We are on the brink of the fantasy football playoffs! If there is one thing you do not want to be next week, it is on the outside looking in. One way to try and prevent that is to exploit some matchups and find streaming options to get into your lineup this week. That is where exploiting slot matchups can be a big help!
Tyler Boyd is a player that many are starting to worry about with Andy Dalton landing on IR and Jeff Driskel starting at QB. Add in the fact that A.J. Green is nearing a return and those who have Boyd are worried that the fun is over. I do not think that it is. Yes, losing Dalton hurts, but I expect the Bengals will ask Driskel to make a lot of short, safe throws. In his limited time this season Uzomah and Boyd are two of his top targets. Green will also take away some defense coverage. You can trust Boyd as a WR2 this week against a Broncos team that has allowed 18.30 PPR PPG to slot wide receivers since Week 8, the third most in the NFL. They have allowed an average of 80.3 receiving yards per game in that span, also the third most.
Golden Tate has taken over as the lead slot receiver for the Eagles, averaging 20 slot routes per game over the past two weeks. During that span he has seen 14 targets, catching seven of them for 51 yards. He gets a matchup boost against the Redskins this week, who have allowed 94.5 receiving yards per game to slot wideouts, the second most in that span. They've also allowed 18.9 PPR PPG, which ranks fourth in that span. It has been hard to trust Tate since making the move to Philly, but if there was ever a week to trust him I would say this one.
The absence of Tate has created an opening in Detroit and over the last couple of weeks, Bruce Ellington has stepped in, running 13.5 slot routes per game. He's seen 5.5 targets per game in that span and leads all Lions with 59 yards out of the slot. Those are not eye popping numbers, but the matchup is the reason he is one of my favorite streaming receivers this week. Since Week 9, the Rams have allowed a league-leading 29.93 PPR PPG, 126 yards per game and five touchdowns to slot receivers. In a game where the Lions will be chasing points, Ellington should be in a great position to rack up catches against the Rams weak defense.
Oh, the Lions themselves have struggled against slot receivers, allowing the fourth most PPR PPG (17.2) and the second-most TD (4) to slot receivers. Robert Woods has taken over as the Rams lead slot receiver, but Josh Reynolds ran 22 routes from the slot in Week 11. Reynolds is a solid WR3 this week.
Corey Davis is not a slot receiver by any stretch, but he has averaged nearly 11 routes per game from the slot since Week 9. That is second most among Titans WRs, but he does lead them with 12 targets, 9 catches, 132 yards and a touchdown in that span. That's great for him, because he faces a Jets team that has struggled mightily against slot receivers all year. Over the past month, the Jets have allowed 19.67 PPR PPG to slot receivers, the second most in the NFL. Davis is a WR2 this week that should find a home in your lineup.
The 49ers have allowed four TDs to slot receivers since Week 8, the second most in the NFL in that span. That bodes well for both Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. Baldwin has averaged 22 routes per game from the slot over the past month, while Lockett has seen 12 in that span. Both have caught a touchdown from the slot in that span. Add in that Baldwin has eight end zone targets this season while Lockett has scored in eight of 11 games and you can see why you should get excited for this matchup this week.
Who to pick on the Bucs with this week?
The Bucs have allowed the most PPR PPG (22.15) and touchdowns (11) to slot receivers this season. Luckily for them, they are playing a team in the Panthers without a true slot receiver. In Week 9 when these teams matched up, Devin Funchess did the most damage of slot receivers. However, Greg Olsen was the big winner of the matchup and caught a touchdown.
Trey Quinn has taken over as the Redskins top slot option, running a team-high 24 routes per game from the interior since Week 10. He has been productive in his new role, averaging just under 10 PPR PPG in that span. Given how banged up the Eagles secondary is and how much they have struggled against receivers in general the past couple weeks, Quinn becomes a deeper league option this week.