Bales’ NFL Matchups (Divisional Round)
Matchups to Attack
Golden Tate vs P.J. Williams
Golden Tate has found plenty of success this season, but he has struggled quite a bit with the Philadelphia Eagles. Through nine games with Philadelphia, Tate is averaging 3.9 receptions for 36.0 yards and 0.2 touchdowns on 5.8 targets per game. He’s coming off of his second best game of the season for Philadelphia, posting a 5/46/1 line on eight targets against a tough Chicago Bears defense. Overall, Tate has only scored double-digit fantasy points in two of his nine games with the Eagles this season.
He has played 72% of his snaps as a slot receiver this season, and he has continued in that role with Philadelphia. He gets a matchup against P.J. Williams, who has played 88% of his snaps as the New Orleans Saints slot corner this season. Williams has allowed a 70% catch rate, while being targeted on 14% of his routes covered in 2018. He has also allowed 0.3 fantasy points and 1.3 yards per route covered this season. Overall, Williams has graded out as Pro Football Focus’ worst cornerback on the slate. Tate certainly comes with risk, but he simply cannot get a better matchup than this, suggesting he could find success for the second consecutive week.
T.Y. Hilton vs Charvarius Ward
T.Y. Hilton continues to miss practice, but there’s no reason to believe that he’s in danger of missing this game. He has played in 15 games total this season, averaging 5.4 receptions for 90.3 yards and 0.4 touchdowns on 8.7 targets per game. He has scored double-digit fantasy points in 13 of his 15 games this season, including two games with 30+ DK points. Hilton has been a slightly better at home this season, but he has found more than enough success on the road to be considered here.
Hilton continues to move around the Indianapolis Colts formation, but he has played the majority of his snaps (38%) as the Colts right outside receiver. He’ll get a matchup against Charvarius Ward, who has played a very limited amount of snaps this season. Still, 73% of those snaps have come as the Kansas City Chiefs left outside cornerback. He has been targeted on 23% of his routes covered, allowing a 78% catch rate. Ward has also allowed 0.52 fantasy points and 3.43 yards per route covered during his limited time on the field. He has also graded out as a bottom-three cornerback on this slate, per Pro Football Focus, and there’s very little reason to believe a backup cornerback will find success against a player like Hilton.
Travis Kelce vs Clayton Geathers
Travis Kelce has been one of the best tight ends in the NFL this season. Through 16 games, he’s averaging 6.4 receptions for 83.5 yards and 0.6 touchdowns on 9.4 targets per game. Kelce has scored 10+ DK points in each of his last 15 games after starting the season off with a one catch performance. He has seen nine or more targets in eight of his last nine games, as well. He’ll continue to see a plethora of targets, especially in a plus matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, who have struggled against tight ends throughout the season.
Kelce has run the majority of his routes (42%) out of the slot for the Kansas City Chiefs. He has also run 35% of his routes as an inline tight end, while also running 22% of his routes from out wide. He’ll get a matchup against Clayton Geathers, who has covered the tight end on somewhat of limited snaps this season. He has graded out as the worst coverage safety on the slate, according to Pro Football Focus, allowing a 57% catch rate, while being targeted on 12% of his routes covered. Geathers has only allowed 0.16 fantasy points and 0.9 yards per route covered in limited opportunities this season, though. Still, this is a matchup Kelce can take advantage of.
Indianapolis Colts OL vs Kansas City Chiefs DL
The Indianapolis Colts only rank 20th in the NFL in rushing yards (107.4) per game this season. They have scored 13 rushing touchdowns this season, though. With that being said, Marlon Mack has recorded 119+ rushing yards in three of his last four games, and he has been a major boost to the Indianapolis Colts rushing attack when healthy. Mack has also scored at least one rushing touchdown in each of his last five games, totaling six rushing touchdowns over that span. The Colts also rank third on the slate in rushing yards before contact (1.94). They only average 1.0 run inside the five-yard line per game, but they convert for a touchdown on 45% of those carries, which ranks as the third highest on the slate.
Indianapolis gets a matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, who are allowing 132.1 rushing yards per game this season. They have also allowed 19 rushing touchdowns per game. Furthermore, they’re allowing their opponents to average 5.0 rushing yards per carry, which ranks second last in the NFL this season. Kansas City also ranks second last on the slate in yards allowed before contact (1.91). They are allowing the most runs inside the five-yard line (1.5) per game, while also allowing their opponents to convert those rushes for a touchdown on 52% of those carries. Mack and the Indianapolis rushing attack has caught fire recently, and this is another matchup they can take advantage of.
Matchups to Avoid
Julian Edelman vs Desmond King
Julian Edelman has only played in 12 games this season, but he has looked outstanding for the New England Patriots. In those games, he’s averaging 6.2 receptions for 70.8 yards and 0.5 touchdowns on 9.0 targets per game. He has been a consistent option, scoring 15+ DK points in 10 of his last 11 games. Edelman has also flashed solid upside, as well, scoring 20+ DK points in four games this season. He has seen 10+ targets in three of his last four games, recording only six targets in a blowout win against the New York Jets two weeks ago.
Edelman has played 67% of his snaps as the Patriots slot receiver this season. He gets a matchup against Desmond King, who has played 97% of his snaps as the Los Angeles Chargers’ slot corner in 2018. He has allowed a 72% catch rate, but has only been targeted on 11% of his routes covered. He has also held his opponents to 0.21 fantasy points and 1.14 yards per route covered this season. Overall, King has graded out as Pro Football Focus’ best cornerback on the slate. Edelman has found plenty of success this season, but this could be his most difficult matchup, adding quite a bit of risk to him as a player.
Keenan Allen vs Jason McCourty
Keenan Allen is another slot receiver that has found plenty of success in 2018. Through 17 games, he’s averaging 5.9 receptions for 72.5 yards and 0.4 touchdowns on 8.4 targets per game. Keep in mind, Allen was injured in his game against the Kansas City Chiefs, and he didn’t record any stats in that game. Excluding that game, Allen would have averaged a 6.3/77.1/0.4 line on 8.9 targets per game. Surprisingly, Allen has seen eight or fewer targets in each of his last four healthy games.
He has moved around the Los Angeles formation, but he has played 55% of his snaps as their slot receiver. The New England Patriots are a team that love shadowing opponents receivers, but Allen will get a matchup against Jason McCourty, who generally shadows their opponents slot receiver. McCourty has graded out as the third best cornerback on the slate, according to Pro Football Focus, allowing a 60% catch rate, while being targeted on 18% of his routes covered. He has allowed his opponents to record 0.31 fantasy points and 1.35 yards per route covered this season. If Allen gets plays off from McCourty this weekend, he’ll likely face off against Stephon Gilmore, who is an even worse matchup.
Ben Watson vs Malcolm Jenkins
Ben Watson has struggled for the most part throughout the 2018 season. He has scored double-digit fantasy points in only three of his 16 games. Overall, he’s averaging 2.2 receptions for 25.0 yards and 0.1 touchdowns on 2.9 targets per game. Watson has been struggling quite a bit recently, as well, scoring fewer than five DK points in seven of his last eight games.
He has played the majority of his snaps (50%) in the slot this season for the New Orleans Saints. He has also played 35% of his snaps inline, while recording only 15% of his snaps out wide. He gets a matchup against Malcolm Jenkins, who has graded out as the best coverage safety of the slate this weekend. He has allowed a 66% catch rate, while being targeted on only 14% of his routes covered. He has also held his opponents to only 0.24 fantasy points and 1.0 yards per route covered. Watson has struggled in plus matchups throughout the season, and there’s very little reason to believe he’ll find success in the most difficult matchup of this slate on Sunday.
New Orleans Saints OL vs Philadelphia Eagles DL
The New Orleans Saints feature one of the best rushing games in the NFL, as they rank sixth in the league in rushing yards (126.6) per game this season. They have also recorded a league-high 26 rushing touchdowns. Furthermore, they lead the slate with 1.9 runs inside the five-yard line, converting those for touchdowns at a 44% rate. With that being said, New Orleans also ranks last on the slate in yards before contact (1.45), which could pose a problem against an elite Philadelphia Eagles run defense.
As mentioned above, the Saints get a matchup against the Eagles, who are allowing only 96.9 rushing yards per game this season. They have also held their opponents to only 14 rushing touchdowns. Philadelphia leads the slate in yards allowed before contact (1.07), as well. Furthermore, they’re allowing only 1.1 runs inside the five-yard line on the season, allowing their opponents to convert those for touchdowns at only 33% rate. The Saints have ways to score in this game, but they could struggle to find rushing success against a difficult defense.
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