What I am going to do in this article is offer a bit on incite into a couple intriguing on-the-field matchups for the coming week’s games. Will it be of relevance to you? I don’t know, and I don’t care. Anyone can say the New England passing offense is going to have a big week, or Minnesota’s pass defense can be had, or you can run on the Jets. I’m going to dig a little further and identify matchups that you may not be 100% clear what to make of and try to help you make those tough WSIS questions for the week. Let’s get the ball rolling…
Kansas City secondary vs. Green Bay passing offense
It’s been well documented that Green Bay’s had problems running the ball all year. Is it attributable to them playing strong run D’s, their OLine not creating holes, them lacking playmakers, or a little of everything? Probably a little of everything. The first defense they’ve had success running on this year happens to be the worst team in the league against the run. For now, we’ll assume the Pack will revert to their substandard ways of running the ball against KC; I could be proven wrong, but we’ve got to make some assumption to properly compare their passing attack to KC’s secondary. Moving along…
KC’s pass defense has put up some very nice numbers so far in 07.
197 yds/gm [10th]
6 TDs [T-4th]
8 INTs [T-8th]
21 sacks [6th]
My problem? Those numbers are very misleading. The Chefs have only played two teams that are in the top half in the league in passing. Those teams? Houston and Cincy. Both of which had good games through the air against the Chefs
Andre Johnson 7/142/1
Green Bay’s had success throwing the ball as we all know and the love has been spread amongst several different players. Given KC’s defensive performance against opposing pass catchers it is safe to assume that Donald Driver [Green Bay’s #1, flanker] will have the most success of the bunch this week. The opposition’s #1 WR has routinely had success against this unit
Minnesota doesn’t have a #1 WR
Northcutt 4/73/1 [even Northcutt had a big game against the Chefs]
Housh 8/145/1 Ocho 8/83
Start Driver with confidence this week, and if you’re forced to start either Jennings or James Jones you may be pleasantly surprised as well. The Chefs pass D is not all its cracked up to be.
Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore – the running games
Yes, these two teams have two of the stiffest run D’s in the league; I know I’m not supposed to start my RBs against them.
Baltimore’s run D 78 yds/gm, 3.8 ypc, 1 TD
Pitt’s run D 72 yds/gm, 2.9 ypc, 2 TDs
However, my stud RB is going against these guys this week [if you’re the FWP or McGahee owner]; always start your studs, right?
McGahee 146 carries, 639 rush yds [3rd in the league], 24 rec, 153 rec yds, 3 TDs, 4.4 ypc
FWP 164 carries, 726 rush yds [2nd in the league], 12 rec, 85 rec yds, 2 TDs, 4.4 ypc
Wrong! I am a firm believer in the ASYS theory and there are rare circumstances you bench your stud. This is one of them, in which there is a history of data showing this player struggles against this particular opponent. The last four Pittsburgh/BMore matchups and how the runners for each team fared
11/26/06 @ BMore [27-0 BMore] FWP 10/22, 2/15 J Lew 17/66/1, 1/4
12/24/06 @ PIT [31-7 BMore] FWP 13/29, J Lew 16/77/1, 2/21
10/31/05 @ PIT [20-19 PIT] FWP 14/63, 2/18 J Lew 17/61, 1/0
11/20/05 @ BMore [16-13 BMore] FWP 18/59, 2/22/1 J Lew/Chester 32/87, 4/26
Avg PITT performance 13.75/43.25, 1.5/13.75/.25 → 8 nonPPR fantasy pts
Avg BMore performance 20.5/72.75/.5, 1.75/12.75 → 10.5 nonPPR fantasy pts [small deduction taken due to committee situation in 11/20/05 game]
These are not the types of performances you want to be relying on this week. The Turkeys have had a little more success historically against the Squeelers, but the OLine just isn’t the same anymore; I wouldn’t even be expecting the BMore running attack to match the four game average of 10.5 pts. This just isn’t the week to start either of these guys. Unless bye weeks and injuries have left you zero alternative options you need to bench these guys this week. The only RBs I would start them over would be any of the Tampa Bay RBs or any of the Carolina RBs. Take a look over the schedule and note some of the players I’m pubbing over these two guys; they’re not worth it. Take a risk on a guy like Norwood, Rudi Johnson, or Ryan Grant before plugging either of these studs in; I’d rather gamble on them than settle for 50 yds from my stud and a small chance of hitting pay dirt, hopefully the risk will be worth the reward.