- Green Bay Packers rookie WR Romeo Doubs has been earning more and more targets from Aaron Rodgers and finds himself with a smashable matchup in London.
- The Texans-Jaguars and Bears-Vikings matchups might have a sneaky-high number of plays to work with considering their combined pace of play.
- Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford looks like he'll have his hands full with Micah Parsons and this Cowboys pass-rush.
Estimated reading time: 23 minutes
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
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: Data is from Weeks 1-4, 2022. There are obviously plenty of limitations to this due to the small sample size at hand, so key discrepancies will be highlighted in the ensuing paragraphs and the metrics will get stronger as the season continues.
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 (blue 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 (blue is good, red is bad).
These offenses breed explosive plays: Six offenses are averaging an explosive pass play on at least 11% of their dropbacks: Falcons (12.2%), Patriots (11.8%), Packers (11.7%), Broncos (11.3%), Lions (11.2%) and Titans (11%).
The Lions are the most entertaining team in the NFL: The Lions rank first in points per game (35). This is good! They also rank 32nd in points per game allowed (35.3). This is bad and explains why this rather lethal offense stands at just 1-3 after four weeks of action.
Through it all, Jared Goff has ripped off QB19, QB7, QB19 and QB2 finishes – good for the fifth-most fantasy points at the position this season. Last week’s performance was all the more impressive without Amon-Ra St. Brown (ankle), D.J. Chark (ankle) and D’Andre Swift‘s (knee, shoulder) services. This offense is objectively a fun time and should continue to put copious points on the board more weeks than not.
The potential concern is what happens if defenses start making Goff beat them deep. Through four weeks, he’s just six for 20 when throwing at least 20 yards downfield — good for bottom-three marks in yards per attempt (6.9) and adjusted completion rate (30%). A certain speedy rookie could certainly help matters in that department but either way, it’s been great to see Goff and company exceed even the most optimistic preseason expectations on the offensive side of the ball.
Injured Lions. You hate to see it: Josh Reynolds has posted 1-28-0, 3-38-1, 6-96-0 and 7-81-1 receiving lines in his first four games of the season. The latter performance came as the undisputed No. 1 receiver with both Amon-Ra St. Brown (ankle) and D.J. Chark (ankle) sidelined. Hell, D’Andre Swift (ankle) was out of the picture too.
Reynolds is a volume-based WR3 play if the Lions’ receiver room remains a walking graveyard, although life won’t be easy in a potential shadow matchup against Jonathan Jones — PFF’s 14th-highest-graded cornerback in coverage grade.
A-aron has a new No. 1 wide receiver: Rookie WR Romeo Doubs leads the Packers in routes (107) and targets (24) over the past two weeks with presumed No. 1 option Allen Lazard back in the lineup. Of course, this is a small sample — and Doubs didn’t help his cause for more future opportunities by dropping a late-game 40-yard score in Week 4 — but I’d prioritize Doubs over Lazard for the remainder of the season.
That includes this week as well in a winnable potential shadow matchup against Adoree’ Jackson, who has allowed an 11-172-1 receiving line into his coverage this year and boasts a mediocre 59.8 PFF coverage grade. Doubs remains firmly in the WR3 conversation with the potential to continue soaring even higher.