FAVORABLE MATCHUPS (CASH/GPP)
Ben Roethlisberger (DK – $6,900/FD – $8,400): After three good games (335/1, 452/3, and 353/3) to start the year, Roethlisberger struggled to get the ball downfield last week (274/1) leading to only 5.8 yards per pass attempts. Ben is on pace to set a career high in completions over 20 yards (68) while averaging 46.5 pass attempts per game. Atlanta struggled to defend QBs in their last three games (335/3, 396/3, and 337/3) that were all played at home. The Falcons also had failure defending WRs over their last three games (16/223/3, 15/177/2, and 18/238/2), which bolds well for Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster. His floor starts 300 yards passing with an excellent chance at week high in passing TDs.
Andy Dalton (DK – $5,900/FD – $7,500): Dalton passed for over 300 yards in each of his last two starts on the road while tossing five TDs and five Ints over this span. He’s averaging over 300 combined yards per game while throwing 11 TDs. In his only home start vs. a tough Ravens’ defense, Andy passed for 265 yards and four TDs. Over the last three games, Miami allowed 949 passing yards and five passing TDs. The Dolphins allow 7.7 yards per pass attempt, which invites upside for Dalton. Moving in the right direction while playing at home.
Matthew Stafford (DK – $5,700/FD – $7,600): Stafford averages 300 passing yards and two passing TDs per game. His only impact game (347/3) came on the road vs.the 49ers. Last year Matthew Stafford passed for 684 yards and five TDs in two games vs. the Packers. Green Bay played vs. QBs in three games (171/0, 220/0, and 151/0) while failing to defend the Vikings’ receiving core (425/4). The Packers did face three teams with below par WRs (CHI, WAS, and BUF). The Lions have strength at WR, which was the failure by Green Bay in Week 2 (23/282/4). Upside matchup in what should be a nice battle on the scoreboard.
Derek Carr (DK – $5,200/FD – $7,000): Despite only having six TDs with seven Ints, Carr passed for 1,373 yards over four games with strength in his yards per pass attempt (8.1). Last week Derek had first impact game (437/4). The Chargers allow 8.7 yards per attempt with QBs tossing ten TDs. Their two failures came vs. Kansas City (256/4) and LAR (354/3). Carr has a winning matchup while expecting a battle on the scoreboard.
MATCHUP RISK / AGAINST THE GRAIN (GPP)
Jared Goff (DK – $6,500/FD – $8,000): Goff passed for over 350 yards in each of his last three games while delivering nine TDs. Over this stretch, he completed 71.2 percent of his passes while gaining 10.6 yards per pass attempt. Last year Jared passed for 408 yards and two TDs in his two starts vs. the Seahawks. Seattle held QBs to 200 passing yards or fewer in each of their last three games with four passing TDs, but they played three teams (CHI, DAL, and ARI) with weak passing attacks. The Seahawks can have risk vs. RBs, which almost points to a Todd Gurley game. Goff runs the best offense in the league, and they should expose Seattle’s weakness on defense. Coin toss in the daily game due to Gurley stealing his possible upside in TDs.
Aaron Rodgers (DK – $6,300/FD – $8,400): After the first month of the season, Rodgers is the 16th ranked QB in four-point TD leagues. He’s yet to pass for over 300 yards while tossing seven TDs. Last week he ran for 31 yards on five carries pointing to his knee feeling better. The Lions allow fewer than 200 yards passing per game with QBs gaining 7.9 yards per passing attempt with seven TDs. Part of their success is tied to poor run defense (167 yards per game – 5.3 yards run) plus a low volume of passing attempts per game (25). This game has a chance to be high scoring with both teams attempting plenty of passes. Green Bay doesn’t run the ball well enough to hurt Rodgers’ value in the passing game. Possible low percentage play while looking like a poor matchup based on passing stats.
Russell Wilson (DK – $5,100/FD – $7,200): Wilson passed for fewer yards in each game in 2018 (298/3, 226/2, 192/2, and 172/0) while facing four defenses with strength in their pass rush. Russell is the 21st ranked QB after four games after leading QBs in scoring in 2017. Last year Wilson passed for only 340 yards and two TDs in two games vs. the Rams. Los Angeles played well on defense in the first three games (13, 0, and 23 points allowed). They allowed 303 passing yards in Week 1 to Oakland, and the Vikings beat them for 422 yards and four TDs last week. The Rams will score, which will require to work his magic in the passing game. Not the best matchup, but game flow does point to an uptick game.
Case Keenum (DK – $5,600/FD – $6,500): The Keenum experiment at QB in Denver is running in fumes over the last three games. Over the period, Case averaged 220 passing yards per game with no TDs and three Ints. The Jets played three of their four games on the road with two QBs passing for 300 or more yards. Overall, QBs have five passing TDs against New York. Denver has talent on defense, and the Jets can slow down the run game (3.8 yards per rush,) which points to a lower scoring game. Can’t trust Keenum’s TDs pointing to avoid.
Joe Flacco (DK – $5,400/FD – $7,200): Flacco has 15 completions over 20 yards, which puts him on pace for 60 on the year. In his previous nine seasons, Joe has over 45 plays over 20 yards just twice. He averages 313 passing yards per game with eight passing TDs. His best two games came on the road vs. division opponents (376/2 and 363/2). Last year Flacco passed for 505 yards and three TDs in two games vs. the Browns. Cleveland struggled against Pittsburgh (335/1) and Oakland (438/4) in the passing game while doing a nice job vs. Drew Brees (243/2) and the Jets (169/0). I expect the Browns to play better on defense this week with Baker Mayfield struggling to find a winning passing window vs. the Ravens.
Josh Allen (DK – $4,800/FD – $6,400): The fun ride of Allen ended one week after a great win the road vs. the Vikings. On the year, Josh has 666 passing yards with two TDs and four Ints while passing for fewer than 200 yards in his last two starts. His completion rate (53.4) is in a weak area leading to plenty of balls landing in the opponent’s hands. Tennessee can get beat at WR (58/753/6 on 87 targets), which gives Allen a chance at surprising at home. Two teams have over 300 yards passing vs. the Titans (HOU – 310/2 and PHI – 348/2).
BAD MATCHUP (AVOID)
Marcus Mariota (DK – $6,100/FD – $6,800): The light finally shined on the Titans’ passing game in Week 4. Mariota passed for 344 yards with two TDs with success on the ground as well (10/46/1). His success was well above his total output in two other partial games (269 combined yards and no TDs). The Bills allow two passing TDs per game with QBs averaging 278 passing yards per game. I like his direction and the spark shown by Corey Davis last week, but I can’t trust the Titans’ offense on the road plus the Bills don’t pose a big threat on the scoreboard.
Baker Mayfield (DK – $5,300/FD – $7,100): In his first NFL start, Mayfield passed for 295 yards and two TDs, but he did throw two Ints while losing two fumbles. Baker finished with a low completion rate (51.2). Baltimore allows only 5.3 yards per pass attempt with failure in one game (265/4) vs. the Steelers. Wrong kind of dance the daily games.
Sam Darnold (DK – $4,700/FD – $6,300): Darnold has a long way to go to be a consistent winning QB in the NFL. He struggled in back-to-back games on the road (169/0 and 167/1) while completing only 32 of his last 65 passes. His best success came at home (334/1) vs. the Dolphins. Overall, Darnold has four TDs and five Ints. Denver will give up passing yards (282 per game), but QBs only have six passing TDs. The Broncos tend to play well vs. the runs, which will require Sam to win this game in the air. A lower scoring game puts Darnold in the avoid column in the daily games.
NEUTRAL (MME GPP)
Philip Rivers (DK – $6,700/FD – $8,200): Last week the game step up perfect for Rivers after falling behind early, but the Chargers continue to gain many yards from the RB position hurting his upside in passing yards. Philip has three TDs in three of his four starts while coming up only league average in yards over the last three games (256, 226, and 250). Rivers already has 19 completions over 20 yards, but only one of those plays gained over 40 yards. Oakland allows over 30 points per game, but offenses have had more success on the ground (5.6 yards per rush and five TDs) than in the air (233, 222, 341, and 220 yards). The Raiders allowed eight passing TDs and 7.6 yards per pass rush, which invite failure risk. Melvin Gordon looks elite this year leading to big plays in the ground or via the pass. I expect the sharps will focus on Gordon in this matchup while Rivers flies a bit under the radar due to a higher salary in Week 5. He has three very good WRs plus two RBs with pass-catching scoring value. Don’t overlook his explosiveness in this matchup.
Matt Ryan (DK – $6,600/FD – $8,300): Ryan was a beast in his last three starts at home (1,065 passing yards with 12 TDs). Over this span, Matt completed 76.5 percent of his passes while gaining 10.4 yards per pass attempt. Ryan did struggle in his only road start (251/0). Pittsburgh struggled in each of their last three games (326/6, 411/3, and 363/2) vs. QBs with two of those game coming at home. WRs drilled them for 45 catches for 722 yards and six TDs over the last three games. Setting up as an offensive battle especially when you add in the injuries to the Falcons’ defense. I expect some regression on the road with time of possession risk if the Falcons’ defense can’t get Ben Roethlisberger off the field.
Cam Newton (DK – $6,400/FD – $8,400): Over the last two games, Newton has seven TDs with one impact game in combined yards (377) and one failed outing in yards (186). Cam has been active on the ground (28/136/3), which helps raise his floor. His completion rate (67.4) is a career-high thanks to more passes thrown to the RB position (23/181/1 on 29 targets). The Giants played well in three games (176/1, 160/1, and 227/0) against QBs, but Deshaun Watson did beat New York for 385 yards and two TDs. The Giants have shown risk vs. QBs in the run game (24/150 – 6.3 yards per rush) is a positive sign for Cam in the run game. Playing well, but he’ll need the gutless New York’s offense needs to push the volume of the scoreboard. More of fade.
Patrick Mahomes (DK – $6,200/FD – $8,600): Mahomes passed for over 300 yards in each of his last three games. Last week in a tough matchup on the road, he struggled to make big plays (6.8 yards pass attempt) while attempting a season-high 45 passes. On the year, Patrick averaged 300 passing yards and 3.75 TDs per game. The Jaguars allow only 5.8 yards per passing attempts with QBs tossing three TDs. Jacksonville held Tom Brady to 234 yards and two TDs on the road in Week 2. Tough matchup leading to Mahomes being on the bench in many games in the season-long games.
Kirk Cousins (DK – $6,000/FD – $7,700): The Vikings’ run game (61/191/0) by RBs has been a disaster after four games. The poor rushing output led to two impact games (425/4 and 422/3). After four games, Kirk passed for 1,387 yards with ten TDs ranking him fifth in the NFL. The Eagles have struggled in two games on the road against QBs (402/4 and 344/2) and WRs (20/276/3 and 19/271/2) with better success at home (ATL – 251/0 and IND – 164/1). Philly plays well against the run, which paints another passing picture for Minnesota.
Carson Wentz (DK – $5,800/FD – $7,500) – Over his first two games, Wentz completed two-thirds of his passes. Last week Carson passed for 348 yards and two TDs. In his two starts, he averaged 43.5 passes per game compared to 33.8 over 13 starts in 2017. Minnesota only allowed three passing TDs over the first three games while averaging 246 passing yards per game. The Vikings had no answer for any part of the Rams’ offense last week leading to 465 passing yards and five passing TDs. Wentz now has his full arsenal of offensive players with Alshon Jeffery shining last week. Both teams need to play better on defense, which would lead to a more controlled game on the scoreboard. Wentz will throw TDs, which is worth a swing on some tickets.
Blake Bortles (DK – $5,500/FD – $7,000): Blake shined in two of his last three games at home (376/4 and 388/2) while adding value in the run game on the year (18/132). In his only road start, Blake passed for 176 yards and one TD with failure as well vs. the Titans (155/0). The Chiefs struggled vs. the pass over the first two games (424/3 and 452/3) with improvement in their last two games (251/2 and 245/0). Kansas City has high risk vs. the run (5.7 yards per rush), which tends to be Jacksonville’s calling card. If Patrick Mahomes, can solve the Jaguars’ defense, Bortles will need to pass. A favorable matchup, but game flow may not work in his favor.
Ryan Tannehill (DK – $5,200/FD – $6,600): Tannehill still hasn’t attempted over 28 passes in any game in 2018. Last week he struggled to beat the Patriots’ defense (100 passing yards and no TDs). On the year, Ryan has seven passing TDs while gaining 8.4 yards per pass attempt. Cinci allowed over 300 yards in three of their four games (319/2, 376/2, and 419/3). Last week the Falcons’ WRs gained 344 yards on 21 catches with two TDs. Tough to trust the Dolphins’ passing game even with Cinci showing some risk vs. the pass.
Eli Manning (DK – $4,900/FD – $6,500): Manning has an exceptional completion rate (78.1) over his last three games, but he failed to deliver over 300 yards in each game with four combined four TDs. Eli has been sacked 15 times, and New York still runs a boring offense with no imagination. The Panthers struggled in their last two games defending QBs (272/2 and 352/2). Manning has two upside WRs and a top RB who has the ability to make a play in the passing game. Fantasy owners have taken surrender card with the Manning/Beckham hookup pointing to a much lower percentage own. Possible if you want to donate to another Fantasy owners winning cause.
C.J. Beathard (DK – $4,900/FD – $6,300): Beathard did a nice job in his first start in 2018. He passed for 298 yards with two TDs and two Ints. He completed four passes over 20 yards with one pass gaining over 40 yards (82-yard TD). San Fran has seven passing TDs in four games while averaging 8.1 yards per pass attempt. The Cardinals continue to trail in games leading to 35 rushing attempts per game allowed. QBs averaged 250 passing yards with three passing TDs. A better player that he may get credit for, but San Fran will try to win this game on the ground. Possible dark horse at the backend of the QB pool.
Josh Rosen (DK – $4,700/FD – $6,400): In his first NFL start, Rosen passed for 180 yards with a TD. Josh gave the Cardinals a chance to win, but Phil Dawson missed a late field goal. QBs have three TDs in each of the last three games against the 49ers, but they’ve faced three good QBs (DET, KC, and LAC) with each team having receiving talent. His short resume makes Rosen tough to trust in the daily games, but San Fran does have enough risk on defense to give him a glimmer of hope at this level.