Stats make the fantasy football world go round. Stats build this entire game that we love. Without stats, fantasy football falls apart at the seams. Now is a crucial week in the NFL as fantasy managers worldwide battle for playoff rights within their leagues.
These fantasy playoff battles are won in the trenches. The trenches are the research done leading up to Sunday. Let us help you with these stats below, starting with the critical quarterback position.
- Waiver Wire Picks
- Weekly Fantasy Football Expert Rankings
- Fantasy Football Start/Sit Advice
- Fantasy Football Trade Tools
4 Stats To Know Before Setting Your Fantasy Lineup
Coverage Grades, Changing an F to an A
Fantasy Points’ QB Coverage Matchup Tool looks at all QBs and their efficiency. The coverage grade tells you how much this matchup is worth over their average fantasy points per dropback. When looking at this grade, you could find quarterbacks who elevated from “fade” to “possible streamer” in Week 14.
Here are a few of the grades that caught my eye this week:
- Will Levis vs. Mia (grade +10.8, fourth best this week)
- Joe Flacco vs. Jax (11.6, third highest)
- Bryce Young vs. NO (+10, fifth highest)
- Desmond Ridder vs. TB (+2.2, 16th best)
As you can see, these quarterbacks differ from the players you usually hitch your wagon to in any particular week. However, these quarterbacks become feasible for your fantasy football lineup between injuries and a messy weather forecast across the slate.
Someone like Bryce Young, who couldn’t score your fantasy football team sustainable points all season long, has a matchup that could benefit our teams this week. By playing in the Superdome, this game avoids the bad weather. Young also faces a New Orleans defense that plays man coverage at the seventh-highest percentage in the NFL (34.1%). If this Carolina Panthers’ new coaching staff is competent, they will take advantage and find a way to help this slow wide receiver core build separation.
You can also look deeper into Desmond Ridder and see a stream-worthy option under center for your fantasy football team. It’s high-risk/high reward, but again, we avoid the weather by playing in a dome. We also know that Tampa Bay loves to run Cover 3. The Buccaneers use Cover 3 at a 39.7% clip, the 13th-highest rate in the NFL. The issue is they struggle with this cover as they allow .37 fantasy points per dropback this season. Cover 3 is weak against flats and right up the seams. If Arthur Smith and Ridder remember they have an elite weapon in Kyle Pitts, they could dominate against the Buccaneers’ defense.
Josh Allen QB1
Josh Allen can always become the QB1 on the slate. This weekend, Allen faces the Kansas City Chiefs in a game that should captivate the NFL world. Can we trust Allen to rise to the tough competition of the Chiefs’ defense and still perform for us?
Yes, you should feel comfortable with the “Stallion” under center this week. The most important stat that could sway you to ease your nerves is that the Bills are fifth in points per drive. If your team puts up a lot of points weekly, your quarterback is the main component of that success.
Next, we look into the coverages. The Chiefs have no particular coverage they prefer over another, although coverage type isn’t really a concern for Allen.
Here is where he ranks in fantasy points per dropbacks against different coverages this season:
- Cover 2: .49 (No. 1 overall)
- Cover 3 .48 (No. 5 overall)
- Cover 4: .43 (No. 6 overall)
- Cover 6: .30 (N0. 17 overall – Kansas City runs this at a measly 9.4%
Allen is safe within your lineup regardless of opponent or weather, especially with his Konami-code ability. Feel comfortable reaching your ceiling projections this week with your Buffalo Bills quarterback.
Justin Watson Is the Key?!
We stick with the same matchup of the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs to help you with a flex-worthy wide receiver, Justin Watson. We know Watson could be scary and produce a zero, as he did in Week 13. However, this research shows that his Week 13 performance was a blip on the radar.
Did you know that Watson is third on the Chiefs regarding yards per route run (YPRR)? The sixth-year WR has a 1.51 in this category. Andy Reid loves to take advantage of this out wide in his formations, as Watson lines up in this role 67.3% of the time.
Watson brings playmaking size to your roster, as he is 6-foot-2 and weighs 215 pounds. He also uses this body that helps procure his 90+ percentile catch radius to his advantage. Watson will use this to his leverage against a Buffalo defense that has allowed the eighth-most endzone touchdowns (10) to wide pass catchers in the NFL.
It may not feel pretty, but if you are desperate due to injuries and bye weeks, Watson could be your saving grace to help you reach the fantasy football playoffs.
A Mingo Ate My Baby
Can we finally trust Jonathan Mingo in our lineups? We just completed the research on Young and now know that Mingo could become a flex-worthy option for our fantasy football team. Since Week 9, Mingo has had an 18.5% target share, a 30% air-yard share and a 26.9% first-read share. This rookie wide receiver is coming into form as the season dwindles.
Our biggest issue is his inability to separate, causing meager fantasy points per route (FPRR) across the board. After researching every coverage, Mingo dominates against man coverage with a whooping .13 FPRR. Mingo has had better weeks, but if you are battling for your life this week, the risk of using Mingo in your lineup does not outweigh the reward. If Young and the Panthers steal a victory, it will be a team effort more than a solo wide receiver taking over the game.
As Week 14 approaches, check out all the fantastic resources available at FantasyPros to help you stay ahead of the competition.
If you ever need any assistance with your lineups, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter at @jpep20. I wish you the best of luck in Week 14 and beyond!