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 13 Run Blocking Matchups
Something’s gotta give in the Houston/Cleveland matchup. Over the last two weeks, stud rookie RB Dameon Pierce has been absolutely stifled, with just 16 yards on 15 carries. A large part of those struggles belong to the offensive line — the Texans are opening just 0.40 YBC/ATT over the last two games, which is less than a third of league average (Houston was a much more acceptable 1.15 YBC/ATT in the metric before Week 11). Meanwhile, Cleveland’s 3.02 YBC/ATT allowed over the last five weeks is nearly a full yard above the 31st-ranked team (coincidentally, the Texans) The Browns have struggled against rookie RBs of late, as well, allowing Rachaad White to go over 100 yards from scrimmage last week and giving up a whopping 7.8 YPC on 11 carries to James Cook in Week 10.
The Chargers’ run defense has been exploited in this column ever since I started writing it, and the Raiders’ Josh Jacobs is coming off a 229-yard, 2-TD performance against the Seahawks last week. Of course, he’s dealing with calf and ankle injuries and will have his reps managed in practice this week, with no guarantee he plays in Week 13. Zamir White could well be the next man up and would be a free DFS bingo square in this matchup if he’s called upon to start.
It’s Nick Chubb vs. the Texans' run defense. Start him with enthusiasm, even with Deshaun Watson back to potentially boost the Browns’ passing game.
Jeff Wilson flopped in the nuts matchup against the Texans last week despite Raheem Mostert being inactive, mostly because of gamescript and the Texans’ utter inability to move the ball. The metrics here suggest San Francisco is a significantly below-average matchup and the Dolphins’ run-game score is being boosted by some big runs and their offensive line’s own performance. I’m skeptical of that continuing against the 49ers with LT Terron Armstead (pectoral) expected to miss time.
Jonathan Taylor has 20+ carries and a rushing touchdown in three consecutive games. The Cowboys’ elite defense is most exploitable on the ground. If the Colts have any hope of winning this game, it starts and ends with JT. The Cowboys shut down Saquon Barkley behind a decimated Giants offensive line on Thanksgiving, but Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, and Khalil Herbert have been among the backs having good success against them recently.
Worst Week 13 Run Blocking Matchups
For the second consecutive week, the Patriots grade out as having our worst run-game matchup of the entire slate. Their backs combined for 52 yards on 12 carries against the Vikings last week. This week, on Thursday night, Damien Harris (thigh) will be unavailable against the Bills. So Rhamondre Stevenson will be the bell cow in a difficult matchup. The good news? Stevenson has produced double-digit fantasy points as a receiver alone in five consecutive games. He has more points as a receiver than Mike Evans over that span (and Jakobi Meyers too, for a more direct comparison).
In the Broncos’ first game of the post-Melvin Gordon era, Latavius Murray played a season-high 82% snap share — his highest since 2019 — and managed 13/92 rushing and 1 catch for 6 yards. Frankly, with Russell Wilson continuing to be one of the worst investments in the history of professional sports, Murray was the only thing working for the Broncos’ broken offense. Of course, 52 of the 92 rushing yards came on one play, so it wasn’t exactly a consistent attack for Murray, but at this stage, we would have to imagine that involvement in the offense will continue going forward. The big question is if the Broncos will incorporate Mike Boone in Week 13 when he’s eligible to return from IR for his high ankle sprain. Unfortunately for everyone involved, this is a brutal matchup with the Ravens.
Hooo boy! The Eagles just ran for 363 yards on Sunday night. It was the most of any team this year by a whopping 49 yards, and just the second team in the last 15 years to have a game with 360 or more rushing yards (the Ravens ran for 404 yards in the final game of the 2020 season against the Bengals). And the Titans have allowed the fewest YBC/ATT over the last five weeks. That’s bad news for Miles Sanders, potentially… but keep in mind that our metrics only measure for non-QB rush attempts, to prevent noisy interference of scrambles. Obviously, Jalen Hurts is not the typical QB, and he affects the run game in more ways than one, so I’d have trouble reading too much into this matchup. But I suppose it is worth noting that, in a similar matchup with the Colts two weeks ago, Hurts ran for 86 yards and a TD, while Sanders and the other Eagle RBs combined for just 55 yards on 17 carries.
Dalvin Cook struggled to get going last week, gaining just 42 yards on 22 carries against the Patriots. Of course, star LT Christian Darrisaw was out with a concussion. From my personal perspective, I consider the Jets a much tougher matchup for passing games than on the ground, even if this matchup isn’t peachy.
The Vikings shut down the Patriots’ run game on Thanksgiving but got crushed by Tony Pollard in Week 11. Minnesota could also get DT Dalvin Tomlinson back from a calf injury this week, which would make things tougher for Bam Knight/Michael Carter/whomever the Jets throw out there in their backfield.
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 13 Pass Rush Matchups
The Jets’ dysfunction under Zach Wilson has camouflaged a generally rock-solid offensive line performance! And Mike White got in there in Week 13, stood in solid pockets, and picked the Bears apart. His matchup with the Vikings might be another good week for this passing game, especially since the Jets have one of our worst Rush Grades of the week. Let ‘er rip.
The Bears got picked apart by White last week, so if this is a start Jordan Love has to make for the injured Aaron Rodgers (ribs), it’s a good spot for him. And if Rodgers plays… well, we know what he thinks of the Bears matchup.
The Broncos’ defense is still very good — it’s 8th in FootballOutsiders’ DVOA — but their pass rush took a big hit with the trade of Bradley Chubb. On the opposite side, the Ravens are dealing with a big injury, with LT Ronnie Stanley out last week with an ankle ailment. If Stanley can play, that would be a much better outlook for Lamar Jackson (who, by the way, has accounted for multiple TDs in just one of his last eight games).
I’m pretty surprised to see the Patriots’ matchup with the Bills on this list. But as noted in this column multiple times, Mac Jones has been getting the ball out exceptionally quickly, and he might be coming off the best game of his career on Thanksgiving night against the Vikings. While Buffalo’s pressure rate is extremely high, Von Miller (knee) is expected to miss this game, which this Pass Grade doesn’t even account for.
Put the Rams out of their misery already. Aaron Donald has never missed a game due to injury in his entire career. But it looks like he’s dealing with a high-ankle sprain and could miss this week, and potentially beyond. And the Pass Grade does not even account for his potential absence and what that would mean for Geno Smith.
Worst Week 13 Pass Rush Matchups
Justin Fields — who might not play in Week 13 as he continues to battle a shoulder injury — holds onto the ball longer than just about every QB in the NFL, with an average time to throw of over 3.0 seconds over the last five weeks. That will always impact QBPROE, even if adjusted. The Bears don’t have a good offensive line, and even without Rashan Gary, the Packers’ pass rush has been the one aspect of their defense that has actually shown up.
Oooh, this is interesting. Deshaun Watson will be making his first start in nearly two years against his former Texans team, and Houston might have the most surprising pass rush in the NFL. It’s notable that Browns C Ethan Pocic is on IR, and we do know that over the years Watson has been one of the most sacked QBs in the entire NFL because of his tendency to hold onto the football (from 2018 to 2020, Watson was sacked 155 times, most in the league).
Josh Allen has been sacked at least twice in five consecutive games, tied for the longest streak of his career. It will be interesting to see what Bill Belichick cooks up in this one, because in three games against the Bills last year, including playoffs, the Patriots got to him just twice total.
I will be praying for Matt Ryan against this Cowboys pass rush. Ryan’s generally quick 2.41 aT2T over the last five weeks isn’t going to be quick enough against Dallas.
Washington already has one of the NFL’s most effective pass rushes, and DE Chase Young could make his season debut from ACL recovery in Week 13 against the Giants. The good news for New York and QB Daniel Jones? RT Evan Neal (knee), G Ben Bredeson (knee), and C Jon Feliciano (neck) could all make their return to the lineup this week.
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 13 WR/CB Matchups
Nico Collins (Hou) vs. Cleveland — I’m going to mention this because it’s, by our matchup score, the best matchup of the week, but I’m not sure how much it matters. First of all, the Texans have had bottom-of-the-barrel QB play, and I’m not sure Kyle Allen was much of an improvement over Davis Mills, if he was even an improvement at all. And though the Browns have two perimeter corners in our top-20 CBs in FP/coverage snap allowed in the last five weeks — Martin Emerson and Denzel Ward — to my eyes, those guys are playing better than that. They held Julio Jones and Mike Evans to 5/71 on 13 targets last week… though Evans and Tom Brady were not in the same library, let alone on the same page.
Courtland Sutton (Den) vs. Baltimore — For much of this year, Baltimore has been a slot-funnel defense. But something has changed in recent weeks, with their best corner (Marlon Humphrey) moving into the slot more. Humphrey’s lined up in the slot on 69% of his coverage snaps the last two weeks because of some injuries in Baltimore’s secondary, including to S Kyle Hamilton. That number was at roughly 25% prior to Week 11. So what’s the big deal? Last week, the Ravens held Christian Kirk to just 4/46 receiving on 9 targets, while surrendering career-highs across the board to Zay Jones (14 targets, 11 catches, 145 yards). And over the last five weeks, Marcus Peters — the Ravens’ top perimeter CB — surrenders 0.49 FP/CS, second-most among qualifying corners. Look, trusting this Broncos offense is a futile exercise, but if someone is going to get the ball, Sutton should be it.
Chris Godwin (TB) vs. Chris Harris (NO) — Godwin is coming off season-highs in catches (12) and receiving yards against the Browns in Week 12, with Browns slot CB Greg Newsome out with a concussion. And somewhat quietly, Godwin has caught at least 6 balls in every game since Week 4. Godwin, of course, is the Buccaneers’ primary slot WR, running about 75% of his routes inside. That’s where he’ll draw the veteran Harris in Week 13. While we used to consider Harris an absolute shutdown guy out of the slot before, at 33, he hasn’t been that guy this year. Over the last five weeks, Harris’ 0.37 FP/CS allowed are fourth-most among primary slot CBs, and second-most among slot CBs with over 100 coverage snaps over that span. I anticipate this is where Tom Brady will attack, and attack often.
Jauan Jennings puts Chris Harris on skates pic.twitter.com/iPpvRRp8Y2— Coach Yac 🗣 (@Coach_Yac) November 27, 2022
Worst Week 13 WR/CB Matchups
Cleveland WRs vs. Houston — Houston CBs have great season-long numbers by FP/CS and FP/RR, and it’s also possible that they get stud rookie Derek Stingley back from a hamstring injury. Most notable, of course, is that Deshaun Watson will be distributing the ball to Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and company. I’m not sure this matchup is as difficult as the numbers indicate, as both Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill put 85 yards on Houston last week with the Dolphins’ starting offense playing basically three quarters of a football game.
CeeDee Lamb (Dal) vs. Indianapolis — This isn’t so much a “bad matchup” as it is one we have questions about. With Kenny Moore injuring his shin on Monday night, the Colts could be down their slot master. If Moore can’t play, what will they do in Week 13, especially with Lamb presenting a nasty matchup for a backup? In Week 12, after Moore went down, the Colts played Tony Brown — who had not played a single defensive snap this season prior to Moore’s injury — in the slot. After the game, coach Jeff Saturday indicated that he played Brown over Isaiah Rodgers in the slot because Rodgers’ conditioning wasn’t perfect as he had dealt with an illness throughout the week. Rodgers has limited experience in the slot in his NFL career, but it’s possible the Colts move him there to deal with a unique threat like Lamb in the event Moore can’t play. Over the last five weeks, Rodgers allows just 0.11 FP/CS, 5th-fewest among all qualified CBs.
Treylon Burks and Robert Woods (Ten) vs. Philadelphia — It’s been well documented that the Eagles have the best perimeter CB duo in the NFL in Darius Slay and James Bradberry. And the Titans might have a young receiver poised to make a big splash — since his return from injury in Week 10, Burks’ 2.73 YPRR is eighth among qualified WRs. Here’s what’s interesting, though — Burks has run 20% of his routes from the slot the last three weeks, and he averages 3.67 YPRR from inside against 2.5 YPRR outside. The Eagles are on their backup slot CB Josiah Scott, who has been filling in for the injured Avonte Maddox over the last three games. Scott has done a solid job in that role, but is more exploitable than Slay and Bradberry — he’s given up 10/146/1 on 13 targets in his primary coverage over those three games, including a TD to Randall Cobb last week. Could the Titans look to get Burks inside more to try to create explosive plays, knowing the Eagles will key on Derrick Henry?
AJ Brown (Phi) vs. Tennessee — The Eagles move Brown everywhere, so there is rarely a shadow situation for him even in the unusual event that a team has a true “shadow” CB. The Titans do not — Kristian Fulton plays RCB to an overwhelming percentage — but if the Eagles do employ Brown as they typically do, he’ll face Fulton on the plurality of his routes. Over the last five weeks, Fulton gives up 0.15 FP/CS, which is in the bottom 20 of all qualified CBs, and he’s surrendered just a 57.2 passer rating when targeted. Also, we’ve seen a little change from the Eagles of late, who have been using DeVonta Smith more as Jalen Hurts’ primary read.
5 stats you need to know following Week 12 from @FantasyPtsData:— Chris Wecht (@ChrisWechtFF) November 29, 2022
AJ Brown has not led the Eagles in First Read Target Share since Week 8. He has only had the largest FR Share in a given week twice all season
Devonta Smith has led the team 4 times and each of the past 3 weeks
Week 13 Potential Shadow Situations
Brandin Cooks (Hou) vs. Denzel Ward (Cle) — This serves as a strong reminder that these shadow situations are just projected — very few teams shadow the way Darrelle Revis used to do back in the day, and even when a team will occasionally use a CB to travel, there’s no guarantee they’ll do it every week. Last week, for the Texans’ matchup with Miami, we wrote that Xavien Howard could potentially shadow Cooks, but faced him on just 33% of his routes. Ward, meanwhile, has seen a single receiver on more than 50% of routes in each of the last two weeks, “shadowing” Stefon Diggs on a 65.4% snap share in Week 11 and Julio Jones at a 55.6% rate last week. This is a beatable matchup by the numbers, though. Over the last two weeks, Ward has given up 9/104/2 on 10 targets to all receivers in his primary coverage.
Davante Adams (LV) vs. Asante Samuel Jr. (LAC) — Samuel is an excellent young CB, that’s a fact. He’s got a bright future. He’s also faced one receiver on more than 20 routes in a single game this season. That was Adams in Week 1, and Davante absolutely cooked him for 6/93/1 on 10 targets. There is no shame in that for Samuel, as Adams torched Patrick Surtain — perhaps the best matchup CB in the game today — for 2 touchdowns in Week 11. Obviously, nobody scares us off of Davante.