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Week 14 Positional Matchups (POSAFPA)

@MonCalFF is here with the Week 14 matchup edge.

Welcome to the Positional Matchups Report, aka POSAFPA. In this article, I provide an easy-to-use positional matchup 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

Truly, the most unexpected result is that we had entertaining games on BOTH Thursday and Monday nights. Another fun note is that we had a season-high seven players who scored more than 30. Of those seven, the top six were wide receivers. Geno Smith was the only quarterback to hit that mark.

Geno wasn’t alone in Seattle, however, the Seahawks offense far exceeded any expectations we had going into that game. DK Metcalf had the highest score of the week, with 37.4 PPR points. On top of that, Zach Charbonnet was RB13, and Jaxon-Smith Njigba finished as WR25. Neither Tyler Lockett nor Noah Fant killed your week if you had them in your lineup.

Despite a tough matchup across the board on offense, the Rams never let off the gas this week, and fantasy managers benefitted. Matthew Stafford looked to be in his old Detroit form. The game was tied at 13-13 with less than a minute left in the third quarter, and that’s when things took off. After that point, the Rams combined to score 23 more points. Puka Nacua was sitting pretty after a long touchdown in the first and wrapped up the day with 23.9 PPR points. Cooper Kupp was looking dire until a much-needed touchdown with less than 4 minutes remaining to get just under 16 points. Kyren Williams also packed one in at the goal line, allowing him to break 20 points as well. Demarcus Robinson even snagged 15.5 PPR points of his own.

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 AJ Dillon (RB-GB) and Adam Thielen (WR-CAR). For Dillon, find GB in the first column. Follow that row over to the RB column, and you’ll see his positional matchup is 17%. That’s a moderately positive matchup. Next, for Thielen, find CAR in the first column. Follow that row over to the WR column, and you’ll see his positional matchup is -14%, which is a moderately negative matchup. Given both players are averaging just over 9 PPR points per game, I would lean toward Dillon here.

Offensive Boons and Fades

Dak Prescott has been on a roll lately, and now he has a phenomenal matchup against the Eagles. Only Tennessee is a better matchup for QB-WR pairings, and it’s by a slim margin. We should expect Dak to show up big time, and CeeDee Lamb is a locked starter. Brandin Cooks could have a nice game, and while he’s only averaging a target share of 14% over the last six weeks, the matchup is undeniable. There have been some unsubstantiated murmurs about Michael Gallup’s future with the Cowboys as of late. While rumors don’t drive fantasy, volume does, and Gallup had only one target last week. Right now, he should remain on your bench.

Evan Engram has been a solid option at tight end this year. Unfortunately, he’s going up against the Browns, who have allowed 40% fewer points than average to TEs. On top of that, Trevor Lawrence is dealing with an ankle sprain, so he will likely miss a few weeks. Jacksonville receivers have a better matchup, though Christian Kirk is out with a groin injury and is expected to remain sidelined for eight weeks. This does bode well for rookie Parker Washington, who proved himself in his own right, catching 6/6 and going 61 yards plus a touchdown. Washington’s biggest assets as a prospect were his extremely reliable hands and excellent contact balance. I figured he’d likely be primarily used as a slot receiver, but Jacksonville lined him up all over the field. While Calvin Ridley and Zay Jones remain, I expect it won’t be easy to get Washington off the field now that the cat is out of the bag.

IDP Boons and Fades

This week, Baltimore faces off against the Rams, and while the Ravens linebackers have been dominating, they have the worst matchup in the league. The Rams are allowing 34% fewer points to opposing linebackers. Now, I wouldn’t sit Roquan Smith or Patrick Queen, but Odafe Oweh might be better on your bench this week.

Maxx Crosby might just have a week-winning performance. Well rested off a bye week, the Ravens face Minnesota, who allow a generous 33% more points than average to opposing linebackers. Outside of Crosby, fantasy production has been lackluster, but you could gamble on someone like Malcolm Koonce or Adam Butler if you’re desperate.

Saints defensive backs get a great matchup against the Panthers this week. Paulson Adebo has been producing very well recently. Marcus Maye could return from a shoulder injury. If he does, it will be a tough decision to trust him in a good matchup. Otherwise, Tyrann Mathieu could be an option in deeper leagues.

Notable Matchup

I’ll be honest. I’m tempted to make Thursday night’s Patriots against the Steelers the highlight of the week, as I anticipate it will be a train wreck. Unfortunately, a 30-point over/under train wreck is unlikely to do much for fantasy, so I will pivot.

So instead we pivot to a matchup with almost double the over/under, the Eagles @ Cowboys. With a 53-point over/under and just a 3.5-point spread favoring the Cowboys, this looks like it will be an exciting affair, and that’s without mentioning the contentious longstanding rivalry.

So instead, we pivot to a matchup with almost double the over/under, the Eagles @ Cowboys. With a 53-point over/under and just a 3.5-point spread favoring the Cowboys, this looks like it will be an exciting affair, and that’s without mentioning the contentious longstanding rivalry.

Most of the fantasy production from the Cowboys goes through Dak Prescott and receivers CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks. As mentioned above, they have stellar matchups. Philly is built similarly, scoring most of their fantasy points through the QB Jalen Hurts and his top receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. Both teams don’t see many fantasy points go to their running backs, at least not consistently. Based on the competitive and high-scoring expectations of this game, we should see a hefty amount of passing, which leads to my next point.

As a team, Philadelphia DBs score more fantasy points than any other team. The second highest? You guessed it, Dallas. We’ve all heard about DeRon Bland’s record-setting pick-six season, but Dallas has a handful of DBs who all put up a handful of fantasy points a week, even if they aren’t generally fantasy-relevant. One player I want to bring attention to, though, is Markquese BellMarkquese is a DB converted to LB, but his designation on Sleeper currently sits as both. He’s a higher floor play for your DB spot.

The Eagles have Reed BlankenshipDarius SlayJames Bradberry, and several others putting up points week in and week out. They will likely be swarming CeeDee Lamb and company this week, which should make for a potentially high turnover game from both teams.

Team Trends for Future Weeks

Notable Rush Funnel Teams: Carolina, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and the New York Jets are the current rush-funnel teams.

Pass Funnel Teams: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Tennesse, and, to a lesser extent, Dallas are the four pass funnel teams in the league.

IDP Targets: Washington continues to be a good matchup to target, but to a lesser extent than earlier in the season. Carolina is the premier matchup for DBs, but Miami and the LA Rams are close followers. The Giants are the best matchup for linebackers, but Minnesota and the New York Jets are good enough to target. Chicago, Washington, and the Jets are the top 3 matchups for defensive linemen.

Final Word

And that’s it for the regular season. Unless you have Week 18 playoffs, that is, in which case, you have my condolences. While injuries have been stacking up lately, I hope you can use this information to your advantage and stream where you need to.

Follow me on Twitter @MonCalFF and check out our other Start-Sit articles, here. Until next week, good luck!

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