Fantasy football matchups: Matt Ryan has another tough opponent

BY foxsports • October 12, 2016

Through five weeks, our Position vs. Fantasy Defensive Points Allowed tool is solidifying 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 Ezekiel Elliott last week, so of course they gave up 70,000 fantasy points to running backs!"

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 Tom Brady and Antonio Brown, because you always should start Brady and Brown. Make sense? Good.

Note: The fantasy points per game (FPPG) referenced below are from standard leagues.

Week 6 byes: Vikings, Bucs

Thursday game: Broncos at Chargers


Stay away: Matt Ryan, Falcons (@ Seahawks)

The Falcons had a big win at Denver in Week 5, but we warned you to avoid Ryan, and he finished as QB17 in fantasy scoring. This week he'll visit the Seahawks, who have allowed a paltry 9.8 FPPG versus opposing quarterbacks, and can lay claim to being the NFL's best defense. We know that Ryan has been really good for you so far. You should sit him for this matchup, anyway.


Philip Rivers has a Thursday night date with a Broncos defense that ranks eighth with 13.5 FPPG allowed to opposing quarterbacks, and ranks among the top three in most pass defense stats. Nah.

Play, play, play: Alex Smith, Chiefs (@ Raiders)

Remember six weeks ago, when we thought Khalil Mack and the Raiders would have a hellacious defense? They rank 30th with 22.5 FPPG allowed to opposing quarterbacks, and last (by a lot) with 330.6 passing yards allowed per game. The matchup doesn't make Smith a lock, but it makes him playable if you own guys like Ryan, Rivers or Eli Manning. A 250-yard, two-TD game seems likely.


We're not chasing last week's points with Marcus Mariota —€“ we're chasing the Browns, who are giving up 20.2 FPPG to opposing quarterbacks, and have allowed 13 touchdowns through the air. Mariota has been inconsistent, with three games of 23 fantasy points or more and two stinkers (10.1, 6.9). This looks like a good spot for him.

Running backs

Stay away: Matt Jones, Redskins (vs. Eagles)

The Eagles have allowed just 14.7 FPPG to opposing running backs, and are giving up 73.2 rushing yards per game. The 'Skins don't usually need much of a reason to employ a pass-happy gameplan, and this game could see such a strategy. I've got Jones in flexville at RB28 —€“ stay away if you can.


The Giants are one of the NFL's worst rushing teams, and enter this spot from a 43-yard outing against the stingy Packers. This week, they'll face a Ravens defense that ranks second to the Pack with 12.1 FPPG allowed to opposing running backs. Whether Rashad Jennings or Orleans Darkwa or O.J. Anderson or Tiki Barber starts for the Giants, you should avoid their backs.

Play, play, play: Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (@ Saints)

Stewart is expected to return after a three-game absence, and will face a Saints defense that ranks a completely predictable and distant LAST in the league with 29.9 FPPG allowed to opposing running backs. Sometimes it's prudent to be cautious with a player returning from injury. With Stewart and the desperate Panthers, this isn't one of those times. Roll with J-Stew if you have him.


Ryan Mathews lost a crucial fourth-quarter fumble against the Lions, but he was otherwise pretty good, getting 75 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown on 16 touches. More importantly, Mathews mainly shared work with Darren Sproles, ceding just one snap apiece to Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner. Against a Redskins squad that ranks 29th with 23.8 FPPG allowed to opposing runners, Mathews should have another solid outing.

Wide receivers

Stay away: Travis Benjamin, Chargers (vs. Broncos)

Yep, it's the Denver defense again. They're allowing a microscopic 11.5 FPPG to opposing wideouts, and even though Benjamin is a solid WR15 in fantasy scoring (28-394-2), he's a risky proposition for Week 6.


Sterling Shepard is down to WR32 for the season after a two-game stretch during which he has totaled six catches for 44 yards. He'll face a Ravens defense that is just average against fantasy wideouts, but allows a league-low 5.9 yards per attempt. Keep Shepard on your bench.

Play, play, play: John Brown, Cardinals (vs. Jets)

Did you see Sammie Coates blow by Jets CB Marcus Williams for a 72-yard TD last week? Brown is faster than Coates, and has received 31 targets over his past three games (though he had only four in Week 5). With the Jets ranking a putrid 31st in FPPG allowed to opposing wide receivers (28.9), Brown looks like a good bet to join Larry Fitzgerald for a productive fantasy week.

Tight ends

Stay away: Dwayne Allen, Colts (@ Texans)

Allen finally got his first touchdown on Sunday, but he's about to face a Texans defense that gives up just 2.3 FPPG to opposing tight ends. No thanks.


Was Allen too obvious? I have Zach Miller at TE8, but he IS facing a Jags team that has allowed just 3.5 FPPG to tight ends. That stat didn't completely sway me, but you might see it differently.

Play, play, play: Jimmy Graham, Seahawks (vs. Falcons)

Graham is coming off a pair of games in which he caught 12 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown. To paraphrase George Costanza, he's back, baby! But if you need more convincing, Graham is about to face a Falcons defense that ranks 29th with 11.4 FPPG allowed to opposing tight ends. It looks like using your late-round draft pick on Graham is paying off.


If you need to dig deeper, consider a flier on the Rams' Lance Kendricks, who faces a Lions defense that has given up six touchdowns in five games to opposing tight ends. Or maybe Green Bay's Richard Rodgers, who was targeted five times last week, and matches up with a Cowboy D that ranks 30th in FPPG (11.5) versus his position. Both Kendricks and Rodgers are desperation plays.

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