Another great week of using FPAD to make the tough toss-up decisions. The Fantasy Football matchup rankings continue to predict which opponents provide opportunity for success or failure at a high rate. It may sound a tad like bragging, but truly, it’s not. I’m just trying to point out how valuable these can be, and that the matchup rankings should be a staple in your decisions.
Reminder: Fantasy Points Adjusted for Defense (FPAD) is a calculation that can be the difference between celebrating a win or cursing a high-scoring option on your bench. I developed it years ago, and it accounts for defensive quality of play by position, adjusts for game situations and strength of offenses and spits out an adjusted Fantasy Points allowed. Using Fantasy Football Points allowed is valuable in itself to help make lineup decisions, but it’s imperfect, as a team facing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers should give up more points and passing yards than one facing Jared Goff and the Rams. This isn’t a tool to argue benching Odell Beckham for Robert Woods, but it helps you decide which RB3 is a better play or which WR4 could put up a WR2 type week.
Fantasy Football Week 3 Matchup Rankings
QB Matchup Rankings[table “2194” not found /]
Kirk Cousins vs. Marcus Mariota
Cousins was on the other side of a matchup last week, but if you stayed patient, this is the week! Cousins and the Redskins passing game will break out this week, as few secondaries rank worse than the Raiders do. Not one corner has a positive PFF grade, and Jamison Crowder already got back on track a bit last week. Crowder had four catches and 47 yards on just five targets. He’ll see more opportunities this week, and Terrelle Pryor will be able to take advantage of the matchup and finally look like the Top 20 receiver everyone drafted. The Raiders just let Josh McCown and Jermaine Kearse score two touchdowns in the passing game; it’s clear that they struggle to stop the pass.
As for Mariota, his rushing ability will keep him from being purely benchable, but facing the Seahawks is nearly as tough as it gets. Add in the fact that Mariota is likely without Corey Davis this week and that Carlos Hyde had success running the ball against the Seahawks last week, and there isn’t much upside for the Titans passing game. Not only should they lean more on the run, but only one receiver has scored against the Seahawks, and that was Jordy Nelson. Mariota doesn’t have Aaron Rodgers’ receiving core or his passing ability. Mariota was very impressive last season and is one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL. However, the team and Mariota aren’t equipped to make him a QB1 or must-start no matter the matchup.
Other Matchup Boosted QBs: Cam Newton, Jay Cutler, Jameis Winston, Philip Rivers, Dak Prescott
RB Matchup Rankings[table “2195” not found /]
Lamar Miller vs. Mark Ingram (or Adrian Peterson)
You know about my concern for Miller, and it started the moment the Texans drafted D’Onta Foreman. Miller is simply better working in a shared backfield and not as a workhorse, and Foreman is more impressive between the tackles. We saw proof of this last Thursday, but this matchup points to a better game for Miller. Yes, Kareem Hunt’s Week 1 is inflating the Patriots allowed FPPG, but Mark Ingram totaled 76 yards on just 12 touches with Alvin Kamara adding another 51 receiving yards on three catches. Through two games, the Patriots have given up 13 receptions, 177 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns to running backs. The Patriots should be able to push the score, even against the Texans defense, and that will lead to more passing for the Texans and more Miller use.
Speaking of Ingram, this shared backfield is exceptionally frustrating, and the Panthers allow the second lowest FPAD to running backs at 7.1. Ingram has just 14 rushing attempts through two games, and while the nine receptions help a tad, it’s Kamara’s job to be the main pass-catching option. Running backs are averaging just 2.4 YPC against the Panthers and 5.7 per catch. Give Ingram seven rushes and five receptions, and that’s 45.3 yards, assuming Ingram even sees that type of work against the stout Panthers defense. As for Peterson, yea, it’s even worse.
Other Matchup Boosted RBs: Jay Ajayi, Theo Riddick, Christian McCaffrey, Carlos Hyde, Melvin Gordon, Javorius Allen, Ty Montgomery
WR Matchup Rankings[table “2196” not found /]
Devin Funchess vs. Allen Hurns
With the loss of Greg Olsen, Ed Dickson can offer his services all he wants, but that’s not the answer. The solution is actually at wide receiver, as Funchess is basically a hybrid wide receiver/tight end. With no Olsen, his use can mimic Quincy Enunwa for the Jets last year, and this matchup is the perfect opportunity to build off last week. The Saints defense, especially against the pass, is atrocious, and Funchess had all of his catches and yards after Olsen left the game last week.
As for Hurns, he is a great waiver add, but this week is not the one to use him in Fantasy. The Ravens defense is stout, shutting down the Bengals in Week 1 and keeping the Browns in check last week. The second part isn’t that tough, but the receiver that did more damage was Rashard Higgins, who did most of his work out of the slot. Kenny Britt and Ricardo Louis did little, and Marqise Lee is the middle-of-the-field and slot worker for the Jaguars. If you are risking a Jaguars receiver (try not to), Lee is the choice, not Hurns.
Other Matchup Boosted WRs: Kelvin Benjamin, DeVante Parker, Jarvis Landry, DeAndre Hopkins, Doug Baldwin, Keenan Allen, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Terrelle Pryor, Jamison Crowder
TE Matchup Rankings[table “2197” not found /]
Jack Doyle vs. Jason Witten
The biggest advantage Doyle has isn’t Jacoby Brissett or the matchup. Well, okay, the matchup is great, as the Browns struggle on defense and especially against tight ends. The advantage Doyle has is that he’s the one tight end in Indy to finally have it all to himself thanks to Erik Swoope’s injury. Back to the Browns, they let Jesse James score twice in Week 1 and Ben Watson and Maxx Williams to combine for 12 catches on 12 targets and 112 yards. On top of that, Doyle was the first tight end to top 53 yards since Week 15 of the 2015 season.
And… speaking of those Cardinals, they still kept Doyle out of the end zone, now allowing just two touchdowns to tight ends in their last 18 games (both last year). Witten has been terrific so far and is actually the top tight end through two weeks. That ends this week. The Cardinals have struggled to start the season, but the one thing they still do is dominate opposing tight ends. You can’t outright bench Witten, but you could find better options such as Doyle.
Other Matchup Boosted TEs: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Ben Watson, Zach Ertz, Jared Cook, Evan Engram
Photo Credit: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire