Our DVOA-adjusted pass and run game targets are back for Week 15!
Last week was great, with focus players Trevor Lawrence, Zay Jones, Justin Herbert, Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, Miles Sanders, Dallas’ run game, and Carolina’s run game producing well, in line with our predictions.
Commensurate with my system, the passing attacks of the Giants and Panthers, and the rushing attacks of the Buccaneers, Chargers, and Jaguars, were all underwhelming.
Passing Game Targets
Kansas City Chiefs
The Texans put up quite the fight against the Cowboys last week, but the Chiefs are even better. Houston actually defends slot WRs well (third in NFL), but not non-slot WRs (29th) or TEs (17th). Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Juju Smith-Schuster are all good plays this week.
Los Angeles Chargers
Big Mike Williams is back. The offense is just different (and better) when he is on the field. He runs over 86% of his routes out wide and should keep his momentum going with a strongly favorable matchup against Tennessee’s 30th-ranked non-slot WR defense. Keenan Allen has a decent matchup as well against the Titans’ subpar slot WR defense (24th). Justin Herbert should be on your short-list for QBs this week.
Miami’s defense doesn’t rank bottom-10 against any skill positional unit, but it is on a cold streak and coming up to the cold of Upstate NY for this matchup. Josh Allen still hasn’t looked 100% since his elbow injury, but he is still putting up decent stat lines. Trust him and Call of Duty buddy Stefon Diggs against a Dolphins’ defense intercepting the ball at a low rate (27th) and allowing a high third down conversion rate (25th).
I would be stacking this game more fervently if it wasn’t for the weather concerns. For all the accolades of Buffalo’s defense, they do not defend slot WRs well. Hello Tyreek Hill. I am not sure that I would trust anybody else from the Dolphins here, as Jaylen Waddle has only run 18.4% of his routes from the slot since Week 10.
Andy Dalton is still the starter, and Atlanta is still a bad defense, so we will still consider Dalton for fantasy. The only fear for the QB and WRs would be Alvin Kamara taking over — a definite possibility. Chris Olave has about a 70-30% split for wide/slot routes, and Atlanta’s defense is ranked 24th/25th against such aligned WRs.
Passing game fades: Bears, Falcons, Rams, Cardinals
Rushing Game Targets
We got the Eagles’ gameplan that we expected last week, and they should go right back to the well again. The Bears’ defense is 25th against the run. Miles Sanders is on a roll, and Jalen Hurts obviously uses his legs intelligently.
The dreaded double-run game appearance. It feels like the top two run games to target have been opponents that week on multiple occasions. Regardless, David Montgomery and Justin Fields are both playable. The Eagles’ run defense is not great (23rd), and Fields has a nice rushing floor.
J.K. Dobbins hobbled his way to 120 yards and a touchdown last week, and now plays a pathetic Browns defense ranked dead last against the rush. Lamar Jackson is sitting this one out, so it could be the Dobbins show.
Another run game target opponent pairing. Nick Chubb is the Browns’ workhorse. Deshaun Watson has looked awful, so they will want to lean on their run game, and the Ravens’ defense — wait, they are really good at defending the run. Baltimore is ranked fifth for the season and is actually the top run defense since Week 10; I will avoid this one.
The Saints’ defense is best attacked via non-slot WRs (31st), which would indicate a Drake London game. However, the QB is a rookie starting his first NFL game, and my system is telling me that the run game should be serviceable. Cordarrelle Patterson might find some wiggle room for this matchup with New Orleans’ 23rd-ranked run defense.
Run game fades: Buccaneers, Chargers, Colts
(Stats courtesy of Football Outsiders and TruMedia Networks)