Think of fantasy player matchups as precious metals. Like a good jeweler, I’ll give you a tour of my shop, starting with the most alluring matchups and work my way down, presenting my case for each.
Platinum: can’t-miss investment, must starts
Gold: very good
Silver: solid investment
Potential gold mine: Could be great, but, could also turn out to be nothing
Copper: least desirable of the precious metals, not a good start
Plastic: not even real gold, absolutely put on your bench
Platinum DeMarco Murray, TEN (vs Indianapolis Colts) - Murray has been one of the more consistent players in fantasy football, scoring above 12 points (per NFL.com’s standard scoring method) in every game. He now gets to face the second most generous team to running backs in fantasy football, the Colts, who gave up 29.80 points to Lamar Miller last week and 22.30 points to Jordan Howard the week before.
Silver Melvin Gordon, SD (Atlanta Falcons) - Gordon had 27 carries last week against the Denver Broncos. He only produced 94 yards, but it’s very clear that the Chargers’ plan is to feed him the ball. The Falcons, meanwhile, are allowing the seventh most points to opposing running backs, and San Diego’s best chance at winning is to keep Atlanta’s white hot offense off the field.
Silver Jay Ajayi, MIA (Buffalo Bills) - Last week was a breakout game for Ajayi. He obliterated the Pittsburgh Steelers almost by himself, gaining 204 yards on 25 carries. Sure the Bills, who have been playing some good football recently, will be more prepared for Ajayi, but the second year running back has clearly established himself as someone to watch. So he should be starting in more than 25.4% of leagues on NFL.com, which is where he’s currently at.
Copper Jordan Howard, CHI (vs Green Bay Packers) - Last week, Howard had the worst game since being named starter despite playing the Jaguars at home. Now he and the Bears head to Green Bay, where they must face Aaron Rodgers and the best rush defense in the league. The Packers are still only allowing 72.4 yards per game and 3.0 yards per carry after getting gashed by Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys’ monstrous offensive line for 191 yards on 33 carries last week. Also, in the Bears’ last game, Howard lost 9 carries to Ka’Deem Carey, who was more effective running the ball (5.6 yards per carry to Howard’s 2.2).
Copper Christine Michael, SEA (vs Arizona Cardinals) - Michael hasn’t churned out a whole lot of yards, but rather kept fantasy teams afloat by getting in the endzone. The only problem is, all four of his rushing touchdowns have come at home (he scored a receiving touchdown in New York against the Jets). And this week he and the Seahawks to to Arizona to face a resurgent Cardinals team that held Todd Gurley to 33 yards rushing 3 weeks ago and Matt Forte and Chris Ivory to a combined 29 yards last week. Michael is unlikely to top 64 yards rushing this week (something he’s done just once this season), and probably won’t help your fantasy team all that much, unless he gets some goal line opportunities.