Evan Silva

Matchups

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Silva's Week 6 Matchups

Sunday, October 14, 2018


1:00 PM ET Games

Tampa Bay @ Atlanta
Team Totals: Falcons 30, Buccaneers 27

Eviscerated by Pittsburgh 41-17 and desperate after a 1-4 start, the Falcons catch the NFL’s worst pass defense inside Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz dome for Week 6’s second-highest-totaled game. The Falcons topped 30 points in three of the last four weeks, while Tampa Bay yields an NFL-high 34.8 points per game and 6.99 yards per play, most by any team since 1970's AFL-NFL merger. The Bucs have surrendered fantasy results of QB1 (Mitchell Trubisky), QB10 (Ben Roethlisberger), QB18 (Nick Foles), and QB2 (Drew Brees), boding well for Matt Ryan’s chances of a monster bounce back. The Falcons have scored touchdowns on 11-of-13 red-zone trips at home. … Tevin Coleman will retake lead-back duties after logging touch counts of 20 – 17 – 17 on 64% - 78% > 57% playing-time clips in Devonta Freeman’s (foot, knee, groin) Weeks 2-4 absences. Ito Smith’s usage was 10 – 5 – 10 touches on 30% - 15% - 43% snap rates. As Bucs DC Mike Smith is the rare NFL coach who hilariously still emphasizes run over pass defense, Tampa Bay has held enemy backs to a sturdy 75/276/4 (3.68 YPC) rushing line while getting flamed in the air, including allowing an NFC-high 82 receiving yards per game to running backs. A home-favorite lead runner in this probable shootout, Coleman is a fringe RB1 with a 17-20 touch projection. Smith is a shot-in-the-dark flex.

 

 

Ryan’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Julio Jones 54; Mohamed Sanu 31; Austin Hooper 27; Calvin Ridley 26; Coleman 14; Smith 9. … Michael Thomas (16/180/1), JuJu Smith-Schuster (9/116/0), Taylor Gabriel (7/104/2), Nelson Agholor (8/88/1), Ted Ginn (5/68/1), and Antonio Brown (6/50/1) have all exploited the Bucs’ rookie-filled secondary. Julio is as good a bet as ever to snap his scoreless streak in this matchup; Smith’s defense has yielded the NFL’s most touchdown catches per game to enemy wideouts (2.3) after surrendering the sixth-most receiver scores last year. Despite last week’s clunker in Joe Haden’s coverage, Julio’s ceiling is monstrous in this indoor track meet. … Ridley’s ridiculous Weeks 2-4 TD binge was always bound for regression, but it would not surprise if the first-round pick popped back up for a big Week 6. Ridley still leads Atlanta in red-zone targets (5) and is second in Air Yards (349) behind Julio. Ridley is averaging a modest 6.0 targets per game in the last month, so expectations should stay in check despite his small-sample high-scoring run. This remains a tough-to-fade matchup considering Ridley’s upside. … Slot man Sanu made a rare explosive play in last week’s loss to Pittsburgh, turning an RPO slant into a 43-yard catch-and-run TD. As Sanu runs 76% of his routes inside, it is notable that Thomas, JuJu, and Agholor all beat up on Tampa Bay in the slot. … Usage is always a question mark for Hooper, but his Week 6 matchup is not. Fellow TEs Vance McDonald (4/112/1), Zach Ertz (11/94/0), Trey Burton (2/86/1), Josh Perkins (4/57/0), and Ben Watson (4/44/0) have all produced at or above expectation versus Tampa.

This is a smash spot for Jameis Winston, who finished 2017 on a tear with a 317-yard average and 9:5 TD-to-INT ratio over the final five weeks, then shredded the 2018 preseason under innovative Air Raid OC Todd Monken on 30-of-41 (73.2%) passing for 388 yards (9.5 YPA), three touchdowns, and no picks. Winston has been a high-floor, high-ceiling producer versus Dan Quinn’s defense with QB3 - QB10 - QB5 - QB16 - QB12 career results. Winston now draws Atlanta at its weakest point minus DT Grady Jarrett, SS Keanu Neal, MLB Deion Jones, and FS Ricardo Allen. Winston deserves to be one of Week 6’s highest-owned DFS quarterbacks. … Scratched in Weeks 1-3, second-rounder Ronald Jones finally made a Week 4 appearance and paced Tampa’s backfield in touches (11), albeit mostly in garbage time. Early-season starter Peyton Barber has 148 scoreless yards on 50 runs (2.97 YPC) and has been a non-factor in the passing game. Barber ranks a lowly 32nd among 38 running backs in Football Outsiders’ rushing Success Rate. This is a backfield to avoid in Week 6 lineup decisions, but Jones is worth stashing in 10- and 12-team leagues as the Bucs’ likely-eventual lead back. Barber is almost certainly on his way out. The Bucs’ inability to run the ball whatsoever further bodes well for Winston.

Winston’s Week 4 target distribution: Adam Humphries 6; Mike Evans 4; Cameron Brate, Chris Godwin, and DeSean Jackson 3; Barber 1. … Winston’s eye for slot man Humphries is notable on a Bucs team lacking pass-catching backs and facing a Falcons defense playing musical chairs at slot corner. Humphries has cleared 60 yards once in his last 17 games, however, scoring one TD in that span. … Reeling in the secondary, Atlanta gave up a league-high ten TDs to wide receivers in the last month. Evans’ last five stat lines against Quinn’s secondary are 5/79/1 > 6/78/0 > 11/150/2 > 5/99/1 > 5/61/1. … As O.J. Howard (MCL) practiced in a bulky knee brace all week, Brate is an intriguing streamer/DFS punt in this probable high-scoring affair. In the Bucs’ Week 4 loss to Chicago, Brate logged year highs in snaps (59%) and routes run (28) and doubled his Air Yards (62) from Weeks 1-3 combined (31). Over the last month, offenses targeting tight ends versus Atlanta have completed 15-of-17 throws (88%) for 167 yards (9.8 YPA) and a touchdown. … Godwin is in similar position to Ridley as a largely touchdown-reliant commodity who plays limited snaps (55%) and averages 5.5 targets per game. … Even as Jackson showed more chemistry with Ryan Fitzpatrick in Weeks 1-4 than he did with Winston all last year, this game’s track-meet possibilities greatly enhance D-Jax’s WR3 appeal. Atlanta has allowed the NFL’s third-most passing scores (12).

Score Prediction: Buccaneers 34, Falcons 31

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Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati
Team Totals: Bengals 27.5, Steelers 25.5

Steelers-Bengals sets up as a high-scoring affair between teams that rank No. 3 (CIN) and No. 4 (PIT) in scoring with Joe Mixon at the forefront of Cincinnati’s offense after returning to the Week 5 lineup for a season-high 25 touches on 78% of the snaps. Run stoppage is Pittsburgh’s defensive strength; DC Keith Butler’s unit has limited enemy running backs to a combined 99/338/2 (3.41 YPC) rushing line and the league’s third-fewest receiving yards (104). Mixon has still earned matchup-proof RB1 treatment with 22 or more touches in 3-of-3 games. Despite coach Marvin Lewis’ claim Mixon would share work in last week’s win over Miami, No. 2 back Mark Walton touched the ball twice. Giovani Bernard (knee) will miss at least one more game. … Andy Dalton is a high-floor play with top-15 fantasy results in 4-of-5 starts facing a Steelers defense that has allowed top-12 finishes to 4-of-5 quarterbacks faced. Since Bill Lazor took over as Bengals playcaller last Week 3, Dalton has a 37:15 TD-to-INT ratio across 19 starts.

Dalton’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd 43; Bernard 21; John Ross 15; Mixon 12; C.J. Uzomah 10; Walton 7; Tyler Kroft 6. … In the Bengals’ first post-Tyler Eifert game, Green set season highs in targets (10) and yards (112) as Lazor schemed him away from Xavien Howard by running Green in the slot on a season-high 45% of his routes. Lazor figures to deploy Green similarly this week after Joe Haden shadowed Julio Jones in Week 5 and held him catch-less for three quarters. Haden has played four slot snaps all year. Pittsburgh has allowed the NFL’s most touchdown catches (13) and seventh-most 20-plus-yard pass plays (21), and Green is the Bengals’ best bet to deliver both. … As fellow slot WRs Jarvis Landry (7/106/0), Mohamed Sanu (4/73/1), and Willie Snead (6/56/0) all produced at or above expectation against the Steelers, this is an unimposing matchup for Boyd, whose slow Week 5 (4/44/0) was a byproduct of game environment. The Bengals beat the Dolphins with their running game and defensive touchdowns, while Dalton completed a season-low 20 passes for fewer than 250 yards. Cincinnati will almost certainly have to throw more this week; teams facing Pittsburgh average the fourth-most pass attempts (41.0) in the league. … Alex Erickson – not Josh Malone – stood in as the Bengals’ No. 3 receiver in Ross’ (groin) Week 5 absence. Regardless of health and matchups, this is a fantasy situation to avoid. … Uzomah dominated snaps (92%) and routes run (28) over Kroft (40%, 9), who suffered a late-game foot injury and is out this week. Uzomah is a matchup-based streamer against the Steelers, who were gutted by Travis Kelce in Week 2 (7/109/2), Bucs TEs in Week 3 (9/106/1), Ravens TEs (10/99/0) in Week 4, and Austin Hooper (9/77/0) last week.

1pm ET road games have long been Ben Roethlisberger’s kryptonite; his last five yardage/TD/INT stat lines in such affairs are 335/1/3 - 236/2/1 - 216/1/1 - 235/1/0 - 263/2/1. Although this game’s setting increases Roethlisberger’s volatility, the matchup itself is far from daunting against a Bengals defense that has yielded top-12 fantasy results to 4-of-5 quarterbacks faced. Since last year’s Week 9 bye, Big Ben has a 34:12 TD-to-INT ratio and 332.5-yard average over 13 games. … Even with Vontaze Burfict back from suspension, the Bengals have continued to struggle in run defense by yielding a 107/502/2 (4.69 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs. Cincinnati has also given up the league’s seventh-most catches (34) and eighth-most receiving yards (287) to James Conner’s position, convenient since Conner ranks top ten among NFL backs in catches (22) and top five in receiving yards (239). Even when Le’Veon Bell ends his holdout, Conner has more than earned a committee role. Cognizant of Ben’s away-game struggles, the Steelers have tended to lean more on their running game outside of Heinz Field. Bell averaged 2.1 more carries per game on the road in 2016, and 1.1 more road-game carries last year.

Roethlisberger’s Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Antonio Brown 66; JuJu Smith-Schuster 53; Conner 28; Vance McDonald 17; Ryan Switzer and Jesse James 14; James Washington 13. … The Bengals have done a better job than most teams of containing Brown, holding him to stat lines of 8/101/1 - 4/65/1 - 3/58/0 - 4/39/0 - 7/119/0 in their last five meetings. This year’s Cincinnati secondary isn’t as stout, yielding the NFL’s sixth-most catches (73) and ninth-most yards (882) to wide receivers. Brown leads the league in targets and end-zone targets (11) and is fourth in Air Yards (670). … Smith-Schuster has scored a touchdown and/or cleared 100 yards in eight of his last nine games. It is perhaps notable the Bengals held him in check twice last year (2/39/1, 4/17/0). JuJu continues to log WR1-caliber usage, ranking top ten in the league in targets and No. 2 in red-zone targets (15). … The Steelers went heavy on two-tight end sets last week, so Washington played his fewest snaps in a month (57%). Washington’s target totals in Weeks 2-5 were 5 - 2 - 4 – 0, too low for fantasy utility. … Switzer’s targets in the same timespan were 2 - 3 - 7 - 1. He played two snaps last week. … McDonald ran a season-low 20 routes as the Steelers built a comfortable lead and leaned on their run game in last week’s 41-17 rout. Brown was the lone Steeler to top four targets in the game. James ran 16 pass patterns and drew a 38-yard pass-interference flag, finishing with 20 scoreless yards. McDonald’s timeshare usage will hurt his reliability, but he is still a top-12 tight end play at fantasy’s thinnest position.

Score Prediction: Bengals 24, Steelers 23

 

 

LA Chargers @ Cleveland
Team Totals: Chargers 22.5, Browns 22.5

Amid Hue Jackson’s continued sabotage attempts, the Browns improved to 2-2-1 in last week’s overtime upset win and now host a Chargers team traveling cross country for a 1pm ET start. Baker Mayfield rebounded resiliently from last week’s first-pass pick to drop 342 yards at 8.0 yards per attempt with 23 rushing yards on Baltimore’s shutdown defense. In his first two starts, Mayfield’s fantasy finishes are QB20 (Raiders) and QB15 (Ravens) with room for growth as Mayfield's rapport improves with his young receivers after being mind-numbingly prevented from taking first-team practice reps all summer. Quarterbacks to face the Bolts are Patrick Mahomes (QB4) > Josh Allen (QB26) > Jared Goff (QB6) > C.J. Beathard (QB17) > Derek Carr (QB23). In a pro-Browns environment, this is a plus draw for Mayfield as a two-quarterback-league start. Mayfield has a real chance to be worth streaming soon with a cakewalk Weeks 7-10 schedule (@ TB, @ PIT, vs. KC, vs. ATL). … Even as Carlos Hyde logged 19 Week 5 touches, his season-low in snaps (35%) was concerning as Duke Johnson played 51% of the downs but touched the ball just six times, and Nick Chubb handled a year-high 14% of the snaps but only three touches. The Browns’ backfield is still heading for unreliability with all three deserving usage but a coaching staff lacking creativity. On weekly touch counts of 23 > 17 > 25 > 22 > 19, Hyde is Cleveland’s lone playable back against a Bolts defense that has permitted 67/288/2 (4.30 YPC) rushing and the NFL’s sixth-most receiving yards (299) to running backs. ... Despite leading all NFL backs in yards per touch (6.01) over the 2015-2017 seasons, Johnson has failed to top six touches in any 2018 game. ... Chubb hasn’t exceeded three carries yet and dropped his lone Week 5 target.

Mayfield’s 2018 target distribution: Jarvis Landry 29; David Njoku 20; Antonio Callaway 19; Rashard Higgins 12; Duke Johnson 9; Hyde and Derrick Willies 5; Darren Fells 3. … Slot receivers to face the Bolts included Jordy Nelson (4/43/1) - Seth Roberts (4/41/0) - Cooper Kupp (4/71/1) in the last three weeks, while PFF has charged Chargers slot CB Desmond King with 17-of-19 targets allowed (90%) for 145 yards and a touchdown. Slot man Landry is entrenched as Mayfield’s go-to guy. . … Njoku has left yards on the field with at least one drop in 4-of-5 games. He still ranks top seven among NFL tight ends in targets (34) and Air Yards (278). After pacing Cleveland in Week 4 catches (5), Njoku led the team in Week 5 targets (11). Njoku’s Week 6 matchup is his biggest obstacle against a Derwin James-keyed Chargers defense that has stymied Travis Kelce (1/6/0), Jared Cook (4/20/0), and Charles Clay (2/29/0). Njoku remains a compelling if low-end TE1 with 157 yards on 20 Mayfield targets (7.85 YPA) after Njoku managed 33 yards on 12 Tyrod Taylor throws (2.75 YPA). … Callaway played 69% of the Browns’ Week 5 offensive snaps after Hue Jackson threatened to cut the rookie’s playing time for drops. Callaway’s targets (5) and Air Yards (55) did take hits, but the Browns need him in a full-time role after No. 3 WR Rashard Higgins sprained his MCL and No. 4 WR Derrick Willies fractured his collarbone in practice. A Santonio Holmes clone, Callaway is squarely in play as a WR4 and DFS sleeper.

All-but perfect in last week’s 26-10 demolition of the Raiders, Philip Rivers enters Week 6 with a sterling 17:2 TD-to-INT ratio over his last seven games and multiple touchdowns in six straight. Rivers would have had three scores instead of two had Melvin Gordon not tripped over his own lineman’s foot at the 10-yard line on a would-be 44-yard receiving TD. Rivers’ matchup is still no pushover; stocked with up-front talent from the Sashi Brown era, the Browns’ defense has held 4-of-5 quarterbacks faced to fantasy results of QB15 or worse while limiting opponents to bottom-ten clips in completion rate (58.6%), yards per attempt (6.34), and passer rating (74.2). Working in Rivers’ favor is Browns DC Gregg Williams’ league-high blitz rate combined with Rivers’ league-best QB rating when pressured (110.1). On the road facing a low-key ferocious defense, I’m still downgrading Rivers’ outlook. … The Browns pose a non-scary run-defense matchup after yielding a 129/537/4 (4.16 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs. A model of consistency, Gordon has cleared 100 total yards and/or scored a touchdown in ten straight games. With four or more receptions in 5-of-6 weeks, Gordon is a matchup-proof RB1. … Austin Ekeler was quiet in Week 5 beyond turning a flat-route catch into a 44-yard TD after Rivers bobbled a snap against the Raiders, then dumped down to his 4.43 speed back. Ekeler’s weekly touch counts are 10 > 14 > 7 > 10 > 7. He remains a low-volume flex option with big-play potential.

Rivers’ Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Keenan Allen 45; Gordon 38; Mike Williams 22; Tyrell Williams 19; Ekeler 17; Antonio Gates 16; Virgil Green 9; Travis Benjamin 6. … Beginning with most recent, Allen’s last four road-game receiving lines are 3/44/0 - 6/67/0 - 5/63/0 - 5/54/0. His matchup remains favorable against a Browns defense that has permitted at- or above-expectation production to fellow interior WRs JuJu Smith-Schuster (5/119/0), Willie Snead (5/55/0), and Jordy Nelson (5/48/1). … Mike continues to lead the Bolts in Air Yards (378), but he has seen fewer than five targets in three of the last four games and is essentially being used as a low-volume deep threat. A boom-bust WR3/4, Mike is also the likeliest Charger to draw shadow coverage from red-hot Browns rookie CB Denzel Ward, who shut down John Brown for 58 scoreless yards on 14 targets last week. … Tyrell’s weekly target counts are 5 - 3 - 3 - 5 - 3, rendering him a low-floor WR4/flex option who needs splash plays to make fantasy noise. Tyrell has drawn just one red-zone target, and none since Week 1. … Gates’ usage has not risen since signing just before the season. He is averaging 14 routes run per game over the last month, playing 35% of the Chargers’ offensive snaps. Regardless of matchups, Gates is purely a touchdown-or-bust streamer play.

Score Prediction: Browns 24, Chargers 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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