Evan Silva

Matchups

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Silva's Week 9 Matchups

Sunday, November 5, 2017


1:00 PM ET Games

Indianapolis @ Houston
Team Totals: Texans 26.5, Colts 19.5

In a week with six more teams on bye, Jacoby Brissett is an underrated streamer with top-14 fantasy results in four of his last six starts set to face an injury-depleted Texans defense in a game with no weather concerns beneath Houston’s NRG Stadium dome. The Texans were flamed for last week’s QB1 result by Russell Wilson and have given up the NFL’s sixth-most rushing yards to quarterbacks (148), while Brissett ranks sixth at his position in rushing attempts (33) and is tied for first in rushing TDs (3). This game did lose almost all of its shootout luster when Deshaun Watson suffered a devastating ACL tear in Thursday's practice, perhaps threatening Brissett's ceiling. … Although Frank Gore out-touched him 20 to 14 in last week’s loss to Cincinnati, Marlon Mack (53%) out-snapped Gore (49%) for the second straight game and has clearly forced a near-even committee. Mack has also run 52 pass routes to Gore’s 24 in that span, seeing 11 targets to Gore’s 4. On paper, this isn’t a standout matchup for either Colts back as road underdogs against a Texans defense that has stayed stout against the run, holding enemy backs to 3.36 yards per carry and one rushing score in seven games. Houston has also allowed the NFL’s third-fewest receiving yards to backs (200). Gore and Mack are risky flex plays as RBBC members in a tough spot.

Brissett’s Weeks 2-8 target distribution: Jack Doyle 52; T.Y. Hilton 49; Kamar Aiken 34; Donte Moncrief 29; Gore 17; Mack 15. … Clearly Brissett’s go-to safety valve, Doyle enters Week 9 with seven or more targets in five of his last six games. The Texans got rinsed by Seahawks tight ends (5/47/2) last week and on the year have allowed the NFL’s 12th-most catches (38) and 11th-most yards (420) to the position. Doyle has led the Colts in receiving in three straight games (6/44/0, 7/50/1, 12/121/1). … Hilton is fully boom or bust with 30 yards or fewer in four of his last five games, but he is the Colts’ “squeaky wheel” amid unfounded trade rumors, and Seahawks speedster perimeter WRs Tyler Lockett (6/121/0) and Paul Richardson (6/105/2) gave this same Houston secondary all kinds of problems last week. This game will be played indoors, where Hilton has an average career receiving line of 5.0/82.3/0.43 versus 4.15/60.6/0.24 outdoors. At severely lowered salaries across daily fantasy sites, Hilton is a highly compelling Week 9 DFS play. Texans LCB Johnathan Joseph (shin, quad) is listed as questionable. … The rest of Indianapolis’ pass catchers are usually safe to ignore. Moncrief is coming off a catch-less game against the Bengals. Slot man Aiken is scoreless on the season without a 35-yard game.

Deshaun Watson’s ACL tear forces the Texans to turn back to statuesque pocket sloth Tom Savage, who has never thrown a touchdown pass on 105 career attempts and is a sack-absorbing sitting duck behind center due to his complete lack of movement skills. He was benched at halftime of Week 1 after taking seven sacks in the first two quarters alone. Even against a weak Colts defense, Savage’s insertion takes the wind out of Houston’s offensive sails and puts Indianapolis’ D/ST into streamer consideration. … The Texans would be smart to reconfigure a run-first game plan featuring Lamar Miller, who emerged from Houston’s Week 7 bye to equal or establish season highs in playing time (87%) and touches (24) against the Seahawks, a promising development ahead of a Week 9 date with a Colts defense that allowed an 80/382/4.78/4 rushing line to enemy running backs in its last three games. Miller had his two best 2016 games against Chuck Pagano’s defense, tallying total-yardage/touchdown counts of 178/2 and 122/1.

Savage played meaningful snaps in only two 2016 two games; DeAndre Hopkins emerged with stat lines of 8/87/0 and 3/43/0 on target totals of 17 and 6. The good news for Hopkins is the Colts are allowing the league’s seventh-most receptions (95) and second-most yards (1,521) to wide receivers, while top CB Vontae Davis (groin/personal) won't play. The bad news is Savage is a severe downgrade at quarterback. This matchup is still good enough for Hopkins to be viewed as a confident WR2, but there’s no way to overstate how much losing Watson compromises Hopkins’ ceiling and lowers his floor. … Fuller also gets a plus draw against an Indy defense that has allowed a league-high 42 pass plays of 20-plus yards. Fuller is a big-play demon with 4.32 speed, so this is a near-optimal matchup for him. With Savage at the controls, however, Fuller should be downgraded to a boom-bust WR3 play until we see tangible evidence Savage can get him the ball. … Griffin’s passing-game usage has been all over the place, mainly because he stays on the line to block so often. Griffin is running pass routes on only 39% of his offensive snaps. Even against an Indianapolis defense that has allowed the NFL’s eighth-most yards (440) to tight ends, Griffin is a low-floor streamer.

Score Prediction: Colts 24, Texans 20

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Cincinnati @ Jacksonville
Team Totals: Jaguars 22.5, Bengals 16.5

Back from his bye after taking Week 7 off due to a recurring ankle injury, Leonard Fournette is set up for Week 9 success as a home-favorite running back on a Sacksonville team whose defense should dominate the Bengals’ leaky offensive line and position Fournette for extreme-volume workhorse usage. Cincinnati does deserve credit for playing stout run defense all year long, holding enemy running backs to 3.66 yards per carry and just two rushing touchdowns in seven games. I still think this is a spot to bet confidently on Fournette, who has reached pay dirt in 6-of-6 games and cleared 120 total yards in 4-of-6 while averaging 24.2 touches per game. Fournette plus the Jaguars’ D/ST deserves to be one of this week’s most-popular DFS correlation plays. … Blake Bortles is a low-end two-quarterback-league option against a Cincinnati pass defense that has yielded the league’s seventh-fewest fantasy points to the position. Bortles has landed outside the top-18 quarterbacks in 5-of-7 starts with just one top-12 result.

Bortles’ Weeks 1-7 target distribution: Marqise Lee 46; Allen Hurns 38; Chris Ivory and Keelan Cole 21; Fournette and Marcedes Lewis 20. … No enemy wideout has topped 65 yards against the Bengals since Week 3. Antonio Brown (4/65/1) and T.Y. Hilton (2/15/0) both finished below expectation versus Cincy in the last two weeks. Lee has topped 60 yards in four of his last six games and would be the best Week 9 bet of the Jags' receiver group, but he is just a WR4/flex option. Hurns is scoreless since Week 3 and has cleared 50 yards in 2-of-7 games. ... Surprisingly, the Jaguars did not activate rookie Dede Westbrook off I.R. in time for Week 9. Westbrook is still worth stashing in 12- and 14-team season-long leagues as Jacksonville's potential No. 1 receiver down the stretch. … The Bengals got shredded by Jack Doyle (12/121/1) last week, but Lewis isn’t seeing enough receiving work for fantasy viability. He’s blocking on 60% of his snaps and averaging one catch per game.

Even after last week’s predictable top-five result against the Colts, this game sets up worrisomely for Andy Dalton against a Jaguars defense that has held each of its seven quarterbacks faced to weekly finishes of QB18 or worse. Whereas Jacksonville leads the NFL in both sacks (33) and quarterback hits (62), Cincinnati has permitted the league’s tenth-most sacks (22) and ranks 30th in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Sack Rate allowed. I’m teeing up the Jaguars’ D/ST and full fading Dalton. … Although their bye-week trade for Bills DT Marcell Dareus may help up front, Jacksonville was a major run funnel in its first seven games, giving up 5.27 yards per carry to enemy backs. The Bengals’ run blocking is a constant concern regardless of opponent, but Joe Mixon would appear to give Cincy its best shot at generating Week 9 offensive success. The underutilized rookie parlayed 14 touches into a season-high 109 yards in last week’s win over Indianapolis, making the Bengals’ best offensive play on a 67-yard screen pass only to get tackled at the one-yard line. Mixon’s snap rate (63%) was also a season high. Mixon’s lead-back usage in a shaky, opponent-sensitive offense still hasn’t elevated him past dicey RB2/flex treatment, even as Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill have been eliminated from fantasy consideration. Bernard is averaging just 4.2 touches per game since Bill Lazor took over as the Bengals’ OC. Hill is averaging 5.4.

Dalton’s target distribution since the Bengals’ Week 6 bye: A.J. Green 13; Brandon LaFell 12; Tyler Kroft 10; Mixon 6; Bernard 5; Josh Malone 4; Hill, Alex Erickson, John Ross 1. … Antonio Brown is the only enemy wideout to top 70 yards against the Jaguars through seven games, and only two receivers have cleared 60 yards against them. Green will almost certainly be shadowed by Jalen Ramsey, who ranks No. 2 in PFF’s coverage grades and No. 7 in passer rating allowed (41.4) among 115 qualified cornerbacks. … LaFell has failed to reach 50 yards in 7-of-7 games. It is perhaps notable LaFell has moved to slot receiver since the Bengals’ Week 6 bye, playing 60% of his snaps inside in the last two games. Fellow slot men Cooper Kupp (2/35/0), Jeremy Maclin (1/8/0), JuJu Smith-Schuster (4/58/0), and Eric Decker (3/32/0) have found minimal success against underrated Jaguars slot CB Aaron Colvin. … First-round pick Ross logged only six snaps in last week’s win over the Colts and hasn’t earned a legitimate game-day role yet. Ross has zero catches on the season. … The Jags have shown intermittent vulnerability to tight ends this year, albeit not enough to make Kroft a genuinely strong Week 9 streamer. Kroft has reached 50 yards in 1-of-7 games and is averaging nine yards per catch. He’s a touchdown-or-bust dart each week.

Score Prediction: Jaguars 23, Bengals 10

Tampa Bay @ New Orleans
Team Totals: Saints 29, Buccaneers 22

A high-floor, low-ceiling producer to this point on pace for a nine-year low in pass attempts, Drew Brees draws his season-best matchup against a Brent Grimes-less Bucs pass defense that ranks 31st in DVOA, last in sacks (7), and last in quarterback hits (31) while surrendering the NFL’s third-most passing yards (274.7) and eighth-most passing TDs per game (1.71). If Brees is ever going to reach the upside fantasy players have come to expect, you’d think it would happen in a best-case-scenario spot like this. … If Mark Ingram’s two lost fourth-quarter fumbles in last week’s win over the Bears are going to cost him any Week 9 usage, Alvin Kamara would stand to benefit after the dynamic rookie set a season high in snap rate against Chicago, parlaying 11 touches into 76 yards and a score. Kamara’s playing-time clips since the Saints’ Week 5 bye have trended upward chronologically (44% > 49% > 51%), and only six NFL running backs have more receiving yards than Kamara’s 257. … Coach Sean Payton benched Ingram for fumbling in a game against Seattle last October. The very next week, Ingram shredded the 49ers for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Despite last week’s scare, I’m sticking with Ingram in all forms of fantasy against a Bucs defense that has allowed a 94/421/4.48/5 rushing line to enemy running backs in its last four games. Ingram has 24 or more touches in three straight weeks and is playing career-best football. I doubt a Saints team with Super Bowl aspirations will suddenly turn away from one of its core players.

Brees’ target distribution since the Week 5 bye: Michael Thomas 25; Ingram 16; Ted Ginn 15; Kamara 13; Brandon Coleman 8; Coby Fleener 5; Willie Snead 3. … Much like Brees, Thomas has been a steady but non-prolific producer with 75-plus yards in five of his last six games but no 90-yard games and no multi-score games this year. Also much like Brees, if Thomas is going to explode, it’s likely to occur in a matchup like this. Despite an early bye, Tampa has allowed the NFL’s third-most catches (102), fourth-most yards (1,340), and seventh-most touchdowns (8) to wide receivers. … Ginn had a slow Week 8 by his Weeks 6-7 standards, but he still ripped a 53-yard bomb in double coverage versus Chicago and gets a better matchup this week against a far-worse Bucs secondary. Ginn won’t stop being a high-variance producer, of course, when he is averaging only 4.4 targets per game. … Coleman appears to have taken over the Saints’ full-time slot role, out-snapping Snead 80% to 7% against the Bears. Unfortunately, it hasn’t translated to fantasy reliability. Coleman drew one target in Week 8 and has topped four targets just once all year. With Snead’s snaps capable of increasing at any moment, this is a fantasy situation to avoid. … Fleener’s target totals since the open date are 1 > 3 > 1 on snap rates of 25% > 26% > 26%.

A top-ten fantasy passer in three straight games Weeks 5-7, things went south fast for Jameis Winston in last week’s wind-affected bout with Carolina. Effects from Jameis’ throwing-shoulder sprain reappeared, while coach Dirk Koetter admittedly considered benching Winston after an early hit near his right arm. Winston rebounded in practice this week and looks to be all systems go at the Superdome. The Saints’ defense has barely been tested recently after facing Brett Hundley in his first NFL start followed by rookie game manager Mitchell Trubisky in Weeks 7-8. While concerns remain about Winston’s matchup and individual performance, this game’s high total (51) and domed environment provide optimism on Winston as a boom-bust fantasy play. … Doug Martin has the best Week 9 matchup among Bucs skill-position players against a soft Saints run defense that allows 4.48 yards per carry to running backs and the eighth-most receiving yards (389) to the position. New Orleans is a classic run funnel based on DVOA metrics with the NFL’s fourth-rated pass defense but No. 29 unit against the run. Martin continued to lead the Bucs’ backfield usage in last week’s loss to Carolina, logging 19 touches on 58% of the snaps. The only other Tampa back to log a touch was Jacquizz Rodgers (2). If the Bucs keep this game close – and that depends on Winston – Martin is capable of a matchup- and volume-driven breakthrough game.

Winston’s Weeks 2-7 target distribution: Mike Evans 61; DeSean Jackson 47; Cameron Brate 39; Adam Humphries 34; O.J. Howard 19; Charles Sims 17; Chris Godwin 10; Martin 8. … Checked by underrated Panthers CB James Bradberry (5/60/0) last week, Evans gets another tough cornerback matchup with Saints rookie Marshon Lattimore, who has PFF’s No. 1 pass-coverage grade and is No. 2 in passer rating allowed (33.3) among 114 qualifiers. I always think Evans is a player better to bet on than against as a physically dominant in-air wideout who has drawn eight-plus targets in 7-of-7 games. … Despite their improved defense and an early bye, the Saints have allowed the NFL’s fifth-most 20-plus-yard pass plays (29), which enhances big-play threat Jackson’s appeal in his matchup with Saints No. 2 CB Ken Crawley. Jackson has drawn eight or more targets in three of his last four games and could see a bigger role if Lattimore slows Evans. … Brate has cleared 60 yards and/or scored a touchdown in six straight games and is therefore an every-week fantasy TE1. It’s still worth noting that the Saints have played shutdown tight end defense, yielding the league’s third-fewest fantasy points to the position. I’m taking this more as a negative for Howard, who logged his second-lowest snap rate of the season (58%) in last week’s loss to the Panthers and is running pass routes on just 38% of his plays. Brate runs routes 73% of the time.

Score Prediction: Saints 28, Buccaneers 21


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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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