Evan Silva

Matchups

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Silva's Week 4 Matchups

Sunday, October 1, 2017


9:30 AM ET London Game

New Orleans vs. Miami
Team Totals: Saints 26.5, Dolphins 23.5

Fantasy’s overall QB4 through three weeks despite a tough early-season slate that included road trips to Minnesota and Carolina, Drew Brees now draws a jet-lagged Dolphins team that spent two weeks in L.A. after its opener was canceled by Hurricane Irma, then flew to New Jersey for a Week 3 blowout loss at the hands of the lowly Jets, and now arrives in London in prime position to be blowtorched again. Miami gave up Week 2’s QB7 fantasy finish to struggling Philip Rivers, then allowed Josh McCown to post the second-best yards-per-attempt average (10.83) of his 15-year career. Brees gets back Willie Snead from suspension, adding a high-percentage, chain-moving weapon to an offense that already ranks top five in yards per play (6.3) and No. 3 in offensive DVOA. Brees should shred. … Although Alvin Kamara excited more with a 25-yard touchdown run to seal last week’s win over the Panthers, Mark Ingram remained the Saints’ lead back with 16 touches on 50% of the snaps compared to Kamara’s five touches on 28% of the downs and Adrian Peterson’s 11 touches on a 24% playing-time clip. Miami’s run-defense metrics are solid so far – they held Chargers and Jets backs to a combined 3.26 yards per carry in Weeks 2-3 – but little about the Dolphins’ up-front personnel suggests they will stay stout all year. Ingram is a low-end RB2/flex play, but a reasonable one. Kamara has been held to five touches or fewer in two straight games. Offensive misfit Peterson would need at least an Ingram injury to become playable in fantasy.

Michael Thomas has led the Saints in targets in each of their first three games (8, 10, 8) and on Sunday morning faces a Miami secondary Keenan Allen dogwalked in Week 2 (9/100/0) before it kick started Robby Anderson’s season (3/95/1) last week. Thomas’ stat line over his last 16 games is 99/1,244/10. … Willie Snead ran 76% of his 2016 routes in the slot and figures to push fill-in slot WR Brandon Coleman into a fourth receiver role. Through two games, the Dolphins have allowed enemy slot men Allen and Jeremy Kerley to catch 14-of-15 targets for 142 yards. If we get word Snead will resume the Saints’ full-time slot role, he will be playable immediately. Coach Sean Payton hinted that isn’t a given, though. … On weekly target counts of 5 > 6 > 3, Ted Ginn has settled in as a low-volume, low-floor, and big-play-dependent dart throw. This matchup does suit Ginn; Miami has allowed enemy passing games to function with extreme efficiency, surrendering the NFL’s highest completion rate (79%) and yards per pass attempt (9.4). … Coby Fleener’s matchup isn’t imposing versus a Dolphins defense Chargers tight end shelled for 10/101/1 in Week 2, then gave up five catches to Austin Seferian-Jenkins last week, but Fleener’s splits when Snead plays are concerning. Whereas Fleener averaged a 4/54.3/0.75 stat line in Snead’s four missed 2016-2017 games, his average plummets to 2.9/34.8/0.13 with Snead active.

After not showing up in last week’s embarrassing, 20-6 drubbing by the Jets, the weary Dolphins draw favorable matchups across the board in London against a Saints defense that gave up back-to-back top-three fantasy finishes to Sam Bradford and Tom Brady in Weeks 1-2 before facing scatter-armed Cam Newton without Greg Olsen (foot) and Kelvin Benjamin (knee) last week. Jay Cutler has managed QB17 and QB26 finishes despite plus draws against the Chargers and Jets, however, and Cutler has simply never been a good fantasy quarterback despite all of his theoretical tools. Cutler has just one career top-ten seasonal finish in his 12-year career, and he’s gone ten straight games without reaching 260 passing yards. I think Cutler is best viewed as a passable two-quarterback-league starter but a low-end streamer despite this cupcake opponent. … Allowing a combined 71/320/4.51/1 rushing line to enemy backs, the Saints offer a get-right opportunity for Jay Ajayi following his scoreless, 25-total-yard dud in last week’s loss to the Jets. Ajayi doesn’t have much receiving production to show for it yet, but he is averaging 25 pass routes run per game after clearing that mark in just one game all last season.

Cutler’s Weeks 2-3 target distribution: Jarvis Landry 26; DeVante Parker 19; Kenny Stills 15; Julius Thomas 8; Ajayi 5. … Parker was a ghost until garbage time in last week’s loss to the Jets, but he still delivered an 8/76/1 stat line and has topped 75 yards in each of his first two games with Cutler. In London, I expect Parker to draw shadow coverage or something close to it from Saints CB Marshon Lattimore, who chased Brandin Cooks (2/37/0) in Week 2 before missing Week 3 with a concussion. Lattimore is still a rookie, of course, and I’m not shying away from Parker in any form of fantasy against the Saints. Cutler will throw to him even when Parker looks “covered.” But there is a chance Lattimore will become this year’s version of Jalen Ramsey. … In the event Lattimore does contain Parker, Landry would be the likeliest beneficiary against a Saints defense that got rinsed in the slot by Adam Thielen (9/157/0) and Chris Hogan (5/78/1) in Weeks 1-2. Landry has drawn target totals of 15 and 11 and is a high-floor start with upside enhanced by this beautiful matchup. … Stills gets the “revenge game” narrative against the team that traded him to Miami, and a plus draw against a Saints defense that has given up an NFC-high 19 completions of 20-plus yards. Stills has drawn six targets thrown 20-plus yards downfield, second most on the Dolphins behind Parker (8), and well ahead of Landry (1) and Thomas (0). … After he played 96% of Miami’s Week 2 snaps, Thomas’ playing time dipped to 58% in last week’s loss to the Jets, and Thomas noticeably got blown up as a run blocker. On target totals of 3 and 5, Thomas remains a TD-or-bust streamer at best.

Score Prediction: Saints 34, Dolphins 24

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1:00 PM ET Games

Tennessee @ Houston
Team Totals: Titans 23, Texans 21

Deshaun Watson looked unprepared for the NFL in preseason games while losing a camp battle to Tom Savage, then struggled mightily in Weeks 1-2. He took a big step last week in Foxboro, exploiting New England’s pass-rush-deficient defense with aggressive throws at all levels and using his escape ability to get out of trouble. While it should be acknowledged New England’s defense has been an early-season sieve, it should also be acknowledged Watson is now in play as a streamer. The Titans pose a favorable matchup, having given up Derek Carr’s QB7 finish in Week 1 and Russell Wilson’s four-touchdown breakthrough last week. Tennessee has permitted the NFL’s fourth-most rushing yards to quarterbacks (57), while Watson leads the position in rushing yards (124). I still want to see more against a defense that can actually generate pass rush, but it’s possible I got too down on Watson too soon. … Lamar Miller can only be considered the lead part of an RBBC involving D’Onta Foreman after Miller out-touched the rookie 15 to 11 in Week 3, but got outgained by Foreman 90 to 63. Miller has simply not been effective in Houston, so a loss of usage has become inevitable. Miller needs to be downgraded to a high-risk RB2/flex option against Tennessee’s stout defensive front, which held Raiders, Jaguars, and Seahawks backs to a combined 62/215/3.47/1 rushing line in Weeks 1-3, also yielding the NFL’s 12th-fewest catches (14) to the position. Foreman isn’t quite playable yet, but I think he will become the Texans’ lead runner eventually.

Watson’s Weeks 1-3 target distribution: DeAndre Hopkins 32; Tyler Ervin 9; Bruce Ellington and Braxton Miller 8; Stephen Anderson 7; Ryan Griffin 6; Lamar Miller 5; Foreman 3. … The Titans are hemorrhaging wideout production, having given up stat lines of 10/105/1 (Doug Baldwin), 6/83/0 (Michael Crabtree), 6/82/1 (Allen Hurns), 7/76/0 (Marqise Lee), 5/62/1 (Amari Cooper), and 2/30/1 (Paul Richardson) so far. Watson’s obvious DFS stack partner, Hopkins is averaging 3.2 targets per quarter since the rookie replaced Tom Savage in Week 1. … Will Fuller (collarbone) is set to return, upgrading Watson’s outlook and increasing Houston's team speed. Unfortunately, Fuller muddies the fantasy outlooks of all Houston’s complementary wide receivers, bringing their playing time and usage into question. My guess is we’ll see Fuller and Hopkins outside with Miller and Ellington rotating in the slot. … Griffin took over as the Texans’ every-down tight end in last week’s loss to New England, drawing six targets on 86% of the snaps. The Titans’ defense got creamed by Seahawks tight ends (10/125/1) in Week 3. Griffin has some long-shot streamer appeal in an offense that offers high-efficiency potential if Watson keeps improving.

After opening the season with a pass-first approach, the Titans resumed ground-and-pound football in last week’s win over Seattle. Even after Tennessee managed 28 yards on its first 17 carries, coach Mike Mularkey stuck with the run en route to 162 yards on his team’s next 16 attempts, wearing out a Seahawks defense that looked spent in the fourth quarter. DeMarco Murray’s down-to-down success rate was low, but he ripped a 75-yard TD off left tackle and wound up out-snapping (66%, 41%) and out-touching Derrick Henry (15, 14). After the game, Mularkey indicated the touch split is here to stay, keeping Henry in flex consideration but dropping Murray to an RB2. Houston has played solid run defense so far, limiting Jaguars, Bengals, and Patriots backs to a combined 75/258/3.44/1 rushing line and allowing the NFL’s tenth-fewest receptions (13) to the position. … The Texans faced Blake Bortles (QB22) and Andy Dalton (QB26) in Weeks 1-2, then got pummeled by Tom Brady for last week’s QB1 result on five touchdown passes and 10.8 yards per attempt. There’s probably not much we can take away from that for Marcus Mariota, whose to-date finishes are QB6 > QB18 > QB14, production in line with a fringe fantasy starter. The Texans held Mariota to a QB29 result last Week 4 and generally have a solid pass defense. The Titans’ schedule eases up in Weeks 5-7 against the Dolphins, Colts, and Browns, but Mariota doesn’t stand out as a great play this week.

Mariota’s Weeks 1-3 target distribution: Rishard Matthews 24; Delanie Walker 19; Eric Decker 18; Corey Davis 13; Murray, Jonnu Smith, Taywan Taylor 6; Henry 1. … Missing CB Kevin Johnson (MCL) after losing top CB A.J. Bouye in free agency, the Texans got hit for a 4/68/2 stat line by Chris Hogan last week in a game where Hogan ran 77% of his routes outside. Matthews is the next man up as a 72% perimeter player who has collected a 69/1,048/15.2/10 receiving line over his last 16 games, clearing 70 yards and/or scoring a touchdown in 13 of them (81%). In last year’s two Texans games, Matthews dropped lines of 2/82/0 and 9/114/1. For as long as Davis (hamstring) remains out, Matthews should be viewed as an every-week WR2/3 play. … It hasn’t come together for Mariota and Decker; Decker has yet to clear 50 yards and is scoreless three games in. I expect Decker to get going, but he’s a WR4/flex option until we see it. … Decker moved outside with Davis shelved last week, so Taylor took over in the slot, played 36% of the snaps, and ran 68% of his routes inside. Slot receivers to face Houston so far are Allen Hurns (3/42/0), Alex Erickson (4/62/0), and Danny Amendola (3/48/0). … Walker’s two 2016 stat lines against the Texans were 2/34/0 and 5/35/0. Houston never poses a plus matchup for tight ends, so Walker is purely a bet-on-talent start this week. It is concerning Walker has yet to see a single red-zone target.

Score Prediction: Titans 20, Texans 17

DFS Players: 
Titans at Texans is the RotoGrinders Matchup of the Week. Some of RotoGrinders' top NFL minds break down this game from every angle and help prepare you to set winning lineups this weekend in daily fantasy football. 

Jacksonville @ NY Jets
Team Totals: Jaguars 20.5, Jets 17.5

The Jaguars’ offense took a shocking step forward in last week’s blowout win in London, doing whatever they wanted against a premier Ravens defense. Leonard Fournette hit pay dirt for the third straight week and enters Week 4 averaging 21.7 touches per game. The Jets’ defense showed improved effort in its 20-6 upset of Miami, but Todd Bowles’ unit has still allowed the NFL’s ninth-most points (72) plus a generous 73/339/4.64/3 rushing line to Raiders, Bills, and Dolphins backs. Gang Green has coughed up the NFL's sixth-most rushing yards (490) while facing the league’s seventh-most rushing attempts (84), a trend likely to continue against the run-first Jags. Fournette is a high-floor, high-upside RB1 play. … Blake Bortles’ Week 3 game may go down as his best of the season, but it at least earned him a starting nod in two-quarterback leagues and streamer discussion considering this week’s opponent. Prior to last week’s Jay Cutler dud (QB26), the Jets served up top-ten finishes to Tyrod Taylor (QB9) and Derek Carr (QB5), and Gang Green’s combined shortage of pass rush and secondary play will render them a pass defense to attack all year. It’s still worth remembering Bortles failed to finish inside the top-20 fantasy passers in each of his first two games, and a big step back traveling to the Meadowlands after playing in London wouldn’t be at all surprising.

Bortles’ Weeks 1-3 target distribution: Marqise Lee 23; Allen Hurns 14; Fournette 12; Keelan Cole and Marcedes Lewis 9; Chris Ivory 8. … The Jets were dusted by outside WRs Michael Crabtree (6/80/3) and DeVante Parker (8/76/1) in Weeks 2-3. Running 75% of his routes outside, Lee offers WR3/flex appeal after consecutive games of 65 yards or better. Last week, Lee gained all of his 65 yards in the first half before the Jaguars took their foot off the second-half gas in a 44-7 win. … Hurns has been hyper efficient early on, converting 12-of-14 targets into 144 yards and two scores. Hurns runs shorter, lower-ceiling routes than Lee as a 70% slot receiver, but he has also out-targeted Lee 5 to 2 in the red zone and is a better bet for easy scores. Jacksonville’s offense is obviously much worse than Oakland’s, but this is a poor man’s version of the Michael Crabtree-Amari Cooper situation with Lee as a destitute man’s Coop and Hurns as a homeless man’s Crab. … Lewis went catch-less on four targets in Jacksonville’s first two games, than erupted for a Larry Donnellian 4/62/3 receiving line against the Ravens in London. My takeaway from that performance was more that Baltimore is a defense to attack with tight ends, and not that Lewis is suddenly a fantasy starter. Lewis is run or pass blocking on well over half of his snaps.

My takeaway from last week’s Jets win is that Miami probably isn’t very good, and especially that the Dolphins’ defense isn’t a unit to fear. It was not that the Jets’ offense has suddenly arisen, or that it will be competitive against the Jaguars. Jacksonville’s havoc-wreaking defense has yielded the NFL’s sixth-fewest points (51) while holding Tom Savage/Deshaun Watson to Week 1’s QB28 fantasy finish, Marcus Mariota to Week 2’s QB18 mark, and Joe Flacco to last week’s QB36 result. Facing DE Calais Campbell and CBs Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, every Jets passing-game member should be benched this week. … Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the exception after he turned six targets into a 5/31/0 line in last week’s win over Miami. Said to be out of shape prior to the game by coach Todd Bowles, “ASJ” nevertheless played 79% of the Jets’ offensive snaps. Seferian-Jenkins is a legitimate streamer against a Jaguars defense that gave up four catches to C.J. Fiedorowicz in Week 1, four to Delanie Walker in Week 2, and five grabs to Ravens tight ends last week, including Baltimore’s lone touchdown (Ben Watson). … Matt Forte’s turf toe injury may make Bilal Powell a popular fantasy play, but beware Elijah McGuire’s growing role and the Jets’ signing of passing-game specialist Travaris Cadet, who knows OC John Morton’s scheme from their time together in New Orleans. In an offense that is likely to struggle to score points, Powell is a risky, probably low-upside flex option.

Score Prediction: Jaguars 23, Jets 13


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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva



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