O-Line Rankings and Matchups to Exploit: Week 11

Nov 17, 2021
O-Line Rankings and Matchups to Exploit: Week 11

Evaluating offensive line play regarding its effect on fantasy football output has been a stone unturned throughout our game within a game. Here at 4for4, we’re dedicated to looking at fantasy pieces from all angles, and that includes the positive and negative impact an offensive line has on that team’s fantasy assets.

Below I’m going to be digging into specific weekly matchups between offensive lines and the opposing defense's aFPA —one of the many useful tools available to us here at 4for4. Many sites publish raw fantasy points allowed by position, but 4for4 goes a step further and adjusts those numbers for a defense’s relative year-to-date schedule strength. These numbers will continue to strengthen through more data points as the season progresses and when compared to a team’s advantages within the trenches will expose fantasy pieces we may not have otherwise considered.

Let’s begin by diving into the passing game to see what o-line/defense match-ups we can exploit.

Favorable Quarterback Matchups

Quarterback Matchups
O-Line Ranking Team Opponent aFPA Difference
5 NE ATL 30 25
6 DAL KC 27 21
10 BUF IND 29 19
20 CAR WAS 32 12
15 JAX SF 26 11
18 LVR CIN 28 10
2 GB MIN 12 10
14 BAL CHI 23 9
8 SF JAX 17 9
1 TB NYG 10 9
23 DET CLE 31 8
9 CLE DET 16 7
19 TEN HOU 25 6
11 PHI NO 15 4
7 NO PHI 8 1
24 DEN BYE 24 0
4 LAR BYE 4 0
13 ARI SEA 13 0
3 IND BUF 1 -2
12 KC DAL 9 -3
22 CIN LVR 19 -3
16 LAC PIT 11 -5
27 CHI BAL 21 -6
32 MIA NYJ 24 -8
30 HOU TEN 22 -8
29 NYJ MIA 18 -11
31 NYG TB 20 -11
17 WAS CAR 4 -13
21 SEA ARI 6 -15
26 MIN GB 7 -19
25 PIT LAC 2 -23
28 ATL NE 3 -25

Cowboys @ Chiefs

The excitement surrounding Michael Gallup’s return seemed to be well-warranted last week as Dak Prescott cruised to a 296-2-0 finish and he didn’t even have to put a helmet on for the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons. The final quarter was mostly predicated on running the clock out with Corey Clement, and Prescott’s final play of the third quarter was a four-yard scamper for a touchdown so the receivers’ numbers don’t look as fantastic as they could have in a 43-3 win, but CeeDee Lamb did finish the week as the overall WR3. This felt a lot like how we figured things would go this season before Michael Gallup went down in Week 1; it is likely to be wide receiver roulette, with Lamb and Amari Cooper trading WR1 weeks and Gallup acting as a consistent WR3 who could pop up for top-12 weeks from time to time.

This week, the Cowboys will be facing a similar pass rush unit to the one they faced last week, which is to say, they should have an easy time. While the Kansas City Chiefs don’t have the league’s worst pressure% that the Falcons have, they are 30th in the league in adjusted sack rate (4.7%) and most of their success is dependant on whether or not Chris Jones can get to the quarterback. Things will be even tougher on him and the rest of the Chiefs’ pass rush if stud left tackle Tyron Smith is cleared to play, and it seems things are veering in that direction.

The entire Cowboys offense should be in play for Week 11, though it’s interesting to note that upon the return of Gallup, tight end Dalton Schultz caught one pass for 14 yards on two targets, playing on a season-low 66% of snaps.

Panthers vs. Football Team

Despite beating one of the best teams in the NFC last week, Washington still has a susceptible defense. While already harnessing one of the worst coverage units in the league, they now have a sizable problem on their hands with their pass rush after it was announced that Chase Young will be missing the rest of the season because of a torn ACL. Though the team still has Jonathan Allen and Montez Sweat to anchor their pass rush, the team enters Week 11 ranked 19th in pressure% (38.5%), and that was of course with Young in the lineup to help booster that stat.

The Panthers are in a prime spot to make this a comfortable first start for Cam Newton and maybe if he can keep defenses honest, fantasy managers can bank on some usable weeks from D.J. Moore like we haven’t seen in almost two months. It’s hard to tell exactly who the quarterback change will benefit at the moment, as Newton attempted only four passes last week, going for all of eight yards. For those willing to buy into the offense while everything still appears in flux, this will be a good matchup to do it.

49ers @ Jaguars

With the 49ers’ offense back to (mostly) full health for what feels like the first time this season, Jimmy Garoppolo was able to complete 79% of his 19 pass attempts while the running game pounded the Rams into submission with 44 rush attempts. The target tree was exactly how we had hoped it would be back in draft season as George Kittle (37% target share), Deebo Samuel (26%), and Brandon Aiyuk (21%) were the focal points of the offense, as the game plan was just those three and a relentless run game.

The pass-catchers may need to be leaned on a little more this week, as the Jaguars keep opposing running backs to 3.8 yards per attempt between-the-20s (second in the NFL behind only the Saints) while opposing quarterbacks have racked up a 73.3% completion rate (31st) and 8.4 yards per pass attempt (23rd). With George Kittle back on the field as one of the best blocking tight ends in the league, he can help bolster the right side of the line opposite left tackle, Trent Williams, lessening the downgrade since the injury to right tackle Mike McGlinchey.

Our rankings currently have Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk as the WR3 and WR33, respectively.

Favorable Defensive Matchups

Chargers vs. Steelers

The Pittsburgh offensive line was just beginning to coalesce and string some positive performances together before last week struck. Amidst the disappointment of tying with a winless Detroit Lions team were the injuries to both of their guards, Kevin Dotson and Trai Turner. While Turner can practice this week and give it a shot to play against Los Angeles, Dotson has a high-ankle sprain which will likely keep him out for a month or longer. If the Steelers are unable to get push up the middle of the Chargers’ defense, Najee Harris is going to have some issues stringing together successful runs. According to Sports Info Solutions’ numbers, Harris’ 3.7 YPA on rushes to the outside ranks 43rd out of 56 qualifying running backs.

The Chargers are currently 5.5-point home favorites and that’s unlikely to change much regardless of whether Ben Roethlisberger or Mason Rudolph is at the helm for Sunday Night Football.

Cardinals @ Seahawks

A Seattle offensive line that was already in the midst of a struggle is now dealing with a hip strain to left tackle Duane Brown who missed most of the second half in the Seahawks shutout 0-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 10. Now the line and their 31st-ranked adjusted sack rate (9.6%) will take on the Cardinals’ sixth-ranked defensive adjusted sack rate (7.0%) with fourth-year backup Jamarco Jones possibly manning left tackle, a position he had 62 career snaps at before last week. Russell Wilson will be in a difficult situation to bounce back from his 39.7 passer rating outing against this Arizona pass rush.

Favorable Running Back Matchups

Running Back Matchups
O-Line Ranking Team Opponent aFPA Difference
1 TB NYG 27 26
5 NE ATL 29 24
9 CLE DET 31 22
7 NO PHI 24 17
13 ARI SEA 30 17
8 SF JAX 22 14
2 GB MIN 16 14
18 LVR CIN 26 8
22 CIN LVR 28 6
15 JAX SF 21 6
19 TEN HOU 23 4
6 DAL KC 10 4
3 IND BUF 4 1
24 DEN BYE 24 0
4 LAR BYE 4 0
25 PIT LAC 25 0
32 MIA NYJ 32 0
20 CAR WAS 19 -1
23 DET CLE 20 -3
10 BUF IND 5 -5
14 BAL CHI 8 -6
12 KC DAL 6 -6
21 SEA ARI 12 -9
27 CHI BAL 17 -10
28 ATL NE 18 -10
11 PHI NO 1 -10
26 MIN GB 13 -13
16 LAC PIT 3 -13
17 WAS CAR 2 -15
29 NYJ MIA 14 -15
31 NYG TB 11 -20
30 HOU TEN 7 -23

Buccaneers vs. Giants

The Buccaneers and their league-best 5.09 adjusted line yards will look to end their two-game losing streak at home on Monday Night Football as current 11-point favorites. The Giants, who currently rank 27th in aFPA to the running back position, could be in for a hurting. New York’s defensive line ranks 30th in stuff% against running backs, stopping the run for zero or negative yards on only 13.1% of rushing plays, which is sure to give Tampa Bay all the volition they need behind this stout offensive line. Leonard Fournette should be considered a high-floor option this week, with the possibility of a top-six overall finish depending on whether or not he finds the end zone.

Patriots @ Falcons

Right tackle Trent Brown returned to the lineup after an extended eight-week absence and the offensive line responded aggressively. The fully healthy line, playing together for the first time, dominated the Cleveland Browns’ front seven, limiting the defense to a 20% pressure rate, and opening holes for their running backs to accrue 143 yards on 29 carries. Rhamondre Stevenson has a great opportunity ahead of him to build upon his 24-touch, 114-yard coming-out party against a Falcons defense that ranks 31st in points allowed.

With the other side of the ball very likely to keep the Falcons’ offense in check, Stevenson should have a field day in positive game script on Thursday Night Football as it seems he finally has the full grasp of the Pats’ RB1 designation.

Running Backs with Bad Matchups

As opposed to breaking down every bad match-up through the rest of the slate, here are some running backs I’m looking to avoid because of their poor offensive line and the strong defensive fronts they will be facing:

*All “pressure” info comes from Sports Info Solutions, pace and adjusted sack rate/adjusted line yards come from Football Outsiders

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