Washington Football Team (0-0, 0-0 ATS) at Green Bay Packers (0-0, 0-0), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Washington Stats and Trends
Washington owns a league-worst 1-5 ATS record and they could easily be without a cover this season if not for a late J.D. McKissic touchdown against the Falcons when they only needed a field goal to win.
The Football Team is 4-1 toward overs in the last five weeks.
Antonio Gibson is playing through a stress fracture in his shin, which has limited his practice time and it’s now limiting his playing time. Gibson went in and out of the lineup in Week 6 on his way to 12/44 scrimmage on 39% of the snaps against the Chiefs. Meanwhile, J.D. McKissic finished with 16/110 scrimmage on a 61% snap share and rookie Jaret Patterson added 2/3 scrimmage on an 8% share. It’s fair to wonder if the Football Team will shut Gibson down at some point. The Packers are giving up 4.2 YPC and 32.2 receiving yards per game to RBs this season.
Taylor Heinicke has hit a wall the last two weeks, averaging 5.4 YPA with one TD to three INTs against the Saints and Chiefs. Heinicke picked the wrong time for his play to tail off with Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip, IR) potentially returning in the near future. The Packers are giving up the fourth-fewest passing yards per game (223.5) to QBs.
Terry McLaurin picked up a hamstring injury during Friday’s practice before Week 6 and the issue limited him to a disappointing 4/28 receiving on eight targets against an exploitable Chiefs’ secondary. McLaurin could really use a healthy Fitzpatrick back in the mix in the next week or two to give him a shot of life as he’s fallen below 11 FP in four of his six games this season. He’s still averaging 9.5 targets per game, and the Packers have given up 15+ FP to Darnell Mooney, Ja’Marr Chase, and Diontae Johnson in three straight games.
Ricky Seals-Jones just missed having a massive day in Week 5, but that big game came his way in Week 6 when he finished with 4/58/1 receiving on six targets against the Chiefs. His touchdown came on a blown coverage for a 39-yard score, but he played on 100% of the snaps and he ran a route on 95% of Heinicke’s dropbacks. The Packers gave up 17+ FP to TEs in the first three games but Cole Kmet at 8.9 FP is the highest-scorer since then.
Brolley’s Packers Stats and Trends
The Packers have covered five games in a row since their Week 1 debacle against the Saints.
Green Bay is 4-1 toward unders in its last five games as a favorite.
Aaron Rodgers threw it a season-low 23 times last week, but he still accounted for multiple passing TDs for the fifth straight game and he added a rushing score to reach 23.7 FP. Rodgers could be getting some much-needed offensive line reinforcements in the near future with All-Pro LT David Bakhtiari slated to practice this week for the first time since he tore his ACL late last year. Washington has allowed 24+ FP in five straight games, including 397/2 passing to Patrick Mahomes last week.
Davante Adams saw a season-low five targets last week but he still turned in 4/89 receiving to keep his run of double-digit FP in every game alive. He has a great bounce-back spot against a Washington secondary that’s giving up the second-most FPG (46.4) to WRs this season, including 4/85/2 receiving to Marquez Callaway two weeks ago.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling is eligible to return from the injured reserve starting this week after missing the last three weeks with a hamstring injury. Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb did little over the last two weeks with MVS out of the lineup — they combined for 7/63/1 receiving in that span. MVS had 3/59/1 receiving in his last game against the 49ers before he picked his hamstring injury. Mecole Hardman posted 4/62 receiving in this matchup last week.
Aaron Jones has 95+ scrimmage yards and 18+ touches in five straight games despite A.J. Dillon taking on a bigger role the last three weeks. Jones averaged just 3.7 YPC in the first four games of the season, but he’s averaging 6.6 YPC over the last two weeks. Alvin Kamara posted 16/71/1 rushing and 5/51/1 receiving in this matchup two weeks ago.
A.J. Dillon has reached double-digit touches and 55+ scrimmage yards in three straight games after topping out at eight touches and 26 scrimmage yards in the first three weeks. Washington is giving up just 3.6 YPC to RBs but Darrel Williams had two rushing TDs last week.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace: 25.5 (3rd)
Plays per game: 63.2 (26th)
Pass: 59.0% (18th) | Run: 41.0% (15th)
Pace (seconds in between plays): 31.7 (31st)
Plays per game: 63.8 (25th)
Pass: 58.8% (20th) | Run: 41.2% (13th)
Washington has been waxed by both the Saints and Chiefs over their last two games and they are looking like they’re going to make it three-straight as massive 8-point underdogs in Green Bay. The Team’s defense has given up 29 or more points in five-straight, which has led to their games constantly shooting out even though their offense has fallen apart. Washington giving up points in bunches combined with their fast-paced attack gives this game plenty of scoring upside as The Team’s last five games have combined for 57.2 total points on average. So, even though Green Bay is slow and balanced overall, this is a spot where Aaron Rodgers & Co. should have more volume and fantasy upside than usual.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
Washington is permitting the most FPG to entire offenses (112.5), QBs (27.0), and second-most to opposing WR groups this season (46.3). Over the last four games, they’ve also given up the second-most FPG to RBs (31.4).
Combining the five games last season after Antonio Gibson injured his foot and last week when he hurt his calf, J.D. McKissic has posted 17.4 FPG on an average of 15.8 touches/game. McKissic does not offer the rushing upside of Gibson, to the point that we can expect him to split the carries with Jaret Patterson this week if Gibson doesn’t play. But McKissic will be the tertiary, at worst, focus of a passing attack expected to play from a negative script with the fourth-highest spread of Week 7. The Packers are allowing 12.0 pure receiving FPG to RBs (13th-most) this season. Even if Gibson goes, McKissic has upside.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
Let’s start with The Team, which has had an awful run of injury luck this year, which our Dr. Edwin Porras has broken down expertly. His focus has been on RB Antonio Gibson.
Here’s what I wrote about Gibson and why I roster McKissic everywhere I could get him. The tough part is that we didn’t know when this would turn into more time lost so it was tricky. We may have reached that point today. https://t.co/oyMtzPHSHy pic.twitter.com/SniESIikAY— Edwin Porras, DPT (@FBInjuryDoc) October 17, 2021
It’s really difficult to ignore the run of luck WAS has had. They’re short-staffed on AT’s because of the investigation. Gibson (IMO) would benefit from IR stint https://t.co/9eDrmDwES6— Edwin Porras, DPT (@FBInjuryDoc) October 20, 2021
Since playing though the shin injury, Gibson has picked up a calf injury, and with The Team on bye in Week 9, it might be wise to rest him. Even if he plays, I think JD McKissic is a better fantasy option in a projected gamescript that has Washington playing from behind, as two-score underdogs. I doubt I’ll be in on Jaret Patterson as anything more than a major dart throw if Gibson doesn’t play, but some fantasy managers might not have the choice given the bye/injury bloodbath.
With that gamescript, I’m also playing Terry McLaurin and TE Ricky Seals-Jones, though both are dinged — McLaurin with a hamstring injury and Seals-Jones with a quad injury. Keep an eye on both of their statuses, but the reasons for liking McLaurin against a Jaire Alexander-less secondary are obvious, while Jake Tribbey has been tooting RSJ’s horn for weeks.
“RSJ has seen some of the best usage of any TE over the last two weeks. In Weeks 5 and 6, Seals-Jones ranked 6th among TEs in targets (13), 3rd in routes (78), 2nd in red zone targets (4), tied with Mark Andrews for 1st in end zone targets (3), and 9th in FPG (12.5).
Seal-Jones having an 89% route share and playing on a team that’s managed to trail as much as Washington has sets him up as a low- to mid-tier TE1 until Logan Thomas returns from IR. With Washington as 9.5-point underdogs to Green Bay, a still-readily available RSJ gets to see more of the negative gamescript that’s helped earn him the 3rd-most routes of any TE over the last two weeks. He’s the top TE streaming option of the week.”
Jake is also willing to go back to the Taylor Heinicke well, even after last week’s stinker in the top streaming matchup (Kansas City):
“Heinicke has been a bit disappointing from a fantasy perspective as of late, scoring just 9.9 and 9.3 fantasy points in his last two games. Still, he’s averaged 17.5 FPG in his five full games, good for QB19 on the season. Heinicke’s floor isn’t elite, but it’s certainly better than other commonly available waiver wire statues like Ben Roethlisberger or Tua Tagovailoa, as Heinicke has averaged a respectable 4.5 rushing FPG this season. Given Heinicke should be forced to throw as much as any other QB this week as a 9.5-point underdog in Green Bay, he shapes up as a mid-range QB2 this week, and is a strong streaming option in deeper leagues.”
I personally would rather play Tua this week than Heinicke (Ben is on bye), but I get what Jake is saying given Heinicke’s rushing ability.
Green Bay’s offense gets to take on perhaps the NFL’s most disappointing defense. Washington is 4th-to-last in FootballOutsiders defensive DVOA, including 28th against the pass — the Team was 3rd in defensive DVOA in 2020 and 2nd against the pass. That’ll be music to Aaron Rodgers’s ears. Washington has given up the most fantasy points per game to opposing QBs and the second-most to opposing WRs, so Rodgers and Davante Adams could eat this week after a somewhat boring win over the Bears in Week 6.
While the Packers have gone undefeated since their Week 1 no-show, they still have some issues up front, which could be rectified once LT David Bakhtiari returns to the fold. It isn’t likely to be this week, but when he’s activated, the offense could take the next step toward greatness.
Big day for #Packers. For first time since tearing his ACL on Dec. 31, All-Pro LT David Bakhtiari practiced. Bakhtiari went through individual drills early. Not all the way back, but this is a big step. https://t.co/9GHlbyDex3— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) October 20, 2021
One player we’d also keep an eye on is Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who has missed the last three weeks on IR with a hamstring injury. Over that span, Adams has 32 targets. All other Packer WRs have combined for 21… in three games. MVS had 16 targets by himself in his first three games of the year, and Rodgers overthrew him for potential TDs multiple times. No one has emerged as a string second option in the passing game in MVS’ absence, so he’s an add for deep leagues.
The backfield rotation between Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon has been very interesting, by the way. Both are fantasy options this week, as Dillon’s role has increased in recent weeks. Graham Barfield notes how:
A.J. Dillon was given 25% of Green Bay's backfield touches in the first three weeks of the season.
Over his last three games, he's accounted for 42% of their RB touches. (H/T TJ Hernandez)
The irony is that Aaron Jones is still the Packers preferred goal-line back over Dillon. Jones has out-snapped Dillon 23 to 9 on Green Bay’s 30 plays from inside of the 10-yard line and has 10 carries to Dillon’s 3.
Here’s something that’s notable for Dillon in this matchup. The Packers are two-score favorites against Washington. In the second half of games in which the Packers have a lead of two scores or more, Dillon has 18 opportunities (carries + targets) to 5 for Jones. So the gameflow could be in favor of Dillon producing like an RB2/FLEX if you need him (obviously, you’re not benching Jones).