Welcome to the Positional Matchups Report, aka POSAFPA. I provide an easy-to-use positional matchup table in this article and highlight potentially exploitable matchups. If you’re curious about the process, here is a full introduction where I lay out the methodology.
Last Week’s Results
Last week’s biggest unexpected result was quarterbacks. That’s right, the entire position. Suppose you predicted Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes being outscored by the likes of Desmond Ridder, Jake Browning, Bailey Zappe, Mitch Trubisky, Joe Flacco, Zach Wilson, Tommy DeVito, and Drew Lock. In that case, you should probably use your talents of clairvoyance on a higher purpose.
Lamar Jackson did grab the top spot in a neutral matchup, but Ridder followed behind with the second-highest QB score of the week. He did have a great positional matchup but has yet to produce in good matchup opportunities so far this year.
Zappe and Trubisky are particularly interesting as they played one another and vastly outperformed expectations. Zappe started hot, giving the Patriots their first opening-drive touchdown of the year. The Patriots were meticulous in picking apart the Steelers’ offense. They stuffed the run game on early downs, then played to Trubisky’s weakness in predictable passing situations, putting as many defenders in motion as possible. He scored one touchdown through the air and one on the ground, which made his fantasy week.
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.
For example, let’s say you’re deciding between Najee Harris (RB-PIT) and Demario Douglas (WR-NE). For Harris, find PIT in the first column. Follow that row over to the RB column, and you’ll see his positional matchup is 30%. That’s a very positive matchup. Next, for Douglas, find NE in the first column. Follow that row over to the WR column, and you’ll see his positional matchup is -19%, which is a strongly negative matchup. Given both players are averaging about 12 PPR points per game, I would lean Harris here.
Offensive Boons and Fades
It’s shaping to be a good week for Russell Wilson and company. The Broncos face the Lions, who have been a top-tier target for quarterbacks and wide receivers. Wilson gets a 41% matchup, and Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy are looking at a plentifully 31%. Combine that with a solid 46.5-point over/under, and this could be a very healthy week if you didn’t manage to snag a bye in your leagues.
Opposite of them, Detroit’s passing game has a pretty awful matchup. The Broncos have allowed 33% fewer points to opposing QBs and 32% fewer points to opposing WRs. Lions running backs David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs have a mildly positive matchup at 8%, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them used heavily, but their ceiling could be capped if Jared Goff cannot get anything done through the air. That said, I’m not particularly worried about Amon-Ra St. Brown as he usually produces regardless of the matchup, last week withstanding.
On the flip side, Miami’s passing game is looking grim. Miami doesn’t typically concern me when it comes to facing bad teams. They tend to spread the ball around to their receiving options even while up. The Jets, however, have a poor offense and a top-tier secondary. In addition, Tyreek Hill suffered an ankle injury, and while he returned to the game, he is considered day-to-day. Center Connor Williams is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. Hill has played out of the slot more often than Jaylen Waddle this year, which is the one place the Jets give up receptions, so if Hill goes, it might not be hopeless.
If you managed to hold onto Kyren Williams through his injury or snag him off waivers early this year, this could be the week it really pays off. The Rams face Washington, who have given up a massive 46% more fantasy points to opposing running backs than their average. He’s coming off a 28-touch, 113-yard game where he failed to get into the end zone. If he sees that usage this week, it could launch you straight into the semifinals.
Finally, it’s worth highlighting T.J. Hockenson. The Vikings have just announced that Joshua Dobbs is being benched, and Nick Mullens will be the starter. While this doesn’t fare particularly well for Hockenson, he has a fantastic 51% matchup this week. Even with Justin Jefferson back, this could be a big week for Hockenson.
IDP Boons and Fades
Atlanta is the DB streamer’s go-to this week. The Panthers have given up 25% more fantasy points to opposing defensive backs. Atlanta’s DB group has been the third-highest-scoring group in the league over the last six weeks. Jessie Bates is the top guy, averaging over 25 IDP123 points over the last six weeks, but don’t overlook Richie Grant, who has put up more double-digit performances than not this year. Jeff Okudah is dealing with an ankle injury, and if he misses another week, rookie Clark Phillips is usable. The fourth-round rookie has been a special teamer for most of the year but saw 96% and 100% of defensive snaps in the last two weeks, where he was credited with four and five tackles, respectively.
Alternatively, you could turn to Raiders DBs this week. While the Chargers have been a mildly negative matchup for opposing DBs, that was with Justin Herbert under center. If you’re unaware, Herbert suffered a broken finger that required surgery and is out for the season. That means Easton Stick will be the starting quarterback for the Chargers. Nate Hobbs should be a solid starter, but outside of him, Tre’von Moehrig could be interesting. Moehrig has been inconsistent in his production but has remained on the field, and his largest game of the year was against the Chargers in Week 4, where he managed to get an interception.
The Commanders’ defense is in rough shape. After the departures of both Montez Sweat and Chase Young, there have been no standouts in that defensive line. The linebackers group was doing okay but lost Jamin Davis in week 13. Cody Barton has produced well while healthy this year, but in a tough matchup with no other viable threats besides him, he should be easily handled by the Rams’ offensive line.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Green Bay Packers are on the cusp of making the post-season. According to the NY Times, The Buccaneers currently have a 55% chance of making the playoffs. The Packers now sit at 50%. A loss would drop the Packers’ playoff odds by half. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers would still retain a 40% chance should they take the L. Vegas currently favors the Packers by 3.5 points on a 42-point over/under, but it may be hard for Green Bay to take advantage of the matchup given their injuries.
Christian Watson missed last week after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 13. In Week 14, Jayden Reed left the Monday night game to be evaluated for a concussion. At the time of my writing this, we still need the results. If he did, it’s unlikely he’d be able to suit up on a short week based on concussion timelines from other players this season. Rookie up-and-comer Dontayvion Wicks posted a season-high six targets but suffered what appeared to be an ankle injury. If it’s a high ankle sprain, as theorized, it could sideline him for several weeks. That’s a shame, as the Buccaneers have been a very good matchup for wide receivers over the last six weeks.
Tucker Kraft is the premium option this week if you’re streaming tight ends. He’s already stepped up in a big way after Luke Musgrave went to IR. Aaron Jones could also benefit if he’s able to return. That seems likely, as he practiced in a limited fashion all last week, and was a game-time decision.
Nobody has an exceptionally good or bad matchup for Tampa Bay’s players. Jaire Alexander could return, which may slow down the TB receivers, but when you have both Mike “Mr. 1000” Evans and Chris Godwin, chances are there will be an option available. Rachaad White should be a steady option as usual, and you could do worse than Cade Otton at tight end, as he’s been averaging a solid 14% target share.
Team Trends for Future Weeks
Notable Rush Funnel Teams: There aren’t any “true” rush funnels to report on this week. Seattle is the biggest, allowing 23% more points to opposing RBs while holding QBs to -11% and WRs to -9%, but they’ve also been a solid matchup for opposing tight ends. Others who either meet the criteria but aren’t particularly worth targeting are Carolina, Denver, and the New York Jets.
Pass Funnel Teams: Detroit, the LA Rams, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, and Tennesee are the largest pass funnel teams at the moment.
IDP Targets: The Giants remain the premier matchup for defensive linemen. Miami and Chicago are giving up a healthy amount of points to linebackers. Thanks to Bryce Young serving up interceptions, Carolina is still the best matchup for DBs. If you can’t get guys against the Panthers, Jacksonville, Miami, and the LA Rams should be next on your list.
Congrats to those of you who made it to the playoffs, and if you didn’t, that just means you need to join a few more leagues to stack the odds in your favor. If you’re anything like me, chances are you’re already getting the itch for prospecting incoming rookies. We have a few more weeks of setting lineups followed by the best DFS time of year, but rookies are on the radar.
Follow me on Twitter @MonCalFF and check out our other Start-Sit articles, which can be found here. Until next week, good luck!