I really love the line on the Seattle // Philly game this week (Over/Under of 48.0, with only one point separating these two teams), as it’s an excellent depiction of what we would expect to happen in this game if we played out this slate a hundred times. Both of these teams want to lean on the run (top eight in rush play rate), and both teams also rank in the bottom half of the league in pace of play, while the Seahawks — as we’re well aware — tend to play to the level of their opponent, with a philosophy built around keeping games close in order to win the fourth quarter each week. I originally guessed that this game would have an Over/Under of 44.0, but both teams are too capable of scoring down the stretch for this to truly turn into a low-scoring affair (though it won’t be surprising if this game starts out slowly).
Injury news is going to have major implications in this spot on the Eagles’ side, as the Seahawks have rather quietly allowed among the highest number of notable stat lines in the league (with seven pass catchers topping 100 yards against them, and with two “running backs” (in quotes because Lamar Jackson was one of these “running backs”) cracking 100 yards on the ground and another two cracking 90 yards through the air).
Through the air, yards after catch has been the main driver for success against Seattle — with this team looking to force short-area throws, and with shorter-area route runners likeliest to pile up production. “Shorter-area route runners” is a good description of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert — but it’s also a good description of Nelson Agholor, who has seen 32 targets in the three games in which Alshon Jeffery has either completely or mostly missed. Agholor, of course, popped off in both of his “without Alshon” games earlier this year before posting a predictable dud against the Patriots last week, and it seems likely that his Week 11 dud will somewhat draw eyes away from him if Alshon misses again. (Naturally, Agholor will return to shot-in-the-dark status if Alshon returns, while if Alshon ends up trending toward playing — which doesn’t currently appear to be the case — we’ll revisit him in the Angles Pod and the Player Grid, as he’s priced quite a bit below where we are used to seeing him.)
Ertz is the main piece of this passing attack regardless of injury news, with recent target counts of 8 // 7 // 9 // 6 // 4 // 11 // 11, as Philly gets back to emphasizing him a bit more heavily, the way they did last year, while Goedert will continue to see heavy snaps (leading to recent target counts of 8 // 4 // 5 // 5 // 6). While Ertz generally has a fairly sizable edge in targets, he has only one target inside the 10-yard-line, compared to four for Goedert — a function of teams trying to take Ertz away in the red zone, and the Eagles looking to use this to spring their second tight end open. The matchup is not a concern for either of these guys, keeping each in his typical range of expected production.
The “wait on injury news” setup extends to the Eagles’ backfield, where Miles Sanders — at massive ownership — got his first start last week and played 61 of 72 snaps, and proceeded to post one of his worst games of the season. The Eagles surprisingly ditched the run last week (turning to the air on 68% of their plays, compared to 56% on the season) — though there is no way to know if this was because the Eagles felt they could move the ball better in this way against what the Patriots were showing them, or if they adjusted based on the fact that Sanders was in the backfield over Jordan Howard. If Howard plays this week, he and Sanders will go back to their standard backfield split (leaving each as simply a “bet on big plays or touchdowns” option), and if Howard misses, it is likely that Jay Ajayi will see more than the zero snaps he saw last week; but 14+ touches (with upside for more) will still be a solid projection for Sanders in this spot if Howard is out again — and while his expected workload wouldn’t quite match his price, his per-touch upside will still keep him in the mix.
Another reason I had this Vegas line a bit wrong in my initial guess was this :: on the year, the Seahawks have produced point totals of 21 // 28 // 27 // 27 // 30 // 32 // 16 // 27 // 40 // 27. Outside of a fluky Week 1 game against the Bengals and their run-in with the Ravens, Seattle has scored 27 or more in every game this year — having done so across a broad range of matchups (including the Steelers, the Saints, the Rams, and the 49ers), and pointing to a high likelihood that this offense finds a way to produce at that level again. The starting point, then, is the main drivers behind this scoring :: Russell Wilson and Chris Carson. Through 10 games this year, here is the per-game DK/FDraft production for Russ // Carson (with these numbers getting a slight value boost on FD as well, as these two have not been heavily dependent on bonuses or PPR production for their points) ::
Wilson :: 16.6 // 28.2 // 44.3 // 14.3 // 29.9 // 28.9 // 15.3 // 15.7 // 42.2 // 17.6
Carson :: 25.0 // 10.7 // 5.0 // 21.5 // 22.3 // 28.9 // 10.4 // 15.0 // 17.3 // 19.1
Rather than just glancing at those numbers, I encourage you to take a moment to think through what those numbers mean (including in conjunction with one another). There have been only two games in which these two combined for joint-usable production at their salaries, but Russ has posted five tourney-winning price-considered scores while Carson has posted two, with one or the other of them doing so in 60% of the Seahawks’ games this year. If Seattle is able to produce on the middle-higher end of their general range, one of these two is likely to have a nice game in this spot.
More on this offense in a moment…
JM’s Interpretation ::
I like this game more than I expected to. Assuming Alshon misses, I’ll have interest on the Philly side in Agholor // Ertz // Sanders // Goedert (in that order), with Carson Wentz also tourney-interesting at his Week 12 price. Wentz has only three games this year of 240+ passing yards, but he adds around 20 yards on the ground most games and has upside for more, and his price has dropped based on recent matchups vs New England // Chicago // Buffalo // Dallas. Wentz is less likely than other quarterbacks to post a blowup game — but especially if Howard misses (increasing the chances of the Eagles leaning on the pass again), he’ll have a good shot at production.
On the Seattle side: there has been a better-than-50% shot this year that one of Russ/Carson will post the sort of score you would need at their price to keep you on a tourney-winning pace (which is noteworthy with pricing getting so out of hand lately, as there are plenty of players who have not hit that sort of pace a single time this year), and there is a solid chance on a week like this that one of these two ends up on some Leaderboard rosters — especially on a week that’s tough for points.
Russ can produce without carrying one of his wideouts with him — and because the Seahawks prefer to lean run-heavy regardless of matchup (with only game flow typically springing them out of this look), it has been difficult for Seattle pass catchers to compile complete stat lines. As such, Tyler Lockett has two elite games this year, but he has pretty seriously disappointed against his Week 12 salary in every other game, while DK Metcalf has posted one elite game, but has pretty seriously disappointed against his Week 12 salary in every other game. As a general rule, Lockett and Metcalf should never be played without playing Russ on that roster (to illustrate that point: Lockett has hit vs New Orleans and Tampa, and Metcalf has hit against Tampa; in those two games, Russ posted 44.34 and 42.22 DK/Fdraft points || 41.34 // 39.22 FD points), and that rule obviously does not work the other way around (i.e., Russ can be on a tourney-winning roster without Lockett or Metcalf joining him). This is a good week to “cycle Lockett/Metcalf through some Russ builds,” while also rolling Russ Naked in some spots. (If single-entering this week: my personal approach in a spot like this is to “get my Lockett/Metcalf exposure through Russ” — though these guys are obviously worth taking the plunge on in this spot if you feel they can outscore the other similarly-priced wideouts this week.) If going to these two: Metcalf is more touchdown-reliant, and is therefore the higher-risk option. Lockett is the more complete route-runner, and is therefore the better bet here. Deeper down, you could also consider Josh Gordon or Jacob Hollister (recent target counts of 6 // 2 // 6 // 10), though keep in mind that this is not early-decade Gordon, while Hollister has been heavily reliant on touchdowns for his recent production.
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