Yet, accurately determining the difficulty of a matchup and the true value of a player can be challenging if you use the same old dusty stats that every fantasy site has been using for the last decade.
Fantasy football is a game of numbers, so why not use the next generation of fantasy analytics to do the number crunching for you?
That’s why my weekly column ‘Number Crunch’ uses a proprietary system called “FantasyoMatic,” which uses an algorithm to provide the actual strength of an opponent and actual player capabilities with accuracy levels that you cannot find anywhere else. This system takes all the emotion and guesswork out of winning in fantasy football, and has proven to be up to 46 percent more accurate than the metrics that everyone else in your league is using.
Sound complicated? Don’t worry — it’s simple to understand. All you need to know is that the player or matchup with the higher rating is the better option. Positive numbers mean positive matchups, negative numbers mean negative matchups. That’s it.
Let the system do all the number crunching. All you need to do is find a spot for that fantasy league trophy.
Weekly Matchup Ranges
Below are the EASIEST and TOUGHEST defensive matchups against each fantasy position. The higher the number, the better the matchup for players facing them.
Want ALL the Defense Ratings? Find them here.
Here’s an easy breakdown of how each player module works. When these terms are mentioned in the text (i.e. “best”) they are corresponding to these ratings and colors:
Players who could exceed expectations this week based on their ability to outplay their matchups combined with the weakness of their opponent.
Matt Ryan‘s Player Rating plummeted over the last four weeks due to his inability to consistently take advantage of positive matchups. Ryan has eight turnovers through seven games this season while facing three of the league’s top turnover producing defenses. Ryan’s best games came against defenses that do not produce a lot of turnovers. This week, he gets a Tampa Bay defense that is tied for the fewest forced interceptions in the league. Ryan’s best games this season have also come when he throws for more than one touchdown. The Buccaneers have allowed multiple touchdown passes to the last three quarterbacks they have faced, and lead the NFL in passing touchdowns allowed with 2.5 per game.
Forecast: If you are planning ahead for the playoffs, sell Matt Ryan after this week. Ryan faces Josh Norman and the Carolina Panthers twice in the fantasy playoffs, adding up to the worst projected playoff schedule of any fantasy quarterback. [Recommended Usage: LOW QB1]
DFS Bonus Start: Drew Brees vs. NYG
Jonathan Stewart‘s algorithm Player Rating rose 86 percent in the last three weeks because of his highly productive performances against two consecutive “worst” rated defenses. His spike in fantasy production is not because he needs negative matchups to produce, instead it is a correlation between his increase in carries and his fantasy point production. Prior to his Week 5 bye, Stewart never had more than 51 percent of the Panthers‘ rush attempts, while in the past two weeks he has seen 60 and 75 percent. His double digit fantasy point scoring streak should continue this week as he gets a “good” rated matchup against a Colts defense that allows the second most fantasy points per touch (FPPT) in the league. If the Colts continue to allow 0.77 FPPT this week and Stewart sees another 20-plus carries, he could be in for one of his best games of the season.
Forecast: Jonathan Stewart has the easiest remaining schedule of any fantasy running back, including four “great” rated matchups in his next eight games with two of those coming in the fantasy playoffs. [Recommended Usage: RB2]
Frank Gore has at least 75 yards from scrimmage in five straight games, with an average of 4.55 yards per carry. While Gore’s YPC has risen in recent weeks, his FPPT has dropped to a season average of 0.60. The Panthers give up the seventh most FPPT to opposing running backs for an average of 0.69, providing Gore with an opportunity to rack up more fantasy points while on the field this week. The Panthers run defense has softened recently too, allowing 144 rushing yards per game over their last three games.
Forecast: Gore still has one more “great” rated matchup left this season following the Colts‘ Week 10 bye. Gore also has three “good” rated matchups in the fantasy playoffs. [Recommended Usage: FLEX]
DFS Bonus Start: Charles Sims at ATL
In the last three games, no team generated more passing yards than the Chargers and no team allowed more passing yards than Ravens. This is an ideal matchup for the Chargers passing game skill players. While Keenan Allen should continue to see the majority of the targets, Johnson should see an increase, due to the absence of Antonio Gates. The Ravens allowed two receivers to score double digit fantasy points last week and there have only been three games this season where Baltimore did not give up touchdowns to at least two of the opposing team’s receivers. Johnson could be added off waivers in a pinch or could even make for a good DFS value in this prime matchup.
Forecast: This week is the first of two consecutive “great” rated matchups for Johnson before the Chargers Week 9 bye. [Recommended Usage: WR3]
Stefon Diggs has experienced a meteoric 156 percent rise in his player rating since entering the Vikings starting lineup. The Vikings throw the fewest passing touchdowns per game (0.8), but have nearly doubled that total (1.7) since the emergence of Diggs. This week, Diggs gets the best matchup of his short career against a “great” rated Chicago defense. Chicago allows the second most passing touchdowns per game this season (2.5) and Diggs has seen over 25 percent of the Vikings passing targets in the last three weeks, giving him excellent odds to score in his second consecutive game.
Forecast: Diggs has two “bad” matchups over the next two weeks before a “good” rated matchup with the Packers in Week 11. [Recommended Usage: WR2]
Wright led the Titans in targets in Week 7 on his way to his third highest fantasy scoring day of the season. Wright has a good chance for a sneaky score again this week in a “good” rated matchup with Houston. The Texans defense has allowed seven receiver touchdowns and 300 receiving yards in just their last three games. Wright is a low-end start capable of taking advantage of this matchup and could pay dividends in desperate bye week situations or as a DFS filler.
Forecast: Wright has another “good” rated matchup next week against the Saints before facing four straight “bad” rated matchups through Week 14. [Recommended Usage: WR3]
DFS Bonus Start: Jeremy Maclin vs. DET
Jason Witten leads the Cowboys with 22 percent of the team’s passing targets, yet ranks 19th in FPPT among all tight ends. Witten should see a boost in his FPPT this week in a “good” rated matchup against Seattle. The Seahawks allow the fourth-most FPPT to opposing tight ends, while giving up twice as many touchdowns to tight ends as they do to receivers.
Forecast: Witten should go back to your bench after this week until he sees two consecutive “great” rated matchups in Week 11 and Week 12. [Recommended Usage: LOW TE1]
DFS Bonus Start: Kyle Rudolph at CHI
KC vs. DET: The Chiefs fantasy defense is on a roll over their last two games, posting double digit fantasy points in each contest. They will look to stay hot as they meet a Lions offense in London mired in transition with a banged up Matthew Stafford at the helm. Detroit gives up 1.1 fumbles, 2.3 sacks and 1.4 interceptions a game to opposing defenses, leading the NFL in giveaways.
HOU vs. TEN: Despite being a hugely disappointing fantasy defense this season, the Texans have had a couple spikes in production when the matchup is right. This week, they are playing at home in a game that projects to be one of the lower scoring matchups of the week. Houston hosts a Titans offense that gives up 3.5 sacks, one fumble and one interception per game to opposing defenses, ranking them second in the NFL in giveaways. Houston could be a decent bye week stream for desperate owners this week.
Players who could fall short of expectations this week based on the strength of their opponent.
Andrew Luck rebounded from a rough fantasy start with his two best games of the season in his last two games. However, Luck is the fifth-most touchdown-dependent fantasy quarterback this season, and over the last two weeks only Matt Cassel has more touchdown dependent. This week Luck has a “bad” rated matchup with the Panthers. Carolina is tied with Denver and St. Louis for the fewest passing touchdowns allowed per game with just 0.8. If Luck is unable to throw for multiple touchdowns in this contest, owners could be in for another low producing week.
Forecast: Luck faces Denver next week before his bye, but then returns to five consecutive “good” rated matchups. [Recommended Usage: LOW QB1]
Over the last two weeks, Carlos Hyde has faced two consecutive “worst” rated matchups and has not exceeded six fantasy points against either. This week, he faces his third straight “worst” rated matchup in St. Louis. Hyde has been very matchup dependent this season, averaging 16 fantasy points against positive matchups while only scoring seven fantasy points a game against negative ones. The Rams have been very tough against fantasy running backs in recent weeks, allowing only one running back to score double digit fantasy points against them since Week 3, while only giving up 93.7 rushing yards per game over that span.
Forecast: Hyde will be rewarded for his recent tough schedule next week against the Falcons, but then he faces two more “worst” rated matchups once he returns from his Week 10 bye. [Recommended Usage: FLEX]
Latavius Murray‘s best fantasy games of the season have come when he is able to break at least one running play of more than 20 yards. However, those opportunities are hard to find in a Raiders offense that is tied for the fewest rushing plays of more than 10 yards on the season. This week, Murray faces a “worst” rated Jets defense giving up the fourth-fewest rushing plays over 10 yards all season. Murray scores 26 percent of his fantasy points on touchdowns and the Jets only give up 0.2 rushing touchdowns per game, third-fewest in the NFL. The Jets also lead the NFL in the fewest rushing yards (71.5) and fewest yards per rush attempt (3.4) allowed per game.
Forecast: The Jets are Murray’s most difficult matchup left this season. However, he only has two positive matchups remaining with six “bad” rated matchups between next week and Week 16. [Recommended Usage: FLEX/RB3]
Of all starting players, James Jones leads the NFL in FPPT with 3.71. Jones only failed to score a touchdown in one game this season yet only accounts for 15 percent of the team’s passing targets. Jones is the most touchdown-dependent receiver in the league with 46 percent of his fantasy points coming from touchdowns. These are all metrics that should make his fantasy owners smile, yet this week he has a “worst” rated matchup against the Broncos. Denver allows the fewest passing touchdowns per game (0.8) and has only allowed one receiver to score a touchdown all season. Something must break this week and it will likely be Jones’ two-game scoring streak.
Forecast: The Packers passing game has another “bad” rated matchup next week in Carolina, then three positive matchups out of their next four games following Week 9. [Recommended Usage: FLEX]
Gary Barnidge has been one of the most consistent fantasy producers all season. He is second on the Browns in receiving targets while producing enough FPPT to rank second in the NFL for tight ends. This week he has a “bad” rated matchup against an Arizona defense that has yet to give up a single touchdown to a tight end all year. The Cardinals give up only 0.70 FPPT to tight ends, nearly half of Barnidge’s season average. Last week Barnidge failed to score a touchdown and posted his lowest fantasy point total since Week 2 — the last time he failed to score.
Forecast: Barnidge faces three more “worst” rated matchups after this week, starting with his matchup next week in Cincinnati. [Recommended Usage: LOW TE1]
DEN vs. GB: Fantasy football’s No. 1 defense faces its toughest test of the season this weekend against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. While the Broncos play at home in primetime, they are not favored in this game. Denver leads the NFL with three interceptions returned for touchdowns and these scores account for 18 percent of their fantasy points this season. Unfortunately for Denver, the Packers offense averages just 0.7 giveaways per game, second fewest in the NFL. The Packers also score an average of 27 points a game, more than any offense the Broncos have faced this season. You have to start Denver, just lower your expectations.
PIT vs. CIN: The Steelers host a Bengals offense that has been producing over 410 yards of offense per game, the third-most in the NFL. The Bengals only give the ball away one time per game and just had an error free game in their last contest when they gave up zero sacks, fumbles or interceptions to Buffalo. If your league penalizes your defense for opponent scoring, note that the Bengals score the third most points on offense in the league.
Week 9 Forecast:
Do you have holes to fill in your roster? Don’t wait until next week’s waivers, grab these guys now and enjoy their tasty matchups before they are even on your opponents’ radar:
QB: Jay Cutler st SD, Eli Manning at TB
RB: David Cobb at NO, Robert Turbin at CIN
WR: Kendall Wright at NO, Roddy White at SF
TE: Richard Rodgers at CAR, Heath Miller vs. OAK
D/ST: NO vs. TEN, ATL at SF
— Chris Anthony is a guest contributor to NFL.com, hailing from Fantasy Omatic. You can follow him on Twitter @FantasyOmatic. Be sure to check back each week for more analytics-based analysis as the algorithm will only get more accurate over time!