Week by week, fantasy players question which of their players to insert into lineups and which to bench for that week. One key component in that process is highlighting easy or difficult matchups for players. While an easy matchup isn’t a guarantee for a player to perform well, it’s certainly a better bet. In this piece, I highlight a few different matchups to keep an eye out for each week as you make your lineup decisions.
The first group or player listed in each matchup here has an advantage and potential for greater upside against their opponent.
A.J. Dillon vs Seattle Seahawks
Of course, if you have Aaron Jones, you’re likely starting him. Yet, behind him is A.J. Dillon, who ranks in the 97th-percentile for both Speed and Burst Score. Dillon has seen about 10 touches per game this season, plodding in the run game, and getting targets in the pass game. Aaron Rodgers may be out again this week and Dillon grabbed 4 receptions from Jordan Love last week. If Rodgers is out, the Packers are likely to rely on the run game against Seattle, which has allowed 100-plus team rushing yards to opponents in six games this season. The Seahawks struggle defensively, and the Packers will certainly attack a middling defensive front. Jones is an auto-start, but Dillon behind him will perform well enough to have good standalone value this week.
Dillon is going to be a force in this league and potentially better than Derrick Henry. Averaging 7.4 ppg playing only 21.6 snaps per game, is reminiscent of Henry's sophomore campaign playing 25.6 snaps and seeing 8 ppg. The main difference is Dillon is making a dent in the air. pic.twitter.com/gCjInmMPcB
— Chase Vernon (@ff_intervention) November 8, 2021
Javonte Williams vs Philadelphia Eagles
He’s still splitting time with Melvin Gordon, but Javonte Williams has a good matchup to produce for fantasy purposes this week. The Eagles have allowed 100-plus rushing yards to opposing backfields in seven games this season. Philadelphia has also been a bad matchup for opposing WR corps this season, so expect the Broncos to pound the rock. Williams had 3.74 (No. 7 among qualifying RBs) Yards Created Per Touch entering Week 9 and rumbled for 111 yards on 17 carries. While he didn’t get a reception last week, Williams has 22 (No. 13 entering Week 9) receptions off 26 (No. 17) targets. The Eagles are a good matchup for him to produce above his normal output this week.
Javonte Williams leads the NFL with a 37% forced missed tackle rate
Nobody else is above 30% 😳 pic.twitter.com/WUPaM5V0sn
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) November 8, 2021
Rashod Bateman at Miami Dolphins
The rookie Rashod Bateman has made an impact as a chain-mover for Baltimore thus far. All his games have come with Sammy Watkins sidelined, but expect him to continue to get targets if Watkins returns this week. Bateman has seen 20 targets in his first three career games, with the majority of his receptions going for first downs. Entering Week 9, the Ravens averaged 33.7 (No. 21) Team Pass Plays per Game and threw 41 passes. There is enough pie for everyone to get a slice in a Ravens offense that is passing much more this year. The Dolphins have allowed 100-yard receivers in four of their last five games and opponents have attempted over 40 passes each of their last five games. Expect Bateman to see the opportunity necessary to churn out a great fantasy game this week.
Rashod Bateman's target shares in three games as a pro: 22.2%, 14.6%, 19.5%. Strong numbers if Baltimore can keep running so many plays.
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) November 8, 2021
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.
Antonio Gibson vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Seemingly playing through injury this season, Antonio Gibson‘s value has not nearly been as high as fantasy community consensus had him at the beginning of the season. Gibson is averaging 3.9 (No. 41 among qualifying RBs entering Week 9) True Yards Per Carry this season, despite 47 (No. 5) Evaded Tackles. J.D. McKissic still has a sizeable chunk of the backfield receiving game, with 33 receptions to Gibson’s 17 receptions. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay is one of the more difficult matchups for opposing RBs. They have allowed three straight games of 100-plus yards rushing to opponents but had not allowed a single game like that prior to Week 6. Tampa has still seen the least rush attempts against them in the league and rank top 10 in yards per carry given up. Gibson will be in for a rough day with smaller rush opportunity this week.
Eagles RBs at Denver Broncos
With Miles Sanders‘ injury, the Eagles backfield looks murky. Boston Scott seems to be getting most of the touch opportunities, while Jordan Howard continues to get goal line touches and Kenny Gainwell is the third RB.
Eagles RB snap shares:
Boston Scott 44%
Jordan Howard 40%
Kenny Gainwell 19%
— Alex Johnson (@a_johnsonFF) November 8, 2021
Neither of them should be a viable start this week against Denver, who is top 12 in the league in both yards per carry allowed and rushing touchdowns allowed. The Broncos just held Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard to 62 rush yards last week on O.K. efficiency. With the Philly backfield split amongst three players, none of the three will get enough opportunity to make an impact for fantasy teams this week. Keep the frustrating Eagles RBs on your bench this week.
Titans RBs vs New Orleans Saints
Last week, Jeremy McNichols and Adrian Peterson split the Tennessee backfield with a splash of D’Onta Foreman. While McNichols is the clear pass-catching back, it is unclear on how the backfield will look going forward. Peterson will likely get most carries, while Foreman will also see opportunity. The Saints held the Falcons to less than 40 rush yards last week, while only allowing two 100-plus rush yard performances to opposing backfields. New Orleans has a good defensive front bound to get hits onto the Tennessee backs early and often. This may be an RB-by-committee situation, and none of these backs are the clear leaders of the committee as of now. Don’t expect large fantasy-relevant production from Titans backs this week.