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 1-6.
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 7 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/HqJY5AvO7g
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 21, 2020
- Only the Rams (12%), Vikings (11%), Texans (11%), Colts (11%) and Packers (10%) have posted an explosive pass-play rate of at least 10% this season.
- Week 6 demonstrated that one way opponents can take away the world-beater version of Aaron Rodgers is by consistently slamming him into the ground. Losing LT David Bakhtiari (chest) was the beginning of the end for this passing game during their 38-10 loss to the Packers. Overall, Rodgers was pressured on just 31 dropbacks (21%) in Weeks 1-5 compared to 18 dropbacks (44%) in Week 6 alone. This sort of pressure probably won’t be on the table ahead of Week 7’s matchup against the Texans; Tampa Bay (40.2% pressure rate) has been far more efficient at getting after opposing QBs than Houston (33%). Still, it’s a reminder that 1) Rodgers and company faced a cozy schedule to open the season, and 2) spectacular performances can’t happen every week.