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Bales’ NFL Matchups (Wildcard Weekend)

Matchups to Attack

Amari Cooper vs Shaquill Griffin

Amari Cooper struggled early on with the Oakland Raiders this season, but he has since turned his 2018 season around with the Dallas Cowboys. In nine games with Dallas, Cooper is averaging 5.9 receptions for 80.6 yards and 0.7 touchdowns on 8.4 targets per game. He has also been a significantly better option in Dallas, where he has totaled 35 receptions for 551 yards and six touchdowns on 43 targets through five games. Cooper could see surprisingly low ownership because of a recent string of bad games to end the season, though.

He has played the majority of his snaps (45%) as a right outside receiver this season, and that’s expected to be the case again this weekend. He’ll get a matchup against Shaquill Griffin, who has played 95% of his snaps as the Seattle Seahawks left outside cornerback. He grades out as the worst cornerback on the season, according to Pro Football Focus. Griffin has allowed a 70% catch rate, while being targeted on 16% of his routes covered. He also ranks in the bottom-five of the slate in fantasy points (0.35) and yards (1.57) allowed per route covered in 2018. When Cooper moves across the formation, he’ll get a matchup against Tre Flowers, who grades out as the second worst cornerback on the slate. Regardless of where he lines up for Dallas, Cooper will get a great matchup this weekend.

T.Y. Hilton vs Shareece Wright

T.Y. Hilton has missed practice this entire week, but that has been the case for a few weeks, and he isn’t in danger of missing this game. Through 14 games this season, he’s averaging 5.4 receptions for 90.7 yards and 0.4 touchdowns on 8.6 targets per game. Hilton has played two games against the Houston Texans this season, and he has totaled 13 receptions for 314 yards on 18 targets. He has scored double-digit DK points in 12 of his 14 games, including two games with 30+ DK points.

Hilton has moved across the Indianapolis Colts formation throughout the season, but he has played 34% of his snaps as their left outside receiver. That’s the position he’s expected to play this week once again. He’ll face off against Shareece Wright, who has played 56% of his snaps as the Houston Texans right outside cornerback. He has been targeted on 15% of his routes covered, allowing a 61% catch rate. He’s also allowing 0.34 fantasy points and 1.47 yards per route covered on the season. Overall, Wright has graded out as Pro Football Focus’ third worst cornerback on the slate, and Hilton has proven that he can find plenty of success in this matchup.

Blake Jarwin vs Bradley McDougald

Blake Jarwin barely played a role in the Dallas Cowboys offense early this season, recording only seven receptions for 79 yards on 11 targets through his first two games. He has taken on a new role over the last four weeks, though, totaling 20 receptions for 228 yards and three touchdowns on 25 targets. He’s also coming off of his best game of the season, posting a 7/119/3 line on eight targets against the New York Giants.

Jarwin has run the majority of his routes (55%) out of the slot for the Cowboys. He has also run 41% of his routes as an inline tight end, while lining out wide on only 4% of his routes. He’s expected to get a matchup against Bradley McDougald, who grades out as the second worst coverage safety on the slate, per Pro Football Focus. He has allowed a 65% catch rate, while being targeted on 15% of his routes covered. Surprisingly, he’s allowing only 0.52 yards per route covered, ranks as the lowest on the slate. Still, this is a plus matchup for Jarwin, who has proven to be a solid fantasy option, specifically on the limited slate this weekend.

Baltimore Ravens OL vs Los Angeles Chargers DL

The Baltimore Ravens currently rank second in the NFL in rushing yards (152.6) per game in 2018. That total has increased significantly since inserting Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards into the starting lineup, though. In seven games with the Jackson/Edwards combination, Baltimore is averaging 229.6 rushing yards and 1.1 rushing touchdowns on 45.1 carries per game. The Ravens also rank third on the slate in rushing yards before contact (1.69). Furthermore, they rank second on the slate in runs inside the five-yard line (1.3), while converting on a 39% touchdown rate on those carries.

Baltimore gets a matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers this weekend. They’re only allowing 105.8 rushing yards per game on the season, but they are also allowing 4.3 yards per carry. Furthermore, they have allowed 11 rushing touchdowns in 2018. Los Angeles is also allowing a slate-high 1.91 yards before contact and 1.4 runs inside the five-yard line this season. They are only allowing a 34% touchdown rate on carries inside the five-yard line, but Baltimore makes one of the best rushing offenses to attack on this slate.

 

Matchups to Avoid

Willie Snead vs Desmond King

Willie Snead was enjoying a solid season early on with Joe Flacco at quarterback. Through his first nine games in 2018, he averaged 5.0 receptions for 49.8 yards and 0.1 touchdowns on 7.7 targets per game. His numbers have taken a hit with Lamar Jackson at quarterback over his last seven games, though. With Jackson at quarterback, Snead is averaging 2.4 receptions for 29.0 yards and 0.0 touchdowns on 3.7 targets per game. He also has two games without a target with Jackson at quarterback.

Snead has played 82% of his routes as the Baltimore Ravens slot receiver this season. He’ll face off against Desmond King, who has played 97% of his snaps as the Los Angeles Chargers slot corner this season. He grades out as Pro Football Focus’ best cornerback on the slate. King has allowed a 72% catch rate this season, but he has only been targeted on 11% of his routes covered. He’s also allowing only 0.21 fantasy points and 1.14 yards per route covered on the season, as well. Snead will struggle with the offensive game plan of Baltimore this week, and a matchup against one of the NFL’s elite cornerbacks will do him no favors.

Philadelphia Eagles WRs vs Chicago Bears CBs

Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor have caught fire recently, while Golden Tate continues to struggle a bit. Over the last four weeks, Jeffery is averaging 5.5 receptions for 87.8 yards and 0.5 touchdowns on 6.8 targets per game. He’s also averaging 18.0 DK points per game over that span. Agholor has looked outstanding over the last two weeks, totaling 10 receptions for 156 yards and three touchdowns (46.6 DK points) on 13 targets. Since joining the Philadelphia Eagles, Tate is averaging only 3.8 receptions for 34.8 yards and 0.1 touchdowns on 5.5 targets per game. He has also scored single-digit DK points in each of his last four games.

Tate has played 72% of his snaps out of the slot this season, giving him a matchup against Sherrick McManis, who has played 87% of his snaps as the Chicago Bears slot corner. He has held his opponents to a 40% catch rate, while being targeted on 15% of his routes covered this season. Agholor has shifted to the right outside receiver for Philadelphia, and he’ll matchup against Kyle Fuller, who has played 99% of his snaps as the Bears left outside cornerback. He has also allowed a 60% catch rate, while being targeted on 19% of his routes covered. With that being said, McManis and Fuller grade out as the second and third best cornerbacks on this slate, according to Pro Football Focus. Jeffery has played 40% of his snaps as the Eagles left outside receiver this season. He’ll get the easiest matchup against Prince Amukamara, who has played 99% of his snaps as Chicago’s right outside cornerback. He has been targeted on 17% of his routes covered, allowing 66% catch rate. While he is the easiest matchup for Philadelphia’s receivers this weekend, Amukamara still grades out as an above average cornerback on this slate. Philadelphia is a sexy offense with Nick Foles being a feel good story for the second year in a row, but they could struggle against an elite group of defensive backs this weekend.

Trey Burton vs Malcolm Jenkins

Trey Burton hasn’t necessarily been an elite tight end option in the NFL this season, but he has found quite a bit of success. Through 16 games, he’s averaging 3.4 receptions for 35.6 yards and 0.4 touchdowns on 4.8 targets per game. He owns only seven games with double-digit DK points this season, but he was able to post a 30.6 DK point performance against the New England Patriots. Burton also struggled to close out the season, averaging only 6.0 DK points per game over his last seven games.

He has moved all around the Chicago formation, running 43% of his snaps from the slot. He has also run 33% of his routes as an inline tight end and 24% of his routes out wide in 2018. Burton gets a matchup against Malcolm Jenkins, who has allowed a 66% catch rate this season. He has also allowed a slate-high 1.0 yard per route covered, although he has graded out as Pro Football Focus’ best safety on the slate. He’s the only safety to cover on more than 115 routes in 2018, and Chicago will likely game plan to attack a weaker part of the Philadelphia defense.

Chicago Bears OL vs Philadelphia Eagles DL

The Chicago Bears currently rank 11th in the NFL with 121.1 rushing yards per game this season. With that being said, they rank only 26th in the NFL with 4.1 yards per carry. Chicago only ranks fourth on the slate in rushing yards before contact (1.62) this season. They also rank last on the slate in rush attempts inside the five-yard line, although they lead the slate with a 55% touchdown rate on those carries.

The Bears get a matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, who are allowing only 94.6 rushing yards per game in 2018. They are one of seven teams to hold their opponents to fewer than 100.0 rushing yards per game. Philadelphia has also held their opponents to 3.8 yards per carry, while allowing 14 rushing touchdowns this season. They lead the slate in rushing yards allowed before contact (1.07) by a wide margin. They are allowing 1.1 rush attempts inside the five-yard line per game, as well. Furthermore, the Eagles are allowing only a 33% touchdown rate on the carries, which ranks second on the slate. Philadelphia features a defense that has some holes in it, but their defensive line isn’t one of those holes.

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