Matchup Monitor: Week 16

by Aditya Fuldeore · Matchups Start/Sit

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.

Positive Matchups

The first group or player listed in each matchup here has an advantage and potential for greater upside against their opponent.

David Montgomery at Seattle Seahawks

David Montgomery Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

With one of the better fantasy matchups for an RB this week, David Montgomery is set to produce for the fantasy playoffs. Montgomery entered week 15 with a 78.8-percent (No. 6 among qualifying RBs before Week 15) Opportunity Share on a team averaging 27.9 (No. 11 before week 15) run plays per game.

He gets plenty of opportunity and now faces a team that gives up a multitude of fantasy production. Despite looking better recently, the Seahawks rush defense is among the worst in the league in fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs. They allow a lot of catches to RB/FBs, giving up 5 or more receptions to opposing backfields in each of their last eight games (not including Week 15’s Tuesday night game). Montgomery has three straight games with at least 5 targets and has an excellent opportunity to boom this week.

Brandon Aiyuk at Tennessee Titans

Brandon Aiyuk Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Despite holding Steelers receivers to a low output last week, the Tennessee secondary has been shaky this season. They have been bottom-5 in fantasy points allowed to opposing WRs this season and will have their hands full with Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle. While Samuel and Kittle are surefire starts, Aiyuk has been up-and-down this season. Despite a dud last week, he has at least 6 targets in six of his last eight games, with double-digit fantasy points in five. He has consistently been hitting at least an 85-percent Snap Share in that span as well, getting out of the Kyle Shanahan doghouse. Facing a shaky Titans defense that will be spending more resources defending Kittle and Samuel, Aiyuk is set up for a good fantasy week.

Zach Ertz vs Indianapolis Colts

Zach Ertz Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Since becoming a Cardinal, Zach Ertz has more receiving yards than he did all of last season. In Arizona, Ertz has seen an 80-percent Snap Share or higher in six games, earning at least 5 targets in five. As effective as the Colts defense has been, they have allowed at least 5 receptions to opposing tight ends in all but three games this season, yielding good fantasy games to second-tier fantasy TEs like Hunter Henry, Dawson Knox, and Dan Arnold. Henry most recently scored 2 touchdowns against Andrew Sendejo (who entered concussion protocol) and company last week.

Ertz is increasingly viable as a fantasy TE, especially with injuries/COVID to much of the TE field. He has a good chance to catch fire this week against the Colts.

Negative Matchups

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.

Dolphins RBs at New Orleans Saints

Duke Johnson Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

The Miami running back room looks murky. Myles Gaskin did play last week, but it was… Duke Johnson (!) who got the most touches out of the Dolphin RBs. Gaskin has been the lead back for the majority of the season and was coming off a COVID absence last week. However, the insertion of Johnson and a tough opponent cloud Gaskins’ usage. The Saints defensive front has been solid against the run this season, ranking top-5 in yards per carry allowed this season. They have also allowed just 1 rushing touchdown in their last four games. Johnson and Gaskins’ usages look clouded as of now, and they face a tough matchup for this week of the fantasy playoffs.

Chuba Hubbard vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chuba Hubbard Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

The Panthers backfield has been annoying, with Cam Newton taking a large chunk of carries. Newton has 25 carries the last two weeks, while Chuba Hubbard is second on the team with 18 carries in that span. Hubbard also has a mere single target in his last two games, with Ameer Abdullah getting pass-game usage.

Tampa Bay’s run defense has been up-and-down this season, for a while before holding New Orleans to 61 yards on 31 carries. Tampa limits scores on the ground, allowing 3 rushing touchdowns in their last five games and 9 rushing touchdowns all season. With Newton poaching carries, an opponent that limits rushing scores, and little pass-game usage, Hubbard is not in for a good fantasy day this week.

Broncos WRs at Las Vegas Raiders

Tim Patrick Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

Denver wide receivers have been suffered from lack of talent at QB and have barely produced for fantasy football purposes. Jerry Jeudy is the “lead” WR, garnering the most targets among the WR group, with Tim Patrick close behind and the newly extended Courtland Sutton nearly forgotten. They face Las Vegas, with star Casey Hayward as CB1. The Raiders have allowed less than 200 passing yards in three of their last five games, allowing two 100-yard receivers in that span, both in the same game. They have been good at limiting opposing WRs for fantasy, especially those without an elite-level QB. Teddy Bridgewater is banged up and Drew Lock is not the best for Denver receivers. Don’t expect Broncos WRs to feast this week.