Welcome back to another edition of Spin’s Fantasy Factory! I’m Spin, UConn’s self-proclaimed “fantasy football expert,” though if you’re at all familiar with this column, you’re probably aware that “expert” may not be the most accurate term to describe my fantasy football knowledge. However, after tallying almost 200 fantasy points in one of my PPR leagues last week (thank you Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry and DeAndre Hopkins), the timing couldn’t be more perfect for the Factory to get its gears turning once again.
As we reach the midway point of the NFL season, fantasy football managers should have a general understanding as to how their team is positioned to perform over the remaining weeks before payoff time. Even so, whether you’re in first place in your league or in last, there is still plenty of time for changes to occur in your league standings. Managers must be smart when making decisions for their fantasy roster in order to take advantage of the best matchups and keep pace with the other members of their league.
For this week’s edition of the Factory, I wanted to highlight two matchups that fantasy managers should exploit this week. These are players that either are predicted to see an uptick in opportunity share this week, or players that are taking on an opponent that has seen little success in limiting the production of other players at that position this season. Without further ado, here are two matchups in Week 9 that you need to take advantage of if you have any of these players.
Aaron Jones/AJ Dillon, RB, GB at DET
It was clear when Green Bay shipped star wideout Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders that their offense would shift to a run-heavy approach, but even the most dedicated Packers fans couldn’t have predicted the overhaul that the offense has experienced this season. Without Adams, Jones and Dillon have become the two focal points of Green Bay’s offense, and although the Packers are in the middle of the NFL in terms of rushing attempts, the team has gotten its backs more involved in the passing game than most teams this year. That was the case in the team’s Sunday night contest against the Buffalo Bills, where Jones and Dillon combined for 220 total yards on the ground and through the air despite the Packers falling behind their opponent early in the game. The Packers continued to operate through their backs despite the negative game script, indicating their commitment to the duo.
The cheeseheads will be taking on the Detroit Lions this week, a team that has allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing RBs this year. While the Packers’ offense has failed to lift off under their new offensive scheme, Sunday’s matchup with their division rivals will be a get-right spot for the Pack, as the Lions are allowing opposing teams to score over 30 points per game. Jones and Dillon figure to be a big part of the offense once again, and if the points that Detroit allows to RBs is any indication, the two should be able to turn their increased opportunity share into fantasy points.
Keenan Allen, WR, LAC at ATL
Allen has been plagued by a hamstring injury that he suffered in Week 1, and the recovery process has been slow. He has yet to see a full workload since returning to practice prior to the Chargers’ Week 8 bye, and though Allen played in his team’s Week 7 contest, it was on a limited basis. However, when Allen takes the field against the Falcons on Sunday, he figures to be back to full-health and should see an increased workload as All-Pro QB Justin Herbert’s top target. Given the injury suffered by deep threat Mike Williams, who has been filling in as LA’s WR1 due to Allen’s injury, the tenth-year pro’s return couldn’t have come at a better time.
We’ve seen Herbert lock onto Allen as his top receiving choice in the past, and things should be no different without Williams posing a risk for targets. That, and the fact that Atlanta has been the second-worst team in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers this season, makes for a juicy matchup that all Allen owners need to jump on heading into Sunday. He’s been a cinch WR1 when healthy, and there’s little reason to think that Allen’s production will tamper even as he plays into his 30s. On the other side of the ball, the run-first Falcons figure to take advantage of a weak LA run defense, giving this game massive shootout potential. Fire him up with confidence for what could prove to be a high-scoring affair.