Top 5 Matchups for Week 9

Nov 03, 2021
Top 5 Matchups for Week 9

Schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed, or aFPA, is 4for4’s answer to biased statistics. By removing bias, we can level the playing field and compare matchups in an "apples-to-apples" manner. As the season marches on, the data will change and once we hit Week 12, the numbers shown will be based on a rolling 10-week data set.

Each week until the end of the fantasy football season I will be looking at five matchups to target or avoid based on updated aFPA data.

Steelers Defense vs. Chicago Bears

The expectation is that head coach Matt Nagy will be back on the Bears sidelines for Week 9. That is a problem. Special teams coach Chris Tabor and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor called a solid game for Justin Fields and the Bears offense, but did not have Nagy in their ears directing what should be called or what he preferred. Nagy is not calling plays but we all know he is going to make recommendations, including tight end alignments for max coverages.

The Bears allow the second-most fantasy points to opposing defenses and I have zero faith Nagy watches what Tabor and Lazor did to help rookie right tackle Larry Borom while blocking 49ers edge rusher Nick Bosa. I expect regression on offense with the Bears on the road in a primetime matchup. Fields and company deserve better.

Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins @ Miami Dolphins

Brandin Cooks continues to produce on a horrid offense as the top option, and a healthy Nico Collins gives rookie QB Davis Mills a dependable second target. The Dolphins are 30th in aFPA to opposing wide receivers and have allowed 100 yards receiving and/or two receiving touchdowns in four straight games. Overall, the Dolphins are allowing 15 receptions, 195 yards, and 1.5 touchdowns per game to wideouts.

Boston Scott, Jordan Howard, and Kenneth Gainwell vs. Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers defense is one of the more glaring run funnels in the NFL, ranking 23rd in aFPA against opposing running backs, but 2nd, 1st, and 21st against opposing quarterbacks, receivers, and tight ends, respectively. The three-headed backfield is a potential disaster in Week 9, but the biggest difference between the Lions Week 8 and Chargers Week 9 is talent. Expect this game to be close throughout.

An Eagles RB/Dallas Goedert stack sticks out as a DFS play.

Tua Tagovailoa and Mike Gesicki vs. Houston Texans

It would be nice to target Myles Gaskin against the Texans run defense but if you can figure out his usage, feel free to message me. Tua gets the 25th-ranked defense and Gesicki gets the 32nd-ranked unit in aFPA against their respective positions. Tight ends have a touchdown in four straight against the Texans, while QBs average 20.44 fantasy points per game against what is left of the Texans defense. Tagovailoa has scored at least 15 fantasy points in each of the past three games with his floor Week 8 against the Bills in Orchard Park.

Evan Engram vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Week 8’s touchdown and usage got a boost due to injuries, but take the points when you can get them. Dante Pettis and Sterling Shepard could miss Week 9 in part because of the short practice week, leaving Engram as a (once) reliable pass catcher. The Raiders are 25th in tight end aFPA and have to travel cross-country to play in New Jersey off their bye, not as daunting as a normal week but a long distance to go.

Engram has played 68% of snaps this season, but the encouraging sign is his snap percentage is over 74% in three of the past four weeks. Kyle Rudolph’s red zone usage also makes him a bigger boom/bust tight end candidate if you are in desperation mode.

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