NFL Week 15 – Saturday

Miami Dolphins at NY Jets

landry

Vegas & Rankings

TEAM Implied Total Spread Off. DVOA Def. DVOA Pass Off. DVOA Rush Off. DVOA Pas Def. DVOA Rush Def. DVOA
Miami Dolphins  21.5 -2.5 15 16 23 13 11 22
NY Jets  19.0 2.5 31 29 31 9 32 6

Game Breakdown

Matt Moore steps into the starting role this week over injured Ryan Tannehill, and gets a great matchup against a dismal NYJ pass defense (ranked 32nd in Pass Def DVOA).  Moore hasn’t played more than 19 snaps since 2011, but has proven in the past to be a capable backup. In 12 starts in 2011, Moore averaged 192Yards/Game, and had a 16:9 touchdown ratio. His career Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt sits at 5.19, and his longest completed pass went for 66 yards back in 2009.

Moore will be mostly looking for shorter routes through the middle of the field when he does throw, which means Jarvis Landry should get a good chunk of the targets this week. Out of the slot, Landry gets targeted on 24% of all routes, and will be matched up with Buster Skrine. Although he doesn’t get picked on as often as you’d like (thrown at on 17% of routes), Skrine is easy pickings for a WR like Landry, as he’s got one of the lowest PFF grades in the league – third worst for coverage in the slot. As noted by PFF, Moore attempted to go deep on 17% of his passes in 2011, so there is a possibility the Dolphins take shots downfield.

The issue with Moore is that the Dolphins will be relying a lot on Jay Ajayi on first downs, and while that should set up the play-action, Miami is currently the third worst team in 3-and-out percentage (0.293). The combination of what appears to be a tough NYJ run defense, and a backup quarterback as the starter, the Dolphins don’t project for a high pace which will hurt their overall scoring.

Ajayi touches the ball on 49% of Dolphins’ snaps so the workload will be there for him this week, but the Jets have only allowed eight touchdowns to running backs this season. One thing to note with the Jets run defense: they’ve only been run at 278 times (18th in the league), so their 1217 total rushing yards allowed are a bit of a mirage. They’re actually the 25th-worst team in Yards Allowed per Carry, and over the last three weeks gave up 225 (to SF), 105 (to IND), and 91 (to NE) yards on the ground.

The biggest concern for Ajayi will be with the Dolphins’ having placed Mike Pouncey on IR. In the five games Pouncey played this year, Miami hit over 200 yards on the ground twice, and over 100 yards four of the five times. Miami has the worst Stuffed ranking for their offensive line, mostly because of Pouncey missing so many games this year.

On the Jets’ side of the field, Bryce Petty gets another start in the lost year that is the Jets’ season. Petty is a serviceable quarterback and is expected to be the starter again next year (draft choices to come, notwithstanding), but faces a Dolphins defense that shuts down shorter passes and passes to the running back fairly well (13th and 9th, respectively). Petty has his two safety valves in Robby Anderson, and will have Bilal Powell catching out of the backfield regardless of whether injured RB Matt Forte tries to play.

Powell should get at least half the touches over the “questionable” Matt Forte, and enters the game off a 29-145-2 performance last week. Bilal Powell grabs 3.2 yards after contact, which is a monster number against a poor open field tackling defense of the Jets – NYJ ranks 27th in 2nd level yards allowed, and 29th in open field yards.

Robby Anderson has been a target monster in games with Petty under centre, targeted 29 times in just three games and catching 13 for 229 and a touchdown. It’s not so much that Anderson is the “safe” play for Petty, but for whatever reason the two have a rapport. Anderson has played most of his snaps lined on the right (48%), so he should be matched up against Miami CB Tony Lippett.

On the left side of the field, Miami has CB Byron Maxwell to defend the long ball – Maxwell ranks 5th in Passes Defended (15PF) and has two INTs to help him to getting graded the 9th best corner by PFF. Miami has the 7th best Pass Def DVOA on deep throws, mostly thanks to Maxwell. This should hurt Brandon Marshall quite a bit, as the combination of a weaker CB matched up with Petty’s favourite target on the other side of the field will limit the looks Marshall’s way. In their three games together, Petty has looked the 34-year old Marshall’s way 19 times, with Marshall hauling in 11 catches but only 91 total yards (no scores).

Other Factors

The division rivals met in Miami back in week 9, and Miami won what had been a close game on a 96-yard punt return. Ajayi hit 111 yards on the ground with a touchdown, and Ryan Tannehill only threw for 149-1TD-0INT. New York turned it over twice, with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing picks to CB Bobby McCain and DT Jordan Phillips.

New Jersey will be getting some snow Saturday, 3 to 6 inches up until the afternoon. The game will be pretty mild from a weather perspective, with winds hitting only 5mph and a temperature in the high 30s; cold, but nothing game-changing.

Plays

QB: No play.

WR: Jarvis Landry should see a lot of targets, and has the matchup that will allow him to catch them; DFSDatalytics projects him for a floor of 6 catches and 66 yards. He’s a safe play for cash games, has definite touchdown upside for GPPs, and is priced reasonably at $5400.

WR: Robby Anderson lost all his “sneakiness” last week when he was priced at $3000, and he paid off for most people by cashing in 17 points on DraftKings. He’s priced up from last week, to $4200, and will still garner lots of targets. He could be used to squeeze in high-priced players in cash, but with a catch rate of 54.8%, his floor is still dangerously low.

RB: Jay Ajayi makes an excellent GPP play this week, given that most people will look at the overall ranking of the NYJ run defense without going deeper. Ajayi should touch the ball at least 20 times, and will be given ample opportunity to score. One thing to watch out for is Damien Williams stealing touches near the goal line, but Ajayi should be under-owned and should hit his value.

 

Philadelphia Eagles at Baltimore Ravens

Vegas & Rankings

TEAM Implied Total Spread Off. DVOA Def. DVOA Pass Off. DVOA Rush Off. DVOA Pas Def. DVOA Rush Def. DVOA
Philadelphia Eagles  17.8 5.5 22 5 25 14 3 12
Baltimore Ravens  23.3 -5.5 25 2 26 26 7 1

Game Breakdown

Even with a game total of 41, this has all the makings of a slog-fest between two weaker offenses matched up against two of the best defenses in the league. Philadelphia’s mired in a four-game losing streak where they’ve allowed 26 or more points to Seattle, Green Bay, Cincinnati and Washington, while Baltimore is trying to push for the AFC playoffs coming off a loss to the Patriots this past Monday.

With a banged up receiving corps that just got Jordan Matthews back and running back depth that’s an insult to the word depth, the Eagles will have to look to their defense to either score points or put Carson Wentz in easy positions to score. In 14 games, Wentz is yet to throw more than two touchdowns in a game, even after topping 300 yards four times – in the Red Zone, the Eagles and Wentz have the 21st best QBR (93.2), and Wentz only completes 50.68% of his passes inside the 20. Wentz has thrown at least one interception in six of Philadelphia’s eight losses, which doesn’t mean much but is a fun fact.

The rookie QB will be targeting wide receivers Jordan MatthewsNelson Agholor, and Dorial Green-Beckham which isn’t exactly a murderer’s row of scoring threats. Matthews is the best of the WRs and eats up targets (8.3/game, 22% of routes run) out of the slot, but could be asked to move around more given the lack of outside scoring threats. Matthews is no stranger to playing outside, playing on either side of the field a combined 33% of his snaps. If Matthews gets to move around, he’ll be facing off a Baltimore secondary that’s again missing Jimmy Smith. In the three games Smith missed Baltimore allowed 6-80-2 to Dez Bryant, 5-62-0 to Tyler Boyd, and 3-39-0 to Brandon Marshall. With Smith out, the Ravens will have to give lots of playing time to Shareece Wright; through his first three seasons, Wright averaged 9.3 yards allowed per pass, and hasn’t improved much this season. If Matthews plays most of the game out of the slot, he faces the worst of Baltimore’s DBs, Jerraud Powers. Powers has a PFF grade of 62.4, and allows 0.3 fantasy points per route run.

Baltimore does have a soft spot that can be exploited, which is their 23.9% DVOA (24th) ranking for passes to the middle. When compared and contrasted with Baltimore’s pass defense on the left (-23.2%, 2nd) and the right (-18.5%, 4th), this comes into focus even more. Tight End Zach Ertz is the second best pass-catching threat on the team, but is in tough against the third best defense against TEs. The Ravens have only allowed three touchdowns to the position, and are the fourth best team in terms of yards allowed per catch by tight ends. To succeed here, the Eagles will have to run a lot of comeback or slant routes to try to take advantage of the soft middle of Baltimore.

Now that Darren Sproles has been officially ruled out for this game, ex-Charger Ryan Mathews will take the bulk of the carries. He’ll be backed up by punt returner/spot third down back Kenjon Barner, who shouldn’t pose much of a threat to Mathews’ touches. Unfortunately for Mathews it comes in the toughest matchup for a running back on the year, as the Ravens have far and away the best rushing defense in the NFL based on DVOA. The Ravens rank 9th in stuffing runs (22%), but dominate at the 2nd level with their LB corps. From a raw fantasy points perspective, the Ravens allow only 11.7FPTs to running backs per game, and have only allowed five TDs to RBs all season (including one receiving TD). Mathews does touch the ball on a large percentage of his snaps (58%), so he’ll definitely have the workload with the increase in snaps, but he’s not a threat to catch any balls which hurts his PPR ceiling immensely.

One of the things that could get Ravens fans excited this week is how atrocious the Eagles are at defending deep passes. Philadelphia is 27th in deep passing DVOA, and the biggest advantage will go to Mike Wallace against CB Nolan Carroll. Carroll grades out at just 40.20 by PFF, and should be easy pickings against Wallace’s ability to stretch the field. He’s had the most targets on the Baltimore offense this season, but Steve Smith Sr. has him beat in targets per route run, but Wallace should rack up at least six targets from Joe Flacco and could easily take a deep ball to the house. Defending the other side of the field is Leodis McKelvin who might not completely shut down Smith, but the Eagles do come third in Pass DVOA against #1 WRs on the back of McKelvin. McKelvin is thrown at a lot (21%), but only alllows 0.19FPts/Route, and grades out at 77.40 on PFF.

Joe Flacco has been a bit of an enigma at quarterback this season, completing 65.2% of his passes for 3582 yards, but throwing 87 “Bad Passes” to go along with a 17:12 TD:INT ratio. Flacco doesn’t have great success with passes over 20 yards (6.15%), but he gets plenty of time to stand in the pocket with the sixth best pass protection line, and given the matchup will absolutely take some shots in this game. As long as Good Flacco comes out and targets Wallace for large plays, he could be in for a very good day and has a DK price tag of only $5700. He doesn’t project out well in the DFSDatalytics model (projected for 15.48), but has a high ceiling. Flacco will have to look for that deep threat or get some passes with YAC to RB Kenneth Dixon in the flat to hit that ceiling.

At running back, Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon will be fighting for touches against the 12th best rush defense; although the Eagles are competent at stopping the run, they are 21st in receiving yards allowed to running backs so the 78.79% catch rate of Dixon versus the 69.7% of West could become a factor in determining touches. Last week against New England, Dixon was targeted 11 times and caught eight balls for 42 yards and a touchdown, and rushed 11 times for 39. On a full-PPR site like DraftKings, that offers tremendous value. More than anything else though, West only rushed twice in the Pats game and picked up four catches on four targets. As the season progresses it seems like Dixon is taking control of the lead back role, but just the week before the Pats game the touches were 13-10 in favour of West.

 

Plays

QB: No play.

WR: Jordan Matthews. Should continue being a target monster, and has good matchups in the slot or on the perimeter.

WR: Mike Wallace is the deep threat on this team, and could see a 4-150-2 line against Nolan Carroll. That’s an absolute ceiling (obviously), but he’s affordable and will definitely be good for cash games.

RB: No play. As a deep, deep GPP play Ryan Mathews could garner consideration based on expected volume, but his matchup couldn’t be tougher. It’s anyone’s guess as to who will have an impact from the Baltimore run game, but Kenneth Dixon would be the play if going that route due to his catching production.

TE: Zach Ertz could get some play, but coming off a monster 114-yard week, he’ll be higher owned and against a tough defense vs. TE he’s not recommended.

Good luck this week!

Adam Daly-Frey

Adam is the Director of Content and Lead PGA Analyst for DFSDatalytics, as well as an NHL & NFL Analyst. Adam can be reached on Twitter @adalyfrey or via email at a.dalyfrey AT gmail.com

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