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Evan Silva

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Silva's Week 15 Matchups

Sunday, December 16, 2018


Saturday Football

4:30 PM ET Game

Houston @ NY Jets
Team Totals: Texans 24, Jets 17.5

Sam Darnold shook off continued early-game foot problems to help engineer last week’s comeback win at Buffalo, making a Russell Wilsonian play behind the line to find Robby Anderson for a seven-yard score and committing just one turnover, progress after Darnold turned the ball over eight times in his previous three starts. Darnold’s supporting cast is still among the NFL’s worst, and he has cleared 300 passing yards in 1-of-10 starts. Darnold is a low-end two-QB-league play against a Texans defense that has allowed top-12 fantasy results to just three of its last 12 quarterbacks faced. … As Isaiah Crowell aggravated his own foot injury at Buffalo and did not return, Elijah McGuire took over as Gang Green’s feature back with 82 yards and the game-winning touchdown on 20 touches. Change-up back Trenton Cannon vultured a four-yard TD but managed five touches on 33% of the snaps. Although Houston’s AFC-best run defense has held enemy backs to 3.35 yards per carry and seven rushing TDs in 13 games, DC Romeo Crennel’s unit permits the NFL’s tenth-most catches per game to running backs (5.9). With Crowell now on I.R., McGuire offers volume-based flex value with RB2 upside in PPR leagues. A skilled receiver, McGuire caught 129 passes in college and has three catches in five of his last eight NFL games.

 

 

Darnold’s Week 14 target distribution: Robby Anderson 7; McGuire and Quincy Enunwa 4; Jermaine Kearse, Chris Herndon, and Jordan Leggett 2; Cannon, Crowell, and Rishard Matthews 1. … Anderson is easily Gang Green’s most-playable wideout with commanding team leads in targets (14) and Air Yards (195) in the last two weeks. A perimeter burner with 4.36 speed, Anderson’s matchup is enticing against elderly Texans boundary CBs Johnathan Joseph and Shareece Wright, who got cooked by T.Y. Hilton (9/199/0), Corey Davis (4/96/1), Antonio Callaway (3/84/0), Zach Pascal (5/68/1), and Rashard Higgins (4/62/1) in the last three weeks. Anderson is popping as Week 15’s No. 7 buy-low wideout in Josh Hermsmeyer’s predictive Air Yards model. Darnold making multiple second-reaction improvisational plays with Anderson on the Week 14 receiving end tells me all I need to know about his Week 15 start-ability. … Slot CB Kareem Jackson has been Houston’s best corner this year, most notable for Kearse, who runs over 80% of his routes inside. Kearse has one touchdown over his last 17 games. … Enunwa aggravated his high ankle sprain at Buffalo. He will likely be replaced by Matthews against Houston. … After last week’s one-catch dud, Herndon offers bounce-back potential versus the Texans’ leaky tight end coverage. Jeff Heuerman (10/83/1), Jordan Reed (7/71/1), Eric Ebron (4/65/1), Jonnu Smith (2/63/1), and Anthony Firkser (4/52/0) all beat expectations against Houston in the last five games. Herndon is Week 15’s No. 3 buy-low tight end in Hermsmeyer’s model.

Although he took five sacks against a struggling Colts pass rush, Deshaun Watson’s 38 pass attempts were his most since Week 5, and Watson led the Texans in rushing in last week’s three-point loss. Jets coach Todd Bowles’ blitz-heavy, man-coverage scheme is vulnerable to QB runs because defenders turn their backs to the offense, yielding rushing lines of 9/101/1 (Josh Allen) and 4/43/0 (Marcus Mariota) in the last two weeks. Missing 4.47 speedster WLB Darron Lee (suspension) especially hurts in this area. The biggest concern for Watson’s ceiling is this game’s 41.5-point total, third lowest of Week 15. … Even as Lamar Miller struggled to find Week 14 running room against the Colts’ quietly-stout front, he out-touched Alfred Blue 19 to 6 and avoided a complete dud with a Wildcat touchdown run and season-high five catches. The Jets have been trampled for 130-plus rushing yards in four straight games, giving up five rushing TDs during that span. Averaging 18.8 touches since Houston’s Week 10 bye, Miller remains a quality RB2 in this plus draw. Although D’Onta Foreman was activated off PUP last week, he was inactive against Indy and figures to threaten Blue’s role more than Miller’s when cleared.

Watson’s Weeks 11-14 target distribution: DeAndre Hopkins 34; Demaryius Thomas 17; Miller 13; Keke Coutee 11; Jordan Thomas and Ryan Griffin 10; DeAndre Carter 8; Jordan Akins 6. … The Colts used linebackers and safeties in bracket coverage to keep Hopkins quiet until his fourth-quarter TD. He still drew double-digit targets for the second straight week and now faces a Jets defense allowing the NFL’s third-most yards per game to wideout units (189.2). These are Hopkins’ last three stat lines immediately after games where he was held to 50 yards or fewer: 6/82/2 – 8/224/1 – 7/123/0. Popping as Week 15’s No. 2 buy-low player in Hermsmeyer’s model, Hopkins is a must-play WR1. … On target counts of 3 – 1 – 5 – 4 – 6 since joining the Texans, Demaryius is a touchdown-or-bust WR4 regardless of matchups. Demaryius has topped 70 yards in just two of his last 24 games. … Coutee (hamstring) was ruled out on Friday, giving fill-in slot WR Carter DFS small-slate sleeper potential. Carter had six catches in Week 13. He got concussed early in Week 14 but is cleared for Saturday. … Griffin capitalized on Indy’s loaded Hopkins coverage with 80 yards, second most of Griffin’s 77-game career. Griffin’s highlight play was a 47-yard catch and run that set up Hopkins’ score. Still playing in a three-man TEBC with Thomas and Akins, Griffin is a poor streamer against a Jets defense allowing a league-low 31.5 yards per game to tight ends.

Score Prediction: Texans 24, Jets 17

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8:20 PM ET Game

Cleveland @ Denver
Team Totals: Broncos 24, Browns 21

This is a bounce-back spot for Phillip Lindsay after last week’s 51 total yards in a game that got away from Denver early in San Francisco. Cleveland’s run defense has struggled all season and especially in its last three games, permitting a combined 64/324/2 (5.06 YPC) rushing line to Panthers, Texans, and Bengals running backs. The Browns have allowed 11 rushing TDs in their last eight games. Lindsay still out-touched Royce Freeman 18 to 6 against the 49ers and drew a season-high seven targets. With the Broncos coming off a road loss facing a road-tripping Browns team off its upset home win over Carolina, Lindsay is an upside RB2 in this plum spot. … Stripped of Demaryius Thomas (trade), Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles’), and Jeff Heuerman (ribs/lung), Case Keenum offers minimal fantasy appeal on a run-first team painfully thin on passing-game weapons. Keenum has multiple touchdown passes in just four of his last 12 starts and is averaging an anemic 184 yards per game since Denver's Week 10 bye.

Keenum’s Week 14 targets: Tim Patrick 10; DaeSean Hamilton 9; Lindsay 7; Courtland Sutton 6; Devontae Booker and Brian Parker 2; Freeman and Matt LaCosse 1. … Plus-sized (6’4/208) with 4.47 jets, Patrick dominated Richard Sherman for a team-best 7/85/0 stat line on career highs in snaps (87%) and routes (42) in Week 14. With Browns top CB Denzel Ward (concussion) still sidelined, Patrick will catch Chiefs castoff Terrance Mitchell and Raiders castoff T.J. Carrie on perimeter routes. Patrick is a low-floor WR4 but an appealing DFS small-slate play. … Hamilton jumped right into Sanders’ vacated role against the Niners, leading Denver wideouts in routes (49) with 67% in the slot and scoring a late-game goal-line TD among seven grabs. Fellow slot WRs Tyler Boyd (7/85/1), Mohamed Sanu (6/47/0), and DeAndre Carter (6/32/0) turned in above-expectation PPR production against the Browns in the last month. … Nagged by a quad injury, Sutton is a boom-bust WR4 with stat lines of 2/14/0 – 4/85/1 – 1/14/0 – 3/78/0 since Denver’s Week 10 bye. … Although LaCosse logged season highs in snaps (81%) and routes (31) in Week 14, he was out-targeted 2 to 1 by No. 2 TE Parker. With two targets in the last two games, only LaCosse’s playing time and matchup make him interesting as a desperate streamer or small-slate DFS play. The Browns coughed up 7/99/2 to Travis Kelce in Week 9, 10/56/1 to Austin Hooper in Week 10, 6/39/0 to C.J. Uzomah in Week 12, 3/32/1 to Jordan Thomas in Week 13, and 9/77/0 to Ian Thomas last week.

This is a theoretical letdown spot for Cleveland in Denver’s thin air following last week’s thrilling upset of the Panthers. Red-hot and always-dangerous Baker Mayfield will have his say, of course, after completing 112-of-153 throws (73.2%) for 1,406 yards (9.2 YPA) and an 11:4 TD-to-INT ratio since Hue Jackson’s firing five games ago. Already among the NFL’s most-efficient passers, Mayfield went 18-of-22 last week, and two of his four incompletions came on egregious drops. Their secondary far more vulnerable without star slot CB Chris Harris (fibula), Denver yielded top-15 fantasy results to seven of its last ten quarterbacks faced and got torched by Nick Mullens for 332 yards at 10.1 yards per attempt with two scores last week. Mayfield has been a top-15 scorer in five of his last seven starts, falling short last week only because the Browns’ offense ran a year-low 44 plays. Offenses facing the Broncos average 65.3 plays, seventh most in the league. Since Freddie Kitchens took over as Browns OC in Week 9, Mayfield has faced pressure on an NFL-low 11% of his dropbacks. … Nick Chubb’s matchup is tougher; Denver has held enemy backs to 142/509/0 (3.58 YPC) rushing over its last seven games. Chubb is a bet-on-volume RB2 play averaging 21.0 touches per game over his last six. With Duke Johnson no longer a factor, Chubb tallied season highs in targets (6) and catches (4) in last week’s win over Carolina, raising his floor.

Mayfield’s target distribution with Kitchens as OC: Jarvis Landry 30; David Njoku 21; Antonio Callaway 19; Johnson 18; Chubb 16; Rashard Higgins 15; Breshad Perriman 13. … Landry scored a three-yard rushing TD in last week’s upset of Carolina, caught a 51-yard Baker bomb for a score, and nearly hit pay dirt for a third time on a 51-yard jet-sweep run, only to be caught from behind by Luke Kuechly at the four-yard line, setting up Chubb’s TD. This week’s matchup in the slot softened by Chris Harris’ absence, Landry is a WR3 with WR2 upside. The Broncos resorted to using S Justin Simmons at slot corner last week. PFF has charged Simmons with 40 completions allowed on 48 targets (83%) for 505 yards (10.5 YPA) and three touchdowns this year. … Njoku’s box-score results have been frustrating, but his Week 15 draw is mouthwatering against a Denver defense allowing a league-high 75.2 yards per game to tight ends, including Antonio Gates (5/80/1) and George Kittle’s (7/210/1) season-best efforts in the last month. … Callaway goose egged Week 14, victimized by Mayfield attempting only 22 passes in the Browns’ lowest-volume game all year. Callaway still tied Landry for the team lead in routes run (18) among Cleveland receivers and maintains dart-throw WR4 appeal against burnable Broncos perimeter CBs Bradley Roby and Tramaine Brock. … Perriman caught a 66-yard Baker bomb on the opening drive against the Panthers, setting up Landry’s rushing score. Perriman is sharing time with Higgins as Cleveland’s No. 3 wideout, however, and Perriman has target counts of 2 – 1 – 2 – 2 in the last month. … Higgins had a nightmare game versus Carolina, dropping a would-be 31-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield and losing a fumble deep in Browns territory that led directly to a Christian McCaffrey score.

Score Prediction: Browns 24, Broncos 20

 

 

Sunday 1:00 PM ET Games

Arizona @ Atlanta
Team Totals: Falcons 27, Cardinals 17

Losers of five straight with 20 points or fewer in all five, the Falcons will continue playing out the string against lowly 3-10 Arizona. Matt Ryan still has top-12 fantasy scores in nine of his last 12 starts, including top-eight results in 5-of-7 home games, where Ryan averages 2.8 more yards per pass attempt than on the road. Keyed by an underrated pass rush and Patrick Peterson’s stingy coverage, the Cards haven’t allowed a top-12 fantasy passer since Week 5, even as they’ve faced Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Philip Rivers, and Kirk Cousins along the way. Ryan is a low-end QB1. … Albeit impacted by the Falcons’ lopsided deficit at Lambeau Field, Ito Smith out-touched Tevin Coleman for the second straight game in Week 14 as Coleman logged his lowest snap rate (47%) since Week 5. Coleman is an impending free agent who likely won’t be brought back, and coach Dan Quinn conceded he wants to see younger players get more run down the stretch of a lost season. The good news is Atlanta is a big home favorite facing an Arizona defense that has permitted a league-high 17 rushing TDs to running backs. The bad news is the Smith-Coleman split has devolved into a near-even timeshare, rendering both Falcons backs risky flex plays in a putrid running game that has rushed for 100-plus yards just three times all year.

Ryan’s post-bye target distribution: Julio Jones 63; Calvin Ridley 40; Austin Hooper 38; Mohamed Sanu 35; Coleman 23; Smith 16. … Julio gave Jaire Alexander a Week 14 beatdown the Packers’ impressive rookie corner will never forget. Jones has now cleared 100 yards in seven of his last eight games. Even if expectations should be lowered against Peterson, the Cardinals play enough zone that Peterson won’t necessarily chase Julio on every snap. Jones also runs 21% of his routes in the slot, where Peterson lines up less than 1% of the time. Julio’s box-score results in his last two dates with Peterson were 4/35/0 (2016) and 10/189/1 (2014). … Theoretically, Peterson’s probable Julio coverage puts Ridley in slump-busting position. With fewer than 55 yards in eight of his last ten games, however, Ridley remains a volatile WR3/flex whose outlook is enhanced by his matchup. Arizona's No. 2 corner is perennial burn victim David Amerson, who GM Steve Keim signed off the street in November. … Sanu’s WR4 prospects are also improved against slot CB Budda Baker, who is playing through a bad knee and gave up two TDs in his last three games. PFF has charged Baker with an 83% completion rate allowed. … Hooper will gut out ankle and knee injuries to face a Cardinals defense allowing the NFL's ninth-fewest yards per game to tight ends (41.4).

After Chase Edmonds’ two-TD fluke, David Johnson retook a commanding lead in Arizona’s backfield with 23 touches on 89% of the Week 14 snaps. Johnson is a volume-based RB2 with 19-plus touches in nine of his last ten games facing an Atlanta defense that has coughed up 130-plus rushing yards to every opponent during its five-game losing streak, including 125/681/3 (5.45 YPC) rushing to running backs. Johnson set season highs in routes (38), targets (10), and catches (8) in last week’s loss to Detroit, albeit with 12 receiving yards to show for it. Atlanta allows the NFL’s second-most receiving yards per game to enemy backs (59.3). … Behind a decimated line throwing to people named Trent Sherfield and Jalen Tolliver, matchups haven’t mattered for Josh Rosen, who is a weekly target for D/STs. The last eight defenses to face Arizona and their weekly finish: Lions (DEF3) – Packers (DEF26) – Chargers (DEF12) – Raiders (DEF15) – Chiefs (DEF5) – 49ers (DEF5) – Broncos (DEF1) – Vikings (DEF7). … Even as the Lions doubled him in the slot, Larry Fitzgerald led Cardinals wideouts in Week 14 targets (9) and routes (44) and is a volume-driven WR3. Fitz runs over 80% of his routes inside, where Packers slot WR Randall Cobb got off the schneid (5/43/1) in last week’s win over the Falcons. … UDFA rookie Sherfield was Arizona’s clear No. 2 wideout against the Lions, leading the Cardinals in receiving yards (77) and tying No. 3 WR J.J. Nelson for third most targets on the team (7) behind Johnson and Fitz. Sherfield and Nelson would be low-cost DFS punts based on opportunity.

Score Prediction: Falcons 28, Cardinals 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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