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Fantasy Football: OL/DL matchups to target and avoid in Week 4

Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson (38) runs the ball during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

  • Play Stevenson: Ride the Rhamondre Stevenson momentum into Week 4 facing a Packers defensive line whose strength does not come from their run defense.
  • Atlanta OL should pave way for a productive Patterson: Cordarrelle Patterson has looked like a top running back behind an offensive line that will continue to allow him to feast on the ground against a banged-up and poor Cleveland Browns line.
  • Wentz's woeful matchup with Dallas: Carson Wentz could be in for another rough day as they go from one sack-heavy defensive line to another against the Dallas Cowboys this week.
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Whether fantasy managers are looking for some important tie-breakers in fantasy start/sit decisions or a DFS advantage, understanding which teams have the advantage in the trenches can be a key to weekly fantasy football success. These are some of the more crucial matchups to be aware of as fantasy managers head into Week 4.

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


OFFENSIVE LINE MATCHUPS TO TARGET

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS @ GREEN BAY PACKERS

The Packers have one of the best pass-rushing defensive lines, but when it comes to run defense grade, their defensive line ranks in the bottom-eight (51.6) so far this season. The Patriots boast a top-five graded run-blocking offensive line (70.3) in the NFL. With New England likely to play their backup quarterback this week, they may lean on that run game more than usual.

TOP PLAYER(S) TO TARGET

RB Rhamondre Stevenson: With Stevenson pushing his way to the front of the line in the Patriots backfield, he stands to be the top beneficiary in this matchup. The Packers’ defensive line ranks second in the NFL in missed tackles (seven) against the run while Stevenson is among the best in the league in creating yards after contact. He has managed a top-eight rate in missed tackles forced (0.28) and yards after contact per attempt (4.2). The Packers are currently 9.5-point favorites, which could allow for a positive game script for Stevenson in the passing game, where he dominated the Patriots backfield in targets (64%) last week.

RB Damien Harris: Harris is among the best running backs in the league so far this season at not getting stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage with just 5.7% of his carries resulting in a run stuff. The Packers' defensive line has been in the middle of the pack when it comes to run stops (21) so far this season as well. Harris is still involved in the Patriots' run game with 46% of attempts last week, so he’ll have a chance to garner some fantasy value in Week 4.

CLEVELAND BROWNS @ ATLANTA FALCONS

The Falcons' defensive line has been the second-worst in the NFL at generating pressure so far this season at just 18.7%. The Browns’ offensive line ranks fourth in the league in overall offensive grade (73.2) while the Falcons' defensive line ranks fourth from the bottom in overall defensive grade (55.3). This adds up to the largest mismatch in PFF’s offensive line/defensive line matchup tool this week.

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