The amount of information you need to sift through on a weekly basis to build some competitive lineups can seem overwhelming. You’re in the right place to get through all of that information in no time, and we have another item for you to add to your arsenal. Each week, we’ll break down the best and worst rushing and passing matchups for Sunday’s main slate of games.
This will allow you to quickly zero in on the top anchors for your lineups, and we’ll also point out which players you’ll want to avoid as you fill out the rest of your roster. There’s a ton of choices to examine on a weekly basis. The goal of this article is to help you narrow the field of targets down substantially.
Let’s get right to it, starting with the week’s top matchups.
Matchups to Exploit
Denver Broncos Rushing Offense vs New York Giants Rushing Defense
It’s only Week 6, but the season is already long in the tooth as far as the New York Giants are concerned. The wide receiver corps has taken a group field trip to the infirmary unit, while a defensive unit that was expected to be a strength of the team has yet to justify its preseason expectations. Holding opposing running games in check wasn’t a problem that the club was expecting to be dealing with, but it is. The Giants have allowed a plethora of yardage on the ground to each team they’ve faced this season, and elite backs have enjoyed particularly fruitful games.
This week, the Giants hit the road for a tough matchup against the Denver Broncos. The Broncos are 11.5-point favorites at the moment, and there won’t be a serious amount of wiggle room between now and game time. The Giants are going to have a hard time putting points on the board due to the rash of injuries and poor offensive line play, and signs point to the Broncos controlling the game and time of possession as a result. C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles are forming a nice one-two punch for the Broncos, while Devontae Booker has been working himself back into the mix after returning from injury. Anderson remains the man to own in the Broncos backfield until further notice, and he’s in line for a productive day against the Giants.
Jacksonville Jaguars Rushing Offense vs Los Angeles Rams Rushing Defense
The Los Angeles Rams have shown plenty of signs of improvement in 2017, but they’ve proven to be weak against the run in three of their five games. The past two weeks have resulted in Jeckyl and Hyde-like results. In Week 4, Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris gashed them for 161 combined rushing yards, but the Rams were able to hold the Seattle Seahawks running game in check last week. What’s the difference between the two performances? The Dallas Cowboys can claim a strong offensive line and an elite-level running game on their resume, while the Seahawks can not.
For this week’s opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the offensive line is rounding into nice form. Impressive rookie Leonard Fournette has been taking full advantage of that fact, and he exploded for a monster game against a Pittsburgh Steelers team that can be stout on the defensive end. Fournette ran for 181 yards and two scores, and his big day included a thundering 90-yard touchdown run. That’s not going to happen every week, but you can certainly color us impressed. Fournette is one of the top running back options to look at for your Week 6 lineups.
Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Offense vs Pittsburgh Steelers Rushing Defense
We just mentioned how Fournette had himself a solid day against the Steelers, but he’s not the only back that has had his way with the Steelers in recent weeks. Back in Week 3, Jordan Howard ran for 138 yards and two scores, while his backfield mate Tarik Cohen tacked on another 78 yards for good measure. Even if we look at Week 4’s results, an offensively-challenged Baltimore Ravens team was able to produce 87 yards on the ground. In short, this year’s version of the Steelers is not one that we should be shying away from when it comes to using opposing running backs, and that’s especially true this week.
There are plenty of platitudes we can throw in the direction of Kareem Hunt, and none of them would be overstating things. He’s a bonafide stud, and that’s a pretty chilling thought for opposing defensive coordinators - especially when you consider that he only has five games under his belt. We’ll naturally assume that he’s going to get even better with more experience, but we’re perfectly happy with the production he delivers on a weekly basis as it is. Hunt has a price to match hi potential output across the industry, but it looks like one of the week’s wiser investment choices.
Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense vs Miami Dolphins Passing Defense
The Miami Dolphins are 2-2, and that’s pretty remarkable to most folks that have watched the team perform on the field this season. The offense has been a major disappointment, and the club has had some troubles on defense as well. While the Dolphins haven’t allowed any monster performances to opposing signal callers as of yet, they’ve also been fortunate to have only faced two top level quarterbacks in Philip Rivers and Drew Brees. When you look at total stats allowed to the position through four games, it doesn’t look too terrible.
However, when you dig a little deeper, you’ll see that Matt Cassel only threw for 141 yards and a score last week. That’s skewing the data a tad, and the fact of the matter is that matchups look a lot better on paper with that outlier performance out of the equation. Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense hasn’t been humming along as of yet, but that could change in a big way as they're coming in off of a bye. The club has a new offensive coordinator calling the shots this season, and it can take some time to get all the parts in sync with that kind of change. This could be the week that it happens, and we’ll confidently be targeting Ryan and Julio Jones in Week 6.
Houston Texans Passing Offense vs Cleveland Browns Passing Defense
We can safely classify Deshaun Watson as one of the more pleasant surprises of the 2017 season. His performance is all the more impressive when you consider the fact that he didn’t even enter the season as the starter. What would he be doing if the Houston Texans staff had been preparing for him to start from the get go? By extension, we can also wonder aloud why they weren’t doing just that, but that’s a story for another day. After two ho-hum performances, Watson kicked things up a notch starting in Week 3. He’s thrown for 11 touchdowns over the last three games, and he ran in one more for good measure.
Watson has gone from a rookie curiosity to a fantasy darling in a hurry, and it looks like we can put the worries about a natural regression on hold for at least another week. The Cleveland Browns are coming to town, and the club’s leaky pass defense will be in tow. Four of the five signal callers they have faced have thrown for multiple touchdowns. The fifth, Jacoby Brissett, tossed one while running in two more. The Browns are a fantasy friendly team to target against, and a stack of Watson and top target DeAndre Hopkins makes a ton of sense this week.
Matchups to Avoid
Arizona Cardinals Rushing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Rushing Defense
Changes are afoot in the Arizona Cardinals backfield, as the club completed a trade for Adrian Peterson while wishing Chris Johnson well in future endeavors. While it’ll be intriguing to see how much Peterson really has left in the tank now that he’ll be seeing more opportunities, we’re not expecting production to get excited about in his first week with his new team. That’s mainly because this week’s opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has been solid against the run thus far this season. Opponents are only averaging 87.3 yards per game on the ground, and there’s nothing to suggest a Cardinals club with problems along the offensive line will be able to exceed that mark.
New York Giants Rushing Offense at Denver Broncos Rushing Defense
There’s a lot of reasons to pick on the Giants this week, and we can add a date with an elite run-stuffing unit to the list. The Broncos have been able to hold Melvin Gordon III, Ezekiel Elliott, and LeSean McCoy in check without issue, and the Giants don’t possess anything resembling a back of that caliber. On the season, the Giants have been getting nothing going on the ground, but there were flashes of improvement last week as the club ran for 152 yards against the Chargers weak run defense. They’re not going to be able to pull that off again against a tough Broncos squad, especially when you consider how limited they’ll be in the passing game.
Chicago Bears Passing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense
The Chicago Bears quarterback of the future made his pro debut last week. Mitchell Trubisky is clearly a work in progress, but perhaps he’ll develop as the Bears are anticipating. We’ll have to wait and see how that turns out, but he’s simply not a viable fantasy option at the moment. That’s especially true this week for a matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. Outside of Week 3 - when Blake Bortles had the game of his life- the Ravens have been holding opposing signal callers thoroughly in check. They’ve only allowed seven passing touchdowns on the season, and that’s all the more impressive when you consider four of them came in their flat performance across the pond against the Jaguars. We can safely pass on Trubisky and his targets this week.
Los Angeles Rams Passing Offense at Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense
Jared Goff has made a significant leap forward in his second year. He’s thrown for 250+ yards in four of his five games, and he tossed multiple scores in two of them. Goff’s roughest game came last week against the Seattle Seahawks, as he failed to find the end zone while throwing two picks. He could be looking at two challenging weeks in a row, as the Jacksonville Jaguars have allowed nothing of significance to opposing quarterbacks. Last week, the Jaguars were able to force five interceptions out of Ben Roethlisberger. The Jaguars have evolved into one of the league’s top pass defenses, and we’ll be avoiding opposing passing games until further notice.
New York Giants Passing Offense at Denver Broncos Passing Defense
We’re really not trying to pile on. It looks like it’s going to be a really rough week for the Giants, as you really don’t want to be heading into Denver with such a hobbled passing game. There’s a good chance that the Broncos would’ve held Eli Manning in company in check anyway, but it seems like a near given with Odell Beckham Jr Jr. and Brandon Marshall out for the season. Sterling Shepard is hobbled as well, and there’s a chance he may miss this week’s game. That leaves the Giants top passing game options as Evan Engram and Roger Lewis. Both players have plenty of promise that will lead us to roster them as value plays in future weeks, but this is not one of those weeks.We can also safely cross Eli Manning off of our quarterback short list for Week 6.
Enjoy the games this weekend, and best of luck with your lineups. Feel free to hit me up anytime via email - firstname.lastname@example.org - with questions or comments.