Thursday - Apr 25, 2019

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Wild Card Weekend

Wednesday’s Practice Notes:

Did Not Practice/Limited: WAS: James Thrash (ankle) – He was in a walking boot. SEA: Deion Branch (calf) – He is suffering from a calf injury and appeared to have problems with his lower back and hip during practice, but Coach Mike Holmgren said he will play. PIT: Willie Reid (shoulder) – Uncertain to play. PIT: Hines Ward (knee) – He is considered probable. NYG: Plaxico Burress (ankle) – Did some work, but took very few snaps. He is expected to play. NYG: Sinorice Moss (back) – Participated in practice. TEN: Roydell Williams (broken ankle) – will miss the postseason.

Matchups:

Washington @ Seattle:  Over the last 5 weeks of the regular season, Washington ranks as the 7th best fantasy group against the receiver position, on a per game basis. During this span they have allowed 680 yards to the receivers or 136.00 yards per game on average. They have only allowed 1 out of 3 passing touchdowns to go to the receivers. Washington has allowed 0.20 touchdowns per game on an average of 2% of converted receptions or every 58.00 receptions on average to the receivers. They rank as the 14th best fantasy group against the quarterback position and the best fantasy group against the running back position, during the last 5 weeks of the regular season. —– Over the last 5 weeks of the regular season, Seattle ranks as the 9th worst fantasy group against the receiver position, on a per game basis. During this span they have allowed 787 yards to the receivers or 157.40 yards per game on average. They have allowed 7 out of 9 passing touchdowns to go to the receivers. It is worth noting that 3 touchdowns came in week 14 and 4 touchdowns came in week 17 and that they have only allowed 15 total passing touchdowns all season, best in the league. They rank as the 11th worst fantasy group against the quarterback position and the 16th worst fantasy group against the running back position, during the last 5 weeks of the season.

Washington has won the last 4 regular season meetings, once in Seattle, but they lost in the playoffs in 2005 at Seattle. Washington comes into this game on a 4 game winning streak, riding alot of momentum and emotion with the teams loss of Sean Taylor. The defense is hitting their stride and the coaching staff has been designing game plans to attack opponents weaknesses, meaning they will likely rely on the ground game more than the passing game because Seattle’s pass defense is their strength and that could minimize the passing game for Washington. Seattle will have homefield advantage, they are a pass first team and 3 if not all 4 of their starting wideouts should be good to go. That depth could prove to be too much against a Washington secondary that has been playing above their heads lately. Washington is tough against the run and Seattle will likely have to try and win this game through the air.

Jacksonville @ Pittsburgh: Over the last 5 weeks of the regular season, Jacksonville ranks as the 6th best fantasy group against the receiver position on a per game basis. During this span they have allowed 539 yards to the receivers or 107.80 yards per game on average. They have allowed 3 out of 9 passing touchdowns to go to the receivers. Jacksonville has allowed 0.60 touchdowns per game on an average of 7% of converted receptions or every 14.66 receptions on average to the receivers. They are ranked as the 7th best fantasy group against the quarterback position and the 7th best fantasy group against the running back position, during the last 5 weeks of the season. —– Over the last 5 weeks of the regular season, Pittsburgh ranks as the 2nd worst fantasy group against the receiver position on a per game basis. During this span they have allowed 967 yards to the receivers or 193.40 yards per game on average. They have allowed 10 out of 11 passing touchdowns to go to the receivers. Pittsburgh has allowed 2.00 touchdowns per game on an average of 14% of converted receptions or every 7.10 receptions on average to the receivers. They are ranked as the 8th worst fantasy group against the quarterback position and the 8th best against the running back position, during the last 5 weeks of the season.

Jacksonville comes into this game winning their last six out of eight and that includes a meaningless loss to Houston in week 17. They have beaten Pittsburgh in the last 3 regular season meetings. David Garrard has silently been playing as good as any other quarterback. He finished with the third highest QB rating(102.2), behind Tom Brady(117.2) and Big Ben(104.1). Jacksonville has a spread it around philosophy though, canceling out the receivers on Jacksonville. Reggie Williams seems to be the only big play threat, but his play is sometimes all or nothing. Jacksonville’s secondary has played their best ball in the last 4 games, only surrendering 99, 106, 105, and 120 net passing yards. They have given up more thru the air this year overall, than they usually do. The split end is usually the beneficiary, meaning Santonio Holmes could have a good day. Pittsburgh will have alot to overcome in this game. They will be without, Willie Parker, 2 of their starting offensive linemen, their secondary is hobbled by injuries, including one of their best tacklers in Troy Polamalu, and they are without their top run stuffer DE Aaron Smith. It is no coincidence that when he went down the defense declined. Jacksonville could lean more on the run and Pittsburgh may have to rely on the pass.

N.Y. Giants @ Tampa Bay: Over the last 5 weeks of the regular season, New York ranks as the 11th best fantasy group against the receiver position on a per game basis. During this span they have allowed 676 yards to the receivers or 135.20 yards per game on average. They have allowed 3 out of 6 passing touchdowns to go to the receivers. New York has allowed 0.60 touchdowns per game on an average of 6% of converted receptions or every 16.66 receptions on average to the receivers. They are ranked as the 10th best fantasy group against the quarterback position and the 8th worst fantasy group against the running back position over the last 5 weeks of the season. —– Over the last 5 weeks of the regular season, Tampa Bay ranks as the 3rd best fantasy group against the receiver position on a per game basis. They have allowed 410 yards to the receivers or 82.00 yards per game on average. They have allowed 5 out of 10 passing touchdowns to go to the receivers. Tampa Bay has allowed 1.00 touchdowns per game on an average of 15% of converted receptions or every 6.80 receptions on average to the receivers. They are ranked as the 6th best fantasy group against the quarterback position and the 16th best against the running back position over the last 5 weeks of the season. 

New York comes into this game after leaving it all out on the field in a playoff type atmosphere, and a tough loss to New England. They lost some key guys to injury during that game, including CB Sam Madison, who has missed practice all week and may not play. They also lost LB Kawika Mitchell and C Shaun O’ Hara and they all may or may not play, but if they do play, they will not be 100%. New York will try to test the front seven of Tampa Bay with Brandon Jacobs, but sooner or later Eli will have to throw the ball. Plaxico Burress will be targeted, but the question is how much? He’ll be going up against one of the leagues best cover corners in Ronde Barber. Eli has averaged 1.25 interceptions per game this year. Which Eli will show up, the one who dominated the first half against the Patriots or the one who turned the ball over in the second half. If he throws 2 interceptions or more, it could be too much to overcome. Tampa Bay has rested Garcia, Galloway and Hilliard the last 2 weeks. They should be fresh, but might be a little rusty out of the gate. Earnest Graham will get his touches in the running game, but the key matchup will likely be Tampa Bay’s passing game trying to exploit New York’s hobbled secondary. Garcia knows how to beat New York and has done it twice in the playoffs on different teams. He has a knack for exploiting the uncovered receiver on corner blitzes and his scrambling ability will buy time in the passing game to allow success.

Tennessee @ San Diego: Over the last 5 weeks of the regular season, Tennessee ranks as the 15th worst fantasy group against the receiver position on a per game basis. They have allowed 743 yards to the receivers or 148.60 yards per game on average. They have allowed 4 out of 7 passing touchdowns to go to the receivers. Tennessee has allowed 0.80 touchdowns per game on an average of 6% of converted receptions or every 17.25 receptions on average to the receivers. They are ranked as the 13th best fantasy group against the quarterback position and the 3rd best fantasy group against the running back position over the last 5 weeks of the season. —– Over the last 5 weeks of the regular season, San Diego ranks as the 4th best fantasy group against the receiver position on a per game basis. They have allowed 532 yards to the receivers or 106.40 yards per game on average. They have allowed 3 out of 4 passing touchdowns to go to the receivers. San Diego has allowed 0.60 touchdowns per game on an average of 7% of converted receptions or every 15.00 receptions on average to the receivers. They are ranked as the 5th best fantasy group against the quarterback position and the 4th best fantasy group against the runningback position over the last 5 weeks of the season.

Tennessee limps into this matchup and they have alot of injuries that will likely be too much for them to overcome. Vince Young is nicked up with a quad injury. Their best receiver in Roydell Williams is lost for the postseason with a broken ankle. Their third best pass catcher, TE Bo Scaife is out with a lacerated liver and the biggest concern lies with DT Albert Haynesworth’s sore hamstring. With Haynesworth in the lineup they had a league best 66.00 rushing yards allowed, when he missed three games they had a league worst 149.80 rushing yards allowed. It was no fluke that San Diego rallied late in their previous matchup, once Haynesworth tired and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch was contained in the fourth quarter by LT Marcus McNeil. They are a little under the radar because of the hype surrounding New England and Indianapolis, but San Diego is going into this game firing on all cylinders. They are on a six game win streak and their defense led the league with 30 interceptions while only allowing 17.8 points per game this season. They held a healthy Vince Young to 121 passing yards in the previous matchup at Tennessee, when Young had Williams and Scaife. San Diego should come out and set the tone for this game immediately and not look back.

Favorable Passing Matchups: Seattle, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay

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