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.
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.
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 who are 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.
Kirk Cousins‘ “great” rated matchup against the Saints is the best matchup of for any quarterback in Week 10. Cousins’ player rating ranks him as a QB2 for weekly scoring, but quarterbacks with even worse ratings than his have excelled against the Saints this season. Cousins’ 82.6 passer rating ranks 24th in the league, but New Orleans allows a league-high 112.0 rating to opposing quarterbacks. The Saints give up the most passing touchdowns in the league and allowing four per game on average over their last three games. Even if you omit Eli Manning‘s ridiculous six touchdown performance, New Orleans still gives up just under three touchdowns a game going back to Week 5.
Forecast: Desperate fantasy teams could use Kirk Cousins during his current stretch of positive matchups. Over the next two weeks, Cousins faces two more top-10 easy matchups against Carolina and the Giants. [Recommended Usage: BYE WEEK QB1]
Blake Bortles is a top 10 fantasy quarterback. Let that sink in. Bortles is producing despite having only faced two positive matchups all season. This week Bortles enjoys his second “great” rated matchup of the year as the Jaguars travel to face the Ravens. Although the Jaguars only score on 30 percent of their offensive possessions, the Ravens allow opposing offenses to score 45 percent of the time, second-highest in the league. Bortles’ touchdown numbers rank behind only nine other quarterbacks, but his 10 interceptions have kept him from getting higher in the ranks. The Ravens will give Bortles an opportunity to improve his TD:INT ratio as they have only forced three interceptions all season.
Forecast: Bortles’ remaining schedule is one of the top five easiest of any fantasy quarterback. This week is just the first game of four consecutive top-10 easy rated matchups through Week 14. [Recommended Usage: QB1]
DFS Bonus Start: Peyton Manning vs. KC
Justin Forsett loves a good matchup. He scores 12 fantasy points a game against positive matchups but only six against negative ones. Forsett’s three “great” rated matchups already this season are more than most running backs see in a season, and he is averaging 14 fantasy points against defenses with that rating. This week, Forsett faces his fourth “great” rated matchup of the season as the Ravens host the Jaguars. Jacksonville can be deceiving as a matchup considering that they lead the NFL in fewest yards per carry with just 3.2. Rather, it is their eight rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns allowed to opposing fantasy running backs that make them a good matchup. The Ravens average 3.4 red zone appearances per game, providing Forsett with enough opportunities to take advantage of this weakness.
Forecast: Forsett’s one more “great” rated matchup in Week 13 is his last positive one. His other five remaining matchups are all negative. [Recommended Usage: RB2]
DeMarco Murray is starting to deliver the fantasy production that his owners hoped for when drafting him this summer. Over his last four outings, Murray posted more than 18 fantasy points three times, and two of those games came against negative matchups. This week, Murray gets his best matchup of the season with a “great” rated matchup against Miami. Miami already gave three running backs their best game of the season so far this year. Murray’s chances of scoring a touchdown in this contest are high considering that Miami’s 1.3 rushing touchdowns given up per game over their last three games is tied for second-most in the league over that span.
Forecast: Miami marks the last “great” rated matchup of the season for Murray. His final games consist of four negative and two positive matchups. [Recommended Usage: FLEX]
DFS Bonus Start: James Starks vs. DET
DeSean Jackson owners waited patiently for the chance to plug him in their lineups, only to be disappointed by a six-target dud in his first game back in Week 10. The coaching staff already indicated that they intend to get him more involved in the game plan this week in a “great” rated matchup against the Saints. Jackson’s big-play ability could come in handy against a Saints defense that gives up the league’s third-highest yards per pass attempt and the most receiving yards to receivers. In 2014, Jackson averaged 13 fantasy points against “great” rated matchups and scored 3.00 fantasy points per touch (FPPT) in those games.
Forecast: Jackson’s roll may slow a bit next week with a “worst” rated matchup against Josh Norman and the Panthers. Jackson’s two “great” rated matchups in the fantasy playoffs that make him worth holding on to. [Recommended Usage: FLEX]
Since Dan Campbell took over as head coach, Jarvis Landry has received 23 percent of the Dolphins passing targets. Landry’s share of the targets have accounted for no more than eight in a game compared to an average of 11 targets a game under Philbin. In Week 9, things appear to have moved back to the Philbin-era, as Landry had 13 targets with four rush attempts and posted his highest non-touchdown scoring game of the season. In order for Landry to continue to cash in for fantasy owners he will need to get in the end zone. This week may be his best chance to score all season due to his “great” rated matchup against the Eagles. Philadelphia allows the fifth-most touchdowns to receivers this season, with 1.5 per game and they just gave up three last week against Dallas and Matt Cassel.
Forecast: If you are trying to make the playoffs, then Landry’s next two negative matchups might not help. However, if you are already in the playoffs then his two of three positive matchups between Week 14 and 16 should help your cause. [Recommended Usage: WR2]
DFS Bonus Start: Pierre Garcon vs. NO
Richard Rodgers‘ player rating spiked 80 percent after his two-touchdown performance against the Panthers. On the season, he averages just under 18 percent of the Packers‘ total pass targets, but he is becoming one of Aaron Rodgers‘ most trusted red zone weapons. Despite his targets in a high volume passing offense, Rodgers needs touchdowns to be useful for fantasy purposes. Rodgers’ “good” rated matchup this week comes against a Lions defense that gives up 0.75 touchdowns per game to tight ends. There is enough upside in Rodgers’ matchup this week to make him a solid bye week replacement for fantasy rosters in need.
Forecast: While just two of Rodgers’ remaining matchups are positive, one of them is a “great” rated matchup against the Raiders in the second week of the fantasy playoffs. [Recommended Usage: BYE WEEK TE1]
DFS Bonus Start: Jason Witten vs. MIA
GB vs. DET: The Packers look forward to starting the soft part of their schedule this weekend in a home game that has them favored against the Lions. Detroit’s league-leading 20 giveaways come mostly from Matthew Stafford‘s 12 interceptions, the second-most in the league. They also give up 2.8 sacks per game and average less than 19 points per contest. Look for the Packers D/ST to get back to their early season fantasy scoring ways this weekend.
PIT vs. CLE: If you are in need of a flier, the Steelers fit the bill for a D/ST streaming jackpot this week. Pittsburgh plays at home in a projected low scoring game in which they are favored against a Browns offense that is generous to opposing fantasy defenses. The Cleveland offense is ranked 29th in scoring with 19.7 points per game. The Browns are 31st among NFL teams in rushing offense with 82.3 rushing yards per game.
Players who could fall short of expectations this week based on the strength of their opponent.
Jay Cutler is the model of fantasy consistency since returning from injury in Week 4. He has scored no fewer than 17 and no more than 19 fantasy points over his last five games while facing just one negative matchup over that span. This week, Cutler gets his first “worst” rated matchup of the season against a Rams defense allowing zero offensive scores in their last 10 quarters played at home. The Rams hold opposing offenses to just 219 passing yards per game, fourth-fewest in the NFL this season. Over the past two seasons, 49 percent of Cutler’s fantasy production comes from touchdowns. He’ll have a tough task this week, as St. Louis has allowed just five passing touchdowns all season, the fewest in the NFL.
Forecast: This week is the first of two consecutive “worst” rated matchups for Cutler. Cutler has one of the five worst remaining fantasy schedules for signal-callers, so you should keep him on your bench until his Week 12 matchup with Green Bay. [Recommended Usage: LOW QB1]
Lamar Miller‘s 24 fantasy points a game average since Week 6 make him one of fantasy football‘s hottest running backs. He’s faced mixed levels of matchups in those games but on the season averages eight more fantasy points a game against positive matchups than when facing negative ones. In Miller’s only “worst” rated matchup back in Week 1, he scored six fantasy points. This week Miller gets another “worst” rated matchup against Philadelphia. One significant difference for Miller during his fantasy point surge since his Week 5 bye is that he is getting 45 percent of his fantasy points from touchdowns. Touchdowns may be tougher to come by this week as the Eagles have only allowed one rushing touchdown all season, tied with the Jets for fewest in the NFL.
Forecast: Miller is just beginning his tough stretch of matchups. He faces two more “worst” rated matchups in the next four games, including one in the fantasy postseason. [Recommended Usage: RB2]
Marshawn Lynch is no longer a lock for double digit fantasy production each week. This week, Lynch gets a “worst” rated matchup against Arizona. Lynch’s best two games this season came when he scored touchdowns, and the Cardinals have only allowed 0.4 rushing touchdowns per game all season including only one rushing touchdown since Week 2.
Forecast: Lynch’s best chance to get back on track will be next week against a “great” rated 49ers team that allowed him to post his season high fantasy point total earlier this year. After Week 11, Lynch will face just one more positive matchup before Week 17. [Recommended Usage: FLEX]
Jeremy Maclin owners may be looking at the Aqib Talib suspension as an opportunity to get Maclin into their lineup this week. Maclin can certainly benefit from the drop off in talent at the Broncos‘ LCB position, but it will still be challenging to be productive against a Denver defense that has allowed just one touchdown to a wide receiver all season. Lost in that popular stat is the fact that they also only allow just 120 total receiving yards per game, second-fewest in the NFL. Maclin hasn’t scored more than five fantasy points against any negative matchup this season, including his Week 2 matchup with Denver.
Forecast: The matchup with Denver is just the first of three remaining “worst” rated matchups for Maclin. Maclin’s remaining fantasy schedule is one of the worst among all wide receivers. [Recommended Usage: SIT]
Benjamin Watson‘s seemingly inconsistent run since Week 5 is comprised of huge fantasy performances followed by low scoring stinkers. However, Watson is just consistently responding to the strength of his matchups. Watson scores 78 percent more fantasy points against positive matchups than he does against negative ones. As a result, he leads the all tight ends in matchup dependency. Watson owners should expect another down week when he faces the Redskins. Washington is Watson’s third “worst” rated matchup of the season and he averages just three fantasy points a game against that rating. Tight ends have scored just one touchdown against Washington all season. This includes last week’s matchup against Rob Gronkowski where Washington was able to hold him to a season-low four fantasy points.
Forecast: This week marks the last of five “worst” rated matchups for the season for Watson. He will face just his second positive matchup of the season after his Week 11 bye. [Recommended Usage: TE2]
SEA vs. ARI: The Seattle Seahawks are favored at home in a divisional matchup with the Cardinals. A couple seasons ago this may have been a week-winning fantasy start, but this season the Cardinals‘ 32 points per game make them one of the league’s highest scoring offenses. The Cardinals are sixth in giveaways, yet the Seattle defense is uncharacteristically in the bottom four in the league in takeaways. If you have to start Seattle, expect less. Otherwise sit them and stream a different D/ST this week and lick your chops for Week 11 when Seattle hosts the 49ers.
NE vs. NYG: Patriots defense is producing as a solid D/ST streamer over the last two weeks as they enjoyed matchups against turnover-prone offenses. This week, they travel to face the Giants in a game that the algorithm projects to be a high-scoring affair. New York is no longer the careless offense from the last couple seasons, instead they have the sixth-fewest giveaways in the league coming into this matchup. New England made their hay on sacks over the last couple weeks but the Giants only allow 1.3 sacks a game and even kept Eli’s jersey clean last week against the Bucs.
Week 11 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: Ryan Fitzpatrick at HOU, Derek Carr at DET
RB: Theo Riddick vs. OAK, Matt Jones at CAR
WR: Cole Beasley at MIA, Michael Crabtree at DET
TE: Coby Fleener at ATL, Zach Ertz vs. TB
D/ST: OAK vs. DET, JAC vs. TEN
— 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!