Connecting the Dots will focus on one key statistical area each week. After an electrifying Week 12, we use the Buy Low Machine to identify players who are set to outperform their matchups during the fantasy playoffs.
This is the time of the year in which season-long fantasy football players find themselves in one of three camps. Either you have sealed a playoff berth, you are fighting for one, or you have been eliminated. If you are reading this article then it’s likely you are in one of the first two camps. One important element in your quest to be crowned champion is deciding who should be in your starting lineup. The Buy Low Machine can help with that.
The thought of starting Case Keenum in any format during the playoffs may make you nauseous. He has had an inefficient season averaging 255 passing yards per game with a touchdown to interception ratio of 13-10. Keenum only has three games this season with 300 or more passing yards. He also has three with less than 200. That said, he has not thrown an interception in three consecutive games. Keenum’s upcoming matchups place him on the QB2 radar.
Ben Roethlisberger and Deshaun Watson are obvious starts, but their upcoming schedules show just how high their ceilings are for the rest of the fantasy season.
The Bears investment in Chase Daniels in the offseason was a key factor in the team’s victory over the Lions. He completed 27 of 37 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns in his first start since 2014. It would be prudent for the Bears coaching staff to provide Mitchell Trubisky another week to heal. This would allow him to be closer to 100 percent for the team’s primetime matchup against the Rams on Sunday Night Football.
It remains to be seen if Josh Allen can thrive in the NFL as a dual-threat player. He completed eight of 19 passes for 160 yards and one passing touchdown against the Jaguars, while rushing for 99 yards and a touchdown. Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s play calling allowed Allen to thrive. This performance and the Bills upcoming schedules places him on the QB2 radar for the rest of the season.
Did you know that Cam Newton has thrown two or more touchdowns in every game since Week 1? He is averaging 23 fantasy points per game and has the potential to lead players to a fantasy title with matchups against the Browns, Saints, and Falcons.
Dak Prescott had his best game of the season on Thanksgiving against Washington. The addition of Amari Cooper has had a positive impact on his fantasy production.
The presence of Cooper has allowed the Cowboys offense to open up more. Prescott has more places to go with the football and Ezekiel Elliott has more space to operate. With matchups against the Eagles, Colts, and Buccaneers he is on the QB1 radar during the fantasy playoffs.
Phillip Lindsay has accumulated 100 or more total yards in three of his last four games. The undrafted rookie running back has more rushing yards entering Week 13 than Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, and David Johnson despite only averaging 12.2 rushing attempts per game. Lindsay has only played 44.3 percent of the Broncos offensive snaps, but has touched the football or been targeted on 52 percent of them.
Sony Michel has averaged 16 rushing attempts per game this season. Christian McCaffrey and Joe Mixon continue to see a high number of rushing attempts and targets per game.
Jordan Howard has played 60 percent of the offensive snaps this season while Tarik Cohen has played 46 percent. Cohen has produced more PPR fantasy points out of the two and is my preferred target during the fantasy playoffs. The Rams score the third most points per game with 35.4 while the Packers rank 16th at 24. The Bears are not likely to be heavy favorites in these two games, but there is a good chance the Vegas projected point total will be high even with the team’s stout defense. The over has hit in six of the Bears last eight games with an average combined score of 51.2 points.
Gus Edwards has taken over the Ravens backfield over the last two weeks. He racked up 233 rushing yards on 40 rushing attempts over the last two games. Edwards has had two consecutive games with 100 or more rushing yards. Did you know he has become the first Ravens running back to do this since Justin Forsett back in 2015? Edwards is shaping up to be a league winner with Lamar Jackson under center and plus matchups during the fantasy playoffs.
The upcoming schedules for David Johnson and Dalvin Cook place them in an excellent position to close out the season considering the number of opportunities per game they’ve been allotted by their respective teams.
Melvin Gordon has finished as a top-24 RB in every single game he has played in this season. He is week-to-week with a sprained MCL, which opens the door for Austin Ekeler to be a difference maker to close out this fantasy season. Gordon has averaged 21.3 opportunities (rushing attempts plus targets) per game this season. Ekeler will inherit a high percentage of those opportunities in the Chargers backfield.
Amari Cooper has accumulated at least 75 receiving yards or a touchdown in three out of four games with the Cowboys while averaging eight targets per game. All of his games during the fantasy playoffs are indoors.
DeAndre Hopkins will continue to see a high number of targets and air yards per game, but it is promising to see Demaryius Thomas‘ become more involved. His snaps, routes run, and targets have increased in consecutive games along with Thomas’ usage in the slot according to Pro Football Focus.
The Bears upcoming schedule looks promising for its wide receivers, but my big concern revolves around the team’s number of passing attempts. Allen Robinson is only averaging 6.9 targets per game in the nine he’s played in.
Odell Beckham will have an opportunity to close out the season strong. He is averaging 10.4 targets and 92.4 receiving yards per game. Success or failure for Beckham comes down to the play of QB Eli Manning.
Alshon Jeffery is averaging 7.5 targets per game this season, but it is worth noting that he has seen a decrease in targets since the Eagles acquired Golden Tate. This will impact his output the rest of the season despite having the favorable schedule.
Antonio Brown (123) and Juju Smith-Schuster (110) continue to dominate the Steelers targets. Both of them have the potential to provide you with a week-winning performance given their Week 14 to 16 matchups.
Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods have both been targeted 25 times in three games without Cooper Kupp. The only WR who has run more routes than these two players over the last four games is Kenny Golladay (179). Woods has run 178 while Cooks has run 176.
Do you agree or disagree? What was most useful to you? Please leave a comment below or better yet reach out to me via Twitter @EricNMoody.