Fantasy Football: Five Week 9 matchups to exploit

By Jeff Hicks, 4for4

Special to Yahoo Sports

Schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed, or aFPA, is 4for4’s answer to biased statistics. By removing bias, we can level the playing field and compare matchups in an "apples-to-apples" manner. As the season moves along, the data will change. Regardless, aFPA is arguably the best tool available to gain an edge when using waivers and building lineups.

Another point to make: I could offer players such as Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes pretty much every week, especially when they face awful units according to aFPA. That does everyone a disservice, so I will do my best to avoid players rostered in the majority of fantasy leagues.

Here are the best plays for Week 9.

Trevor Lawrence vs. Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders have been busting QB fantasy slumps in 2022. The lowest-scoring QB against the Raiders was Andy Dalton, and he posted 17.2 points. There is a reason Las Vegas is 32nd in aFPA, a position at which they allow 1.8 more fantasy points per game than the 31st-ranked team. Another boost for Lawrence is Vegas’ added ability to let signal callers pad their stats in the running game. Four QBs have double-digit rushing yards against the Raiders, and it just so happens that Lawrence is second on the Jaguars with nine red zone rushing attempts, which has led to three rushing touchdowns.

Raheem Mostert at Chicago Bears

The Jeff Wilson Jr. trade to Miami will muddy the waters in their backfield as soon as Week 9. It does not matter because Mostert is faster than Wilson and gets to take advantage of the 28th-ranked defense in rushing aFPA as the lead back post-trade deadline. On top of the ranking, Chicago will operate without Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn, who were traded over the past week. Those are glaring holes for both facets of the defense, especially Smith as a pass rusher and tackling machine. It is realistic that Mostert’s speed and vision will get him to the second and third levels of the Bears' defense before he is even touched.

Mecole Hardman vs. Tennessee Titans

A rested Chiefs offense coming off their bye gets the 29th-ranked defense in wide receiver aFPA. The last time we saw Hardman, he was scoring three total touchdowns and played 62.5% of snaps. Kadarius Toney will appear as a threat to Hardman because of similar skill sets, but Hardman’s current usage is encouraging. He also has four-plus targets in five of seven games this season. Tennessee is a pass funnel defense, ranking top-five against running backs in aFPA and 23rd or worse against the other skill positions.

Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman's usage has to be encouraging for fantasy managers.
Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman's usage as of late has to be encouraging for fantasy managers. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Robert Tonyan at Detroit Lions

Tonyan saw his snap percentage jump to 74.2% in Week 8 as the Bills beat the brakes off the Packers. While the Packers may not get torched in Detroit in an NFC North matchup, they will have their hands full on defense. The Lions have a real offense, and the Packers' defense has been on a milk carton most weeks. That means Tonyan has a chance to play 60%-plus snaps for the third time this season (remember, he is coming off ACL surgery). The only teams allowing more schedule-adjusted fantasy points to tight ends play each other for their second meeting of 2022 — Seattle and Arizona.

New England Patriots defense vs. Indianapolis Colts

Congrats to Sam Ehlinger! One week after performing admirably in his first NFL start, he gets to travel to Foxboro to take on Bill Belichick. Ehlinger did not display his rushing ceiling in Week 8 but may be forced to do so in Week 9. The Colts' offense allows the most schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing defenses and faces a unit that is top-seven in sack percentage, sack percentage since Week 6 and home sack percentage. New England has the opportunity to stop a run-first offense with questionable QB play for the second straight week. The Patriots have been gouged on the ground this season by Green Bay, Baltimore and Chicago, but have not allowed a team to top 100 rushing yards outside of that trio.

Honorable Mention

Ryan Tannehill (if active) @ Chiefs

Geno Smith @ Cardinals

Justin Fields vs. Dolphins

Tyler Allgeier vs. Chargers

David Montgomery vs. Dolphins

Khalil Herbert vs. Dolphins

Joshua Palmer (if active) at Falcons

Olamide Zaccheaus vs. Chargers

Romeo Doubs @ Lions

Rashid Shaheed vs. Ravens

Austin Hooper @ Chiefs

Logan Thomas vs. Vikings

Juwan Johnson vs. Ravens

This story originally appeared on 4for4.com

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Jeff has played fantasy sports since 2001. He has covered fantasy and traditional sports at the pro, semi-pro, and amateur level for the better part of a decade. Born in Illinois and currently living where James Robinson made a name for himself in college, Jeff enjoys running (establish it), followed by doing absolutely nothing.

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