Evan Silva

Matchups

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Silva's Week 14 Matchups

Sunday, December 10, 2017



Minnesota @ Carolina
Team Totals: Vikings 22, Panthers 19

Cam Newton draws his toughest matchup of the season against a Vikings defense that has allowed top-12 results to just 2-of-12 quarterbacks faced while yielding the NFL’s third-fewest touchdown passes (12) and a league-low 56 rushing yards to Newton’s position. Cam’s sheer athleticism always gives him theoretical potential to overcome difficult draws, but matchup advantages are difficult to identify with Greg Olsen's (foot) health uncertain and Xavier Rhodes on Devin Funchess (shoulder), who is also banged up. The Vikings have allowed just seven touchdown passes in their last nine games. Cam has thrown for 260 yards in 2-of-12 starts and finished below 200 yards in four of his last five. He will likely need at least one rushing TD to pay off. … Catch-less since Week 5, Jonathan Stewart remains a painfully low-floor and ultimately undesirable flex option against a Vikings defense allowing league lows in fantasy points and rushing scores (3) to running backs. … As Minnesota allows the NFL’s seventh-fewest receiving yards to enemy backs (429), McCaffrey is a risky RB2/flex play with disappointing touch counts of 8 > 9 > 11 in his last three games.

Newton’s post-Kelvin Benjamin target distribution: Devin Funchess 32; McCaffrey 24; Russell Shepard 14; Ed Dickson 11; Kaelin Clay 6; Brenton Bersin 5; Greg Olsen 4; Damiere Byrd 2; Stewart 1. … After Marvin Jones beat him on Thanksgiving, Xavier Rhodes rebounded to shut down Julio Jones (2/24/0) in Week 13. Funchess has a touchdown and/or 85-plus yards in four straight games, but this is a daunting matchup. Minnesota has surrendered just five touchdowns to enemy wideouts in their last nine games. It is also concerning that Funchess (shoulder) missed Friday's practice and is listed as questionable. … Olsen didn’t look right in his Week 12 return from a foot fracture, then suffered an in-game setback and sat out Week 13. Olsen is impossible to trust against a Vikings defense allowing the NFL’s sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends.

Although visiting Carolina never makes for an ideal spot, Case Keenum has put himself into every-week QB1 contention with top-14 fantasy finishes in five straight games and multiple touchdown passes in all but one. As the Panthers maintain pass-funnel tendencies, Keenum’s matchup may not be quite as imposing as it appears; seven of the last ten quarterbacks to face Carolina posted top-15 results, and three of the last four (Josh McCown, Jay Cutler, Matt Ryan) threw for multiple scores. … Latavius Murray enters Week 14 with 15-plus carries in seven straight games to face a Carolina defense that got lit up by New Orleans’ matchup-proof backfield (23/145/6.30/1) last week but has been stout otherwise, ranking fifth in run-defense DVOA and limiting enemy running backs to a combined 178/640/3.60/5 rushing line in ten games versus non-Saints opponents. Jerick McKinnon’s matchup is only slightly better; Carolina has allowed the league’s 11th-most catches (67) and 15th-most receiving yards (524) to running backs. Murray is a high-risk RB2/flex play who will likely need to score a short touchdown to pay dividends. McKinnon has 14-plus touches in seven of his last eight games and is a decent RB2/flex option in PPR.

Keenum’s Weeks 8-13 target distribution: Adam Thielen 47; Kyle Rudolph 30; Stefon Diggs 29; McKinnon 27; Jarius Wright and Laquon Treadwell 9; Murray 7; Michael Floyd 6. … Struggling in the secondary, the Panthers have given up productive wideout games Robby Anderson (6/146/2), Julio Jones (6/118/0), Jermaine Kearse (7/105/1), Michael Thomas (5/70/1), Kenny Stills (5/67/0), DeVante Parker (6/66/0), Jarvis Landry (5/42/1), and Mohamed Sanu (3/23/1) in the last month. After last week’s clunkers in Atlanta, this is a prime rebound spot for Thielen and, to a lesser extent, Diggs. Whereas Thielen remains an every-week WR1 with the NFL’s seventh-most catches (74) and fourth-most receiving yards (1,056), Diggs has become more of a boom-bust WR2/3 play with a 3.8/47.0/0.2 average in five games since returning from his early-season groin injury. Thielen has out-targeted Diggs by 18 during that stretch. Thielen also dominates red-zone targets (13) and targets inside the ten (6) over Diggs (7, 4). … One reason the Panthers get destroyed by wideouts is because they are eliminating tight end production, funneling action to the perimeter. Carolina has allowed a league-low 38 receptions to tight ends, and only two tight ends have cleared 40 yards against them this season. This is a tough spot for Rudolph.

Score Prediction: Vikings 21, Panthers 17

4:05 PM ET Games

Washington @ LA Chargers
Team Totals: Chargers 26, Redskins 20

This is a worrisome draw for Washington’s passing game behind an injury-ruined offensive line facing a Chargers defense that has held nine of its last 11 quarterbacks faced to fantasy results of QB17 or worse while ranking fourth in the NFL in both sacks (35) and interceptions (15). Los Angeles’ D/ST is the preferred play against Kirk Cousins, who has taken ten sacks in his last two games and four-plus sacks in five of the last seven weeks. Only 3-of-12 quarterbacks to face the Chargers have thrown multiple touchdown passes this year. Washington’s loss of Chris Thompson has zapped efficiency and playmaking ability from a once-vaunted passing attack, significantly damaging Cousins’ weekly outlooks. … Negative game script cost Samaje Perine playing time (57%) and touches (15) in favor of passing-down fill-in Byron Marshall (43%, 9) in last Thursday night’s loss to the Cowboys, showing Perine is not immune to Washington falling behind. Although his Week 14 matchup is theoretically favorable – L.A. has permitted a 51/251/4.92/2 rushing line to enemy backs in its last three games and allowed the NFL’s eighth-most catches (72) and 11th-most receiving yards (571) to running backs this year --- it is now clear that Perine lacks safety. He has still logged 15-plus touches in three straight games and remains RB2/flex playable.

Cousins’ target distribution since the Skins’ Week 5 bye: Jamison Crowder 60; Vernon Davis 41; Josh Doctson 39; Ryan Grant 35; Jordan Reed 16; Niles Paul 11; Perine 10; Byron Marshall 8; Maurice Harris 6. … More reason for Cousins skepticism is that none of his pass catchers are in favorable spots. Doctson has cleared 60 yards in just 1-of-12 games this year and is likely to draw shadow coverage from Casey Hayward. The Chargers have allowed just two touchdown catches to enemy wide receivers since Week 6. … Los Angeles was playing shutdown tight end defense before last week, when Browns TEs David Njoku and Seth DeValve creamed them for a combined 6/107/1 receiving line. Unfortunately, Davis has devolved into a boom-bust streamer with target totals of 1 and 2 in the last two weeks, head scratching because he topped 90% of the snaps in each game and ran a season-high 38 routes in last week’s loss to Dallas. … Crowder remains Washington’s highest-floor and ultimately best pass-catcher option. He is averaging 9.8 targets in his last five games and will draw Chargers rookie slot CB Desmond King, who has been excellent this year but has faced a soft schedule of slot receivers. Crowder is an every-week WR2 in PPR.

Melvin Gordon faces a Washington run defense that has collapsed due to front-seven injuries, yielding a combined 160/739/4.62/6 rushing line to enemy backs in its last six games. Washington was stomped by Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott-less backfield for 37/154/2 last Thursday night. Despite Austin Ekeler’s emergence as a 6-9 touches-per-game change-up back, Gordon has logged touch counts of 21 > 20 > 24 > 23 in the last four weeks. … The Skins pose an above-average matchup for Philip Rivers, having allowed top-13 fantasy results to 7-of-12 quarterbacks faced, the NFL’s tenth-most touchdown passes (20), and the league’s seventh-most completions of 20-plus yards (42). Rivers projects as a high-floor play with top-13 scores in three straight starts and 340-plus passing yards and/or multiple touchdowns in four straight. Rivers has thrown multiple TDs in six of his last nine games.


Rivers’ target distribution since the Chargers’ Week 9 bye: Keenan Allen 48; Hunter Henry 21; Gordon 17; Travis Benjamin 13; Ekeler and Tyrell Williams 12; Antonio Gates 10; Mike Williams 7. … The NFL’s hottest wideout, Allen enters Week 14 with 100-plus yards in three straight games on target counts of 13 > 14 > 14 to face a Redskins defense that has struggled with interior-oriented receivers Adam Thielen (8/166/1), Doug Baldwin (7/108/1), and Nelson Agholor twice (4/45/1, 6/86/1). … Henry has logged a 70% playing-time clip or greater in back-to-back games and set a season high in targets (9) in last week’s win over the Browns. Henry’s route total (26) was his second highest of the year. He’s regained locked-in TE1 usability against a Redskins defense that has allowed the NFL’s sixth-most catches (64), third-most yards (804), and sixth-most touchdowns (7) to tight ends. … Although Washington’s penchant for giving up big plays raises Benjamin and Williams’ intrigue, neither has proved remotely trustworthy. Williams has cleared 60 yards in 1-of-12 games. Benjamin’s target totals in the last four weeks are 3 > 1 > 3 > 6. Mike Williams (knee) also appears likely to play, which would cut into Tyrell and Benjamin's playing time. 

Score Prediction: Chargers 27, Redskins 20

NY Jets @ Denver
Team Totals: Jets 21, Broncos 20

Albeit not nearly as appealing as he was in last week’s cupcake home draw with sieve-like Kansas City, Josh McCown remains a usable Week 14 fantasy option against a Broncos defense that has supported high floors by surrendering top-16 scores to six of its last seven quarterbacks faced while yielding an NFL-high 26 touchdown passes and struggling to rush the passer, ranking 21st in sacks (26) and 30th in QB hits (54). McCown has been a safe play with spiked-week ability all year, logging top-16 finishes in eight of his last 11 starts and top-eight results in five of his last seven. … Bilal Powell and Matt Forte both wound up with productive fantasy scores in last week’s shootout win over the Chiefs, in large part because Gang Green ran a season-high 85 offensive plays – 25 more than their prior season average – ensuring everyone got theirs. The Broncos allow opponents to run 60.0 plays per game, third fewest in the league. In a tough road-game matchup, investing fantasy starts into New York’s three-man backfield is probably asking for trouble. It remains notable Powell (20) and Forte (18) led the Week 13 way in touches over Elijah McGuire (5). Snaps were split as follows: Powell 41%, Forte 38%, McGuire 21%. Forte (knee) did miss practice on Friday and is listed as questionable. If he does not play, Powell and McGuire would likely form a near-equal timeshare against the Derek Wolfe-less (neck) Broncos.

McCown’s post-bye target distribution: Robby Anderson 22; Jermaine Kearse 21; Austin Seferian-Jenkins 10; Forte, Powell, and Chad Hansen 4. … Neither Anderson nor Kearse’s matchup stands out versus a Denver defense that gets back LCB Aqib Talib (suspension) and has allowed just four opposing wideouts to clear 65 yards through 12 games. As Kearse is now running the most slot routes on the Jets, his draw is toughest against Broncos shutdown slot CB Chris Harris, whose 73.8 passer rating allowed is lowest in Denver’s cornerback unit. … As a 71% perimeter receiver, white-hot Anderson has better odds against Broncos boundary CBs Talib and Bradley Roby. Per PFF, Talib’s passer rating allowed is 93.2 and Roby’s is 88.6. In Kenny Stills (5/98/1), Brandin Cooks (6/74/0), and Cordarrelle Patterson (3/72/0), three of the four aforementioned receivers to clear 65 yards against Denver were speed burners like Anderson, who ran 4.36 coming out of Temple. … Seferian-Jenkins has slowed down dramatically with fewer than 30 yards in five of his last six games, but his matchup is the best in New York’s pass-catcher corps. The Broncos have allowed the NFL’s third-most fantasy points to tight ends, including a perfect 4/49/1 receiving line on four targets to Dolphins tight ends last week.

The Jets have posed plus quarterback matchups all year, but I’d rather write off Trevor Siemian entirely after his abominable showing in last week’s theoretically favorable draw against the Dolphins. Timid and devoid of confidence, Siemian threw three picks and managed 200 yards on a whopping 40 attempts. He should be at risk of an in-game benching for Brock Osweiler. … Although C.J. Anderson set a seven-game high in snap rate (56%) and an eight-game high in touches (19) at Miami, coach Vance Joseph revealed afterwards that Anderson’s usage rose because Devontae Booker was battling the flu. The Broncos seem likely to revert to their three-man RBBC this week. This isn’t an enticing matchup, anyway, against a stout Jets run defense that has held enemy backs to a putrid 77/239/3.10/1 rushing line in their last four games. Just one running back has cleared 65 yards rushing against Gang Green in the last two months. … Siemian was such a Week 13 disaster that Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders combined for 38 scoreless yards on 17 targets against a bad Dolphins secondary. You’re on your own with these guys.

Score Prediction: Jets 20, Broncos 17

Tennessee @ Arizona
Team Totals: Titans 23.5, Cardinals 20.5

Marcus Mariota draws his third favorable matchup in a row against the pass-funnel Cardinals, who have allowed top-12 fantasy results to 8-of-12 quarterbacks faced and are vulnerable to dual-threat passers due to DC James Bettcher’s man-coverage scheme, yielding the NFL’s 12th-most rushing yards (192) and a league-high five rushing touchdowns to the position. Mariota’s on-field play has been frustratingly uneven, but this is the kind of matchup that suits his strengths. … The Cards funnel fantasy points into the air by shutting down ground games, holding enemy backs to a combined 85/285/3.35/2 rushing line in the last month. Arizona has allowed the NFL’s fourth-most receptions (74) and ninth-most receiving yards (575) to backs, providing mild optimism versatile DeMarco Murray can pay off as an RB2/flex start. Derrick Henry’s 75-yard touchdown run in what amounted to garbage time of last week’s win over the Texans is harder to chase. Murray continued to lead the backfield in touches (13) and snaps (59%) over Henry (11, 44%) and ran well enough that we can’t expect any change in the running back distribution.

Mariota’s target distribution since the Titans’ Week 8 bye: Delanie Walker 33; Corey Davis 30; Rishard Matthews and Eric Decker 20; Murray 18; Taywan Taylor 10; Jonnu Smith 8; Henry 7. … Matthews’ two-week absence did not help Davis, who drew 7 and 10 targets in two games before Matthews’ injury and managed 4 and 4 targets since. Matthews (hamstring) is back this week, but Davis simply hasn't shown enough to be worthy of more than low-floor WR4/flex consideration. ... Walker is by far the best play in Tennessee’s pass-catcher corps with 60-plus yards in six straight games and touchdowns in consecutive weeks after Walker failed to score in each of the first ten games. Jack Doyle (8/79/0), Cameron Brate (6/76/1), Zach Ertz (6/61/1), and Jimmy Graham (6/27/2) have all had productive games against the Cardinals, who allowed 4/27/1 to the Rams’ lightly-used tight ends last week. … Coming off a multi-week hamstring strain, Matthews will be a high-risk bet with possible in-game limitations and Patrick Peterson’s potential shadow coverage to worry about.

A top-14 fantasy passer in 2-of-3 starts, Blaine Gabbert draws his softest to-date matchup versus the Titans, who rank 25th in pass-defense DVOA and have yielded top-ten results to two of their last three quarterbacks faced, including Tom Savage’s career-high 365 yards in last week’s win over Houston. The Titans’ 22 touchdown passes allowed are seventh most in the league, and their pass rush is middling with the NFL’s 15th-most sacks (29) and 16th-most quarterback hits (69). On Sunday, Tennessee will be without sack leader OLB Derrick Morgan (knee). … With Adrian Peterson (neck) still idle, Kerwynn Williams is in line for another start after parlaying 16 carries into 97 yards in last week’s loss to the Rams. Williams was merely the lead back in a committee, however, drawing zero targets and playing 48% of the snaps. Passing-down specialist D.J. Foster logged 44% of the downs, and Elijhaa Penny vultured a goal-line score. Against a Titans defense that has held enemy backs to 3.38 yards per carry, Williams is a low-floor flex option and the rest of Arizona’s backfield is unplayable.

Gabbert’s Weeks 11-13 target distribution: Larry Fitzgerald 28; Ricky Seals-Jones 16; J.J. Nelson 15; D.J. Foster 11; Jermaine Gresham 7; Peterson 6; Jaron Brown 3; Troy Niklas 2. … Fitzgerald enters Week 14 with eight-plus targets in five straight games to face a Titans defense that has struggled against slot receivers, namely Doug Baldwin (10/105/1), Jeremy Maclin (8/98/0), Brandon LaFell (6/95/1), Allen Hurns (6/82/1), Braxton Miller (4/71/0), and Jarvis Landry (5/44/1). Fitzgerald runs 65% of his routes inside. Tennessee has allowed the NFL’s third-most touchdowns to wide receivers (15). … None of Arizona’s perimeter receivers have stepped up with Gabbert under center. The Titans limit big-play production, anyway, surrendering the NFL’s third-fewest completions of 20-plus yards (28). … Seals-Jones’ snaps (23%) and routes run (12) did not improve in last week’s loss, but he still drew five-plus targets for the third straight game and offers boom-bust streamer appeal against the Titans, who have yielded tight end lines of 7/95/1 (Texans TEs), 7/94/0 (Jack Doyle), 5/21/1 (Jesse James), 10/70/0 (Ravens TEs), 4/85/0 (Browns TEs), and 7/50/1 (Doyle again) in six of their last seven games. Seals-Jones is the second-best bet for targets on the Cardinals’ roster at this point.

Score Prediction: Cardinals 24, Titans 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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