O-Line Rankings and Matchups to Exploit: Week 12

Nov 24, 2021
O-Line Rankings and Matchups to Exploit: Week 12

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

49ers vs. Vikings

One of the more concentrated passing attacks in the NFL, Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle, and Deebo Samuel accounted for 65% of the target share in Week 11, with Samuel adding eight rushing attempts for 79 yards. This week they’ll take on a Minnesota Vikings team that ranks 32nd in aFPA to the wide receiver position, due at least in part to their recent lack of a pass rush. With a healthy Danielle Hunter in Weeks 1-6, the Vikings were seventh in the league in pressure% (43.3) and second in the league in sack% (14.2). Since Hunter reaggravated, and ultimately tore his pectoral muscle, the team ranks 28th and 18th in pressure and sack rates, respectively.

While San Francisco’s offensive line play has been up and down —due somewhat to right tackle Mike McGlinchey going down for the season— they still have arguably the best left tackle in the league and a solid enough interior to keep the Vikings pass rush at bay. Fire up the 49ers' big three with confidence.

Jaguars vs. Falcons

With Jacksonville now scoring 10 or fewer points in three out of their last four games, it’s about time they ran into a more forgiving defense and Week 12 presents them with just that. The Falcons pass rush and their league-worst 30.1% pressure rate have essentially devolved into whether or not Grady Jarrett can collapse the pocket from the interior, as he is the only player on the entire defense with more than 15 forced pressures. To put that in perspective, there are 112 players in the NFL with more than 15 pressures, and Atlanta boasts only Jarrett among them.

Presumably operating from a clean pocket, quarterback Trevor Lawrence will have time to find a receiving group that will be forced to shake things up after it was announced Jamal Agnew will be placed on injured reserve because of a hip injury. The confluence of less pressure and the removal of a security blanket could mean Lawrence pushes the ball further down the field, a scenario that would bring many-a Marvin Jones best ball share back to life. Jones is firmly in the WR2/WR3 discussion again after not seeing double-digit fantasy points since Week 6.

Buccaneers @ Colts

If the Indianapolis Colts can find their footing in the passing game, this matchup should be the most exciting of Sunday’s 1:00 slate, if not the most exciting of the week. The Colts rank fifth in aFPA to the running back position, but in the bottom-11 in each of; quarterback (22nd), wide receiver (25th), and tight end (30th) positions, opening the door for a potent attack that probably didn’t need any help, to begin with.

Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski should be in lineups regardless of matchup, but one name to continue monitoring in super-deep leagues, or as a dart throw in smaller slates in Tyler Johnson. Coming off of a disappointing one-catch, eight-yard performance in Week 11, Johnson was still on the field a ton and has run the third-most routes behind Evans and Godwin in the two weeks since the team’s bye. If you believe that Tom Brady controls the game with 40 or more pass attempts, Johnson may receive de facto production.

Favorable Defensive Matchups

Panthers @ Dolphins

Miami’s offensive line remains the bottom of the barrel, where they’ve been pretty much the entirety of the season. Numerous personnel swappings haven’t produced the desired results, though their current three-game winning streak may have you thinking otherwise. If I were a betting man (I am), I would likely wager some internet dollars on the Carolina Panthers and a young, hungry pass rush to get after Tua Tagovailoa early and often. The Panthers rank fourth in pressure% and second in sack% on the year, the Dolphins have five games in which they have allowed 20 or more pressures, and out of 36 qualifying quarterbacks, Tagovailoa has a league-worst 37.0 quarterback rating while under pressure.

Cowboys vs. Raiders

While Derek Carr was able to play out of his mind despite issues along the offensive line early in the season, things have become more difficult as of late. The Raiders have failed to score more than 16 points since their Week 8 bye, with numerous off-the-field issues noticeably putting a strain on how the offense has been able to move the ball down the field. While Darren Waller (19 targets since the bye week) is undoubtedly an incredible player, behind him the offense has been reduced to dump-offs for Hunter Renfrow (3.7 aDOT, 18 targets) and Josh Jacobs (-1.6 aDOT, 10 targets).

It will be difficult to sustain that type of offense against an explosive Cowboys team that will be looking to get back on track after losing decisively to the Chiefs last week.

Favorable Running Back Matchups

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

Football Team vs. Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks and their 31st ranked aFPA to the running back position will travel to Washington on Monday night to take on a team that runs at the ninth-highest rate while in a neutral game script. The Football Team is riding high on a two-game winning streak, and as is annual tradition are still in the hunt for the NFC East title despite their 4-6 record. Antonio Gibson has finally had a couple of games that we can feel comfortable with, seeing extended usage since their Week 8 bye to the tune of 43 rushing attempts, two targets, and 171 total yards in those two wins.

Washington is currently a home favorite and should see plenty of game script to flex their trench dominance in front of Gibson.

Eagles @ Giants

I’m certain that Philadelphia fans are always waiting for the other shoe to drop, but up to this point in the season, they have had exceptional health along their offensive line for the first time in what feels like forever. Aside from some early season nicks and bruises, they’ve been able to roll out their starting five with consistency and the results have been showing in the box score, particularly the “rushing” aspect of that box score. Things have culminated in a big way recently, as the team has put up an ungodly 870 yards rushing over their last four games, breaking the 200-yard mark in three of them.

This week the Eagles are facing a New York Giants team that ranks 31st in defensive adjusted line yards. Jalen Hurts as overall QB1 is within his weekly outcome, and if Miles Sanders can hold on to the ball, he truly has top-12 upside in this matchup, even if he remains in the one-to-three passing target range.

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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