Happy Week 14!
We've reached the playoffs. Congrats if you made it and if not, let's play "Perfect Challenge!" We do fun in this article. In the spirit of the (fantasy) playoffs, I'm going to change this up a little. I'm going to give five stats still, but each point will be about the fantasy positions (QB, WR, RB, TE and DEF) with an extra ceiling pick or two at the end. Let's give it a try, let me know how you feel about it.
So the "rules" for this article:
- Not super obvious.
- As exclusive as possible to this article.
- You give me feedback and we evolve it together. Twitter (@cfrelund) is the best for this. Unless you are creepy, then just stick to rules 1 and 2.
Got all that? Let's go!!!
1. 80.1 percent
Golden Tate leads the league in catch rate out of the slot with an 80.1 percent catch rate. Even with the hand injury, as long as Stafford is playing, the matchup for Tate (against Tampa Bay's Robert McClain) makes him an excellent median and exceptional upside pick. Another slot note ... the Seahawks have earned the most receiver yards out of the slot (967) this season, but face the Jaguars defense who have given up the fewest yards to slot receivers (388) and the sixth-lowest passer rating (76), so factor that into your Seattle picks.
That's Alex Smith's passer rating on 21-plus air yard attempts this season (NFL-best) and he faces an Oakland secondary that allows opposing passers a rating of 131 (NFL-worst). To me, Tyreek Hill becomes an even better pick based on what's been going on for the Chiefs on first down. They have the most yards per play (6.8, League average is 5.3) but not due to rushes anymore. In Weeks 1-5, they led the league with 113 rushing yards per game on first down, and from Weeks 6-13 that number has decreased to 34 (31st) but the total yard average hasn't declined proportionally. So passes are making up for the decline in rushing (a.k.a., play Smith).
That's where the Kansas City Chiefs rank against rushes of 10-plus yards, as in they have allowed the most this season. Further, they rank 31st in allowing rushes of 4-plus yards overall and 29th in red zone defense. In other words, Marshawn Lynch has a favorable matchup. So do the pass catchers, especially since cornerback Marcus Peters will not be on the field but don't think only pass against the Chiefs just because Peters is out.
That's Colts tight end Jack Doyle's receptions per game average for the season, good for first among qualified tight ends. He also averages almost five yards after the catch. I think the most frequent question I have gotten so far this week has been about tight ends. I am not as high on Stephen Anderson (unfavorable matchup against Reuben Foster) and Ricky Seals-Jones (also a tough matchup against Wesley Woodyard) as others, though I do agree they are good volume choices.
The Jags have four different defenders with at least six sacks. Calais Campbell (12.5), Yannick Ngakoue (10), Dante Fowler (6.5), and Malik Jackson (6) and lead the league in sacks with 45. I pretty much just liked that stat because you're totally playing them if you have them, but leaky offensive lines and good pressure stats drive all of these: Bengals (Geno Atkins vs Bears' Tom Compton in Kyle Long's replacement), Chargers (very banged up Redskins o-line versus two pass rushers you already know), Cowboys (Giants tackle Chad Wheeler in a bad spot against Demarcus Lawrence).