In advance of this weekend’s wildcard games, I wanted to isolate specific advantageous matchups that could be interesting from a fantasy and prop perspective. We’ll break it down by game, finishing with the Seatle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles.
Seattle offense vs Philadelphia defense:
- The Eagles defense ranks 16th defending the pass and fourth defending the run, based on DVOA.
- Seattle has been decimated by injuries to Duane Brown, Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, and the suspension of Josh Gordon.
- We know the Seahawks are married to establishing the run no matter how inefficient that may be and often start games in a hole because of it. Russell Wilson has cooled down after a red-hot start and has thrown more than two touchdown passes in just one his past 11 games, with one or fewer touchdown passes in five of those games. He has not thrown for over 300 yards since week 10 against Tampa.
- The Eagles pass defense has been attacked deep down the field and has allowed the third-highest average depth of target in the NFL. The Eagles have allowed the most fantasy points to outside WRs in the NFL this season.
- Over their past seven games, Tyler Lockett has 39 targets (23-290-2) while D.K. Metcalf has 36 targets (23-305-3). The duo combined to catch just 4-of-8 targets for 73 yards when these teams met in Week 12, with Metcalf leaving a host of opportunities on the floor. Metcalf led all players this season in end zone targets (18). Lockett does have at least seven targets in each of his past three games. Metcalf just received 12 targets against the Niners but that was following a 0 catch, 1 target game against Arizona. He has the potential to have a big game with his deep ball potential and the Eagles susceptibility to outside WRs.
- TE Jacob Hollister has filled in nicely since starter Will Dissily went down with an injury. In his last eight games, he has averaged 6.4 targets with 4.5 receptions for 39 yards per game. He has received at least six targets in six of his last eight games. The Eagles defend the TE position well, however, ranking 12th in DVOA and eighth in lowest yards per game allowed.
- In terms of the run offense, with Marshawn Lynch in the fold and little-known Travis Homer splitting carries, it’s hard to like either one to do much against a top 5 run defense like the Eagles. Don’t expect a whole lot of yardage from either on Sunday.
Philadelphia offense vs Seattle defense:
- The Seahawks defense ranks 15th defending the pass and 26th defending the run, based on DVOA.
- The Miles Sanders injury is a shame to a rookie who showed major flashes down the stretch. In the prior five games to his injury against the Giants, Sanders had averaged 4.7 YPC and 78 yards per game rushing. He also added back to back 50+ yard receiving games prior to his injury. Boston Scott did step in nicely last week with 138 total yards and 3 TDs against the Giants. At 5’6″ and 200 lbs, it’s hard to expect Scott can handle a full game load. Either way, whoever gets a majority of the work on Sunday has a nice matchup against a poor run defense.
- Carson Wentz has played at an MVP level down the stretch and attempted at least 40 passes in each of the past seven games. That type of volume has covered a 6.5 yards per pass attempt over that stretch. He is averaging 252 passing yards per game for the season but over the final five games, he has thrown for at least 266 yards in every game and over 300 yards in three of his last five games.
- Seattle has been ripped by TEs this season, making this a great matchup for both Zach Ertz, if he plays, and Dallas Goedert. The Eagles are well known for using the highest percentage of 12 personnel in the NFL at 52%. Seattle has allowed a fifth-worst 59% success rate to TEs out of 12 personnel, which is ideal for the Eagles. In their Week 12 matchup with the Seahawks, the Eagles threw the ball 19 times to TEs out of 12 for an excellent 63% success rate. Wentz completed 16 of 19 attempts to TEs out of 1-2 formation in that game.
- Goedert has 22 targets the past two weeks, accounting for 27.5% of the team targets, while posting lines of 9-91-1 and 4-65-0. He did so against the Redskins and Giants who rank ninth and 18th in yards per attempt allowed to TEs. Seattle comes in 27th in yards per attempt allowed to TEs this season and in recent games against two teams who rank in the top 10 in TE targets, the LA Rams and San Francisco 49ers, Tyler Higbee and George Kittle combined for 14 receptions and 202 yards. If Ertz does play, it will muddy the waters a bit but playing with cracked ribs is a major risk. It’s hard to expect Ertz to play a lot and/or play very well if he plays at all. Goedert should have good numbers no matter what and if Ertz is announced as playing, a depressed prop number could offer excellent value. The same can be said with daily fantasy potential ownership.
- Greg Ward has stepped up with the rash of injuries to the Eagles WRs. Ward has accounted for 17.2% of the Eagles targets over the past four weeks, catching 21-of-30 targets for 209 yards and a touchdown. Ward hasn’t shown a high ceiling so far, averaging fewer than 9.0 yards per catch in every game this season but one but can offer a solid floor.