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 Case Keenum and the Rams. This isn’t a tool to argue benching Odell Beckham for Mike Wallace, but it provides Fantasy Football Matchup Rankings to help you decide which RB3 is a better play or which WR4 could put up a WR2 type week.
Week 16 Quarterback Matchups[table “1621” not found /]
Philip Rivers vs. Joe Flacco
It doesn’t get any better than this. Rivers is facing the Browns, and if you don’t know about how poorly the Browns defend the passing game, then you have been living under a rock. Rivers does have quite a few interceptions of late, but the yards and touchdowns are still coming, and no team has given up more passing touchdowns than the Browns have. In addition, the Browns rate as the third weakest opponent for teams’ No. 1 and 2 receivers and weakest overall against tight ends… more on that in a bit.
Others: Cam Newton looked like the Cam from last year in Week 15, and that should carry over in the matchup with the Falcons. The Falcons lead the league in FPPG allowed to quarterbacks with nearly 4,000 passing yards so far. Colin Kaepernick is a big risk/reward play, but on the reward side, no team has allowed more FPPG to quarterbacks than the Rams over the last four week (11 touchdowns, just one interception).
As for Flacco, many were on him last week against an extremely forgiving Eagles pass defense, but the outlook is much bleaker this week. The Steelers are one of the toughest teams against the pass with only 17 passing touchdowns given up along with 11 interceptions. Flacco also has just four games with more than 16 Fantasy points this year.
Other Matchup Boosted QBs: Tom Brady, Jameis Winston, Dak Prescott, Andrew Luck
Week 16 Running Back Matchups[table “1622” not found /]
Jonathan Stewart vs. Ryan Mathews
Stewart has back-to-back games with a dozen or more Fantasy points, and it’s all thanks to the matchups. Stewart had 66 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers and followed that up with 140 total yards against the Redskins. Good news for Stewart owners: The Falcons have sixth highest FPAD for running backs, just 2.4 FPAD points behind the Redskins.
Others: If Melvin Gordon plays, there is no question about using him against the Browns this week. Todd Gurley is primed to have one of his best games this year, as the 49ers can’t stop anyone in the running game. Jordan Howard has a terrific matchup, but a word of caution about ranking him too high. The Redskins are pass-happy and could push the Bears into pass attack mode, which could mean more Ka’Deem Carey because… well… John Fox.
The Giants defense is vastly improved, even without Jason Pierre-Paul. With an 11.3 FPAD for the Giants and Darren Sproles likely to return, Mathews is a risky and benchable running back for Week 16. We all know the inconsistency of Doug Pederson’s backfield, and the game script points to more Sproles use in this matchup. Plus, it’s Sproles in primetime, which seemingly amps up his output. If you’re going to play a Eagles running back, Sproles is the better play. Mathews has the higher ceiling if he can find the end zone, but this is a matchup that makes it tough to reach.
Other Matchup Boosted RBs: Melvin Gordon(?), Todd Gurley, Jordan Howard, Jay Ajayi, Doug Martin, Frank Gore, Latavius Murray, LeSean McCoy
Week 16 Wide Receiver Matchups[table “1623” not found /]
Julian Edelman vs. Tyreek Hill
Edelman has certainly fallen off this year, but this matchup is juicy. The Jets pass defense has been nonexistent for most of the year with players checking out (Darrelle Revis anyone?). In addition, Edelman’s specific matchup is best of all with Juston Burris manning the slot. Last time against the Jets, Edelman had 11 targets for eight receptions and 83 yards, and it would be surprising if he didn’t top all of those numbers.
Others: If healthy, Adam Thielen has a great matchup with Damarious Randall. Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee get to face the extremely weak Titans secondary, but I would be hesitant to risk them. If Julio Jones plays, I don’t see how you can sit him against the Panthers defense and with his upside (12 catches, 300 yards against the Panthers in Week 4).
Did you realize that Hill went catchless last week? You certainly can’t bank on a 68-yard run for a touchdown each week. With Travis Kelce commanding a large share of the passing game targets and Jeremy Maclin back in the mix, it’s tough for Hill to see a high amount of touches. In fact, in the two prior games, Hill caught 11 of his 12 targets for over 10 yards per catch, which shows his explosiveness but also the risk if the targets drop or the YPC regress. This week, Hill faces the Broncos, a team dominating opposing receivers with a 10.9 FPAD, two points lower than any other team. Find another solution for your championship hopes.
Other Matchup Boosted WRs: Adam Thielen(?), Julio Jones, Taylor Gabriel, Chargers, Cardinals, Mike Evans, Doug Baldwin
Week 16 Tight End Matchups[table “1624” not found /]
Texans TE vs. Ladarius Green
I say “Texans” because this is for C.J. Fiedorowicz if he plays and for Ryan Griffin if he doesn’t. The Texans continue to use their tight ends heavily, and Fiedorowicz was rather consistent in PPR leagues. With Fiedorowicz out, Griffin absorbed nearly all of the tight end opportunities. In fact, it would be better if Fiedorowicz missed Week 16, as Griffin steals some away from him when both are active. The Bengals have a 10.2 FPAD for tight ends and are one of two teams to have allowed over a 1,000 yards to them so far. Play Fiedorowicz if active, but hope for it to be Griffin’s show alone.
Others: Greg Olsen is a Top 3 tight end and has the second best matchup this week. He’s a good play in DFS too if you’re going to pay up, but… Cameron Brate is still underrated in seasonal and DFS. With his price, I don’t see how he’s not part of your lineup and in seasonal, he’s become a Top 5 option. Eric Ebron has gone cold, but this week’s matchup could help him finish hot. Ebron still has plenty of risk though.
As for Green, even if he plays, he’s too much of a risk. Not only could Green exit the game early given his concussion history, he’s still on the field for less than 50 percent of the snaps. Sure, he runs routes the majority of the time, but the Ravens have been stout against the tight end position all year with a low 4.8 FPAD and just two tight end touchdowns allowed. Green is simply not worth the risk.
Other Matchup Boosted TEs: Chargers, Greg Olsen, Jason Witten, Eric Ebron, Zach Ertz, Cameron Brate
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