The Matchup Machine - Week 13's Best and Worst
For those subscribers who were active readers in 2012, you might remember that last season I wrote a weekly column breaking down the best and worst matchups for running backs. Using PFF’s grading system I was able to breakdown and pinpoint matchups along the offensive/defensive lines and between the fullbacks and tight ends/ linebackers. However, there is more to a running back’s weekly matchup including coaching tendencies, what direction a running back has success rushing to and the likelihood that a team is rushing based on the score of the game. All factors considered, I was able to predict the worst matchups at a highly successful rate while also targeting some of the breakout backs of the week.
This season I will be trying something a little different. Instead of just focusing in on the running backs, I will look into all of the different matchups in fantasy football including quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends in an attempt to pick the overall best and worst matchups of the week. Fortunately, PFF has all the tools to break down each individual matchup. Want to know how your wide receiver is going to do? Well if he lines up as a split end on 90% of his snaps, we can pinpoint which cornerback he will be matching up with for those snaps.
Of course, as was the case last season, this column will become more accurate as the season goes on and we compile more grades for the players and get a feel for tendencies and overall strengths/weaknesses of the 32 teams.
Before each new matchup projection for this week, I will revisit my prediction from last week so you all can get an idea of the process and its results. All the results will show how a player scored in a standard scoring system and in a 12 team league. The only difference is that by “standard” I am referring to what the majority of leagues have moved to – 0.5 points per reception. If you are a reader at PFF, it is likely that you are playing in this scoring system.
I find that this column can best be used for fantasy football day gamers. In leagues set up on websites like fanduel.com, you can choose from the entire player pool and must assemble a team based on a salary cap format. You can get a 100% deposit bonus & chase the dream of the $1 million 1st prize at the FanDuel Fantasy Championship.
Speaking of daily fantasy football leagues, in my advice section I will tailor the different matchup advice based on each player’s price that week.
Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst options for Week 13.
Also, please feel encouraged to tweet questions at me on Twitter @PFF_DanSc or post them in the comments if you want to know any specific cornerback/wide receiver matchups for your players or if you want an idea of how your running back’s offensive line grades out or the rush defense that he faces.
Last Week: Drew Brees – ninth-overall QB
What Happened: The Falcons offense controlled the clock longer than expected and Brees couldn’t crack the top three.
Matt Stafford vs. Packers
Those who own Stafford or plan to invest in him should be heavily rewarded on Thanksgiving in a very favorable matchup that also carries a “prove it” feel because of how poorly the Lions have fared in recent Thanksgiving home games. The Packers’ somewhat injured defense is not the major concern here. Instead, it is an outdated scheme by defensive coordinator Dom Capers that has been figured out by the entire league. Capers’ defense was first exposed in the 2011 Divisional Round of the Playoffs, against the Giants, and it has never recovered since.
The Packers once again cannot cover well or rush the passer—they give up far too many chunk yardage plays. The Packers have graded out as our fifth-worst defense in pass coverage (-30.9) and ninth-worst in pass rush (-15.4). In past seasons, their run defense has carried them through the year. It has graded out in the top ten of our rankings in consecutive season. This season, their run defense has fallen to the ninth-worst in the league (-13.0), with a majority of that negative grade coming in recent weeks. Simply put, the entire defense is struggling to stop the opposing team from racking up yards and scoring.
This should be a statement game for a Lions team that continues to shoot itself in the foot due to poor coaching and overall team discipline. Because the Packers are likely to find some success attacking the Lions secondary, it will lead to more opportunities for Stafford and the Lions to remain on the attack and keep the ball moving through the air.
Machine Readout: Start him and feel comfortable investing in him in daily fantasy leagues if your strategy this week is to pay top dollar for a quarterback. He is worth the investment.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @PFF_DanSc. If you have any recommendations or complaints feel free to voice them and I will do my best to accommodate them.