BOTTOM 5 PASSING MATCHUPS WEEK 12
To view all of our Week 12 Matchup content, please see the links below:
Top 5 Passing Matchups Week 12
Bottom 5 Passing Matchups Week 12
Top 5 Rushing Matchups Week 12
Bottom 5 Rushing Matchups Week 12
Rushing Matchup Chart Week 12
Passing Matchup Chart Week 12
Denver vs New Orleans
The Denver backfield remains a full-blown committee as Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordon III are sharing a near-equal workload on the ground. Both rushed for over 80 yards last week as Lindsay saw 16 carries to Gordon’s 15. It was Gordon who scored both touchdowns, however, now totaling six rushing touchdowns to only one from Lindsay on the season. Gordon has struggled with ball security this season, fumbling four times including once near the goal line last week. Ekeler has looked like the better back for most of the season, when healthy, but expect for this timeshare to continue based on all indications from this Broncos coaching staff.
The Saints continue to be one of the league-leaders in rushing defense, giving up only 74.3 rushing yards per game and a league-low five rushing touchdowns. This defense has kept opposing running backs out of the end zone for six straight games, allowing only two running backs to exceed 33 rushing yards since Week 4. Their stacked front seven remains a key reason for this sustained success. David Onyemata has been nothing short of spectacular on the interior while both Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport remain top-notch edge defenders. The Broncos offensive line is a bottom-tier unit that is entirely outmatched in this one. Adding to the advantage for New Orleans, safety Marcus Williams has been one of the top run-defenders at his position and a big reason why this defense has kept big plays on the ground to a minimum with only four runs of over 20 yards allowed.
Tennessee at Indianapolis
The Titans rushing offense continues to shine with Derrick Henry at the helm as Henry has already crossed the 1,000-yard mark on the season. Henry racked up 133 rushing yards and a touchdown last week, having now crossed the 100-yard mark in six of 10 games on the season. Henry also crossed 100 yards in his matchup against this Colts defense two weeks ago, but he was also kept out of the end zone in that contest. A big difference this week will be the further reduced health of this Titans offensive line. Left guard Rodger Saffold is trying to make it back from injury but may not play this week. Center Ben Jones did not practice at all last week and played through a knee injury throughout his last game. Left tackle Ty Sambraillo, who was already playing in replacement of Taylor Lewan, went down with a season-ending injury last week that will force the Titans to call up their third starter at such a critical position on the line. David Quessenberry looks to be next in line to start as this left side of the Titans line is critically weakened.
The Colts have done an excellent job against the run this season, giving up an average of only 3.5 yards per carry (3rd-fewest) and 89.2 rushing yards per game (4th-fewest). Only one running back has exceeded 72 yards against the Colts, which just so happens to have been Derrick Henry the last time they met in Week 10. As mentioned above, this week may look a bit different as Henry will be running behind an even further injured offensive line against which this Colts defensive line should have a clear advantage. Even if defensive end Denico Autry isn’t cleared to play, this Colts group up front will still be in a great spot thanks in large part to the strength of their defensive tackles Grover Stewart and DeForest Buckner. With the help of all-pro candidate linebacker Darius Leonard, expect this Colts front seven to crash on the weakened left side of this Titans offensive line and virtually shut down that side of the field as Derrick Henry should see a stiffer challenge than what he faced in their Week 10 meeting.
San Francisco at LA Rams
The 49ers are coming off a much-needed bye week giving their injury-riddled team a chance to recover. This rushing offense has been unable to get anything going in recent weeks, failing to exceed 55 rushing yards while averaging just 52 rushing yards per game in their last three outings. Jerick McKinnon has simply not been cutting it as a lead back in this offense, but the good news is that both Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman have a good shot at returning from injury this week. Mostert has only played four games this season before suffering an ankle injury in Week 6. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry before the injury and will easily resume lead back duties if he does indeed return this week. Tevin Coleman has been much less effective in limited time this season but would join McKinnon as a change-of-pace back. The 49ers offensive line has also been an issue as of late with some shaky play from the right guard position along with left tackle Trent Williams sidelined due to COVID. If Williams makes it back on the field this week, it will be a big boost to this unit--but if he remains sidelined, it leaves second-year tackle Justin Skule in another tough spot.
The Rams are coming off a dominant performance against the Tampa Bay offense, particularly on the ground as they limited the Buccaneers to only 2.3 yards per rush attempt with 42 total rushing yards. This unit has limited lead running backs to fewer than 50 rushing yards in six of their last seven games and held the position to the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game (non-PPR) on the season. An elite defensive line anchored by Aaron Donald remains the key to success for this Rams run defense. Donald has had another Pro Bowl-caliber season and will easily outmatch any 49ers offensive lineman he squares off against. Linebacker has actually been a weak spot for this defense, but strong play from their safeties John Johnson III and, most recently, rookie Jordan Fuller has helped to mask this. A strong contribution from this Rams secondary has played a huge role in why this defense has allowed a league-low one rushing play of 20 or more yards--a spectacular feat for being 10 games into their season. Raheem Mostert had limited success against the Rams in their last performance--the game in which Mostert suffered his most recent ankle injury. Look for this Rams defense to make it tough on Mostert to shake off the rust.
Jacksonville vs Cleveland
The Jaguars ground game has seen above-average efficiency (4.5 yards per carry) this season despite being one of the least-productive rushing offenses in football with only 97.3 rushing yards per game (5th-worst). Any success of this ground game is attributed to James Robinson, who has had a spectacular season considering the circumstances of playing on an overarchingly mediocre team. Robinson has handily led the Jaguars backfield all season and seen over 20 carries in three of his last four games, averaging 100 rushing yards per game since Week 7. The Jacksonville offensive line has played relatively well from a run-blocking perspective for most of the season. This group has avoided prolonged injuries throughout the season, but they were stuck with a difficult one last week as left guard Andrew Norwell suffered an arm injury that will keep him sidelined for this game. Norwell has been one of the best offensive linemen for Jacksonville this season and the depth behind him is questionable at best.
Cleveland’s rushing defense has performed very well for most of the season, allowing opposing rushing offenses a below-average 105 rushing yards per game and 4.0 yards per rush attempt. Only two running backs have exceeded 70 yards on the ground while this group has kept running backs out of the end zone in each of their last four games, limiting the position to the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game (non-PPR) over that span. The Browns have a strong overall defensive line with an interior anchored by big-men Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi. While they will be missing edge defender Myles Garrett again this week (COVID), they still have a stout run defender in Olivier Vernon to match up well against Cam Robinson of the Jaguars. This defense is also getting a surprisingly strong contribution from will linebacker Sione Takitaki in recent weeks, grading as one of the best run-defenders in limited snaps for this linebacker group. All in all, Cleveland’s strong front seven should be able to do enough to contain the consistently flat Jaguars offense.
Kansas City at Tampa Bay
The Chiefs rushing offense has been a less-spectacular piece of their overall offensive attack, averaging a middling 113.7 rushing yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been the lead back and is having a decent rookie season, but his workload has certainly dropped off since the arrival of Leveon Bell. In their last four games, Edwards-Helaire has averaged just 8.3 carries per game compared to 17.8 in his first six games without Bell. Edwards-Helaire has still maintained the advantage over Bell in this backfield and continues to score at a regular rate though, so expect him to maintain his lead role. Bell has been consistently involved with about six carries per game while scoring for the first time last week, but his efficiency has been lackluster with just 3.4 yards per carry with his new team. The offensive line is solid and back to full health, but they will be in for quite the challenge in the trenches this week.
Tampa Bay has one of the top defenses in the league, particularly against the run as they have given up just 3.2 yards per carry and 73 rushing yards per game--both top marks in the league. This unit has impressed week in and week out, holding the Rams to only 37 total rushing yards last week. The most rushing yards an opposing running back has gained against Tampa Bay was 59 yards from Christian McCaffrey back in Week 2. Since then, only two running backs have rushed for 40 or more yards. The top-notch play from linebacker Lavonte David is a big reason for this team’s success, but the core of this defense lies in the trenches with a fully stacked defensive line. Even against a strong Chiefs offensive line, the Buccaneers will have the edge here, while their defensive backs are far from slouches when it comes time to knuckle down and tackle.