Every week this article will look at the best and toughest matchups for each position in fantasy football. It also will give you five players whose fantasy value is on the rise.
Best QB Matchups
Patrick Mahomes vs. Falcons: Do I even need to explain this one? The Falcons have allowed the most fantasy PPG (23.12) and second most passing yards per game (302.9) to QBs. Oh, and he is Patrick Mahomes. You play him every week, but he may just put your team on his back and lead you to glory.
Mitchell Trubisky vs. Jaguars: The Jaguars have allowed the second-most fantasy PPG to QBs this season (22.34), including the most passing touchdowns (31). Trubisky has had some good matchups as of late and had mixed results, but he did score 19 and 25 in two of them. You can expect somewhere between 14 and 25 fantasy points this week. That is a wide outcome, I know (I mean it is Trubisky), but I like his chances of being closer to the ceiling. He's a fringe QB1.
Best RB Matchups
Leonard Fournette vs. Lions: Those of you who faced Fournette last week, I feel your pain. A week after he was a healthy scratch, I was bounced in a league thanks in part to Fournette and his two short TDs. He has a shot to play the role of league winner this week against the Lions who have allowed the most fantasy PPG (31.86) and TDs (25) to RBs this season. Fournette is a Top-15 RB that should be started due to the matchup.
David Montgomery vs. Jaguars: Montgomery had a matchup hot streak and has taken advantage. He has scored over 24 fantasy points in four straight games, the only RB to do that this season. His matchup luck carries on this week against the Jaguars who allow the third-most fantasy PPG to RBs (28.91). The Bears showed last week that if they jump out to a lead they will run the offense through Montgomery. He is a must-start RB that will win many championships. What a long way he's come.
Best WR Matchups
Tyreek Hill vs. Falcons: Look, just like Mahomes, do I need to explain this one? Hill has been on such a roll. He has 17 touchdowns this season and just two games without one. His floor is around 15 fantasy points and the ceiling is the best player in fantasy in any week. Plus, the Falcons allow 43.82 fantasy PPG to WRs, the second most in the NFL. Hill will win many of you titles this week. Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman are deeper league options in this one. Play them in that order.
Davante Adams vs. Titans: If you were able to survive last week's dud, Adams will make it up to you and get back on track this week. Adams had scored at least 18 fantasy points in eight straight games before last week; that was the third-longest streak by a WR ever. The Titans allow the third-most fantasy PPG to WRs (42.68), meaning that there is plenty of opportunity for Adams to eat. He can showcase his ceiling in this great matchup. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard are boom-or-bust options in a favorable matchup. MVS is the preferred play of the two.
Best TE Matchups
Austin Hooper vs. Jets: The Jets have allowed the most fantasy PPG (17.47), receiving yards per game (66.1) and touchdowns (13) to tight ends this season. Hooper is coming off his best fantasy day as a Brown, where he scored 15.1 fantasy points. But this is about the great matchup. Hooper is a TE1 this week against the Jets.
Tyler Eifert vs. Bears: This one may seem like too deep of an option to trust, but Eifert has been involved as of late. He has topped eight fantasy points in three of the past four games. Plus, the Bears have allowed the second-most fantasy PPG to TEs (15.98). That includes an average of 61 yards per game and 10 touchdowns. He is an option in deep formats or a DFS value.
Fastest Rising Players:
Here are the players who will be shooting up the draft boards the fastest in 2021!
- J.K. Dobbins: The Ravens have been using Dobbins as their top RB in recent weeks and he has looked good, putting up over 13 fantasy points in four straight games. There is a lot of value to being the top RB in the Ravens offense, as long as there are not three backs splitting work. The Ravens still run the ball more than anyone, rushing on 54 percent of their plays. Dobbins has the talent to run away with the gig and I expect he will come with a lot of hype next year and be an early-round pick.
- CeeDee Lamb: Lamb will (hopefully) have Dak Prescott back next season which gives him WR1 upside. With Prescott this season, Lamb averaged 17.12 fantasy PPG, compared to just 10.57 fantasy PPG without him. And remember, his time with Prescott was his first month in the NFL -- in a season without any preseason games. He has surpassed Michael Gallup in the target pecking order, has shown to be a great slot receiver and red zone target. The sky is the limit for Lamb and I expect people will catch on and he will be a Top 24 WR off the board next year.
- Brandon Aiyuk: Despite the Niners having a revolving door at the QB position, Aiyuk has shined. He has scored over 17 fantasy points in six straight games, including over 20 in the last three. He is Justin Jefferson's biggest competition for rookie WR of the year. The Niners could have Jimmy Garoppolo back or even upgrade their QB next season. And that would be an offense led by Kyle Shanahan with George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Aiyuk. That is so much fun to think of. Aiyuk is going to shoot up draft boards in 2021.
- Jalen Hurts: Hurts has made just two NFL starts so far, but he's already showcased his upside. He went for 19 fantasy points in a tough matchup against the Saints and then scored just under 38 fantasy points against the Cardinals. He has the rushing upside to join Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray as the elite dual-threat fantasy QBs and has showcased well as a passer. With QB being so deep, you need a high ceiling to justify going early, and not many bring as high of a ceiling as Hurts.
- James Robinson: There were many options I could have considered here, but I wanted to make sure Robinson gets his shine. He is the RB6 on the season and is the only RB in the NFL to have double-digit fantasy points in all 14 games this season. He also may very well be starting with Trevor Lawrence as his QB next season. He will go from undrafted in most leagues, to a very high pick. He could even push his way into the first round. Although Marcas Grant made a great point – this was almost a perfect case scenario season for Robinson, with all the competition around him missing time for different reasons. There will likely be someone brought in that could ease the workload for Robinson a bit. Still, he will go very early in drafts.
There were so many options I debated in this five, so I understand if you think someone is overlooked. Other names I was considering included Jonathan Taylor, D'Andre Swift and Cam Akers, but they all went pretty early in drafts this season. I also considered Jefferson, but he feels like a no brainer at this point. Antonio Gibson is also a key candidate for this list. I even was considering Allen Robinson, who is a free agent and maybe will get to play with a top QB for the first time in his career!
Toughest QB Matchups
Russell Wilson vs. Rams: Wilson is a tough one to trust in Week 16. First of all, his play has been on the decline as of late. Since Week 10, Wilson has averaged just 15.6 fantasy PPG, 210.8 passing yards per game and 1.5 passing touchdowns per game. He averaged 28.5 fantasy PPG, 317.5 passing yards per game and 3.5 touchdowns in the first nine weeks, for comparison sake. Also, the Rams have allowed the fewest fantasy PPG to QBs (13.23) and have 13 interceptions to just 15 passing touchdowns allowed. Lastly, the Rams held Wilson to single-digits earlier this season. Wilson is far from a must-start option this week. In fact, I would play Hurts, Mayfield and Brady all over him. I am strongly debating adding Trubisky, Drew Brees and Tua Tagovailoa to the list of QBs I'd start over Wilson.
Philip Rivers vs. Steelers: Rivers has been playing well, but this is not a week to start him. He faces the Steelers who have allowed just 14.26 fantasy PPG to QBs, including just 216.3 passing yards per game. QB is too deep of a position to start Rivers in this tough of a matchup. You can find better options off the waiver wire.
Toughest RB Matchups
Jonathan Taylor vs. Steelers: Taylor has played well as of late, scoring over 15 fantasy points in four straight, and over 19 in the last three. He has over 20 touches in three of his last four games, as well. Due to how well he has been playing and the touches he has been receiving, he is still a RB2 that you should start this week. But he has a lower ceiling than normal in this tough matchup against the Steelers who have allowed the fewest fantasy PPG to RBs this season (17.71).
Dalvin Cook vs. Saints: This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. Cook has been the best fantasy RB this season, but the Saints have allowed the second-fewest fantasy PPG to RBs (17.94). That includes the third-fewest yards per game (102.9) and touchdowns (8) to the position. You are still trusting Cook, but there is risk that he disappoints.
Toughest WR Matchups
DK Metcalf/Tyler Lockett vs. Rams: The Rams have allowed the fewest fantasy PPG to WRs (29.07) and complete the trifecta with the fewest yards allowed per game (131.1) and touchdowns (7) to WRs this season. DK Metcalf is a player that you start even in tough matchups, but know that he was held to just 4.8 fantasy points against the Rams in Week 10. He is not the same Top 5 WR this week as usual, but you still have to roll with him. Tyler Lockett has scored under 13 fantasy points in seven of his last eight games. He scored 11.6 fantasy points against the Rams in Week 10 and has six games under 10 fantasy points, including last week. His floor is too low for me to trust him in such a tough matchup. I would try to get away from him this week.
Calvin Ridley/Julio Jones/Russell Gage vs. Chiefs: I think some fantasy players sometimes think the Chiefs are a favorable matchup because teams have to throw to keep up with Mahomes and the offense. But, the Chiefs have actually allowed the second-fewest fantasy PPG to WRs. You always start Ridley. Julio is great but you know the risk with the hamstring if he's active. And Gage is a flex option due to the matchup.
Toughest TE Matchups
Dan Arnold vs. 49ers: Arnold has topped eight fantasy points in three straight, including going for 20 a couple weeks ago. But this is not the week to get cute and get him in your lineup as the Niners have allowed the second-fewest fantasy PPG to TEs (8.47)
Dawson Knox vs. Patriots: Knox has topped 11 fantasy points in two of the past three games and has scored a TD in three of the past four games. But I would not plug him in this week against the Pats who have allowed the third fewest fantasy PPG to TEs (9.07), including just one touchdown to a TE all season.
More Week 16 Matchup Stats to Know:
ATL: Allowed most fantasy PPG to QB this season (23.12)
ATL: Allowed 2nd-most pass YPG to QB this season (302.9)
ATL: Allowed 2nd-most fantasy PPG to WR this season (43.82)
ATL: Allowed 2nd-most rec YPG to WR this season (205.2)
CAR: Allowed 6th-most fantasy PPG to RB this season (25.6)
CHI: Allowed Top-10 fantasy RB in 2 of last 3 games
CHI: Allowed 2nd-most fantasy PPG to TE this season (16.0)
CHI: Allowed Top-12 fantasy TE in 7 of last 8 games
CIN: Allowed 5th-most rush YPG to RB this season (114.6)
CIN: Allowed Top-20 fantasy RB in 5 straight games
DAL: Allowed most rush YPG this season (161.8)
DAL: Allowed 31 pass TD this season (T-most in NFL)
DEN: Allowed 3rd-most fantasy PPG to QB since Wk 12 (23.7)
DEN: Allowed 19+ fantasy pts to QB in 3 straight games
DET: Allowed Top-3 fantasy QB in 3 of last 4 games
DET: Allowed most fantasy PPG to QB since Wk 12 (28.5)
DET: Allowed rec TD to TE in 2 of last 3 games
DET: Allowed 3+ rec TD in 3 of last 4 games
DET: Allowed most fantasy PPG to RB this season (31.86)
DET: Allowed 3rd-most scrimmage YPG to RB this season (161.4)
GB: Allowed 5th-most fantasy PPG to RB this season (28.19)
GB: 18 TD to RB this season (T-3rd most in NFL)
HOU: Allowed most scrimmage YPG to RB this season (180.8)
HOU: Allowed 2nd-fewest fantasy PPG to RB this season (30.3)
HOU: Allowed 3rd-most rec TD to WR this season (20)
HOU: Allowed 9th-most fantasy PPG to WR this season (39.66)
IND: Allowed Top-10 fantasy RB in 3 of last 5 games
JAX: Allowed rec TD to TE in 4 of last 5 games
JAX: Allowed Top-10 fantasy TE in 2 straight games
LV: Allowed 4th-most fantasy PPG to RB this season (28.61)
LV: Allowed 2+ pass TD in 5 straight games
LV: Allowed 36.0 PPG since Week 11 (most in NFL)
MIA: Allowed 5th-fewest rec YPG to TE this season (43.5)
MIA: Allowed 1 Top-12 TE in last 5 games
MIA: Not allowed Top-17 RB in 4 straight games
MIA: Allowed 8 rush TD this season (T-6th fewest in NFL)
MIN: Allowing 8th-most rush YPG to RB this season (104.6)
NE: Allowed 4 rush TD to QBs since Wk 11 (T-2nd most in NFL)
NYG: Allowed 18+ fantasy pts to QB in 2 straight games
NYG: Allowed 45+ rush yds to QB in 2 of last 3 games (K. Murray, R. Wilson)
NYG: Allowed Top-12 fantasy WR once in last 5 games
NYG: Allowed 4th-fewest fantasy PPG to WR since Wk 10 (27.4)
NYJ: Most fantasy PPG to QB since Wk 8 (25.59)
NYJ: Allowed Top-8 fantasy QB in 6 of last 7 games
NYJ: Allowed 6.0 rec/gm to RB this season (T-4th most in NFL)
NYJ: Allowed most fantasy PPG to TE this season (17.5)
NYJ: Allowed 1+ rec TD to TE in 5 straight games
NO: Allowed fewest fantasy PPG to TE since Wk 11 (7.9)
NO: Allowed Top-18 fantasy TE once in last 5 games
NO: Allowed 8th-fewest fantasy PPG to WR since Wk 11 (30.46)
NO: Not allowed Top-18 WR in last 5 games
PHI: Allowed Top-5 fantasy WR in 2 of last 3 games
PHI: Allowed 6 rec TD to slot WR this season (T-8th most in NFL)
PIT: Only team to not allow Top-12 fantasy QB this season
PIT: Allowed 2nd-fewest fantasy PPG to QB this season (14.3)
SEA: Allowed Top-20 fantasy RB in 8 of last 10 games
SEA: Allowed Top-12 fantasy RB in 2 of last 3 games
TB: Allowed most fantasy PPG to WR since Wk 8 (47.2)
TB: Allowed most rec YPG to WR since Wk 8 (206.7)
TB: Allowed fewest scrimmage YPG to RB this season (96.5)
TB: Allowed 8 rush TD to RB this season (T-6th fewest in NFL)
TEN: Allowed 6th-most fantasy PPG to QB this season (20.59)
TEN: Allowed 4th-most pass YPG to QB this season (283.6)
TEN: Allowed 3rd-most fantasy PPG to WR this season (42.7)
TEN: Allowed Top-15 fantasy WR in 4 straight games
WAS: Allowed Top-12 fantasy RB in 3 of last 4 games
WAS: Allowed Top-12 fantasy WR in 3 of last 4 games