Evan Silva

Matchups

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Silva's Week 12 Matchups

Sunday, November 26, 2017


1:00 PM ET Games

Buffalo @ Kansas City
Team Totals: Chiefs 28.25, Bills 18.25

Kareem Hunt will get yet another great shot to end his seemingly-endless scoreless streak in this ripe matchup with the run-soft Bills, who were gutted for a 207/1,002/4.84/12 rushing line by enemy running backs in their last eight games and have nosedived to 31st in run-defense DVOA. There is no denying Hunt’s fantasy productivity and efficiency have dipped considerably since the start of the year – his yards-per-carry average is 3.53 over his last six games after averaging an obviously-unsustainable 7.38 YPC in his first four – but usage and matchup matter more for fantasy backs. Hunt has a plum draw and secure workload with 21-plus touches in three of his last four games. … This is a tougher matchup for Alex Smith against a Bills pass defense that still ranks a respectable 13th in pass-defense DVOA and has allowed top-12 weekly finishes to just 1-of-10 quarterbacks faced. Buffalo has permitted the NFL’s second-fewest touchdown passes (9), ahead of only Jacksonville. Still, Smith is likely to see scoring chances against a backsliding Bills defense on which Kansas City’s offense should not struggle to move the ball. With top-15 results in 8-of-10 starts this season, I’m sticking with Smith as a low-end starter.

Smith’s Weeks 6-11 target distribution: Travis Kelce 45; Tyreek Hill 32; Hunt 24; Demarcus Robinson 19; Charcandrick West 13; De’Anthony Thomas 10; Ross Travis 8; Demetrius Harris 7; Albert Wilson 2. … Kelce has scored 11-of-19 career TDs at home and in Week 12 takes on a Bills defense yielding the NFL’s eighth-most catches (51) and 11th-most yards (549) to tight ends. … Hill’s production has been far worse at Arrowhead than on the road, but he’s earned every-week WR2 treatment regardless of playing environment. Buffalo has given up big games to A.J. Green (7/189/1), Keenan Allen (12/159/2), Michael Thomas (9/117/0), Demaryius Thomas (6/98/0), Mike Evans (7/88/1), Michael Crabtree (5/83/0), Kelvin Benjamin (6/77/0), Emmanuel Sanders (7/75/0), DeSean Jackson (5/73/0), Robby Anderson (4/48/1). … Slot man Wilson's (hamstring) expected return renders Kansas City’s ancillary pass catchers even more obsolete than they already were.

After last week’s truly inexplicable decision to bench him for rookie pick-machine Nathan Peterman, the Bills are turning back to now-“Angry” Tyrod Taylor against a Chiefs defense that has hemorrhaged yards and points on the road but has held each of its last ten opponents to 20 points or fewer in home games. Taylor has an edge on the ground, where Kansas City’s man-coverage scheme is vulnerable to dual-threat quarterbacks, permitting the NFL’s seventh-most rushing yards to the position (189). As whimsical coach Sean McDermott could still conceivably re-bench Tyrod at any moment, I think he is best viewed as a boom-bust streamer lacking a safe floor. … The winner in Tyrod’s reinstallation is LeSean McCoy, who greatly benefits from his run-pass threat and draws a gorgeous Week 12 matchup against the Chiefs’ No. 32 DVOA-rated run defense, which has yielded the NFL’s second-most rushing TDs (9) and seventh-most rushing yards (1,071) to running backs. McCoy is an elite RB1 play whenever Tyrod is in.

With Kelvin Benjamin (knee) looking likely to miss, improving rookie Zay Jones will take over as Buffalo’s No. 1 receiver against a Kansas City defense that continues to play musical chairs at cornerback, last week re-benching RCB Kenneth Acker in favor of perennial turnstile Phillip Gaines. On the season, the Chiefs have given up the NFL’s ninth-most catches (124) and fourth-most yards (1,831) to enemy wide receivers. Jones has seven-plus targets in three of his last four games and is an enticing WR4/flex play in this plus draw. … Slot man Jordan Matthews has topped five targets in 1-of-8 games and is difficult to take seriously as a fantasy option, regardless of Benjamin’s availability. … Deonte Thompson will stand in as Buffalo’s third receiver. As a situational deep threat, Thompson is always a boom-bust option who draws low-percentage targets deep downfield and sees fluctuating target totals. His target counts since joining the Bills are 4 > 1 > 10 > 4 > 8. … Charles Clay has been limited in terms of snap rate (60%, 54%) and routes run (19, 20) since returning from his early-season knee injury, drawing target totals of 3 and 4 against the Saints and Chargers. On a run-first team where his passing-game usage is already a weekly question mark, I’d like to see Clay reemerge as a full-time player before firing him up as a fantasy play.

Score Prediction: Chiefs 24, Bills 20


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Tennessee @ Indianapolis
Team Totals: Titans 24.5, Colts 21.5

One of fantasy and real-life football’s biggest 2017 disappointments, Marcus Mariota gets a golden opportunity to put those negative memories in the rearview with a cupcake next-month schedule (@ IND, vs. HOU, @ ARZ, @ SF) that begins Sunday beneath Indy’s Lucas Oil Stadium roof. Facing the Colts has typically provided enemy passers with high-floor results; 9-of-10 quarterbacks to play Indianapolis have finished as top-14 fantasy producers on the week with Tom Savage as the lone exception. Chuck Pagano’s man-coverage defense can also be schematically vulnerable to dual-threat quarterbacks, giving Mariota another potential edge. Rishard Matthews pulled his hamstring in Thursday's practice and did not practice Friday. He'll be a game-time decision whose absence would affect Mariota's floor as Tennessee's most-dependable wideout. … The Henry Anderson-less Colts also struggle in run defense, allowing a combined 128/568/4.44/4 rushing line to running backs over their last five games. On the season, Indy has allowed the NFL’s fifth-most receiving yards (529) to the position. As banged-up DeMarco Murray had ten days to rest his legs following the Titans’ Thursday night beatdown loss to Pittsburgh, he should be approached as a locked-in RB2 in this favorable spot. Derrick Henry remains a low-end flex option.

Mariota’s target distribution since the Titans’ Week 8 bye: Delanie Walker 23; Corey Davis 22; Rishard Matthews 20; Murray 12; Eric Decker 10; Jonnu Smith 7; Taywan Taylor 6; Henry 5. … Including Antonio Brown (3/47/0) most recently, the Colts have given No. 1 receivers fits by using top CB Rashaan Melvin in shadow coverage with safety help over the top. This is one possible concern for Davis should Matthews (hamstring) sit, although LWR Davis runs a team-high 55% of his routes opposite of usual LCB Melvin, who has traveled to Davis' primary side just 13% of the time. Against a Colts secondary that nevertheless allows the NFL’s third-most yards (1,849) to wide receivers, I’m still upgrading Davis to a WR2/3 play if Matthews is declared inactive. Matthews will be an injury-risk WR3 if he gives it a go. ... The Colts present a friendly tight end matchup, permitting the league’s 11th-most fantasy points to the position. Walker leads the Titans in targets since their bye and has strung together four straight games above 60 yards. Also a candidate to benefit from Matthews' potential absence, Walker is clearly over the injuries that nagged him early in the year. … Decker has disappeared since Davis got healthy. Decker’s post-bye snap rates in chronological order are 44% > 37% > 32% with target counts of 4 > 3 > 3. Should Matthews sit, Taylor would likely step into his outside role with Decker staying in the slot.

At home, indoors, and facing a poor pass defense, Jacoby Brissett offers serious streamer appeal with top-15 fantasy results in six of his last eight starts, exceptions coming at Seattle and versus Jacksonville. Brissett’s intermittent 2017 struggles have mainly occurred in games against strong pass rushes, yet the Titans rank 28th in sacks (17) and quarterback hits (28) while yielding the NFL’s third-most touchdown passes (21). … Tennessee’s defensive strength is on the ground, where Dick LeBeau’s unit contained Le’Veon Bell (12/46/0) last week and on the season has held enemy running backs to 3.45 yards per carry. Frank Gore is scoreless since Week 3 and has topped 80 yards from scrimmage in just 2-of-10 games, providing neither a safe floor nor a high ceiling. … The Titans have shown more vulnerability to running backs in the passing game by surrendering the NFL’s fourth-most receiving yards (537) to the position. Marlon Mack has out-targeted Gore 15 to 9 in the Colts’ last four games, although the rookie lost playing time before Indy’s Week 11 bye due to numerous pass-protection slipups. I think we can project Mack in the 9-12 touch range against the Titans, making him a big-play-dependent flex option.

Brissett’s Weeks 2-10 target distribution: Jack Doyle 66; T.Y. Hilton 62; Kamar Aiken 36; Donte Moncrief 32; Gore 22; Mack 19; Chester Rogers 12. … At home on Indy’s Lucas Oil Stadium turf where his career splits are highly favorable as commonly noted in this space, Hilton enters a blowup spot against the Titans, who have allowed the NFL’s fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers and were specifically throttled by Antonio Brown (10/144/3), A.J. Green (5/115/1), and Brandon LaFell (6/95/1) in their last two games. Tennessee has given up a league-high 15 touchdown catches to enemy wideouts. … Rogers replaced Aiken as the Colts’ third receiver in their pre-bye loss to Pittsburgh and went off (6/104/1), likely ensuring Rogers maintains those duties moving forward. This matchup is good enough for Rogers to warrant deep-league WR4/flex consideration, but he is still playing behind Moncrief and remains a leap-of-faith play in a passing game largely dominated by Hilton and Doyle. … Doyle ranks fifth among NFL tight ends in targets (69) and second in catches (52), and he dropped a 7/50/1 receiving line on the Titans when these clubs met in mid-October. Tennessee has played stingy tight end defense otherwise, but Doyle has long since established himself as an every-week fantasy starter in season-long leagues.

Score Prediction: Colts 27, Titans 24

Cleveland @ Cincinnati
Team Totals: Bengals 23, Browns 15

Back from last week’s surprise top-ten game in Denver – supported by three touchdown passes but only 154 yards – Andy Dalton draws a much softer matchup against the Browns, who have yielded top-15 fantasy finishes to 8-of-10 quarterbacks faced while ranking 24th in pass-defense DVOA. Despite leading the NFL in blitz rate, Cleveland ranks 19th in sacks (22) and 25th in quarterback hits (50), as DC Gregg Williams’ ill-advised blitzes are rarely getting home. A top-12 fantasy producer in five straight meetings with Cleveland, Dalton is an acceptable low-end streamer and high-end two-quarterback-league start. … While Cincinnati’s passing game was able to do just enough to pull out last week’s upset win, the Bengals’ running-game struggles predictably continued. Joe Mixon enters Week 12 with just two games of 70-plus total yards all season to face a Browns run defense that began the year hot but has sprung some recent leaks, permitting a combined 15/87/5.80/1 rushing line to Lions running backs in Week 10 followed by Leonard Fournette’s 28/111/0 effort last week. Cleveland also lost LE Emmanuel Ogbah to a broken foot against the Jaguars. Mixon is a volume-based RB2/flex play in this matchup. … Giovani Bernard’s touch counts since Bill Lazor took over as Bengals OC are 5 > 6 > 4 > 4 > 2 > 2 > 7 > 4. (Not hot.)

Dalton’s target distribution since the Bengals’ Week 6 bye: A.J. Green 31; Brandon LaFell 29; Tyler Kroft 21; Mixon 15; Bernard 13; Josh Malone 9; Alex Erickson 4; John Ross 2. … Green’s Week 12 matchup isn’t as easy as it may look at first glance against underrated Browns shadow CB Jason McCourty, who played a big role in holding Green to a 5/63/1 receiving line in Week 4, then put clamps on Marqise Lee (5/45/0) last week. With that said, we are going to be right more often than wrong when we bet on Green regardless of projected cornerback matchups. Green presently ranks ninth among NFL wideouts in receiving yards (743) and third in touchdown catches (6). … Despite Green seeing McCourty’s shadow, LaFell managed a 2/17/0 receiving line in the aforementioned Week 4 meeting with Cleveland. LaFell has failed to reach 50 yards in 9-of-10 games this season. … Kroft had his year-best game (6/68/2) in Week 4 and is one of this week’s top matchup-based streamers against a Browns defense yielding the NFL’s fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends, including last week’s Marcedes Lewis touchdown.

This is a tough matchup across the board for Cleveland’s offense and particularly on the ground, where Cincinnati ranks top 12 in run-defense DVOA while holding running backs to 3.58 yards per carry. The Bengals have allowed the NFL’s fifth-most catches (63) and 12th-most receiving yards (455) to backs, setting up Duke Johnson for success more so than Isaiah Crowell. It can't hurt that Cleveland's coaching staff promised this week to feature Johnson more going forward. … Corey Coleman immediately retook No. 1 wideout duties in his Week 11 return, pacing Browns receivers in snaps (93%) and targets (11), and joining Antonio Brown as just the second wide receiver to top 70 yards against the Jaguars all year. Albeit in another difficult draw – just one wideout has topped 65 yards versus the Bengals since Week 3 – Coleman warrants WR3/flex consideration based on projected volume and talent. … As Cincinnati allows the NFL’s sixth-fewest passing yards per game (200.6) and Cleveland ranks bottom five in passing yards per game (199.5), no other Browns passing-game members are worth taking seriously in Week 12.

Score Prediction: Bengals 21, Browns 20


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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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