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Fantasy Football: OL/DL matchups to target and avoid in Week 17

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers center Bradley Bozeman (56) gets ready to hike the ball to quarterback Sam Darnold (14) in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

  • Trust the Sam Darnold and D.J. Moore connection: This Carolina Panthers QB/WR duo has been among the best in the league when Darnold has a clean pocket.
  • Jared Goff is a top-six quarterback…: From a clean pocket, Goff’s numbers are top-shelf.
  • Managing expectations: Mismatches in the trenches could limit some big-name fantasy options in Cincinnati and Seattle.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The fantasy football playoffs have arrived; therefore, fantasy managers are going to agonize over every lineup decision heading into this week. There are some important mismatches in the trenches this week, as well as some deeper plays that need to be considered. Good luck to everyone still vying for a championship. May the odds be in your favor. 

NOTE: Click here to see this week’s entire offensive line/defensive line matchup tool.


Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Panthers' offensive line ranks fourth in pass-blocking grade (77.5) after allowing a 18.3% pressure rate — second-best rate in the league. Tampa Bay’s defensive line has struggled to generate much of a pass rush, ranking 30th with a 60.5 pass-rush grade and 37th with a 23.9% pressure rate.

Top players(s) to target

QB Sam DarnoldDarnold made the list last week and continues to be a solid streaming option, as he continues to be efficient when kept clean this season. Darnold now owns an 82.8 passing grade when kept clean, which ranks 12th among all quarterbacks since Week 12 (when he took over the starting job). He has also registered two touchdowns, four big-time-throws and zero turnover-worthy plays while ranking second in yards per attempt (10.3) in that span with no pressure on the play.

WR D.J. MooreSince Darnold took over as the starting quarterback (Week 12), Moore has posted two top-12 PPR finishes at his position, which is as many as he had over the previous 11 weeks. He has been a key beneficiary when Darnold has a clean pocket, as he ranks tied (with teammate Terrace Marshall) for second among wide receivers (min. 25 snaps) in average depth of target (18.3 yards) when there is no pressure on the play. Under the same circumstances, he also ranks sixth in yards per reception (18.4), second in deep target rate (43.8%) and 11th in yards per route run (3.06).

Cleveland Browns @ Washington Commanders

The Browns' offensive line ranks sixth in run-blocking grade (74.4) and has created the most explosive runs (55) for its running backs. The Commanders' defensive front ranks 23rd in run-defense grade (54.0), creating the fourth-best run-game advantage for Cleveland’s offensive line in the trenches this week.

Top players(s) to target


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