Evan Silva

Matchups

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Silva's Week 11 Matchups

Sunday, November 19, 2017



Arizona @ Houston
Team Totals: Cardinals 19.25, Texans 19.25

We can all agree Tom Savage is neither a short- nor long-term answer in Houston, but he does offer bottom-feeder two-quarterback-league appeal against a pass-funnel Arizona defense that has allowed top-12 fantasy results to 7-of-9 quarterbacks faced. … I’m worried about Lamar Miller again. Out-carried 11 to 10 by D’Onta Foreman in Week 9, Miller logged a season-low 59% snap rate in last week’s loss to the Rams. A timeshare back in an offense that can no longer score, Miller is a low-end RB2/flex option facing a Cardinals defense that has held running backs to 3.49 yards per carry and four rushing TDs in nine games. … With Patrick Peterson on DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller (rib) out indefinitely, Bruce Ellington is a prime sleeper against an Arizona secondary that gets shredded by complementary pass catchers and just lost versatile S/CB Tyvon Branch (ACL) for the year. Ellington has drawn 20 targets in the last three weeks – including four in the red zone – and plays 70% of his snaps in the slot, where the Cardinals have been rinsed by Golden Tate (10/107/0), Doug Baldwin (5/95/0), Nelson Agholor (4/93/1), Cooper Kupp (4/51/1), Adam Humphries (6/51/0), and Trent Taylor (5/47/0). Ellington is an elite SPARQ athlete who used to play college basketball. … C.J. Fiedorowicz made his Week 10 return from I.R. and played 90% of the snaps, but he blocked nearly half the time and was out-produced 2/30/0 to 2/10/0 by Stephen Anderson. You should be able to find better streamer tight end plays this week.


Blaine Gabbert was quietly last year’s QB17 in fantasy points per game during a Weeks 1-5 run as the 49ers’ starter, struggling as a passer as he always has and always will but averaging 7.8 rushing attempts per start and twice scoring 20-plus fantasy points. The Texans have yielded top-eight results to Russell Wilson (QB1), Jacoby Brissett (QB8), and Jared Goff (QB3) in three straight games with 300-plus passing yards for each. Houston has also given up the NFL’s ninth-most rushing yards to quarterbacks. Gabbert is worth taking seriously as a season-long-league streamer and low-cost DFS punt. … The one Arizona pass catcher worth staying optimistic about is slot man Larry Fitzgerald after Gabbert peppered 49ers slot man Jeremy Kerley with a team-high 9.2 targets per game in Weeks 1-5 last season. Gabbert has never been comfortable challenging defenses outside the numbers. … Adrian Peterson’s touch counts as a Cardinal are 26 > 12 > 39 > 22, giving him volume-driven RB2 appeal even if his results have been predictably uneven in an injury-ruined Arizona offense. The normally-stout Texans run defense showed cracks in last week’s loss to Los Angeles, yielding a 16/99/6.20/0 rushing line to Rams running backs.

Score Prediction: Cardinals 24, Texans 17

Tampa Bay @ Miami
Team Totals: Buccaneers 20, Dolphins 20

On a short week following last Monday night’s embarrassing blowout loss to the Panthers, the Dolphins return home to face a Bucs defense that struggled all year before coming alive in last week’s win over the Jets, nearly equaling its previous season total in sacks (6) while eliminating Gang Green’s running attack. Tampa Bay played poor defense in the first half of 2016, then caught fire in the second half. With most of their best defenders finally healthy, it shouldn’t surprise if a similar 2017 scenario plays out. Although Jay Cutler has managed top-16 fantasy results in just 1-of-8 starts, I think Miami’s passing-game matchups are favorable enough for Cutler to be approached as a quality two-quarterback-league play. … After Kenyan Drake worked as Miami’s Week 9 backfield leader, Damien Williams grabbed a slight Week 10 edge with 11 touches on 55% of the snaps to Drake’s 9 touches on a 45% playing-time clip. Drake broke a 66-yard touchdown run and has outgained Williams 196 to 100 on the same number of touches (24) since the Jay Ajayi trade, but Dolphins coaches insist this will remain a near-even RBBC. The difficulty of this matchup is hard to gauge because the Bucs’ defense is now healthy after getting lit up at less than full strength in the first half of the year. Either way, I’m viewing Drake as a low-end RB2/flex play and Williams as a shaky flex.

Cutler’s post-Ajayi target distribution: Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker 17; Julius Thomas 13; Kenny Stills 12; Williams 9; Drake 8. … The best area to attack Tampa Bay is on the perimeter, where the Bucs have been flamed by Stefon Diggs (8/173/2), Deonte Thompson twice (4/107/0, 4/57/1), Odell Beckham (7/90/0), Robby Anderson (4/85/1), Brandin Cooks (5/85/0), Chris Hogan (8/74/1), Michael Thomas (8/65/0), John Brown (3/63/1), Ted Ginn (4/59/1), and Kelvin Benjamin (3/39/1). Parker has drawn eight-plus targets in 5-of-5 healthy games and should be locked into lineups as a WR2. The Dolphins' coaching staff called out Parker in the media this week, perhaps as a motivational tactic ahead of a high-volume game. Stills is a passable WR4/flex. … The Bucs’ slot coverage is also vulnerable, as Larry Fitzgerald (10/138/1), Danny Amendola (8/77/0), Adam Thielen (5/98/0), and Kendall Wright (7/69/0) have shown. Landry has drawn double-digit targets in 7-of-9 games, scoring a touchdown in five of the last six. … Julius Thomas’ big Week 9 game against the Raiders stands out as a fluke. He has drawn five targets or fewer in all of his other eight games and on the year has cleared 30 yards in 2-of-9 appearances. Thomas remains a touchdown-or-bust streamer against a Bucs defense that has allowed just three touchdowns to tight ends this year.

After last week's fantasy flop against the Jets, Ryan Fitzpatrick gets a shot to redeem himself against Miami’s woeful pass defense, which ranks 31st in DVOA while yielding the NFL’s second-highest completion rate (68.7%) and passer rating (104.8). Only eight teams have given up more touchdown passes (16) than the Dolphins, who were torched by Cam Newton for last week’s QB1 finish. Fitzpatrick, of course, is less capable than most passers of exploiting opponent weaknesses. I think Fitzpatrick is best viewed as a two-quarterback-league starter and desperation streamer. … The Dolphins’ run defense has also collapsed, yielding a combined 124/648/5.23/5 rushing line to enemy backs in its last five games, including Alex Collins, Marshawn Lynch, and Jonathan Stewart’s season-best efforts all in a row in Weeks 8-10. Doug Martin has lacked productivity but not usage, coming off a Week 10 game where he logged 20 touches. For Week 11, Martin is a volume- and matchup-driven RB2 play.

Fitzpatrick’s 2017 target distribution with Mike Evans in the lineup: Evans 10; Adam Humphries 8; Cameron Brate 7; DeSean Jackson 5; Martin, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard 2. … Fresh off his one-game ban, Evans is primed for Week 11 liftoff against a Dolphins secondary that starts at cornerback third-round rookie Cordrea Tankersley and Xavien Howard, who ranks dead last among 116 qualified corners in PFF’s coverage grades and was Devin Funchess’ (5/92/2) primary burn victim last Monday night. … Brate has dudded in back-to-back games, but the Dolphins’ defense has shown a tendency to wake up sleeping tight ends. Miami has given up the NFL’s second-most receptions to the position (56), getting flamed by Jared Cook (8/126/0) and Ed Dickson (3/33/1) in consecutive weeks. … Jackson was the Bucs’ leading receiver (6/82/0) sans Evans last Sunday and offers Week 11 blowup potential against a porous Dolphins secondary. Jackson has cleared 70 yards and/or scored a touchdown in five of his last eight games.

Score Prediction: Buccaneers 23, Dolphins 20

LA Rams @ Minnesota
Team Totals: Vikings 24, Rams 22

Jared Goff draws arguably his toughest to-date challenge in a Week 11 visit to Minnesota, where the Vikings have held six straight opponents to 19 points or fewer in home games. Just 2-of-9 quarterbacks to face the Vikings have registered top-12 fantasy results, while Minnesota has yielded the NFL’s fifth-fewest passing touchdowns (10) and fourth-fewest yards per pass attempt (6.5). Goff deserves serious consideration for the NFL’s Most Improved Player award, and perhaps Comeback Player of the Year; his accomplishments should not be diminished. But Goff has been highly opponent sensitive, torching the 49ers (QB9), Giants (QB1), and Texans (QB3) but struggling as most quarterbacks do against stout pass defenses like Seattle (QB22) and Jacksonville (QB22). And like most quarterbacks do, I think Goff will struggle in Minnesota. … Todd Gurley’s matchup is also concerning. The Vikings have allowed the NFL’s second-fewest fantasy points to running backs, including 3.47 yards per carry and a league-low three all-purpose TDs. Gurley’s sheer volume always gives him a bankable floor, of course. Gurley has cleared 100 yards from scrimmage in seven of his last eight games, averaging 22.9 touches during that stretch.

Goff’s target distribution since the Rams’ Week 8 bye: Robert Woods 15; Cooper Kupp 12; Gurley 10; Tyler Higbee 6; Sammy Watkins 5; Gerald Everett 4; Pharoh Cooper 3; Tavon Austin 0. … As LCB Trae Waynes has come on strong after a rocky start, there are no obviously-exploitable areas in the Vikings’ secondary. Perimeter wideouts Mike Evans (7/67/0), Antonio Brown (5/62/0), Jordy Nelson (6/60/0), Davante Adams (5/54/1), Michael Thomas (5/45/0), Marvin Jones (2/42/0), Josh Doctson (4/30/0), and Mike Wallace (1/9/0) have all finished below expectation against Minnesota. I am downgrading Woods to a WR3 and Watkins to a big-play-dependent WR4. … Kupp warrants more optimism in the slot, where Jamison Crowder (4/76/0), Adam Humphries (6/68/0), Eli Rogers/JuJu Smith-Schuster (7/59/1), and Brandon Coleman/Tommylee Lewis (4/65/0) have caused Minnesota some fits. Kupp ranks fourth in the NFL in red-zone targets (13) and 13th in targets inside the ten (5), enhancing his touchdown probability. … Rotational TEs Higbee and Everett are difficult to trust regardless of matchups. Higbee has drawn four targets or fewer in 7-of-9 games, clearing 25 yards twice. Everett has single-digit yards in 6-of-9 games.

As the Rams’ defense has reached its midseason stride, there are few noticeable edges for Minnesota’s offense to exploit. Just 2-of-9 quarterbacks to face Wade Phillips’ defense have logged top-12 fantasy results, while Los Angeles ranks fifth in sacks (28) and is allowing the league’s third-lowest passer rating (73.3). Even in a game between two vastly-improved offenses, I think this sets up as a lower-scoring, defense-first affair. After the Vikings seriously considered benching Case Keenum for Teddy Bridgewater this week, we have to believe Keenum will have a short in-game leash moving forward. … The Rams’ defense is more exploitable on the ground, yielding 4.47 yards per carry and the NFL’s fourth-most fantasy points to running backs. Los Angeles’ eight rushing TDs allowed are sixth most in the league. Unfortunately, Latavius Murray has plateaued as a touchdown-or-bust flex option with just one game of 70 total yards on the season due largely to a nonexistent passing-game role. Murray did play a season-high 49% of the Vikings’ snaps in last week’s shootout win at Washington, contributing to Jerick McKinnon’s five-game low in touches (12) and playing time (51%). McKinnon is still an every-week RB2 in PPR leagues, but he will devolve into a flex if now-healthy Murray’s role continues to grow.

Keenum’s target distribution with Stefon Diggs back in Weeks 8-10: Adam Thielen 22; Kyle Rudolph 14; McKinnon 12; Diggs 11; Laquon Treadwell 5; David Morgan 4; Jarius Wright 2; Murray and Michael Floyd 1. … There are no standout matchups in Minnesota’s pass-catcher corps against a Rams defense yielding the NFL’s seventh-fewest fantasy points to receivers and tenth-fewest points to tight ends. … Thielen has earned every-week starter treatment in season-long leagues as the NFL’s only player with five-plus catches in 9-of-9 games, but his draw is imposing against a Rams secondary limiting slot production, as Doug Baldwin (4/37/0), Larry Fitzgerald (3/29/0), and Cole Beasley (3/17/0) can attest. Sterling Shepard (5/70/0) and Bruce Ellington (4/41/1) did emerge with useful box scores in each of the Rams’ last two games, however. Thielen recently passed Rudolph as the Vikings’ leader in red-zone targets (10) and targets inside the ten-yard line (5). … Diggs’ fantasy owners should hope he draws shadow coverage from Rams “top” CB Trumaine Johnson, whom PFF has charged with the NFL’s seventh-most yards allowed (497) among 116 qualified cornerbacks. … Facing a Rams defense yielding the league’s fourth-fewest yards (369) to tight ends, I am dropping Rudolph to a touchdown-or-bust, low-end TE1.

Score Prediction: Rams 23, Vikings 21


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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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