We’ve been working on something massive behind the scenes at Fantasy Points this year. We have an exceptional team of charters led up by Brett Whitefield and Chris Wecht — two guys we’re convinced are superstars in this field — who have been gathering data native to the website.
Eventually, that data will be available on the site in raw form and in pretty charts and graphics (everyone loves pretty graphics!), but building the foundation of the database has been the big focus for everyone.
With Fantasy Points Data — a project that we’ve had in the works for the better part of a year — we wanted to answer one big question: what if we tailored all of the data our team has gathered (hand-charted from our team of experts) directly to the fantasy player?
Based on years of playing season-long fantasy, dynasty, and DFS — and using all the charted data out there to build models and try to gain an advantage in a game where the margins are shrinking — we believe we’ve found where we can do things better. And we have tools in development that we think fantasy players will go absolutely crazy for. We believe, in all humility, we’re going to do this better than anyone else, and it will unequivocally blow your mind.
I’ll break this article every week into two sections — a macro look at offensive lines vs. defensive lines, and a micro look at wide receivers vs. secondaries — highlighting both the best and worst matchups every week.
(NOTE: All data is from a range of the most recent five weeks unless otherwise noted.)
Top Run Game Mismatches
Our “RUSH GRADE” is based simply on a formula measuring an offense’s average yardage before contact on non-QB rush attempts (a catch-all way to eliminate scrambles) versus a defense’s average yards per contact allowed on non-QB rush attempts.
Best Week 11 Run Blocking Matchups
The Lions seem committed to their three-man RB rotation, with D’Andre Swift’s shoulder and ankle injuries limiting him to just a handful of snaps in the last two weeks despite his not even having an injury designation on last week’s report. However, he’s scored twice in the last three weeks, so this matchup with the Giants certainly appears to be a FLEX-worthy one for Swift. It goes without saying, but Jamaal Williams is a strong RB2 with his volume and TD-heavy role.
Normally, I’d handwave a great run-game matchup for the Chiefs, but with the effective benching of Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the promotion of Isiah Pacheco to the lead runner here, it’s entirely possible that Pacheco is staring down his first career 100-yard rushing game on Sunday night against the Chargers, who suffered two more defensive line losses in Week 10 (Otito Ogbonnia and Christian Covington). The issue is that Pacheco likely needs to score to really make it worthwhile, since he’s a zero in the passing game (3 catches all season). He hasn’t scored since Week 1.
The Texans’ run defense has been brutal and has been a consistent feature in this column in its brief existence. Washington’s run game was not explosive against the Eagles in Week 10, but both Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson did just enough to move the chains and sustain long, draining drives. They combined for 40 carries and 2 TD, though Robinson averaged just 3.3 YPC and Gibson 3.1. A prediction: Robinson’s first career game with a 4.0 YPC average will happen this week (he hasn’t averaged more than 3.65 YPC in any game yet).
Josh Jacobs got in the end zone in Week 10 for the first time since his 3-TD torching of the Texans in Week 7. The Raiders are going to have to lean on the run more following putting Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller on IR. The Broncos did shut down Derrick Henry last week, and they’ll probably trust Patrick Surtain to shadow Davante Adams, which will allow them to focus on Jacobs.
Devin Singletary scored his first two rushing TDs of the season in Week 10, but still had just 13 carries. It’s possible the Bills lean on him a little more with Josh Allen clearly less than 100%. The Browns just got absolutely gashed on the ground by Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert in Week 10, and snow could force the Bills to run it more than they’d like.
Worst Week 11 Run Blocking Matchups
It will be really interesting to see New England’s approach in Week 11 against the Jets. This is the worst rush grade we’ve seen in this column’s brief existence. Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris combined for 104 yards on 27 carries when these two teams met in Week 8, but 35 of Stevenson’s 71 yards came on a single carry. He had 36 on his other 15 rushes combined, so he’ll probably need some juice in the passing game to reach value.
The Cardinals shockingly released Eno Benjamin after Week 10, a game in which James Conner scored twice despite — in very 2021-like fashion — averaging 3.3 yards per carry while getting less than a yard before contact. In this matchup with the 49ers, he’ll likely need touchdowns to produce… though he did score four times against them in 2021.
The Titans keep losing great defensive players (Jeffery Simmons and Zach Cunningham were among their key run defenders out in Week 10) and they keep playing great defense. Mike Vrabel must be some sort of wizard. Obviously, you’re never sitting Aaron Jones given he’s the Packers’ best offensive player, but this feels to me to be a particularly brutal matchup for the plodding AJ Dillon.
This is just a bad matchup for the Browns by the numbers, but there are reasons to be optimistic. Nick Chubb is probably the best back in the league — he hasn’t averaged less than 4.4 YPC in any game — while the Bills have actually hemorrhaged fantasy points to the RB position the last five weeks, including to some really good backs (Aaron Jones, Michael Carter, Dalvin Cook). Despite contacting backs way earlier than league average, the Bills have actually surrendered 4.45 FPG more to RBs on the ground than those RBs’ average, 3rd-highest in the NFL over the last five weeks. Given it’s also supposed to snow (and perhaps heavily) during the contest, that suggests the run game will not lose its importance for the Browns.
Dalvin Cook needed an 81-yard TD run to reach value against the Bills last week. He might need to do the same against the Cowboys, though this bad rush grade is mostly “powered” by the Vikings allowing early contact, as opposed to the Cowboys being particularly strong against the run.
Top Pass Game Mismatches
Our “PASS GRADE” is a formula developed using “QB Pressure Rate Over Expectation.” It measures how much a quarterback should be expected to face pressure, adjusted for the quarterback’s average time to throw (a quarterback with a 3.0-second aT2T should be expected to be pressured more than one with a 2.0-second aT2T, for instance).
The higher the number, the worse it is for an offense, and the better it is for a defense.
Best Week 11 Pass Rush Matchups
Obviously, the grade for the Bengals’ matchup with the Steelers is absurdly high, which is good news for Joe Burrow, especially since the Bengals have climbed the charts in pass rate over expectation lately. On the flip side, Pittsburgh’s number is not representative of the Pittsburgh defense Burrow will be facing this week. TJ Watt is back, and that makes a massive difference for the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s pressure rate in Week 10 — Watt’s return — was 19.4%, its highest rate in a game since Week 4. That’s still a below-average number, but it certainly makes us remember the Steelers sacked Burrow 7 times in Week 1.
The Patriots have one of the best pass grades of the week, contrasting with one of the worst rush grades. The offensive line has done a good job protecting Mac Jones, while he’s also benefitted from the sixth-fastest time to throw over the past five weeks (2.35). For obvious reasons, I’m not convinced this is a week to target the Patriots’ passing game just because of line stats. Jones simply hasn’t played well.
Carolina's QBPROE is so low because of PJ Walker’s aT2T of 2.27 seconds (tied with Tom Brady for third-fastest over the last five weeks), and Walker isn’t even playing this week with a high-ankle sprain. Baltimore’s pass rush is already strong, and it likely will be even better coming out of the bye with Tyus Bowser healthier and David Ojabo poised to make his NFL debut.
The Rams’ pass rush is slightly below average, and the Saints’ offensive line has been pretty good despite some injuries. Of course, we don’t yet know if Andy Dalton will be benched for Jameis Winston.
Arizona’s generally positive passing scores have been driven by the quick passing game — Colt McCoy’s aT2T of 1.9 seconds in Week 10 was the lowest in the league. I don’t really trust that San Francisco is a “good matchup” for McCoy or a hobbled Kyler Murray.
Worst Week 11 Pass Rush Matchups
The Titans’ ridiculously high pressure rate surrendered is almost entirely driven by Malik Willis’ two starts — Willis was pressured on over 50% of all dropbacks in each of his two games, speaking to how pressure can often be a QB stat. That number dropped to just 23.7% in Week 10, Ryan Tannehill’s return to the lineup. The Packers, meanwhile, put their best pass rusher, Rashan Gary, on IR last week.
The Commanders’ defense is one of the more underrated units in the league, and it could get its best edge rusher, Chase Young, back from his ACL recovery in Week 11. The Texans have been hemorrhaging pressure up front and that is unlikely to change this week.
Dallas’ elite pass rush is almost certain to show up in this article every week. It’s no different this week against Kirk Cousins and Minnesota. Cousins was pressured on over 40% of his dropbacks and was sacked 4 times against the Bills last week and still managed to engineer a Vikings comeback.
The Texans are actually getting at the quarterback at the 4th-highest rate over the last five weeks, believe it or not. Taylor Heinicke got the ball out relatively quickly against the Eagles’ strong rush in Week 10.
The Browns are the only team in the article to be featured in the bottom five line matchups this week. This could be a major bounce-back spot for the Bills.
Top WR/CB Mismatches
NEW on Fantasy Points is our WR/CB Matchup Tool, sortable with loads of matchup data!
A note on our process: there are very few situations in the NFL in which one receiver will match up with one corner for the vast majority of his routes. So honestly, WR/CB matchups in the traditional sense are perhaps the most overrated form of fantasy analysis.
We aim to do them better: our process breaks down how many routes a receiver runs from a certain alignment, and assigns a weighted score based on how much that receiver is expected to see a given defender based on those alignments. So it will measure how often we expect a receiver to face all defenders in a matchup, not just one particular defender, and weigh a score by those expected percentages.
So really, this is more of a WR/Secondary breakdown, as opposed to individual WR/CB matchups. And if we do believe there could be a shadow situation, I will mention that.
I will write up what I feel to be some of the more interesting matchups, not necessarily every top or bottom matchup.
Best Week 11 WR/CB Matchups
Gabe Davis (Buf) vs. Cleveland — This was the one that really stood out when looking at the numbers. Denzel Ward made his return to the lineup in Week 10 against the Dolphins and actually played pretty well, as the Dolphins chose to focus on the run game in their pummeling of the Browns as opposed to their passing game (those glorious weeks of cashing Jaylen Waddle overs dried up). But Ward struggled early in the year, and the Browns’ other two primary outside CBs, Martin Emerson and Greedy Williams, each rank in the top four in most fantasy points per coverage snap allowed over the last five weeks among qualified players (minimum 50 snaps). We know what Davis is at this point, but if you want to attack the Browns, the perimeter is where to do it. (NOTE: Yes, the current forecast is calling for snow, potentially heavy, during the game. Obviously, that would change this outlook.)
Darius Slayton (NYG) vs. Detroit — Look at the kid! Having rekindled his relationship with Daniel Jones out of sheer necessity, Slayton might be legit good again. Slayton has scored double-digit FP and topped 58+ receiving yards in four out of his last five games after posting 3/95/1 receiving on four targets (23.5% share) in a Week 10 victory over the Texans. Kenny Golladay continued to prove he’s one of the biggest wastes of money we’ve seen in recent years, dropping both of his Week 10 targets. So Slayton should continue to get a large portion of the Giants’ perimeter targets. Slayton runs the highest percentage of his routes on the defense’s left side, where he’ll draw the coverage of Amani Oruwariye. Oruwariye has surrendered 0.53 FP/CS over the last five weeks, most among all CBs.
Darnell Mooney (Chi) vs. Atlanta — Even after the Bears’ trade for Chase Claypool, who at the time of the deal had run the second-most slot routes in the NFL, Mooney has been the Bears’ predominant slot option, running about 60% of his routes inside. That’s where he’ll match up with Isaiah Oliver, who is almost exclusively the Falcons’ slot CB. Oliver’s 0.32 FP/CS allowed over the past five weeks is fourth-most among primary slot CBs over that span. And Mooney, obviously, has new juice now that QB Justin Fields has found himself.
Worst Week 11 WR/CB Matchups
DeVonta Smith (Phi) vs. Indianapolis — This is especially notable, because if AJ Brown catches a shadow from Stephon Gilmore, Smith will probably be doing a lot of his work on Isaiah Rodgers. It’s a smallish sample of just 99 coverage snaps, but Rodgers has allowed just .06 FP/CS over the last five weeks, third-fewest in the entire NFL. It might be a week for the Eagles to focus on their run game.
Colts’ CB Isaiah Rodgers Sr has only been targeted in coverage twice on throws over 10 yards down the field this season.— Zach Hicks (@ZachHicks2) November 14, 2022
Both came against the Raiders. Both passes were pass breakups by Rodgers Sr.
Jakobi Meyers (NE) vs. New York Jets — Meyers is quietly the WR17 at 14.8 FPG this year, and he’s been the only consistent Patriot receiver for two years running. But one thing that’s not so quiet is how well this Jets defense is playing. That includes slot CB Michael Carter II (yes, a different guy than the running back). Among primary slot CBs over the last five weeks, Carter’s 0.13 FP/CS allowed is 6th-lowest.
Amon-Ra St. Brown (Det) vs. New York Giants — This is a louder version of the Meyers blurb. No, you are not sitting St. Brown. But the Giants’ primary slot CB, Darnay Holmes, has really held his own. At 0.15 FP/CS, he’s surrendered the 8th-lowest rate among primary slot CBs over the past five weeks.
Amon-Ra St. Brown's last 12 healthy games:— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) November 15, 2022
– 22.5 PPR points per game (would be WR4 over current Tyreek Hill - 22.2 FPG)
– Has seen at least 24% of targets with 9+ total targets in every game in this span
Sun God = Baby Kupp pic.twitter.com/cmfV97VtSi
Week 11 Potential Shadow Situations
Davante Adams (LV) vs. Patrick Surtain (Den) — Are you ready for a battle? Potentially the best receiver in the league will show down with the best corner in the league for the second time this year. On the season, Surtain has allowed just 21 receptions and 178 receiving yards in his primary coverage. He’s given up just 38.8 PPR fantasy points. In their Week 4 showdown, Adams accounted for 5 receptions, 54 receiving yards, and 10.4 FP in Surtain’s primary coverage. That’s 23.8% of the receptions, 30.4% of the receiving yardage, and 26.8% of the fantasy points Surtain has allowed this year. Adams and DK Metcalf are the only two receivers to catch more than 2 balls on Surtain all year. Over the past five weeks, Surtain has allowed just .04 FP/CS, second-lowest among all NFL CBs. The fact that Adams — a receiver who can truly break any slate — scoring 10.4 FP on Surtain can be considered a massive win is insane.
AJ Brown (Phi) vs. Stephon Gilmore (Ind) — It should be noted that any shadow situations listed here are projected shadow situations. We can’t predict what any coach will do. Gilmore has faced two WRs on over 70% of their routes this year — Courtland Sutton in Week 5 and Terry McLaurin in Week 8. The two had virtually identical stat lines, with Sutton posted 4/69 on 8 targets and McLaurin 4/65 on 5 targets. So those weren’t huge games by any stretch, and no receiver has scored with Gilmore in primary coverage this year (post-snap). So it was someone surprising to see that Gilmore did not travel with Davante Adams last week — Gilmore aligned across Adams on just 28.9% of his routes. Though Adams torched the Colts overall, Gilmore allowed just 1 catch for 6 yards on 4 targets in his primary coverage. That included a game-sealing pass breakup. Is it a guarantee Gilmore will shadow Brown? Of course not, given what we saw last week. But Gilmore remains one of the top corners in the league, and it’ll be tough sledding for AJB if he does align across from him.
Stephon Top 10 Gilmore calls game on Davante Adams pic.twitter.com/coXpOyFf3W— Nico (@elitetakes_) November 14, 2022
Terry McLaurin (Was) vs. Derek Stingley (Hou) — McLaurin finally broke Darius Slay’s spell last week. After posting just 6/96 on 10 targets in his three previous games with Slay’s primary coverage, McLaurin caught 5 of 6 targets for 90 yards in Week 10 alone while battling Slay (Slay aligned across from McLaurin on 74.2% of his routes). Meanwhile, Stingley is a promising young CB the Texans already trust to travel. Stingley has aligned across from four different receivers at a 75% route clip or higher this year. Here are Stingley’s numbers allowed in primary coverage in those matchups: Courtland Sutton, 7/122 on 10 targets (Week 2); Mike Williams, 5/55 on 7 targets (Week 4); Davante Adams 3/38 on 4 targets (Week 7); Robert Woods, 2/26 on 2 targets (Week 8). So yes, Stingley held Davante in check better than Surtain did. Stingley is still a rookie, and there’s a lot about his game he needs to clean up, but the talent is there for him to become a shutdown guy.