The Matchup Machine – Week 7’s Best and Worst

Dan Schneier breaks down the best and worst fantasy football matchups for Week 6.

| 4 years ago

The Matchup Machine – Week 7’s Best and Worst

AlfredMorris400x300For 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, 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.

Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst options for Week 7.

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.



The Best

Last Week: Andrew Luck– 25th-overall QB 

What Happened: After having much success throwing the ball on the first drive, the Colts tried to jam the run down the Chargers throat and put themselves in several third and longs that they could not convert. The Chargers, instead, controlled the clock. Luck didn’t really get many opportunities to shine against a terrible Chargers secondary in this one.

Tony Romo @ Eagles

If at first you don’t succeed, try again. That is at least what I am telling myself after whiffing on Romo last week in this column. The truth is, this matchup against the Eagles defense is much better than last week’s and I am just realizing it now. First of all, the Eagles are a bad pass defense. They can shut down Doug Martin and at the same time allow rookie quarterback Mike Glennon to get in a rhythm and shootout-mode, or at least what the Buccaneers offense can consider a shootout. The Eagles have graded out as the fourth-worst team in pass coverage (-26.5) and ninth-worst in pass rush (-19.4). They don’t have the right talent on their roster to support a strong defense.

To go along with their lacking personnel, they are also lacking in the coaching department. As PFF guru Nathan Jahnke pointed out in 32 Observations, Week 6, the Eagles have blitzed their inside linebackers more than any other team combining for 114 times. In those 114 attempts they have only one sack, one hit and five hurries. You tell me—is attempting that strategy again for I don’t know, say the 80th time, not considered the definition of insanity? Romo’s offensive line is still protecting well, not that it was much of a problem against the Redskins anyway. They have the fourth-best pass block grade thus far. The Eagles have a better run defense than the Redskins did. In other words, Romo will have plenty of time and in this game he will need to throw the ball more and likely take his shots downfield.

Machine Readout: Start him! Romo has a good chance to put up high-end QB1 numbers this week.


Last Week: Tony Romo – 23rd-overall QB

What Happened: There was no pressure generated by the Redskins aside from a few occasions by Brian Orakpo. Romo just had an off game seemingly out of nowhere.

Eli Manning vs. Vikings

Eli Manning has torched my credibility in this column over and over and yet I keep coming back to him. Manning has always been a much better real-life quarterback than in fantasy. The Giants struggle to score touchdowns when they are inside the 20 yard line and when they do score it often comes on the ground. Manning’s numbers are highly dependent on big plays hitting for touchdowns. The Giants offensive scheme is a vertical-attacking style and the Giants have the right weapons to break big plays open in Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Reuben Randle. Things haven’t formulated for them aside from the Cowboys game opening day and one quarter of the Eagles game.

The good news is that the Vikings are a defense that gives up long plays quite frequently. Just last week, this defense allowed a 70-yard touchdown to Brandon LaFell. I wasn’t even sure that he was possible of making a play longer than 35 yards up until that play. The Vikings have the sixth-worst grade in pass coverage and are not generating much pressure (+0.4). The demise of right end Jared Allen in the pass game is really hurting them. While he still has graded out positively overall in pass rush (+1.2), he is not as dominant as he once was and it exposes their leaky secondary at times.

Machine Readout: Start him! Manning should be able to connect with his receivers for a few big plays. This is the week he makes good on this prediction.


Last Week Alex Smith – 24th-overall QB

What Happened: Smith struggled to generate any yardage in the passing game. Dwayne Bowe is struggling to gain separation and the Chiefs are content with playing offense conservatively even when the matchups dictate otherwise.

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

  • Chris

    If Talib sits which appears to be the case, is Hill worth a start?

    • Dan Schneier

      Hey Chris – thanks for reading.

      Hill in my mind would still be a flier at WR3 at best. Dennard is more than cable of matching up with him and having McCourty over the top (+6.6) poses problems for Hill’s best attribute which is breaking a big play over the top.