondary using 4 of their 8 picks (including their first two) on defensive backs. They grabbed a pair of defensive ends with good value in the 4th and 5th rounds, but both guys will take some time to become steady contributors. The lone selection that could put up some fantasy points this season for the Falcons is TE Levine Toilolo from Stanford, who will get a season to learn from the best at the position in Tony Gonzalez.

Fantasy Impact

Toilolo will give Matt Ryan another option in the red zone, but would you throw the ball to an unknown rookie when you have Gonzalez, Julio Jones and Roddy White to choose from? Toilolo will not do much this season, but could be worth a late round investment in dynasty league in what should continue to be one of the best passing offenses in the league for years to come.

With the influx of youth in the secondary someone figures to step up and fill the void left by the departure of Dunta Robinson via Free Agency. Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford figure to battle for time opposite Asante Samuel with one of them filling the nickel spot.

Draft Results

122Desmond TrufantCBWashington
260Robert AlfordCBS.E. Louisiana
4127Malliciah GoodmanDEClemson
4133Levine ToiloloTEStanford
5153Stansly MapongaDETCU
7243Kemal IshmaelSCentral Florida
7244Zeke MottaSNotre Dame
7249Sean RenfreeQBDuke

Fantasy Football Impact: Tennessee Titans 2013 Draft

Posted By: on August 7, 2013

Tennessee had an up and down season in 2012, but showed signs that they could be a very good team in the not-too-distant future. In my opinion, the Titans had one of the best drafts this year and have put themselves in great position to compete for a division title in a wide open AFC South. Their first round selection, Alabama guard Chance Warmack, is the best run blocker to come into the league in years. Tennessee WR Justin Hunter adds another playmaker to their roster and deepens perhaps the team’s strongest unit. With their two third round picks the Titans addressed needs on defense with Connecticut CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Missouri LB Zavier Gooden. Fourth round pick Brian Schwenke, a center from California, is a good prospect that should challenge for a starting spot. LSU DE Lavar Edwards was also a great pick in the fifth round and should be able to help improve their pass rush. The Titans finished out the draft by adding some depth to their secondary

 Fantasy Impact

If Chris Johnson is ever going to become CJ2K again this is the year. The additions made to the offensive line in free agency along with Warmack and Schwenke give the Titans one of the best run blocking lines in the league. Johnson perpetually complained about the lack of support from the boys up front, but in 2013, Johnson have very few excuses to make if he does not preform.

Justin Hunter is an explosive deep threat that will compliment Kenny Britt nicely on the outside and open up the underneath for Kendall Wright. Add Nate Washington and this is one of the deepest receiving corps in the league. Hunter is worth taking a shot on in late rounds of the draft, because if Jake Locker can’t get him the ball then Ryan Fitzpack will step in and we all know how much he loves to sling it (just not always to the right team).

The defense is going to be much improved from a year ago, not that they could get much worse. Wreh-Wilson has a chance to step into a starting spot and at the very least will be a great nickel corner. Gooden is raw but has some of the most upside of any LB from this draft. Edwards was a steal in the 5th round and should work into the rotation to add some extra energy and pass rushing ability to the defensive line.

110Chance WarmackGAlabama
234Justin HunterWRTennessee
370Blidi Wreh-WilsonCBConnecticut
397Zaviar GoodenLBMissouri
4107Brian SchwenkeCCalifornia
5142Lavar EdwardsDELSU
6202Khalid WootenCBNevada
7248Daimion StaffordSNebraska

Fantasy Football Impact: Jaguars 2013 Draft

Posted By: on August 6, 2013

The Jaguars had arguably the most room for improvement coming into the draft, and they did a nice job adding talent to their roster. Jacksonville started off their draft by acquiring Texas A&M Tackle Luke Joeckel who many regarded as the top player in the draft. Their next two picks went towards helping the defense with FIU Safety Johnathan Cyprien and Connecticut CB Dwayne Gratz, both players should be able to step in and start immediately. Jacksonville snared a pair of offensive playmakers in Ace Sanders and Denard Robinson, both holding a significant amount of raw athletic ability. The Jags wrapped up their draft by adding three additional defensive back, a clear area of need.

Fantasy Impact:

Joeckel is not going to be on any fantasy teams, but he will make live a whole lot easier for Maurice Jones-Drew and the quarterback–whoever ends that ends up being.

Sanders and Robinson are intriguing prospects that should both provide for some nice footage for the highlight reel this season. The problem for fantasy is that they’re likely in direct competition for touches potentially limiting the impact of either. Sanders has an shot to become involved in the return game, boosting his value in deeper formats that awards scoring for return yardage. There is, however, no doubt that this pair could get an increased shot at touches right out of the gates as starting wideout Justin Blackmon serves a four-game suspension. At the very least, they will be two players whose role we will be keeping an eye on this preseason.

It’s on the defensive side of the ball where fantasy owners really want to focus. The additions to the secondary will make the unit improved overall, though they could still use another pass rusher. Jonathan Cyprien may be the most exciting rookie prospect to come out of this draft class for IDP players. The rook should immediately step into a starting role and has the talent to thrive.

Draft Results

12TLuke JoeckelTexas A&M
233SJohnathan CyprienFlorida International
364CBDwayne GratzConnecticut
4101WRAce SandersSouth Carolina
5135RBDenard RobinsonMichigan
6169CBJosh EvansFlorida
7208CBJeremy HarrisNew Mexico State
7210CBDemetrius McCrayAppalachian State

Fantasy Football Impact: Indianapolis Colts 2013 Draft

Posted By: on July 29, 2013

Draft Recap

Most people thought the Colts would use this draft to put a bunch of young talented skill players around Andrew Luck, but they went in a different direction, instead choosing to address needs on defense and the offensive line. First round pick Bjoern Werner is a solid player and should add some aggressiveness to the Colts D. Not having a second round pick, Indy went interior offensive line with their 3rd and 4th rounders, selecting Hugh Thornton from Illinois and USC’s Khaled Holmes, both of which could crack the starting lineup this season. Montori Hughes has some character issues (that led to him being asked to leave Tennessee) but could end up being a steal in the fifth round. The only offensive skill players the Colts selected came with their last two picks and both of those are at positions where there is a lot of depth already.

Fantasy Impact

Utah State RB Kerwyn Williams is an explosive player that may be able to find himself a niche roll on the offense. He may have a some big plays this season, but it will be tough for him to find consistent work in a backfield that is already deep.

Like Williams, Justice Cunningham is also going to buried on the depth chart at Tight End. He could also find himself in a niche roll as a blocking tight end.

The additions of Thornton and Holmes on the offensive line should help to reduce the number of times Luck gets sacked in the future (40 times in 2012) and protecting him should be the franchise’s number one goal. The duo should also help to improve on the colts 22nd ranked rush offense.

Even though the Colts used their first round pick on a defensive player, I do not see them making much improvement on that side of the ball this season. Werner is a good football player, but the Colts intend to move him to outside linebacker and the biggest knock on him in the draft was a lack of athleticism. I see Werner fitting more as a 3-4 defensive end, but I am not an NFL GM so you have to believe the Colts know what they are doing. Hughes will add good depth to the d-line and could develop into a very good space eating nose tackle.

Draft Results

124Bjoern WernerDEFlorida St.
386Hugh ThorntonGIllinois
4121Khaled HolmesCUSC
5139Montori HughesDTTennessee-Martin
6192John BoyettSOregon
7230Kerwynn WilliamsRBUtah State
7254Justice CunninghamTESouth Carolina

Fantasy Football Impact: Houston Texans 2013 Draft

Posted By: on July 23, 2013

Draft Recap

Houston is a team that is on the cusp of a championship, but have been missing a few pieces to make that run. They did a nice job in this draft addressing needs and acquiring impact players. Having been a one man show at wide receiver for pretty much their entire existence, the position was an area of need and DeAndre Hopkins will step in and start week 1. The addition of Ed Reed in free agency gives the Texans a much needed veteran presence in the secondary, but he has health concerns, and there are already questions as to when he will be able to get onto the field. D.J. Swearinger is a great athlete and his aggressive style of play should fit into Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips’ scheme nicely giving them quality depth. Houston added a pair of OTs and DEs in the middle rounds, all four of which have the potential to develop into solid pros.

Fantasy Impact

DeAndre Hopkins is the fantasy gem of this draft for Houston. He had an up and down career at Clemson, but is an explosive player and will get to learn from one of the best in the game in Andre Johnson. Hopkins will step in as a starter, and the attention that Johnson will receive combined with the great running game that forces opponents to commit 7 or 8 players to the box will give Hopkins plenty of opportunities to make plays down the field. This guy should be one of your top rated rookies on draft day and could find himself in the top 25 of all WRs by seasons end. The regular warnings apply about trusting rookie receivers, but the skills and the role make him a worthwhile reach in the later middle rounds of your draft.

WR Alan Bonner out of Jacksonville State is not going to be turning any heads with big plays but is a solid route running who could develop into a good possession receiver. Where Bonner really excels is as a return man and those abilities should earn him a roster spot in Houston. Don’t expect too much in the way fantasy points this season, unless return yardage factors into your scoring format.

Brennan Williams and David Quessenberry will at the very least provide solid depth on the offensive line, and it is possible you could see one or both of them work their way into the rotation at some point this season. Houston showed last year that their scheme does not rely on dominant offensive linemen as they did not skip a beat with the loss of Eric Fisher.

Houston has had a solid fantasy D since the day Wade Phillips arrived, and they added some nice pieces that will add to their depth. Swearinger is going to be a playmaker at safety, and while DEs Sam Montgomery and Trevardo Williams are going to require some time to develop and one or both may change positions, they are both great athletes who made big time plays for their teams in college.

Draft Results

127DeAndre HopkinsWRClemson
257D.J. SwearingerSSouth Carolina
389Brennan WilliamsTUNC
395Sam MontgomeryDELSU
4124Trevardo WilliamsDEConnecticut
6176David QuessenberryTSan Jose St.
6195Alan BonnerWRJackonsville State
6198Chris JonesDTBowling Green
6201Ryan GriffinTEConnecticut