Evan Silva

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Silva's Week 5 Matchups

Sunday, October 8, 2017



Jacksonville @ Pittsburgh
Team Totals: Steelers 26.5, Jaguars 18.5

This game sets up as a Le’Veon Bell smash spot with Pittsburgh favored by more than a touchdown at home and facing a run-funnel Jags team that ranks No. 1 in pass-defense DVOA but dead last against the run and has yielded a league-high 5.82 yards per carry to enemy backs, but a league-low 147.0 passing yards per game. Even at his high DFS price, Bell is worth paying up for in cash games for his massive floor-ceiling combination. Slow to start after his camp holdout, Bell’s yards-per-touch averages are trending up weekly (3.62 > 2.94 > 4.67 > 4.77), suggesting he’s beginning to hit a groove. … James Conner carries no standalone value, but I think Conner is worth stashing at the end of 12- and 14-team-league benches as a probable RB1 were Bell to miss time. Le’Veon is going to be worked hard – he logged 39 touches in last week’s win at Baltimore – and that usage ups his injury risk. Conner only handled four carries last week, but his 23-yard run occurred early in the game and is the longest run by a Steelers back this year. … Ben Roethlisberger’s home-away splits are always worth considering because they’re proven to have predictive value – his lone top-12 finish this year came in the Steelers’ lone home game – but this matchup is tough enough to give us Week 5 home-game pause. Tom Savage/Deshaun Watson (QB28), Marcus Mariota (QB18), Joe Flacco (QB36), and Josh McCown (QB31) have all been stymied by the Jaguars, who have the requisite defensive personnel to match up to Pittsburgh’s dynamic pass catchers. Usually an elite QB1 play at home, I’m downgrading Big Ben to a top 10-14 option instead.

Roethlisberger’s Weeks 1-4 target distribution: Antonio Brown 45; Bell and Martavis Bryant 23; Jesse James 20; JuJu Smith-Schuster 14; Eli Rogers 11. … Top receivers to face Jacksonville so far are Robby Anderson (3/59/0), DeAndre Hopkins (7/55/1), Rishard Matthews (3/43/0), Eric Decker (3/32/0), Jermaine Kearse (4/17/0), Jeremy Maclin (1/8/0), Mike Wallace (1/6/0). No individual pass catcher has reached 65 yards against the Jags, and no enemy wideout has reached 60. Brown remains an obvious every-week WR1 in season-long leagues. He is a contrarian DFS tournament play. … Based on size and where they normally align, I expect Brown to draw more of RCB A.J. Bouye with LCB Jalen Ramsey on Bryant. Both are legitimate shutdown corners, but Ramsey has been slightly stingier than Bouye this year. Held under 50 yards in 3-of-4 games, Bryant’s matchup and to-date production suggest he should be downgraded to a WR4/flex option. … Smith-Schuster has passed Rogers in the slot, last week logging a 71% snap rate while Rogers was a healthy scratch, and parlaying four targets into 3/47/1 receiving. With Aaron Colvin also dominating at slot corner, however, the Jags haven’t exactly been vulnerable inside, as Decker, Maclin, Jeremy Kerley (5/37/0), and Bruce Ellington (0/0) can attest. … The Jags have given up the NFL’s ninth-most catches (21) and tenth-most yards (223) to tight ends, keeping James in play as a low-end streamer. Still, James would almost certainly need to score a touchdown to pay off.

Being a touchdown-plus road dog is never optimal for a running back, but game script has yet to hinder Leonard Fournette’s production. He has logged at least 16 touches in all four games and hit pay dirt in each, and Week 5 opponent Pittsburgh’s run defense has fallen short of expectations by permitting a combined 50/300/6.0/2 rushing line to Ravens and Bears backs over the past two weeks. Devoutly committed to the run, the Jags enter Week 5 ranked first in the NFL in rushing attempts (138) and 22nd in pass attempts (123). And I believe Jacksonville’s defense is good enough to keep this game closer than the spread suggests. … Blake Bortles’ Week 3 four-touchdown outburst in London looks like an anomaly, seeing as he’s failed to finish inside the top-20 fantasy quarterbacks in each of his other three games. His volume significantly reduced by the Jaguars’ run-first ways, Bortles is merely a low-end two-QB-league dart and worth attacking with streamer D/STs. Steelers DC Keith Butler’s defense has allowed the NFL’s second-fewest points (14.8) and yards per game (267.0) and ranks second in the league in sacks (15).

Bortles’ Weeks 1-4 target distribution: Marqise Lee 26; Allen Hurns 24; Fournette 17; Keelan Cole 15; Marcedes Lewis 13; Chris Ivory 11. … The Steelers have allowed the NFL’s second-fewest catches (35) and yards (339) to enemy receivers, while no Jags wideout is averaging more than 6.5 targets per game. No individual pass catcher has reached 60 yards against Pittsburgh. I think this is a full-fade situation for Jags receivers. Hurns does lead the team in red-zone targets (7) and targets inside the ten (3) and is the best weekly bet to score. … Lewis scored three TDs in Bortles’ fluke four-score London game. In his other three games combined, Lewis has caught 0-of-8 targets.

Score Prediction: Steelers 20, Jaguars 17

Arizona @ Philadelphia
Team Totals: Eagles 26, Cardinals 19

Now second in the NFL in passing yards (1,282) behind only Tom Brady (1,399), Carson Palmer heads to Philly for his third cross-country 1pm ET game in the first five weeks. The bad news is Palmer and Arizona’s offense as a unit were error prone enough in their Weeks 1-2 1pm ET games that rumors circulated Palmer was “washed.” The good news is Week 5 opponent Philadelphia is playing pass-funnel defense, giving up three straight top-12 fantasy weeks to Alex Smith, Eli Manning, and Philip Rivers. And the Cardinals are an inherent pass-funnel offense anyway due to their inability to run the football. This may not entirely make logical sense, but I like Palmer and the Eagles’ D/ST as Week 5 streamers. The Cardinals have allowed league highs in quarterback hits (43) and sacks (17), and Palmer has shown signs of becoming shell shocked in the pocket behind swinging-gate pass protection. Palmer has absorbed six sacks in back-to-back games. … Andre Ellington’s target counts have risen each game (3 > 5 > 8 > 14) to the extent that he’s now a usable PPR flex option. Ellington caught a touchdown pass from Palmer along the left side of the end zone in last week’s win over the 49ers, only for it to be confusingly ruled incomplete. Averaging 2.59 yards per carry, Chris Johnson likely isn’t running anywhere against an Eagles defense that held enemy backs to a 56/222/3.96/3 rushing line in Weeks 1-4. Ellington has led Arizona’s backfield in snaps in two straight weeks (60%, 53%), running pass routes on 94% of his plays.

Palmer’s Weeks 1-4 target distribution: Larry Fitzgerald 41; Ellington 30; Jaron Brown 29; J.J. Nelson 20; John Brown and Jermaine Gresham 16; Johnson 5. … The Eagles were rinsed by slot receivers Sterling Shepard (7/133/1) and Keenan Allen (5/138/0) in Weeks 3-4. 67% slot man Fitzgerald enters Week 5 ranked third in the NFL in targets (41) and catches (26), top 15 in receiving yards (276), and first in red-zone targets (10). … Jaron Brown is now the Cardinals’ unofficial No. 2 wideout, as John Brown’s Week 4 return severely curbed Nelson’s playing time (28%) while Jaron (95%) emerged unscathed. Jaron plays 81% of his snaps outside, where he will encounter weekly burn victims LCB Jalen Mills and rookie RCB Rasul Douglas. Averaging 9.7 targets over his last three games, Jaron is a volume- and matchup-driven WR3/flex play. … Nelson will remain a real-life threat for big plays, but his playing-time reduction pushes his floor too low for fantasy comfort. … John Brown was a 63% player in his Week 4 return from a two-week quadriceps injury, turning seven targets into a 3/47/0 receiving line and scoring a fantastic toe-tapping TD where he clearly got both feet down but was ruled out of bounds on the field, and coach Bruce Arians declined to challenge. John’s health is an ongoing concern, and box-score consistency seems unlikely. But “Smokey” is at least worth discussion with big-play potential in this cupcake draw.

After opening the season with consecutive top-five fantasy games, Carson Wentz slumped to QB24 and QB16 results in Weeks 3-4. I’m leaving the light on for Wentz because this Arizona defense may soon become a pass-funnel unit. DC James Bettcher’s group struggles badly at No. 2 corner, while losing pass rusher Markus Golden (ACL) is a major blow. Even before Golden’s injury, Arizona yielded top-12 fantasy weeks to Matthew Stafford (QB2) and Dak Prescott (QB12), facing Jacoby Brissett and Brian Hoyer in their other two games. Still, with Patrick Peterson likely to erase Alshon Jeffery, Wentz is just a fringe Week 5 play. … Playing shutdown run defense as usual, the Cardinals held enemy backs to a 93/277/2.98/2 rushing line in the first month, also allowing the NFL’s seventh-fewest receiving yards (117) to the position. With Wendell Smallwood (knee) not expected to play, however, LeGarrette Blount's raised volume projection as a home-favorite running back significantly increases his appeal and makes Blount a sneaky DFS correlation play with the Eagles' D/ST. Blount led the Eagles in Week 4 touches (17) and should push for 20-plus versus Arizona. Rookie Corey Clement stayed involved with ten carries on 25% of the downs in last week's win over the Chargers. Kenjon Barner is a candidate to handle some of Smallwood's passing-down leftovers.

Wentz’s Weeks 1-4 target distribution: Zach Ertz 36; Alshon Jeffery 34; Torrey Smith 19; Nelson Agholor 18; Smallwood 11; Blount 3. … Patrick Peterson has traveled with Marvin Jones (2/37/1), T.Y. Hilton (4/49/0), Dez Bryant (2/12/1), and Pierre Garcon (4/36/0), and there is every reason to believe he will stick to Alshon on nearly every Week 5 snap. … Jeffery was indeed shadowed by Chargers CB Casey Hayward last week. Ertz stepped up for a team-high 5/81/0 receiving line on eight targets. Arizona has contained Eric Ebron (2/9/0), Jason Witten (1/3/0), and George Kittle (2/35/0), although Jack Doyle dumped an 8/79/0 receiving line on them in Week 2. Regardless of matchups, Ertz is not a smart fade. He has an otherworldly 114/1,380/6 receiving pace over his last eight games and leads all NFL tight ends in targets (36) and catches (26). … Smith is never easy to trust, but he should see elevated usage in this game as Alshon battles Peterson. PFF has charged Cardinals No. 2 CB Justin Bethel with the seventh-most yards allowed (253) among 110 qualified cornerbacks, in addition to three TDs in four games. … Slot man Agholor is in a similar boat, lacking reliability but worthy of more matchup-driven discussion than usual this week. Like Smith, Agholor has cleared 60 yards just once in four games. Also like Smith, Agholor figures to draw more targets than usual against gambling Cardinals slot CB Tyrann Mathieu.

Score Prediction: Cardinals 24, Eagles 23

4:05 PM ET Games

Seattle @ LA Rams
Team Totals: Rams 23.5, Seahawks 22.5

In chronological order, Russell Wilson’s fantasy quarterback finishes by week are QB24 > QB16 > QB2 > QB5, making Wilson the fourth-highest-scoring fantasy passer in the season’s first month. In Week 5, Wilson takes on a Rams defense allowing the NFL’s fifth-most points (26.2) and sixth-most yards (367.8) per game while surrendering consecutive top-eight results to Brian Hoyer and Dak Prescott. As we’ve noted repeatedly in this space, Wilson’s floor is typically lowered on the road with enhanced volatility. I think Wilson is most astutely approached as a boom-bust fantasy bet in this spot, albeit still a surefire top-ten play at his position. … Even against a struggling Rams run defense, I’m throwing up my hands with regard to Seattle’s post-Chris Carson backfield and considering this a wait-and-see week. Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, and J.D. McKissic are all in the mix for snaps, and none is a safe bet to reach double-digit touches. If forced to choose from this foursome, I would probably take Rawls based on post-Week 4 coaching-staff commentary. The Rams have allowed the NFL’s most fantasy points to running backs, including a 4.96 yards-per-carry average and league-high seven all-purpose touchdowns.

Wilson’s Weeks 1-4 target distribution: Doug Baldwin 31; Jimmy Graham 26; Paul Richardson 22; Tyler Lockett 20; Prosise 11; Luke Willson 9; Amara Darboh 7; McKissic 1. … The Seahawks took it easy on Baldwin (groin) in last week’s demolition of the Colts, limiting him to 68% of the snaps and four targets in a game where he simply wasn’t worth pushing in the second half. It is perhaps worth noting that the Rams have been stingy versus slot men Cole Beasley (3/17/0), Trent Taylor (3/32/1), Jamison Crowder (4/47/0), and Kamar Aiken (1/3/0), although those receivers haven’t quite lit up any other defenses, either. I’m sticking with Baldwin as a high-upside WR2 further removed from his Week 3 groin strain. … In Weeks 1-4 order, Lockett’s weekly snap rates are 53% > 74% > 90% > 74%, and he is coming off a season-high 91 yards from scrimmage in last week’s win over the Colts. Lockett and Richardson are both viable WR3/flex options against the Rams, who have yielded the NFL’s fifth-most completions of 20-plus yards (14). Richardson leads the Seahawks in 20-plus-yard targets (5), Baldwin and Graham are tied for second (4), and Lockett is a close third (3). … The Rams have contained Jack Doyle (2/41/0), Jordan Reed (6/48/0), 49ers tight ends (2/9/1), and Jason Witten (1/9/0), and from that standpoint do not pose a standout matchup for Graham. Nevertheless, Graham has turned in back-to-back 60-plus-yard games and should continue to experience improved health as he distances himself from a Week 2 ankle injury.

After facing the Colts, Redskins, 49ers, and Cowboys in the first month, Jared Goff draws his toughest to-date challenge against a Seahawks defense that has checked Aaron Rodgers (QB13), Brian Hoyer (QB33), Marcus Mariota (QB15), and Jacoby Brissett (QB27) while ranking top ten in pass-defense DVOA. Seattle has shown run-funnel tendencies by shutting down passing games but ranking 30th in run-defense DVOA while yielding a combined 89/456/5.12/3 rushing line to running backs. I’ve liked Goff as a matchup-based streamer to this point, but I am bailing on him this week. … This game sets up far better for Todd Gurley as a home-favorite running back facing an underachieving run defense whose DFS ownership is certain to be depressed because the public fears Seattle. Gurley leads the NFC in yards from scrimmage (596) and the entire NFL in touchdowns (7) and enters Week 5 averaging an otherworldly 26.5 touches per game. On similar usage last year, David Johnson tagged a better Seahawks defense for total-yardage/touchdown counts of 171/0 and 136/3. No one should have any fear about teeing up Gurley. He'll be one of my highest-owned DFS running back plays this week.

Goff’s Weeks 1-4 target distribution: Gurley 25; Robert Woods 22; Cooper Kupp 21; Sammy Watkins 16; Tyler Higbee 13; Gerald Everett 7; Tavon Austin 5. … Only three receivers have cleared 50 yards against Seattle: Rishard Matthews (6/87/1), Randall Cobb (9/85/0), and Jordy Nelson (7/79/1). Eric Decker (4/49/0), Davante Adams (3/47/0), Donte Moncrief (3/30/1), T.Y. Hilton (3/30/0), Pierre Garcon (3/26/0), and Marquise Goodwin (3/26/0) have all fallen short. One of the reasons I’m down on Goff this week is because none of his pass catchers are noticeably set up for success. Watkins has been held below 60 yards in 3-of-4 games, settling in as a low-floor WR4/flex. Watkins does project to run the most routes (49%) at Seahawks rookie RCB Shaq Griffin. … Woods has also finished below 60 yards in 3-of-4 weeks and runs a team-high 57% of his routes at left corners, where Richard Sherman logs 95% of his plays. … Kupp looks like the best Week 5 fantasy bet among Rams receivers. Kupp runs 61% of his routes inside, where slot CB Jeremy Lane is nursing a hip/groin injury. Kupp leads the Rams in red-zone targets (5) and targets inside the ten (3), giving him the best chance to hit pay dirt. … The Seahawks contained Martellus Bennett (3/43/0) in Week 1, 49ers tight ends (3/19/0) in Week 2, Delanie Walker (4/31/0) in Week 3, and Colts tight ends (6/59/0) in Week 4. I’m avoiding the Higbee-Everett rotation.

Score Prediction: Seahawks 27, Rams 24


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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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