2016 Draft Kit

Tight end matchups for Wild Card weekend: Sleepers and busts

There’s a short slate this week, so these matchups will be brief. I’m going to highlight two plus matchups and two minus matchups per position.

I have high confidence in these matchups and look at statistical data for the season, the last five weeks, the last three weeks and adjusted data, like Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, which attempts to eliminate schedule bias and give us a true picture of how good or bad a defense is.

That said you can study every statistic on the planet and fail to predict that Ben Roethlisberger is going to throw back-to-back 6-TD games. Or predict a massive game from Isaiah Crowell in the opening round of the fantasy playoffs only to see him get 17 yards on 7 carries against the worst-rated run defense in the NFL.

Those are the breaks. All we can do is give ourselves the best chance to make the right call and matchup data is one of the tools that can help.

NFL Playoffs projections: Wild Card Weekend

Matchups: PASS | RUN | WR1 | WR2 | WR3/4 | TE | K | DEF | RB (rec.)

Top tight end matchups

Jermaine Gresham vs. Indianapolis — Gresham is questionable but is a likely to play Sunday barring a setback. The Colts rank 27th in DVOA against tight ends. They’ve allowed 15.5 fantasy points per game to tight ends in the last five weeks. Gresham has a touchdown in each of the last three weeks and is two weeks removed from a 9-catch, 11-target, 60-yards-and-a-touchdown performance. A.J. Green’s absence should help Gresham this week as well.

Greg Olsen vs. Arizona — Olsen is almost a must-start this week regardless of matchup. The Carindals ineptitude at stopping tight ends should only make you want to fit him in more of your lineups. Arizona allows 66.3 yards per game to tight ends. Over the last five weeks they’ve allowed 14.7 PPR fantasy points per game to tight ends, the sixth-most in the NFL.

Worst tight end matchups

Dwayne Allen/Coby Fleener vs. Cincinnati — The Colts use Allen too much around the end zone for us to scratch him off our list. And despite one of the worst displays of stone hands I’ve ever seen in the NFL, Fleener has put up some stellar numbers. However, with both players on the field they will limit each other’s upside. The Bengals also allowed just 5.7 PPR fantasy points to tight ends in the last five weeks. That’s the second-least in the NFL.

Darren Fells/John Carlson/Rob Housler vs. Carolina — The Panthers rank seventh in DVOA against tight ends this season and have allowed just 9.4 PPR points per game to them in the last five weeks. Fells is an interesting player we’ll talk about for the 2015 season, but the numbers suggest it’s best to avoid this unit this weekend.

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