Eight weeks into the season, we know where we stand in the playoff hunt, and we know which run defenses, pass defenses, running games, and passing games are good and bad. So we can set our focus on players to acquire (and maybe trade away) for the fantasy playoffs. The first step in this exercise is figuring out which matchups are true exploits and avoids at this point in the season.
Quarterback - Exploit
- Arizona - Kirk Cousins and Andy Dalton posted excellent games against them in the last two weeks. Geno Smith and Jalen Hurts posted good rushing stats against them. Even Derek Carr threw two scores against them.
- Detroit - Dak Prescott and Bailey Zappe had so-so fantasy days against them, but they threw the ball 25 and 21 times, respectively, and the Lions offense was missing its two best players to put pressure on the offense to score. Otherwise, every quarterback they’ve faced has thrown for multiple scores except Jalen Hurts, who ran for 90 yards and a score.
- Kansas City - Every quarterback the Chiefs have faced this year has thrown for multiple scores. Four of seven have topped 300 passing yards. They’ve faced Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Matt Ryan this year.
- Las Vegas - Every quarterback that has faced the Raiders this year has accounted for multiple scores. That includes Ryan Tannehill, Andy Dalton, Davis Mills, and Russell Wilson.
Quarterback - Avoid
- Buffalo - No quarterback has topped 20 points in standard Footballguys scoring against the Bills. Not Patrick Mahomes II, not Lamar Jackson, not Tua Tagovailoa. Nobody.
- Dallas - Before Justin Fields had a good Week 8, the Cowboys held down Tom Brady, Joe Burrow, and Jalen Hurts to their lowest (for Brady, assuming you get more than -1 for an interception) fantasy point totals of the season.
- Denver - The Broncos haven’t exactly faced a murderer’s row of quarterbacks, but there have only been four passing touchdowns against them all season, and teams are averaging under 200 passing yards vs. Denver this year.
- Philadelphia - You would think a defense that is often letting up in the second half would give up bigger fantasy numbers to passers. The Eagles have allowed seven passing scores in seven games, and teams are averaging around 200 passing yards a game against them (with a high of 250) even though they are also averaging 37 passing attempts.
Running Back - Exploit
- Arizona - The Cardinals contained Josh Jacobs in Week 2, and Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey had to get most of their production through the air, but you’ll still want to play your running backs against this soft defense.
- Chicago - In addition to the three-score game Tony Pollard just posted, the Bears have allowed two score games to Aaron Jones and Dalvin Cook, and even Brian Robinson Jr was relevant against them. Only the season opener, played in a rainstorm, saw this defense fail to allow an opposing running back to go over 12 **NON-PPR** points. And they just traded away Roquan Smith.
- Cleveland - A running back had scored in every game against the Browns this year going into Week 8, and they were on a four-game streak of allowing multiple running back scores in Weeks 4-7.
- Detroit - Raheem Mostert disappointed in Week 8, but otherwise, the Lions have allowed multiple scores to opposing backfields in four of six games, with Rhamondre Stevenson rushing for 161 in one of the others and Antonio Gibson scoring with J.D. McKissic catching seven passes in the other.
- Houston - Four different running backs have scored multiple touchdowns against them, Jonathan Taylor posted a 161-yard game against them, and opposing backs combined for over 100 rushing yards against them in the other two games.
- Jacksonville - This run defense (and team) got off to a good start, but in the last five games, the Eagles backs scored three times, Dameon Pierce had 113 total yards and a score, Deon Jackson had 121 total yards and a score, Saquon Barkley went for 135 total yards, and Denver backs scored twice against Jacksonville.
- LA Chargers - In four of the last five games, the Chargers have allowed at least 131 yards to opposing running backs. They are allowing 5.7 yards per rush attempt this season.
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