Evan Silva

Matchups

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Silva's Week 9 Matchups

Sunday, November 4, 2018


1:00 PM ET Games


Kansas City @ Cleveland
Team Totals: Chiefs 29.5, Browns 21.5

With Machiavellian coach Hue Jackson finally deposed and failed OC Todd Haley also sent packing, ex-Bruce Arians understudy Freddie Kitchens inherits the Browns’ offense to face a Kansas City defense that has held opponents to 18.5 points per game at home but allowed 32.8 on the road. Albeit against Lions backups, Kitchens called plays in the Browns’ preseason finale, winning 35-17 with plus efficiency in the air (8.9 YPA) and on the ground (5.19 YPC). With Cleveland’s pass protection continually breaking down – UDFA rookie LT Desmond Harrison is a colossal liability – a ground-and-pound game plan makes sense featuring Nick Chubb. The Chiefs’ defense has permitted 5.34 yards per carry and ten TDs to enemy backs in eight games. Chubb has touch counts of 18 and 20 since the Carlos Hyde trade and caught the first two passes of his career in last week’s loss to Pittsburgh. … It’s impossible to say if Duke Johnson’s touches will rise, but we do know Kitchens can’t be any more committed to keeping the ball out of Duke’s hands than Haley was. This matchup is favorable; the Chiefs have yielded a league-high 551 receiving yards to running backs. Still averaging just five touches per game, Johnson is a hope-and-pray flex option under the revised staff. … Never a fan of Hue, Baker Mayfield was by all accounts happy to see him go. As Haley’s schemes failed to protect him, Mayfield has finished QB15 or worse in 4-of-5 starts with 17 sacks taken in the last month. Nevertheless, Mayfield warrants QB1 streamer discussion back home with all Browns pass catchers in good spots against a Chiefs defense that has shown sustained elevated scoring allowance outside of Arrowhead.



Mayfield’s 2018 target distribution: Jarvis Landry 65; David Njoku 38; Antonio Callaway 37; Johnson 21; Damion Ratley 15; Rashard Higgins 12; Chubb 6. … Landry is a volume-based WR2 play facing a Chiefs defense that has clamped down on slot receivers, checking Emmanuel Sanders twice (4/57/0, 5/45/0), Dede Westbrook (3/55/0), Julian Edelman (4/54/1), and Tyler Boyd (3/27/0). Landry has double-digit targets in 7-of-8 games and leads the entire NFL in targets over the last month (48). He also checks in as Week 9’s No. 1 buy-low target in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards model. Landry was No. 1 in the Week 7 model and went off (10/97/1). … Callaway remained Cleveland’s clear-cut No. 2 wideout in last week’s loss to the Steelers, playing 92% of the snaps and scoring at the goal line. Callaway’s inefficiency is a recurring obstacle, but his opportunity hasn’t waned. His 377 Air Yards rank second behind Landry’s 536 in Mayfield’s five starts. Big plays are Callaway’s specialty, and Kansas City has given up an NFL-high 38 completions of 20-plus yards. Last week, Sanders and Courtland Sutton both ripped the Chiefs for 40-plus-yard receiving gains. Unfortunately, Callaway injured his ankle in Thursday's practice and appears unlikely to play, which would move possession WR Higgins and sixth-round rookie Ratley into three-receiver sets. … Njoku’s Week 8 goose egg is a reminder that Cleveland’s offense is dysfunctional and quarterbacked by a rookie, but his snaps (83%) and route total (32) were in line with Njoku’s weekly norms. This is a bounce-back spot; the Chiefs have surrendered the NFL’s second-most yards to tight ends (596).

Patrick Mahomes visits Cleveland with seven straight games above 300 passing yards, over 8.0 yards per attempt in 8-of-9 career starts, and three straight top-five fantasy weeks to face a Browns defense that has allowed multiple touchdown passes to just 2-of-8 quarterbacks faced. Ben Roethlisberger twice (QB21, QB16), Drew Brees (QB15), and Philip Rivers (QB20) have all managed well-below-expectation fantasy scores against Cleveland’s underrated pass defense. In Week 7 against the Browns, Jameis Winston was a hit thanks primarily to a career-best 10/55/1 rushing line. Mahomes is an obvious every-week lineup lock as fantasy’s top-scoring quarterback, but this is quietly one of the toughest matchups he’ll catch all year. … Lit on Week 8 fire by James Conner for 212 total yards and two TDs, the Browns’ defensive weakness remains versus the run, having yielded a 205/947/10 (4.62 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs. Kareem Hunt’s continued passing-game ascension overcame last week’s 16/50/0 rushing clunker with 5/36/1 in the air, including a hurdling 23-yard receiving score on a fourth-and-one shovel pass. No. 3 in the NFL in carries inside the ten-yard line (17) behind only Todd Gurley (30) and Alvin Kamara (22), Hunt is an elite RB1 play with 20-plus touches in four of his last five games. Hunt should be especially dangerous on Week 9 screens, plays on which Kansas City has gained the NFL's third-most yards (209) and to which Cleveland's defense is susceptible with the league's third-highest blitz frequency (33%).

Mahomes’ Weeks 1-8 target distribution: Travis Kelce 70; Tyreek Hill 65; Sammy Watkins 49; Hunt 27; Chris Conley 19; Spencer Ware 11; Demetrius Harris 10. … Kelce paid Week 8 fantasy dividends (6/79/1) yet left points on the field by dropping a would-be eight-yard TD in the first half. In Pro Bowl MLB Joe Schobert’s (hamstring) two games missed, opposing tight ends have caught 16-of-22 targets (73%) for 161 yards against Cleveland. With Hill (groin) potentially hobbled and likely to be chased by Browns top CB Denzel Ward, this adds up to an eruption spot for Kelce. … Ultimately, Hill should be fine after practicing near-fully this week, and TyFreak catches Ward one week after the impressive rookie got taught a lesson by Antonio Brown (6/74/2). Hill’s odd road splits have continued this year, failing to top 70 yards in 4-of-4 home games but averaging 114 yards with six of his seven touchdowns away from Arrowhead Stadium. … As Ward’s sticky coverage has had limiting effects on No. 1 wideouts, No. 2 WRs JuJu Smith-Schuster (5/119/0), Tyrell Williams (3/118/2), Michael Crabtree (6/66/0), and Jordy Nelson (5/48/1) have produced at or above expectation against Cleveland. Watkins has cleared 70 yards and/or scored a touchdown in five of the last six games he played start to finish, earning every-week WR3 treatment in the AFC’s highest-powered passing attack. Last week, the Broncos were so concerned with Hill they allowed Watkins to catch ILB Todd Davis in slot coverage for his 13-yard second-quarter score. Later, Watkins wasn’t even covered on his ten-yard touchdown catch.

Score Prediction: Browns 28, Chiefs 27

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Tampa Bay @ Carolina
Team Totals: Panthers 30.5, Buccaneers 24.5

Bucs-Panthers sets up as a probable shootout in Week 9’s third-highest-totaled game between teams that rank Nos. 7 (TB) and 12 (CAR) in points scored with the lower-scoring team facing a Tampa Bay defense hemorrhaging the NFL’s most points per game (33.3). The Bucs allow touchdowns on a league-high 88% of opposing red-zone trips, while Cam Newton’s red-zone passer rating (120.7) is highest in football. Cam has top-ten fantasy results in five of his last six starts, while 6-of-7 quarterbacks to face Tampa Bay have logged top-12 scores. It’s a best-case-scenario spot for Newton. … Christian McCaffrey is stackable in DFS lineups with Newton. Badly missing MLB Kwon Alexander (ACL) with LE Vinny Curry (knee) and DT Gerald McCoy (calf) uncertain to return from multi-week injuries, the Bucs got shredded by Joe Mixon for 138 yards and two TDs last week. CMC ranks fourth among NFL backs in targets per game (7.4), while Tampa Bay permits the eighth-most receiving yards per game to running backs (54.4).

Cam’s Weeks 1-8 target distribution: McCaffrey 52; Devin Funchess 50; Torrey Smith 27; Jarius Wright 26; D.J. Moore 24; Greg Olsen 18; Ian Thomas 17; Curtis Samuel 8. … Held to 27 scoreless yards in last week’s blowout win, Funchess was victimized by low passing volume and an end-zone target intended for Funchess that Ravens S Eric Weddle deflected and McCaffrey dove to catch. As Michael Thomas (16/180/1), Julio Jones (10/144/0), Tyler Boyd (9/138/1), JuJu Smith-Schuster (9/116/0), Taylor Gabriel (7/104/2), Jarvis Landry (10/97/1), Nelson Agholor (8/88/1), A.J. Green (5/76/1), Ted Ginn (5/68/1), Antonio Brown (6/50/1), and Mohamed Sanu (2/46/1) can all attest, facing this Bucs secondary is any wideout’s dream. … Olsen hit pay dirt for the second game in a row, getting inside Ravens S Tony Jefferson for an 11-yard TD. Olsen has run the third most routes among all tight ends over the past three weeks, while Tampa Bay yields the NFL’s second-most fantasy points per game to his position. … Moore broke out in Smith’s Week 8 absence, logging season highs in routes (30) and snaps (71%) and totaling 72 yards on a single second-quarter drive. His biggest catch was a 33-yard seam ball, demonstrating the explosiveness that made Moore the No. 2 SPARQ receiver in this year’s draft. With Smith ruled out again, Moore is an upside WR3. … Samuel (17 routes) and Wright (14) rounded out Carolina’s Week 8 wideout corps. Samuel is big-play capable and warrants deep-league discussion in the softest matchup he’ll get all year.



Reinstalled after Jameis Winston’s four-pick meltdown, Ryan Fitzpatrick visits Carolina with top-six fantasy results in 3-of-3 games played start to finish and last week’s QB15 score despite entering after halftime. Most important is the scheme; under innovative Air Raid OC Todd Monken, Bucs QBs average 28.7 fantasy points per game, more than overall QB1 Patrick Mahomes (27.9). Monken’s Bucs average 69.0 offensive plays – fourth most in the NFL – and a league-high 467.6 total yards per game. Albeit still an uncomfortable bet on a team playing musical chairs at quarterback, FitzMagic has persistently shown a high ceiling in Monken’s offense. Carolina has allowed multiple touchdown passes in six straight games and struggles to rush the passer, ranking 22nd in sacks (18) and 25th in QB hit rate (13.5%). … Ronald Jones’ (hamstring) multi-week absence solidifies Peyton Barber coming off a 19-carry game where he was fortunate to hit pay dirt when replay downed Adam Humphries at the one-yard line, negating Humphries’ 18-yard score. Barber punched it in a play later. Barber drew zero targets, however, and Jacquizz Rodgers logged season highs in snaps (38%) and routes run (26). Barber’s floor will lower if the Bucs fall behind. Ultimately, Barber remains a touchdown-dependent RB2/flex option. This matchup is unimposing; Carolina has coughed up 4.61 yards per carry and six TDs in seven games to enemy backs.

Fitzpatrick’s 2018 target distribution: Mike Evans 37; Chris Godwin 24; DeSean Jackson 22; O.J. Howard 18; Adam Humphries 14; Rodgers 10; Cameron Brate 8; Barber 5. … Evans’ receiving lines in six near-full games with Fitzpatrick are 6/137/1 > 10/83/1 > 7/147/1 > 5/92/0 > 6/78/0 > 3/95/1. Evans came alive when Fitz entered last week’s loss, dusting Cincy’s backend on a 72-yard touchdown bomb with an additional 27-yard gain. Evans dominated Air Yards (470) in Fitzpatrick’s Weeks 1-3 starts by a nearly 200-yard margin over Godwin (238). … Godwin has hit pay dirt four times this year, three via FitzMagic, who also hit Godwin for last week’s game-tying two-point conversion. Held below 60 yards in 6-of-7 games, Godwin remains a touchdown-or-bust WR3/flex. … D-Jax has been a high-variance producer regardless of quarterback play, but his efficiency has been far higher with Fitzpatrick than Winston. Jackson will likely be chased by Panthers rookie CB Donte Jackson, who runs 4.32 and shut down John Brown last week (3/28/0). D-Jax reproved his deep speed in last week’s loss by Mossing Bengals top CB William Jackson for a 60-yard touchdown bomb. … Howard ranked seventh among NFL tight ends in Air Yards (158) during Fitzpatrick’s Weeks 1-3 starts and caught an 18-yard touchdown from Fitz in last week's fourth quarter. Teams targeting tight ends against Carolina have converted 32-of-44 passes (73%) for 346 yards (8 YPA) and four TDs in the last five games. Bucs-Panthers game stacks are squarely in DFS play, with Howard as a potentially critical piece.

Score Prediction: Panthers 34, Buccaneers 27

NY Jets @ Miami
Team Totals: Dolphins 23.5, Jets 20.5

Brock Osweiler will make his fourth straight start coming off descending fantasy results of QB7 > QB14 > QB27 to face a Jets defense that permitted top-14 quarterback scores in six of its last seven games. Gang Green’s biggest defensive shortcoming is pass rush, ranking 26th in sack rate (5.2%) and a middling 15th in QB hit rate (15.8%) despite the NFL’s fifth-highest blitz frequency (31.6%). Osweiler is a viable two-quarterback-league play. … As exhibited on Tarik Cohen’s 70-yard Week 8 score, the blitz-heavy Jets are vulnerable to screen plays, where Kenyan Drake can be deadly. The Dolphins lead the NFL in both cumulative yards gained on screens (280) and yards per catch on screens (10.0). Even amid last week’s negative game script at Houston, Drake just barely out-touched Frank Gore 14 to 13, yet paid dividends on a wide-open 12-yard touchdown run and 23-yard TD catch from Danny Amendola. Drake enters Week 9 with double-digit touches in 6-of-8 games as a home-favorite lead back facing a Jets defense that got busted up for 83/422/3 (5.08 YPC) by enemy backs in Weeks 5-8. Wildly efficient, Drake’s rushing line is 37/233/2 (6.30 YPC) over the last month. In DFS, Drake plus the Dolphins' defense is a hot correlation play against Gang Green's injury-crippled offense. … Regardless of matchups, Gore is a low-floor, touchdown-or-bust flex option with one TD in eight weeks and just one game above 65 total yards.

Osweiler’s Weeks 6-8 target distribution: Danny Amendola 24; Drake 16; Jakeem Grant 14; DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki 10; Nick O’Leary 7; Kenny Stills 5; Gore 4. … Clearly Osweiler’s most-trusted receiver, Amendola has five or more catches in each of Osweiler’s starts. As the Jets have been flamed by slot WRs Dede Westbrook (9/130/0), Adam Thielen (9/110/1), Jarvis Landry (8/103/0), Golden Tate (7/79/1), Emmanuel Sanders (9/72/0), Chester Rogers (4/55/1), and Anthony Miller (3/37/1), it is noteworthy that Amendola runs 80% of his routes inside. … Grant has been held below 40 yards in 7-of-8 games but will remain WR4/flex worthy if Stills (groin) can't play again. Grant drew seven first-half targets in last week’s loss to the Texans, then was largely ignored in the second half as Parker went off. Grant still played 96% of the snaps with a season-high 38 routes run. … Parker turned in the game of his life in last Thursday night’s loss, dominating in contested situations and demonstrating all the tools that made Parker the 14th overall pick in the 2015 draft. He played all 66 of Miami’s offensive snaps. Parker is hardly trustworthy after spending most of the first half of the season nursing a quad injury, then being a healthy scratch, but he should remain an offensive focal point so long as he stays on track. This is an exciting matchup; the Jets have allowed a league-high 129 catches and the NFL’s fourth-most yards (1,535) to enemy wideouts. … Gesicki is scoreless on the season with 7-of-8 finishes below 35 yards.

Sam Darnold visits Miami with zero top-12 fantasy finishes and an injury-ruined supporting cast. Last week’s Jets receiving leader was UDFA rookie Deontay Burnett (4/61/0), with whom Darnold played at USC. Gang Green’s running game has vanished. Miami does provide a plus draw after yielding 27-plus points in five straight games, including top-15 quarterback scores in four of its last five. The Fins got lit up by previously-struggling Deshaun Watson on Week 8 Thursday Night Football. Darnold is useful in two-quarterback leagues, but he has not shown QB1 streamer-caliber upside. ... A sub-60-yard dud in three straight games and six of his last seven, Isaiah Crowell was out-snapped by Trenton Cannon 54% to 46% last week, even as Crowell out-touched the rookie 14 to 9. Coaching-staff favorite Elijah McGuire (foot) is due back from I.R./return, further muddying New York’s backfield. The Jets’ run-game matchup is certainly appealing; Miami has allowed 100-plus rushing yards in six straight games, including a 143/752/5 (5.26 YPC) rushing line to enemy backs over the last five weeks. The Fins also placed key run-stuffing DT Vincent Taylor (foot) on I.R. this week. Unfortunately, Crowell’s ineffectiveness on the ground and limited receiving role render him a low-floor, touchdown-or-bust flex option. McGuire is worth stashing in season-long PPR leagues. He should assume Bilal Powell’s (neck, I.R.) old role soon.

Darnold’s Weeks 1-8 targets: Quincy Enunwa 43; Jermaine Kearse 39; Robby Anderson 36; Chris Herndon 18; Crowell 14; Cannon and Eric Tomlinson 10; Andre Roberts 9; Neal Sterling and Jordan Leggett 8; Deontay Burnett 6; Rishard Matthews 0. … ESPN's Adam Schefter reported late Saturday that Anderson and Enunwa are tentatively expected to return, clouding Gang Green's passing-game projections with potential limitations on Enunwa and Anderson in their first game back from high ankle sprains. … Kearse led Jets wideouts in Week 8 routes (31) and targets (10) but managed 30 scoreless yards with a drop in an ugly performance by New York's passing attack. Kearse did check in as Week 9’s No. 7 buy-low receiver in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Air Yards model with double-digit targets in two of his last three games. Kearse ran 90% of his Week 8 routes inside and will avoid Fins top boundary CB Xavien Howard, although rookie slot CB Minkah Fitzpatrick is no slouch. … A slot player at USC, Burnett is being stretched on the perimeter due to the Jets’ shortage of wideout bodies. He did catch all four of his targets for 61 yards in last week’s defeat and has an obvious rapport with Darnold after leading the 2017 USC Trojans in receiving. If Anderson and Enunwa indeed return, however, Burnett will be pushed back down the depth chart. ... The Jets are still using Herndon rotationally – he drew just two targets on 17 routes in last week’s loss to Chicago – but Sterling’s latest concussion should increase Herndon’s usage. Herndon has hit pay dirt in three straight games, while enemy tight ends have caught a perfect 13-of-13 targets for 108 yards and five (!) TDs against Miami in the last three weeks.

Score Prediction: Dolphins 24, Jets 20


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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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