Evan Silva

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Silva's Week 5 Matchups

Sunday, October 8, 2017



Baltimore @ Oakland
Team Totals: Raiders 20.75, Ravens 18.25

Joe Flacco heads to Oakland with fantasy finishes of QB26, QB15, QB36, QB26 on his 2017 resume to face a leaky Raiders pass defense that ranks 28th in DVOA with the NFL’s fourth-highest passer rating allowed (108.4). Unfortunately, Flacco has shown minimal ability to exploit even the league’s weakest defenses. He managed 298 yards and one passing score on a whopping 54 attempts versus Oakland last Week 4 and has reached 300 yards in four of his last 21 games with only six multi-touchdown efforts in that span. The matchup indicates Flacco warrants streamer conversation, but his recent performance in both small and larger sample sizes suggests otherwise. In desperate cases and/or DFS tournaments, the Raiders’ D/ST is stream-able against Flacco, who has thrown at least one interception in ten straight games and has six in four games this year. … Buck Allen remained Baltimore’s Week 4 backfield leader in snaps (58%) and targets (6), but the Ravens have reduced his carry total in every game (21 > 14 > 8 > 2). Allen is just a passing-game back and low-end PPR flex option. … Alex Collins has outplayed Terrance West in decisive fashion with a sterling 8.2 YPC average to West’s 3.3 clip, although Collins lost a Week 4 fumble and failed to reach double-digit touches in any of the first four games. The Ravens’ early-down-grinder role looks like a situation to avoid in Week 5 lineup decisions. Despite growing usage, Collins has yet to catch a pass as a Raven. He was targeted twice in last week’s loss, securing neither with one drop.

Flacco’s Weeks 1-4 target distribution: Jeremy Maclin 20; Allen and Mike Wallace 19; Ben Watson 18; Breshad Perriman 13; Nick Boyle 9; Michael Campanaro 8; Maxx Williams 5; West 4; Collins 2. … The Raiders have been gashed by Vernon Davis (5/58/1), Delanie Walker (7/76/0), and AJ Derby (4/75/1). This is a great spot to stream Watson, who leads the Ravens in targets (17) over their last three games. … Maclin has been a source of frustration to this point, falling below 60 yards in all four weeks. He was saved by Weeks 1 and 2 touchdowns, but has been almost invisible in two games since. Just a WR4/flex option until he shows more, 69% slot man Maclin will take on Raiders slot CB T.J. Carrie, who checked Eric Decker (3/10/0), Jeremy Kerley (3/14/0), Jamison Crowder (6/52/0), and Bennie Fowler (2/35/0) in Weeks 1-4. … Particularly in LCB David Amerson’s (concussion) absence, the Raiders look vulnerable on the perimeter. Wallace is coming off his season-best game (6/55/1), but he is still very difficult to trust after managing single-digit yards in each of the first three weeks. On a one-for-one basis, I would still rather play Maclin than Wallace. … Perriman has one reception for six yards over the last three games.

Whether the Raiders go through with it is up to coach Jack Del Rio and OC Todd Downing, who have made a concerted effort to limit 31-year-old Marshawn Lynch’s usage to this point. But sans Derek Carr, there is little doubt Oakland’s optimal offensive approach is to saddle up Lynch behind their high-priced offensive line and ride Beast Mode against the Ravens, who are traveling cross country with a run defense that has sagged without DT Brandon Williams’ (foot), surrendering a combined 83/380/4.56/3 rushing line to enemy backs with Williams shelved the past three weeks. Lynch is a risky Week 5 fantasy start with descending touch totals of 19 > 13 > 7 > 9, but Lynch should be the focal point of Oakland’s E.J. Manuel-quarterbacked offense. … You’re on your own trusting Raiders pass catchers with Manuel at the controls. Manuel is a career 58.5% passer with a 6.4 YPA who narrowly beat out Connor Cook for the Raiders’ backup job in training camp. On Sunday, Manuel will face a Ravens defense that ranks No. 2 in DVOA and has surrendered league lows in completion rate (54.4) and passer rating (63.1).


Score Prediction: Raiders 20, Ravens 17

4:25 PM ET Game

Green Bay @ Dallas
Team Totals: Cowboys 26.5, Packers 25.5

The Cowboys dominated the first two quarters of last week’s loss to the Rams, heading to halftime up by eight points as Ezekiel Elliott parlayed 16 touches into 97 yards and two TDs. Dallas was outscored 19-6 the rest of the way; Zeke managed nine second-half touches, and the Cowboys put themselves in constant third-and-long situations, failing to convert. This is an opportunity for OC Scott Linehan to learn from his Week 4 mistake by pounding Elliott against a Green Bay run defense that ranks 19th in DVOA and has given up five all-purpose touchdowns to enemy backs in the past three weeks. Including January’s playoffs, Elliott dropped total-yardage amounts of 174 and 123 in last year’s two meetings with Packers DC Dom Capers. … A top-12 fantasy passer in all four weeks coming off a top-eight finish against the Rams, Dak Prescott is a high-floor, high-ceiling Week 5 play in this probable shootout against Green Bay, which ranks 15th in pass-defense DVOA through four games. Prescott shredded Capers’ unit for total-yardage/touchdown counts of 253/3 and 315/3 in last year’s two Packers games. Prescott is a cash-game DFS play. And because Elliott’s passing-game usage has risen so much – he’s on pace for 76 targets after drawing just 39 all last year – Prescott and Elliott remain playable in the same DFS lineups.

Prescott’s Weeks 1-4 target distribution: Dez Bryant 40; Jason Witten 28; Terrance Williams 22; Cole Beasley 20; Elliott 19; Brice Butler 9. … A.J. Green (10/111/1) and Julio Jones (5/108/0) both dropped season-best games on the Packers, whom Bryant slaughtered for 9/132/2 last January. Although Dez’s inefficiency has frustrated – his 40% catch rate would be the lowest of his career – it is forgivable after facing Janoris Jenkins, Denver, Patrick Peterson, and Trumaine Johnson in the first month. The Packers don’t have any cover men in their league. … Slot men Mohamed Sanu (5/85/0) and Kendall Wright (4/51/1) have had solid games against the Packers, but Beasley simply hasn’t done enough in a large sample for fantasy confidence. He hasn’t reached 50 yards since last Thanksgiving and, including the playoffs, has gone 11 straight games without a touchdown. … Williams and Butler essentially cancel each other out as fantasy possibilities. Williams (63%) plays more snaps than Butler (32%), but Butler is a superior playmaker when in the game. All non-Dez Cowboys wideouts are low-floor shots in the dark. … Green Bay has checked Jimmy Graham (3/8/0), Austin Hooper (2/7/0), Tyler Kroft (3/28/0), and Zach Miller (2/45/0). Although Witten has struggled in back-to-back weeks and this matchup doesn’t stand out, I wouldn’t sleep on Witten as a low-end TE1 in this potential shootout. Witten dropped 6/59/1 on the Packers last January and ranks second on the Cowboys in red-zone targets (5) behind Dez (7).

Back from a long week after his four-score Thursday night demolition of the Bears, Aaron Rodgers draws a Cowboys defense that has allowed the NFL’s fourth-most touchdown passes (8) and fifth-most pass plays of 20-plus yards (14) while yielding three straight top-15 fantasy weeks to Trevor Siemian (QB3), Carson Palmer (QB11), and Jared Goff (QB15). Including playoffs, Rodgers has thrown for 300-plus yards and/or multiple TDs in nine straight games. He is always one of the highest-floor and highest-ceiling quarterback options on the board, and this is a near-pristine matchup. … Ty Montgomery is apparently trying to play through “multiple” fractured ribs, Jamaal Williams appears to have recovered from his Thursday night knee injury with a long week of rest, and Aaron Jones may have earned more usage after turning 13 carries into 49 yards and a touchdown off the bench in last week’s win over the Bears. Barring a change in status for one of the Packers’ backs, this is a high-risk fantasy situation that would ideally be avoided in fantasy-lineup decisions. Green Bay’s backfield distribution is entirely up in the air, and that uncertainty gives Rodgers extreme upside in terms of projected pass volume.

The Packers’ to-date target distribution is unreliable due to injuries. The one constant is Jordy Nelson, who has scored 19 TDs over his last 20 games and is on pace for his third straight WR2 overall finish in non-PPR scoring despite missing all but seven snaps in Week 2 with a “charley horse.” Nelson’s ceiling is immense in the highest-totaled game on the Sunday-Monday slate. … Dating back to January’s playoffs, Randall Cobb has totaled 60 yards and/or hit pay dirt in six straight games. Cobb runs 85% of his routes inside, where Dallas has been blowtorched by Cooper Kupp (5/60/1), Larry Fitzgerald (13/149/1), and Sterling Shepard (7/44/0). … The Cowboys’ tight end coverage has barely been tested by the Cardinals, Rams, Broncos, and Giants’ tight end units, yet Dallas has still allowed the NFL’s 15th-most receptions (18) to the position. Cowboys DC Rod Marinelli’s zone scheme is historically vulnerable to tight ends, last year allowing league highs in catches (120) and yards (1,206) to TEs. In a “revenge game” with a high-scoring total, Martellus Bennett is likely to go overlooked and underrated based on his slow results-oriented start. Forward-thinking fantasy leaguers should note Bennett ranks fifth among NFL tight ends in targets, eighth in catches (17), and second on the Packers behind Nelson in targets inside the ten-yard line (3). For lack of a better term, Bennett is “due.” … Davante Adams’ availability will come down to his ability to pass concussion-protocol tests. When in the lineup, Adams has been a boom-bust WR2 play.


Score Prediction: Packers 30, Cowboys 27

DFS Players: Packers at Cowboys is the RotoGrinders Matchup of the Week. Some of RotoGrinders' top NFL minds break down this game from every angle and help prepare you to set winning lineups this weekend in daily fantasy football.

 

Sunday Night Football

Kansas City @ Houston
Team Totals: Chiefs 23.5, Texans 22.5

Fantasy’s overall QB3 since taking over as the Texans’ starter three weeks ago, Deshaun Watson draws a road-tripping, short-week Chiefs defense that has quietly allowed the NFL’s sixth-most passing yards (992) and second-most rushing yards (93) to quarterbacks, a function of DC Bob Sutton’s man-coverage scheme which requires cover men to run downfield and turn their backs to the offense on pass plays. Both Carson Wentz and Kirk Cousins have posted top-12 fantasy weeks against the Chiefs, and both set season highs in rushing yards in those games. Watson is a superior runner to both, currently leading all quarterbacks in rushing yards (148). The Chiefs are showing pass-funnel tendencies, setting up Watson for another high-ceiling week. … Vulnerable in run defense last season, Kansas City solidified its front by signing NT Bennie Logan away from Philadelphia, and through four games has limited enemy backs to a combined 87/327/3.76/4 rushing line and the NFL’s second-fewest receiving yards (93). Still, Watson’s scrambling threat and hyper efficiency have a real chance to continue to elevate Houston’s offense to a point where Lamar Miller can become matchup proof. On the season thus far, Miller has shown a 15-touch floor and 23-touch ceiling. Miller’s outlook seemed bleak just two weeks ago when D’Onta Foreman began cutting into his carries, but Houston’s entire offensive outlook has been enhanced. … Foreman has double-digit touches in three straight games and should be owned in all 12- and 14-team leagues with some standalone value and league-winning potential if something goes wrong with Miller.

Watson’s Weeks 1-4 target distribution: DeAndre Hopkins 44; Bruce Ellington 12; Ryan Griffin 11; Lamar Miller 10; Stephen Anderson 9; Braxton Miller 8; Will Fuller 6; Foreman 3. … Watson’s connection with Hopkins is eerily similar to his collegiate rapport with Mike Williams, relentlessly attacking defenses on back shoulders and out-breaking routes along the sideline. Hopkins has at least seven catches in all four games, and he runs 70% of his routes away from stationary Chiefs LCB Marcus Peters’ side of the field. For the foreseeable future, we need to have weekly exposure to Watson-Hopkins DFS stacks. (They play the Browns next week!) … Fuller returned from his collarbone injury and was a near-full-time player in last week’s win over Tennessee, logging six targets on 80% of the snaps and catching two red-zone TDs. Fuller ran a team-high 47% of his routes on Peters’ side, and his skill set doesn’t exactly portend a red-zone dominator. Nevertheless, the stock of every Texans offensive player has been elevated by Watson’s rapid emergence, and Fuller is among them. He’ll be a high-variance WR3/flex going forward. … The Eric Berry-less Chiefs gave up 6/107 to Eagles tight ends in Week 2, then limited Chargers tight ends to 2/30/0 in Week 3, then were ransacked for 5/110/0 by Redskins tight ends last Monday night. Griffin played 96% of Houston’s Week 4 snaps, has drawn target counts of 6 and 5 the past two weeks, and is worth streamer discussion versus K.C.

Alex Smith enters Week 5 with QB1, QB10, QB21, QB6 weekly finishes to face a Texans defense that has yielded just one top-15 quarterback result (Tom Brady) while allowing the NFL’s fifth-fewest yards per game (291.5). It is perhaps worth noting Smith has faced Houston three times over the past two years, including playoffs, and emerged with total-yardage/touchdown results of 188/0, 217/1, 258/3. I can’t fault anyone for riding the Smith wave after his hot first month in what has so far been a hyper-efficient Chiefs offense, but in this particular week I view him as more of a top 12-15 option than the top 5-8 scorer Smith has been so far. … Even without ILB Brian Cushing (suspension), Houston’s run defense has stayed stout by holding enemy backs to a combined 89/299/3.36/1 rushing line and NFL-low 86 receiving yards one month in. After facing the Patriots, Eagles, Chargers, and Redskins in Weeks 1-4, this projects as Kareem Hunt’s toughest to-date test on the road against one of the league’s top defensive fronts. Hunt, of course, leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage (659) – by 63 yards – while averaging 20.3 touches per game. He’s an elite season-long RB1 start and pay-up-to-be-contrarian DFS play.

Smith’s Weeks 1-4 target distribution: Tyreek Hill 28; Travis Kelce 26; Albert Wilson 16; Hunt and Chris Conley 13; Charcandrick West 8. … Hill has been a weekly roller coaster with two big games (7/133/1, 5/77/1) and two sluggish ones (4/43/0, 5/35/0), but his ceiling keeps him in every-week WR2 territory as a player whose floor potential we’re just going to have to live with each game. Hill is averaging nearly seven touches per game and is always a threat to go the distance. It is perhaps notable that Hill’s two big games came on the road, and he is back on the road in Houston. … The only other fantasy-viable pass catcher in Kansas City is Kelce, whose receiving lines against the Texans over the past two years are 5/34/0, 8/128/0, 6/106/2. Even though Houston is perennially tough on tight ends, supremely-talented Kelce has gotten the better of this matchup more often than not. To date, tight ends to face the Texans are Delanie Walker (3/51/0), Rob Gronkowski (8/89/1), Tyler Eifert (3/42/0), and Marcedes Lewis (0/0).

Score Prediction: Texans 24, Chiefs 23

Monday Night Football

Minnesota @ Chicago
Team Totals: Vikings 21.5, Bears 18.5

Mercifully scrapping the Mike Glennon experiment after four weeks, the Bears will turn to Mitchell Trubisky against a Vikings defense that has yielded one fantasy quarterback finish above QB16 despite an opening-month gauntlet of Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Jameis Winston, and Matthew Stafford. The Vikings have allowed just 2-of-20 enemy passers to reach 300 yards since the start of 2016, and Trubisky will debut with the NFL’s worst receiver corps. I’m still keeping the light on for Trubisky as an immediate two-quarterback-league play based in large part on his athleticism. He possesses plus speed (4.67), was a legitimate scrambling threat in college, and the Bears proactively put his mobility to use on boots and rollouts all preseason, where Trubisky rushed five times for 48 yards and was hyper efficient as a passer with a 67.9% completion rate, three touchdowns, and no turnovers. … As mobile quarterbacks can elevate their teams’ running games by causing hesitation and even freeze amongst front-seven defenders and/or by simply adding a new offensive dimension defenses must account for, Trubisky’s insertion bodes positively for Jordan Howard, who shook off a turbulent Weeks 1-2 to amass 20-plus touches in consecutive weeks, and now has an 11-day layoff to overcome any lingering issues from his early-season shoulder injury. The Vikings, of course, have been nails against the run, limiting enemy backs to a combined 83/269/3.24/1 rushing line and the NFL’s fifth-fewest receiving yards (110). Howard is a volume-driven, borderline RB1. … After tallying touch totals of 13 > 15 > 16 in Weeks 1-3, Tarik Cohen was surprisingly minimized in the Bears’ game plan in last Thursday night’s loss to Green Bay, managing 48 scoreless yards on a season-low ten touches and playing only 26% of the snaps. A primary reason was increased involvement for perennial troll Benny Cunningham, who returned from his high ankle sprain to nearly equal Cohen’s playing time (24%) and swipe 11 passing-down snaps.

Trubisky’s preseason touchdowns went to Cunningham, now-free agent Victor Cruz, and Bears practice-squad WR Tanner Gentry. At least among players presently on the 53-man roster, we have no tangible evidence of a “rapport” between Trubisky and any particular Bears pass catcher. … Zach Miller is my best bet for a productive Monday nighter against the Vikings, who yielded 5/54/1 to Coby Fleener in Week 1, 6/50/1 to Bears tight ends in Week 3, and 7/82/0 to Lions tight ends in Week 4. Albeit with Glennon quarterbacking, Miller ranks second on the Bears in targets (20) and first in targets inside the ten-yard line (2). … Slot men to face the Vikings in the first month were Golden Tate (3/29/0), Adam Humphries (6/68/0), Eli Rogers/JuJu Smith-Schuster (7/59/1), and Brandon Coleman/Tommylee Lewis (4/65/0). I’m approaching Kendall Wright as a low-floor, relatively low-ceiling WR4/flex option here.

The Vikings are a difficult team to analyze because we don’t know their starting quarterback. For the sake of a writeup, I’ll assume it’s Case Keenum. Even in two-QB leagues, I’m fading Keenum at Soldier Field after another brutal outing in Week 4. … Latavius Murray was the Vikings’ lead back following Dalvin Cook’s ACL tear, logging 19 snaps post-Cook injury to Jerick McKinnon’s six and nine touches to McKinnon’s two. This is a wait-and-see week for Minnesota's backfield. Chicago has played lights-out run defense, limiting enemy backs to a 90/325/3.61/4 rushing line and the NFL’s fourth-fewest receiving yards (96). … Keenum’s Weeks 2-4 target distribution: Stefon Diggs 24; Adam Thielen 22; Kyle Rudolph 12; Jerick McKinnon 9; Jarius Wright 5; Murray 2. … The good news for Diggs is Chicago has been shredded by No. 1 WRs in three straight games, namely Antonio Brown (10/110/1), Mike Evans (7/93/1), and Jordy Nelson (4/75/2). The bad news is Diggs’ quarterback is Keenum, who completed two passes for 27 yards to Diggs the last time they played together in a road game. Diggs is best viewed as a volatile WR2/3. … Same goes for slot man Thielen, whose floor does look higher than Diggs’ with five catches in all three of Keenum’s starts. … Rudolph has dudded each game this season to the extent that he simply can’t be trusted until he puts something into a box score. I do think there’s a chance Cook’s injury could benefit Rudolph if the Vikings’ run games goes in the gutter and OC Pat Shurmur becomes compelled to have Rudolph block less and run short, higher-percentage routes more.

Score Prediction: Bears 21, Vikings 20



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



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