The NFL is a matchup-driven league. Offensive coordinators are always looking to scheme their playmakers into one-on-one situations against a defender, while defensive coordinators will attempt to do anything in their power to upset the timing and rhythm of the opposing QB.
Despite the obvious impact that defenses have on opposing offenses, fantasy players and fans alike are often left with one-way metrics to describe offenses and defenses that they are then forced to compare against each other in an attempt to identify mismatches.
The goal here is to provide easy-to-decipher charts and notes to define each week’s key matchups and advantages on both sides of the ball in:
- Explosive Plays
- Yards Before Contact
- Passing Game
The following charts display matchup-specific information meant to highlight the largest mismatches in these ever-important facets of football to ultimately gain actionable betting and fantasy takeaways. And, of course, to have fun.
Note: This data is based on what has happened in Weeks 1-9.
Big plays make the football world go round. Matchups between explosive offenses and leaky defenses are exactly what we’re looking for when compiling game stacks in DFS, or when betting an over.
- Explosive Pass Rate: The sum of an offense’s rate of 20-plus yard completions per pass attempt and the opposing defense’s rate of 20-plus yard completions allowed per pass attempt. A higher percentage is better for offenses (green is good, red is bad).
- Explosive Run Rate: The sum of an offense’s rate of 15-plus yard gains per rush attempt and the opposing defense’s rate of 15-plus yard runs allowed per rush attempt. A higher percentage is better for offenses (green is good, red is bad).
Which Week 10 matchups feature big-play offenses vs. big-play allowing defenses?
Higher or lower % = large or small combined sum of the pass/rush big-play rate from the matchup's offense and defense (green = good, red = bad)
Big pass play: 20+ yards
Big run play: 15+ yards pic.twitter.com/C11h3wboRF
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) November 11, 2020
- Only the Vikings (13%), Bills (11%), Packers (11%), Chiefs (11%) and Colts (10%) have posted an explosive pass-play rate of at least 10% this season.
- Kirk Cousins has set season-high marks in yards per attempt in back-to-back weeks. He’s also been nothing short of remarkable at existing between the 1 to 2 seconds of getting the snap and handing the ball to Dalvin Cook. The Vikings have won two straight games and have racked up 62 combined points in these two games since their Week 7 bye. And yet, Cousins has posted QB24 and QB16 finishes thanks to throwing the ball a total of 34 times over the past two weeks.
- QBs that are set up for success this week in creating chunk plays through the air include: Cousins, Aaron Rodgers and Lamar Jackson.
- Lamar Jackson is the QB11 in both overall and fantasy points per game. This week’s matchup against a banged-up Patriots defense is winnable, and the reigning league MVP did manage to throw for 163 yards and a score while adding a 16-61-2 rushing line against a much-better version of this unit in 2020. He remains a weekly high-floor QB1 thanks to his ever-present absurd rushing upside; better days could be ahead against the league’s fourth-worst defense in explosive pass-play rate allowed.
- The likes of Tom Brady, Jared Goff and Ben Roethlisberger (knee, covid) are also set up better than usual to rack up some explosive plays in the passing game
- TB12 and company’s breakout party was supposed to be last Sunday night, but the Saints apparently didn’t get the memo. Of course, this talented passing game will certainly have better days ahead. The Panthers deserve credit for limiting Brady to just 217 passing yards and a single score back in Week 2; just realize it’s not wise to count on this loaded Buccaneers offense to underachieve in back-to-back weeks purely based on a sample size of 60 (incredibly) porous minutes.
- The Falcons (12%), Bengals (12%), Lions (12%), Patriots (12%), Jets (11%), Jaguars (10%) and Vikings (10%) are the only defenses that have allowed an explosive pass-play rate above 10% this season.
- Terry McLaurin caught 7-of-8 targets for 115 yards and a score against the Giants, most notably turning a potential interception and/or hospital ball into a spectacular 68-yard TD. Only Alvin Kamara (544) has more yards after the catch than the artist known as F1 (367). He’s the engine of this offense and has the sort of low-aDOT role to easily defeat Desmond Trufant, who deserves credit for limiting Adam Thielen to a 2-38-0 receiving line last week.
Terry McLaurin, wowpic.twitter.com/KZ7x3fH9nt
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) November 8, 2020