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Fantasy Football Matchups That Matter - Week 5

By Jared Smola 10:54am EDT 10/8/23

Welcome to Week 5’s Matchups That Matter.

The goal of this article is to give you a look into the process that fuels our weekly projections and rankings.

The information below is all stuff that we use when formulating those rankings. Hopefully taking a look through it helps you make better lineup decisions each week.

As always, you should check the Week 5 Rankings and your Team Intel page for customized start/sit advice.

Good luck in Week 5!

 

Highest Game Totals

1. Chiefs at Vikings (53.0)

2. Eagles at Rams (50.5)

3. Jaguars at Bills (48.5)

4. Giants at Dolphins (47.5)

 

Lowest Game Totals

11. Jets at Broncos (43.0)

12. Texans at Falcons (42.0)

13. Saints at Patriots (39.0)

14. Ravens at Steelers (38.5)

  

Highest Implied Points

1. Dolphins (30.0)

2. Chiefs (28.25)

3. Eagles (27.5)

t-4. Lions (26.75)

t-4. Bills (26.75)

    

Lowest Implied Points

23. Texans (19.75)

24. Bears (19.25)

25. Saints (18.75)

26. Giants (17.5)

27. Panthers (17.25)

28. Steelers (17.0)

   

Pass Rate Over Expected, Neutral Pace, and Plays Per Game

Here's where every team ranks in Pass Rate Over Expected, neutral pace (average seconds per snap), and plays per game through 4 weeks:

  

Fastest-Paced Games

(Average of neutral seconds/snap)

1. Saints at Patriots (24.1 seconds)

2. Titans at Colts (24.5 seconds)

3. Jets at Broncos (24.9 seconds)

4. Chiefs at Vikings (25.9 seconds)

5. Packers at Raiders (26.2 seconds)

 

Slowest-Paced Games

(Average of neutral seconds/snap)

10. Jaguars at Bills (27.7 seconds)

11. Giants at Dolphins (28.1 seconds)

12. Panthers at Lions (28.6 seconds)

13. Bears at Commanders (28.8 seconds)

14. Cowboys at 49ers (29.3 seconds)

 

Weather Concerns

Ravens at Steelers

Sustained winds around 15 mph with gusts of 25-30 mph are expected. That's enough to impact the deep-passing and kicking games. Hopefully you're not relying on any pass-catchers in this game outside of Zay Flowers, Mark Andrews, and George Pickens. Downgrade K Justin Tucker a bit, but he's a fine fantasy starter.

 

Quarterback

5 Best Passing Matchups 

(sum of pass offense DVOA and opponent pass defense DVOA)

1. Dolphins vs. Giants (+106.6%)

2. Bills vs. Jaguars (+64.3%)

3. Texans vs. Falcons (+63.9%)

4. Jets vs. Broncos (+62.2%)

5. Packers vs. Raiders (+57.2%)

 

5 Worst Passing Matchups 

(sum of pass offense DVOA and opponent pass defense DVOA)

24. Giants vs. Dolphins (-10.3%)

25. Panthers vs. Lions (-11.7%)

26. Jaguars vs. Bills (-19.0%)

27. Falcons vs. Texans (-34.4%)

28. Steelers vs. Ravens (-39.8%)

 

5 Best QB Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Joshua Dobbs vs. Bengals (+41.5%)

2. Joe Burrow at Cardinals (+42.8%)

3. Ryan Tannehill at Colts (+44.6%)

4. Matthew Stafford vs. Eagles (+56.0%)

5. Zach Wilson at Broncos (+82.9%)

 

5 Worst QB Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

24. Russell Wilson vs. Jets (-31.9%)

25. Desmond Ridder vs. Texans (-33.3%)

26. Derek Carr at Patriots (-40.6%)

27. Trevor Lawrence at Bills (-50.6%)

28. Brock Purdy vs. Cowboys (-52.5%)

 

Sneaky Starters

C.J. Stroud, Texans

The rookie has turned in three straight top-12 fantasy finishes and finds himself in a good spot this weekend.

Stroud gets an Atlanta defense that is looking like a pass funnel. The Falcons rank 10th in run defense DVOA but 27th in pass defense DVOA. They sit a middling 16th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to QBs.

Stroud’s Texans have an underwhelming 19.75-point implied total – but I think the oddsmakers are still underrating this offense.

    

Running Back

5 Best Rushing Matchups 

(sum of rush offense DVOA and opponent rush defense DVOA)

1. Lions vs. Panthers (+30.0%)

2. Dolphins vs. Giants (+24.7%)

3. Cardinals vs. Bengals (+19.3%)

4. Eagles vs. Rams (+17.9%)

5. Falcons vs. Texans (+6.8%)

 

5 Worst Rushing Matchups 

(sum of rush offense DVOA and opponent rush defense DVOA)

24. Raiders vs. Packers (-39.9%)

25. Colts vs. Titans (-42.3%)

26. Texans vs. Falcons (-47.9%)

27. Panthers vs. Lions (-54.4%)

28. Steelers vs. Ravens (-55.9%)

 

5 Best RB Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Commanders vs. Bears (+148.1%)

2. Jets at Broncos (+111.3%)

3. Lions vs. Panthers (+70.1%)

4. Falcons vs. Texans (+68.9%)

5. Bengals at Cardinals (+44.8%)

 

5 Worst RB Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

24. Patriots vs. Saints (-29.5%)

25. Colts vs. Titans (-35.8%)

26. Vikings vs. Chiefs (-37.8%)

27. Eagles at Rams (-39.8%)

28. 49ers vs. Cowboys (-42.3%)

 

Sneaky Starter

Breece Hall, Jets

This feels like a layup, but I want to highlight this potential breakout spot for Hall.

HC Robert Saleh said Wednesday that Hall is no longer on a pitch count after last year’s ACL tear. 

We’ve seen him register 49% and 44% snap rates the last two weeks – and it sounds like we should expect the playing time to grow.

Just in time for a matchup with a truly pathetic Broncos defense. Denver ranks 31st in both run defense DVOA and adjusted fantasy points allowed to RBs.

Tyler Allgeier, Falcons

Allgeier’s snap rates and carry shares have declined each week since the opener. 

That’s partly because RB Bijan Robinson is very good. But also partly because Atlanta has trailed for the vast majority of the last three weeks.

The Falcons are 2-point home favorites vs. the Texans on Sunday. And if they do play with the lead, I expect Allgeier to be more involved. Remember that he racked up 15 carries and three targets in Atlanta’s 24-10 Week 1 win.

The matchup is good, too, against a Texans defense sitting 28th in run defense DVOA and 29th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to RBs.

    

Wide Receiver

5 Best WR Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Bills vs. Jaguars (+52.4%)

2. Rams vs. Eagles (+51.8%)

3. Colts vs. Titans (+43.7%)

4. Ravens vs. Steelers (+43.7%)

5. Cardinals vs. Bengals (+30.9%)

 

5 Worst WR Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

24. Packers vs. Raiders (-21.2%)

25. Lions vs. Panthers (-22.1%)

26. Jaguars vs. Bills (-28.8%)

27. 49ers vs. Cowboys (-30.5%)

28. Broncos vs. Jets (-37.9%)

 

CB Matchup Upgrades

Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase vs. Cardinals CBs Marco Wilson and Kei’Trel Clark

Commanders WRs Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson vs. Bears CBs Terrell Smith and Tyrique Stevenson

Packers WRs Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs vs. Raiders CBs Marcus Peters and Jakorian Bennett

 

CB Matchup Downgrades

Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb vs. 49ers CBs Isaiah Oliver, Charvarius Ward, and Deommodore Lenoir

Broncos WRs Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy vs. Jets CBs Sauce Gardner and Michael Carter

Patriots WR DeVante Parker vs. Saints CB Marshon Lattimore

 

Sneaky Starters

Allen Lazard, Jets

Lazard is coming off a 3-61-1 line in what was one of QB Zach Wilson’s best games as a pro.

This Jets passing game has a chance to roll that momentum into a prime Week 5 matchup vs. the Broncos.

Lazard’s matchup vs. Broncos No. 2 CB Damarri Mathis is particularly strong. Mathis ranks 110th among 111 qualifying CBs in both Pro Football Focus coverage grade and passer rating allowed in coverage.

Lazard certainly isn’t a safe fantasy play. But there’s much more upside here than usual if you’re looking for a down-the-board starter.

Josh Downs, Colts

Downs followed his 12-target, eight-catch Week 3 with just three targets and two catches last week in a run-heavy attack from the Colts

The rookie posted a season-high 87% route rate in that one, though.

And the Colts are a good bet to throw more this week against the pass-funnel Titans. 

Tennessee ranks 30th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs. Slot CB Roger McCreary has allowed a 72% completion rate in coverage.

    

Tight End

5 Best TE Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Jets vs. Broncos (+98.7%)

2. Texans vs. Falcons (+95.4%)

3. Cardinals vs. Bengals (+64.9%)

4. Commanders vs. Bears (+53.1%)

5. Panthers vs. Lions (+40.1%)

 

5 Worst TE Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

24. Lions vs. Panthers (-29.4%)

25. Patriots vs. Saints (-31.1%)

26. Steelers vs. Ravens (-32.5%)

27. 49ers vs. Cowboys (-40.3%)

28. Bears vs. Commanders (-42.1%)

 

Sneaky Starters

Tyler Higbee, Rams

After a quiet opener, Higbee has racked up 23 targets on an 18.0% share over the last three weeks.

He gets an Eagles defense on Sunday that’s struggled against TEs so far, allowing the following lines:

  • 5-56-1 to Hunter Henry
  • 7-66-2 to T.J. Hockenson
  • 3-41-0 to Logan Thomas

Philadelphia sits dead last in TE coverage DVOA and 20h in adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs.

Zach Ertz, Cardinals

Ertz is forcing me to include him here. He caught six of 10 targets last week, bringing him to 30 targets and 20 catches through four games. Those are both top-four marks among TEs.

He gets a plus matchup on Sunday vs. the Bengals, who rank 30th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs and 31st in TE coverage DVOA.

Tyler Conklin, Jets

Yes, another Jet.

We’re gonna keep attacking this historically bad Broncos defense until it gives us a reason not to. 

Denver ranks 29th in TE coverage DVOA and dead last in adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs.

Conklin has totaled 17 targets on a 16.7% share from QB Zach Wilson over the last three weeks.

   

Defense/Special Teams

5 Best DST Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Commanders vs. Bears (+171.0%)

2. Lions vs. Panthers (+143.8%)

3. Jets vs. Broncos (+120.0%)

4. Bears vs. Commanders (+115.4%)

5. Ravens vs. Steelers (+83.3%)

 

5 Worst DST Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

24. Giants vs. Dolphins (-51.2%)

25. Falcons vs. Texans (-64.8%)

26. Eagles vs. Rams (-65.4%)

27. 49ers vs. Cowboys (-72.4%)

28. Cowboys vs. 49ers (-94.8%)

 

Sneaky Starters

Lions

The Panthers have scored 13, 17, and 10 points in QB Bryce Young’s three starts. They’re sporting a 17.25-point implied total this week.

The Lions are a much-improved real-life defense, sitting fifth in DVOA through four weeks.

And they rank ninth in fantasy points, with 13 sacks and four takeaways.

Commanders

We’re starting “DST against the Bears” again.

The Broncos were awful against Chicago last week – but still delivered in fantasy with four sacks, two takeaways, and a defensive TD.

All four DSTs to face the Bears this season have ranked top-7 in fantasy points on the week.

Washington is next on the hit parade. And they get the Bears at home on a short week on Thursday night.

Dolphins

Did you watch the Giants’ Monday night debacle?

11 sacks and three giveaways.

LT Andrew Thomas will likely be out again for Sunday’s game in Miami, where the Giants are 12-point underdogs with a 17.5-point implied total.

   

Kicker

5 Best K Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Daniel Carlson vs. Packers (+82.1%)

2. Chris Boswell vs. Ravens (+50.0%)

3. Jake Elliott vs. Rams (+46.3%)

4. Cairo Santos vs. Commanders (+44.4%)

5. Graham Gano vs. Dolphins (+42.7%)

 

5 Worst K Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

24. Brett Maher vs. Eagles (-27.3%)

25. Tyler Bass vs. Jaguars (-28.3%)

26. Anders Carlson vs. Raiders (-29.6%)

27. Greg Joseph vs. Chiefs (-41.2%)

28. Brandon Aubrey vs. 49ers (-46.3%)

 

Sneaky Starters

Riley Patterson, Lions

He’s yet to miss a kick this season, connecting on all 13 XPs and five FGs.

Patterson’s Lions are at home this weekend with the fourth highest implied total on the slate.

Joey Slye, Commanders

All four kickers to face the Bears so far have delivered multiple FGs and/or 4+ XPs.

The Commanders’ 25.25-point implied total is sixth highest on the week.

  

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