Matchups to Target
Michael Thomas (NOS) vs. Desmond Trufant
Turns out, the Atlanta Falcons were just faking being good on defence. They were absolutely smoked by Jameis Winston and Chris Godwin after limiting both the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers in the previous two weeks. For the year, Atlanta now ranks 31st in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play, a figure that hasn’t changed with or without their top cornerback, Desmond Trufant.
Michael Thomas right now is:
* Catching 85.2% of his targets this year.
* Catching 82.3% of CONTESTED targets.
That latter figure is absolutely insane. League leading figure is typically 15-20% lower than that.@Cantguardmike – and even if you can, he'll catch it anyway.
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) November 27, 2019
Despite being held out of the end zone in Week 10, Michael Thomas still racked up 13 catches and 152 yards on 14 targets. Whether they shadow him with Trufant or let him run routes against Isaiah Oliver, he’ll smash this matchup.
Tyler Boyd (CIN) vs. Brian Poole
After just three targets in Week 11, Tyler Boyd was the squeaky wheel last week. He certainly got the grease, seeing nine targets and turning them into 101 yards and a touchdown against a Pittsburgh Steelers defence that ranks third in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 24, 2019
Boys will get a quarterback upgrade this week, as the Cincinnati Bengals have seen enough of Ryan Finley. Capable veteran Andy Dalton should be able to execute the offence against a New York Jets secondary that ranks 23rd against the pass.
With A.J. Green still unlikely to go, Dalton should funnel targets to his slot receiver in a matchup with Brian Poole.
Alshon Jeffery (CHI) vs. Ken Crawley
The Miami Dolphins were just decimated by Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns’ receivers. They had no answers and constantly shuffled their cornerbacks in and out of the lineup in the hopes that one of them could guard the tandem of Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. Ken Crawley led the way in snap rate (47 per cent) among Miami’s outside corners, according to PlayerProfiler, and he allowed Beckham to catch all four targets in his coverage for 44 yards.
He’ll likely be matched up with Alshon Jeffery, who is returning from an ankle sprain. Jeffery was close to playing last week, so he should be fully healthy entering this matchup.
He hasn’t been an elite talent this season, but he has seen volume. In games that he’s played, Jeffery is leading the team with 27 per cent of air yards and is second to Zach Ertz with a 24 per cent target share. Carson Wentz has sorely missed talent on the outside, so expect him to look for his big receiver often against a Dolphins secondary that ranks last in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
Davante Adams (GBP) vs. Janoris Jenkins & Deandre Baker
Davante Adams has been fed a steady diet of targets since returning from his turf toe injury, seeing a whopping 33 looks over his last three games. While he’s hauled in 21 of them, his issue has been yardage, as he’s averaging a mere 9.62 yards per reception.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) November 25, 2019
That should change this week, as he gets a New York Giants secondary that has been exploitable all season. Not only do the G-Men rank 26th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play, but they have also allowed the second-most receiving yards and the seventh-most receptions to wideouts.
Adams’ efficiency should skyrocket compared to these last few weeks, and multiple touchdowns are always in his range.
Matchups to Avoid
Amari Cooper (DAL) vs. Tre’Davious White
Tre White was all over Courtland Sutton last week, allowing just one catch on eight targets in his coverage. He has routinely shadowed opposing alpha receivers and is posting ridiculous numbers. On the season, he hasn’t allowed a touchdown, has 10 pass break-ups, and is giving up a 66.9 passer rating — which ranks third among all cornerbacks, according to PlayerProfiler.
Amari Cooper has the skills to dominate tough matchups, but he’s been locked up in back-to-back weeks by Darius Slay and Stephon Gilmore. He was even held catchless on his two targets last week. With capable receiving options in better matchups, Dak Prescott could look the other way this week. And maybe you should, too.
Odell Beckham (CLE) vs. Joe Haden
Odell Beckham was in the perfect spot last week and hit. He caught six of his eight targets for 84 yards and a score, but he still left much to be desired as Jarvis Landry enjoyed the bigger outing.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 24, 2019
While Beckham is a stud, Baker Mayfield just doesn’t seem to think so. And OBJ’s lack of consistently high usage will always hurt him in tough matchups, which is exactly what this is.
Beckham saw strong coverage from Joe Haden for much of Week 11, and it showed, as he hauled in only four of his 10 targets for 60 yards. This Pittsburgh defence ranks third in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play, so this is a difficult matchup regardless of who is on Beckham. With a possible dip in efficiency along with Landry stealing valuable targets, Beckham is a fade in this spot.
Keenan Allen (LAC) vs. Chris Harris
After weeks of underperforming in tough matchups, Keenan Allen has posted two solid box scores in a row against the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs. Unfortunately, he’s back in a tough matchup, this time against Chris Harris and a Denver Broncos defence that sits sixth in Adjusted Defensive NEP per play.
Allen has struggled against Denver throughout his career, averaging 4.77 receptions and 45.3 yards in nine games. He was also held to just 18 yards earlier this season, so Allen could be back in the dumps this week.