Week 16 Mismatch Report: Fantasy Points Data


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Week 16 Mismatch Report: Fantasy Points Data

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 16 Run Blocking Matchups

  • Jerick McKinnon has finished as the overall RB1 in each of the last two weeks. While trusting McKinnon has always been difficult, he’s played two of his three highest snap shares of the season in those games, it sure doesn’t feel like this is the spot to take him out of your lineup. That being said, he’s doing most of that work through the air, with 16 carries and 17 targets over those two games. So against Seattle, Isiah Pacheco remains on the fantasy radar as well.

  • Dalvin Cook is coming off a massive game against the Colts in the Vikings’ all-time comeback, and he gets the single worst YBC/ATT defense in the NFL with the Giants this week. The Giants’ 3.04 YBC/ATT allowed over the last five weeks is .66 YPC above second-worst Seattle. So Cook is clearly primed to carry your fantasy squad in the playoffs.

  • The Bucs’ utter inability to run the football this season has been staggering. Of their four tailbacks with a carry, Rachaad White’s 3.8 YPC is the best. A large part of that is on the offensive line, and another part is on the predictable playcalling of Byron Leftwich. (The man called a running play on 1st-and-1. Literally. The absolutely perfect spot to call a shot play.) But in this matchup, pounding the ball would be somewhat justifiable, as Arizona got shredded by Latavius Murray and Marlon Mack last week.

  • Pittsburgh shut down D’Onta Foreman last week, to the tune of a ridiculous -0.27 YBC/ATT allowed. But it certainly speaks to how much the Steelers’ run defense struggled before then that their matchup still ranks highly for the Raiders this week. Foreman’s struggles absolutely should not deter us from clicking the button on Josh Jacobs in DFS.

  • Rhamondre Stevenson ran for 172 yards and averaged 9.1 YPC against the Raiders last week despite getting in just one limited practice and carrying a questionable status into the game. So he appears safe to fire up against the Bengals in a good overall matchup for him.

Worst Week 16 Run Blocking Matchups

  • The correct answer to “which Texan RB is the best pickup with Dameon Pierce on IR?” was “no.” Royce Freeman paced this backfield with 6.6 FP and now the Texans have one of the worst run game matchups we’ve seen all year.

  • David Montgomery had a strong Week 15 in a tough matchup with the Eagles, but he’s got another tough one this week with Buffalo and has the added trouble of Khalil Herbert also being in the mix. However, in absolutely frigid Chicago temperatures, the run game will continue to be the Bears’ overwhelming foundation, and the Bills did surrender 178 yards and a touchdown on the ground to Raheem Mostert and Salvon Ahmed last week.

  • D’Onta Foreman carried the ball 10 times for 9 yards last week in a good matchup with the Steelers. He now gets to go up against a Lion defense that has suffocated opposing run games of late and held Bam Knight to 1.9 YPC on 13 carries last week. I prefer Chuba Hubbard and his passing-game role straight up to Foreman this week.

  • The Bengals were unable to move the ball on the ground against the Buccaneers last week, with Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine combining for 45 yards on 18 carries. Meanwhile, New England did an overall admirable job on Josh Jacobs, containing him to 93 yards on 22 attempts.

  • In his return from an ankle injury, Kenneth Walker had one of those “I’m not upset if I started him, I’m not upset if I benched him weeks,” with 11.9 FP. The Chiefs’ run defense has been solid lately, but I also think Walker’s improvisational running style contributes to Seattle’s low ranking on this list. He often looks to bust big runs, which can lead to a lot of contact behind the line of scrimmage.

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 16 Pass Rush Matchups

  • The Bears have only 17 sacks on the season, and just put 2 of them (LB Jack Sanborn) on IR. While the cold temperatures and wind in Chicago could make this more of a slugfest than Buffalo would like, my take is the Bills will approach this game with Josh Allen much like the Eagles did with Jalen Hurts last week — throw the ball down the field early and often.

  • Once again, the Buccaneers pop up on this list of good matchups because Tom Brady gets the ball out so incredibly quickly, but inefficiently. As he showed last week, JJ Watt can still be a game-wrecker, and the Buccaneers have given us little reason to believe they’re going to break out of this season-long slump.

  • The Giants’ offensive line — still with some injuries — has been allowing Daniel Jones to be pressured at the 6th-highest rate above expectation over the last five weeks. But Minnesota’s struggling defense has been one of the worst at generating pressure in the entire league. From Weeks 11-14, only the Bears generated pressure at a lower rate (Vikings were around -6%). Then came Matt Ryan and the Colts… and the Vikings generated pressure over expectation at a 10.8% rate. I believe that to be more of a function of the Colts’ ineptitude than any major change for Minnesota.

  • Mac Jones is another quick-release all-star on this list, and the Patriots’ passing game is crap for fantasy anyway. Nonetheless, the Bengals’ pass rush could be in serious trouble, though. Sam Hubbard (calf) is expected to miss multiple weeks and Trey Hendrickson (wrist) is questionable after missing last week.

  • Desmond Ridder was pressured at a rate of 7.94% above expectation last week, after Marcus Mariota was down at -1.95% in Weeks 11-13 before the Falcons’ bye. I do not buy that Baltimore provides a good matchup for Ridder, who looked completely overmatched in Week 15 against the Saints.

Worst Week 16 Pass Rush Matchups

  • Look at the Chiefs’ defense! While Patrick Mahomes is playing at his typical elite level, if the Chiefs make a run to the Super Bowl, the way their defense is currently playing would be a major factor in that. It’s a brutal matchup across the board for the Seahawks, as they boast the 5th-worst Rush Score and the single worst Pass Score for Geno Smith this week. And Smith won’t have Tyler Lockett (finger).

  • After a heroic game-winning drive from Baker Mayfield in Week 14, the Rams’ devastated offensive line and passing attack were back to looking inept against the Packers in Week 15. Mayfield completed just 11 passes and was sacked 4 times, while C Brian Allen (calf) suffered yet another injury.

  • Because of frigid temperatures across the country, the average projected totals for all games this week is the lowest of the season. Los Angeles, clearly, will not be affected by the weather. But with two bad offensive lines going up against two good pass rushes, the Broncos/Rams total of 36.5 is the second-lowest of the week (the total in New Orleans-Cleveland is a preposterous 32). Russell Wilson (concussion) is expected to play for the Broncos, but Aaron Donald might play for the Rams.

  • There’s that Lions defense again! Their front seven has been fantastic of late, especially against the run, but it’s also generating a strong enough pass rush for this matchup for Sam Darnold to rank in the bottom five of the week.

  • The Bengals are 3.5-point favorites against the Patriots on the road, and well, that makes sense given the state of both of these teams. But it should be noted that our metrics have the matchup for their backs and QB Joe Burrow as in the bottom five at the line of scrimmage. So maybe some under bets should be considered? No team has generated pressure at a higher rate over expectation than the Patriots in the last five weeks.

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 16 WR/CB Matchups

Chris Godwin (TB) vs. Arizona — Not a whole lot has been working for the Buccaneers, but Godwin has scored at least 10 FP in every game since Week 4, with at least five catches in those games. The Cardinals have had to completely adjust their slot matchups all year because of injuries (Byron Murphy going down was a big one), and their star safety Budda Baker has been the latest “top dog” there. Unfortunately, he’s likely playing out of position in that alignment, as over the last five weeks, he’s giving up a staggering 0.93 FP/coverage snap, so if he’s going to line up over Godwin, they need to help him.

Philadelphia WRs vs. Dallas — Gardner Minshew might be a juicy streaming QB option this week, presuming he does start. Both DeVonta Smith and AJ Brown have top-five matchups by our metrics, and as Trevor Lawrence and Zay Jones showed last week, if the quarterback can be protected, Dallas can be picked apart. Among corners with 50 or more coverage snaps over the last five weeks, Kelvin Joseph’s 0.67 FP/CS allowed is second-most in the entire league. We know Trevon Diggs is beatable in the right circumstances, but Joseph is the guy the Eagles will go after, I guarantee. Philly moves its WRs around enough that both Brown and Smith will see their fair share of snaps on him (Diggs rarely shadows).

Keenan Allen (LAC) vs. Indianapolis — Good lord did the Colts miss Kenny Moore (ankle) last week. Justin Jefferson and KJ Osborn combined for 173 yards receiving out of the slot last week, with Osborn totaling a career-high 157 receiving yards (Osborn came into the game with just 300 yards on the season, so he gained more than a third of his receiving yards on the year in a single game). If Moore isn’t back in Week 16, Professor Keen Bean is going to have a Christmas feast.

Worst Week 16 WR/CB Matchups

CeeDee Lamb (Dal) vs. Philadelphia — This is not a “bench CeeDee Lamb” blurb, but the Cowboys star draws the toughest secondary in the league this week. And of course, the problem for Lamb is that none of the Eagles pose a good matchup. His primary draw will be with Avonte Maddox in the slot, and fortunately for Lamb, that’s probably the “best” of the bunch, as James Bradberry has been, by FP/CS allowed, literally the hardest corner to face in the NFL the last five weeks.

Jacksonville WRs vs. New York Jets — Here we go. Zay Jones had a monstrous 3-TD day against Dallas last week, but as noted above, Dallas has one of the most beatable secondaries in the entire NFL. The Jets… do not. Among 130 qualified corners over the last five weeks, all three of the Jets’ primary CBs — Sauce Gardner, DJ Reed, and slot man Michael Carter II — rank in the bottom 40 of FP/CS allowed. Carter, in particular, might be one of the more underrated corners in the league. His slot battle with Christian Kirk will be one to watch on Thursday night. What’s more, the game could be played in rainy conditions. Trevor Lawrence is playing at a supremely high level, but this will be an incredible test.

Week 16 Potential Shadow Situations

DJ Moore (Car) vs. Jeff Okudah (Det) — Okudah isn’t a pure “shadow” corner — he’s faced only two receivers on more than 80% of their routes in a game twice this year (DeVante Parker in Week 5 and Justin Jefferson in Week 3). Of course, he did a phenomenal job on those two games, holding Parker catchless in his primary coverage and Jefferson to just 3/14 receiving. Yes, Jefferson went off for over 200 yards in Week 14 the next time these two teams met, but Okudah came into the game with an illness and played just 14 coverage snaps (4 of which were on Jefferson, allowing a 10-yard catch). Moore is a tough guy to get a handle on each week — he posted 4/103/1 in Week 12, Sam Darnold’s first start of the year, then managed 5/73/1 against the Steelers last week. In between? A goose egg against the Saints.

Jerry Jeudy (Den) vs. Jalen Ramsey (LAR) — One of the biggest fantasy misconceptions of recent years is that Ramsey is a Revis-style shadow CB. That couldn’t be much further from the truth — you can make the argument that Ramsey has “shadowed” only three this year, against DK Metcalf, DeAndre Hopkins, and Davante Adams, and even still he faced Metcalf on just 57% of his routes, plus Hopkins and Adams on 62%. In those three matchups, Ramsey wasn’t exactly a shutdown guy either, allowing a combined 11/146/1 on 14 targets. Of course, those three passing offenses have shown way more juice than Russell Wilson and the Broncos this year, while this potential shadow situation of Jeudy would become moot if Courtland Sutton (hamstring) can play this week.

Mike Williams (LAC) vs. Stephon Gilmore (Ind) — Prior to last week, Gilmore had shadowed three alpha-dog receivers this year, and all of them had similar stat lines in his primary coverage — Courtland Sutton (4/69 on 8 targets), AJ Brown (4/57 on 6 targets), and Terry McLaurin (4/65 on 5 targets). He aligned over each of these receivers on more than 70% of their routes. While he covered Justin Jefferson on just 61% of his routes last week, still an overall pretty high number, Jefferson got to him badly — 7/61/1 on 9 targets — as part of the Vikings’ massive comeback. The biggest concern I have for Williams in this game isn’t necessarily this matchup, but the fact that slot receiver Keenan Allen has a pristine one if Kenny Moore can’t play (see above).

Chris Olave (NO) vs. Denzel Ward (Cle) — Ward has cleaned up a bunch of his early-season struggles, but still has been beatable from time to time, as Ja’Marr Chase showed in Week 14 (6/80/1 on 9 targets in his primary coverage). But Olave is not Chase — while being shadowed by AJ Terrell on 71% of his routes last week, Olave didn’t record a catch in Terrell’s primary coverage. Moreover, this game in Cleveland is expected to be frigid, with winter temperatures and heavy winds. The total of 31.5 in this game is ridiculously low, and suggests there won’t be many points scored.

Joe Dolan, a professional in the fantasy football industry for over a decade, is the managing editor of Fantasy Points. He specializes in balancing analytics and unique observation with his personality and conversational tone in his writing, podcasting, and radio work.

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