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.
Hunter Renfrow vs Washington Football Team
Hunter Renfrow has been a consistent slot target for the Raiders, with at least 5 receptions in all but two games this season. He has been a quiet producer, entering Week 12 with a 19.3-percent (No. 6 among qualifying WRs prior to week 12) Hog Rate and has finished as a top-24 fantasy WR in six games. He faces the Washington secondary this week. Washington has been a middling secondary this season but has allowed the second-most receiving touchdowns.
Hunter Renfrow set new career-highs on Thanksgiving
🔹 8 catches
🔹 134 yards
UNDERRATED 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/7XdfrAsZkQ
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) November 26, 2021
Renfrow will face slot corner Kendall Fuller, who has been solid this season. However, Washington opponents have thrown at least 30 passes against them in all but two games and their pass rush has lost Chase Young. With a high pass volume and the potential loss of Darren Waller, Renfrow has an opportunity for another big fantasy game this week.
Pat Freiermuth vs Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens continue to be one of the league’s worst against the pass this season. They have allowed some huge games to the likes of Albert Wilson, Marquise Goodwin, C.J. Uzomah, and more. Pat Freiermuth aims to be next on that list. Entering Week 12, Freiermuth had 14 (No. 2 prior to Week 12) red zone targets and a 25.8-percent (No. 7) Target Rate. He also entered Week 12 with just 5.9 (No. 33) yards per target, before getting 40 yards on 4 targets. Being a shallow target benefits Freiermuth due to Ben Roethlisberger‘s shallow throwing tendencies. While Baltimore has looked better against TEs lately, they just allowed 6 receptions and 1 TD to Browns TEs last week. Expect Freiermuth to have a great fantasy opportunity this week.
Jamaal Williams vs Minnesota Vikings
D’Andre Swift is hurt. If he plays, you are likely starting him, but Jamaal Williams has good standalone value as well. Prior to his injury, Williams had double-digit carries in four of seven weeks and at least 50 total yards in five of those weeks. With Swift either out or limited, Williams is more than capable of handling a workload of both carries and receptions, with at least 100 carries and 25 receptions each year of his career, several of which he spent as a “backup.”
— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) November 29, 2021
The Vikings have lately struggle to defend the run, allowing two 100-yard rushers in their last four games. They have also allowed at least five receptions to RB/FBs in four of their last five games. Williams has a great opportunity for high fantasy production facing Minnesota with Swift’s status in the air.
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.
Josh Jacobs vs Washington Football Team
On the flipside of Hunter Renfrow, we have Josh Jacobs. He has averaged less than 4.0 yards per carry this season, entering Week 12 with 3.7 (No. 52 prior to Week 12) True Yards Per Carry. He has not hit 100 yards rushing in a game this season, exceeding 50 rush yards just three times. Washington has not allowed an individual runner to have 100 yards rushing in a game yet this season. They are stingy against the run with a big defensive line bottling up opposing rushers well this season. The Raiders pass more than they run, and with Washington being a bit more bendy through the air, don’t expect Jacobs to have good fantasy opportunity this week.
Tyler Lockett vs San Francisco 49ers
Notorious for “boom-or-bust” games, Tyler Lockett has had 90-yard games in three of his last four games. Entering Week 12, Lockett had a 99.3-percent (No. 2) Route Participation and 2.52 (No. 9) Yards Per Route Run. However, he has finished as a top-25 WR just four times this season and has exceeded 4 receptions just once in the last six weeks.
Raise your hand if you thought drafting the stack of Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett was a great idea in fantasy this year and now you won’t make the playoffs…
— RC Maxfield (@RCMB323) November 30, 2021
The San Francisco secondary has not allowed 300 yards passing since Week 1 and have allowed just one 100-yard receiver the last five games. The 49ers’ edge rushers, led by Nick Bosa, are also effective and will limit Russell Wilson‘s passing ability by hunting him all game. This game has a higher likelihood of being a bust than a boom game for Lockett.
Bears WRs vs Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona defense has been effective lately, giving up less than 210 passing yards in four of their last five games. The Cardinals’ top CB Byron Murphy is ranked top-10 in PlayerProfiler’s cornerback rankings with 3 interceptions this season. Arizona’s secondary also ranks top 10 in receiving touchdowns allowed, limiting opposing WR corps in the touchdown department. Darnell Mooney has been the Bears’ top WR with Allen Robinson out. Marquise Goodwin, among others, brings up the rest of the WR corps. Mooney is the only fantasy-relevant receiver, and he will likely see a good amount of Murphy this week. With a stingy Cardinals defense, big plays will be harder to come by for Mooney and the Chicago WRs. They are more likely to produce below average this week.