Fantasy football matchups: Avoid Matt Ryan versus the Broncos
Through four weeks, our Position vs. Fantasy Defensive Points Allowed tool is solidifying as a tool to help you find good matchups. It'll keep getting stronger as the weeks go by, and we'll have less reason to say things like, "But they played against Julio Jones last week â of course their numbers against wide receivers are horrible!"
As always, please remember that the players listed are mostly meant to be borderline guys, who need reasons for you to play or bench them. You won't see recommendations to start Ezekiel Elliott and Antonio Brown, because you should always start Elliott and Brown. Make sense? Good.
Note: The fantasy points per game (FPPG) referenced below are from FOXSports.com standard leagues.
Week 5 byes: Jaguars, Saints, Chiefs, Seahawks
Thursday game: Cardinals at 49ers
Stay away: Matt Ryan, Falcons (@ Broncos)
Ryan is BY FAR the top scoring fantasy quarterback of the 2016 season. He's also about to visit a Broncos' defense that ranks fifth with 13.1 FPPG allowed to opposing passers, and makes a habit of shutting down offenses of all kinds. Ryan has been a pleasant surprise for his fantasy owners so far, but that doesn't mean they should get greedy.
Play, play, play: Eli Manning, NYG (@ Packers)
Eli sure looked awful against the Vikings, huh? The Packers won't pose the same kind of challenge Sunday night. Dom Capers' unit ranks 29th with 20.2 FPPG allowed to opposing signal callers, and is among the league's bottom five in yards per game, yards per attempt and QB rating allowed. Look for Manning â and his much-scrutinized star wideout â to rebound.
Did you see the Panthers get lit up last week? Carolina's defense isn't that bad (19 FPPG to opposing QBs), but they're playing some inexperienced corners, and their pass rush isn't getting home. Jameis Winston might see some blitzing, but he should see some open receivers as well. If you have Winston as your QB2, this is a week to consider him. Interceptions hurt less in fantasy than reality, anyway.
Stay away: Rashad Jennings/Orleans Darkwa, Giants (@ Packers)
The Packers are allowing 9.0 FPPG and 1.8 yards per carry to opposing running backs. You would be crazy to activate whichever mediocre runner the Giants choose to start. Don't even think about it.
Matt Jones ran for 117 yards last week, but that was against a bottom-10 Browns' run defense. This week, Jones matches up with a Ravens' D that ranks third with 12.7 FPPG allowed to opposing backs, and gives up just 80 rushing yards per game. The 'Skins love to throw and figure to do that a lot on Sunday, which leaves Jones on the RB2/flex border.
Play, play, play: Jerick McKinnon, Vikings (vs. Texans)
Did you watch McKinnon Monday night? Patient, shifty, occasionally explosive ... if he played for a a team that had a passable offensive line he'd be a monster. Against a Watt-less Texans' D that has allowed 19.1 FPPG to opposing runners, McKinnon should be in your lineups if you own him.
(Signed, John Halpin, President, Jerick McKinnon Fantasy Fan Club)
Is Terrance West too obvious to name after running for 113 yards against the Raiders? Maybe, but with so much attention on Kenneth Dixon's likely return, we wanted to make sure West didn't get lost. If Dixon plays this week, West still figures to be the lead back. Roll with him as a high-end RB2.
Stay away: Will Fuller, Texans (@ Vikings)
I think I've been wrong about Fuller every week so far, but giving up wouldn't be any fun. Fuller was targeted nine times last week, catching seven passes for 81 yards and returning a punt for a touchdown. However, he's about to visit a Vikings' squad that is allowing just 14.1 FPPG to opposing wide receivers (third-best in the league), and has shut down Kelvin Benjamin and Odell Beckham Jr. in consecutive weeks. We'll pass on Fuller for this matchup, even though the Vikes might focus on DeAndre Hopkins more than him.
Play, play, play: Sterling Shepard, Giants (@ Packers)
Shepard is fantasy's No. 20 wideout through four weeks, with 20 receptions for 263 yards and two touchdowns. He'll face a Packers' secondary that has struggled with injuries, and ranks 30th in the league with a whopping 30.4 FPPG allowred to opposing wide receivers. OBJ isn't the only Giant primed for a solid game - Shepard is WR24 on my board.
Stay away: Eric Ebron, Lions (vs. Eagles)
Ebron is on pace for 72 receptions and 840 yards, which is pretty good. However, his ceiling is limited enough that he's not the kind of guy you'd consider a must start. This week, Ebron and the Lions host an Eagles' defense that has allowed totals of six receptions and 86 yards to tight ends in three games. No, thanks.