5 Daily Fantasy Football Matchups to Exploit in Week 10
In fantasy football, matchups are key to setting any lineup.
This series will take a look at a few matchups that can be exploited for success on the football field and for profit in DFS.
Football Team Offense vs. Lions Defense
Comeback Player of the Year candidate Alex Smith ($6,500) will draw his first start in almost exactly two years as the 2-6 Washington Football Team faces the 3-5 Detroit Lions. The Lions have ranked 27th, 27th and 29th in defense, per numberFire’s schedule-adjusted metrics, each year since Matt Patricia’s hiring in 2018, and they are currently allowing the fifth-most points per game.
Detroit is also allowing the 12th-most FanDuel points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season, but Smith isn’t an ideal fantasy option as his extreme conservativeness puts a cap on his fantasy production. He ranks last and third-to-last, respectively, in average depth of target and fantasy points per drop back among quarterbacks with 50-plus dropbacks this season (per Pro Football Focus).
Smith is a player to avoid, but his top weapon in Terry McLaurin ($7,000) is one to pursue. McLaurin is seeing elite volume, as he ranks fifth in target share and first in air yards share among all wide receivers this season. Despite playing a tough schedule to start the year, seeing cornerbacks Darius Slay, Patrick Peterson, Denzel Ward,Jimmy Smith, Jalen Ramsey and James Bradberry (twice) -- the later four of whom all rank top-20 in PFF coverage grade -- McLaurin ranks top 10 in targets, receptions, yards and FanDuel points per game among receivers. This week, he’ll play against Desmond Trufant and Jeff Okudah, who rank 106th and 125th, respectively, in PFF's coverage grades among 127 eligible corners.
While Smith’s conservativeness limits his own fantasy production, it raises that of his running backs. Smith has targeted running backs on a ridiculous 21 of his 49 attempts this season (42.9%). J.D. McKissic ($5,300) is Washington’s primary receiving back, as his 177 routes run ranks eighth among all running backs, and his 37% target share with Smith in at quarterback easily trumps Alvin Kamara's season-long 25% target share.
McKissic saw a team-high 14 targets last week, and his role as Smith’s security blanket offers a high floor. But backfield mate Antonio Gibson ($6,100) likely has a higher ceiling this week despite Gibson's lower involvement in the passing game. Gibson ranks second in attempts per broken tackle and should feast against a Lions defense that ranks dead last in rush defense efficiency and is allowing the most FanDuel points to running backs.
Browns Offense vs. Texans Defense
Staying on the topic of run game mismatches, perhaps the largest mismatch of the week is against the Cleveland Browns' rushing offense versus the Houston Texans' run D. The Browns rank top seven in run rate, rushing efficiency and adjusted line yards. The Texans rank bottom seven in each of those corresponding defensive metrics.
Nick Chubb ($8,200) is expected to return from his knee injury just in time and is obviously an appealing DFS option. His injury should lower his projected popularity, but considering that he has practiced in full, he’s a strong play against a Houston defense that has allowed at least four touchdowns in every game this season against opponents not named the Jaguars.
Kareem Hunt ($7,500) would be an obvious play if Chubb has a setback and can’t go on Sunday, but assuming that Chubb is healthy, Hunt is an unappealing option considering he averaged 12.4 FanDuel points per game in the last month without Chubb in the lineup. Houston has also been more stout in the passing game against running backs, giving up the seventh-fewest receptions to the position this season, which is more of Hunt’s forte when Chubb plays.
Jarvis Landry ($6,000) and Austin Hooper ($5,100) should be expected to see the majority of passing work for the remainder of the season with Odell Beckham out. The Texans are allowing the seventh-most FanDuel points per game to wide receivers this season and the 10th-most to opposing tight ends. Landry and Hooper are solid, economical options against a clearly porous Houston defense.
Bills Offense vs. Cardinals Defense
The Buffalo Bills' offense made this column last week and is back again with another pristine matchup, this time against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals rank 15th in defensive efficiency but have allowed the seventh-most points per game in the league -- due in large part because the offense ranks second in neutral situation pace of play (per Football Outsiders), and the team correspondingly ranks in the top seven in both offensive and defensive plays per game.
Third-year quarterback Josh Allen ($8,700) had another monster game last Sunday (36.0 FanDuel points) after a relatively quiet preceding month of play, and Allen should be in for another big performance considering the projected number of snaps and points in this matchup. Bills leading receiver Stefon Diggs ($7,900) continues to see excellent volume -- leading the league in targets, receptions and yards -- and while he may have a tough assignment against Patrick Peterson, difficult matchups haven’t slowed him down in any other game this season. Diggs has remarkably scored 12-plus FanDuel points in all but one game this year (and he still had six catches on 11 targets in that exception).
John Brown ($5,600) made a triumphant return from injury last week in his first start since Week 6, as he caught eight of 11 targets and was tripped right in front of the goal line on a tackle that prevented a 100-yard, one-touchdown game from Smokey. Brown and Diggs were the only Buffalo players to see more than five targets last week and should continue to be heavily relied on in this week’s projected shootout in the desert.
Rams Offense vs. Seahawks Defense
It’s a bit of a broken record at this point, as the Seattle Seahawks' defensive woes have been well-documented nearly every week in this series, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth analyzing once again. Seattle is surrendering a ridiculous 30.4 points and 455.8 yards per game (which is on pace to shatter NFL records), and a majority of that production has come through the air. The Seahawks have allowed the most pass attempts, completions and yards by a wide margin this season.
Jared Goff ($7,400) should be the main benefactor of this game with the second-highest projected total of the weekend (54.5) against a Seahawks defense that is allowing the most FanDuel points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season. Opposing quarterbacks are averaging a ludicrous 45.8 pass attempts per game against Seattle, which bodes well for Goff as well as his pass-catchers.
Cooper Kupp ($7,700) leads the team in targets, receptions, yards and air yards this season. He had 20 targets in Los Angeles’ last game, when LA trailed Miami for the majority of the contest, and he should be in for plenty of volume again against Seattle. Robert Woods ($7,200) leads the team in touchdowns and fantasy points and should also be upgraded against a Seahawks defense that is easily allowing the most FanDuel points to opposing receivers this season. Josh Reynolds ($5,000) also deserves roster consideration, as his 13.2 average depth of target easily bests Kupp’s (6.9) and Woods’ (7.9), and Seattle is allowing the sixth-highest rate of explosive pass plays this season (per Sharp Football Stats).
Buccaneers Offense vs. Panthers Defense
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were embarrassed on national television last Sunday night in a lopsided 38-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints. In two games against the Saints this season, the Buccaneers are 0-2 and averaging 13 points and 252 yards of offense per game. But in all other games, Tampa Bay is 6-1 while averaging 32 points and 377 yards per game. This week, the Bucs face the Carolina Panthers for the second time this season. In the first meeting, Tampa Bay won 31-17 sans Chris Godwin ($7,500) and Antonio Brown ($6,500).
This weekend’s rematch against the Panthers offers an excellent buy-low opportunity on Buccaneers players. Tom Brady ($7,800) ranked fifth in FanDuel points among quarterbacks before his primetime debacle, and in non-Saints games that Godwin has played in this season, Brady is averaging 25 FanDuel points and the team is averaging 37 points per game. Godwin himself is averaging just 11.6 FanDuel points per game and hasn’t reached 100 yards in a single contest yet this year, but that could change this week, as he's averaged 117.8 yards and 18.0 FanDuel points in his four career starts against Carolina.
Brown and Mike Evans ($7,300) are less appealing options. Brown led the team in air yards last week but is clearly still getting up to speed in the offense and may not be fully trustable in fantasy quite yet. Meanwhile, Evans is averaging 8.5 targets in games Godwin missed but just 3.6 per game when Godwin suits up, and after scoring six touchdowns in the first five weeks of the season, Evans has scored just once since.
Ronald Jones ($6,400) had three straight 100-yard games a few weeks ago but has played on less than 50% of snaps in each of the past three games. In that same time span, Leonard Fournette ($6,400) has seen six-plus targets in every game in his emergence as the team’s passing-down back. Fournette's role offers a high floor, especially in this game against a Panthers defense that is allowing the most receptions and third-most FanDuel points to opposing running backs this season. Fournette rushed 12 times for 103 yards and two touchdowns in the last meeting versus Carolina and could have another big game this week if he continues to out-snap Jones.