Yet, accurately determining the difficulty of a matchup and the true value of a player can be challenging if you use the same old dusty stats that every fantasy site has been using for the last decade.
That's why my weekly column 'Number Crunch' uses a proprietary system called "FantasyoMatic," which uses an algorithm to provide the actual strength of an opponent and actual player capabilities with accuracy levels that you cannot find anywhere else. This system takes all the emotion and guesswork out of winning in fantasy football, and has proven to be up to 46 percent more accurate than the metrics that everyone else in your league is using.
Sound complicated? Don't worry -- it's simple to understand. All you need to know is that the player or matchup with the higher rating is the better option. Positive numbers mean positive matchups, negative numbers mean negative matchups. That's it.
Weekly Matchup Ranges
Below are the EASIEST and TOUGHEST defensive matchups against each fantasy position. The higher the number, the better the matchup for players who are facing them.
NOTE: After Week 10, the algorithm considers the recents five weeks more heavily when calculating defense ratings than it does early-season performances. This provides useful visibility on trends and gives a more accurate measure of matchup strength in the current week than any other methodology. The ratings below reflect this "last five" recency.
Here's an easy breakdown of how each player module works. When these terms are mentioned in the text (i.e. "best") they are corresponding to these ratings and colors:
Players who could exceed expectations this week based on their ability to outplay their matchups combined with the weakness of their opponent.
Ryan Fitzpatrick's player rating is just short of his season-high after two consecutive 20-plus point fantasy performances. Fitzpatrick loves a "great" rated matchup, averaging 25 fantasy points a game in his previous three games against that level of competition. This week, Fitzpatrick faces his fourth "great" rated matchup at home against Tennessee. The Titans allow the third-most passing touchdowns per game and just gave up five last week to Blake Bortles, totaling 15 passing touchdowns allowed since Week 9. Over the last three games only the Eagles and Jaguars are more generous to fantasy quarterbacks. [Recommended Usage: LOW QB1]
Tyrod Taylor's player rating is at an all-time high after posting his two best fantasy performances in negative rated matchups over the last two weeks. Earlier in the season, Taylor performed consistently when facing positive rated matchups. This week, he faces an Eagles defense that gives up the most fantasy points to the position over the last four games. In their last three games, the Eagles allowed the second-most passing yards per game and led the NFL in passing touchdowns allowed with a whopping 4.3 per game. [Recommended Usage: LOW QB1]
Despite fears of capping Jonathan Stewart's workload going into Week 13, he still saw 24 touches to Mike Tolbert's 4. Stewart put up 15 fantasy points in that "great" rated matchup against New Orleans. This week, Stewart gets his second consecutive "great" rated matchup against the Falcons. Stewart scored in all but one of his last four games and now faces an Atlanta defense that allows the second-most rushing touchdowns per game on the season and the fourth-most over the last three games. [Recommended Usage: LOW RB1]
There are no stats for "revenge games," but LeSean McCoy would be a top start this week if there was. McCoy is averaging 14 or more fantasy points over his last five starts and takes that momentum back to Philadelphia this weekend. Over the last three weeks, no defense has allowed more rushing yards, receiving yards and touchdowns to running backs than Philadelphia. McCoy is seeing a steady 23 touches per game over his last five games and the Eagles allow 0.64 fantasy points per touch to running backs. If McCoy sees his average touch volume this week, he should easily be in line for his eighth consecutive double digit fantasy scoring effort. [Recommended Usage: RB1]
A.J. Green is on a two-game hot streak coming into Week 14, scoring 18 fantasy points against both a "great" and a "worst" rated matchup. This week, Green gets his second consecutive "great" rated matchup as the Bengals host the Steelers. The Steelers give up the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers over their last three games. Green is likely to see a lot of Steelers' cornerback William Gay this week and Gay is allowing the most double digit fantasy performances to opposing wide receivers of any cornerback in the last month. In their last meeting, Green torched Gay for one of his best fantasy games of the season. [Recommended Usage: WR2]
Fantasy owners who stashed Austin Seferian-Jenkins are certainly pleased to see him get back on the field. Yet, in Week 13 he played just 21 of 71 offensive snaps. Even with limited play, he still saw 22 percent of the Buccaneers' pass targets including one target in the end zone. Expect ASJ to see more snaps this week in the best rated matchup that a fantasy tight end can get. The Buccaneers face a Saints defense allowing 88 yards and 1.2 touchdowns per game to opposing tight ends, second-most in the league in both categories. [Recommended Usage: LOW TE1]
DET at STL: Detroit is playing good "real football" defense over their last few games, holding each of their last four opponents to under 20 points (minus an Aaron Rodgers 61-yard desperation heave). This week, Detroit benefits from a great fantasy matchup against St. Louis. The Rams score the second fewest points per game on the season averaging just 7.7 per game over their last three. The Rams' sputtering offense also turns the ball over 2.5 times a game since Week 10.
NYJ vs. TEN: The Jets defense is turning into a matchup-play over the second half of the season. This week against Tennessee, they get one of the best matchups a fantasy defense can ask for. The Titans are second in the league in giveaways with 24 and have given up 10 sacks over their last three games.
Players who could fall short of expectations this week based on the strength of their opponent.
Derek Carr is having a tough time against negative rated matchups in the second half of the season, averaging just 12 fantasy points per game against them since Week 9. This week, he gets the toughest matchup of any quarterback in a rematch against the Broncos. Denver allows just one touchdown per game over their last three games and just 0.9 passing touchdowns per game to opposing quarterbacks on the season. Carr produced one of his lowest fantasy point totals of the season back in his Week 5 matchup against Denver in Oakland. [Recommended Usage: QB2]
Philip Rivers is coming into Week 14 flirting with his lowest player rating of the season. Over two of his last three games, Rivers faced "worst" rated matchups and averaged just six fantasy points against them. This week, he gets his third "worst" rated matchup against a Chiefs defense that is giving up the third-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks over the last month. Rivers doesn't perform well when pressured and quarterbacks playing against the Chiefs should expect a lot of pressure since Kansas City leads the NFL in quarterback hurries by a wide margin. [Recommended Usage: QB2]
Fantasy waiver darling Thomas Rawls is on a tear over his last three games with an average of 22 fantasy points a game during that span. Yet, if you look closely you will see that in two of those games he faced two of the top-five easiest matchups for fantasy running backs. Rawls will face his first "worst" rated matchup of the season this week against a Ravens defense allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs over the last four games. The Ravens much maligned defense is poor against the pass, but allows the second-fewest fantasy points per touch to running backs this season. Rawls is scoring 25 percent of his fantasy points on long runs over his last four games, but the Ravens have given up the second-fewest runs of 10 yards or more on the season. [Recommended Usage: FLEX]
Although Jeremy Maclin may be "coming in hot" to the fantasy playoffs after posting two of his best fantasy performances of the season, you may want to temper your expectations for Week 14. Maclin is facing his third "worst" rated matchup of the season this week against San Diego. Maclin is only averaging three fantasy points a game against "worst" rated matchups this season, including a measly two point effort against the Chargers just three weeks ago. The Chargers allow the seventh-fewest yards and just two touchdowns to wide receivers over the last three weeks.
Delanie Walker averages 12 fantasy points a game over his last five contests, making him one of the most productive fantasy tight ends in that span. Yet, Walker only faced one negative matchup in those games and scored just five fantasy points in that outing. Walker is scoring 11 fantasy points per game this season against positive rated matchups, but just five per game against negative ones. Walker's matchup this week against the Jets is his first "worst" rated matchup of the season. The Jets are allowing just 29 yards per game to opposing tight ends and only two touchdowns to the position all season -- with zero scores allowed over their last seven games. [Recommended Usage: LOW TE1]
PIT vs. CIN: Pittsburgh experienced a recent fantasy production surge with two of their last three games totaling just shy of 20 fantasy points. Much of that production can be attributed to both of their opponents being in the top five in giveaways in the league. This week, they face a Bengals offense averaging 33 points per game over their last three games. Cincinnati gave up only one sack over the last two weeks with only four giveaways since Week 8.