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.
Justin Fields vs Green Bay Packers
Jumping off a bold limb here, but Justin Fields is in a good spot here for Week 6. Fields averaged 9.4 (No. 5 among qualified quarterbacks) Air Yards Per Attempt prior to Week 5 and has looked a bit better each week. He hasn’t been running the ball as much as expected, but that will come given his speed. The Packers will be without Jaire Alexander, and replacement corner Kevin King ranks outside the top 100 among CBs for yards per receptions allowed and Passer Rating allowed. Fields has been airing the ball downfield in his first few starts, so expect him to connect on a couple of those against a Packers secondary that is a little more breakable without Alexander. If you’re in need of a streamer, it might be time to look to him.
Justin Fields 👀 https://t.co/9JrjAAUBUx
— Butkus Stats On Tap – Quinten Krzysko (@ButkusStats) October 11, 2021
Michael Pittman at Houston Texans
Over the first few weeks of the season, Michael Pittman has been quietly getting a lot of usage from the Colts. Pittman saw a 26.3-percent (No. 17) Target Share in the first four weeks of the season, with seven targets on Monday night. He also has been among the top 15 WRs in the league for both Snap Share and Route Participation to this point. The Houston Texans defense has been up and down in the pass-game this season. Outside corners Vernon Hargreaves and Terrance Mitchell both ranked outside the top 100 in yards per reception allowed prior to Week 5. Houston is not good, and Pittman’s usage will hit in a big way for Week 6.
Michael Pittman is the WR43 per game on WR12 fantasy usage. Just running bad on TDs with 0-of-5 red zone targets going for a score for no fault of his own. 25% targets and 39% air yards shares for the Colts. pic.twitter.com/liSWNrBXBU
— Hayden Winks (@HaydenWinks) October 6, 2021
Bengals WR Trio at Detroit Lions
While Ja’Marr Chase looks like the Cincinnati’s WR1, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are also fantasy-viable. All three receivers have seen at least seven targets per game, with C.J. Uzomah the only other Bengal with more than 10 total targets. The Lions secondary is still inexperienced and has allowed 100 yards receiving to a TE or WR every single game this season. Detroit still somehow keeps it close, not quite letting its opponents get into a run-heavy Game Script. Joe Burrow loves his trio of receivers, so expect the Bengals to keep tossing the ball to them into this shaky Detroit secondary. Chase, Higgins, and Boyd all see an excellent matchup for Week 6.
Will the Bengals finish as a top-10 offense in 2021?🐅 pic.twitter.com/Vxjlslgk4c
— RotoUnderworld (@rotounderworld) August 27, 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.
James Conner at Cleveland Browns
The Browns were in a shootout last week against the Chargers, but don’t expect that to continue. Cleveland’s defense has been stingy against the run, with Austin Ekeler‘s 66 rush yards being the most an RB has gotten against the Browns so far this season. Cleveland’s opponents often go pass-heavy, a game plan that favors Arizona’s receivers and Chase Edmonds more than James Conner. With 5 TDs this season, Conner has been the goal-line back for the Cardinals. However, he only has 4 total receptions and averaged 3.2 (No. 58) True Yards Per Carry prior to Week 5, before gaining just 2.9 yards per tote. Conner won’t see a good matchup for his skillset this week in Cleveland.
Damien Harris (and other Patriot RBs) vs Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have yet to allow an RB to rush for more than 60 yards in a game this season and opposing teams often find themselves in a pass-heavy Game Script against Dallas. Damien Harris has had his fair share of struggles this season, averaging 3.2 (No. 59) True Yards Per Carry prior to Week 5, before rushing for 4.1 yards per carry against Houston. Harris also fumbled and left with injury. If he can’t go, no other Patriot RB is viable either. Brandon Bolden is the receiving back, but does not get much usage running the ball, while Rhamondre Stevenson was inefficient on his extend usage against Houston. Avoid the Patriots backfield this week.
Alex Collins/Chris Carson at Pittsburgh Steelers
Chris Carson has not been as explosive as years past this season, with averages of 2.63 (No. 35) Yards Created Per Touch and 0.8 (No. 34) Fantasy Points Per Opportunity through Week 4. Carson could even be out for this game, in which case Alex Collins will start again, after scoring 9.2 PPR fantasy points last week. Collins ranks in just the 4th-percentile for Burst Score and does not bring upside being a touchdown-dependent play. The Steelers have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher or a rushing touchdown to an RB this season. With Geno Smith now at the helm, don’t expect Seattle to be denting the Pittsburgh defense much in general.
Alex Collins finished with 72 yards on 17 touches haha https://t.co/uypopOMucM
— Frank Ammirante (@FAmmiranteTFJ) October 8, 2021