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 6!
The first group, or player, listed in each matchup here has an advantage and potential for greater upside against their opponent.
Breece Hall at Green Bay Packers
Rookie Breece Hall has been an electric addition to the Jets. He entered Week 5 with a 15.4-percent (No. 7) Target Share and 10.5-percent (No. 4) Breakaway Run Rate, providing burst in the rushing and receiving game for the Jets. He finished Week 5 with nearly 200 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. Michael Carter may have vultured two touchdowns from him last week, but Hall is now the dominant back in New York.
The Packers’ run defense has had its ups and downs. Most recently they yielded over 120 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns to Saquon Barkley and the Giants. They have allowed over 100 rushing yards to opponents in all but one game this season. Hall is now a weekly starter with opportunity against a weak defense this week.
Breece Hall has 213 receiving yards in his first 5 games.
The last 4 RBs to top 210 receiving yards in their first 5 games:
— Jeff Bell (@4WhomJBellTolls) October 10, 2022
Zach Ertz at Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks allowed the No. 8 most fantasy points to TEs this season prior to Week 5. They allowed a tight end touchdown to Adam Trautman in Week 5 (and several to “TE” Taysom Hill). Seattle’s defense has struggled mightily this season, yielding at least 27 points in four straight weeks.
Zach Ertz has seen high usage in Arizona with an 83.6-percent (No. 6) Route Participation prior to Week 5. He has earned double-digit targets in three out of five games this season. Ertz has consistently received looks from Kyler Murray over the middle of the field. In Week 6, he faces a Seahawks defense that’s given up at least five receptions to opposing TEs in four games this season. With DeAndre Hopkins out another week, expect Ertz to continue to rake for you at the TE position this week.
Melvin Gordon at Los Angeles Chargers
Prior to Week 5, the Chargers allowed the No. 3 most receiving fantasy points to RBs this season. Los Angeles was subpar against the run last season. After making improvements to the defense, it still has issues containing opposing RBs this season. Opponents have rushed for over 130 yards against the Chargers in the last three weeks.
With Javonte Williams out, Melvin Gordon is the primary RB in Denver. He got over half of Denver’s RB opportunities last week and projects to see similar usage going forward. Gordon had three receptions last week and will have the opportunity to rack up targets against the Chargers’ lackadaisical defense against receiving backs. Chase the opportunity against a subpar defense and fire up Gordon this week.
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.
Najee Harris vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This season, Najee Harris has struggled to get the run game going in Pittsburgh. Prior to Week 5, he had 0.65 (No. 48) Fantasy Points Per Opportunity and 2.4 (No. 31) Yards Created Per Touch. In Week 5, Harris had just 36 yards on 14 touches. The Steelers’ run blocking has not been good with Harris’ high opportunity the only thing boosting him for fantasy.
The Buccaneers are one of the better defenses against the run. They are allowing four rushing touchdowns in five games this season. They have also allowed four or less RB receptions in four out of those five games. Harris is an inefficient runner and relies on receptions and touchdowns to stay afloat for fantasy. He does not have a good matchup for those components this week.
Najee Harris hasn't produced a top-10 PPR running back finish since Week 17 of last season, and he's had just two of those performance since Week 9 of last year.
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) October 9, 2022
Rashod Bateman & Devin Duvernay at New York Giants
Entering Week 5, The Giants were No. 25 in WR fantasy points allowed this season. They have not allowed over 230 pass yards since Week 1 and just held Aaron Rodgers to 222 yards on 39 pass attempts. Some of that is due to Green Bay’s subpar receiving corps, but the Giants have had a solid secondary this season.
Before missing last week with injury, Rashod Bateman was highly efficient, with 243 yards on 11 receptions. However, he has a 20.4-percent (No. 36 prior to Week 5) Target Share this season. He’s not seeing as many looks as anticipated. Devin Duvernay has been a pleasant surprise. He’s grabbed 17 receptions with three touchdowns this season. However, he also has a lower Target Share with Mark Andrews being the dominant receiver in Baltimore. Facing a solid secondary and opportunity competition with Andrews and J.K. Dobbins, Bateman and Duvernay are not in for their best weeks.
Kareem Hunt vs New England Patriots
Obviously, Nick Chubb is an auto-start. Kareem Hunt, however, is not there. Hunt has not gotten over 15 touches in a game yet this season and operates as Cleveland’s pass-catching back more so than Chubb.
New England’s defense has been solid against the run this season. They’ve allowed just two rushing touchdowns on the season. The Patriots have also held opposing RBs to less than four receptions in each of their last three games. Hunt gets the red zone and receiving opportunities, but Chubb is the more dominant runner. Also, Jacoby Brissett is not the QB to boost his receiving numbers. Brissett prefers his TEs and has targeted Hunt 16 times this season compared to 21 targets for Hunt through five games last season. Be cautious with Hunt this week.