I noted last week that I would hit the last 16 teams in the NFL with a go forward view in this weeks article. I won’t waste any words, lets get to it.
Green Bay Packers – Missed these guys last week. I do know how the alphabet works. There was a lot of discussion early in the season about this being the first time in Aaron Rodgers career in which he had an elite defense. Things changed quickly. Green Bay is #20 in defensive DVOA and dead last in defensive adjusted line yards. Jaire Alexander has been a premium cover corner, but the rest of the secondary is only sustaining average play. Their defensive rest of season strength of schedule is middling, and I expect Aaron Rodgers to end up in some negative game scripts moving forward. The market could vastly overrate the Packers down the stretch in terms of team strength.
Los Angeles Rams – For those searching for tight end help. Gerald Everett has a real chance to have an effect in the second half of the season. In the 3 games Brandin Cooks snap share was under 80% this season, Everett has seen 11,10, and 3 targets. Obviously a very small sample, but with Cooks possibly missing the rest of the season Everett could have a big effect.
Miami Dolphins – I pitched Davante Parker to readers a few weeks ago, and he has come through since week 7. However, don’t expect a higher ceiling than what he is already showing sans Preston Williams. Additionally, the snap share looks to be split between a fearsome foursome of Allen Hurns, Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant, and Mike Gesicki. Parker is rosterable. Gesicki is a shot play, but I wouldn’t expect much.
Minnesota Vikings – Kirk Cousins was killed early in the year and has been ripped apart after losing to the Mahomes-less Chiefs, but he is having one of the best years of his career. He has a +5.7% completion percentage over expected, he is on pace for 30 touchdowns, and single digit interceptions.
New England Patriots – Sony Michel has been a ping-pong in my rest of season rankings. He is essentially beating the odds of being an inefficient running back behind an average offensive line (#14 in adjusted line yards) by falling into the endzone routinely. Last week showed the problem with Michel, if the Patriots fall behind and Rex Burkhead is active, he can fall out of favor quickly. The Patriots schedule is tougher in the coming weeks and in weeks both James White and Rex Burkhead are active Michel is averaging 6.18 half PPR points per game.
New Orleans Saints – The Saints are #2 in the NFL in play action yards per play. They have an elite offensive line and run game. This team is on a war path to an NFC conference championship game at worst.
New York Giants – The Giants face the 22nd hardest rest of seasons defensive schedule. They are allowing the 8th most fantasy points per game to QBs, 4th most to WR, and 6th most to tight end. Expect a ton of shootouts down the stretch for the Giants.
Oakland Raiders – Josh Jacobs has a chance to finish the season as a top 5 half PPR running back. The Raiders are 4th in adjusted line yards. The Raiders face the 9th easiest rush defense efficiency for the rest of the season. They need Trent Brown to stay healthy, but Richie Incognito has been a monster. This is a legitimate playoff contender.
Philadelphia Eagles – Jordan Howard is trending towards one of the more disrespected running backs of a generation. He is limited. He isn’t athletic, but he takes what he gets every touch. He is 5.5% higher than the average running back in success rate. That is better than a lot of “elite” running backs including Christian McCaffrey. He runs behind one of the top lines in the NFL. He might fall into a time share. I doubt it, but I just wanted to point it out.
Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers have been one of the most undervalued teams in the NFL this season. The defense is currently 5th in defensive DVOA. They were #26 after two weeks. Since being dismantled week 1 by the Patriots the team has lost to the Seahawks by 2, the 49ers on the road by 4, and the Ravens in overtime. The schedule is very soft in the back half of the season. I expect the team to have quite a few positive scripts for their bevy of running backs.
San Francisco 49ers – Everything I said about the Packers and regression above? The complete opposite is true about the Niners. They are #1 in overall DVOA, #2 in defensive DVOA. There rest of season schedule is tough on defense, but there is a strong chance that the market in undervaluing how good this team is. They are getting back two excellent offensive tackles, an all-pro fullback, added a valuable offensive weapon in Emanuel Sanders, and have a dominant front. Expect the Niners to continue to have the desire and scripts to hammer the football all the way to a playoff bye.
Seattle Seahawks – This isn’t the legion of boom anymore. The Seahawks are #27 in defensive DVOA. They are 23rd in adjusted line yards. They have a light schedule which may lead to potential streams against a terrible Seattle defense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Speaking of the terrible Seattle rush defense. Ronald Jones is gaining some traction after being announced the starter. However, I’m not sure what that means as the team deploys 3 different backs. Jones only received 53% of the snaps in week 9. The team faces the 26th most difficult rush defense schedule the rest of the season. They have a middling offensive line. They rarely play with a lead. The pieces you want from this offense are named Godwin and Evans.
Washington Redskins – Double Gross. Terry McLaurin is still a rosterable player. He just had a rough stretch with the 49ers, Vikings, and Bills. Washington has the 12th lightest pass defense schedule rest of season. McLaurin will get back to his early season success. The truth is always somewhere in the middle.