• A different player from a clean pocket: Mac Jones has been night and day when kept clean versus when facing pressure this season, and this week’s mismatch should emphasize that.
• Dobbins is free: J.K. Dobbins has been impressive since his return from injury and has a positive matchup to push for RB1 upside this week.
• Not the same Sam Darnold: Fantasy teams in need of a deep play this week could rely on Darnold and his impressive efficiency from a clean pocket.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
It’s the fantasy football playoffs. Fantasy managers are going to agonize over every lineup decision heading into this week, so be sure to utilize all the data available to make key decisions. There are some important mismatches in the trenches this week, as well as some deeper plays that need to be considered.
NOTE: Click here to see this week’s entire offensive line/defensive line matchup tool.
OFFENSIVE LINE MATCHUPS TO TARGET
The Patriots' offensive line ranks 11th in pass-blocking grade (71.8) and will face off against the Bengals' defensive line, which ranks 20th in pass-rush grade (67.9). Cincinnati's front has generated just a 26.4% pressure rate (23rd) and is at risk of being without both of their top two edge rushers in Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson, although Hendrickson is currently considered questionable.
TOP PLAYER(S) TO TARGET
QB Mac Jones – Jones is tied for the lowest turnover-worthy play rate (1.1%) among quarterbacks with at least 20% of their team's dropbacks from a clean pocket. He also ranks seventh in passing grade (86.0) from a clean pocket with a 5.2% big-time-throw rate that ranks fourth. Jones is a nearly completely different quarterback when pressured, so matchups like this are key to any of his fantasy success this season.
WR Jakobi Meyers – Meyers leads all Patriots wide receivers in threat rate (22.5%), but when there is no pressure on the play, Meyers’ threat rate jumps about three percentage points forward (25.2%), which ranks 25th among all wide receivers. All three of Meyers’ touchdowns this season have come from a clean pocket, and while he’s consistently disappointed since the team’s Week 10 bye week, he has a good Week 16 matchup to get back on track for those in need of a deep flex option.
The Ravens' offensive line ranks ninth in run-blocking grade (70.4), having generated 40.0% of rushing yards before contact (second) and have allowed a stuffed run rate of just 7.0%, which ranks seventh. The Falcons' defensive line has managed just 28 tackles for loss or no gain against the run (tied for 24th) and is averaging 2.93 yards per tackle against the run, which is the third highest in the league.