Each week, fantasy players question which of their players to insert into lineups and which to bench for that week. A key component in that process is highlighting easy or difficult matchups for players. While an easy matchup does not guarantee a player to have a great performance, it’s certainly a better bet. In this weekly piece, I shine the spotlight on a few different matchups to keep an eye out for as you make your lineup decisions. This is the Matchup Monitor Week 15!
The first group or player listed in each matchup here has an advantage and potential for greater upside against their opponent.
Michael Pittman Jr. at Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota defense has been porous and lackluster lately. The Vikings have allowed over 300 passing yards each of the last five weeks against QBs that include Mike White and Jared Goff. The secondary is coming off a game allowing three receiving touchdowns to three different Detroit receivers. With the fantasy playoffs starting, they are a deer-in-headlights defense.
As the Colts’ No. 1 WR, Michael Pittman has four top-24 finishes this season. While the season has not gone smoothly with Matt Ryan, Pittman has 100-percent (No. 1) Route Participation and sees an 8.1 (No. 6) Target Accuracy. The Indianapolis passing attack has not been consistent this season, but this is a week to expect a boom game from Pittman.
Miles Sanders at Chicago Bears
The Eagles have had a lot of fantasy production this season, and Miles Sanders has been one of the players feasting. He finds himself on this list for the second straight week. Sanders has four top-12 finishes this season despite just one game with a Snap Share over 70-percent. He entered Week 14 with 32 (No. 10) red zone touches before tacking on two rushing scores against the Giants.
There’s only one RB this season that has:
-1,000+ rushing yards
-Avg 5+ yards per carry
His name is Miles Sanderspic.twitter.com/wEmPAPAHP8
— David Mendelson (@DMendy02) December 12, 2022
The Bears have allowed over 100 rushing yards in each of their last three games. They’ve given up four rushing touchdowns in that span. Chicago has allowed at least 27 points in each of its last six games, and they’re getting into offensive shootouts often. Sanders once again has a good matchup as he gets plenty of scoring opportunities on a team with the No. 1 Game Script in the league this season.
Dak Prescott at Jacksonville Jaguars
Since returning from injury, Dak Prescott has had four top-12 finishes in seven games. He entered Week 14 with an 8.6 (No. 1) Red Zone Accuracy Rating and averaged 8.4 (No. 9) Air Yards Per Attempt. With weapons like CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Tony Pollard providing for Dallas in the passing game, Prescott has several outlets for passing production.
The Jaguars entered Week 14 allowing the No. 8-most passing fantasy points to QBs. They have allowed at least 27 points in three of their last four games. Dallas has a high-powered offense that has scored at least 28 in each of their last six games. Expect Prescott to wheel and deal against a mediocre Jaguars defense.
The first group or player listed in each matchup here has a disadvantage and a greater potential for a lesser fantasy output than usual against their opponent.
D.J. Chark at New York Jets
With the Detroit offense humming, D.J. Chark has back-to-back games of at least 90 receiving yards. However, outside of those last two games, he only has one other top-45 fantasy finish this season. Amon-Ra St. Brown is healthy and soaking up targets. Meanwhile, Jameson Williams is ramping up, and Josh Reynolds is also involved in the passing game. These guys are taking opportunities away from Chark.
The Jets have held opponents to under 200 passing yards in each of their last three games. Both Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed continue to lock down opposing receivers. The Jets have been a negative matchup more than once on this list this season largely because of Gardner and Reed ranking in the top-40 of PlayerProfiler’s CB rankings. The best of Chark’s fantasy performances are behind him with more target competition and a tough matchup this week.
Travis Etienne at Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys entered Week 14 allowing the No. 23-most points to RBs via receiving and No. 18-most via rushing. They just held Dameon Pierce to under four yards per carry and allowed just nine receiving yards to RBs against Houston. Micah Parsons and the Dallas defense have suffocated opponents and will look to do the same against Jacksonville.
Managing Travis Etienne has been one of the rockiest rides ever. A volatile season to say the least. Three unique time periods.
Weeks 1-4 7.6 PPG The Bust Era
Weeks 5-11 18 PPG The League Winner Era
Weeks 12-14 3.7 PPG The Era of Devastation
Wild times for fantasy managers.
— TheOGfantasyfootball (@TheOGfantasy) December 12, 2022
This season, Travis Etienne has five top-24 finishes. However, they have all come before Jacksonville’s bye. Etienne has not had a top-36 finish in his last three games with three receptions in that time, all in Week 13. Trevor Lawrence is leading the offense with his arm with the run game not of much use. Etienne has flashed great fantasy production, but his recent struggles combined with a bad matchup have him on fantasy benches to start the playoffs.
Geno Smith vs San Francisco 49ers
With five straight top-12 QB finishes, Geno Smith is a weekly start in Superflex leagues and a borderline weekly start in 1QB leagues. However, he faces a tough 49ers defense this week.
San Francisco has held opponents to less than 20 points in six straight weeks now. The secondary has allowed five passing touchdowns and grabbed eight interceptions in that span. Tom Brady was on this list for facing the 49ers’ secondary last week, and he only managed 12 fantasy points. Smith entered Week 14 with 27 (No. 4) Money Throws, but also 79 (No. 4) Pressured Throws and 24 (No. 11) Danger Plays. Expect him to continue to feel the heat against a good front seven this week. Smith has been consistent for fantasy this year, but has a bad matchup, making him an iffy play this week.