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 1-5.
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 6 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+ yds
Big run play: 15+ pic.twitter.com/sVq3kA9ScM
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 14, 2020
- Only the Rams (14%), Packers (13%), Vikings (12%), Bills (12%), Texans (12%) and Cowboys (10%) have posted an explosive pass-play rate above 10% this season.
- Dak Prescott (ankle, IR) is done for the season. Andy Dalton is a sum-of-its-parts QB; his best season as a pro occurred in 2015 with A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones and a healthy Tyler Eifert at his disposal. This Cowboys WR room is every bit as talented. However, even career-best production only yielded Dalton QB11 honors in fantasy points per game in 2015. The soon to be 33-year-old QB is certainly one of the best backup options in the league, but we still have plenty of evidence that Dalton isn’t anything more than an above-average QB at his best.
- QBs that are set up for success this week in creating chunk plays through the air include: Jared Goff, Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, Gardner Minshew, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Allen.
- The return of Kenny Golladay in Week 3 seemingly reinvigorated this offense’s downfield approach: Matthew Stafford has posted 10.2 and 13.3 yard average target depths over his past two games after posting 9.3 and 8.8 marks in Weeks 1-2, respectively. Stafford led the league in average target depth last season and emerged as a high-end fantasy QB thanks in large part to this aggressive mindset. Things haven’t been so smooth to start 2020, although this schedule up until the fantasy playoffs could be exploitable for everyone involved in this passing game.
- There was some concern over Fitzpatrick’s deep-ball ability going into last week. Overall, he completed just three of eight pass attempts thrown at least 20 yards downfield for 69 scoreless yards in Weeks 1-4. This changed against the 49ers, as the artist known as FitzMagic completed five of six deep-ball attempts for 199 yards and a pair of scores during the Dolphins’ blowout win.