Welcome to the Positional Matchups Report, aka POSAFPA. In this article, I provide an easy-to-use positional matchups table and highlight potentially exploitable matchups. If you’re curious about the process you can find a full introduction HERE where I lay out the methodology.
Last Week’s Results
The biggest unexpected result of the week was the entire Rams offense. Cooper Kupp is still not back to full snaps on offense and underproduced, with just 3 catches on 5 targets with 18 yards to show for it. Everybody else seemingly blew up spectacularly. Kyren Williams returned to an astounding 38.4 PPR point performance. Meanwhile, Tyler Higbee put up 19.9 points, and Matthew Stafford had a season-high 24.4 points. Even Tutu Atwell put up a respectable 10.6 points, though I wouldn’t expect these numbers from anyone going forward. Kyren should remain a must-start moving forward.
Over the past few seasons, when DK Metcalf underperforms, it usually means that Tyler Lockett had a big game, and visa-versa, to a lesser extent. This past week, we saw both players held to just over 11 PPR points, while Jaxon Smith-Njigba managed to snag 9.6 himself. This may cause concern for Metcalf and Lockett managers, but their snap shares have remained consistent. The ones that have dropped are tight ends outside of Noah Fant. On paper, their tight ends did better as a group. In reality, that’s because they’ve been averaging a meager 5.3 PPR points as a group. This week, they scored a colossal 7.5 points.
Warning, Dallas tends to funnel passing work to the slot, and Smith-Njigba has been the guy lining up there. He may have a big week again this week, so if your league has late trade deadlines, think about targeting Lockett or Metcalf next week. Jaxon has always been a long-held prospect, so I won’t be looking to sell high.
How to Use the Table
First, find YOUR PLAYER’S TEAM in the first column. Next, follow that line to THEIR POSITION’S column. That percentage is how much better or worse you can expect them to do compared to what they typically score.
Example: Let’s say you’re deciding between Adam Thielen (WR-CAR) and Antonio Gibson (RB-WAS). For Thielen, find CAR in the first column. Follow that row over to the WR column, and you’ll see his positional matchup is 19%. That’s a strongly positive matchup. Next, for Gibson, find WAS in the first column. Follow that row over to the RB column, and you’ll see his positional matchup is -25%, which is a very negative matchup. Both players are averaging about 10 PPR points per game over the last six weeks and coming off of poor performances. In this case, I would start Theilen.
Offensive Boons and Fades
De’Von Achane is expected to be back this week from his second knee injury of the season. There’s no need to rush him back for a matchup against the Commanders, so he should be 100%. That said, if his knee is feeling a bit tender on Sunday, they could lean elsewhere. That means Raheem Mostert or even Jeff Wilson could be started in a pinch. With six teams on bye and injuries piling up, there’s a good chance you’re in that situation.
It’s a trap! On paper, the Panthers’ passing game has a great matchup this week against Tampa Bay. The issue is that the Panthers have just had major staff changes. Head Coach Frank Reich wasn’t the only one to get the axe. Running Backs coach Duce Staley and Quarterbacks coach Josh McCown were also let go. Offensive Coordinator Thomas Brown remains. He called plays in weeks 8-11 this year, and during that stint, Carolina had some of their worst offensive outings. I know we are in bye week hades right now, but it will be difficult to trust anybody outside of Adam Thielen this week.
The Saints are just begging for a mention, given they’re rostering one of my favorite late-round rookie picks of A.T. Perry and a late-round dart from years past in Lynn Bowden. Now I can’t in any good conscience recommend Bowden; he has just four targets for the year. A.T. Perry, on the other hand, has six…
The real difference is that we know what Bowden is. Perry is a rookie who’s still unproven. With Michael Thomas on IR, Rashid Shaheed unlikely to play, and Chris Olave in concussion protocol, it may fall to Perry to act as the team’s top wide receiver. Chances are the true benefactors here will be Alvin Kamara, Taysom Hill, and Juwan Johnson. That said, if Perry is sitting on your taxi squad and you’re in desperate need of a win, it might be time to elevate.
IDP Boons and Fades
There is no better matchup for defensive linemen than Atlanta. This week, the Jets get that buff. Quinnen Williams is the best play of the bunch, but Bryce Huff and Jermaine Johnson can also be considered. John Franklin-Myers is coming off a hip injury so he’s especially volatile this week. It’s unlike more than two of these guys will put up great numbers. If you need a streamer, you could do worse.
Houston linebackers have the best matchup of the week at the position. Blake Cashman is the top dog and could see a nice rebound game after a lukewarm outing last week. Denzel Perryman is back from suspension, so he’s another great start, as he will be fully rested. Christian Harris could also produce. He’s done well in the last two games with Perryman out, but he’s had other productive games throughout the season.
Cleveland’s linemen and linebackers have a rough matchup this week, while their defensive backs have a relatively good matchup. This might not come to fruition. With the return of Kyren Williams, the LA Rams offense looks completely revamped. With Williams out, the Rams were left to pull up the likes of Royce Freeman and Darrel Henderson from the practice squad to act as their top running backs. It’s no wonder opposing defenses were able to bully them through the air, and that may not be the case anymore. With a viable run threat, opposing DBs are likely to have less opportunity for picks. Grant Delpit should be safe enough, as should Greg Newsome, but depth picks behind them should be approached tentatively.
This week is tough. With fewer options than ever and a lot of games with wide spreads, I’m going to go to a game that feels like a real dice roll – Titans vs. Colts. With a 43-point over/under and one-point spread, this divisional blue-on-blue matchup should be close with a fair bit of scoring.
The Titans have ridden a line of “Bad team that regularly outperforms expectations” for years now. This year, however, it feels like they’re performing to expectations. On the flip side, you have the Gardner Minshew lead Colts, who have had some modest success given the many obstacles they’ve faced but still hold a barely-above-500 record. With Jonathan Taylor getting thumb surgery and expected to miss multiple weeks, it will be Zack Moss returning to lead back status. While the matchup isn’t particularly favorable for Moss, it isn’t bad either. In addition, Titans games have been volatile when it comes to expected game script this year. Should the Colts get ahead, Moss could see a big week. It’s likely that either Josh Downs or Michael Pittman has a big week regardless of gamescript, but if the Colts end up trailing, they could both put up big numbers.
On the other side, we have DeAndre Hopkins, who has been flukey at best the last several weeks, and then the Derrick Henry/Tyjae Spears backfield. If the Titans do manage to get ahead, Henry will benefit, but while playing from behind, we’ve seen Spears take the reigns of fantasy production.
Team Trends for Future Weeks
Notable Rush Funnel Teams: Carolina, Tampa Bay, and the New York Jets remain the only three rush funnels at this time.
Pass Funnel Teams: Detroit, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, and Seattle are the pass funnels in the league right now.
IDP Targets: Washington remains a top target for all IDP players. The Jets and Giants are both excellent targets for defensive linemen. Chicago, Denver, and Minnesota are all excellent matchups for opposing linebackers. And finally, Buffalo, Carolina, Detroit, Miami, Washington, and the LA Rams have been solid to matchups for opposing defensive backs.
I hope I’ve led you to a bit of relief in this Bye Week Hades Part 2: Seriously, Who Wrote This Schedule? After this week, it’s relatively smooth sailing into playoffs, with just a few bumps in the road.
Follow me on Twitter @MonCalFF and check out our other Start-Sit articles, which can be found below. Until next week, good luck!