Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! And hope you all played Antonio Brown, Jamison Crowder and DeSean Jackson! Some interesting matchups for week 12…
Matchup Of The Week
Julio Jones v Patrick Peterson
I honestly don’t even know if I should call this a good or bad matchup. On the plus side Julio owned Peterson when they last squared off in 2014 torching Peterson for a 10-189-1 line. On the negative side Peterson was dealing with diabetes at the time (unknown to him) and was playing at 25 pounds heavier. Peterson is much better now (graded at 67.4 in 2014 compared to 84.4 in 2016) so you would think he would do a better job this time around. Regardless we should all grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show.
Odell Beckham Jr v Joe Haden
Make no mistake, Haden is a great corner, but he’s dealing with a myriad of injuries that has really hurt his play this year. He’s currently ranked 79th by PFF and is the 4th worst ranked corner over the last 4 weeks. OBJ should have no problem getting open in this game. If Eli can hit him in stride on those quick slants he could turn some short passes into big gains.
Brandin Cooks v LA Corners
Cooks moves all over the field so he will probably see all of the Rams corners at some point but that shouldn’t matter. Cooks is a burner who feasts on slower cornerbacks. Check out this stat courtesy of Scott Barrett of PFF: Against corners with sub 4.45 speed Cooks averages 1.41 points per target. Against all slower corners he averages 2.37 points per target. The Rams corners? Trumaine Johnson: 4.61, E.J. Gaines: 4.51, Lamarcus Joyner: 4.55. Don’t be surprised if Cooks hauls in a deep TD this week.
Tyler Boyd v Jerraud Powers
Boyd plays 91% of his snaps from the slot and that will match him up with Powers for most of the game. Powers is PFF’s 77th ranked cornerback and plays 97% of snaps as the slot corner. Last week he allowed a 5-59-1 line to Cole Beasly. Boyd should see plenty of snaps and targets in this one with no A.J. Green and should be able to get plenty of separation against Powers.
Doug Baldwin v Vernon Hargraves III/Alterraun Verner
There is still no definite word on who will take over the slot corner role for the Bucs now that Jude Adjei-Barimah has been suspended 4 games. Head coach Dirk Koetter has been coy about who will play that role but it shouldn’t matter. Hargraves is ranked 112th by PFF and Verner has only seen action in 5 games this year. Verner is probably the better cover corner of the two so hearing that Hargraves will play the slot would be an even bigger boost for Baldwin this week. Still, the Bucs present a great matchup regardless of who is covering him.
Demarius Thomas v Phillip Gaines
Kansas City does not move Marcus Peters from left cornerback which means Phillip Gaines stays at right cornerback. Thomas and Emmanuel sanders will both get chances against Gaines but Thomas plays more snaps against right corners than Sanders so he’ll have more chances. Gaines is ranked 117th by PFF and has been torched numerous times this season by top wide receivers. Thomas has been a disappointment for owners but should be in line for a nice week 12.
Amari Cooper v Daryl Worley
You think Carolina misses Josh Norman? Daryl Worley will spend the majority of this game lined up against Cooper, and that is good news for Cooper. Ranked 75th by PFF, Worley will have a tough time keeping up with Cooper who has really picked it up of late. With at least 100 yards and/or a touchdown in 4 of his last 6 Cooper is a good bet to make it 5 of his last 7.
Julian Edelman v Buster Skrine
Playing primarily out of the slot Edelman will have a huge matchup advantage against Skrine. Ranked 86th by PFF Skrine is the worst cover corner on an already terrible Jets secondary. Even when Edelman moves to the outside Revis and Roberts pose little threat. Edelman and Brady really seem to be clicking lately so expect that to continue in week 12 even if Gronk plays.
Jordan Matthews v Micah Hyde
Slot corner Micah Hyde is ranked 82nd by PFF and will be lined up againt Jordan Matthews in week 12. Matthews plays 73% of his snaps out of the slot and has seen at least 10 targets in his last 3 games. Slot receivers have torched the Packers, most recently by Jamison Crowder who went 3-102-1 against Hyde on only 3 targets. With Matthews expected to get way more looks he makes for an easy start in week 12.
Terelle Pryor v Janoris Jenkins/Eli Apple
Pryor has lined up on the outside 87% of the time this year and that means he’ll spend the game against Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple.. Both have been great during the Giants current win streak and have only given up 1 combined TD over the last 5 games. With an improved pass rush as well expect the Giants to make things tough on Pryor.
DeAndre Hopkins v Casey Hayward
Hopkins struggles in 2016 have been well documented and it won’t get any easier in week 12. Hayward is PFF’s 12th ranked cornerback and will likely spend most of the game on Hopkins. So far on the season Hayward has 5 interceptions and has only allowed 1 touchdown. Even against weaker corners Hopkins has struggled this year so there is no reason to think that will turn around this week in a tough matchup.
Tyrell Williams v A.J. Bouye/Johnathan Joseph
A.J. Bouye has been an absolute beast this year. Graded as PFF’s number 2 cornerback he has shut down pretty much everyone he’s faced. In fact Houston’s defense has only allowed 5 wide receivers to top 70 yards all season. He’s been practicing this week and should be ready to go for Sunday. Luckily for Williams the Chargers move him around the formation but Johnathan Joseph is no slouch on the other side either. It’s hard to envision Williams having much success this week.
Mike Evans v Richard Sherman
Even in a “down” year Sherman is still PFF’s 33rd ranked cornerback. Sherman won’t shadow Evans on every snap, but he should line up against him plenty in this one. Still you can’t sit Evans as he did well against Peterson (6-70-1) earlier this year and gets so much volume he can have a successful fantasy day even if Sherman wins the battle.
Tyreek Hill v Denver Corners
Hill lines up all over the field so he is likely to see all of Denvers corners. With the return of Aqib Talib (PFF’s top ranked corner) to go along with Chris Harris Jr (PFF’s 3rd ranked corner) the sledding will be tough for Hill wherever he lines up. Defensive end Derek Wolfe is also returning so expect Alex Smith to be under immense pressure in this game. It’s unlikely Hill is even startable this week in any format.
Michael Crabtree v James Bradberry
Bradberry has been a lone bright spot for Carolina’s secondary. Ranked 24th by PFF he should spend most of the time on Crabtree. Crabs will get some snaps against Daryl Worley (ranked 75th) but will likely see most of his snaps lines up against Bradberry. Crabtree is coming off a terrible performance in Mexico City so the Raiders may just try to force feed him the ball but the matchup makes him nothing more than a WR3 this week.
Kelvin Benjamin v Sean Smith/David Amerson
Ranked 13th and 14th respectively by PFF, Sean Smith and David Amerson will present a real problem for Kelvin Benjamin. Oakland’s defense is vulnerable to the run and to tight ends, so we could see a lot of Stewart and Olsen in this one. Since week 2 Benjamin has only seen double digit targets twice, has not broken 90 yards and has only scored 1 touchdown. Don’t expect that to change against the Oakland secondary.
Update: David Amerson looks unlikely to play with a knee injury. This will help Benjamin as he would have seen Anderson on about 30% of snaps.
Brandon Marshall v Malcom Butler
Butler is PFF’s 4th ranked cornerback and should spend most of the game on Marshall. In week 7 he shadowed Antonio Brown on 36 of his 40 snaps. Brown went for a 7-105-0 line that week but Butler is still one of the game’s elite corners. Marshall is a great wide receiver but he represents a big step down from Antonio Brown and the Steelers passing game this year. If Butler spends all game on Marshall he could be in for another quiet week.
Disagree with the matchups? A player I missed? Let me know in the comments below.