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Fantasy Football: Week 9 Quarterback Matchup Report

Deshaun Watson Injury

Nothing much has gone on in the QB world, so where should I begin? Oh, I know, I’ll start with the freaking torn ACL for the man that has carried many fantasy teams, including half of mine, for the last seven weeks. Unfortunately, I’m talking about Deshaun Watson. This news stung so bad. I wanted to use words stronger than “freaking” to describe this Watson injury, but swearing in articles isn’t really recommended. Why did Watson have to tear his ACL? This is just cruel. With Watson done for the season, we’ve now lost two of the top five fantasy quarterbacks, two of the top five running backs (albeit, one to a suspension that may or may not actually happen), and one of the top five wide receivers.

Nobody likes to see an injury like this, especially to one of the brightest young stars in this league. Many fellow players took to Twitter to show support for Watson.

I had this glorious opening written about how Watson shredded the Seahawks and is a matchup safe elite QB1 for the rest of the season. However, a non-contact injury in practice deprived me of that and deprived all Watson owners of the satisfaction of owning the waiver-wire addition of the 2017 season. Watson didn’t get injured in a game. No, sir, not a game. We’re talking about practice. These are the worst kind of injuries. I could ramble on about this Watson injury, but there’s still football to be played this week, so we must begrudgingly move on.

One final note on the Watson-less Texans: Tom Savage is garbage. Don’t go near him with a 10-foot pole in fantasy. That includes 2-QB leagues, as well.

On tap this week is another 13-game slate, meaning we have another six QBs on a bye. That can make choosing a starting QB in 2-QB leagues and DFS tough. Luckily, this matchup report is designed to lend a helping hand by breaking down some favorable and unfavorable matchups for quarterbacks this week. Mr. Tom “I don’t give a damn that I’m 40” Brady takes a seat this week along with Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers. Luckily, the other three QBs on a bye are bottom feeders that shouldn’t even sniff a fantasy roster outside of leagues that start two quarterbacks.

On a Bye: Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Case Keenum, Mitchell Trubisky, and whatever junk QB starts for Cleveland this week.

2017 NFL Passing Defense Statistics

Favorable Matchups

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Defensive Matchup: Kansas City Chiefs (Home)

Last week on “As The NFL Turns,” Ezekiel Elliott again had his injunction request denied by a U.S. district court judge. This ongoing battle has more twists and turns than a Spanish soap opera. Not that I watch those or anything. Seriously, I don’t. Stop looking at me like that. So what does this all mean for Dak Prescott? Well, not a whole lot anymore, as Elliott is allowed to play again this weekend. This takes a little of the shine off Prescott this week, but this is still a plus matchup and won’t change his standing as an elite QB1.

This isn’t nearly the same Chiefs defense that we saw contain Brady and the Patriots in Week 1. They gave up 261 yards and five touchdowns to Watson in Week 5 and then 417 yards and three scores to Derek Carr in Week 7. Their performance last week can be taken with a grain of salt, as it was against Trevor Siemian. All in all, the Chiefs have allowed the 9th most fantasy points to the QB position this season. They’re also in the top five for passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed.

Before last week’s lackluster showing, Prescott had been steamrolling through defenses and has been one of the top six fantasy QBs this season. The Chiefs do get Tamba Hali back this week, but he’s more a factor in the run game. Fire Prescott up as an elite QB1 this week.

Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

Defensive Matchup: New York Giants (Road)

When the season started, the general consensus was that the Giants had a strong all-around defense. That’s certainly not the consensus anymore. At least, not in the last four games. The G-Men started out strong, containing the likes of Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, and Carson Wentz in Weeks 1-3, but it’s been a much different story from Week 4 onwards. In that timespan, the Giants have allowed an average of 325 passing yards per game to go with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. To make things worse, one of those weeks was a 376-yard effort from the recently benched Siemian.

It’s understandable if owners are a little gun shy about using Goff this week. He’s struggled over the last month after a strong start to the season. However, he also faced some tough defenses in that stretch like Jacksonville and Seattle. A lot of QBs have struggled against those teams. Don’t get cute and start Goff in a single-QB league, but he makes for a strong QB2 and DFS play this week coming off a bye.

Unfavorable Matchups

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

Defensive Matchup: Jacksonville Jaguars (Road)

The Jacksonville Jaguars defense is well rested coming off a bye and even found a way to upgrade their defense by adding Marcell Dareus via trade from the Buffalo Bills. The addition of Dareus improves an already strong front that leads the NFL in sacks so far this season. Let’s pinpoint a few areas that the Jags are excelling in.

  • Have allowed 225+ passing yards only once this season.
  • Have allowed only four passing touchdowns, and no QB has thrown for two scores against the Jags.
  • The best fantasy performance an opposing QB has had against Jacksonville was Marcus Mariota in Week 2. During that game, he threw for just 215 yards, one score, and one interception.
  • Ben Roethlisberger got picked off five times in a Week 5 beatdown.

Do I really need to say more? This passing defense is one of the best we’ve seen in years and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon, especially being fully rested coming off a bye. They even get to avoid Watson now in Week 15. This is going to be a long week for Andy Dalton in this Cincinnati offense. He shouldn’t be used outside of 2-QB leagues, and even there he’s a borderline option.

Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins

Defensive Matchup: Seattle Seahawks (Road)

Before the smackdown handed out by Watson last week, the Seahawks defense had been on a serious roll in the previous three games. The trio of Jacoby Brissett, Jared Goff, and Eli Manning averaged 193 passing yards per game and combined for only two touchdowns against three interceptions. Granted, Kirk Cousins is better than all those guys, but going into Seattle is no easy feat. The Seahawks rank in the top-10 in opposing QB rating (3rd), passing touchdowns allowed (T-6th), and passing yards allowed (9th). This might not be the “Legion of Boom” anymore, but it’s still a damn good defense.

Another area that cannot be ignored is the fact that Cousins can’t seem to get on the same page with his top receivers. He and Pryor flat out stink as a tandem, while Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder have been okay at best. It doesn’t help that Jordan Reed and Crowder are both likely out this week. The Seahawks are much more susceptible to the run, so expect a more run-heavy approach this week with Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley. Even with six teams on byes, I wouldn’t feel confident starting Cousins in standard leagues this week.

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans

Defensive Matchup: Baltimore Ravens (Home)

A popular pick in this section, Marcus Mariota has another tough matchup this week with the Baltimore Ravens. This defense has stifled every QB they’ve faced so far with the exception of Blake Bortles randomly good performance across the pond. Yes, I know they haven’t faced many good quarterbacks this season, but what has Mariota done lately to prove he can overcome a defense like this?

Just look at last week, for example. He was facing the laughing stock of the league and couldn’t lead his team to one stinking touchdown? They won the game, and a win is a win, but winning a field goal battle in overtime against the Browns isn’t anything to write home about. On the season, Mariota has mustered only four passing touchdowns, and three of those were in the first three weeks. Until Mariota can get it going consistently, I’m not trusting him as a QB1.

Sleeper of the Week

Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts

Defensive Matchup: Houston Texans (Road)

Picking a sleeper this week wasn’t easy. All the quarterbacks that usually get looked at for this spot are either on a bye, injured, or have a horrible matchup. A process of elimination leaves us with Jacoby Brissett. This Texans defense simply isn’t the same without all-pro lineman, J.J. Watt. They’re not getting as much pressure on the quarterback, which hangs their secondary out to dry several times each game. Brissett has actually performed decently of late, including 233 yards and two scores against a tough Cincinnati pass defense last week. If you need a guy in 2-QB leagues, give Brissett a look.

Thank you for reading this week’s quarterback matchup report on Fantrax. I hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members.  Got a question about a player not covered here? Ask in the comments below or follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask there. Make sure you check back in next Friday as we break down quarterbacks for Week 10.

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