Week 12 Pace Points


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Week 12 Pace Points

For fantasy purposes, it’s better to have players in games that feature teams that play fast and run a lot of plays. Why? Faster paced offenses drain less clock in between plays which gives the game more volume. And more volume = more opportunities.

In this weekly column, I’ll highlight a few games that project for more pace and plays and some spots that could underwhelm.

Fast-paced games

Chiefs (10th in pace) vs. Buccaneers (7th)

This game features two offenses that are not only fast-paced, but very pass-heavy. Patrick Mahomes can obviously throw as much as he wants whenever he wants while the Bucs’ have quietly become even more pass first. In fact, no team is more pass-heavy (73%) when trailing than Tampa. So, if this game plays out like Vegas expects and the Chiefs command a lead throughout the game, we should expect plenty of points. And sure, Tom Brady has been up and down all season — but his Bucs’ have been involved in plenty of high-scoring affairs because their offense is largely dictating the flow of their games. Eight of the Buccaneers 11 contests have combined to score 48 or more points while Brady has thrown 38 or more passes in eight of his last 9. This game has the best scoring environment on the slate and is well-deserving of the highest over/under on the board (55.5 points).

Chargers (12th in pace) vs. Bills (8th)

The Bolts and the Bills follow extremely closely behind Chiefs-Buccaneers for the best game on the slate. You could make an argument that this spot is even slightly better just because both of these teams have mediocre-to-bad defenses while the Chiefs and Bucs’ can be a bit stingy at times. As we’ve been talking about in this space for a few weeks now, the Chargers have become one of the most attractive teams in fantasy because 1) Justin Herbert is playing out of his mind; 2) they’re playing fast and getting off a ton of plays (75.9 per game; second-most); and 3) their defense isn’t very good. Herbert made his first start in Week 2, but that was really just an emergency situation because the Chargers doctors literally stabbed Tyrod Taylor in the chest during pre-game. So, Herbert’s first “real” start where he was fully prepared was in Week 3. Since then, Chargers games have proceeded to combine for the following points totals: 37, 69, 57, 68, 61, 57, 50, and 62. Each of the Chargers last seven games have combined for at least 50 points and against this equally fast-paced, pass-heavy Bills team — we should expect a shootout. I’m not at all surprised this game carries a 52.5 over/under.

Colts (15th in pace) vs. Titans (4th)

Indianapolis started this season incredibly lethargic on offense, presumably because HC Frank Reich wanted to ease Philip Rivers into a new scheme. They’ve started to take off as of late. Over their last five games, Rivers has averaged 39 pass attempts per game and, unsurprisingly, the Colts are starting to score more points with the increase in pass volume. Indy has hit 30+ points on the scoreboard four times in this span. In Week 1-5, Rivers averaged just 30.8 attempts per game and the Colts scored 30 or more points just once. This meshes extremely well with Tennessee’s style of play. Even though the Titans are extremely run-heavy — they’re second in run-rate when trailing (44%) and seventh when leading (54%) — they’re at least getting plays off extremely fast. As a result, 8 of the Titans’ last 9 games have exceeded 51 combined points with the only failure coming against a slow-paced, boring Bears back in Week 9. For DFS, I’m expecting plenty of ownership to flock to the Chiefs, Buccaneers, Chargers, and Bills, and for good reason. But this game has extremely sneaky high-scoring appeal and Vegas is all over it. The over/under has shot up two points since opening and is now at 51.5, which is fourth-highest on the slate.

Slow-paced games

Browns (24th in pace) vs. Jaguars (23rd)

This matchup is about as boring as Nickelback’s Thanksgiving halftime performance from the late-2000s. Or as bad. Whatever works for you. Cleveland is going to try to run the ball 40 times in this game and they just might get there against this tanking Jaguars team that is rolling out Mike Glennon, who is making his first start since 2017. Getting Nick Chubb back healthy has been crucial for their attack and has allowed Cleveland to become the most run-heavy team in the league. In fact, the Browns have gone 54% run-heavy in the five full games that Chubb has played — which would tie the Ravens for the highest rate in the NFL. Chubb and Kareem Hunt should have no problem going off against a Jags’ front-seven that is allowing the fourth-most rushing fantasy points per game. Cleveland should control the game-script with their run game and, once again, we can’t project Baker Mayfield for much passing volume at all. Over the last five weeks, Mayfield is averaging 22.6 pass attempts per game. That’s it. If this game shoots out, it’ll be because Glennon has thrown multiple interceptions and given the Browns extra possessions. Which could very well happen! Still, the only Jags’ you should be interested in this week are James Robinson and to a much lesser extent, D.J. Chark.

Panthers (28th in pace) vs. Vikings (26th)

We’ll see if the Panthers can get Teddy Bridgewater (knee) back in time to play, which would make this matchup slightly better. PJ Walker performed admirably in his spot start last week (outside of a pair of bad endzone INTs), but for whatever reason, people continue to underrate just how well Bridgewater is playing. Still, this matchup could get fairly sluggish if Minnesota controls the pace of the game as Vegas is suggesting. They have the Vikings installed as 4-point favorites. Dalvin Cook has been the best running back this season by far and should have no issue going off once again up against this Panthers run defense that is giving up the fifth-most scrimmage yards per game to RBs (144.5). A Cook-heavy gameplan is a near lock this week and would further slow down what is already shaping up to be a low-volume affair between two deliberate offenses. Both of these attacks are bottom-8 in pace and plays per game. I’m a little bit surprised the over/under in this game is up at 51 points.

Pace / Plays / Tendencies Chart

Graham Barfield blends data and film together to create some of the most unique content in the fantasy football industry. Barfield is FantasyPoints’ Director of Analytics and formerly worked for the NFL Network, Fantasy Guru, and Rotoworld.