Week 12 Matchups

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Kickoff Thursday, Nov 24th 12:30pm Eastern

Bills (
32) at

Lions (
22.5)

Over/Under 54.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Bills Run D
3rd DVOA/11th Yards allowed per carry
Lions Run O
10th DVOA/15th Yards per carry
Bills Pass D
7th DVOA/8th Yards allowed per pass
Lions Pass O
11th DVOA/6th Yards per pass
Lions Run D
25th DVOA/31st Yards allowed per carry
Bills Run O
17th DVOA/4th Yards per carry
Lions Pass D
17th DVOA/30th Yards allowed per pass
Bills Pass O
4th DVOA/3rd Yards per pass

SLATE OVERVIEW ::

BY HILOW >>
  • Overall, the state of the wide receiver position is likely to be a primary decision node considering the top three options at the position all carry significantly wider ranges of outcomes than the field is likely to give credit for.
  • Tremaine Edmunds, Greg Rousseau, and Tre’Davious White all appear unlikely to play for the Bills on a short week.
  • RG Evan Brown, LG Jonah Jackson, and C Frank Ragnow all were listed as DNP on the estimated practice report for the Lions on Monday, who could also be without CB Jeff Okudah, DE Josh Paschal, and WR Josh Reynolds.
  • The Bills have averaged 28.1 points per game this season (second in the league), and the Lions have ceded 28.2 points per game this season (worst in the league) – yea, we probably have to account for the Bills in some form across rosters in play on Thanksgiving.
  • The Lions are one of the most adaptive offenses in the league, preferring to ease into the start of games with increased rush rates but willing to open their offense up if forced to.
  • Daniel Bellinger and Adoree Jackson will not play for the Giants, who also have six offensive linemen listed on the injury report ahead of their game against the Cowboys.
  • The Giants also have issues in their secondary, where they utilized a three-player rotation at cornerback in the absence of Adoree Jackson after Fabian Moreau left with an oblique injury in Week 11.
  • Giants pass-catchers are a case of roulette behind Darius Slayton and Lawrence Cager.
  • The Cowboys have been hit by the illness bug this week, with multiple defensive players on the injury report with an illness.
  • The biggest injury news for the Vikings is offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw, who is unlikely to play this week as he works his way through the league’s concussion protocol. The pressure rate split allowed with and without Darrisaw in the lineup this season for the Vikings is stark, to say the least, which is not a good sign for the Vikings as they take on the aggressive front of the Patriots, particularly considering quarterback Kirk Cousins’ struggles when pressured this season.
  • The expected pressure rate from New England’s defense should be the driving force behind the overall game environment for the last game of the slate.
  • Volume is likely to be difficult to fully nail down amongst the secondary options on this slate, but one or two secondary pieces from the six teams in play are likely to be required to ship GPPs on Thanksgiving – something to keep in mind when putting together rosters.

How buffalo Will Try To Win ::

The Bills kick off the Thanksgiving festivities as the team on the slate with the highest Vegas implied team total (31.25) in the game with the highest game total (53.5) – and it makes a lot of sense why that is the case. The Bills continue to play at an elevated pace of play (third-ranked first-half pace of play, fourth-ranked pace of play with the score within seven points, and fifth-ranked situation-neutral pace of play) with the second highest pass rate over expectation (PROE), a 60.77% overall pass rate, and an average of 37.5 pass attempts per game. They have scored the second most points per game this season at 28.1, and playing an opponent ranked dead last in the NFL in points allowed per game (28.2). Buffalo started the season so efficiently, and their defense started the season so elite that they ran below league average total offensive plays from scrimmage in four of their first seven games but have been above league average in each of their previous three games as their defense has struggled through injuries. That’s an important nugget as far as the expected volume from this game goes. The Bills have primarily been an 11-personnel base team but have mixed in seemingly random games throughout the season with elevated heavy personnel utilization, as evidenced by their Week 11 win over the Browns. In that game, their heavy personnel utilization (21- and 12-personnel) skyrocketed up to 59% – and it’s not like they were running away with the game throughout, as the game remained within six points until four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Their other elevated heavy personnel rate games came in a Week 1 blowout win over the Rams and a Week 2 dismantling of the Titans where Gabe Davis missed. Stefon Diggs played 66% or fewer of the offensive snaps in each of those games. Diggs has been below an 80% snap rate on three other occasions this season, a Week 3 loss to the Dolphins, a Week 5 dismantling of the Steelers, and a Week 9 loss to the Jets. In other words, Stefon Diggs, everyone’s poster boy at the wide receiver position this season, has played 80% or more of the offensive snaps only four times all season. More on this in a bit.

Nyheim Hines was brought over at the trade deadline and has played exactly 20 offensive snaps in three games – but hey, at least the Bills got their return man. I kid, but the point here is that the Bills backfield is very much still Devin Singletary’s. Singletary has played 72% or more of the offensive snaps in every game since Week 6, seeing running back opportunity counts of 13, 15, and 20 since the addition of Hines. Rookie running back James Cook has played between 17% and 25% of the offensive snaps in each of the four games since Buffalo’s Week 7 bye. While Singletary’s usage has seemingly come and gone with the wind, he remains the back to roster for a team averaging 25.5 rush attempts per game this season and has scored three touchdowns in his last two games. There might yet be room for upside for the veteran back playing for the team with the highest Vegas implied team total on the slate. The pure rushing matchup yields a slightly above average 4.41 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Lions defense that has allowed 12 rushing scores through 10 games played and a robust 4.78 yards per running back carry.

This brings us back to Stefon Diggs, who is sure to be one of the most popular plays on the Thanksgiving slate. Diggs has seen an insane 31.5% targets per route run rate, 29.4% team target market share, the fourth most targets amongst wide receivers, and has run the 15th most routes in the league – all while playing only 78.4% of the offensive snaps this season. Furthermore, Diggs has seen his snap rate shrink massively in non-competitive games this year, typically the wide receiver to see a reduced snap rate when the team runs increased rates of heavy personnel (as they have done on numerous occasions this season). Compare that to Gabe Davis, who carries an elite 91.6% snap rate and the second-deepest aDOT in the league this season. Obviously, Diggs is valuable for his red zone role (33.3% red zone target market share), but the drastic difference in snap rate between the two at least gives us something to think about on a short slate. Isaiah McKenzie continues to operate as a situational wide receiver, splitting time with Khalil Shakir out of the slot since Jamison Crowder’s injury in Week 4. Finally, Dawson Knox should see between 80% and 90% of the offensive snaps regardless of how the team decides to handle their personnel alignments, backed up by primary blocking tight end Quintin Morris. Really none of the secondary options outside of Knox earns targets at a serviceable rate.

How detroit Will Try To Win ::

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Kickoff Thursday, Nov 24th 4:30pm Eastern

Giants (
17.75) at

Cowboys (
27.75)

Over/Under 45.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Giants Run D
27th DVOA/30th Yards allowed per carry
Cowboys Run O
3rd DVOA/11th Yards per carry
Giants Pass D
28th DVOA/24th Yards allowed per pass
Cowboys Pass O
15th DVOA/15th Yards per pass
Cowboys Run D
8th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per carry
Giants Run O
13th DVOA/12th Yards per carry
Cowboys Pass D
1st DVOA/3rd Yards allowed per pass
Giants Pass O
10th DVOA/24th Yards per pass

slate Overview ::

By hilow >>
  • Overall, the state of the wide receiver position is likely to be a primary decision node considering the top three options at the position all carry significantly wider ranges of outcomes than the field is likely to give credit for.
  • Tremaine Edmunds, Greg Rousseau, and Tre’Davious White all appear unlikely to play for the Bills on a short week.
  • RG Evan Brown, LG Jonah Jackson, and C Frank Ragnow all were listed as DNP on the estimated practice report for the Lions on Monday, who could also be without CB Jeff Okudah, DE Josh Paschal, and WR Josh Reynolds.
  • The Bills have averaged 28.1 points per game this season (second in the league), and the Lions have ceded 28.2 points per game this season (worst in the league) – yea, we probably have to account for the Bills in some form across rosters in play on Thanksgiving.
  • The Lions are one of the most adaptive offenses in the league, preferring to ease into the start of games with increased rush rates but willing to open their offense up if forced to.
  • Daniel Bellinger and Adoree Jackson will not play for the Giants, who also have six offensive linemen listed on the injury report ahead of their game against the Cowboys.
  • The Giants also have issues in their secondary, where they utilized a three-player rotation at cornerback in the absence of Adoree Jackson after Fabian Moreau left with an oblique injury in Week 11.
  • Giants pass-catchers are a case of roulette behind Darius Slayton and Lawrence Cager.
  • The Cowboys have been hit by the illness bug this week, with multiple defensive players on the injury report with an illness.
  • The biggest injury news for the Vikings is offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw, who is unlikely to play this week as he works his way through the league’s concussion protocol. The pressure rate split allowed with and without Darrisaw in the lineup this season for the Vikings is stark, to say the least, which is not a good sign for the Vikings as they take on the aggressive front of the Patriots, particularly considering quarterback Kirk Cousins’ struggles when pressured this season.
  • The expected pressure rate from New England’s defense should be the driving force behind the overall game environment for the last game of the slate.
  • Volume is likely to be difficult to fully nail down amongst the secondary options on this slate, but one or two secondary pieces from the six teams in play are likely to be required to ship GPPs on Thanksgiving – something to keep in mind when putting together rosters.

How new york Will Try To Win ::

We know with a high degree of certainty how the Giants want to try and win this game, as they’ve shown us all season that they want to leverage elevated rush rates (third lowest pass rate over expectation) and a slow pace of play in an attempt to keep the game close into the fourth quarter. While the Dallas defense has stumbled against the rush over the previous month of play (like, allowing almost 180 yards rushing per game, stumbled), six offensive linemen for the Giants are currently listed on the team’s injury report heading into Thursday’s game with everything from injuries to illness. Furthermore, their top two corners are banged up, making it more likely they experience more negative game script than they’ve grown accustomed to handling this season. Electric rookie wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson suffered a torn ACL in Week 11 and will miss the remainder of the season as well, which is a big blow to a team already without tight end Daniel Bellinger (particularly so considering the Giants operate primarily from 11-personnel this season). All of those injury and illness concerns introduce a slew of uncertainty regarding how we expect the Giants to attack here, with most roads pointing squarely back to Saquon Barkley and a run game that has succeeded through volume as opposed to efficiency this season (well below average 4.10 adjusted line yards and 4.33 running back yards per carry).

The backfield is firmly Saquon Barkley’s, as Week 11 marked only his second game all season below an 80% snap rate (76%). Barkley is on the field at the highest rate amongst all running backs in the league (82.4% average snap share) and has seen the highest share of team opportunities and the second most rush attempts this season. The biggest question is the expected efficiency, considering the unknowns surrounding the Giants offensive line. Matt Breida should continue operating as the change of pace back behind Saquon but has seen no more than 30% of the offensive snaps or six running back opportunities this season. The matchup on the ground yields a below-average 4.23 net-adjusted line yards metric, with each side seeing a recent hit in efficiency.

The state of the Giants pass offense is such that we can only expect certainty from Darius Slayton and tight end Lawrence Cager, the former of whom started the season fifth on the depth chart and the latter of whom started the season on the practice squad. The injury to Wan’Dale Robinson opens things up significantly behind those two, with all of Kenny Golladay, Richie James, Isaiah Hodgins, Marcus Johnson, and rookie David Sills likely to see some level of involvement. Kenny Golladay has more drops than receptions this year and has struggled through injuries, Hodgins was brought over to the team three weeks ago, Sills hasn’t played an offensive snap over the previous two games, and Marcus Johnson started the season on the practice squad – yea, your guess is as good as mine as to who would be likeliest to emerge as a secondary option for the Giants this week. Based on previous utilization and familiarity with head coach Brian Daboll, I tentatively expect Darius Slayton, Marcus Johnson, and Isaiah Hodgins to operate as the top three wide receivers, each likely to play 80% or more of the offensive snaps. That leaves Golladay likely to mix in for 40-50% of the offensive snaps and David Sills likeliest to bring up the rear in snap rate. Practice squad tight end Lawrence Cager reverted to the practice squad on Monday before being elevated to the active roster on Tuesday, marking his third and final elevation prior to requiring a full signing. He worked his way up to a 74% snap rate last week. The team also signed former Saints tight end Nick Vannett to the practice squad on Tuesday, but he would be unlikely to make much of an impact after being with the team for only a couple of days come Thursday.

How dallas Will Try To Win ::

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Kickoff Thursday, Nov 24th 8:20pm Eastern

Patriots (
20) at

Vikings (
22.5)

Over/Under 42.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Patriots Run D
7th DVOA/9th Yards allowed per carry
Vikings Run O
16th DVOA/20th Yards per carry
Patriots Pass D
3rd DVOA/16th Yards allowed per pass
Vikings Pass O
19th DVOA/26th Yards per pass
Vikings Run D
14th DVOA/17th Yards allowed per carry
Patriots Run O
26th DVOA/25th Yards per carry
Vikings Pass D
24th DVOA/29th Yards allowed per pass
Patriots Pass O
21st DVOA/19th Yards per pass

slate Overview ::

By hilow >>
  • Overall, the state of the wide receiver position is likely to be a primary decision node considering the top three options at the position all carry significantly wider ranges of outcomes than the field is likely to give credit for.
  • Tremaine Edmunds, Greg Rousseau, and Tre’Davious White all appear unlikely to play for the Bills on a short week.
  • RG Evan Brown, LG Jonah Jackson, and C Frank Ragnow all were listed as DNP on the estimated practice report for the Lions on Monday, who could also be without CB Jeff Okudah, DE Josh Paschal, and WR Josh Reynolds.
  • The Bills have averaged 28.1 points per game this season (second in the league), and the Lions have ceded 28.2 points per game this season (worst in the league) – yea, we probably have to account for the Bills in some form across rosters in play on Thanksgiving.
  • The Lions are one of the most adaptive offenses in the league, preferring to ease into the start of games with increased rush rates but willing to open their offense up if forced to.
  • Daniel Bellinger and Adoree Jackson will not play for the Giants, who also have six offensive linemen listed on the injury report ahead of their game against the Cowboys.
  • The Giants also have issues in their secondary, where they utilized a three-player rotation at cornerback in the absence of Adoree Jackson after Fabian Moreau left with an oblique injury in Week 11.
  • Giants pass-catchers are a case of roulette behind Darius Slayton and Lawrence Cager.
  • The Cowboys have been hit by the illness bug this week, with multiple defensive players on the injury report with an illness.
  • The biggest injury news for the Vikings is offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw, who is unlikely to play this week as he works his way through the league’s concussion protocol. The pressure rate split allowed with and without Darrisaw in the lineup this season for the Vikings is stark, to say the least, which is not a good sign for the Vikings as they take on the aggressive front of the Patriots, particularly considering quarterback Kirk Cousins’ struggles when pressured this season.
  • The expected pressure rate from New England’s defense should be the driving force behind the overall game environment for the last game of the slate.
  • Volume is likely to be difficult to fully nail down amongst the secondary options on this slate, but one or two secondary pieces from the six teams in play are likely to be required to ship GPPs on Thanksgiving – something to keep in mind when putting together rosters.

How new england Will Try To Win ::

New England’s formula for approaching games largely hasn’t changed all season, with an emphasis on disrupting opponent drives through an aggressive and blitz-heavy unit aimed at stopping drives, keeping teams out of the end zone, and generating turnovers. With the ball, the Patriots play at a bottom-five pace of play across the board, with a bottom-half pass rate over expectation (PROE) (21st) and overall pass rate (24th). The biggest blemish to that game plan has been a quarterback duo that has struggled mightily when under pressure this season, but that is less of a concern against a Vikings defense that generates pressure at a below-average rate this year. Expect a primary emphasis on controlling the game flow and environment, where the Patriots like to find themselves controlling the time of possession and dictating the game environment on their terms.

That game plan has primarily filtered production to the backfield tandem of Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris. Stevenson has operated as the unquestioned lead back for each of the previous six games, while Harris has battled through injuries, seeing 73% or more of the offensive snaps in all but one of those games and over 63% in every one. That said, last week was the first week during that span that Harris found himself off the injury report entirely, and it is fair to expect an increase to his modest 24% snap rate from a week ago in his second game back from injury. I tentatively expect a snap rate dispersal closer mimicking the early-season split, which had Stevenson leading the way in a 60/40 split. The matchup on the ground yields a below-average 4.22 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Vikings defense ceding 24.6 DK points per game to opposing backfields.

Quarterback Mac Jones has landed between 27 pass attempts and 35 pass attempts in all six of his complete games this season, which should be considered a valid representation of his expected pass volume for the remainder of the season. He has only four touchdown passes to seven interceptions on the season, again highlighting the run-heavy nature of the offense as a whole. Jakobi Meyers and Hunter Henry remain the only two near every-down pass-catchers, with all of Nelson Agholor, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, Tyquan Thornton, and Jonnu Smith likely serving in rotational and situational roles. That makes predicting volume and ranges of outcomes fairly difficult behind the top two pass-catchers. When combined with the likeliest game flow (covered below), we’re likely to see volume remain an issue for the secondary options on this offense.

How minnesota Will Try To Win ::

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Kickoff Sunday, Nov 27th 1:00pm Eastern

Broncos (
18.5) at

Panthers (
17.5)

Over/Under 36.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Broncos Run D
17th DVOA/20th Yards allowed per carry
Panthers Run O
18th DVOA/16th Yards per carry
Broncos Pass D
4th DVOA/1st Yards allowed per pass
Panthers Pass O
30th DVOA/13th Yards per pass
Panthers Run D
22nd DVOA/17th Yards allowed per carry
Broncos Run O
28th DVOA/28th Yards per carry
Panthers Pass D
20th DVOA/8th Yards allowed per pass
Broncos Pass O
25th DVOA/14th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By papy324 >>
  • The best plays from this game are probably the defenses.
  • Russell Wilson is cheap if you still believe.
  • Latavius Murray could have value if reports indicate he is going to get all the backfield work.
  • The Panthers are starting their third QB in as many weeks.

How denver Will Try To Win ::

The 3-7 Broncos are coming into Week 12 off two straight losses, having dropped six of their last seven, with their only win during that time coming against a banged-up Chargers team in OT. Nathaniel “can’t hack it” Hackett has looked totally lost as a head coach, with his main credentials being having coached Aaron Rodgers and his last name. He has now handed off play-calling duties to . . . wouldn’t you know it, another coach’s kid, Klint Kubiak. Is anyone ever going to address the rampant nepotism in the NFL coaching ranks? Being an NFL coach’s kid has become like being born into royalty. Maybe endlessly hiring offspring is why so many NFL coaches are terrible at their jobs. Russell “out to pasture” Wilson hasn’t done Hackett any favors either. The quarter-billion-dollar man has looked washed all season. Regardless of who is to blame, the Broncos have scored a pathetic 147 points, dead last in the league by a wide margin. The next lowest scoring teams are the Texans/Rams/Steelers/Colts who have scored 159/168/170/173 points. Denver’s offensive struggles are made sadder by the excellent performance of their defense, which has given up the second fewest points in the league (171), trailing only the Patriots (169).

The Broncos have played at a moderate pace (14th overall) but that number is curiously dragged down by playing slow in the second half (20th in pace). The scoreboard doesn’t seem to influence the Broncos as much as the quarter since they play faster (8th in situational neutral, 1st when leading, 5th was trailing) regardless of whether they are winning or losing. It’s difficult to draw many conclusions about the Broncos preferred pace, other than these types of confusing splits are another indicator that the coaching staff is lost.

The Panthers have been below average (21st in DVOA) against the rush and equally as susceptible (21st in DVOA) through the air. The Panthers defense presents quite literally equal paths of least resistance on paper, but the Panthers secondary is headlined by the excellent play of Jaycee Horn (son of former WR Joe Horn – player’s kids seem to do better as future players than coaches’ kids do as future coaches). The Broncos have a new play-caller, just cut Melvin Gordon, lost Chase Edmonds, and they are set to trot out the duo of Latavius Murray and Marlon “I’m still in the league” Mack. The lack of options in their backfield, and their O-line’s relative mediocrity (17th in adjusted line yards) should lead the Broncos to try and let Russell Wilson win them the game.

How Carolina Will Try To Win ::

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Kickoff Sunday, Nov 27th 1:00pm Eastern

Bucs (
22.5) at

Browns (
19.5)

Over/Under 42.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Buccaneers Run D
10th DVOA/19th Yards allowed per carry
Browns Run O
8th DVOA/8th Yards per carry
Buccaneers Pass D
8th DVOA/4th Yards allowed per pass
Browns Pass O
12th DVOA/17th Yards per pass
Browns Run D
31st DVOA/26th Yards allowed per carry
Buccaneers Run O
30th DVOA/32nd Yards per carry
Browns Pass D
21st DVOA/21st Yards allowed per pass
Buccaneers Pass O
9th DVOA/28th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By mike johnson >>
  • The Bucs are coming off a bye and their best offensive performance of the season, as they look to take control of their division and build momentum for the playoffs.
  • This will be the last game for the Browns before the return of Deshaun Watson from his suspension.
  • The Bucs have scored over 22 points only once all year, while the Browns have held their opponent under 23 points only twice.
  • This will be a battle of wills with the Bucs passing at a high rate and playing fast while the Browns play slow and have a run-heavy approach.

How tampa bay Will Try To Win ::

The Bucs last played in Week 10 in London and had arguably their best offensive performance of the season. That feels like an odd thing to say about a Tom Brady-led offense considering they scored only 21 points, but in that game, the Bucs accumulated over 400 yards of total offense for only the second time this season and the first time in five weeks. While the Bucs offensive struggles have been talked about extensively, looking back at their first 10 games really brings to light how bad things have been. The Bucs have scored one or fewer offensive touchdowns SIX TIMES in their first 10 games, and have scored over 22 points only once – in a 41-31 loss to the Chiefs.

Looking ahead, it is hard not to be at least somewhat optimistic about a team quarterbacked by Tom Brady coming out of a bye and facing the 31st-ranked DVOA defense in the league. In that game against Seattle, the Bucs offense looked more like the unit we all expected coming into the season than they have at any point this season. Julio Jones made a couple of dynamic plays to bring a third explosive option into the receiving corps, Rachaad White looked great and had burst as he appears to take control of the backfield, and Brady was in rhythm, averaging over eight yards per pass attempt for the first time all season. The Browns defense has been lit up this season, allowing eight of ten opponents to score 23 or more points and ranking near the bottom of the league on a per-play basis against both the run and the pass. There was some excitement that maybe they had fixed some things when they dominated the Bengals without Ja’Marr Chase on Monday night in Week 8, but they have given up 39 and 31 points in their two games since their Week 9 bye.

The Bucs rank 4th in the league in pass rate over expectation (PROE) and 3rd in the league in situation neutral pace. Coming out of their bye, I would expect the Bucs to maintain a quick pace of play, and possibly even turn it up a bit. Leonard Fournette’s status is very much in doubt for this week, making it likely that the Bucs stick with a high pass rate as well, especially considering that the Bucs running backs who will be replacing him are more well-suited to playing fast and in space than Fournette ever was. While Fournette has done a lot of good things for the Bucs over the last two seasons, it is very possible that his absence will help unlock this offense’s potential. The Bucs should be able to attack a Browns defense that plays the 8th highest rate of zone coverage in the league while also getting very little pressure on the quarterback. The Bucs playmakers are as explosive this week as Brady has had all year, just in time for what appears to be his best matchup of the season.

How Cleveland Will Try To Win ::

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Kickoff Sunday, Nov 27th 1:00pm Eastern

Ravens (
23.25) at

Jaguars (
19.75)

Over/Under 43.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Ravens Run D
6th DVOA/3rd Yards allowed per carry
Jaguars Run O
23rd DVOA/6th Yards per carry
Ravens Pass D
11th DVOA/15th Yards allowed per pass
Jaguars Pass O
13th DVOA/23rd Yards per pass
Jaguars Run D
13th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per carry
Ravens Run O
2nd DVOA/3rd Yards per carry
Jaguars Pass D
31st DVOA/28th Yards allowed per pass
Ravens Pass O
8th DVOA/21st Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By Mike JoHnson>>
  • On the surface, this game appears to feature two teams with balanced to slightly run-heavy philosophies.
  • A deeper dive shows us a path to a surprisingly pass-heavy game on both sides of the ball.
  • These teams have combined to be a part of only one game since Week 5 that has totaled 50+ points.
  • Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews are practicing in full at the same time for the first time since Andrews was injured in Week 7.

How Baltimore Will Try To Win ::

The Ravens do not play with a fast tempo, they rank 25th in the league in situation-neutral pace of play and 31st in seconds per snap. Their pass rate is slightly below expectation and they rely heavily on their running backs and Lamar Jackson’s legs to move the chains and sustain drives. The Ravens have completed over 20 passes in a game only three times this season. They were throwing the ball more aggressively early this year but have since lost Rashod Bateman for the season while both Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews have struggled with injuries in recent weeks.

This week, the Ravens face a Jaguars defense that has been solid against the run but ranks 31st in the NFL in pass defense DVOA. Jacksonville is just “average” against the run, so we shouldn’t expect the Ravens to stray too far from their preferred method of attack, but the stress the Ravens dual-threat running game puts on a defense should open them up to some potential big plays against a beatable secondary. This week is the first time since Week 7 that both Mark Andrews and Lamar Jackson have practiced in full together, which could be perfect timing for such an advantageous matchup. Gus Edwards is also returning for the Ravens this week and should split time with both Kenyan Drake and Justice Hill. This running back by committee approach is preferred by the Ravens and allows them to always have fresh bodies on the field.

How Jacksonville Will Try To Win ::

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Kickoff Sunday, Nov 27th 1:00pm Eastern

Texans (
16.5) at

Dolphins (
30.5)

Over/Under 47.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Texans Run D
28th DVOA/27th Yards allowed per carry
Dolphins Run O
14th DVOA/27th Yards per carry
Texans Pass D
19th DVOA/31st Yards allowed per pass
Dolphins Pass O
1st DVOA/1st Yards per pass
Dolphins Run D
9th DVOA/12th Yards allowed per carry
Texans Run O
31st DVOA/23rd Yards per carry
Dolphins Pass D
23rd DVOA/9th Yards allowed per pass
Texans Pass O
32nd DVOA/27th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By hilow >>
  • The Texans are relatively healthy heading into Week 12 but they are set to start Kyle Allen at quarterback over the struggling Davis Mills.
  • Raheem Mostert started the practice week with consecutive DNPs with a knee injury, which is particularly notable considering the Dolphins are coming off their bye week.
  • Tua Tagovailoa has been between 30 to 36 pass attempts in five of his six complete games this season. If the Dolphins are running away with this one, it is likeliest we see an uptick in their overall rush volume here.
  • No Texans pass-catcher typically sees more than 80% of the offensive snaps.

How houston Will Try To Win ::

The 1-8-1 Texans have lost five in a row and decided to bench incumbent starting quarterback Davis Mills in favor of Kyle Allen, which makes sense considering Mills has as many interceptions as he does touchdown passes this season (11). Allen last saw meaningful action in 2021 as a member of the Carolina Panthers, when, you guessed it, he had almost as many interceptions as touchdown passes through a sample size of 489 pass attempts (17 touchdown passes to 16 interceptions). The Texans rank 20th in pass rate over expectation (PROE) this season on a 61.55% overall pass rate (10th in the league) but average just 32.9 pass attempts per game and just 15.9 points per game (30th in the league). They would much prefer to run a slow offense (23rd-ranked first half pace of play) with elevated rush rates but rank 31st in the league in net drive success rate and 30th in the league in net points per drive, forcing an increase to overall pass volume along the way. It’s difficult to say if we should expect much of a change in the offense with the swap to Allen at quarterback, but his underlying metrics in his last season of bulk work indicate this offense is not in better hands with the switch. His 6.8 yards per attempt in 2019 ranked 25th in the league, his accuracy rating ranked 30th, his true completion percentage was 26th, and his pressured completion percentage ranked 33rd. Yea, it’s fair to expect the Texans to struggle against an aggressive Miami defense (29.6% blitz rate ranks seventh in the league).

Rookie running back Dameon Pierce took over as the lead back in this backfield way back in Week 2 and has been at or above a 72% snap rate in five of Houston’s last six games, averaging a robust 22.5 running back opportunities per game over that six-game stretch (including games of 31, 27, and 24 opportunities). That said, his poor 4.6 yards per touch value ranks 36th in the league and he hasn’t scored a rushing touchdown since Week 5 against the Jaguars. The pure rushing matchup yields a paltry 4.03 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Miami defense holding opposing backfields to just 3.72 yards per carry, second best in the league. Expect fullback Troy Hairston and change-of-pace back Rex Burkhead to each see about 20% of the offensive snaps behind Pierce.

The Texans have run from 12-personnel at an elevated 35% clip this season, typically electing to utilize a three-man rotation at tight end with rookie Teagan Quitoriano and veterans O.J. Howard and Jordan Akins. When you then include the roughly 20% of snap run from 21-personnel through the utilization of fullback Troy Hairston, we quickly realize how little upside is present from this pass offense on a week-to-week basis. Alpha wide receiver Brandin Cooks has played over 81% of the offensive snaps only once in his last six healthy games, Nico Collins has seen more than 81% of the offensive snaps only once all season, and the WR3 role is typically split between Chris Moore and Phillip Dorsett. While we can figure the Texans for a few additional snaps against the efficient and fast-paced Miami offense, that doesn’t really buy us much through the wildly unconcentrated and low volume Texans offense, particularly considering the change to a quarterback who has struggled with deep passing throughout his career.

How Miami Will Try To Win ::

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Kickoff Sunday, Nov 27th 1:00pm Eastern

Bears (
14) at

Jets (
22)

Over/Under 36.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Bears Run D
25th DVOA/25th Yards allowed per carry
Jets Run O
12th DVOA/14th Yards per carry
Bears Pass D
30th DVOA/26th Yards allowed per pass
Jets Pass O
23rd DVOA/11th Yards per pass
Jets Run D
11th DVOA/5th Yards allowed per carry
Bears Run O
10th DVOA/1st Yards per carry
Jets Pass D
5th DVOA/6th Yards allowed per pass
Bears Pass O
27th DVOA/16th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By HILOW>>
  • Bears quarterback Justin Fields suffered a separated left shoulder (non-throwing) with associated partially torn ligaments and has said he plans to play assuming he can protect the shoulder. The Bears did not hold a full practice on Wednesday, but Fields was seen throwing passes on Thursday (and actually looked good doing so). I would tentatively expect him to play here.
  • On the other side of the game, Jets quarterback Zach Wilson is set to find himself as a healthy inactive after some shaky play and even worse post-game comments to the media, with head coach Robert Saleh announcing Wednesday that Mike White will be getting the start in Week 12, backed up by veteran Joe Flacco.
  • Fields (and his presence) not only affects the Bears’ likely game plan, but it should also influence primary coverages shown by the Jets – it is much more likely we see increased rates of prevent-spy zone against Fields and higher rates of press man against Siemian.
  • Corey Davis is finally off the injury report for the Jets and is expected to play with little limitations after practicing in full all week.

How Chicago Will Try To Win ::

There is a bit of uncertainty regarding how we expect the Bears to try to win here, largely due to the injury Justin Fields suffered at the end of their Week 11 loss to the Falcons – and there has been a ton of uncertainty regarding what the injury actually was, with Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter posting conflicting reports on Monday. From Fields himself, he sustained a separated shoulder in his non-throwing arm with associated partially torn ligaments. He added that he plans to play this weekend as long as he feels he can protect the shoulder so as not to incur any additional damage. Damn. It shouldn’t be understated how much Fields means to this team and to this offense, with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy tailoring the offense to maximize the talent he has available to him over the previous five games. During that span, the Bears have averaged 29.6 points per game while Fields has scored no less than 23.6 DK points including at least one rushing score in each game. Chicago holds the league’s lowest pass rate over expectation (PROE) value and Fields has not attempted more than 28 pass attempts in any game this season. Finally, a defense allowing the eighth-most points per drive, eighth-most yards per drive, and the fifth-worst drive success rate has meant this team has been involved in numerous shootouts over the previous five weeks.

Running back Kahlil Herbert was placed on injured reserve prior to the team’s Week 11 game, leaving only David Montgomery and Trestan Ebner on the team’s depth chart. Darrynton Evans was called up from the practice squad as depth last week, but Montgomery dominated both the snaps and running back opportunities, seeing 21 running back opportunities on a robust 80% of the offensive snaps. That led to his highest fantasy output of the season with 21.1 DK points. It’s fair to expect another game with a similar backfield touch distribution here with the team content to move forward with just Montgomery and Ebner on the roster. The pure rushing matchup yields a below-average 4.22 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Jets defense allowing only 22.0 DK points per game to opposing backfields. That has come via a well below-average 3.96 average yards per carry allowed and only six total scores allowed to the position. As in, the matchup isn’t necessarily there for DMont this week, but the workload most certainly should be. Finally, nose tackle and primary run-stopper Sheldon Rankins has been ruled out for the Jets, softening the matchup on the ground slightly.

As for the pass offense, this is probably the piece most likely to be influenced by the game-day status of Justin Fields, as the team is much more likely to find the offensive success necessary to remain in a close game with Fields on the, well, field. As we mentioned above, Fields has not attempted more than 28 pass attempts in a game this season, yet the Bears are averaging a robust 29.6 points per game over their previous five games, scoring 24 or more in each contest. That level of offensive efficiency and scoring output is almost assuredly to take a hit should Trevor Siemian start, which should theoretically filter more volume to the passing game. It’s unlikely the Bears shift identities with Siemian in at quarterback, but it’s much more likely the team finds themselves in a more negative game environment should Fields be unable to go. Fullback Khari Blasingame has been held to 20% or fewer of the offensive snaps during this most recent five-game stretch, with the team instead electing to mix in heavy alignments through the utilization of tight ends Trevon Wesco and Ryan Griffin at similar rates, keeping the Bears at a below average sub-60% 11-personnel rate over the previous five games. That has meant tight end Cole Kmet has led the team in snaps over the past five games, with Darnell Mooney serving as the only other near every-down pass-catcher. The team has yet to bring Chase Claypool fully up to speed, instead mixing him in with Equanimeous St. Brown, Dante Pettis, and Byron Pringle to fill the final two wide receiver spots. The matchup is far from ideal against one of the best secondaries in the league, particularly so if the Jets are able to stack the box and play off and tight-man/press coverages with Siemian in at quarterback, something that should mimic a higher rate of prevent-spy zone against Fields (which theoretically opens up room to operate for opposing tight ends). Again, a lot of uncertainty here.

How New York Will Try To Win ::

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Kickoff Sunday, Nov 27th 1:00pm Eastern

Bengals (
21.75) at

Titans (
20.75)

Over/Under 42.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Bengals Run D
16th DVOA/14th Yards allowed per carry
Titans Run O
21st DVOA/22nd Yards per carry
Bengals Pass D
10th DVOA/26th Yards allowed per pass
Titans Pass O
14th DVOA/8th Yards per pass
Titans Run D
1st DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per carry
Bengals Run O
7th DVOA/29th Yards per carry
Titans Pass D
22nd DVOA/22nd Yards allowed per pass
Bengals Pass O
6th DVOA/16th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By Mike Johnson >>
  • This is a rematch of last year’s AFC Divisional Round playoff game in which the Bengals upset the Titans 19-16.
  • The Bengals offense has scored 30+ points in four of their last five games and could be getting Ja’Marr Chase back this week.
  • The Bengals are well equipped to attack the Titans “pass funnel” defense.
  • The Titans offense is becoming more potent as they add a consistent passing element to their Derrick Henry-based game plans.

How Cincinnati Will Try To Win ::

The Bengals offense had a bit of a “Super Bowl hangover” to start the season, as they struggled out of the gates to get things rolling. However, the Bengals are averaging 31.4 points per game over their last four games and now may be getting back superstar wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase from injury. Suffice it to say, they have figured some things out. While the Bengals tempo is relatively modest, playing at close to league average pace, their pass rate over expectation (PROE) ranks 3rd in the league as they rely heavily on Joe Burrow to set the tone and build and keep leads for them. 

This week, due to some things on their side of the ball and some on the opponent’s side of the ball, the Bengals offense is set up to pass at an even higher level than they already do. The Titans defense is the league’s most severe “pass funnel,” as they rank 1st in run defense DVOA and 13th in pass defense DVOA. Titans opponents have noticed as well, as the Titans face the highest pass rate (67%) from opposing offenses of any defense in the league. The Bengals are also going to play this game without star running back Joe Mixon, leaving them with Samaje Perine and Chris Evans to handle most of the running back duties. Perine caught three touchdown passes last week in relief of Mixon and Evans, and he is also more well-suited for receiving work than a “between the tackles” role. The Bengals had a similar matchup against a good Steelers run defense last week and threw the ball 39 times compared to only 20 running back rushes, and we should expect a similar or more severe pass heavy approach from the Bengals this week.

How Tennessee Will Try To Win ::

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Kickoff Sunday, Nov 27th 1:00pm Eastern

Falcons (
18.5) at

WFT (
22)

Over/Under 40.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Falcons Run D
24th DVOA/11th Yards allowed per carry
Commanders Run O
25th DVOA/27th Yards per carry
Falcons Pass D
28th DVOA/21st Yards allowed per pass
Commanders Pass O
28th DVOA/21st Yards per pass
Commanders Run D
2nd DVOA/9th Yards allowed per carry
Falcons Run O
8th DVOA/6th Yards per carry
Commanders Pass D
16th DVOA/25th Yards allowed per pass
Falcons Pass O
15th DVOA/9th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By mike johnson >>
  • This is a matchup of two teams who have holes but are still in the NFC playoff picture.
  • This shapes up as a slow-paced game with two teams who run the ball at a high rate and play at a very slow tempo.
  • The Commanders have won five of their last six games, with their one loss being a tight 4th quarter loss to the 9-2 Vikings.
  • The Falcons are 1-4 on the road this year and have scored 17 or fewer points in each of their last three road games.

How Atlanta Will Try To Win ::

The Falcons run the ball at the highest rate in the league and play with the 5th slowest tempo in the league. Their approach is to slow games down and try to bludgeon a defense to death with a variety of different runners, including quarterback Marcus Mariota. This is a unique approach for a team that has one of the bottom-tier defenses in the league, but on the struggle bus that is the NFC South, it has been enough for the Falcons to stay in the hunt. Mariota has not attempted over 30 passes in a game since Week 1, which highlights just how committed the Falcons are to the run in all kinds of game scripts. 

The Falcons preferred method of attack could hit a snag this week against a Commanders defense that has been lights out recently, holding four of their last five opponents under 100 rushing yards. In the last two weeks, the Commanders held the Texans under 150 total yards and the Eagles, who have the #2 rushing offense in the league, to 94 rushing yards. The Commanders defense also ranks top-8 in the NFL in both PFF pass rush and coverage grades and could be getting back star edge rusher Chase Young this week. We know the Falcons will try to win this game on the ground, as they always do, but they will have tough sledding in that department and will also be at risk of sacks and turnovers during the times they actually do throw the ball. The loss of talented tight end Kyle Pitts will likely only strengthen the commitment of the Falcons to running the ball while also serving to hamstring the offense’s efficiency as a whole. While Pitts was underutilized, his presence on the field was something that had to be accounted for and is now gone.

How Washington Will Try To Win ::

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Kickoff Sunday, Nov 27th 4:05pm Eastern

Chargers (
25.75) at

Cards (
23.25)

Over/Under 49.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Chargers Run D
30th DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per carry
Cardinals Run O
27th DVOA/18th Yards per carry
Chargers Pass D
16th DVOA/25th Yards allowed per pass
Cardinals Pass O
29th DVOA/32nd Yards per pass
Cardinals Run D
19th DVOA/21st Yards allowed per carry
Chargers Run O
29th DVOA/30th Yards per carry
Cardinals Pass D
25th DVOA/11th Yards allowed per pass
Chargers Pass O
24th DVOA/25th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By mike johnson >>
  • A west coast matchup of two teams who have failed to live up to preseason expectations.
  • The Cardinals defense has given up 31+ points in four of their last five games (only the Rams failed to reach that number).
  • The Chargers have one of the worst run defenses in the league.
  • Kyler Murray practiced fully this week and will be starting this game after a two game absence.

How Los angeles Will Try To Win ::

The Chargers enter Week 12 with a 5-5 record and on the outside looking in for the AFC playoffs. While their current situation is slightly disappointing, they appear to be right on the edge of being a top-tier team (although we’ve been able to say that about several other Chargers teams as well in recent years). The Chiefs are widely considered the top team in the AFC and the Chargers have lost to them on fourth quarter drives twice this season. Likewise, the 49ers are one of the highest rated teams in the NFC and the Chargers lost a close game to them in Week 10. There is a saying that “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades,” but we would be crazy to not consider the context of the Chargers schedule when evaluating their season. Their two other losses were against the NFC West leading Seahawks and a Week 3 loss to the Jaguars when Justin Herbert was severely injured/limited by a rib injury.

This week the Chargers face a Cardinals defense that has surrendered 31+ points in four of their last five games after a strong start to the season. The Chargers have not scored 30 points in a game since Week 5, but this matchup could be just what they need to right the ship. The Chargers throw the ball on over 67% of their offensive plays, more than every team in the NFL except the Chiefs. The Cardinals defense faces the seventh highest pass rate in the NFL and the Chargers will happily continue in that regard. They will also be closer to full strength at their offensive skill positions than they have been for a while with Keenan Allen finally back and healthy, as well as Gerald Everett off the injury report. The Chargers will still be without Mike Williams this week, but Josh Palmer has emerged as a serious perimeter weapon and toasted the Chiefs on Sunday night in Week 11. The Chargers also play at the fastest tempo in the NFL, combining a high pass rate and blistering pace of play to lean on their young superstar quarterback Justin Herbert. This week we should expect a familiar approach and the Chargers to spread the ball out the way the 49ers did to the Cardinals on Monday night in a dominant win. The Cardinals have been good against wide receivers the past couple of seasons, but can be exploited by teams who are willing to spread the ball around and are willing to find openings rather than force the ball to certain players/areas predictably. Luckily for the Chargers, they love to spread the ball around and attack all areas of the field. 

How arizona Will Try To Win ::

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  • Herbert stacks make sense if you think this game is going to explode. Meanwhile, you can make a case for several Chargers skill players to use with Harbert or by themselves::
    • Austin Ekeler should see heavy usage once again and has an elite ceiling. He has had a couple of relatively quiet weeks and could go overlooked.
    • Gerald Everett at full health in a great matchup for tight ends could certainly pay off and will be in my Player Grid.
    • The Cardinals have done well against receivers in recent years but Josh Palmer and Keenan Allen have very appealing price tags relative to this game environment. 
  • James Conner has total control of this backfield and should benefit from extra scoring chances with Kyler Murray and Marquise Brown returning to the field.
  • Trey McBride is an interesting tight end this week with Rondale Moore out and Greg Dortch a game-time decision. McBride is a great athlete and a spike in usage at a very low price tag could certainly pay off.
  • In scenarios where this game shoots out, DeAndre Hopkins could easily lead the slate in targets.
  • Returning from a hamstring injury and battling fumbling issues, I don’t think Murray runs as much as we need him to in order to hit his ceiling. That being said, his salary is lower than we’ve seen it in a long time this week

Kickoff Sunday, Nov 27th 4:05pm Eastern

Raiders (
21.75) at

Hawks (
25.75)

Over/Under 47.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Raiders Run D
21st DVOA/10th Yards allowed per carry
Seahawks Run O
20th DVOA/9th Yards per carry
Raiders Pass D
30th DVOA/17th Yards allowed per pass
Seahawks Pass O
5th DVOA/18th Yards per pass
Seahawks Run D
24th DVOA/28th Yards allowed per carry
Raiders Run O
5th DVOA/2nd Yards per carry
Seahawks Pass D
18th DVOA/20th Yards allowed per pass
Raiders Pass O
17th DVOA/9th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By mike johnson >>
  • The Raiders are fresh off winning the “Irrelevant Bowl” over a Broncos team that just refused to find a way to win.
  • The Raiders defense has given up 20+ points in every game this season except last week.
  • The Seahawks are tied for the lead in the NFC West and are coming off their bye week.
  • The Raiders defense ranks dead last in pass defense DVOA and second to last in PFF tackling grade.

How LAS VEGAS Will Try To Win ::

The Raiders continue to be an entertaining team to watch for the casual fan, even if they are wildly frustrating for their own fans. Eight of the ten Raiders games this season have been decided by one possession, with the only exceptions being Weeks 7 and 8 when they pulled away in the fourth quarter from the Texans, and then were boat raced by the Saints while Davante Adams was severely limited by illness. This week they travel to a hostile road environment in Seattle against a Seahawks team that has surprised many this season and is coming off a bye week, following a loss to the Bucs in London. 

The Raiders offense continues to flow heavily through two players – Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams. That pairing has combined for 67% or more of the team’s usage (carries plus targets) for three consecutive weeks and nothing about this matchup would indicate a reason for the Raiders to alter that approach. The Raiders operate at a methodical tempo (26th in the league in situation-neutral pace) and throw the ball at a slightly below expected rate. This week they face a Seahawks defense that has been up and down this season and ranks in the middle of the pack against both the run and the pass. The Seahawks are facing the most plays per game of any team in the league this season, meaning the Raiders (who average a very modest 60.6 plays per game) could be in line for a spike in play volume. 

From a philosophical standpoint, the Raiders appear to be focused on “establishing the run” early in games, with Jacobs seeing a ton of work on the first couple of possessions. There is also obviously a focus on getting Adams involved, with the rest of their skill players being used sparingly and mixed in more as they get deeper into games as teams focus on taking away the two primary weapons. In a hostile environment, we should expect the Raiders to come out of the gate conservatively and they may struggle with the crowd noise and chaos, which will lead to a slow pace of play. While the Seahawks defense isn’t a world beater, it will be plenty prepared for the Raiders considering they have an extra week of preparation, and the Raiders will need to make some adjustments quickly to keep things from getting out of hand early. 

How SEATTLE Will Try To Win ::

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Mike Johnson >>>
  • Kenneth Walker is my favorite player from this game, and one of my top players on the slate. The game just sets up too well for him from a matchup and game environment perspective for me to not be excited about his talent.
  • I suspect that one of DK Metcalf or Tyler Lockett will have a very good game here. Hard to say which one, but it seems unlikely that with their talent the Raiders are able to hold them both down.
  • Geno Smith will likely have a good game, but given how well I expect Walker to play I don’t expect to play much Smith as I think it limits his ceiling. Also, I’d rather pay down for Tom Brady or pay up for Burrow/Tua for greater ceilings in similar price range with lower ownership.
  • On the Raiders side, it is just Jacobs or Adams for me. I strongly prefer Adams, especially with Jacobs being added to the injury report on Friday. They aren’t “must plays” due to their price tags, but at least one of them is very likely to score 25+.


Kickoff Sunday, Nov 27th 4:25pm Eastern

Rams (
13.25) at

Chiefs (
28.75)

Over/Under 42.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Rams Run D
5th DVOA/4th Yards allowed per carry
Chiefs Run O
11th DVOA/10th Yards per carry
Rams Pass D
27th DVOA/14th Yards allowed per pass
Chiefs Pass O
2nd DVOA/2nd Yards per pass
Chiefs Run D
18th DVOA/13th Yards allowed per carry
Rams Run O
24th DVOA/31st Yards per carry
Chiefs Pass D
26th DVOA/10th Yards allowed per pass
Rams Pass O
27th DVOA/29th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By mike johnson >>
  • Just when Rams fans thought it couldn’t get any worse, it’s about to hit rock bottom.
  • The Rams defense is significantly worse against the pass than the run, and we should expect the Chiefs to gladly exploit that weakness.
  • Kansas City is the league’s top-scoring offense, while the Rams rank 29th and are now without their two best offensive players.
  • The status of the Rams starting quarterback to replace Matthew Stafford is in question as of Friday.

How los angeles Will Try To Win ::

Do you believe in miracles? The NFL is widely known for its parity, and most weeks, any team can win any game, but this particular matchup certainly seems like one of the bigger longshots of the season – which is reflected in the huge point spread. The fact of the matter is that the Chiefs offense has been a machine this year, leading the league with a scoring average of 30 points per game. Meanwhile, the Rams offense has scored 30 points only once all season and over 20 points only twice. Making matters worse for the Rams, their two star offensive players, Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp, will not be playing in this game. Kansas City’s defense has been solid this year and can be very opportunistic when they build a lead and get to pick on overmatched offenses – which is exactly the scenario we could be facing this week.

It has not yet been announced who will start at quarterback for the Rams. The options are John Wolford, who started against the Cardinals in a 27-17 loss in Week 10, or Bryce Perkins, an undrafted quarterback who has never made an NFL start and relies mainly on his legs to make plays. Perkins came on in relief of Stafford last week and took most of the first-team reps in practice this week, but Wolford, who is coming back from his own neck injury, probably gives the Rams their best chance of moving the ball and staying competitive. It would not be shocking if the Rams used both quarterbacks as a way to keep the Chiefs guessing and to leverage the athleticism of Perkins while not having to sacrifice or change everything about their offense. Regardless of who the quarterback is, the Rams are likely to play slow and run the ball often in an attempt to keep the ball out of the hands of Patrick Mahomes. If Wolford starts, there will be a lot of short area passes and handoffs, while if Perkins starts, they may be able to add some zone-read runs and bootlegs to get him out on the move. Whichever quarterback plays will be under pressure often behind a league-worst offensive line, which may make Perkins a better choice as he may be able to do a better job of avoiding sacks.

How kansas city Will Try To Win ::

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Kickoff Sunday, Nov 27th 4:25pm Eastern

Saints (
17.5) at

49ers (
26)

Over/Under 43.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Saints Run D
20th DVOA/23rd Yards allowed per carry
49ers Run O
22nd DVOA/19th Yards per carry
Saints Pass D
15th DVOA/17th Yards allowed per pass
49ers Pass O
7th DVOA/5th Yards per pass
49ers Run D
2nd DVOA/1st Yards allowed per carry
Saints Run O
12th DVOA/13th Yards per carry
49ers Pass D
6th DVOA/13th Yards allowed per pass
Saints Pass O
24th DVOA/10th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By mike johnson >>
  • Despite a rocky start to the season, the 49ers are currently in the driver’s seat of the NFC West.
  • The Saints defense has given up 20+ points in ten of their eleven games so far this season.
  • The 49ers defense is more vulnerable through the air than on the ground, something the Saints were able to exploit last week against the Rams.
  • The 49ers playmakers could have a field day against a Saints defense that has struggled with tackling this season.

How nEW oRLEANS Will Try To Win ::

The Saints offense has been sputtering lately following a four game stretch where they averaged 31 points per game and were heavily featuring Alvin Kamara. Over their last three games, Kamara has averaged only 13 touches per game after he was used as a workhorse during their stretch of offensive success with 25 touches per game. On the surface, it seems pretty straightforward what they can do to improve their offense, but digging a little deeper we can see that is a bit easier said than done. The Saints offensive slide has also coincided with a drastic improvement in the quality of defenses they have faced.

This week, the Saints face a 49ers defense that profiles similarly to the Rams defense the Saints just faced. Both the 49ers and Rams have top-five run defenses and are more susceptible through the air. That is where the similarities stop, however, as the 49ers have PFF’s third graded coverage unit and a top-10 pass rush, while the Rams rank 31st in the NFL in pressure rate and have been torn up through the air while they’ve sat in zone coverage several times this season. The 49ers defense has given up over 20 points only twice this season, once at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and once due to several turnovers against the Falcons. In their last three games, the 49ers defense has only surrendered 40 total points against the Rams, Chargers, and Cardinals.

We should expect a conservative, but slightly pass heavy approach from the Saints this week as they are highly unlikely to find much running room against the 49ers run defense in this matchup, especially with Alvin Kamara battling an illness this week. The Saints could also turn to Taysom Hill in a larger role this week due to Kamara’s illness and as a way to give the 49ers different looks. Hill was used as a passer, runner, and receiver in last week’s win over the Rams and may be the “wild card” the Saints need to stay competitive this week.

How SAN FRANCISCO Will Try To Win ::

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Kickoff Sunday, Nov 27th 8:20pm Eastern

Packers (
19.75) at

Eagles (
26.25)

Over/Under 46.0

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Notes

Key Matchups
Packers Run D
29th DVOA/21st Yards allowed per carry
Eagles Run O
1st DVOA/13th Yards per carry
Packers Pass D
12th DVOA/18th Yards allowed per pass
Eagles Pass O
3rd DVOA/4th Yards per pass
Eagles Run D
23rd DVOA/24th Yards allowed per carry
Packers Run O
5th DVOA/8th Yards per carry
Eagles Pass D
2nd DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per pass
Packers Pass O
16th DVOA/22nd Yards per pass

XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT

Sunday Night Football has the Packers visiting the Eagles for a 46.5 total game with Philly favored by 6.5 points. I bet the NFL thought this would be a really exciting game when they made the schedule, and while the Eagles look every bit as good as expected (better, really), the Packers are sitting at 4-7 with a minus 41 point differential and have looked absolutely lost on offense, only reaching 30 points once all year (and it took overtime) while averaging just 18.4 points per game.  

Philadelphia

We’ll start with Philly and their run game, where I feel like I could copy/paste what I’ve written for their previous Showdowns. It’s a multi-headed monster here with Miles Sanders clearly in the lead, but still only playing around 60% or so of the snaps and (unfortunately) seeing very little receiving work. Sanders has become a talented yardage-and-touchdown back on a good offense, and it’s a good matchup, but he’s only seen 20 carries once this season and isn’t getting passing work to make up for it. The matchup very much tilts towards the run here as the Packers are 12th in pass defense DVOA but just 29th against opposing run games, so there’s ceiling for Sanders here if he can get workload, and if he can avoid being vultured. Speaking of vultures, Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott will both mix in as backups, with Gainwell being more of a receiving back while Scott operates on the ground. Both are viable as punts or if something happens to Sanders, but at their prices, you would need an injury or a touchdown. And, of course, Jalen Hurts is a threat to score (and seems to love doing so). Hurts has barely over half of Sanders’ rushing yardage on the season, but has eight touchdowns to Sanders’ six. 

Showdown Ownership Projections!

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In the passing game, we know the deal. A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith are the dudes here. Both are awesome, but the matchup isn’t great, and if you ask me to pick, I think I’d lean (slightly) toward Brown. The price gap has narrowed a bit since the last time I wrote one of these when I leaned towards Smith, which is the only thing that really tilts me one way or the other. It’s worth noting here that with Dallas Goedert out, the snaps went to backup tight end Jack Stoll . . . but he only saw one target last week. Now, Hurts only attempted 25 passes, but Brown and Smith accounted for 15 of them – a 60% target share is pretty great! Everyone else in this passing game is a dart throw. Stoll will be on the field a ton but not likely to command much volume, Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal are splitting the WR3 role (and combined for three targets last week sans Goedert), Grant Calcaterra is the TE2 and can be an MME punt play. If you ask me to pick, I’d say Quez for his big play ability, then Pascal, then Stoll, but man these guys are all thin. Realistically, the only guys I think you can count on in the Philly passing game are Brown and Smith, and then sprinkle in smidges of the others into your tournament play.

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Steelers (
18.5) at

Colts (
21)

Over/Under 39.5

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Notes

Key Matchups
Steelers Run D
12th DVOA/6th Yards allowed per carry
Colts Run O
32nd DVOA/25th Yards per carry
Steelers Pass D
15th DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per pass
Colts Pass O
31st DVOA/30th Yards per pass
Colts Run D
6th DVOA/2nd Yards allowed per carry
Steelers Run O
15th DVOA/21st Yards per carry
Colts Pass D
14th DVOA/7th Yards allowed per pass
Steelers Pass O
22nd DVOA/30th Yards per pass

XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT

Week 12 comes to a conclusion with the Steelers visiting the Colts for a 39.5 total game with Indy favored by 2.5 points. As I always note, I’m not a line bettor, but I think Indy is the clearly superior team here so I’m surprised they’re only favored by 2.5 at home (which implies the teams are evenly matched, as home-field advantage is generally worth about 3 points in Vegas lines). We’ll see . . . Kenny Pickett has certainly looked better in his last couple of games as the Steelers upset the Saints and put up 30 against the Bengals. Let’s explore.

Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh run game starts with Najee Harris, who earlier in the year appeared to be losing snaps to rookie Jaylen Warren based on horrendously inefficient play, but has stepped up of late. In his first eight games of the season, Harris only averaged four yards per carry twice and only saw 20+ running back opportunities twice while playing around 70-75% of the snaps on average (versus last year when he rarely came off the field, with multiple games over 90% of the snaps and 20+ opportunities in 11 of 17 regular season games). Since then, however, Najee has exactly 20 carries in each of the last two games to go along with seven targets and 4.7 yards per carry. The matchup here is rough against Indy’s 6th-ranked run defense by DVOA and Najee’s passing game role has been smaller this year with 3.5 targets per game vs. 5.5 last season (4.4 if you pull out the ridiculous 19-target game he had in Week 3). Running backs always offer stable floors, but this one is a tough sell for me. Harris is a road underdog who has not actually been a bell cow back for most of the season, and his passing game role is more “fine” than the elite level we saw last year, and he’s in a difficult matchup. I’m going to aim to be under the field here. Behind Harris, we’ll have either Jaylen Warren (update: Warren has been ruled out) or Benny Snell. As always, “RB2 in Showdown” is a viable option and often underowned. I would prefer Snell here just because of his price. Snell’s not a special talent but at $200, he would be a very strong value option, while at Warren’s price point he needs to outscore or at least be right around the kickers in order to have a chance at being in a winning lineup. 

Showdown Ownership Projections!

Ownership updates automatically

In the passing game, the Steelers are in a weird situation. Since Pickett took over at quarterback, Diontae Johnson has seen a combined total of 49 targets while George Pickens has seen just 33, but Pickens has outscored Diontae in four of those six games and Diontae has maxed out at just 11 Draftkings points. Diontae is having a REALLY strange season. He has 86 targets in 10 games (good!) but just 51 catches, 456 receiving yards, and 0 touchdowns (bad!), and his season-high Draftkings scoring is 16.4 points. He’s too talented and seeing too much volume to be this awful all year, but he has frankly been one of the worst starting wideouts in the NFL this season (if not THE worst) by every metric. His price has also fallen to the lowest point we’ve seen, and the Colts are a pass funnel defense (6th in run defense DVOA but 14th in pass defense), and the Steelers are a road underdog, so the volume should be there. Personally, I’m going to watch ownership on this one. If people flock to the brand name and price and drive up his ownership, I’ll come under and hope the inefficiency continues for at least one more game. If it looks like people are shading away from Diontae, I’ll bet on his underlying talent and volume. Pickens, on the other hand, seems to have a real connection with Pickett, and while he’s only averaging 5.5 targets per game in Pickett’s starts, he’s scored a couple of touchdowns and made some really impressive deep catches. I wouldn’t say he’s broken out just yet, but he seems on the path to it (I’ve been playing him a lot on main slates lately and he’s had some solid games while just missing really big ones a couple of times). The WR3 role is currently being split between Gunner Olszewski (formerly of Patriots special teams fame) and Steven Sims Jr. (formerly of no fame whatsoever). Between the pair of them, they have a combined seven targets in the last two games. Chase Claypool being traded has opened up snaps but it has yet to turn into fantasy production. They’re also both $200, which is awfully cheap for even semi-capable pass catchers who are seeing the field a lot so they are viable punt options. Miles Boykin should play a handful of snaps and can be included as an MME punt play, but I’d very much lean toward Gunner and Sims. At tight end, Pat Freiermuth has continued to be a target vacuum despite the change at quarterback, with a whopping 8.75 targets per game in the four fully healthy games he’s played with Pickett. It’s a short area role, so you need the volume, but he’s also tied for the team lead in targets inside the 10-yard line (with a whopping three, good lord this team is bad at scoring touchdowns). Zach Gentry will back up Freiermuth with a limited role of something like 40-55% of the snaps and is a viable punt option. Of the three main Steelers pass catchers, I like Pickens best overall, then Freiermuth, then Diontae. 

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