Going Deep: Week 4 Passing Matchups Preview, Part 1
Image Credit: Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Tyler Boyd.

Welcome to Going Deep! This weekly article will make use of charting data, advanced metrics, and other RotoViz tools — specifically the newly released Passing Game Matchup Rater — to help readers better understand the challenges facing wide receivers and tight ends in the coming week. As my process makes heavy use of the Matchup Rater, I’d highly recommend that you set aside half an hour to watch the tutorial/walkthrough and take a spin through the tool.

Week 4 Matchups

Lions at Packers

The Lions and Packers will meet in Green Bay on Thursday night in a matchup that favors Detroit’s WRs. The Packers are allowing opposing WRs to score 98% of their points per game (PPG) averages from the last six regular season weeks. In contrast, the Lions are allowing just 87% of PPG to be scored.

Christian Watson is expected to return to action for the Packers, which will shake things up in Green Bay’s offense. Watson, like Romeo Doubs, figures to draw even coverage from Detroit’s corners.

In 2022, the Lions’ defense struggled to slow Watson down in Week 18, allowing him to produce 2.6 points per target while accruing 104 yards on five receptions. That said, it’s important to note that two of these targets came against Amani Oruwariye who is no longer with the Lions. The Packers did scheme Watson into three zone coverages where there wasn’t a direct defender on the target.

Doubs was a lot quieter in his games with Detroit last season, but fantasy managers shouldn’t hold that against him in 2023. Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks produce higher matchup ratings than Doubs as they operate out of the slot at a higher rate.

The Lions are average against WRs lined up in the slot to score nearly double the points allowed to those lined up out wide and have been a favorable opponent for TEs.

2023 Green Bay Alignment Overview

Player Plays LWR LS LTE RTE RS RWR PPG
Luke Musgrave 94 3 27 16 28 17 3 7.8
Romeo Doubs 81 28 17 0 0 15 21 14
Jayden Reed 71 6 32 0 4 19 10 12.6
Dontayvion Wicks 69 13 17 0 1 24 14 6.8
Samori Toure 39 9 14 1 2 7 6 1.8
Malik Heath 20 4 8 1 0 2 5 0
Josiah Deguara 15 0 1 5 8 0 1 0.8
Tucker Kraft 9 0 1 3 4 1 0 0
Patrick Taylor 8 1 1 1 0 1 4 0
Rasheed Walker 5 0 0 2 3 0 0 0
A.J. Dillon 4 0 1 0 0 1 2 0
Aaron Jones 4 0 1 0 0 1 2 0

Despite the lower than average ratings for Green Bay’s receivers, Watson and Doubs aren’t precluded from being included in lineups based on the matchup.

In Green Bay’s last five games, the top-scoring WRs facing the defense recorded 18.0 or more points three times which bodes well for Amon-Ra St. Brown who will spend much of the game facing Keisean Nixon. Nixon is allowing 4.4 PPG on 2023 direct targets. This is a strong rate but doesn’t mean that Green Bay will be able to slow down St. Brown

Top Scoring Opposing WRs from Green Bay’s Last Five Games

Player Team Tgt Rec RecYd RecTD YPR PPR
KJ Osborn MIN 7 7 59 1 8.4 18.9
Amon-Ra St Brown DET 9 6 49 0 8.2 10.9
Darnell Mooney CHI 7 4 53 1 13.2 15.3
Drake London ATL 7 6 67 1 11.2 18.7
Chris Olave NO 11 8 104 0 13 18.4
Average 8.2 6.2 66.4 0.6 10.7 16.44

Behind St. Brown, who has one of the highest ratings of the week, Kalif Raymond and Josh Reynolds draw favorable ratings and could be options for teams in dire straits.

Player GMs Tgt Rec Yards TD Tgt Shr AirYards AY%
Amon-Ra St Brown 3 28 21 275 1 29% 245 31%
Sam LaPorta 3 22 18 186 1 23% 139 17%
Josh Reynolds 3 13 9 146 2 14% 152 19%
Jahmyr Gibbs 3 12 10 59 0 12% 17 2%
Kalif Raymond 3 10 7 121 1 10% 166 21%
Marvin Jones Jr 3 6 2 8 0 6% 50 6%
Brock Wright 3 2 2 17 0 2% 6 1%
Antoine Green 2 1 1 2 0 2% 1 0%
Craig Reynolds 2 1 1 -2 0 2% -2 0%
David Montgomery 2 1 1 7 0 2% 5 1%

Green Bay has been difficult for opposing TEs, allowing just 78% of PPG to be scored but it’s hard to deny Sam LaPorta’s volume which could allow him to produce despite a difficult matchup.

Falcons at Jaguars (Game Will Be Played in London)

The Jaguars have been one of the most challenging matchups for WRs, allowing just 87% of PPG to be scored. Unsurprisingly, Atlanta’s pass catchers score poorly in this week’s matchup ratings.

Drake London will spend much of the game facing a mixture of coverage from Tyson Campbell, Tre Herndon, and Darious Williams. On direct targets, the trio is allowing just 12.5 PPG.

This might be concerning for managers hoping to see London rebound, but it’s worth noting the success that C.J. Stroud and the Texans saw in Week 3 with Tank Dell rolling up 145 yards, a score, and a WR1 week on Jacksonville. That’s not to say that London and Dell are similar players, but rather to highlight the scoring that can be achieved on the defense.

London put up a goose egg in Week 1, then rebounded with 18.7 PPR against Green Bay, followed by 5.1 against the Lions. He’s averaging 4.7 targets per game and 8.9 expected points per game. His fantasy managers are in a tough spot while trying to remain patient.

The GLSP does a good job of explaining his range of outcomes against the Jaguars. It approximates a normal distribution and shows that 52% of his matches went between 5.0 and 15.0 points. Given the matchup and the Falcons’ passing volume, he’s more likely to land left of 10.0.

The Jaguars have been an easier matchup for TEs but Kyle Pitts still produces a poor matchup rating. Pitts has out-targeted London with 5.5 targets per game, with these targets translating into 10.0 expected points (EP) per game. However, Pitts has been inefficient in converting expected points into actual points and despite two spike weeks, has recorded just two TE1 performances since the start of last season.

If you have other options in redraft lineups, it likely makes sense to turn away from Pitts. In DFS, there are options with stronger combinations of floor and ceiling.

The Jaguars’ WRs have been frustrating, with Calvin Ridley and Christian Kirk yet to have a mutually solid week. Neither WR, nor Zay Jones, draws a favorable matchup rating with all three scoring in the 40s. St. Brown scored 19.5 PPR against Atlanta’s defense last week on 12 targets. Through three games, Calvin Ridley leads the team in EP with 15.1. Jones edges out Kirk by 0.1 EP with 12.6.

Kirk spends the most time in the slot and will face the stingy Dee Alford. Since Week 15 of 2022, Alford has held WRs lined up in the slot to less than 1.0 PPT versus a league average of 1.6.

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Dave Caban

Senior Fantasy Analyst, app developer, hosts the RotoViz Radio Flagship, auction draft enthusiast.

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