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.
Top wide receiver 3/4 matchups
Marlon Brown/Kamar Aiken/Michael Campanaro vs. Pittsburgh — The Steelers rank second-to-last in DVOA against other wide receivers (WRs 3-X), giving up 63.3 yards per game to them. But picking the best out of this group is not easy. Joe Flacco targeted Campanaro three times last week. Aiken caught two passes for 13 yards and a touchdown. Jones wasn’t targeted, but caught both targets for 18 yards the week before. I’ll probably go with Brown in at least one lineup. He caught his only target for 17 yards last week but was targeted 5 teams in each of the previous two weeks.
Martavis Bryant/Markus Wheaton/Lance Moore vs. Baltimore — Looks like our debate between Bryant/Wheaton in the WR2 post wasn’t necessary. Play all the Steelers wide receivers. I can’t really recommend Moore because he’s had almost zero action in the offense. He hasn’t seen a target since Dec. 7. But, however, and but again, game plans get a little more intense during the playoffs. Moore could be a sneaky play, especially if Roethlisberger throws for 500 yards. I could totally see someone winning a big jackpot this weekend in DFS because Lance Moore caught a 50-yard touchdown pass.
Worst wide receiver 3/4 matchups
Hakeem Nicks/Donte Moncrief vs. Cincinnati — As we’ve said in a couple of these posts, the Bengals are a tough matchup on paper against all receiver types, however, the Colts beat them 27-0 with 344 passing yards in Week 7. In this case, I’d like to think Moncrief would be able to make some things happen if he got some targets, but he’s been quiet the last few weeks. Cincinnati ranks second in DVOA against WR3/4s and allows just 46.6 yards per game to them.
Jeremy Ross/Corey Fuller vs. Dallas — In playoff leagues and in short-slate DFS, players like Corey Fuller become throw-a-dart-at-it options, but these two should be avoided this week. Dallas ranks third in DVOA against their receiver type and gives up just 47 yards per game to wide receivers after the Nos. 1 and 2.