Evan Silva

Matchups

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Silva's Week 16 Matchups

Sunday, December 24, 2017


Sunday Football

1:00 PM ET Games

Detroit @ Cincinnati
Team Totals: Lions 24, Bengals 19.5

Blown out by the Bears (33-7) and Vikings (34-7) in consecutive weeks, the Bengals are sleepwalking to the finish line as they host Matthew Stafford, who has thrown for multiple touchdown passes and/or 290-plus yards in ten straight games. Stafford is best approached as a high-floor QB1 play against a Cincinnati defense that has allowed top-15 results to eight of its last nine quarterbacks faced and top-12 finishes to six of the last eight. … The Lions’ backfield has devolved into a three-way quagmire. Theo Riddick got the Week 15 start and logged 11 touches on 52% of the snaps. Tion Green was No. 2 with 10 carries and no targets on 37% of the downs. Ameer Abdullah returned from his two-week hiatus for four touches on a season-low 13% playing-time clip. This week’s matchup is certainly favorable against a Bengals defense that has surrendered 110-plus rushing yards in eight of its last nine games and an NFL-high 778 receiving yards to running backs this year. Jerick McKinnon torched Cincinnati for 114 yards on seven catches last week. Riddick is easily the premier Week 16 flex play from the Lions’ RBBC.

Stafford’s post-bye target distribution: Golden Tate 60; Marvin Jones 57; Eric Ebron 46; Theo Riddick 31; T.J. Jones 24; Kenny Golladay 22; Abdullah 17. … This is a “revenge” game for Jones, who was drafted by the Bengals. Jones has 85-plus yards in seven of the last nine weeks and has shown an ability to beat tough matchups by winning contested catches. He has earned every-week WR2/3 treatment. … Slot man Tate has a superior on-paper matchup against a Cincinnati defense that is more vulnerable in the middle of the field than on the perimeter. Bears slot man Kendall Wright shredded the Bengals (10/107/0) in Week 14. Tate has eight-plus targets in three of his last four games and warrants WR2/3 treatment in PPR leagues despite last week’s dud (3/33/0) against the Bears’ stout slot coverage. … Golladay’s big-play potential can’t be disputed, but he’s drawn five targets or fewer in every game since Week 1 and is a mere rotational deep threat. … Ebron’s emergence has been critical to Detroit’s hot streak, and his matchup is attractive against a Bengals defense that gave up 2/17/1 to Kyle Rudolph in Week 15 despite Rudolph’s injury limitations, 8/85/1 to Bears tight ends in Week 14, and 6/80/0 to Browns tight ends in Week 12. With four-plus catches in five straight games, Ebron has settled in as a low-end TE1.

The biggest unknown regarding the Bengals is motivation down the stretch of a lost season after back-to-back blowout losses. The wind seemed to be sucked out of Cincinnati’s sails in its Week 13, 23-20 loss to Pittsburgh. Coming off QB27 and QB32 results in the last two weeks, I simply don’t know what to expect from Andy Dalton against a Jekyll & Hyde Lions pass defense. … Joe Mixon will finally return from his two-game absence for a mouth-watering draw versus the Lions, who allowed a robust 148/664/4.49/7 rushing line to enemy backs in Weeks 10-15 and 14 rushing TDs in their last nine games. Five of Detroit’s last six opponents have rushed for 100-plus yards. Mixon is draped in unknowns, of course. The Bengals were very cautious with his concussion recovery, and Giovani Bernard played well. Will Mixon immediately regain feature back duties? How motivated are the Bengals as a team and run-blocking unit? Can the Bengals keep this game close enough for Mixon to resume high-volume usage after he logged 22 and 26 touches in each of his last two full games? Mixon is a volatile RB2 for Week 16.

A.J. Green seems certain to draw shadow coverage from Darius Slay, whom PFF has credited with the NFL’s seventh-lowest passer rating allowed (56.3) among 119 qualified cornerbacks. In a floundering Bengals offense, Green has been held below 70 yards in six of his last eight games. Despite all the factors working against him, Green offers some DFS tournament appeal as this week’s No. 1 buy-low target in Josh Hermsmeyer’s predictive Air Yards model. … Brandon LaFell has been held to 55 yards or fewer in 13-of-14 games. … Tyler Kroft has the best theoretical matchup in Cincinnati’s pass-catcher corps against a Lions defense that has allowed the NFL’s eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends. With 30 yards or fewer in six straight games, however, Kroft is an extreme leap-of-faith, touchdown-or-bust streamer.

Score Prediction: Lions 24, Bengals 20


Editor's note: DFS experts share their favorite Week 16 RBs. Find out who here!

 

Miami @ Kansas City
Team Totals: Chiefs 26.5, Dolphins 16.5

Coming off a superbly efficient performance on the big stage in a critical primetime division win over the Chargers, Alex Smith draws a much softer Week 16 opponent in the Dolphins, who have allowed the NFL’s ninth-most touchdown passes (24) and third-most pass plays of 20-plus yards (52). The Chiefs’ offense has played to its peak when it has hit big plays, and Smith has shown much more big-play capability this year than in seasons past by ranking eighth in the NFL in 20-plus-yard completions (48). With top-15 fantasy results in 10-of-14 starts, Smith projects as a high-floor fantasy play whose ceiling is enhanced by his pass catchers’ plus draws. … On a two-game win streak with Matt Nagy as playcaller, the Chiefs have recommitted to Kareem Hunt as an offensive centerpiece on consecutive touch counts of 28 and 31 with overwhelmingly positive results. Again a home-favorite workhorse facing a weak Miami run defense, Hunt has played his way back into high-end RB1 treatment. The Dolphins have surrendered a combined 230/1,062/4.62/8 rushing line to running backs over their last ten games.

Smith’s Weeks 6-15 target distribution: Travis Kelce 77; Tyreek Hill 64; Hunt 42; Demarcus Robinson 26; Albert Wilson 23; Charcandrick West 20; Demetrius Harris 15. … This is a blowup spot for Kelce against the Dolphins, who have allowed the league’s sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends and yielded 7/101/0 to Bills TEs last week. Kelce ranks second among NFL tight ends in yards (991) and is this week’s No. 2 tight end play behind Rob Gronkowski. … Hill busted his season-long home-game slump in last week’s win by dropping 5/88/1 on the Chargers’ elite pass defense and dusting shutdown CB Casey Hayward for a 64-yard TD. Miami’s corners have played better lately, but Hill’s 4.29 speed is likely to prove too much to handle for RCB Xavien Howard (4.58), SCB Bobby McCain (4.51), and LCB Alterraun Verner (4.58).

The Chiefs reproved their dominant home-field advantage by shutting down the Chargers’ previously white-hot offense in Week 15 and have held 13 straight opponents to 20 points or fewer at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City’s D/ST is a better Week 16 play than Jay Cutler, who predictably melted down in last week’s loss to Buffalo with three interceptions and four fumbles. With top-16 fantasy results in 2-of-12 starts, Cutler is a poor two-quarterback-league option. … With Damien Williams (shoulder) listed as doubtful again, Kenyan Drake will remain the engine of Miami’s offense with total-yardage/touchdown counts of 141/1 > 193/0 > 113/1 in the last three games on touch totals of 28 > 30 > 22. Game locations notwithstanding, the Chiefs’ run defense has stayed vulnerable by allowing rushing-yardage/touchdown totals of 98/1 (Chargers), 70/1 (Raiders), 157/3 (Jets), 104/0 (Bills), 112/1 (Giants), and 131/2 (Cowboys) in the last six weeks. Drake’s all-purpose ability raises his floor, and this plus draw enhances his ceiling.

Cutler’s post-Jay Ajayi target distribution: Jarvis Landry 49; DeVante Parker 42; Kenny Stills 36; Drake 30; Julius Thomas 24; Williams 10. … Continuing to dominate targets, Landry has five-plus catches in 14-of-14 games and draws a Kansas City defense that struggles on the interior, where PFF has charged slot CB Steven Nelson with a 101.3 passer rating allowed. With red-zone threat Thomas (foot) on I.R., Landry becomes Miami's landslide favorite for scoring-position targets. On the year, Landry ranks sixth in the NFL in red-zone targets (20) and third in targets inside the ten (12). … Stills and Parker both play over 65% of their snaps away from LCB Marcus Peters’ side of the field and will get big-play chances against Kansas City’s rotating cast of No. 2 corners. On paper, K.C. is vulnerable to long passing plays, allowing the NFL’s tenth-most completions of 20-plus yards (45) and second-most of 40-plus (13). Fellow perimeter WRs Michael Crabtree (7/60/0), Tyrell Williams (3/31/0), Travis Benjamin (1/7/0), and Amari Cooper (0/0) were all checked by Kansas City’s boundary coverage in the last two weeks, however. With up-and-down to-date results in an up-and-down matchup, Parker and Stills are both boom-bust WR4/flex darts.

Score Prediction: Chiefs 27, Dolphins 13


Buffalo @ New England
Team Totals: Patriots 30, Bills 17

Rex Burkhead’s knee sprain locks in Dion Lewis as the Patriots’ heavy favorite for carries and frees up passing-game work; before going down in Week 15, Burkhead averaged 4.5 targets over the previous six games. This is a dream matchup for Lewis against a Bills defense that has allowed NFL highs in fantasy points and rushing TDs (16) to running backs. Sean McDermott’s defense has given up 100-plus rushing yards in six of its last seven games. … Mike Gillislee may be active for this “revenge” game in Burkhead’s absence, but Gillislee isn’t a fantasy option. When Burkhead missed Weeks 3-6 with broken ribs, Gillislee averaged 44 scoreless yards per game. Gillislee has never been targeted in the passing game in a Patriots uniform. … James White should also see a usage uptick, although this game’s projected script sets up poorly for New England’s passing-down back. As the Patriots have made minimal commitment to getting White the ball, he has single-digit touches in ten straight games. … Tom Brady’s matchup is far tougher against a Bills defense that has allowed multiple TD passes in 2-of-14 games and top-12 results to 1-of-14 quarterbacks faced. Buffalo held Brady to Week 13’s QB27 finish, albeit at The Ralph. Ultimately, a fantasy start invested into Brady is a bet-on-historical-greatness and fade-matchup play. Brady has underwhelmed lately with fantasy results of QB18 > QB23 > QB27 in his last three starts.

Brady’s Gronk-In target distribution since the Pats’ Week 9 bye: Rob Gronkowski 42; Brandin Cooks 37; Danny Amendola 25; Burkhead 16; White 15; Lewis and Dwayne Allen 8; Chris Hogan 5; Phillip Dorsett 4; Kenny Britt 1. … The Bills had no answers for Gronkowski when these clubs met in Week 13 (9/147/0), and there is no reason to believe they’ve found them ahead of the rematch. With a touchdown and/or 70-plus yards in 9 of his last 11 games, Gronk is this week’s No. 1 tight end play. … Cooks was quiet (2/17/0) when these teams first met, but he’s worth going back to against a Bills defense allowing the NFL’s ninth-most catches to wide receivers (169). Over the last five weeks, Buffalo gave up at- or above-expectation box scores to Keenan Allen (12/159/2), Michael Thomas (9/117/0), Jarvis Landry (10/99/0), DeVante Parker (6/89/0), and Robby Anderson (4/48/1). … Gronkowski and Cooks are the only trustable Patriots pass catchers at this point. Hogan aggravated his shoulder injury in Week 14 and didn’t play last week, and it’s conceivable New England will rest him until the playoffs. Despite Hogan’s Week 15 inactivity, Amendola drew just four targets in last week’s win over the Steelers. Britt and Dorsett each saw one.

Coming off arguably his season-best game in Buffalo’s Week 15 win over Miami, Tyrod Taylor heads to Foxboro to face a Patriots defense that has held seven of its last eight quarterbacks faced to fantasy results of QB14 or worse and has contained Taylor historically, limiting him to QB32, QB15, QB13, QB24, and QB7 finishes in five career meetings. Still, there is a conceivable scenario in which Taylor pays Week 16 fantasy dividends as a pass-run playmaker in comeback mode, and it certainly can’t hurt that the Patriots have yielded the NFL’s 11th-most rushing yards to quarterbacks (220). Ultimately, Taylor is best approached as a boom-bust streamer. … In a Bills uniform, LeSean McCoy’s four career total-yardage/touchdown counts against the Patriots are 102/0 > 108/1 > 123/1 > 116/0. New England is especially vulnerable to running backs this season, allowing 4.93 yards per carry and the NFL’s fourth-most receiving yards (734) to the position. In their last two games, the Pats were shelled by fellow all-purpose backs Le’Veon Bell and Kenyan Drake for total-yardage/TD lines of 165/1 and 193/0. The Patriots will be without top run-stuffing DT Alan Branch (knee) for at least one more week.

Charles Clay dominated Week 15 targets (9) from Taylor and looks like the Bills’ top pass-catcher play for Week 16, but some skepticism is advised. As noted previously in this space, Bill Belichick has never taken Clay lightly, holding him to receiving lines of 2/6/0 > 5/47/0 > 1/14/0 > 3/19/1 > 3/20/0 in five games since Clay signed with the Bills and at one point in Miami even shadowing Clay with Aqib Talib. … Kelvin Benjamin’s bum knee acted up again in last week’s win over the Dolphins, limiting him to 60% of the snaps. Benjamin admitted he will need meniscus surgery after the season. … Zay Jones has 55 yards on 19 targets in the last month. … Situational deep threat Deonte Thompson’s target totals since joining the Bills are 4 > 1 > 10 > 4 > 8 > 3 > 8 > 1 > 4. Thompson hasn’t reached 40 yards in a game since Week 9.

Score Prediction: Patriots 24, Bills 17

Cleveland @ Chicago
Team Totals: Bears 22.5, Browns 15.5

Mitchell Trubisky followed up his season-best game in Chicago’s Week 14 blowout win at Cincinnati with arguably his worst last Saturday versus the Lions, incessantly overthrowing and staring down receivers en route to three interceptions. Trubisky’s ups and downs remain understandable for a rookie with a talent-deficient pass-catcher corps. Even in this plus matchup, Trubisky is a two-quarterback-league play only against a Browns defense that has allowed top-15 scores to 12-of-14 quarterbacks faced while yielding the NFL’s second-most touchdown passes (27) and highest passer rating (102.7). … Jordan Howard is the higher-ceiling bounce-back candidate after his game script-ruined Week 15 dud. Although the matchup isn’t quite ideal versus Cleveland’s underrated run defense, game flow matters much more for Howard because his workloads get torpedoed whenever Chicago falls behind. Howard has rushed for 75-plus yards and/or scored a touchdown in 7-of-9 games this season in which he has handled at least 15 carries. In a matchups column, Cleveland’s stoutness remains worthy of acknowledgement after it held enemy running backs to a 148/578/3.91/3 rushing line in its last six games. … The Bears’ refusal to commit to Tarik Cohen as a consistent offensive contributor continues to keep him out of fantasy-start contention. Cohen logged six touches last week and has seven or fewer in seven of Trubisky’s ten starts.

Dominating targets with 21 in the last two weeks, slot man Kendall Wright is the highest-floor option in Chicago’s Week 16 pass-catcher corps against a Browns defense that has struggled all year in middle-of-the-field coverage due to DC Gregg Williams’ league-high blitz percentage, clearing big gaps of green grass between the numbers. Keenan Allen (10/105/1), Adam Thielen (5/98/1), Golden Tate (6/97/1), Randall Cobb (8/39/0), and Tyler Boyd/Alex Erickson (3/35/1) have all exploited Cleveland’s slot deficiency since midseason. … Dontrelle Inman has faded from relevance with 45 yards or fewer in four of the last five games, getting outplayed by Josh Bellamy with Markus Wheaton getting more involved. … Due back from a chest injury that cost him Week 15, rookie TE Adam Shaheen offers matchup-based boom-bust streamer appeal against the Browns, who were creamed by Ravens tight ends for 5/83/1 last week and have yielded the NFL’s second-most fantasy points to tight ends this year. Shaheen always has to deliver on low usage, however. Shaheen has played more than half of the Bears’ offensive snaps just twice all season and has run double-digit routes three times. His season high is five targets (Week 14).

DeShone Kizer flopped in last week’s home loss to Baltimore, committing three turnovers and making ill-advised decisions even from clean pockets. As usual, Kizer is a boom-bust, Hail-Mary play against a Bears defense that has yielded multiple touchdown passes to just 4-of-14 quarterbacks faced and the NFL’s fifth-fewest rushing yards to the position (141). As Kizer’s floor is always basement low and talent-maximizing Bears DC Vic Fangio is a safe bet to out-coach overwhelmed Hue Jackson, I’m placing my bets against Kizer turning in a productive game. Jackson reiterated this week that he is not committed to Kizer as the Browns’ starter, suggesting a fourth in-game benching is possible. … Isaiah Crowell’s matchup is favorable against a Bears defense that yielded an 85/411/4.85/0 rushing line to running backs in its last four games. Crowell’s usage is always an adventure, however, with touch counts of 11 > 17 > 11 > 22 > 9 in the last five weeks. Crowell ripped a 59-yard run early in the second quarter of last week's loss to the Ravens, then saw one carry the rest of the game. Crowell is an unreliable, low-floor flex option in a spot where Cleveland’s offense seems likely to struggle. … Duke Johnson scored a rare rushing touchdown in last week’s loss and now has double-digit touches in six of his last eight games, in addition to five-plus targets in 11-of-14 games this year. He’s a passable PPR flex play.

Kizer’s Weeks 13-15 target distribution: Josh Gordon 28; Johnson 15; Corey Coleman 13; David Njoku 11; Seth DeValve 10; Crowell 9. … Although he has yet to explode for week-winning results, Gordon has led Cleveland in receiving in 3-of-3 weeks since his return. The Bears have given up 75-plus yards and/or a touchdown to six of their last seven No. 1 receivers faced. Still dominating passing-game opportunities, Gordon is an every-week WR2. Gordon is also this week’s No. 3 buy-low target in Josh Hermsmeyer’s predictive Air Yards model. … Corey Coleman’s stat lines since Gordon came back are 0/0 > 5/62/1 > 1/16/0 on target counts of 4 > 6 > 3. Coleman is talented enough to overcome probabilities, but he can only be viewed as a boom-bust WR3/flex on that usage. … Njoku remains in a timeshare with DeValve, playing a four-week low 48% of the snaps in last Sunday’s loss to Baltimore and missing all three of his targets, although two were uncatchable. The Browns’ tight ends look safe to ignore at Soldier Field.

Score Prediction: Bears 23, Browns 16


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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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