O-Line Rankings and Matchups to Exploit: Week 13

Nov 29, 2023
O-Line Rankings and Matchups to Exploit: Week 13

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, including an offensive line's positive and negative impact 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 matchups we can exploit.

Favorable Quarterback Matchups

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

Dolphins @ Commanders

The Dolphins will have to deal with life sans Terron Armstead, as he is considered week-to-week after leaving their Week 12 game against the Jets. Armstead has now played in only five games this season, though the offensive line is much more insulated with talent than it has been in recent years. Even with the Pro Bowl left tackle missing so much time, the unit still ranks in the top five in nearly any o-line metric you can come up with, including leading the league in QB pressure rate allowed (25.6%) and running back yards before contact (2.77/att.).

If Armstead were only to miss one game for the rest of the season, this would be the best week for it, as the Commanders have been stomped on all season long, allowing 279.5 yards through the air and ranking dead last in QB and WR aFPA. The defense has allowed less than 29 points just once over their last five games, and that was against a Patriots offense that has its own set of headaches.

The Tua Tagovailoa double stack with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle should be one of the most popular plays in DFS this weekend, and considering Durham Smythe isn’t farfetched, if only for the team’s touchdown equity. Smythe has five red zone targets, including three from within the 10-yard line, yet still sports a zero in the touchdown column on the year.

Broncos @ Texans

A resurgent Denver Broncos team will travel down to Houston Sunday afternoon to take on a Texans defense that has had its share of clunkers this season. Though they have been good against opponents’ ground games—they rank 10th in rushing DVOA—they have been routinely soft against the pass, allowing 7.8 yards per attempt (28th) and subsequently ranking 26th in passing DVOA.

That passing defense figures to be tested often here, in a game with the second-highest total on the board (47.5). This bodes well for Russell Wilson’s fantasy floor, unlike some of his recent matchups in pace-down spots when he was only asked to drop back 25 times (like the Browns game last week, for instance). In a slate with six teams on bye, Wilson becomes a definite QB1 option, as Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and Marvin Mims can all be in lineup considerations to various degrees.

Mims, in particular, could finally be ready for that post-bye rookie bump, as he ran career-high routes in both Weeks 10 and 11 before the entire offense dialed it back in last week’s slog of a game.

Colts @ Titans

As we anticipated ahead of last week’s game, Gardner Minshew was asked to air it out more often against the Buccaneers’ pass-funnel defense, dropping back 45 times, his highest mark since Week 6. The box-score volume was more or less there, though his lone touchdown would end up coming on the ground en route to a QB14 performance, for fantasy’s sake.

We should expect more of the same this week against a Titans defense that ranks second in rushing DVOA, yet 30th in passing DVOA. Add to that the absence of Jonathan Taylor, and we have a recipe for another high-volume performance from Minshew, against a defense that ranks 23rd in schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed to opposing offenses and 21st in QB aFPA. Minshew is firmly in the streaming conversation this week, while both Michael Pittman Jr. and Josh Downs should be considered WR1 and WR3s, respectively.

Favorable Defensive Matchups

Steelers vs. Cardinals

There’s no doubt that getting Kyler Murray back at the helm has been an overall positive for the Cardinals' offense, but the offensive line has still allowed him to be pressured 38 times while taking nine sacks over these last three weeks. While rookie Paris Johnson Jr. has put on some pretty good tape during his inaugural season and veteran D.J. Humphries has held down his side of the line, the interior has been in flux all year, particularly their left guard slot.

Four different players have logged at least one start at left guard for Arizona, and they are currently running out Carter O'Donnell, a 2020 UDFA who hadn’t logged a regular season NFL snap until Week 9.

This week, they will take on a Steelers defense that ranks ninth in adjusted sack rate (8.3%) and has allowed the eighth-lowest schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Edge rusher T.J. Watt currently leads the league with 14 sacks and sits in sixth with his 58 quarterback pressures. The Steelers D/ST offers a great floor/ceiling combination in Week 13.

Panthers @ Buccaneers

There is turmoil in the Carolina organization right now, but almost all of that has to do with offensive ineptitude. The defense has had its fair share of miscues, but most of them have come against buzzsaw offenses, such as the Cowboys, Dolphins, and Lions. But, since the team’s Week 7 bye, they have allowed the third-lowest passing yards per game (166), as their five most recent opponents have averaged 21.2 points.

The Buccaneers offense has been struggling in their own right, which has helped to drop this game total to 37 after opening at 40. The Oddsmakers don’t expect an offensive output that we should be afraid to fade, and neither do I. The Panthers make for a fine waiver wire pickup for managers looking to find some easy points.

Favorable Running Back Matchups

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

Cowboys vs. Seahawks

The Cowboys had seen enough of Tony Pollard getting stuffed for sub-4.0 yards per attempt in the 2023 season and decided to get Rico Dowdle more involved, giving him 12 attempts back in Week 10. Pollard then responded by rushing for 140 yards on 25 carries (5.6 YPA) over the following two weeks. Go figure.

This is certainly still Pollard’s backfield, but our August daydreams of nabbing an overall RB1 on this explosive offense are far behind us. Dowdle shouldn’t be started here in Week 13—though he shouldn’t be sitting on waiver wires either—but Pollard is a shoo-in as a top-12 option with so many teams sitting on a bye.

Falcons @ Jets

The Bijan Robinson usage has been annoying—to say the least—but the Falcons’ last two games have been a huge relief as we head into the fantasy playoffs. Robinson’s snap percentage over the last two games has climbed to 69.3% (13th), while his route participation (68.6%, first) and target percentage (19.0%, second) have climbed the ranks among the position. Maybe more importantly, he officially doubled his carries from inside the five-yard line, notching his first touchdown from that area of the field.

This week, he’ll take on a Jets defense that ranks in the top two in aFPA to the quarterback and wide receiver positions, yet 26th to running backs. With playoff aspirations on the line, expect the team to keep running the offense through their rookie running back.

Running Backs with Bad Matchups

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

Latest Articles
Most Popular