Welcome to the Fantasy Football Forecast! My goal with this weekly column is to get you actionable information as quickly as possible, and by that, I mean with a lot of charts instead of words. The first part of the column includes league-wide charts to visualize trends in matchups, and then I take a team-by-team approach to preview matchups. As always, hit me up on Twitter @HaydenWinks if you have questions.
Friendly Fantasy Offenses: Chiefs, Ravens
Unfriendly Fantasy Offenses: Titans, Vikings, Seahawks, Texans
Recommended Defenses: Ravens, Chiefs, 49ers
Chiefs (30.5 projected points, -10 spread) vs. HOU
Passing: The Chiefs passing offense is easily the best on the slate. Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill should be close to 100% now, and the Texans’ defense is arguably the worst of the remaining teams. Mahomes has the best adjusted sack rate matchup, and Houston has given up the most PPR points through the air and second-most PPR points in slot coverage. Mahomes is in Lamar Jackson’s tier, and Tyreek/Travis Kelce are the top overall players at their positions. Even Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, and Mecole Hardman are in play as DFS fliers.
Rushing: Damien Williams has had 18.2 and 31.4 PPR points on 17 and 16 touches in the Chiefs last two games with LeSean McCoy standing on the sideline. It’s Williams' backfield right now, and it’s one of the best ones in the league to have. Williams has a 15-22 touch projection with goal-line work on a team expected to run the most plays and score the most points of the week. Oh, and the Texans have allowed the most receiving production to RBs on the slate. The only concern (and it’s a small one) is that Shady re-enters the mix now that it’s playoff time.
Forecast: Patrick Mahomes elite QB1, Tyreek Hill elite WR1, Sammy Watkins boom-or-bust WR4, Demarcus Robinson boom-or-bust WR5, Mecole Hardman boom-or-bust WR4, Travis Kelce elite TE1, Damien Williams upside RB1, LeSean McCoy RB4
Ravens (28.25 projected points, -10 spread) vs. TEN
Passing: Lamar Jackson has a rock-solid home matchup and is coming off two weeks of rest. LJ is the QB1 overall, not just because he will run for 50-150 yards, but also because of the Ravens’ No. 1 passing DVOA offense. The Titans have allowed the second most PPR points through the air (2nd-worst on “deep targets” and 3rd-worst on “underneath targets”), giving Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown decent shots at ceiling games. Willie Snead also has a plus matchup with Tennessee allowing the most PPR points in slot coverage of the remaining teams.
Rushing: Everyone knows what Lamar Jackson is capable of doing on the ground, but the real discussion is with Mark Ingram (calf). He was limited on Thursday and will likely be a game-time decision. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport made it seem like he’ll push playing. Ingram will be the clear-cut starter if that’s the case, although a soft-tissue injury worries me for re-aggravation purposes. Gus Edwards and Justice Hill will clean up behind him and would likely split touches if Ingram is out. The Titans have allowed 12.2 PPR points on receiving plays to RBs this season, the third most of the remaining teams. Everyone has a decent matchup here.
Forecast: Lamar Jackson elite QB1, Marquise Brown upside WR3, Willie Snead WR5, Mark Andrews TE1, Hayden Hurst TE2, Mark Ingram (questionable) boom-or-bust RB2, Gus Edwards boom-or-bust RB3, Justice Hill boom-or-bust RB4