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It’s All About the Match-Ups  Share

 24 September 2010

There are two schools of thought on setting fantasy rosters.  The first strategy is to simply play the best player at each position each week.  The other strategy is to start the player with the best match-up each week.  There are pros and cons to each strategy, so you can’t really go wrong either way as long as you remember to bench any player that does not have a game scheduled that week.
Let’s look at a simple example.  Let’s say that that you own Peyton Manning.  This week his team plays the Denver Broncos.  The Broncos defense stinks.  Manning is an elite quarterback.  Using either strategy, you would definitely start Manning.  The same thing goes for Tom Brady vs the Buffalo Bills.  The extreme opposite would be Tampa Bay’s QB Josh Freeman vs the Pittsburgh Steelers defense.  The Steelers have an elite defense and Freeman is not even worth starting in most fantasy leagues.  You won’t have such an easy decision every week.  What if Manning were playing the Steelers?  Would you bench him in favor of your backup?  Well, that all depends on who your backup is and who he is playing.  Unless it is a very good backup against a very bad defense, you may want to just stick with your starter.  In fact, if you have an elite player such as Manning, I would recommend that you start him every week, regardless of the opponent.  These guys are elite for a reason and they usually find a way to pull through.  Save the matchups for your mid-range and low-end players.

Once you decide to use a match-up strategy, you will have to start doing some homework.  You should research the opposing team as well as the individual’s past performance against that team.  While there are flukes, teams and individuals normally perform on a consistent basis in the NFL.  Use the data available to make the best decision you can.

Here are my can’t miss picks of the week:

Best Match-ups:

Correll Buckhalter vs. Indianapolis Colts:  The Bronco's regular starting running back, Knowshon Moreno, was put on their injury report on Friday and will not be playing in the game.  This presents you a great opportunity to hop on the waiver wire and pick up his back-up, Correll Buckhalter, who is likely to have a solid game against the Colts' porous run defense.

Peyton Manning vs Denver Broncos:  The Broncos have no chance to stop the Indy passing attack.

Worst Matchups:

Mark Sanchez vs. Miami Dolphins: Although the NY media has crowned Sanchez as the second-coming of Broadway Joe (Joe Namath, one of the all-time greats in Jets history), expect him to struggle against a very good Miami defense (much like he did in Week 1 against the Ravens)

Marion Barber vs. Houston:  Houston isn’t too bad at stopping the run, but they are not good against the pass.  The Cowboys love to sling the ball, and they have a deep backfield as it is, so I don’t see a lot of opportunity for Barber in this one.



Bye week:  A week that a team does not play a game.  For example, the NFL season is seventeen weeks long, but teams only play sixteen games because during one of the weeks, they will have a “bye.”

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