Matchups to Target
Julio Jones (ATL) vs. Carlton Davis
This has to be the Julio Jones boom week — the 15-catch, 200-yard game.
It just has to be.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sit at first in Adjusted Defensive Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play while ranking 22nd against the pass. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons rank eighth in Adjusted Passing NEP per play and have struggled to run the ball all season.
Jones gets either Carlton Davis or Sean Murphy-Bunting, who just gave up another monster game to Michael Thomas. He has also seen 43 per cent of the team’s air yards over the last two weeks, which is ninth in the NFL, and has averaged over nine targets per game on the season. The total of 51.5 points is the highest on the slate, according to PaddyPower.com, so Matt Ryan will be airing it out in this matchup. Jam Julio in everywhere.
Allen Robinson (CHI) vs. Janoris Jenkins and Deandre Baker
While being shadowed by superstar cornerback Jalen Ramsey, Allen Robinson was only able to catch four balls for 15 yards. They were also coming from an injured Mitchell Trubisky, which turns out is far worse than even a healthy Mitchell Trubisky.
Things will get easier against a New York Giants secondary that has allowed the fourth-most receiving yards to opposing receivers on the season. Trubisky also practised fully this week, meaning he should be past the hip injury that caused some of his Week 11 struggles.
Odell Beckham (CLE) vs. Ken Crawley
After half a season of brutal matchups, Odell Beckham finally has one to take advantage of, drawing a Miami Dolphins team that ranks dead-last against in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. Furthermore, Miami has been competitive in the past few weeks, allowing opposing offences to keep their foot on the pedal. That game flow allowed John Brown to go for 137 yards and two touchdowns in Week 11.
Beckham is clearly a similar big-play threat with even more natural talent. Plus, he’s ranked fifth in weighted opportunity rating over the last three weeks, per airyards.com, indicating that he’s due for a massive week based on volume.
Baker Mayfield guns out a 43-yard strike to Odell Beckham Jr! pic.twitter.com/AJXufD6YUl
— Everything Cleveland (@EverythingCLE_) November 15, 2019
The Dolphins have had to shuffle their cornerbacks around with injuries, meaning Ken Crawley should spend quite a bit of time on OBJ. If you don’t remember, Crawley was beat out by P.J. Williams in New Orleans, and Williams is the Saints’ defensive back who every quarterback loves to pick on. Baker Mayfield will be feeding Beckham in this one.
Matchups to Avoid
John Brown (BUF) vs. Chris Harris
Despite a 3-7 record, the Denver Broncos are a nightmare on defence. In Week 11, they jumped out to a 20-0 lead on the Minnesota Vikings by halftime but ultimately squandered the victory to Kirk Cousins, who had to play outside of his mind. Josh Allen is not capable of doing that. He can also be very prone to turnovers, throwing seven picks and fumbling the ball 11 times this season.
Prior to blowing up last week, John Brown had primarily operated as a floor receiver, not topping 100 yards since Week 1. He sees massive volume with a 27.1 per cent target share — fifth among receivers — but he’ll be shadowed by Chris Harris in this matchup. Denver also matches up perfectly with Buffalo, as they excel at running the football while the Bills rank 29th at stopping the run.
Brown has the talent to rip off big plays, but with the Broncos ranking 12th in adjusted sack rate on Football Outsiders, the deep ball may be hard to come by in this matchup.
Courtland Sutton (DEN) vs. Tre’Davious White
Courtland Sutton was listed as an avoid last week against Xavier Rhodes. Turns out, the roads were wide open, as Sutton made me eat my words with some monster contested catches and highlight plays.
In case you'd forgotten, Courtland Sutton is a monster. pic.twitter.com/bOjw64QZNf
— Mile High Saluter (@milehighsalutes) November 18, 2019
This could backfire, but the process is strong. The Buffalo Bills have used Tre White in shadow coverage over the last few weeks, and he has performed admirably. Sutton has Brandon Allen throwing him the football, and their offence should skew run-heavy in this matchup.
He’s seen 238 air yards and 28 per cent of Allen’s attempts in his two starts, but based on matchup and game flow, Sutton should be avoided where possible.
Terry McLaurin (WAS) vs. Darius Slay
Terry McLaurin’s rapport with his college quarterback, Dwayne Haskins, did not carry over last week. McLaurin only saw four targets against a beatable New York Jets secondary while Haskins had no time to connect with his top target.
While he did show his big-play ability by posting 69 nice yards on three catches, that volume isn’t strong enough. McLaurin also draws Darius Slay in shadow coverage this week. He locked down Amari Cooper, limiting the stud receiver to just three receptions on eight targets. Though Cooper didn’t play a full allotment of snaps, his 38 yards were his lowest out of any game he’s started and finished this season.