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 at Los Angeles Chargers Rushing Defense
The Denver Broncos as a whole disappointed last week against the New York Giants. Heading into the game, it looked like the Broncos defense would have its way with a depleted Giants offense. Then the exact opposite happened. The Giants came in with an excellent game plan, and the Broncos defense wasn’t quite able to adapt on the fly. As such, the game script was thrown off kilter from what most were expecting. As opposed to the Broncos getting up big and pounding the rock to protect the lead, the club found itself coming from behind. The running game was never able to get in gear as a result, but signs point to a bounceback performance this week.
Quite simply, the Los Angeles Chargers have had some problems stopping the run this season. Jay Ajayi, Kareem Hunt, and LeGarrette Blount have had impressive outings against this unit, and the duo of C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles should find similar success. Absent last week’s debacle, the Broncos have found success on the ground against every opponent they’ve faced - including these same Chargers back in Week 1. Anderson and Charles combined for 121 rushing yards in that one, and we should see more of the same - if not more - in Week 7.
San Francisco 49ers Rushing Offense at Dallas Cowboys Rushing Defense
The San Francisco 49ers remain without a win in 2017, and that’s led to some changes for the offense. Rookie C.J. Beathard will man the reins after taking over in relief of Brian Hoyer last week. A rookie at the helm points to the obvious potential for growing pains, but the 49ers are making the move at the right time. This is clearly a rebuilding year under the direction of head coach Kyle Shanahan, and the club needs to see what it has in the rookie. Beathard showed some flashes in the preseason, and he didn’t crumble under the pressure after entering the game last week.
We’ll consider those two baby steps to be building blocks, but we can also expect that the 49ers will be looking to ease the rookies transition into the starting role. That points to leaning on the running game more than usual, and this shapes up to be a great week to do just that. The Dallas Cowboys are currently ranked 22nd in the league against the run, and three different backs have run for 115 yards or more. Carlos Hyde remains the starting back for the 49ers, but intriguing rookie Matt Breida has worked himself into a complementary role. For this week, we’ll want to target Hyde, especially considering the fact that there have been rumblings that the 49ers are showcasing him for potential trades.
Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense
To date, we have not seen the electrifying Atlanta Falcons that we all came to know and love in 2016. Matt Ryan has only tossed for 300 yards or more once this season, and he has just one game with multiple touchdowns. For the season, he’s thrown six scores and six picks, and the offense as a whole just looks out of sync. Growing pains are pretty natural with a new offensive coordinator in town, but it’s getting to the point where there are some concerns if the Falcons will be able to get it going at all this season. The time to make that happen is now, as the Falcons face off against a New England Patriots team that has been sieve-like against the pass.
The Patriots have not held a single opposing signal caller to less than 300 passing yards, and five of the six quarterbacks they’ve faced have thrown for multiple scores. For added intrigue, the game checks in with the highest projected total of the week at 56.5 points. The Super Bowl rematch occupies the primetime slot on Sunday Night, and signs are pointing to a shootout. Head coach Dan Quinn has made it clear that Julio Jones needs to see the ball more, and we can consider that message delivered to the Falcons offense. A stack of Ryan and Jones could be one of the top combos of the week, but it will be officially time to get concerned if the Falcons offense doesn’t start clicking this week.
Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense
Outside of the Week 3 explosion in London against the Baltimore Ravens, there hasn’t been a lot to be excited about in regards to the Jacksonville Jaguars passing offense. In that game, Blake Bortles threw four touchdowns, but he’s only thrown four more in all other games combined. Superstar rookie running back Leonard Fournette has been the engine that has been making the Jaguars offense go, but there’s reason to be optimistic that the passing game could come to life this week against the porous defense of the Indianapolis Colts.
For the season to date, four of the six quarterbacks the Colts have faced have thrown for 300 yards or more, while three of them have thrown for multiple scores. Quite simply, the Colts have been struggling in the secondary, but tight ends and pass catching backs have been having some success as well. As a result, Bortles could be looking at his second multiple touchdown game of the season. For targets, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee lead the way, but you can also keep Marcedes Lewis in mind.
Tennessee Titans Passing Offense at Cleveland Browns Passing Defense
Marcus Mariota returned from his one-week absence in Week 6 to lead the Tennessee Titans to a 36-22 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. He exceeded 300 yards passing for the first time this season, but he was noticeably limited in his mobility. Mariota should loosen back up with another week under his belt, and he’s in another excellent spot this week against a Cleveland Browns squad that struggles against the pass. Five of the six quarterbacks that have faced the Browns this season have thrown for multiple scores, and two have thrown for three or more.
Things get a little tricky when trying to pinpoint a target to pair Mariota up with, but the good news is that the Browns have had struggles against both wide receivers and tight ends. We can make a case for Rishard Matthews, Eric Decker, or Delanie Walker this week. Matthews leads the way in targets on the season at 42, but Decker and Walker are right behind at 39 and 35 respectively. For a tiebreaker, we’ll note that the Browns have allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends this season.
Matchups to Avoid
Baltimore Ravens Rushing Offense at Minnesota Vikings Rushing Defense
As a whole, the Baltimore Ravens offense has left a lot to be desired thus far this season. Joe Flacco has been out of sync for the most part, and the backfield situation has been confusing to say the least. Javorius Allen and Alex Collins have flip-flopped for the lead in carries over the past two weeks, and that situation shows no signs of abating. On a combined basis, they’ve been relatively productive, but two-headed monsters don’t translate well for DFS success. Add in the fact that the Ravens are facing off against a stout Minnesota Vikings defense, and we’ll take a hard pass.
New York Jets Rushing Offense at Miami Dolphins Rushing Defense
Outside of an explosive performance in Week 4 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New York Jets ground game has failed to achieve liftoff. Bilal Powell went down the following week, and he’s questionable to return this week. That would leave the ground game in the hands of Matt Forte and Elijah McGuire once again, two capable backs that failed to produce anything of substance against the New England Patriots last week. They’ll be facing off against a Miami Dolphins squad that has been solid against the run all season, which includes keeping the Jets under control back in Week 3. We can look elsewhere for running back value this week.
Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense at Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense
We already mentioned the struggles of the Ravens offense, and that points to the potential for a rough day against a tough Vikings team. On the season, Joe Flacco has yet to throw for more than 235 yards in a single game, and he’s thrown for more than one score just once. Something is just not right. It doesn’t look like he’ll be putting it together this week either, as the Vikings have allowed only two passing scores over the past three weeks. We can safely look elsewhere for a quarterback this week, and we can cross the Ravens pass catchers off of the list as well.
Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense
Through the first six games of the season, the Jacksonville Jaguars have established themselves as a shutdown pass defense. For raw numbers, they’ve only allowed four passing touchdowns on the season. Only one signal caller - Ben Roethlisberger in Week 5 - was able to reach the 300-yard plateau, but he did that while tossing five picks and no scores. Add it all up, and this would not be a good week to roster Jacoby Brissett and Colts pass catchers. Brissett has shown a lot of promise in some tough spots, and he may very well be able to parlay that into a starting gig with another club for next season. We’ll root for him to make that happen, but we’ll find ourselves a safer option for DFS purposes this week.
New York Giants Passing Offense vs Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense
The New York Giants offense finally showed some signs of life last week against the Denver Broncos, and it came in an incredibly tough spot to boot. It was an inspired performance against a tough defensive squad, but it may be time to put the genie back in the bottle. The Giants offense has been ravaged with injuries, and that’s not changing overnight. Sterling Shepard could suit up this week, but that’s not a given. If he can’t go, the passing game revolves around Evan Engram once again. While the rookie has a ton of talent, it’s asking too much of him to carry the load against a stout Seahawks passing defense. We can fade Eli Manning and company this week outside of for contrarian purposes.
Enjoy the games this weekend, and best of luck with your lineups. Feel free to hit me up anytime via email - email@example.com - with questions or comments.