The Matchup ::
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- QBs to go over 300 yards vs PHI: Keenum, Ryan, Rodgers, Cousins, Fitzpatrick, Jones
- Notable QBs to go under 300 yards vs PHI: Stafford, Dak (x2), Brady, Wilson
- Across 3 matchups vs Schwartz’s PHI D, Wilson is averaging 233 pass yards & 21.7 rush yards with 6 total TDs in 3 Wins
- PHI has knocked 4.4% off league-average catch rate, but has boosted aDOT by 7.7%
- SEA’s four likely rotational receivers’ aDOTs: Lockett (12.4), Metcalf (13), Moore (14.2), Turner (12)
- PHI has only allowed 3 backfields to top 100 rush yards: Cook/Mattison, Zeke/Pollard, Carson/Penny
- PHI ranks middle of the pack in RB receptions & receiving yards allowed, but 11 individual RBs have topped at least 30 yards through the air
- Homer’s last 2 games through the air: 6 rec (8) 26 yards and 5 rec (5) 30 yards; all but 1 RB target
- In 3 matchups vs SEA, Wentz has topped 300 yards once on 45 att/g with a 4:5 TD:INT ratio
- Wentz’s top available pass game weapons will likely be Goedert, Ward, JJAW, & Scott, three of whom did not begin the year as rotational players
- 11 TEs with 6+ targets vs SEA are averaging 5.9 rec (8.4) for 65.8 ypg & 6 total TDs
- Goedert has 6+ targets in all 7 games post-bye
- Goedert’s last 2 games with Ertz hurt: 9 rec (12) 91 yards, TD and 4 rec (10) 65 yards
The Game ::
Seahawks at Eagles gives us two teams with championship pedigrees that could conceivably make a run at a Super Bowl title this year, but that are both dealing with a lot of injury issues likely to trip them up on the way. Seattle is the better team (reflected in their standing as road favorites), and their tendency to “play for the fourth quarter” could keep them in games against San Francisco (round two) and Green Bay/New Orleans (round three) long enough for good things to happen at the end — though this same tendency could lead to Philly pulling out a late win in this one. This gives us a number of ways in which this game could ultimately play out — though regardless of the end result, we are likely to see a somewhat close game, with the Eagles incapable of attacking downfield at the moment, and with the Seahawks uninterested in shifting to a pass-heavy, attack-minded mode until forced by game script to go there.
This latter element is unfortunate, as the Seahawks could probably pull away in this game if they were willing to go hurry-up early and attack more heavily through the air — and you could absolutely build around a game environment approach in which this ends up being the case. More than likely, however, Seattle — even in a tough running back matchup — should continue to lean on the run, with an eye toward winning this game down the stretch.
This approach will give us Marshawn Lynch and Travis Homer splitting reps, with Lynch operating as the yardage-and-touchdown guy (he saw zero targets last week, and it wouldn’t be a total surprise if that continues), and with Homer seeing his touches limited (11 // 15 the last two games) but working in a more multi-faceted role (with target counts of eight and five the last two weeks). Lynch is a “bet on touchdowns” option, while Homer is a “bet on pass game work for floor, and hope a big play materializes for ceiling” play.
Although the Seahawks go out of their way to limit pass attempts (with Russell Wilson throwing the ball only 25 times when these teams met earlier in the year), this is a matchup — as we know by now — that tilts most opponents toward the air, while the Eagles have been productive enough on offense of late that there are clear paths to Russ and his pass catchers becoming viable options on this smaller slate. Russ hasn’t topped 300 yards since Week 9 (and at that point, he hadn’t topped 300 yards since Week 3), and in his last 10 games he has produced only one really useful fantasy score (in a true shootout against the vertical-minded Bucs). All this time, Russ has also continued to earn fairly high ownership, as so much of the fantasy community understands only matchup, rather than understanding game environment as well. Nevertheless, some Russ-focused rosters are very much in play here. As always, Russ-focused rosters should assume that the opponent is scoring enough to force the Seahawks to open up, which means that key Eagles pieces should be featured on such rosters in accordance with this bet.
It’s been a strange phenomenon, but — as explored throughout the season — Seattle pass catchers have also been fairly incapable of producing top-end scores without Russ doing the same himself, as this offense tends to spread around production enough that an individual pass catcher usually produces an elite score only if Russ also gets there. (To put all that another way: it has been highly profitable this year to only roster Seattle pass catchers if also rostering Russ.) Tyler Lockett has recent target counts of 6 // 9 // 7 // 7, while DK Metcalf has gone for 6 // 4 // 1 // 12 in this stretch — with both of these guys working primarily intermediate and deep. (Lockett is the more nuanced route-runner, though each has elements to his game that should play well in this matchup if the volume cooperates.) Jacob Hollister has seen recent target counts of 6 // 3 // 6 // 8, with most of his work coming close to the line of scrimmage — requiring a broken play or touchdowns in order to provide significant value. David Moore should wrap up this receiving corps, requiring a touchdown in order to stand out on this slate.
On the Eagles’ side, the pass game — with Zach Ertz appearing likely to miss another game — has been condensed to Dallas Goedert, Greg Ward, Josh Perkins, and the running backs (with Robert Davis operating as the number two receiver last week, but seeing only two targets, and with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Deontay Burnett splitting WR3 duties at under 20% of the snaps apiece, with JJAW seeing zero targets and Burnett seeing four). Goedert saw 10 targets last week and will be facing a Seattle team that allowed the fourth most receptions and the second most yards to the tight end position. Perkins saw six targets of his own and should remain in what we could formerly have called the “Goedert role” (a role that yielded a low aDOT, but a consistent five to six targets with red zone work mixed in). Ward continues to be used in the short areas of the field — giving him a high floor, but requiring him to land a touchdown in order to go for ceiling. From a volume + price standpoint, all three of these guys are very much in play.
The running back situation is a bit more muddy, as Doug Pederson acknowledged after last week’s game that Jordan Howard might not have been fully healthy (i.e., it’s not necessarily a guarantee that Howard is stuck on the sidelines the entire game in this one), while Miles Sanders is on track to suit up for this game — which would set him up as the lead back here, but would also leave the door open to a committee approach with Boston Scott as Sanders battles through his low-ankle sprain. The good news is that the running back position has become a featured piece in recent weeks for the ailing Eagles (combined touch counts for Sanders/Scott of 35 // 38 // 34 // 35) — opening the door for one or the other to post an elite price-considered score each of the last four weeks. If Sanders is inactive, Scott becomes an elite role-driven option. If Sanders plays, you could approach this game assuming he is healthy and will dominate touches, or you could approach assuming that Sanders merely mixes in while Scott rises to the top.
JM’s Interpretation ::
The “Interpretation” section this week blends all four games, and can be found here. It is recommended that you read all four game writeups before reading the “Interpretation” section, as this will allow you to develop your own thoughts on this slate before comparing them against my own.
Playoff Contest Game Theory Breakdown ::
Xandamere’s Showdown Notes ::
- The game with the most injury news. For now I’m going to assume that Miles Sanders is in and that Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor are out, but watch for updates (and I’ll try to address some “if/then” scenarios below).
- Russell Wilson has a high ceiling but a surprisingly low floor for a QB of his caliber.
- Seattle is such a run-focused team, but don’t discount the possibility that they change things up here in the playoffs against the pass funnel Philly defense. It isn’t the most likely scenario, but it’s not impossible that the Seahawks recognize the matchup and come out throwing from the start.
- We might finally have clarity at the Seattle WR3 spot as everyone besides David Moore is hurt. Of course, John Ursua could get involved at minimum salary…but if Moore plays a full complement of snaps, he is woefully underpriced at $3k.
- Travis Homer out-snapped Marshawn Lynch 67% to 31% and has 13 targets in the last two weeks. He also gained 6.2 yards per carry on his 10 carries compared to 2.8 for Lynch (on 12 carries). At similar prices I think it’s a no-brainer to prioritize Homer, especially in such a difficult run game matchup, and at $6,800 his floor seems awfully safe.
- As is always the case for the Seattle receivers, Metcalf is the better floor bet, Lockett has the better ceiling. As JM has noted and as we’ve seen in showdown writeups as well, Russ almost always outscores his receivers, making Seattle receivers thin captain choices unless you’re hoping for a significant outlier or just as a price play (which is more viable with a cheapie like Moore than someone like Lockett or Metcalf, who are priced close to Russ).
- On the Philly side, they’ve given their running backs over 30 touches per game due to their myriad of receiver injuries, as JM examined in his game writeup. More than one running back is viable here, though the challenge here is that Jordan Howard’s level of health and role are something of a mystery. Given how well Sanders and Scott have performed, it’s hard to imagine Howard usurping both of them, but he does make an interesting cheap contrarian play (especially if we get positive news around his health and/or workload prior to the game).
- Goedert is, obviously, the safest and highest upside receiver on the Eagles.
- Greg Ward is a high floor play but overpriced for his ceiling (especially compared to Goedert), but ownership will also reflect this in tournaments.
- Beyond those two, Joshua Perkins is my favorite Philly pass catcher, as he played more snaps and saw more pass volume last week than JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Robert Davis, or Deontay Burnett. Davis is (a fairly distant) second to me in the hierarchy there, with Burnett third (two catches on four targets last week but only 20% of the snaps) and JJAW fourth.
- With so many viable cheap plays, my kicker exposure will be lower than normal in this one as it’s highly likely that at least one of the cheap receivers outscores the kickers.
Some groups to consider:
- At most 1 kicker
- At most 1 defense
- Pair captain receivers with their QB
- Pair captain Wentz with at least 2 receivers and captain Russ with at least 1 receiver
- At most 2 Philly running backs
- At most 1 of the Davis/Burnett/Perkins/JJAW group
- At most 1 of Moore and Ursua