In advance of Sunday’s games, I wanted to isolate specific advantageous matchups that could be interesting from a fantasy and prop perspective. 

Game, Total and Props

Running Backs

Chris Carson

  • This is the most obvious smash spot of the season and it has Brian Schottenheimer’s mouth watering.
  • Carson is averaging 81 yards per game on 4.3 yards per carry. He is doing so against an extremely tough set of run defenses. Seattle has faced the seventh-toughest run defense schedule based both on yards per carry allowed and success rate allowed.
  • Seattle has faced five of the top nine DVOA run defenses in their last five games and has not faced a bottom 16 run defense in two months.
  • Now with Rashad Penny out for the season, Carson looks to take over his role as the lead back. In the four games Penny either missed or didn’t receive a carry, Carson has averaged 23 carries per game. In the other nine games with Penny taking away carries, Carson has averaged 17 carries.
  • Carolina’s run defense has been horrendous this season and especially bad over the last seven games. Since their Week 7 bye week, Carolina has allowed 156 rushing yards per game and 5.4 YPC. Carolina ranks dead last in DVOA run defense.

David Montgomery

  • Montgomery has finally broken out with back to back good outings. He is averaging 80 yards on 18 carries in the last two games.
  • Green Bay’s defense has quietly been one of the worst in the NFL this season. Their run defense ranks 26th by DVOA and is dead last in success rate allowed to RBs against a league average schedule. 
  • In a game that is going to be played in very cold conditions, I would expect the Bears to ride Montgomery to another 20-carry game.

Tight Ends

Ian Thomas

  • Last week with Greg Olsen out, Thomas received 10 targets with 5 catches, 57 yards, and a TD. Olsen is out again this week.
  • Seattle has been susceptible to TEs all season, allowing the second-highest yards per game.
  • Tyler Higbee tore up the Seahawks defense last week for 7 catches and 116 yards.
  • In a game where Carolina is expected to be trailing, Thomas should be a key target for Kyle Allen.

O.J. Howard

  • Call this a bit of a hunch but after Mike Evans left the game last week against Indy, Howard received 4 targets and caught 3 for 68 yards. Without the size of Evans available Sunday, it wouldn’t surprise me if Jameis targets Howard down the field and in the red zone.
  • The Lions are 30th in success rate allowed to TEs and have allowed a 12% explosive pass rate to TEs, ranking 24th in the NFL.

Wide Receiver

Chris Conley

  • With D.J. Chark out on Sunday, with him will go close to 8 targets per game.
  • Chark has been a major deep threat for Jacksonville and against an Oakland pass defense which has allowed the most air yards in the NFL, Conley is in prime position to step up.
  • Chark has received 26 targets of 20+ yards, third-most in the NFL. Conley has 16 deep targets but expect him to receive a big chunk against Oakland.

Breshad Perriman

  • Without Mike Evans, Perriman should thrive against a bad Detroit pass defense. Last week, Perriman caught 3 balls for 70 yards and a TD.
  • Perriman ranks second in the NFL in aDOT at over 16 yards per target. That will be key as the Lions defense ranks dead last in aDOT allowed at close to 10 yards. The Lions also have allowed the sixth-highest explosive pass percentage in the NFL. Expect a lot of deep shots to Perriman.