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Hartitz: Fantasy Football Week 9 Mismatch Manifesto

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 1-8.

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 (11.4%), Colts (11.4%), Packers (10.5%), Texans (10.4%), Bills (10.3%), Chargers (10%) and Chiefs (10%) have posted an explosive pass-play rate of at least 10% this season.
  • Only Drew Lock (10.7) has a higher average target depth than Kirk Cousins (10) among all QBs with at least 100 dropbacks this season. Normally, Cousins can make up for his lack of high-end volume with this sort of fantasy-friendly gunslinger mentality, but instances such as Week 8 (14 total pass attempts) will render everybody involved in this passing game as non-viable fantasy assets. It’s tough to predict when exactly the Vikings will have such an easy time building and maintaining a multi-score lead, although this week’s matchup against the struggling Lions certainly seems like a contender.
  • QBs that are set up for success this week in creating chunk plays through the air include: Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, Matthew Stafford, Lock and Cousins.
  • Right now the only sure thing in fantasy football, and maybe life as a whole, is the reality that Rodgers and Davante Adams will supply weekly magic. Wilson and Tyler Lockett still might hold the throne as the league’s single-best QB-WR duo in terms of Jedi-like chemistry, but it’s certainly a conversation.

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