This article is part of our Exploiting the Matchups series.
As of Thursday morning, D.J. Chark was 68 percent started on Yahoo, lower than JuJu Smith-Schuster (83 percent) and Robert Woods (77 percent). Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers was at 72 percent, above Dak Prescott (65 percent) and Kyler Murray (54 percent).
I'm not saying preseason expectations are totally meaningless after five weeks, but we do have a large enough sample to place serious weight on many of the big surprises, i.e., Chark nearly doubling the fantasy production of Smith-Schuster and Woods, or Murray and Prescott sitting more than five points per game ahead of Rodgers.
That's not to say Rodgers, Smith-Schuster and Woods are poor options for the typical fantasy lineup; it's just that they're being started over better choices in some cases. My broader point? Any discussion of weekly matchups needs to account for these changes in baseline expectation. An "upgrade" for Baker Mayfield means he should have one of his better weeks in what's clearly a disappointing season, not that I expect him to put up 300 yards and three TDs.
Before we get into specific players, here are some of my favorite tools for analyzing matchups and determining player valuations each week:
- Jeff Erickson's weekly rankings
- RotoWire's weekly projections
- Betting odds
- RotoWire's pages for advanced stats and TE route data.
- Pace stats and DVOA from Football Outsiders
- Next Gen Stats from NFL.com
- Player Grades and Premium Stats from Pro Football Focus
- Personnel Grouping Frequencies and Run:Pass Ratios from SharpFootballStats.com
- Opponent and teammate injuries
- Target share