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Fantasy Football Matchups That Matter - Week 9

By Jared Smola | Updated on Sun, 05 Nov 2023 . 11:04 AM EST

Welcome to Week 9’s Matchups That Matter.

The goal of this article is to give you a look into the process that fuels our weekly projections and rankings.

The information below is all stuff that we use when formulating those rankings. Hopefully taking a look through it helps you make better lineup decisions each week.

As always, you should check the Week 9 Rankings and your Team Intel page for customized start/sit advice.

Good luck in Week 9!


Highest Game Totals

1. Dolphins vs. Chiefs (51.0)

2. Bills at Bengals (50.5)

3. Cowboys at Eagles (47.0)

4. Colts at Panthers (44.5)

5. Seahawks at Ravens (44.0)


Lowest Game Totals

t-10. Vikings at Falcons (38.0)

t-10. Cardinals at Browns (38.0)

t-10 Rams at Packers (38.0)

13. Giants at Raiders (37.5)

14. Titans at Steelers (37.0)


Highest Implied Points

1. Bengals (26.5)

2. Chiefs (26.0)

3. Saints (25.75)

t-4. Ravens (25.25)

t-4. Browns (25.25)

t-4. Eagles (25.25)

7. Dolphins (25.0)


Lowest Implied Points

24. Vikings (17.25)

25. Rams (17.0)

26. Titans (16.75)

27. Bears (16.25)

28. Cardinals (12.75)


Pass Rate Over Expected + Neutral Pace

Here's where every team ranks in Pass Rate Over Expected, neutral pace (average seconds per snap), and plays per game through 8 weeks:


Total Points Per Game

Who's playing in shootouts? Who's playing in low-scoring games?

Here's where every team ranks in points per game + points allowed per game (with overtime removed):


Fastest-Paced Games

(Average of neutral seconds/snap)

1. Chargers at Jets (25.2 seconds)

2. Colts at Panthers (25.7 seconds)

3. Vikings at Falcons (26.1 seconds)

4. Buccaneers at Texans (26.3 seconds)

5. Commanders at Patriots (26.3 seconds)


Slowest-Paced Games

(Average of neutral seconds/snap)

10. Bears at Saints (27.5 seconds)

11. Cowboys at Eagles (27.5 seconds)

12. Rams at Packers (27.7 seconds)

13. Bills at Bengals (27.8 seconds)

14. Titans at Steelers (28.9 seconds)


Weather Concerns

No weather to worry about this week.



5 Best Passing Matchups 

(sum of pass offense DVOA and opponent pass defense DVOA)

1. Bills at Bengals (+53.2%)

2. Chiefs vs. Dolphins (+45.4%)

3. Vikings at Falcons (+44.4%)

4. Texans vs. Buccaneers (+37.9%)

5. Saints vs. Bears (+37.6%)


5 Worst Passing Matchups 

(sum of pass offense DVOA and opponent pass defense DVOA)

24. Falcons vs. Vikings (-0.9%)

25. Raiders vs. Giants (-12.0%)

26. Giants at Raiders (-24.2%)

27. Bears at Saints (-15.1%)

28. Cardinals at Browns (-18.6%)


5 Best QB Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Zach Wilson vs. Chargers (+53.2%)

2. Dak Prescott at Eagles (+26.6%)

3. Mac Jones vs. Commanders (+23.8%)

4. Bryce Young vs. Colts (+21.2%)

5. Derek Carr vs. Bears (+14.7%)


5 Worst QB Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

24. Aidan O’Connell vs. Giants (-15.9%)

25. Geno Smith at Ravens (-19.4%)

26. Daniel Jones at Raiders (-19.8%)

27. Tua Tagovailoa vs. Chiefs (-21.6%)

28. Justin Herbert at Jets (-22.6%)


Sneaky Starters

Derek Carr, Saints

Carr is coming off one of his best games of the season, throwing for 310 yards and two TDs on a 70% completion rate and 11.5 yards per attempt in the win over the Colts. He ranked eighth among QBs in Week 8 Pro Football Focus passing grade.

Now he gets a home game against a Bears team sitting 31st in pass defense DVOA and 28th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to QBs.

New Orleans’ 25.75-point implied total is third highest on the week.

Bryce Young, Panthers

The rookie came off a bye last week and posted season highs with:

  • 7.6 yards per attempt
  • 8.2 adjusted yards per attempt
  • 103.6 QB Rating
  • 68.6 Pro Football Focus passing grade

The Panthers also registered a +6% pass rate over expected in their first game with OC Thomas Brown calling plays. (They were -2% pass rate over expected across their first five games.)

It all makes Young an intriguing Week 9 play against a Colts team that keeps finding itself in shootouts. Indianapolis ranks dead last in both plays against per game and points allowed per game.

The Colts also sit 29th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to QBs.


Running Back

5 Best Rushing Matchups 

(sum of rush offense DVOA and opponent rush defense DVOA)

1. Colts at Panthers (+24.9%)

2. Dolphins vs. Chiefs (+22.3%)

3. Ravens vs. Seahawks (+2.4%)

4. Rams at Packers (+1.4%)

5. Browns vs. Cardinals (+0.6%)


5 Worst Rushing Matchups 

(sum of rush offense DVOA and opponent rush defense DVOA)

24. Vikings at Falcons (-33.5%)

25. Buccaneers at Texans (-38.9%)

26. Texans vs. Buccaneers (-39.6%)

27. Cowboys at Eagles (-40.2%)

28. Steelers vs. Titans (-45.3%)


5 Best RB Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Colts at Panthers (+43.6%)

2. Saints vs. Bears (+39.7%)

3. Browns vs. Cardinals (+32.4%)

4. Giants at Raiders (+31.2%)

5. Panthers vs. Colts (+22.3%)


5 Worst RB Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

24. Packers vs. Rams (-23.2%)

25. Steelers vs. Titans (-24.4%)

26. Dolphins at Chiefs (-26.3%)

27. Texans vs. Buccaneers (-28.4%)

28. Cowboys at Eagles (-35.7%)


Sneaky Starters

Roschon Johnson, Bears

Returning last week from a two-game absence, Johnson tallied six carries and four targets on a 36% snap rate. 

He trailed RB D’Onta Foreman by just three carries, doubled him up in targets, and led the backfield with a 34% route rate.

That passing-game role is particularly important this week with the Bears 9.5-point underdogs in New Orleans.

Like in last week’s 17-point loss to the Chargers, there should be plenty of passing in trailing game script for the Bears this week.

Royce Freeman, Rams

QB Matt Stafford’s expected absence obviously lowers the ceiling on this Rams offense.

But it also means they’ll likely lean on the run, which they’ve been doing lately anyway.

That’s good news for Freeman, who hasn’t drawn a target over the past two weeks but has tallied 21 carries.

RB Darrell Henderson led the Rams in carries in both of those games, but Freeman cut the deficit from six carries in Week 7 to three last week.

And Freeman actually out-snapped Henderson last week, so it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he leads in carries in Green Bay this weekend.

The Packers rank 24th in run defense DVOA and 25th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to RBs.


Wide Receiver

5 Best WR Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Patriots vs. Commanders (+53.4%)

2. Cowboys at Eagles (+30.5%)

3. Titans at Steelers (+30.0%)

4. Ravens vs. Seahawks (+19.7%)

5. Steelers vs. Titans (+19.0%)


5 Worst WR Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

24. Giants at Raiders (-17.4%)

25. Eagles vs. Cowboys (-19.0%)

26. Cardinals at Browns (-20.3%)

27. Colts at Panthers (-24.5%)

28. Chargers at Jets (-41.1%)


CB Matchup Upgrades

Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb vs. Eagles CB Sydney Brown

Raiders WRs Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers vs. Giants CBs Adoree Jackson, Deonte Banks, and Cordale Flott

Jets WR Garrett Wilson vs. Chargers CBs Michael Davis and Ja’Sir Taylor

Colts WR Michael Pittman vs. Panthers CBs Donte Jackson and C.J. Henderson

Commanders WRs Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson vs. Patriots CBs J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, and Myles Bryant

Browns WR Amari Cooper vs. Cardinals CBs Marco Wilson and Antonio Hamilton

Chiefs WR Rashee Rice vs. Dolphins CB Kader Kohou

Patriots WR Demario Douglas vs. Commanders CB Danny Johnson

Bears WR Darnell Mooney vs. Saints CB Alontae Taylor


CB Matchup Downgrades

Chargers WRs Keenan Allen, Josh Palmer, Quentin Johnston vs. Jets CBs Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, and Michael Carter

Bears WR D.J. Moore vs. Saints CB Marshon Lattimore


Sneaky Starters

Rashee Rice, Chiefs

Rice’s 4-56-0 line last week gives him 4+ catches in four straight games and five of his last six. The rookie also finished second among Chiefs WRs in pass routes last week for the third straight game.

Rice’s role is pretty steady at this point. And it’s enough to make him a WR3 consideration in a likely shootout vs. the Dolphins.

Rice’s individual matchup is favorable against Dolphins slot CB Kader Kohou, who ranks 78th among 86 qualifying CBs in passer rating allowed in coverage.

Jahan Dotson, Commanders

Is he back!?


Dotson popped for an 8-108-1 line in last week’s shootout loss to the Eagles. He saw 10 targets for a 19.2% share. That followed an eight-target Week 7.

Dotson will be a better target bet this weekend if WR Curtis Samuel sits with his toe injury.

The Patriots secondary is not scary, especially after losing rookie CB Christian Gonzalez.

Demario Douglas, Patriots

New England lost WR Kendrick Bourne to a torn ACL last week. WR DeVante Parker sustained a concussion in that game, which will likely sideline him on Sunday.

That leaves Douglas as the Patriots’ likely lead receiver. The rookie led the team in pass routes (85%) and targets (7) last week.  

It’s excellent timing with Washington’s 32nd-ranked WR defense coming to town.

Jonathan Mingo, Panthers

Mingo has been a full-time player all year. But he’s seen a shift in usage lately.

After registering an 11.8-yard average target depth over his first three games, Mingo’s aDOT has sunk to 9.0 yards over his last three.

The result: A jump in yards per target from 3.4 to 8.7.

The rookie is looking like a higher-floor fantasy option going forward. And, as we highlighted with QB Bryce Young earlier in this article, this is a good spot for Carolina’s passing game.


Tight End

5 Best TE Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Bills at Bengals (+34.4%)

2. Packers vs. Rams (+34.0%)

3. Saints vs. Bears (+31.8%)

4. Jets vs. Chargers (+31.5%)

5. Panthers vs. Colts (+28.7%)


5 Worst TE Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

24. Bears at Saints (-26.4%)

25. Texans vs. Buccaneers (-26.9%)

26 .Titans at Steelers (-28.8%)

27. Steelers vs. Titans (-34.4%)

28. Cardinals at Browns (-43.3%)


Sneaky Starter

Luke Musgrave, Packers

It feels like we’ve been chasing Musgrave all season.

He’s yet to have a true breakout game. But he has at least finished as a top-18 PPR TE in four of six healthy games.

Musgrave has run a route on 70+% of pass plays in all six of those games and registered a 15.1% target share.

The ceiling is raised this weekend against the Rams, who rank 30th in TE coverage DVOA and 31st in adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs.


Defense/Special Teams

5 Best DST Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Raiders vs. Giants (+82.6%)

2. Giants at Raiders (+80.7%)

3. Patriots vs. Commanders (+70.3%)

4. Saints vs. Bears (+69.4%)

5. Commanders at Patriots (+68.8%)


5 Worst DST Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

24. Eagles vs. Cowboys (-31.2%)

25. Packers vs. Rams (-39.1%)

26. Bengals vs. Bills (-42.9%)

27. Buccaneers at Texans (-45.1%)

28. Jets vs. Chargers (-56.5%)


Sneaky Starters


Commanders QB Sam Howell took just one sack vs. Philadelphia last week. He’d taken 4+ in each of his first seven games, with 5+ in six of those seven.

Did he figure something out? Or was last week just a one-game blip?

I’m betting on the latter, making the Patriots one of the best sack bets of the week.


This defense is playing better.

Yes, the Giants have been blessed with matchups against the Commanders and Jets the past two weeks. But they also held the Bills to 14 points in Week 6.

From a fantasy perspective, the Giants have totaled 10 sacks and five takeaways over the last three weeks, finishing as a top-five fantasy defense in those Commanders and Jets matchups.

Sunday brings another plus draw against QB Aidan O’Connell and the Raiders. O’Connell threw one INT and took seven sacks in his Week 4 start against a bad Chargers defense.



5 Best K Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Chris Boswell vs. Titans (+45.5%)

2. Blake Grupe vs. Bears (+44.3%)

3. Chad Ryland vs. Commanders (+40.6%)

4. Anders Carlson vs. Rams (+29.5%)

5. Lucas Havrisik at Packers (+29.1%)


5 Worst K Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

24. Matt Prater at Browns (-19.2%)

25. Greg Zuerlein vs. Chargers (-21.5%)

26. Brandon Aubrey at Eagles (-24.1%)

27. Jake Elliott vs. Cowboys (-36.8%)

28. Jason Sanders vs. Chiefs (-42.2%)


Sneaky Starters

Ka'imi Fairbairn, Texans

Fairbairn has been a top-10 fantasy kicker so far, drilling 2+ FGs in six straight games prior to last week’s goose egg.

His Texans are 3-point home favorites on Sunday against the Bucs, who rank 20th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to kickers.

Blake Grupe, Saints

Grupe has also been a top-10 fantasy kicker through eight weeks.

He’s in an awesome spot this weekend against the Bears. The Saints are 9.5-point home favorites with a 25.75-point implied total – third highest on the week. Chicago ranks 31st in adjusted fantasy points allowed to kickers.


Jared Smola Author Image
Jared Smola, Lead Analyst
Jared has been with Draft Sharks since 2007. He’s now Lead Analyst, heading up the preseason and weekly projections that fuel your Draft War Room and My Team tools. He currently ranks 1st among 133 analysts in draft rankings accuracy.
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