O-Line Rankings and Matchups to Exploit: Week 14

Dec 06, 2023
O-Line Rankings and Matchups to Exploit: Week 14

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 match-ups we can exploit.

Favorable Quarterback Matchups

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

Ravens vs. Rams

It’s a never-ending injury report watch when it comes to Ronnie Stanley, but he did return in Week 12 and has now enjoyed a bye week, which should mean the veteran left tackle is as healthy as he will be this season. It’s a perfect time to capitalize on the Ravens offense, and the Rams —who rank 28th in schedule-adjusted fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks— are next on deck.

Though the Rams are coming off of a string of impressive defensive performances, those either came against offensive lines that were struggling with injuries (Browns, Seahawks) or have simply been underperforming all season (Cardinals), which is how they continue to rank so low when looking at our schedule-adjusted metrics. A healthy Ravens offensive line is far and away better than what they have been facing lately, and Lamar Jackson’s box score should reflect that come Sunday.

Outside of Jackson, Zay Flowers should be locked into lineups this week, with Isaiah Likely operating as a great streamer for those of us looking for tight-end help.

Broncos @ Chargers

A resurgent Broncos team has a lot to owe to their offensive line over this 5-1 roll they’re on, but the entire team seemed to get a bit of a wake-up call after a miserable Thursday Night Football performance back in Week 6. They scored their first and only points with six minutes left of the 4th quarter after turning the ball over three times in the second consecutive game.

Since then, the offensive line has looked more cohesive, as they have been able to avoid the injury bug and play nearly 100% of the offensive snaps with the core starting five. This has allowed third-year right guard Quinn Meinerz to continue his upward ascension (zero sacks allowed on 447 pass-blocking snaps) and former 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey to get comfortable in his new surroundings (zero sacks since Week 6).

Though the Chargers are coming off of an impressive defensive performance against the woebegone Patriots offense, they will be better tested here in Week 14, their third full game of the post-Joey Bosa 2023 season. The Broncos now have the third-lowest adjusted sack rate (5.36%) and will put up a fight against Khalil Mack’s late-career reign of terror he’s been on lately, including his three-game streak of multiple sacks.

Russell Wilson and Courtland Sutton should be locked into lineups in all league types, while Jerry Jeudy should bounce back into FLEX considerations against a secondary that allows the sixth-most yards per game (125.7) to targets out of the slot.

Colts @ Bengals

The Bengals managed to squeak out one of the most surprising wins of the last month of NFL action, but that doesn’t mean that their defense was any more stout than usual on Monday Night Football. Though the defense racked up four sacks, they allowed Trevor Lawrence 8.9 yards per attempt before he got his ankle/calf stepped on, and the team is now tied for dead-last, with 8.1 yards per attempt on the season in its entirety.

This week, they’ll face a Colts offensive line that is continuing to look a little more like their once-dominant self, while pushing the ball through the air at a much higher clip with Gardner Minshew ensconced as the starting quarterback. The Colts have the fifth-highest neutral game pass rate over these last two weeks (63.9%) and will look to continue that against a Bengals team that allows 271.4 yards per game through the air (27th).

Minshew is a streaming candidate against this soft secondary, and Michael Pittman Jr. should continue his target-hog ways after earning 21 of them in the two games since the team’s Week 11 Bye.

Favorable Defensive Matchups

Steelers vs. Patriots

Though the offensive line hasn’t been doing the Patriots many favors in their recent (see: the entire season) endeavors, we can’t look past the awful quarterback play they’ve experienced. From a clean pocket, Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe have combined for 6.1 yards per attempt (32nd), a 73.6% on-target rate (28th), and a 2.6% interception rate (23rd), mustering only 153.4 yards per game (26th). If you imagined that those numbers were all far worse when they’ve faced pressure, you’d be very correct.

This week, they’ll face a Steelers defense that ranks ninth in adjusted sack rate (8.2%), as EDGE T.J. Watt is tied for second in the league with 15 sacks. No reason to overthink this one.

Panthers @ Saints

The Carolina Panthers' passing game has put the entire team under a dark cloud this season, but it is overshadowing how their defensive play has been much better since their Week 8 Bye. Over these last six games, opposing offenses have gained the second-least yards per pass attempt (5.7) while finding the end zone only four times (t-first). But, because Bryce Young continues to put the ball in harm’s way without being able to test the defense deep, opposing offenses continue to get the ball in positive field position to grind the game away with the run.

The onus of this Panthers D/ST play this week is the proposed start of Jameis Winston, who has a 5.8% turnover-worthy play rate, very much in line with his career numbers. A mediocre Saints pass protection could equate to more Winston mistakes, and a much-improved Panthers secondary could take advantage, making them a sneaky Week 14 play.

Favorable Running Back Matchups

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

Vikings @ Raiders

A good on-paper matchup may be a little difficult to navigate, as the Vikings running back usage has been muddied in the weeks leading up to their bye week. Ty Chandler popped back into the fantasy scope in Week 10 and proceeded to handle 29 opportunities in the two weeks heading into their Monday Night Football matchup against the Bears in Week 12. What followed was a five-touch, 11-yard performance on only 33% of the snaps, once again rendering him useless for our purposes. We should expect more than that as the team comes out of the bye, but in one of the more pivotal weeks of the year, we can’t afford to play a guessing game with him in our starting lineup.

Mattison, on the other hand, should be in consideration against a Raiders team that ranks 30th in adjusted line yards. Consider him a solid RB3 with room for more.

Chiefs vs. Bills

With Jerick McKinnon a late-week scratch from the Chiefs offense, Isiah Pacheco kept pass-catching duties, racking up 22 opportunities for 123 total yards and a touchdown in Green Bay. Outside of his 20-carry, three-target output in Week 4, it was the largest workload Pacheco has had all season long. If McKinnon were to miss yet another game, Pacheco would be in for another top-five workload, just in time to face off against a Bills defense that has allowed the fourth-most receptions (67) and third-most yards per game (45.5) to the running back position.

In a game with the second-highest game total of the week (48.5), the full-time role would once again put Pacheco on the radar as one of the most valuable fantasy commodities of the week.

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/or the strong defensive fronts they will be facing:

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