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Fantasy Football Matchups That Matter - Week 7

By Jared Smola | Updated on Sun, 22 Oct 2023 . 9:56 AM EDT

Welcome to Week 7’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 7 Rankings and your Team Intel page for customized start/sit advice.

Good luck in Week 7!

  

Highest Game Totals

1. Dolphins at Eagles (52.0)

2. Chargers at Chiefs (48.0)

3. Packers at Broncos (45.0)

4. Cardinals at Seahawks (44.5)

t-5. Steelers at Rams (44.0)

t-5. 49ers at Vikings (44.0)

   

Lowest Game Totals

9. Browns at Colts (40.5)

10. Bills at Patriots (40.0)

11. Raiders at Bears (38.0)

t-12. Falcons at Buccaneers (37.5)

t-12. Commanders at Giants (37.5)

   

Highest Implied Points

1. Eagles (27.5)

2. Chiefs (26.75)

3. Seahawks (26.5)

4. 49ers (25.25)

5. Dolphins (24.5)

   

Lowest Implied Points

22. Cardinals (18.0)

t-23. Falcons (17.5)

t-23. Bears (17.5)

25. Giants (17.25)

26. Patriots (16.25)

  

Pass Rate Over Expected + Neutral Pace

Here's where every team ranks in Pass Rate Over Expected, neutral pace (average seconds per snap), and plays per game through 6 weeks:

 

Fastest-Paced Games

(Average of neutral seconds/snap)

1. Browns at Colts (23.8 seconds)

2. Bills at Patriots (25.6 seconds)

3. Jaguars at Saints (26.0 seconds)

4. Chargers at Chiefs (26.2 seconds)

 

Slowest-Paced Games

(Average of neutral seconds/snap)

10. Packers at Broncos (27.7 seconds)

11. Lions at Ravens (27.9 seconds)

12. Commanders at Giants (28.0 seconds)

13. Raiders at Bears (28.6 seconds)

 

Weather Concerns

Commanders at Giants

Sustained winds of 15-20 mph, with gusts up to 30 mph. That's enough to impact deep passes and kicks. This game's over/under has dropped from 42.5 to 37.5 -- tied for lowest on the week.

Lions at Ravens

Sustained winds of 15-20 mph, with gusts up to 30 mph. That's enough to impact deep passes and kicks. This game's over/under has dropped from 48.0 to 43.0, although that's still the seventh highest total on the week.

  

Quarterback

5 Best Passing Matchups 

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

1. 49ers at Vikings (+75.7%)

2. Dolphins at Eagles (+72.9%)

3. Bills at Patriots (+70.9%)

4. Packers at Broncos (+67.7%)

5. Seahawks vs. Cardinals (67.3%)

 

5 Worst Passing Matchups 

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

22. Falcons at Buccaneers (-6.5%)

23. Vikings vs. 49ers (-7.0%)

24. Browns at Colts (-9.0%)

25. Patriots vs. Bills (-17.9%)

26. Colts vs. Browns (-26.9%)

 

5 Best QB Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Patrick Mahomes vs. Chargers (+87.7%)

2. Tua Tagovailoa at Eagles (+41.8%)

3. Geno Smith vs. Cardinals (+38.7%)

4. Jordan Love at Broncos (+33.6%)

5. P.J. Walker at Colts (+32.3%)

 

5 Worst QB Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

22. Jared Goff at Ravens (-19.8%)

23. Josh Allen at Patriots (-20.9%)

24. Kirk Cousins vs. 49ers (-21.3%)

25. Gardner Minshew vs. Browns (-23.8%)

26. Mac Jones vs. Bills (-34.3%)

  

Sneaky Starters

Jordan Love, Packers

This is bad on bad.

Love has not played well this season, despite what his early-season fantasy production might have said.

The Broncos defense has been even worse. Denver ranks:

  • 31st in passing yards allowed
  • 32nd in passing TDs allowed
  • 32nd in yards per pass attempt allowed
  • 32nd in pass defense DVOA
  • 29th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to QBs

It’s a get-right spot for Love, who is at least running and throwing the ball downfield. He’s averaging 21.8 rushing yards per game and leads the league with 9.8 intended air yards per pass attempt. That creates fantasy upside.

Sam Howell, Commanders

It’s not always pretty, but Howell keeps scoring fantasy points. He’s finished as a top-13 fantasy QB in five of six games this season, including QB6 finishes the past two weeks.

He gets a Giants squad this Sunday that ranks 26th in pass defense DVOA. New York sits a middling 15th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to QBs but has been helped by facing the fifth fewest pass attempts.

  

Running Back

5 Best Rushing Matchups 

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

1. Eagles vs. Dolphins (+16.0%)

2. Broncos vs. Packers (+6.5%)

3. Commanders at Giants (+3.8%)

4. Dolphins at Eagles (+3.6%)

5. 49ers at Vikings (+2.5%)

 

5 Worst Rushing Matchups 

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

22. Saints vs. Jaguars (-32.6%)

23. Steelers at Rams (-38.4%)

24. Raiders at Bears (-38.7%)

25. Buccaneers vs. Falcons (-43.9%)

26. Giants vs. Commanders (-44.2%)

 

5 Best RB Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Packers at Broncos (+108.7%)

2. Raiders at Bears (+68.2%)

3. Seahawks vs. Cardinals (+35.1%)

4. Broncos vs. Packers (+33.8%)

5. Bears vs. Raiders (+25.7%)

 

5 Worst RB Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

22. Colts vs. Broncos (-27.1%)

23. Dolphins at Eagles (-32.0%)

24. Steelers at Rams (-33.8%)

25. Chargers at Chiefs (-35.5%)

26. Ravens vs. Lions (-37.2%)

 

Sneaky Starter

Latavius Murray, Bills

Murray is coming off season-highs last week with 12 carries and a 49% snap rate.

RB Damien Harris left that one early with a neck injury and concussion. He’s a long shot to play this weekend, which should be a boost to Murray’s usage.

Murray and Harris have combined this year to average:

  • 9.0 carries per game
  • 1.7 targets
  • 2.2 carries inside the 10
  • 1.3 carries inside the 5

Those are reasonable projections for Murray this week, making him a viable fantasy starter in a neutral matchup vs. New England’s 15th-ranked RB defense.

   

Wide Receiver

5 Best WR Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Giants vs. Commanders (+55.0%)

2. Rams vs. Steelers (+52.1%)

3. Dolphins at Eagles (+34.1%)

4. Saints vs. Jaguars (+33.7%)

5. Chiefs vs. Chargers (+32.4%)

 

5 Worst WR Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

22. Bills at Patriots (-14.1%)

23. Bears vs. Raiders (-15.5%)

24. Steelers at Rams (-22.2%)

25. Bucs vs. Falcons (-27.7%)

26. Colts vs. Browns (-50.9%)

 

CB Matchup Upgrades

Bills WRs Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis vs. Patriots CBs J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, and Myles Bryant

Rams WRs Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, and Tutu Atwell vs. Steelers CBs Levi Wallace and Patrick Peterson

Seahawks WRs D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett vs. Cardinals CBs Marco Wilson and Kei’Trel Clark

49ers WRs Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel vs. Vikings CBs Akayleb Evans, Byron Murphy, and Josh Metellus

Jaguars WR Christian Kirk vs. Saints CB Alontae Taylor

Packers WRs Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, and Jayden Reed vs. Broncos CBs Damarri Mathis and Ja’Quan McMillian

Commanders WRs Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel vs. Giants CBs Adoree Jackson, Deonte Banks, and Cordale Flott

  

CB Matchup Downgrades

Chargers WRs Keenan Allen, Josh Palmer, and Quentin Johnson vs. Chiefs CBs L’Jarius Sneed and Trent McDuffie

Colts WRs Michael Pittman and Josh Downs vs. Browns CBs Denzel Ward, Martin Emerson, and Greg Newsome

Vikings WRs Jordan Addison and K.J. Osborn vs. 49ers CBs Charvarius Ward, Deommodore Lenoir, and Isaiah Oliver

  

Sneaky Starters

Michael Thomas, Saints

Thomas has been better than his current WR47 standing in PPR scoring would indicate.

He hasn’t found the end zone yet but ranks:

  • 16th among WRs in targets
  • 17th in catches
  • 33rd in receiving yards

He’s looking like a pretty reliable WR3. 

And he gets a nice matchup on Thursday night vs. a Jaguars defense that ranks 29th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs and will be missing starting CB Tyson Campbell.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Seahawks

The rookie saw better usage coming out of the bye week, setting season-highs with a 78% route rate and 7.4-yard average target depth.

Those are far from elite marks, but they’re enough to give Smith-Njigba a shot at WR4-level production going forward.

He could do even better than that in this weekend’s plus matchup vs. the Cardinals’ 21st-ranked WR defense. Arizona is down primary slot defender Jalen Thompson and backup slot CB Antonio Hamilton.

    

Tight End

5 Best TE Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Steelers at Rams (+37.8%)

2. Raiders at Bears (+36.9%)

3. Packers at Broncos (+34.7%)

4. Browns at Colts (+27.7%)

5. Ravens vs. Lions (+27.4%)

 

5 Worst TE Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

22. Patriots vs. Bills (-29.0%)

23. Lions at Ravens (-30.1%)

24. Jaguars at Saints (-31.0%)

25. Falcons at Buccaneers (-32.8%)

26. Rams vs. Steelers (-33.2%)

  

Sneaky Starter

Luke Musgrave, Packers

The hope here is that the rookie sees an expanded role coming out of the bye week.

Not that Musgrave’s role has been bad so far. He’s sitting on a 65% route rate and 14.2% target share – despite missing about a half of Week 4.

Musgrave gets a Broncos defense on Sunday that ranks 31st in TE coverage DVOA and 29th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs.

     

Defense/Special Teams

5 Best DST Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Giants vs. Commanders (+141.4%)

2. Commanders at Giants (+124.5%)

3. Bills at Patriots (+110.7%)

4. Raiders at Bears (+99.5%)

5. Colts vs. Browns (+51.1%)

 

5 Worst DST Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

22. Chargers at Chiefs (-46.4%)

23. Steelers at Rams (-49.6%)

24. Ravens vs. Lions (-57.2%)

25. Chiefs vs. Chargers (-67.1%)

26. Vikings vs. 49ers (-89.2%)

  

Sneaky Starters

Raiders

As Draft Countdown’s Shane Hallam perfectly put it:

“In December, Tyson Bagent threw 2 interceptions and was sacked 8 times against Colorado School of Mines.

He will face the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.”

Seahawks

Josh Dobbs has turned back into Josh Dobbs the last two weeks, completing 49% of his passes, tossing three INTs, and taking five sacks.

The Seahawks have 19 sacks through five games. Eleven of those came vs. the Giants. But this defense ranks 14th in pressure rate and eighth in Pro Football Focus pass rush grade.

Arizona’s 18.0-point implied total is fifth lowest on the week.

   

Kicker

5 Best K Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Graham Gano vs. Commanders (+71.4%)

2. Jake Elliott vs. Dolphins (+56.5%)

3. Daniel Carlson at Bears (+45.8%)

4. Tyler Bass at Patriots (+37.3%)

5. Anders Carlson at Broncos (+31.6%)

 

5 Worst K Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

22. Matt Gay vs. Browns (-28.2%)

23. Chad Ryland vs. Bills (-28.9%)

24. Blake Grupe vs. Jaguars (-29.9%)

25. Jason Sanders at Eagles (-37.5%)

26. Cameron Dicker at Chiefs (-43.7%)

 

Sneaky Starters

Jason Myers, Seahawks

Myers ranks top 10 among kickers in fantasy points per game so far and draws a strong Week 7 matchup. His Seahawks are 8.5-point home favorites with a 26.5-point implied total vs. the Cardinals, who rank 24th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to kickers.

Anders Carlson, Packers

The rookie hasn't missed a kick yet, connecting on all seven FGs tries and all 10 XPs.

He gets a a plus matchup on Sunday vs. the Broncos, who rank 27th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to kickers.

The Packers are implied for a decent 23.0 points, which is actually eighth highest in what's projected to be a low-scoring week across the league.

 

Jared Smola Author Image
Jared Smola, Lead Analyst
Jared has been with Draft Sharks since 2007. He’s now Lead Analyst, heading up the preseason and weekly projections that fuel your Draft War Room and My Team tools. He currently ranks 1st among 133 analysts in draft rankings accuracy.
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