Thursday Night Football
Green Bay @ Seattle
Team Totals: Seahawks 26, Packers 23.5
After matching a season high with 31 points in last week’s shootout loss to the Rams, the Seahawks return to The Clink to face a Packers team that has allowed point totals of 31 (WAS) – 31 (DET) – 29 (LAR) – 31 (NE) in its four away games and is without OLB Nick Perry (knee), LCB Kevin King (hamstring), and SS Kentrell Brice (ankle). Russell Wilson has the NFL’s highest passer rating versus the blitz (129.4), convenient since Packers DC Mike Pettine blitzes at the league’s ninth-highest rate (26.5%). Most important for Wilson’s fantasy value is increased scrambling after his early-season hamstring injury, delivering rushing lines of 5/41/0 and 9/92/0 in Weeks 9-10. With his dual-threat dynamism restored and top-12 fantasy results in five straight starts, Wilson has resumed high-floor, high-ceiling form as an every-week QB1. … Wilson’s lone potential Week 11 hurdle is a ground-heavy assault that curtails his usage against a soft Packers front that permitted 97/482/4 (4.97 YPC) rushing to enemy backs in its last four games. Muddying matters, Chris Carson (hip) is due back to return Seattle’s backfield to a three-way timeshare after Rashaad Penny’s Week 10 breakout rushing game (12/108/1) and Mike Davis’ 80-yard, one-score effort. We're likely looking at a hot-hand scenario where OC Brian Schottenheimer gives all three backs early-game carries and decides their workloads based on in-game “feel.” Carson, Davis, and Penny are all risky flex plays, albeit with undeniable big-game potential as home-favorite backs in a plus draw.
Wilson’s Weeks 4-10 target distribution: Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett 27; Davis 24; David Moore 23; Nick Vannett 19; Penny 5; Ed Dickson 4; Carson 3. … The Packers inserted street free agent Bashaud Breeland at slot corner last week, only for Breeland to pull his groin during the game. Danny Amendola (7/72/0), Julian Edelman (6/71/0), and Robert Woods (5/70/0) are the last three slot receivers to face Green Bay. Averaging just 4.5 targets over his last six games, slot man Baldwin remains a WR3/flex option whose outlook is enhanced by Pettine’s beat-up secondary and this game’s 49.5-point total, fifth highest of Week 11. … Lockett ran 35% of his Week 10 routes in the slot and leads Seattle in touchdown catches (7), notable since Green Bay has coughed up the NFL’s sixth-most TDs to enemy wideouts (13). Lockett has gotten by on low volume since Baldwin returned from early-season knee injuries, averaging an identical 4.5 targets over the last six games. … Moore is entirely touchdown or bust with four targets or fewer in five of the last six weeks. Moore’s efficiency regressed sharply in the last two games, managing 32 combined yards on ten targets. Moore’s 145 Air Yards do lead the team in that span – Lockett is a distant second (91) – so positive variance could soon flip in Moore’s favor. Moore averaged 38 routes run in Weeks 9-10 after never topping 22 routes before in his career. … Vannett scored an opening-drive touchdown from eight yards out in last week’s defeat, then was barely heard from. He ran 21 routes to Dickson’s 16. Vannett has cleared 45 yards in 1-of-32 career games.
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On what’s become a balanced team leaning on its run game in an offense that's long failed to carve out innovative edges, 2018 fantasy disappointment Aaron Rodgers visits CenturyLink Field with only two top-ten scores over his last eight starts facing a Seattle defense that has allowed zero top-ten quarterback results in that span. It’s been this way for years; Rodgers’ big plays seemingly all come off improvisation rather than design, and he was forced to absorb two drive-killing third-down coverage sacks in last week’s win over Miami as Packers pass catchers failed to get open in a scheme that cuts them no breaks. Realistically, Green Bay should’ve dropped 50 points on the Dolphins. Rodgers remains a quality QB1 start virtually every week, but there are reasons for his lack of to-date dominance, and many are beyond his control. … Albeit by the Chargers and Rams’ truly elite running backs, Seattle got ethered for a 35/254/2 (7.26 YPC) rushing line in Weeks 9-10 and will be without WLB K.J. Wright (knee) on Thursday night. There is a case to be made for Green Bay’s rushing attack joining the “elite” echelon, though, with Aaron Jones leading the NFL in yards per carry (6.8) and averaging an absurd 8.1 YPC on first-down runs, when defenses are best equipped to stop him. And he's doing it behind a Green Bay line that ranks top six in yards created before contact per rushing attempt (3.1). In Week 10, Jones set or matched season highs in touches (18), yards (172), touchdowns (2), routes run (23), targets (5), catches (3), and receiving yards (27). He’s making a mad dash toward RB1 value.
Rodgers’ Weeks 8-10 target distribution: Davante Adams 23; Marquez Valdes-Scantling 18; Jones, Randall Cobb, and Jimmy Graham 11; Equanimeous St. Brown 9; Jamaal Williams 3. … Perimeter wide receivers have begun to have their way with Seattle. It was Marvin Jones (7/117/2) in Week 8 before both Tyrell Williams and Mike Williams scored on fifth-round rookie RCB Tre Flowers in Week 9. Brandin Cooks (10/100) and Robert Woods (4/89/0) each beat this secondary for productive Week 10 outings. Adams runs a team-high 52% of his routes at right corners and will catch Flowers in coverage the most. … With Cobb (hamstring) sidelined again, Valdes-Scantling will primarily play slot receiver after running 62% of his routes inside in last week’s win. St. Brown was Green Bay’s other perimeter wideout but ran only 19 routes behind Adams’ 32 and MVS’ 31. Valdes-Scantling warrants upside WR3 treatment averaging 6.8 targets for 72.2 yards with two TDs over his last five games. MVS offers more big-play potential outside, and a higher volume floor in the slot. He had six grabs against the Dolphins, but all came close to the line of scrimmage. … This is a revenge game for ex-Seahawk Graham, whose 2018 production has been all over the map with fewer than 25 yards in 4-of-9 weeks but 75-plus yards in three others. Graham was a Week 10 ghost with season lows in routes run (21), playing time (68%), and targets (1). He was catch-less until early in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks have faced one of the softest tight end schedules in the NFL but coughed up a perfect 5/40/2 receiving line on five targets to Rams tight ends last week. Wright’s aforementioned absence won’t help in second-level coverage.
Score Prediction: Seahawks 30, Packers 24