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Fantasy Football Matchups That Matter - Week 8

By Jared Smola 10:03am EDT 10/29/23

Welcome to Week 8’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 8 Rankings and your Team Intel page for customized start/sit advice.

Good luck in Week 8!

 

Highest Game Totals

t-1. Patriots at Dolphins (46.5)

t-1. Bears at Chargers (46.5)

t-1. Raiders at Lions (46.5)

4. Chiefs at Broncos (46.0)

5. Rams at Cowboys (45.5)

 

Lowest Game Totals

12. Vikings at Packers (41.5)

13. Jaguars at Steelers (41.0)

14. Browns at Seahawks (37.5)

16. Falcons at Titans (35.5)

16. Jets at Giants (35.0)

  

Highest Implied Points

1. Dolphins (27.5)

t-1. Chargers (27.5)

t-3. Lions (27.25)

t-3. Ravens (27.25)

t-5. Chiefs (26.5)

t-5. Bills (26.5)

7. Cowboys (26.0)

  

Lowest Implied Points

28. Cardinals (17.25)

29. Browns (17.0)

30. Buccaneers (16.5)

31. Titans (16.25)

32. Giants (16.0)

   

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 7 weeks:

 

Fastest-Paced Games

(Average of neutral seconds/snap)

1. Saints at Colts (23.3 seconds)

2. Patriots at Dolphins (25.9 seconds)

3. Vikings at Packers (26.0 seconds)

4. Browns at Seahawks (26.2 seconds)

5. Jets at Giants (26.3 seconds)

 

Slowest-Paced Games

(Average of neutral seconds/snap)

28. Raiders at Lions (27.6 seconds)

29. Bears at Chargers (27.8 seconds)

30. Chiefs at Broncos (28.2 seconds)

31. Bengals at 49ers (28.7 seconds)

32. Falcons at Titans (29.1 seconds)

  

Weather Concerns

Jets at Giants

70-80% chance of rain, but winds shouldn't be a problem. This game figured to be low-scoring anyway, and the weather won't help. This total has sunk from 39.0 to 35.0.

Chiefs at Broncos

Temperatures will be in the 20s for this one. Denver got a big snow storm on Saturday, but the snow is expected to stop before kickoff. Winds will be light. The weather shouldn't have a big impact on this game.

  

Quarterback

5 Best Passing Matchups 

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

1. Chiefs at Broncos (+93.1%)

2. 49ers vs. Bengals (+66.3%)

3. Ravens at Cardinals (+66.0%)

4. Dolphins vs. Patriots (+63.9%)

5. Bills vs. Buccaneers (+59.0%)

 

5 Worst Passing Matchups 

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

28. Raiders at Lions (-10.8%)

29. Steelers vs. Jaguars (-10.8%)

30. Bengals at 49ers (-14.4%)

31. Cardinals vs. Ravens (-15.6%)

32. Giants vs. Jets (-16.4%)

 

5 Best QB Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Tyson Bagent at Chargers (+90.8%)

2. Lamar Jacskson at Cardinals (+34.2%)

3. Patrick Mahomes at Broncos (+28.5%)

4. Jalen Hurts at Commanders (+24.4%)

5. Sam Howell vs. Eagles (+21.5%)

 

5 Worst QB Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

28. Baker Mayfield at Bills (-18.2%)

29. Jared Goff vs. Raiders (-18.5%)

30. Daniel Jones vs. Jets (-21.3%)

31. Russell Wilson vs. Chiefs (-23.5%)

32. Joshua Dobbs vs. Ravens (-27.4%)

 

Sneaky Starters

C.J. Stroud, Texans

In case you forgot as he comes off his bye week, Stroud has been awesome so far this season. He’s averaging 7.8 yards per attempt with 9 TDs vs. just one INT.

In fantasyland, Stroud has finished as a top-12 QB in four of his last five games.

He gets a Panthers defense on Sunday that ranks 15th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to QBs. They’d rank even lower if they weren’t so bad against the run. Carolina has faced the second fewest pass attempts per game.

It’s a favorable matchup for Stroud, who will get WR Tank Dell back from his concussion.

Derek Carr, Saints

Close your eyes for this one.

Carr has played some bad football lately. But he’s finished QB10 and QB13 in fantasy points the last two weeks – largely because he’s totaled a whopping 105 pass attempts.

He could be in for big volume again this weekend. 

Saints-Colts is easily the fastest-paced game of the week, with both teams ranking top four in neutral pace. Both teams also rank top six in plays per game.

Colts games have produced the second most average points per game this season.

That’s a primary reason that Indianapolis ranks 27th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to QBs.

 

Running Back

5 Best Rushing Matchups 

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

1. Ravens at Cardinals (+19.9%)

2. 49ers vs. Bengals (+11.7%)

3. Dolphins vs. Patriots (+9.5%)

4. Lions vs. Raiders (+4.4%)

5. Eagles at Commanders (-1.7%)

 

5 Worst Rushing Matchups 

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

28. Seahawks vs. Browns (-35.5%)

29. Buccaneers at Bills (-38.7%)

30. Steelers vs. Jaguars (-41.1%)

31. Giants vs. Jets (-42.4%)

32. Raiders at Lions (-49.5%)

 

5 Best RB Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Chiefs at Broncos (+98.8%)

2. Texans at Panthers (+48.2%)

3. Chargers vs. Bears (+43.4%)

4. Lions vs. Raiders (+32.8%)

5. Ravens at Cardinals (+27.2%)

 

5 Worst RB Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

28. Bills vs. Buccaneers (-24.5%)

29. Rams at Cowboys (-25.1%)

30. Packers vs. Vikings (-26.5%)

31. Broncos vs. Chiefs (-30.6%)

32. Commanders vs. Eagles (-41.2%)

 

Sneaky Starter

Gus Edwards, Ravens

Edwards has totaled 57 carries over the past four weeks, emerging as Baltimore’s primary early-down back.

He remains a near-zero in the passing game, which makes him a low-floor fantasy play.

But he’s in an ideal spot this weekend.

The Ravens are 9.5-point favorites in Arizona, so game script should work in Edwards’ favor.

The Cardinals rank 29th in run defense DVOA and 28th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to RBs.

Devin Singletary, Texans

The last time we saw Houston back in Week 6, Singletary beat RB Dameon Pierce in:

  • Snaps (52% to 35%)
  • Routes (50% to 23%)
  • Opportunities (14 to 13)

HC Demeco Ryans said after that game that he wants to “continue to balance both guys out.”

I’m expecting something close to a 50/50 split in carries this weekend, with Singletary handling the majority of the passing-game work.

And the matchup is awesome against the Panthers, who rank dead last in run defense DVOA and 31st in adjusted fantasy points allowed to RBs.

  

Wide Receiver

5 Best WR Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Eagles at Commanders (+43.2%)

2. Bears at Chargers (+34.0%)

3. Jaguars at Steelers (+33.2%)

4. 49ers vs. Bengals (+21.2%)

5. Commanders vs. Eagles (+19.4%)

 

5 Worst WR Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

28. Cowboys vs. Rams (-18.2%)

29. Texans at Panthers (-19.5%)

30. Titans vs. Falcons (-25.2%)

31. Giants vs. Jets (-33.7%)

32. Seahawks vs. Browns (-33.9%)

 

CB Matchup Upgrades

Buccaneers WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin vs. Bills CBs Dane Jackson and Christian Benford

Jets WR Garrett Wilson vs. Giants CBs Adoree Jackson, Deonte Banks, and Cordale Flott

Ravens WR Zay Flowers vs. Cardinals CBs Marco Wilson, Starling Thomas, and Andre Chachere

Falcons WR Drake London vs. Titans CBs Kristian Fulton and Roger McCreary

Jaguars WR Christian Kirk vs. Steelers CB Patrick Peterson

Colts WR Josh Downs vs. Saints CB Alontae Taylor

Packers WRs Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs vs. Vikings CBs Byron Murphy and Akayleb Evans

Texans WRs Nico Collins and Tank Dell vs. Panthers CBs Donte Jackson and C.J. Henderson

Chiefs WR Rashee Rice vs. Broncos CB Ja’Quan McMillian

 

CB Matchup Downgrades

Broncos WRs Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy vs. Chiefs CBs L’Jarius Sneed and Trent McDuffie

Giants WRs Darius Slayton, Jalin Hyatt, and Wan’Dale Robinson vs. Jets CBs Sauce Gardner, D.J. Reed, and Michael Carter

 

Sneaky Starters

Josh Downs, Colts

This feels cheap considering Downs is coming off a 5-125-1 line and has now finished as a top-30 PPR WR in three straight weeks.

But I wanna highlight this matchup.

The Saints have been getting roasted by slot receivers all season, most recently by Christian Kirk last week.

Slot CB Alontae Taylor ranks 61st among 71 qualifying CBs in Pro Football Focus’ coverage grades and 41st in passer rating allowed in coverage.

Downs has played 76% of his snaps in the slot this season, setting the rookie up for another nice game on Sunday.

Kendrick Bourne, Patriots

Bourne very sneakily ranks:

  • 19th among WRs in targets
  • 18th in catches
  • 33rd in receiving yards
  • 32nd in PPR points per game

He’s been a consistent target earner, registering a 20+% target share in three straight games and five of seven overall.

Bourne is a nice volume bet this weekend with his Patriots 9.5-point underdogs in Miami.

The Dolphins rank 24th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to WRs.

  

Tight End

5 Best TE Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Chargers vs. Bears (+35.5%)

2. Cowboys vs. Rams (+34.6%)

3. Giants vs. Jets (+28.4%)

4. Raiders at Lions (+28.0%)

5. Saints at Colts (+27.5%)

 

5 Worst TE Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

28. Ravens at Cardinals (-29.4%)

29. Bills vs. Buccaneers (-32.1%)

30. Colts vs. Saints (-32.5%)

31. Jaguars at Steelers (-37.6%)

32. Seahawks vs. Browns (-38.7%)

 

Sneaky Starters

Dalton Kincaid, Bills

The rookie is coming off his best game of the season: eight catches on eight targets for 75 yards against the Patriots.

Kincaid is up to 4.5 targets and 4.2 catches per game this season, despite running a route on just 67% of pass plays in his six games.

That number should jump into the 70s or maybe even 80s with TE Dawson Knox out with a wrist injury.

Jake Ferguson, Cowboys

Ferguson totaled just four catches on four targets over his last two games. But he actually registered his two highest route rates of the season in those games.

He averaged 6.3 targets and 4.3 catches over the first four games of the season and has a good track to get rolling again on Sunday.

Ferguson draws a Rams defense that ranks 31st in adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs and 30th in TE coverage DVOA.

Opposing TEs have caught 71% of their targets and averaged 12.9 yards per catch vs. the Rams – both well above league average.

Trey McBride, Cardinals

The matchup is admittedly brutal. Baltimore ranks sixth in adjusted fantasy points allowed to TEs and ninth in TE coverage DVOA.

But McBride has been sneaky good this year. Among 34 TEs with 15+ targets, he ranks:

  • 8th in yards per target
  • 2nd in yards per route
  • 8th in Pro Football Focus receiving grade

Remember that McBride was the 55th overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft after tallying 1,121 yards and winning the Mackey Award as the nation’s top TE in 2021.

He should see a significantly expanded role with TE Zach Ertz now on IR.

Cardinals TEs have combined to average 9.9 targets per game on a 30% target share so far this season.

  

Defense/Special Teams

5 Best DST Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Eagles at Commanders (+114.3%)

2. Jets at Giants (+106.6%)

3. Lions vs. Raiders (+88.3%)

4. Chargers vs. Bears (+83.4%)

5. Dolphins vs. Patriots (+73.6%)

 

5 Worst DST Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

28. Broncos vs. Chiefs (-41.6%)

29. Cowboys vs. Rams (-48.3%)

30. Bears at Chargers (-53.5%)

31. Panthers vs. Texans (-60.0%)

32. Bengals at 49ers (-79.6%)

 

Sneaky Starters

Falcons

Atlanta’s DST has delivered nice fantasy scores in plus matchups the last two weeks vs. the Commanders and Bucs.

Week 8 brings another prime matchup vs. the Titans, who have a porous offensive line and are expected to start rookie QB Will Levis. Levis tossed 23 INTs over his final two college seasons.

Tennessee’s 16.25-point implied total is second-lowest on the week.

Seahawks

Seattle has been playing dominant run defense all season and has been better against the pass lately.

This defense also ranks ninth in sack rate and 13th in pressure rate.

The Seahawks are home on Sunday for a Browns offense that will start QB P.J. Walker, who’s tossed three INTs over the last two weeks.

Cleveland’s 17.0-point implied total is fourth-lowest on the week.

  

Kicker

5 Best K Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

1. Younghoe Koo at Titans (+53.0%)

2. Jake Elliott at Commanders (+44.8%)

3. Greg Joseph at Packers (+40.6%)

4. Cameron Dicker vs. Bears (+34.6%)

5. Jason Sanders vs. Patriots (+29.6%)

 

5 Worst K Matchups 

(based on 2023 adjusted fantasy points allowed)

28. Chris Boswell vs. Jaguars (-25.3%)

29. Brandon McManus at Steelers (-27.8%)

30. Joey Slye vs. Eagles (-34.4%)

31. Lucas Kavrisik at Cowboys (-37.0%)

32. Wil Lutz vs. Chiefs (-40.5%)

 

Sneaky Starters

Riley Patterson, Lions

Patterson ranks outside the top 20 kickers in most fantasy scoring systems.

But that’s only because the Lions have been so damn efficient at scoring TDs. Patterson ranks fourth in XP attempts but 31st in FGs.

That should swing at least a little bit in the other direction going forward.

The Lions are 8-point home favorites vs. the Lions on Monday night with a 27.25-point implied total – tied for third-highest on the week.

Brandon Aubrey, Cowboys

What does this man need to do to get some respect in fantasy circles?!

Aubrey has made all 16 of his FG attempts through six games and ranks second among kickers in fantasy points per game.

Yet he’s still available in more than half of fantasy leagues on Sleeper.

Grab him if you can and start him this week vs. the Rams, who rank 27th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to kickers.

 

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