After a short Thanksgiving break I hope everyone was able to take a little time off, eat and drink their fill, and enjoy some football! This upcoming week is week 13 of the NFL season which means that the playoffs are just around the corner, or may begin this week for some of you. With that in mind, I decided to adjust the setup here a little. Instead of the typical Upgrades and Downgrades, I have decided to highlight some favorable matchups to take advantage of and some to avoid in the upcoming week. For each matchup I will also highlight the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for each. Good is obviously what’s favorable in the matchup, Bad is either an unfavorable matchup or because of that player’s usage so far this season, and Ugly is basically unplayable. It’s in everybody’s best interest to target players in potentially high-scoring affairs with good matchups and avoid players with unfavorable matchups in what should be low-scoring affairs.
It is important to realize that this is NOT the time to get cute with your roster, as the old expression goes, “dance with who brung ya”. By that I obviously mean that you shouldn’t be scouring free-agency for a player with a “good” matchup when you have 2 top 10 players at a certain position. Conversely, if you have been having success swapping players in and out of your lineup from your bench then continue to do so as you progress onward. The absolute LAST thing you want to do is try and be ultra-savvy and play a player who has no business being in your lineup and losing because of it. I like to sit down on Sunday morning and think to myself “if I lose because of this 1 player, would I blame myself or simply shrug it off because it was definitely the smartest play?” If you answer is anything but the latter, reconsider your lineup. Good luck to everyone who is in the playoffs for their league or fighting for their lives this week!
Potentially High-Scoring –
Panthers @ Saints –
The Good: Saint’s running game despite the Panthers’ solid run D. Christian McCaffrey because of his usage.
The Bad: Michael Thomas and Funchess because of the matchups, but their usage makes them still viable. Same for Brees. I’ll bite on Ted Ginn in a revenge game if I’m desperate.
The Ugly: Any WR not named above. Jonathan Stewart. Cam Newton.
Patriots @ Bills –
The Good: Patriots’ passing game. Patriot’s run game, despite the Bills dominating KC’s run game last week. Bills’ running game.
The Bad: Tyrod Taylor, Patriots have improved greatly since week 1 (no more than 240 passing yards allowed in the past 5 weeks). Charles Clay because someone has to catch the ball for Buffalo.
The Ugly: Buffalo WRs.
Eagles @ Seahawks –
The Good: Eagles’ WRs since that’s the best way to attack them. Seattle’s WRs since that’s the best way to attack them. Both QBs.
The Bad: Both TEs, both teams are average at stopping TEs and WRs have much more favorable matchups. Eagles’ run game since Seattle is pretty adept at stopping the run and it’s a 3 (4?) headed monster right now.
The Ugly: Seattle’s run game, Eagles are #1 at stopping the run and they suck.
Vikings @ Falcons –
The Good: Case Keenum, he’s been rolling and this defense isn’t that scary. You aren’t sitting Adam Thielen or Julio Jones for anybody despite the matchups.
The Bad: Falcons’ passing game, Minnesota’s defense is one of the best so not great. Stefon Diggs/Kyle Rudolph, Falcons’ D is pretty good and if Thielen can be somewhat contained they need to do damage elsewhere. Minnesota’s run game, Atlanta’s run D is middle-of-the-pack.
The Ugly: Falcons’ run game because Minnesota is #2 if not #1 at stopping the run.
Buccaneers @ Packers –
The Good: Mike Evans, regardless of who is throwing the ball, the dude’s a monster and Green Bay’s pass D is…not good. Jameis Winston and DeSean Jackson IF Winston is healthy enough, kinda risky though. Davante Adams, not many teams (if any) are worse at stopping the pass than Tampa Bay. Jamaal Williams due to workload and the fact that Tampa also sucks at stopping the run.
The Bad: Any WRs on the Packers not named Adams since Hundley doesn’t like them, also Hundley because he’s merely a backup. Buccaneers’ TEs, somehow Green Bay is #1 at stopping opposing TEs (for fantasy purposes).
The Ugly: Tampa’s run game, as it has been all season.
Apparently Average –
Rams @ Cardinals –
The Good: Adrian Peterson because the Rams’ have the worst run D in the league. Jared Goff because apparently their passing attack is an unstoppable force.
The Bad: Todd Gurley, the Cards are good against the run. Rams’ WRs, Woods is out and good luck figuring out who the target monster will be otherwise despite the decent matchup.
The Ugly: Every other player on the Cardinals besides AP, especially since the Rams can stop the pass.
Browns @ Chargers –
The Good: Chargers’ passing game, the Browns’ suck in the secondary and Rivers gets to play at home. I especially like Hunter Henry against a defense that is amongst the worst at stopping opposing TEs. Browns’ run game because the Chargers’ run D is bad and the Browns can’t pass with consistency.
The Bad: Melvin Gordon, the Chargers may find themselves up early which is good for gameflow but the Browns can stop the run. Josh Gordon, don’t risk taking a flier on him if you are playing in the playoffs or fighting to get in, unless you’re TRULY desperate.
The Ugly: Brown’s passing game besides Gordon, Chargers are good at stopping the pass and the Browns are a glorified JV team.
Lions @ Ravens –
The Good: Ravens’ run game, Lions’ run D sucks and the Lions won’t run away with this one.
The Bad: Lions’ passing game, Ravens are #2 in pass defense. Lions’ run game, Ravens aren’t as good at stopping the run so they may have to despite the run game in Detroit being terrible.
The Ugly: Ravens’ passing attack, the Lions are fairly average but the Ravens never score so…
Chiefs @ Jets –
The Good: Chief’s passing attack, the Jets aren’t great at defending the pass but I am slightly worried because of how this unit has looked over the past 2 weeks. Travis Kelce specifically, the Jets are in the bottom 1/3 in defending opposing TEs. Jets’ WRs, Chiefs have been better as of late but they still rank toward the bottom of the league in passing yards allowed.
The Bad: Kareem Hunt, he’s been bad for a while now and Jets are fairly good at stopping the run. Josh McCown, KC has been improving against the pass and he’s far from a sure thing but a viable option if you are in desperation mode.
The Ugly: Jets running game, too many mouths to feed here and KC can stop the run pretty well.
Steelers @ Bengals –
The Good: Antonio Brown/Le’Veon Bell, you can’t sit either of these guys, ever. EVER. Same for AJ Green, despite the tough matchup for everyone listed here.
The Bad: Ben Roethlisberger, he’s been hot but this game’s on the road and a trap game considering they play the Patriots and Ravens over the next 2 weeks. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Bengals are very good at stopping the pass and Brown always gets his. Bengals’ run game, Mixon did well last week in a tough matchup, and they may need him this week in order to keep up with the Steelers, but the Steel Curtain has been stopping the run with success most of the year.
The Ugly: Bengals’ passing attack except Green, Steelers have been tops in the league in pass D all year and this passing attack is merely a shell of its former self (which wasn’t all that great anyway).
Predictably Low-Scoring –
Texans @ Titans –
The Good: DeAndre Hopkins, not like you were ever thinking about sitting him anyway but the Titans’ pass D is bad. Titan’s passing attack, much like KC, the Texans are a well-known defense that, for some reason, can’t stop the pass (the last 2 weeks were flukes; they played Arizona and Baltimore…c’mon).
The Bad: Lamar Miller, Titans do 1 thing well defensively and that is stop the run. Texans’ passing game, anyone not named D Hop is bad, and therefore, find themselves here.
The Ugly: Titans’ run game, they have been mediocre all year and Houston is good against the run, not a good combo for you Murray owners.
Giants @ Raiders –
The Good: Raiders’ passing attack, Giants’ pass D has been decimated by injuries (along with the rest of their team) and so they can’t stop anybody through the air.
The Bad: Marshawn Lynch, he really hasn’t done much this year and the Giants’ are average against the run. Giants’ passing attack, they’d be in the “Good” if Eli were playing but I don’t trust either of these QBs to lead this offense.
The Ugly: Giants’ rushing attack, Oakland is merely average against the run but I have a feeling this O line is going to have a half-ass showing in order to make a statement to the coaching staff and ownership about this Eli Manning debacle.
Colts @ Jaguars –
The Good: Jaguars’ run game, Colts are pitiful defensively across the board on the season and you know Fournette has to be foaming at the mouth for this one.
The Bad: Colts’ run game, they won’t be going anywhere through the air so they may have to force it on the ground. Jaguars’ passing game, despite the incredible matchup their talent in the passing game is anything but and gameflow may dictate a million hand-offs.
The Ugly: Colts’ passing attack, Jags are the best pass defense in the league and this is another glorified JV squad.
49ers @ Bears –
The Good: Jordan Howard, all they do is feed him the rock and the 49ers couldn’t stop me if we were playing Red Rover and I was in my whitey-tighties.
The Bad: Bears’ passing attack, Trubisky seems to be getting better every week but this passing game is still far from serviceable for fantasy services and Howard may be getting the ball 35 times. 49ers’ passing game, Bears pass D has been average-to-good all season and now they have Jimmy G. starting in an offense he will be running for the 1st time. 49ers’ run game, same as the passing game.
The Ugly: Really, all of it. I’m just trying to be nice.
Broncos @ Dolphins –
The Good: Eh.
The Bad: Ehhh.
The Ugly: Yup.