Game Overview ::
By Hilow >>
- Strength on strength matchup for the Chargers offense against the Patriots defense, and borderline weakness against borderline weakness matchup for the Patriots offense against the Chargers defense.
- This leaves this game with one of the wider range of potential outcomes on the slate when it comes to likeliest game flow.
- We should expect the Patriots to bias towards the run for as long as they remain within striking distance; the problem with that is they refuse to give any one running back more than 18-20 opportunities on a standard week.
- Likeliest game scenario keeps the Patriots in the driver seat with respect to game flow and pace, decreasing the likelihood this game pops for volume and offensive production.
How NEw England Will Try To Win ::
For all the concentration by both the media and fantasy industry on the Patriots propensity to run the football, their 13th-ranked situation neutral pass rate of 61% (the same pass rate as the Eagles) begins to tell a slightly different story. Their 19th-ranked situation-neutral pace of play and 18th-ranked overall pace of play also would surprise most. Josh McDaniels has always been a coordinator adept at tailoring his offense to the strengths of his signal caller, and this year is no different. We’ve seen an offense built heavily around 21- and 12-personnel alignments (17% and 19%, respectively), timing, the power run game, and pre-snap misdirection. Bill Belichick has remained one of the best game managers in the league, routinely keeping his team in a position to win games and doing so with a rookie signal-caller. Three of the Patriots four losses have been by two points or less or come in overtime, which is a rather large testament to what this team has been able to accomplish with their first-year quarterback.
Regardless of the outcomes up to this point, the run game remains a weekly head-scratcher as far as expected usage goes. Rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson has bounced between the active and inactive list, Damien Harris has led the room in the overall snap rate but has seen 19 or more running back opportunities in just two of seven games, Brandon Bolden has been tasked with filling the pass game role vacated by James White, and JJ Taylor has filled the primary change of pace duties behind Harris, but only when Stevenson is inactive. Woof city. Furthermore, the Patriots rank just 24th in yards per carry behind an offensive line creating only the 22nd-ranked adjusted line yards at 4.10. The good news here is that their opponent for Week 8 filters opposing teams to the ground through a heavy run-funnel defensive scheme. The matchup on the ground yields an above average 4.53 net-adjusted line yards metric and should be considered the best matchup the Patriots have seen on the ground to date.
Quarterback Mac Jones has quietly thrown for the ninth most yards in the league at a non-terrible 7.6 intended air yards per pass attempt clip. That IAY/PA value still ranks in the bottom half of the league, but McDaniels and Jones have shown the combined play calling and arm ability to attack the intermediate areas of the field. Slot-man Jakobi Meyers leads the team in snap rate by a significant margin, but his snaps have trailed off over the previous two games after being a borderline every-down wide receiver to start the year. Nelson Agholor checks in second in snaps and team target market share amongst the wide receivers, but his hefty 15.3 aDOT has come with a low 52.8% catch rate and low 3.4 average YAC. Expect Kendrick Bourne, who actually checks in second amongst pass-catchers in fantasy points scored, and N’Keal Harry to round out the receiving corps, while tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith complete the pass-catching corps. Nothing has changed from our previous exploration of this tight end unit, with Henry doubling the number of routes of Jonnu, but leading him in targets by only one. The big picture with this unit is it is difficult to confidently project weekly volume and the matchup this week tilts extremely run-heavy against a run-funnel opposing defense.
How Los Angeles Will Try To Win ::
We know the Chargers play with pace (quickest situation-neutral pace of play in the league) and we know they utilize heavy pass rates (fifth-highest situation-neutral pass rate in the league) and we know the Chargers are capable of erupting in perceived difficult spots (see their game against the Browns), but this team floats around the middle of the pack in points per game at 24.7 and has seen only moderate success in the red zone (15th-ranked 61.54% red zone touchdown rate). Their fifth-ranked drive success rate includes an eighth-ranked point per drive value (2.55) and they have run 71 or more offensive plays in all but two games. Considering the matchup, the pace-down nature of their opponent (yes, every other team is technically a pace-down matchup), and the extremely run-funnel nature of their own defense, we’re left with a situation where it is likeliest the Chargers fall short of their 11th-ranked 66.2 plays per game average.
On the ground, Austin Ekeler typically resides in the 60-65% snap rate range and has seen five or more targets in every game since the Week 1 outlier in which he saw zero targets. 13-15 rush attempts and five to seven targets should be considered his standard range of outcomes as far as expected opportunities go, and he carries an inflated weekly ceiling due to his heavy red zone role (seven touchdowns in the team’s first six games). Behind Ekeler, expect Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson to fill modest change of pace roles. The matchup on the ground yields a modest 4.305 net-adjusted line yards metric.
Keenan Allen and Mike Williams combine for a 47.5% team target market share, while Austin Ekeler adds 12.9% as well (Mike Williams got in a limited practice Wednesday following a bye week after he was injured in Week 6). Jaylen Guyton typically resides in the 55-60% snap rate range and is utilized in a deep role, while rookie Joshua Palmer plays only a modest role on this offense. Tight ends Jared Cook and Donald Parham split snaps at a near-even rate. Cook has run more than double the routes as Parham (183 to 71), but each is involved enough to limit the upside of their position-mate. The Patriots cut down on the league average in completion rate allowed but allow below average yards per pass attempt and yards allowed per completion.
Likeliest Game flow ::
We’re likeliest to see the Patriots begin the game looking to control the pace, tempo, and flow via an above-average defense (14th in DVOA against both the pass and the run), a moderate pace of play, and inflated rush rates. We know McDaniels will both tailor his base offense to the personnel available to him and take the opponent into account when game planning for each game. The clearest way to squeeze out a victory here is for the Patriots to bias ground-heavy against a run-funnel defensive unit and keep the ball away from the high-octane offense of the Chargers. This would lower the total number of offensive plays from both sides here (the Chargers rank 11th in plays per game at 66.2 while the Patriots rank 19th at 62.3). The moderate expected total plays and “prevent” defenses from each team provide a game environment likely to bias all players towards efficiency and touchdowns for their fantasy utility, making most players high-variance plays this week.
The Chargers should be considered the team likeliest to alter that expected likeliest game flow, but the chances of them going up by multiple scores early are fairly low. The Patriots maintain their defensive philosophy from years prior, where they are fine allowing production between the twenties (eighth-most plays allowed per drive) but crack down in the red zone (seventh-fewest points allowed per drive and ninth-best red zone touchdown rate allowed). This has a high percentage chance of keeping the Patriots within striking distance for the duration of the game, likely leading to a situation where the Patriots can continue to try and slow the game down against the team leading the league in situation-neutral pace of play.
TOP PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND
SORTABLE GREEN ZONE TOUCHES
TEAM & PLAYER DK POINTS
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By Dwprix >>
- This has the fourth highest total, moving up one pt to 48.5
- LAC is favored by -5.5 but the line has moved towards NE a half pt
- These teams played last year but NE had Cam Newton
- NE won 45-0, rushing for 165 yds
- NE is averaging 36 pts over their last three: 54 // 29 // 25
- LAC allows the 11th most pts/g (25.0)
- Their offense struggled last week vs BAL scoring just six pts
- LAC pts for: 6 // 47 // 28 // 30 // 17 // 20
- This ranks 13th in pts/g (24.7)
- NE allows 20 pts/g, sixth best
- Pass atts: 36 // 21 // 30 // 40 // 51 // 30 // 39
- His ceiling game (25.2) came last week in a game NE scored 54 pts
- This was the only game in which he’s topped 20 DK pts & 300 yds passing
- Price last three weeks: $5.3k // $5.2k // $5.3k
- It moved down $100 this week
- LAC allows the fifth least DK pts to WRs (16.8), third least atts (30.8), & the eighth least yds per comp (9.5)
- Damien Harris in last years matchup: 16:80 yds:0 TDs (Cam Newton: 14:48:2 TDs)
- RB snap share last week: Harris-46% // Brandon Bolden-28% // JJ Taylor-26% // Rhamondre Stevenson-healthy scratch
- Harris rush attempts: 6 // 4 // 14 // 18 // 14
- Bolden tgts: 7 // 1 // 4 // 6 // 4 // 0
- Harris has 100+ yds in back to back games & 4 TDs in his last 3 games
- His price is a season high $6.1k
- All three NE RBs scored last week: Harris-2 rush // Stevenson-1 rush // Bolden-1 rec
- LAC allows 29.8 rush atts/g (5th highest) & 30.3 DK Pts/g to RBs (4th most)
- Jakobi Myers leads the team in tgts (59) but has zero TDs this season (& in his career)
- The next five players in tgts for NE have all scored this season
- WR tgts: Myers-59 // Agholor-36 // Bourne-28
- Myers tgts: 7 // 6 // 5 // 12 // 14 // 6 // 9
- No NE WR has topped 100 rec yds this season
- LAC allows the least DK pts/g in the league to WRs (25.6)
- Herbert in last years matchup: 26:53:209yds:0TDs:2INTs // 3 sacks
- His price ($7.3k) didn’t move from last week & is still at his season high
- It started the season at $6.7k
- DK pts: @ BAL-12.0 // vs CLE-45.8 // vs LV-21.3 // @ KC-30.8 // vs DAL-19.7 // @ WAS-18.4
- LAC ranks 3rd in pass atts/g (41.2)
- Herbert has attempted 30+ passes in every game: 39 // 43 // 38 // 38 // 41 // 47
- NE allows a middling 35.1 pass atts/g (14th), 18.5 DK pts to QBs (9th least), & 245.0 pass yds/g (16th)
- Austin Ekeler last season vs NE: 8:36 yds // 4:32 yds, 9 tgts
- Ekeler has the 3rd highest salary of RBs this week ($7.9k)
- DK pts: @ BAL-9.5 // vs CLE-33.9 // vs LV-32.5 // @ KC-22.7 // vs DAL-22.5 // @ WAS-11.7
- At least five tgts in every game besides the weird Week 1: 7 // 5 // 5 // 6 // 9 // 0
- NE allows 23.3 DK pts to RBs (14th least)
- Keenan Allen (11) & Mike Williams (9) combined for 20 tgts last yr vs NE
- No WR topped 50 yds
- Allen: 5:48 yds // Williams 4:43 yds
- Target Share: Allen-24% // Williams-23% // Jalon Guyton-7.5% (Jared Cook-14%) (Ekeler-13%)
- Allen tgts: 5 // 9 // 11 // 12 // 8 // 13
- Williams tgts: 5 // 16 // 4 // 9 // 10 // 12
- RZ tgts: Williams-8 // Allen-11 // (Cook-7)
- Williams has 6 TDs (2 multi TD games) // Keenan has 1 TD
- Last season Keenan had 8 TDs, Williams had 5
- Allen hasn’t topped 20 DK pts since Week 1 NE allows a middling 23.3 DK pts to WRs (14th)
- Third in team tgts (33)
- Tgts by week: 7 // 3 // 7 // 3 // 5 // 8
- DK pts: 12.5 // 3.9 // 19.0 // 4.7 // 5.8 // 10.6
- NE allows the fifth least DK pts to TEs (8.5)