Las Vegas is predicting a crazy weekend this week in the NFL.
It seems like the kind of week where we will need to know which wide receiver will get two touchdowns while his teammates get one.
We’ll do our best to figure it out by looking at the matchups.
For quarterbacks and running backs , we use fantasy points against and Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Values Over Average. For the different pass catchers, we look at fantasy points against, including points for the last five weeks and season totals, and average yards allowed per game.
When all of these numbers point to a couple different situations, we have our good and bad matchups.
Best tight end matchups
Kyle Rudolph/Chase Ford vs. Chicago — What a week for Rudolph to return. The Bears allowed 26.8 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends in the last five weeks. Tight ends have been targeted 9 times per game for 77 yards against Chicago. Rudolph is a sketchy play his first game back from injury, but this is a matchup that’s difficult to ignore.
Vernon Davis vs. New York Giants — It has been a while since we talked about Vernon Davis as a star tight end for the 49ers. The Giants are one of only two teams (with the Bears) to give up more than 20 points per game to tight ends in the last five weeks. They allowed 23.9. Davis is off everyone’s radar, probably for good reason, but if don’t be surprised if he finds the end zone at least once this week.
Jared Cook/Lance Kendricks vs. Denver — I went over the Cook/Kendricks duo in our tight end projections post. Kendricks has been in the end zone a bunch of times and Cook is the leading receiver. One or both of them could be smart plays as the Rams pile up garbage time in the fourth quarter against the Broncos.
Dwyane Allen/Coby Fleener vs. New England — You don’t want to be facing Allen or Fleener this week. Andrew Luck likes to look their way in the red zone and should have a couple opportunities in a high scoring affair against a defense allowing 18 points per game to tight ends in the last five weeks.
Eric Ebron/Brandon Pettigrew/Joseph Fauria vs. Arizona — After a few weeks of the Lions tight end ranks looking like a M.A.S.H. unit, all three are probable this week. There are a lot of talented receivers to feed in the Lions offense, so the tight end will likely be treated as a last-ditch option. Ebron and Fauria may see a few pass attempts. Pettigrew will likely take most of the pass-blocking duties but also could get a couple targets. Until this trio is all on the field together for a game or two we won’t know how things will shake out.
Worst tight end matchups
Luke Willson vs. Kansas City — Hopefully you weren’t thinking about starting Willson. He could be a decent talent, but the tight ends just don’t get any looks in the offense.
Jim Dray/Gary Barnidge vs. Houston — Take Jordan Cameron out of the equation and you shouldn’t want to start a Browns tight end, let alone start one in a matchup like this.
Larry Donnell vs. San Francisco — This is another one of those projections where some of the numbers conflict. When adjusted for outliers, San Francisco allows one of the lowest fantasy points totals of the season to opposing tight ends. DVOA says they are the sixth-best defense against tight ends. However they allowed 16.1 fantasy points per game to tight ends in the last five contest as the middle of the defense battles injuries, including a season-ender to Patrick Willis. Donnell might be overlooked by some this week because he’s in this worst matchup category, but recent statistics tell a different tale.
Martellus Bennett vs. Minnesota — Even after I adjusted for the matchup, Bennett’s performance was still in the top-8. He is a key part of the offense and in standard leagues you probably shouldn’t get cute. However, on the daily sites there are probably options with higher ceilings available at or below Bennett’s price.
Jermaine Gresham vs. New Orleans — Gresham has been getting some work of late. He has three catches in the last five games, but hasn’t been able to do much with them, save for a 10-catch game (just 48 yards) against Indianapolis. Tight ends have scored just 7.5 fantasy points per game against the Saints in the last five contests. They are the third-toughest defense against tight ends, according to DVOA.