Game Flowbotics A-to-Z – Week 13
You know how this works by now. Here’s my go-to for fantasy matchup data, the Game Flowbotics spreadsheet:
Now let’s dive in, A to Z, for Week 13 of the 2017 NFL season.
A is for Aldrick Robinson.
He caught one of the two passes Jimmy Garoppolo threw in relief of C.J. Beathard last week. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the touchdown throw. Louis Murphy ended his fantasy retirement to catch that one. Zooming out, I’m curious about how the pecking order at wide receiver will shake out for the 49ers with Jimmy G. under center. Will Robinson carve out a larger role? Garoppolo’s box scores from his time in New England don’t reveal much about his wideout type preferences. The sample is too small to draw actionable conclusions. Meanwhile, the Bears hold third receiver types to the league’s second-lowest target volume (5.0 per game), but those targets are the league’s third-most efficient (9.8 yards per pass). If Garoppolo maintains dedication to the Belichick & Brady philosophy of spreading the ball around based on matchups, Robinson could turn his modest target share into decent fantasy production, but so could any of the other options in San Francisco’s pass-catching group.
B is for Bert Alert!
Chiefs receiver Albert Wilson returned from injury in Week 12, posting three receptions for 36 yards and a score on seven targets. That performance came against a Buffalo team allowing relatively average production to number two wideouts (5.7 targets per game, 43.4 yards per game). Bert faces a softer opponent this week in the Jets. They allow 6.1 targets and 51.6 yards per game to second receivers. Wilson isn’t an amazing play, but he’s readily available in redraft and cheap in DFS.
C is for Christian Mingle.
Christian McCaffrey didn’t get any proposals from me in redraft leagues, but we’ve had a number of one-week stands during the season in daily fantasy. I like his matchup this week against New Orleans’ 26th-ranked rush defense, but only one of McCaffrey’s five touchdowns have come on the road. Individually, that’s too small a sample to consider a trend, but running backs generally perform better at home than away, so temper your expectations for scoring plays. He’s also dealing with a shoulder ailment, but practicing through it. Assuming he plays, 10-15 touches are all but guaranteed. Even with Greg Olsen back after an injury aggravation scare in Week 12, McCaffrey should still see plenty of action in the passing game. Negative game script is likely for Carolina as 4.5-point underdogs, and the Saints allow the ninth-most yards per pass to opposing running backs.
D is for Dial Dontrelle.
Dontrelle Inman should be a volume hog against San Francisco. The Niners allow 0.9 passes per game and 7.7 yards per game above average to opposing number one wideouts, and Inman has 7.3 targets per game for about 60 yards per game over the past three weeks. Give him a ring if he’s a free agent in your league.
E is for Eric Ebron
Somehow, Ebron is slowly picking up steam and starting to deliver on his now defunct preseason hype. He’s averaging slightly more than six standard fantasy points per game over the past three weeks (9.4 PPG in PPR), and Detroit now faces Baltimore. The Ravens allow the second-fewest points per game to wide receivers, but the 12th-most to tight ends. Ebron’s recent role should stay intact, and it might even expand based on the matchup.
F is for Fiedorowicz.
C.J. Fiedorowicz garnered eight targets last week against the Ravens, tied with Bruce Ellington for second on the team behind DeAndre Hopkins. It was the first glimpse in 2017 of Fiedorowicz’ 2016 form, when he averaged over seven targets per game between Weeks 4 and 17. With a bad quarterback under center, Bill O’Brien’s offense generally makes heavy use of the tight end, and that should continue this week against Tennessee. The Titans allow the fifth-most passes per game to tight ends (8.1), setting up Fiedorowicz for a solid PPR floor.
G is for Geno Smith.
For an assessment of Geno’s Week 13 outlook, check out my Week 13 rankings article.
H is for Hail Mary.
For the second week in a row, I’m intrigued by J.D. McKissic as a desperation play at running back. Mike Davis returning from injury bedevils Seattle’s already complicated committee, but since Week 9, McKissic’s targets have increased steadily from 3 to 5 to 6 to 7. The Seahawks will probably need to pass a lot to keep up with Philadelphia, so McKissic should continue to see volume through the air.
I is for Implied Totals.
As of this writing on Friday morning, only seven teams have a higher implied total than Tennessee’s mark of 24.75. Using Marcus Mariota and Corey Davis hasn’t been rewarding in recent weeks, but what good is a dead horse if not for flogging? The Texans allow the second-most points to opposing quarterbacks and the fourth-most points to opposing wide receivers. This is a fine matchup to expect positive regression for both Mariota and Davis. Please, stone, we want some blood.
J is for Jumpin’ Jerick Flash.
The Falcons have allowed the most receptions to running backs this season on almost two passes per game above the NFL average for the position. The three best RB performances against Atlanta were by Ty Montgomery, Tarik Cohen, and Christian McCaffrey. Like those backs, Jerick McKinnon sources most of his fantasy value from the passing game, which puts him in a great spot for PPR production against the Dirty Birds.
K is for King Kupp.
Categories? Let’s go with bad defenses against slot receivers, and I’ll start with Arizona. According to Graham Barfield, the Cardinals allow the fourth-most PPR points to slot guys. With Robert Woods still on the shelf, Week 13 presents an excellent convergence of matchup and volume for Cooper Kupp. He’ll be in plenty of my DraftKings lineups this weekend.
L-M is for Lamar Miller.
Leading up to Thanksgiving, I discovered a way to cheat fewer blurbs into these article by mashing letters together. You may call it laziness, I call it ingenuity, but I digress. Let’s talk about Lamar Miller. The Titans give up the sixth-fewest fantasy points to running backs, but Miller owns the best performance against them this season. He scored 25.1 points in Week 4, thanks in large part to his receiving contributions (4 catches for 56 yards and a touchdown). Backs as receivers have been a constant problem for the Titans in 2017, as their defense allows 1.5 passes per game above the NFL average to rushers. I’ve already talked up C.J. Fiedorowicz as a PPR option this week, but Tom Savage’s checkdowns could just as easily be heaped on Miller out of the backfield in this matchup.
N is for Newton’s Law.
A body in motion stays in motion, and Cam Newton has scored 7+ fantasy points with rushing production alone in each of his past three games. If he can get anything going through the air against a Saints defense likely without Marshon Lattimore, Newton is a shoo-in for his fifth-straight top-15 finish.
O is for Overshadowed.
Mike Evans will make his way into plenty of DFS lineups against a Green Bay defense allowing the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers. But on the other side of the ball, Davante Adams is plenty appealing as well. Tampa Bay gives up the most fantasy points to receivers (28.7 combined PPG), and number one receivers specifically receive more passes per game against the Bucs than any other team (10.5).
P-Q is for Pretty Quiet.
Jared Cook has been just that since the Raiders’ Week 10 bye, posting only three receptions for 38 yards across two games. Cook will look to crank the volume all the way up to 11 in Week 13 against the woeful Giants defense. New York ranks bottom-five in passes per game, yards per game, and yards per pass to opposing tight ends, and Oakland might be without both Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
R is for Robby on a Roll.
No, I’m not advocating the cannibalization of Robby Anderson. He doesn’t belong on a hoagie, but he does belong in your fantasy lineups yet again in Week 13. The Chiefs’ defense allows 93.4 yards per game to featured receivers, which is 28.1 yards per game above the NFL average.
S is for Sanders Skepticism.
Many will expect Emmanuel Sanders to get back to esteemed fantasy status with Trevor Siemian reinstalled as Denver’s quarterback, but those many Manny truthers may need to wait until next week. The Dolphins only allow 4.5 passes per game and 37.3 yards per game to number two wideouts.
T is for Trouble for Thomas Instead?
The Dolphins are less stingy on defense against number one receivers, ranking 29th in DVOA against the position. If I’ve misassigned Emmanuel Sanders to the number two role in Denver behind Demaryius Thomas, then DT is the player to avoid in Denver’s receiving group. There’s definitely some gray area here, though, and that makes both receivers risky plays because their usage might be split too evenly for either to have a truly great game. Thomas seems like the safer play because he better fits the archetype of players to previously succeed against Miami, like Robby Anderson, Michael Thomas, and Devin Funchess. With that said, I won’t invest heavily in either Denver wideout in DFS. There just isn’t much upside in a matchup between two bad teams with a sub-40 over/under.
U is for Unplayable.
Wide receivers have been just that against Jaguars defensive backs A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey this season. Get T.Y. Hilton out of your lineups.
V is for Victory Formation (Redux).
As 8.5-point favorites, the Patriots could find themselves in kneel-down mode relatively early against the Bills. We all know they won’t actually start kneeling in the third quarter, but they’ll certainly look to run the ball to keep the clock ticking, so make sure you have some exposure to both Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead in your DFS lineups.
W is for Wide Receiver Embargo.
In Cleveland, it has finally been lifted. Josh Gordon will start across from Corey Coleman in Week 13. This is an amazing accomplishment for Gordon on his road to recovery, and it’s also intriguing from a fantasy perspective. The Chargers are an extremely tough matchup, as I discussed on the 2QB Experience podcast earlier this week, but the Browns upgrading their receiving talent can only help DeShone Kizer. Coleman is my favorite play from Cleveland this week. He has 19 targets over his past two games and not against soft defenses, either. Assuming his target volume isn’t siphoned away by Gordon, I like Coleman to maintain PPR value in spite of facing the Chargers.
X is for Xavier Rhodes.
I didn’t expect him to get torched by Marvin Jones last week. Perhaps the calf injury he suffered against the Rams in Week 11 is more of an issue than we know. You’re starting Julio Jones against Minnesota regardless, but a potentially hobbled Rhodes could open up more opportunity for Mohamed Sanu as well. As Atlanta’s receivers go, so goes Matt Ryan. Together, they make for interesting DFS stacks this week, perhaps bordering on contrarian if Minnesota’s points-against rankings scare owners away. Ryan is the 12th-most expensive quarterback on FanDuel, and the Falcons have Week 13’s seventh-highest implied total.
Y is for Your Guess Is As Good As Mine.
Especially when it comes to Martavis Bryant. JuJu Smith-Schuster should return this week against Cincinnati, and the Bengals have been very stingy against number two wide receivers, allowing only 24.2 yards per game to the position. In estimating which of Pittsburgh’s secondary targets will draw that terrible matchup, Football Outsiders is vague about how they differentiate receiver types, but my understanding is that slot guys generally default to third receiver status. If I’m correct, that bodes well for Smith-Schuster, who works primarily from the slot. The Bengals allow 11.4 yards per pass to third bananas, by far the most in the league. The NFL average vs. number three wideouts is 7.4 yards per pass, and the second best matchup for the position is Indianapolis at 9.9 yards per pass.
Z is for Zay Jones.
I’ll admit I’ve been too hard on this rookie, while being too sympathetic to Corey Davis. The lesson is that rookie receivers are rarely predictable week-to-week. Maybe next year I’ll learn. As discussed above in “I is for Implied Totals,” I am still high on Corey Davis. He has led the Titans in targets each of the past three weeks and draws a dream matchup against a Texans team allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers. There I go again, turning my attention away from Jones to swoon over Davis. Zay is also in a good spot this week, facing New England’s 22nd-ranked defense against number one wideouts according to DVOA. The Pats also allow the most yards per pass to top options like Jones. Their defense is improving, though, and Jones could be in trouble depending on how Bill Belichick focuses his defensive schemes. If he takes LeSean McCoy away, that would likely create more volume for Bills receivers. But if I were him, I’d aim to shut down the passing game and let Buffalo try to pace my unstoppable offense with clock-killing runs.
Editor’s Note: DVOA, Adjusted Line Yards, Adjusted Sack Rate, and Versus-Receiver statistics from FootballOutsiders.com. Fantasy Scoring and Red Zone statistics from FantasyData.com. Snap data from airyards.com.