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Hartitz: Fantasy Football Week 8 Mismatch Manifesto

Oct 25, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) attempts a pass during the first half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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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
  • Pace
  • Pressure
  • Yards Before Contact
  • Passing Game
  • EPA

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 1-7.

Explosive Plays

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).

  • Only the Vikings (11.8%), Rams (11.3%), Packers (11.3%), Colts (11%), Texans (10.4%) and Lions (10.1%) have posted an explosive pass-play rate over 10% this season.
  • Kirk Cousins is averaging career-high marks in yards per attempt (8.1) and average target depth (10.6) alike. This sort of high-end efficiency and gunslinger mentality has helped consistently enable both Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen to plenty of fantasy goodness, but ultimately Cousins 1) doesn’t possess a rushing floor, and 2) is at risk of minimal volume anytime the Vikings can play with a positive game script.
  • QBs that are set up for success this week in creating chunk plays through the air include: Teddy Bridgewater, Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen.
  • Bridgewater is healthy and showing off mobility that we haven’t seen since his pre-injury Vikings days. The Panthers offense is still growing, but he’s enabled *both* Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore to plenty of fantasy success so far. Teddy two-gloves’ average of 8.2 yards per attempt is tied for the seventh-highest mark among 32 signal-callers with at least 100 dropbacks this season. He’s my 12th-ranked QB in Week 8.

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