It’s important to know which defenses have struggled, and how to use that information to give you an edge when setting your fantasy football lineups. But simply looking at team defensive stats won’t show the entire picture. For example, the Tennessee Titans defense boasts the number 1 scoring defense in the NFL. Once you look a bit closer, however, you see that prior to Week 10, Malcolm Butler (their starting CB) has given up 39 catches for 618 yards and 7 TD’s, all tops in the league. I’d like to break down my favorite individual matchups of Week 11 for you guys, and give you an advantage over the competition.
Alshon Jeffery vs. Eli Apple (PHI vs. NYG)
Alshon has already been performing well this season, becoming a bit of a target hog, unlike most of his career. The Eagles are moving him around in the formation, and finding ways to get him in favorable matchups. That’s exactly what’s in store for Week 11 when the Eagles head down to NO, and Jeffery draws Eli Apple. It’s possible that Jeffery sees some shadowing from Marshon Lattimore, but it’s unlikely and Lattimore hasn’t exactly been a shutdown corner himself. Alshon has already squared off with Apple this season, Week 6 when Apple was still a New York Giant. Jeffery caught 8 passes for 74 yards and 2 touchdowns in that game. It’s important to know that in that same game, Nelson Agholor also beat Apple for a 58 yard touchdown. Alshon is in a prime spot to see double digit targets in what looks to be a high scoring game with the Saints. I wanted to see the breakdown of when Alshon was being targeted and saw the break down clearly of how many of Alshon’s targets have come in what part of the game.
What I saw, is that Alshon is the clear cut number two option in this offense behind Zach Ertz, and he does not get phased out of the game whether the Eagles are leading or chasing. He is almost the exact same target share when the Eagles are winning or losing. This week the Eagles could easily have to throw the ball 50 times to keep up with Drew Brees’ Saints, and Alshon is in a top tier position.
Golden Tate vs. PJ Williams (PHI vs. NYG)
Golden Tate averaged 10 targets per game during his time with the Lions this season. Tate has been traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, who motioned him into a screen pass on the 3rd play of his first game as an Eagle. Philadelphia is clearly trying to utilize what they have in Golden Tate to the maximum potential. He was only on the field for 18% of the snaps, but Philadelphia did not trade a 3rd round pick to not utilize this guy. The main reason that Tate was limited, was due to the high percentage of snaps that the Eagles were running a 2 minute drill, one of the hardest things to pick up on a new offense.
Tate now draws PJ Williams of the Saints, who has struggled mightily in coverage this year, especially while covering slot receivers.
Since Week 6, the Saints have allowed 16.4 PPR PPG to slot receivers, the seventh-most in that span.
Tate was running 25 routes per game form the slot for the Lions, while the Eagles have Nelson Agholor, who has averaged 24.5 routes per game from the slot.
Michael Thomas vs. Rasul Douglas (PHI vs. NYG)
The stats of the Eagles number 1 corner this season:
The Eagles have struggled immensely against strong number 1 receivers and now get maybe their toughest matchup of the season in Michael Thomas. Thomas is coming off 2 games in which he’s seen 23 targets, catching 20 for 281 and 3 touchdowns. The Eagles have now lost former Number 1 CB Ronald Darby for the year, to a torn ACL. Enter 23 year old Rasul Douglas, and throw him directly in the fire, trying to slow down Michael Thomas on the road. Even the Cowboys were attacking Douglas when he came into the game, and that was with Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, as opposed to Drew Brees and Michael Thomas.
Check out the Home/Road Split for Michael Thomas this season.
Cole Beasley vs. Poole & Coverage Linebackers (DAL vs. ATL)
The Falcons have allowed a league-leading 109 receiving yards per game to slot receivers. Also, since star Deion Jones went down, the Falcons are last in the league in Yards Allowed Per Pass Play:
|With Deion Jones||Without Deion Jones|
|6.0 Yards Allowed Per Pass Play (7th)||7.3 Yards Allowed Per Pass Play (Last)|
This bodes well for Cole Beasley who does the majority of his damage between the hashes, against the backup coverage linebackers of Atlanta and Brian Poole, who has struggled in his own right this year. Beasley is still Dak’s safety outlet, due to the fact that the Cowboys don’t have a legitimate Tight End for that role. The Falcons can be beat underneath, and up the middle, and Beasley should exploit that heavily.
Tyreek Hill vs. Marcus Peters (KC vs. LAR)
Marcus Peters gets to square off with his former team, and try his hand at covering one of the most electrifying players in the NFL, Tyreek Hill. Peters is having his worst year in coverage of his entire career. To be fair to Peters, things started accelerating downhill after his Week 3 groin injury that he suffered vs. the Chargers. Whether it’s due to an injury, technique, or talent doesn’t matter. All that matters is Peters has been getting torched, and Tyreek Hill has been torching everybody. Tyler Lockett beat Peters for a 40 yard touchdown running a simple post, and beating Peters with speed, something that Hill has more than anyone else. In Week 9, Thomas beat Peters for 72 on a simple go route. Not to mention the fact that Hill is averaging nearly 100 yards receiving and a touchdown, each game.
Odell Beckham vs. Brent Grimes (NYG @ PHI)
Odell Beckham is coming off his best 2 games of the season catching 8 passes and 135+ receiving yards in each game. Tampa Bay has given up the 2nd most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, and much of those points have come on Brent Grimes’ account. A top 5 WR vs a bottom 5 secondary is something I’m looking to exploit heavily this week.
Funchess vs. Shead + DJ Moore vs. Teez Tabor (DET vs. CAR)
Since Week 5, the Lions have allowed five receiving TDs to slot receivers (most in span) as well as 86.5 receiving yards per game (fourth-most). It is hard to get a better matchup than that. In Week 10, the exposure continued, with Allen Robinson destroying Shead for 6-133-2. If that wasn’t enough, we saw Anthony Miller, working primarily in the slot, covered by Nevin Lawson and Teez Tabor, have his best game as a pro going 5-122-1. Without Slay, who looks iffy again for Week 11, this Detroit Lions secondary is extremely burnable and Funchess and Moore should take advantage. I especially like Funchess’ mismatch with Teez Tabor who has seemed outclassed all season.
Keke Coutee vs. Fabian Moreau (WAS vs. HOU)
Since Week 7, Washington is allowing 15.70 PPR PPG to slot receivers, the 10th highest mark in the league. Fabian Moreau is a big part of this, as the main slot corner. The second year corner out of UCLA looks to have a case of tight hips, and has had trouble dealing with the horizontally attacking slot receivers. This is not ideal when matched up with Keke Coutee, because that is his specialty. Coutee leads the league in creating separation from his defender with 4.6 yards of separation per route run. Coutee has been a favorite target of Watson’s whenever Fuller hasn’t been in the game, and the Texans will look to attack Moreau early and often.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs. Shaquill Griffin (SEA vs. GB)
Griffin has been abysmal in coverage. The Seahawks have given up at least 90 yards to 5 different wide receivers since Week 5, and the normal culprit has been Shaquill Griffin’s assignment. This is no longer the legion of boom. Enter young Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and you have a long day at the office for Griffin. MVS has emerged as the number 2 target for Aaron Rodgers, and is the preferred deep threat on the team. Rodgers has been getting MVS involved at all 3 levels over recent weeks, attacking with short outs, medium comebacks, and deep fly routes. Scantling has been one of the best in the league in creating separation on his routes run with 3.7 yards of separation this season. His route tree is growing along with the confidence of one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
Team defensive statistics are important, but individual matchups within the game are much more valuable when determining the value of a player in any given week. This article is just one of the tools that we provide to make you the best fantasy player you can be.