Outstanding Fantasy Matchups: Week 6
Last week I gave you five matchup nuggets and if you followed my lead there’s a good chance you left Week 5 unscathed – except for that Charles Clay thing, we’ll forget about that. The good news is we saw Sam Bradford, Allen Robinson, and the Bengals offense all have great days so we’ll chalk up that week as a win and keep move forward!
I have another five tasty matchups for your consumption this week and hopefully you are able to leverage them into some cash this weekend in DFS or a win in your season-long leagues. Let’s get to them!
Packers WR2 vs. Brandon Flowers
Brandon Flowers Brings Showers of Fantasy Points
Throughout his seven-year career, Brandon Flowers has been one of the top coverage cornerbacks in the league — that is not the case this year. Per Pro Football Focus, Flowers has been the fifth-worst coverage corner this season and for those that watched Monday Night’s game this week probably saw him get burned by Markus Wheaton on a 72-yard touchdown. Well, he was also torched by the Bengals who targeted him seven times and completed five passes for 79 yards and three touchdowns.
Overall, Flowers has allowed four touchdowns (tied for most allowed), 2.6 fantasy points allowed per target (fourth-highest allowed), and quarterbacks have a 142 QB rating when targeting him (third-highest allowed).
On DraftKings you’ll see that red-colored “1st” next to all the Green Bay Packers wide receivers, which implies that the Chargers have been the toughest defense against opposing wide receivers in terms of fantasy points. While that’s true to an extent, we can’t ignore how much Flowers has been struggling and that this rating is also aided by the fact that opposing offenses call a run play 46.8 percent of the time, which is the eighth-highest in the league.
This week Flowers should see a steady dose of James Jones and then some mix of Ty Montgomery and Davante Adams so I would bump up their values a bit. Unfortunately, with Randall Cobb playing primarily in the slot he doesn’t get the Flowers bump.
Ted Ginn Jr. vs. Cary Williams
Need a deep Sleeper? This is one you may not be considering but should
Before I get too deep into this analysis I need to point out that Ted Ginn Jr. is not a good wide receiver. He is, however, the Panthers’ top wide receiver and getting enough opportunity to warrant FLEX consideration, especially in deeper leagues and DFS.
Through four games, Ginn has averaged 5.6 targets (good opportunity), but has only caught 52 percent of his passes (meh skill). However, that catch rate looks a little better and, dare I say, average when you consider his 17.2 average depth of target (aDOT). Cam Newton is taking a couple of deep shots per game with Ginn and when they connect it’s a beautiful thing.
Per Pro Football Focus, Ginn has been targeted deep on 30 percent of his targets and has converted those targets into two catches for 80 yards and a touchdown. These aren’t eye-popping numbers by any stretch, but considering his likely matchup with Seattle’s Cary Williams this week we could see some big plays.
Williams has been one of PFF’s worst-graded cover corners this season and the Panthers should be throwing the ball more than usual given both the game script and matchup, which should Ginn some extra cracks at breaking off that big play on Sunday as the Panthers will likely stay away from Richard Sherman’s side of the field.
Colin Kaepernick vs. Ravens DEF
I can’t quit you, Kap
Ugh. Every time I think I’m out on Colin Kaepernick he pulls me back in with a solid performance. Last week, it was a great bounce back performance where he completed 23-of-35 (66 percent) passes for 262 yards and 2 touchdowns. As a cherry on top, he threw zero interceptions and added 23 yards rushing on the ground, which was actually a season low.
The reason for this success? Kaepernick was able to comfortably sit in the pocket as the Giants generated little pressure on him – Kaepernick saw pressure on 30 percent of his dropbacks. When he was left alone, he completed 78 percent of his passes with 9.1 yards per attempt vs. a 25 percent completion rate and 2.0 yards per attempt when under duress.
This week Kaepernick is back at home where he will face a banged up Ravens defense that has allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, including two rushing touchdowns. Without Terrell Suggs or Elvis Dumervil, the Ravens struggled to generate any type of pass rush against the Browns last week – they pressured Josh McCown on just 25 percent of his dropbacks.
If Kaepernick is given a clean pocket and has a plus-plus defensive matchup I have a hard time ignoring him in fantasy given his higher floor thanks to his rushing ability. He should also get a seemingly healthy Vernon Davis back this week.
Fat Eddie vs. Chargers Run DEF
Eddy Lacy due for a breakout game
Sticking with the Chargers theme for a second, they have a terrible run defense. Per Football Outsiders, the defense ranks 30th in DVOA against the run and they have let up at least 100 rushing yards in each game this season except for a Week 1 matchup with the Detroit Lions. Literally just one player on the Chargers defense has a positive grade on Pro Football Focus when it comes to defending the run.
That’s right, Eddie Lacy is ready to break out this week. He’s a couple of weeks removed from his ankle injury that he suffered in Week 2 and the Packers are huge home favorites (-10 point spread), which typically correlates well with running back production. However, he doesn’t come without some risk as he’s only played in 55 and 58 percent of snaps the last two weeks.
You’re most likely starting him anyways in your season-long leagues, but in DraftKings he’s priced at a modest $6,300 and makes for a great cash game and can also be used in GPPs.
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Redskins DB’s
Fitz magic after the bye week?
The Jets are coming off a bye week to host a Redskins defense that is so injured I don’t even know who’s starting in the secondary. DeAngelo Hall isn’t practicing this week and both Chris Culliver and Breshaud Breeland are limited at best. This could force Will Blackmon to start, which should start your salivary glands if you own any Jets players in the passing game.
While they held their own against the Falcons wide receiving core, don’t be fooled as both Julio Jones and Leonard Hankerson were also banged up. This week presents a much different test for this secondary.
The Jets are coming in fully rested with a pair of healthy, quality wide receivers in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. I love the size of these two receivers especially when it gives them a decisive advantage over their competition. The Jets haven’t been shy about airing it out as Ryan Fitzpatrick has the fourth-highest deep passing rate (17 percent) although he hasn’t had much success – 16 percent completion rate, three interceptions, one touchdown.
I expect the Jets to pick up right where they left off in London and think Fitzpatrick should make for a nice streamer option this week in both season-long and DFS lineups. Of course, both wide receivers are great options as a result.
George has been playing fantasy baseball since he was a kid, filling out every Sporting News salary league card, but never sending one in due to his lack of a checking account. He still remembers the time he spot-started Storm Johnson and got a rushing TD out of it. Never forget.