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 10!
The first group or player listed in each matchup here has an advantage and potential for greater upside against their opponent.
Cole Kmet vs Detroit Lions
Over the last two weeks, Cole Kmet has caught three touchdowns on seven receptions after seeing zero of each the first two weeks of the season. While he had no games with double-digit fantasy points through Week 8, Kmet had a +10.6 (No. 5) Production Premium entering Week 9 and cashed on it with two touchdowns and his first top-12 TE finish against Miami.
The Lions have yielded at least four receptions to opposing TE groups in six of their last seven games now including nine receptions to Packers TEs last week. Robert Tonyan was on this list for facing Detroit, and while he didn’t hit big, the Bears’ offense is – dare I say it – more viable than the Packers. Justin Fields is hitting on all cylinders, and the offense will be in several red zone situations against a bad Lions defense. Confidently fire up Kmet this week.
Amari Cooper at Miami Dolphins
With Jacoby Brissett at the helm, Amari Cooper has put up four top-12 WR finishes with four games over 10 targets. He has been used often as Brissett’s No. 1 WR and is a consistent focal point of the Browns’ offense. Cooper is averaging 15.4 (No. 13 prior to Week 9) Fantasy Points Per Game with a 39.9-percent (No. 6) Air Yards Share.
The Dolphins were No. 9 in fantasy points allowed to receivers entering Week 9 where they allowed seven receptions and a touchdown to Darnell Mooney. Miami has allowed at least 24 points in six games this season, with teams passing often in shootouts against the Dolphins’ fast offense. If Cleveland finds itself in a shootout, Cooper will be utilized exponentially more. Fire him up with confidence this week.
Cordarrelle Patterson at Carolina Panthers
Returning from injury, Cordarrelle Patterson scored two touchdowns against the Chargers last week. Patterson has scored a touchdown in all but one of his games this season. He has had over 15 fantasy points in three out of his five games, with double-digit touches in each game, except for the game he left injured. Atlanta uses Patterson often, and his production hits paydirt more often than not.
Entering Week 9, Carolina was No. 6 in fantasy points allowed to RBs. The Panthers just gave up a monstrous five-touchdown game to Joe Mixon and allowed over 100 rushing yards to Atlanta in their last matchup. With Patterson back in the fold, expect Atlanta to continue to use him as a lead back, especially in the red zone. He’s back and healthy, so fire him up.
Cordarrelle Patterson now has 4 TD in his last 5 games pic.twitter.com/TRaiCOIPoJ
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 6, 2022
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.
Isaiah McKenzie vs Minnesota Vikings
As Buffalo’s slot receiver, Isaiah McKenzie has had two games with double-digit fantasy points, seeing at least five targets in three games. The Bills have not gotten high usage out of their slot WRs, with rookie Khalil Shakir also seeing snaps there, but minimal looks. Past Stefon Diggs, no other Bills receiver has more than 40 targets this season.
The Vikings have allowed some big receiving games recently, with Curtis Samuel and Rondale Moore the latest slot WRs to put up big numbers. However, Moore is the only primary opposing slot receiver to get more than three receptions against the Vikings over their last five games. With McKenzie’s low usage, the Vikings’ history against slot WRs, and Josh Allen‘s potential arm injury to monitor, it’s best to avoid McKenzie altogether this week.
Najee Harris vs New Orleans Saints
Perhaps the most disappointing first-round fantasy pick this year, Najee Harris is averaging 3.3 (No. 64 prior to Week 9) True Yards Per Carry with 0.64 (No. 64) Fantasy Points Per Opportunity. He does see enough opportunity to have a viable fantasy floor, with a 76-percent (No. 7) Opportunity Share. Ultimately, however, Harris has become quite bench-able with his inefficiency.
The Saints were No. 31 in receiving fantasy points allowed to RBs entering Week 9. Harris does not see the same receiving volume he saw last year and will see even less in Week 10. Against a run-heavy Baltimore team, New Orleans just held Kenyan Drake and Justice Hill to less than 4.0 yards per carry in Week 9. Harris is an inefficient back facing a negative matchup. He generally has a playable FLEX floor, but you can find better options than him this week.
Najee Harris scored 14+ fantasy points in 13 of 17 games in 2021, tied for the most among RBs.
He has 0 games with 14+ fantasy points through 8 weeks this season.
— NFL Fantasy Football (@NFLFantasy) November 1, 2022
Dak Prescott at Green Bay Packers
Since Dak Prescott has returned from injury, he has completed over 75-percent of his passes in two games. Prescott finished as a top-five QB in Week 8 before heading into his bye. However, the Cowboys average 29.8 (No. 25 entering Week 9) pass plays per game. Prescott has a few weapons to throw to, but not much depth behind CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup.
The Packers have not allowed over 220 passing yards since Week 3. They’ve also snagged four interceptions over their last three games. Green Bay’s secondary has shown an ability to contain opposing receiving corps well this season. They do have some injuries on the defense, but Jaire Alexander and company have the secondary locked down. Expect the Cowboys to instead attack the Packers’ suspect run defense. Prescott has a tough fantasy matchup this week.