The Matchup Machine – Week 5

Dan Schneier pinpoints the best matchups at each position for Week 5.

| 3 years ago

The Matchup Machine – Week 5

russell-wilsonBack by popular demand, The Matchup Machine has returned. This season, I’ve got more data and more tools at my disposal—the hope is that this will lead to even more accurate predictions.

For those who missed it last season, 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.

Russell Wilson vs. Redskins 

Fresh off a bye, the Seahawks host the hapless Redskins in a showdown that will likely look very similar to the previous Redskins game. As I mentioned on last week’s Fantasy Slant podcast, Jim Haslett’s defensive scheme features heavy blitzing, crowding of the line of scrimmage, and often selling out to stop the run. Some figured that with Deangelo Hall’s injury Haslett would scale back his approach, but against the Giants, he stuck true to his style. Before the game got out of hand, the Redskins held Rashad Jennings to just 55 yards after he rushed for just under 200 the week before.

However, what was gained for the Redskins defense in the run game was lost tenfold in the passing game—Manning started the game 18-of-20 for 168 yards and three touchdowns before finishing 28-of-39 for 300 yards and a fourth touchdown. Look for Wilson to show similarly consistent numbers with added points from the occasional rushing attempt. In the matchup against the Giants, the Redskins defense was simply unable to generate any pressure (-5.8 pass rush grade) or put together any coverage (-17.8 pass coverage grade). Seven individual Redskins graded out “in the red” in pass coverage. The Seahawks will find it tempting to pass the ball with so many plus matchups in the passing game against a defense that is shaped to defend the run. Wilson has a real shot at reaching three to five total touchdowns and finishing as a high-end QB1.

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Dan Schneier is a staff writer at PFF Fantasy and also writes about real football for FOX Sports. If you want to know any of his other evaluations on skill position players, continue the conversation, or yell at him for something he missed, you can find him on Twitter @DanSchneierNFL.  You can also add him to your network on Google+ to find all of his past material.


Dan Schneier is a staff writer for PFF Fantasy, a former FOX Sports NFL scribe, and an auction format enthusiast.

  • Peter

    But would you play Cooks over Roddy White or Brian Quick? PPR half-point

    • Dan Schneier

      Roddy draws a tough matchup with a combination of DRC and Amukamara but he will see garbage time stats. I don’t like the game flow in that one, as Atlanta’s offense shouldn’t be on the field for too long. Quick draws a GREAT matchup against Cary Williams of the Eagles. I’m a matchups guy and playing matchups involves a TON of risk. So this is a gut thing. I would go Cooks and Quick because of the matchups – but most wouldn’t bench someone like Roddy White and I can understand that. I think it’s very close and I’m not sure you can go wrong. I would be surprised if Cooks doesn’t take advantage of Banks (the only problem is Cooks won’t be matched up with Banks for more than 40ish % of his plays so keep that in mind)

      • Peter

        ty I really appreciate the insight

  • ThenAtlasSpoke

    Hopkins’ big plays are coming against busted coverage where the defense virtually forgets all about him. Other than that he gets almost zero separation from even marginal DBs. As long as Carr and the Cowboys don’t have mental breakdowns, Hopkins will be well contained.

    • Dan Schneier

      @TheAtlasSpoke – To each his own. From what I’ve seen on the game tape is a really talented WR turning into a No. 1 target before our eyes. The week before against the Giants he beat coverage deep and made an absurd adjustment to an underthrown deep ball to haul in an incredible catch. There was no busted coverage against Robey last week, either – he simply ran a go route and robey wasn’t quick enough. I’ll give you Week 1 where Bacarri Rambo blew it for the Redskins against him. Also, Carr has been having trouble all season long. No disrespect.

      • ThenAtlasSpoke

        That Buffalo play is a perfect example of the defense forgetting about Hopkins. Watch the play again. A) Robey has nothing to do with that play. The CB was Graham and the safety was Searcey. B) Graham had initial coverage. He hesitated like he expected help over the top which never came. Searcey was in no position to help because he was in center field instead of left field.

        In fact if you watch the game highlights on, they have a clip of Fitzpatrick talking to a coach about the play saying, “I just, like, looked right and the guy (the defender) bailed (on coverage).” The coach says “Yeah, he stopped”. Fitz continues, “He was looking at me, so I went…(makes throwing hand gesture).” That’s just broken coverage.

        • Dan Schneier

          My bad, I meant Graham. Not sure why I was referencing Robey. EIther way, your Fitz quote says it all. I was wrong, you were right. I’m still not bailing on Hopkins in this matchup, though.

          • ThenAtlasSpoke

            To be sure, I think Hopkins might turn out to be an Anquan Boldin type #2. It’s just, I think that’s maybe his ceiling and you probably think that’s his floor.

            And I will give you the one long reception against the Giants and he obviously can make acrobatic catches, but overall I don’t see him getting separation on his own. What concerns me is “no separation” = “tight windows” = “interceptions” for a guy with marginal accuracy like Fitzpatrick. It should not surprise that 3 of Fitz’s 5 interceptions are Hopkins targets. There’s just little margin for error.

  • Paul

    Would you start Austin Seferian Jenkins over Dwayne Allen is ASF is a full go for Sunday? Non PPR.

  • Tim Taylor

    Should I start Hopkins over Kelvin Benjamin?