BOTTOM 5 PASSING MATCHUPS WEEK 14
To view all of our Week 14 Matchup content, please see the links below:
Top 5 Passing Matchups Week 14
Bottom 5 Passing Matchups Week 14
Top 5 Rushing Matchups Week 14
Bottom 5 Rushing Matchups Week 14
Rushing Matchup Chart Week 14
Passing Matchup Chart Week 14
Buffalo vs Pittsburgh
Josh Allen is having a spectacular season leading Buffalo’s passing offense to rank as one of the top passing units in football with 276.4 passing yards per game (3rd-most). Allen has completed 75% and 80% of his passes in the past two weeks and is on pace to best his 2019 completion rate by over 10 points as he has drastically improved as a passer. Allen has, however, shown some signs of weakness when facing talented passing defenses--such as the Patriots, Chiefs, and Chargers. Those three opponents yielded his three worst games this season, and this matchup with the Steelers will represent the toughest defense and pass-rush Allen has faced to date. At wide receiver, Allen’s favorite target remains Stefon Diggs--who ranks second in the league in targets per game with 10.2. Cole Beasley, however, has now seen double-digit targets in two of his last three games and exploded for 130 yards and a score last week--the second time in three weeks he has finished with 100+ yards and a touchdown. Gabriel Davis also remains involved as he has scored in two straight games.
The Steelers may have suffered their first loss of the season last week, but they remain one of the league’s top defenses that will undoubtedly cause headaches for the Bills passing game this week. An incredibly strong pass rush with a league-leading 44 sacks is the highlight of this defense. T.J. Watt is making a strong case for defensive MVP as he leads the league in sacks (12) and has racked five sacks in his last four games. Watt alone is enough to worry about, but the rest of this defensive line has also played exceptionally well, even without Bud Dupree in the lineup. Buffalo’s middling offensive line will undoubtedly struggle against this excellent Pittsburgh front seven. Looking to the secondary, the Steelers also have no shortage of talent with Joe Haden and Steven Nelson typically locking down opposing outside receivers. The status of both could be in question this week, however, as Nelson is struggling to return from a knee injury that sidelined him last week while Haden exited last week’s game with a possible concussion. Practice reports through the weekend will be huge for this situation, but even if they both sit, the Steelers have some strong depth at defensive back and an All-Pro safety in Minkah Fitzpatrick to help out in coverage.
New England at LA Rams
The New England passing offense remains one of the worst in the league as they are one of only four teams to average fewer than 200 passing yards per game. This complements only eight touchdowns compared to 13 interceptions as quarterback Cam Newton has struggled with consistency for most of the season. After a 365-yard explosion in Week 11 against the Texans, Newton has led this offense to just 84 and 69 passing yards in each of their last two games. Much of this offense has been funneled through the ground game, especially around the goal line as Newton has rushed for 11 touchdowns despite passing for only five. With Julian Edelman remaining sidelined this week, Jacobi Meyers should remain a top option through the air as he has averaged just under eight targets per game since Week 8, but his floor remains quite low after a 15-yard outing last week and a 38-yard outing in Week 11. Damiere Byrd is a deep threat option, while James White remains involved on check-downs out of the backfield.
The Rams defense is loaded with talent and has continuously frustrated opposing passing offenses this season. They held an explosive Cardinals offense to just 173 passing yards last week, which included cornerback Jalen Ramsey holding one of the top receivers in the league--DeAndre Hopkins--to only 52 yards. Strong cornerback play has been a staple of this defense as Ramsey, Troy Hill, and Darious Williams are all having spectacular seasons. This trio will make it extremely difficult for the young Patriots receivers to find space in this one. Adding to the strong coverage is an equally strong defensive line highlighted by perennial All-Pro Aaron Donald. New England’s middling offensive line will be at a significant disadvantage in this one as Cam Newton should struggle to find open options beyond his check-down man in James White.
Philadelphia vs New Orleans
The Philadelphia passing offense has been terrible in recent weeks, to the point that quarterback Carson Wentz was finally benched midway through last week’s game in favor of rookie Jalen Hurts. Wentz had averaged just 195 yards per game with six touchdowns and five interceptions in the four games leading up to last week’s benching, with his play appearing even more poorly than his stats with this offense stuck in neutral. Hurts somewhat invigorated the offense last week with 138 yards generated in just over a quarter of play, but he still managed to throw an interception while completing less than 50 percent of his passes. This passing offense should continue to funnel through their tight ends, especially now that Zach Ertz has returned to the field for the first time since Week 6. Ertz will need to prove he is back to form though, as Dallas Goedert has played well and will likely remain involved. Wide receiver has simply been a difficult position for the Eagles, especially in recent weeks as an Eagles wide receiver has exceeded 50 yards only three times in their last five games.
The Saints have been one of the best teams in the league against the pass, giving up just 212.8 passing yards per game (5th-fewest) while racking up 36 sacks (T-3rd most) and limiting opposing quarterbacks to the third-fewest fantasy points per game. Edge rusher Cameron Jordan highlights an impressive defensive line that should see mismatches against a reeling Eagles offensive line that is the only unit in football to allow over 50 sacks and recently had to place right tackle Lane Johnson on injured reserve. This defense has also been excellent in their coverage of opposing tight ends. Outside of a big game from Darren Waller in Week 2, there have been few notable performances by opposing tight ends when facing the Saints. In fact, they are allowing the fewest fantasy points per game to the position since Week 4. Excellent coverage from linebacker Demario Davis along with safety Marcus Williams has fueled this success and will present difficult matchups for these Eagles' tight ends.
LA Rams vs New England
The Rams passing offense has been quite productive in recent weeks despite some up-and-down play from quarterback Jared Goff. He has struggled with turnovers throughout the season and passed for one or fewer touchdowns in four of his last five games, but Goff has also eclipsed 300 passing yards in four of those last five games while propping this offense up to an average of 271.2 passing yards per game--fifth-most in the league. The duo of Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods continues to dominate targets in this offense, but it has been Woods with double-digit targets in three straight weeks who has garnered the most attention from Goff. Neither Kupp nor Woods have scored touchdowns with any level of consistency though, with only two touchdowns between them over the past six games. While the Rams tight ends are consistently involved in the passing offense, it is tough to rely on any pass-catchers beyond Woods or Kupp even if they are not scoring often. But both will see difficult matchups this week.
The New England passing defense has been particularly impressive as of late, holding a couple of explosive offenses in the Cardinals and Chargers to only 170 and 209 passing yards respectively while forcing three interceptions and giving up zero passing touchdowns in these last two games. On the season, this defense has now limited opposing quarterbacks to the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game. A big reason for the recent success has been the return of cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who made it back onto the field in Week 11 after a three-week absence. Gilmore hasn’t had one of his best seasons, but he remains a force to be reckoned with on the outside and should help keep tabs on Robert Woods in this one. Their other two primary cornerbacks--J.C. Jackson and Jonathan Jones--started the week limited in practice, but both are likely to suit up. This opportunistic secondary has forced at least one interception in seven of their last eight games while Jared Goff is on pace to come near his career-high in interceptions with 10 through 12 games, adding to a grim outlook for the Rams passing offense this week.
San Francisco vs Washington
The 49ers passing offense has been slightly above average with Nick Mullens under center for most of the season. Mullens has looked good in spots, but his questionable decision-making has led to an unsightly turnover margin with Mullens coughing up the football 11 times with only 9 passing touchdowns to show for it. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has been a favorite target for Mullens throughout the season, controlling nearly 30 percent of the team’s targets over his last four games with at least 75 yards in each outing and a touchdown in his last three starts. Deebo Samuel, however, is back to competing for a share of this passing offense with 9 and 13 targets in his past two starts and over 200 yards in those two games combined. Jordan Reed has seen mediocre stat lines since taking over as the primary pass-catching tight end in Week 9, but he is seeing a healthy target volume of four to six looks per game and did find the end zone last week for the first time this season.
The Washington defense is a balanced unit that has played well throughout the season against the pass. Success starts on the defensive line for this group, anchored by strong young talents Jonathan Allen and Chase Young. Both have played large roles in why this unit is pressuring opposing quarterbacks at one of the highest rates in the league and has racked up a total of 38 sacks--fourth-most this season. The 49ers have a pair of very talented offensive tackles though, so look for some creativity required by this Washington defensive line to find their penetration on the interior. At linebacker, second-year pro Cole Holcomb has done an excellent job stepping in mid-season and is now helping lock down the middle of the field as this defense has allowed an average of just 25 receiving yards per game to opposing running backs (3rd-best) and has allowed just one touchdown to tight ends since Week 4. Wide receivers aren’t finding much more success against these defensive backs either, as the position has scored the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game (PPR scoring) on the year when facing Washington while only one wide receiver has crossed the 100-yard mark. Both outside cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby will make it tough on these top 49ers receivers in Samuel and Aiyuk while the Football Team’s top-notch defensive line should keep Mullens sweating throughout this game.