Top 5 Passing Matchups Week 7
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Top 5 Passing Matchups Week 7
Bottom 5 Passing Matchups Week 7
Top 5 Rushing Matchups Week 7
Bottom 5 Rushing Matchups Week 7
Rushing Matchup Chart Week 7
Passing Matchup Chart Week 7
Detroit at Atlanta
The Lions pass game certainly isn’t easy to trust. They’re producing just 248 yards a game, well below preseason expectations, and Matthew Stafford has yet to top 300 once. Still, there’s plenty of talent in this unit, and it’s been reasonably efficient thus far. The trouble has been volume - just 34 attempts a game - not a lack of playmaking ability. Kenny Golladay is back to a full role, and he had his way with the Jaguars’ beleaguered secondary last week, to the tune of 105 yards on just 4 catches. He likely would’ve topped 150 that had the game ever been in any doubt. At this point, Stafford is unafraid to simply put catchable balls into the air for his dominant youngster. He’s capable of simply throwing Golladay into a huge day against a light secondary like Atlanta’s, and that says nothing of Marvin Jones Jr and T.J. Hockenson, playmakers themselves who could snap awake at any moment.
The Falcons pass defense remains one of fantasy’s most predictably beatable matchups. They banded together last week to intercept Kirk Cousins three times, altering the course of that game toward a rare Falcons win. But there was still plenty of production to be had - Cousins threw for 343 yards and 3 touchdowns, with rookie wideout Justin Jefferson sailing through the secondary for 166 and 2. Thus far all 6 Falcons opponents have topped 310 through the air, and 5 have thrown multiple touchdowns. There just isn’t much talent to speak of here: the best active cornerback, rookie A.J. Terrell, has been wildly inconsistent in coverage himself. Isaiah Oliver has been one of football’s worst throughout 2020, giving up deep balls and touchdowns in bunches, and the safeties are badly overmatched in help coverage. Keanu Neal boasts a strong reputation in run support but is frequently targeted and beaten when forced to cover the slot. Tight ends have an especially good time in this matchup: they’ve given up monster games to the likes of Dalton Schultz (9 for 88 and 1), Jimmy Graham (6 for 60 and 2), Robert Tonyan Jr (6 for 98 and 3). Just last week, Minnesota’s Irv Smith beat Neal badly up the seam for a big play en route to 55 yards of his own.
LA Chargers vs Jacksonville
The Chargers have to be thrilled with what they’ve seen thus far from rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. Pegged as the rawest and distantly third-best prospect from the draft’s top 10, his unexpected leap into action has gone off without a hitch. There have been few rookie jitters to his game: Herbert has hit on 72% of his throws, putting up 8.7 yards apiece and 310 per game. Unsurprisingly, his attention has been focused on Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, and his running backs, with almost no one else in the gameplan. But that’s more than enough playmaking talent for Herbert to spin gold with - especially in such a favorable matchup.
The Jaguars simply can’t stop anyone through the air. More specifically, they allow opposing passing games to accomplish pretty much whatever their gameplans dictate. Three of their six opponents have topped 300 yards; the other three threw much less but completed 73% of their throws (8.3 per attempt) in better game scripts. The Jacksonville secondary is young and evolving, and it’s been very beatable in its transition. Outside cornerbacks C.J. Henderson and Sidney Jones have actually made for a strong, promising pair when active together. But they get little support from the likes of Tre Herndon and Chris Claybrooks, and the safeties don’t provide much coverage help themselves. It doesn’t help that the pass rush has struggled to push the pocket at all, tied for last in the league with just five sacks. When rising star Josh Allen sits, as he did last week and may again Sunday, there’s virtually no pressure created without blitzing heavily. Overall, Herbert projects to an extremely easy time finding his weaponry - particularly the ones who work on quick-hitting inside routes. Allen and Henry, in particular, present serious mismatches for this unit.
Arizona vs Seattle
The Cardinals could hardly be more rested for this showdown, having sleepwalked past the pitiful Jets before last week’s bye. Kyler Murray put up a career-high 380 yards in Week 5, making the offense’s up-tempo spread scheme look easy. It won’t be that easy every week - you can only play the Jets so often - but it was encouraging to see such a dominant show nonetheless. Murray has had little trouble spreading the ball around; DeAndre Hopkins gets his (106 yards a game on a 29% target share), but Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella have also been able to find consistent room downfield. Murray gets his backs involved, too, using the entire field to bludgeon defenses at various levels. This attack is still a growing one, but it’s certainly proven capable of blowing through weak matchups.
The Seahawks have been ravaged by injury on defense, but even when healthy they’ve been unable to stop the pass from any angle. Amazingly, they’ve allowed 12 different receivers to top 64 yards through just 5 games, and 7 of them easily cleared 100. That list includes a few stars, but also the likes of Russell Gage, N'Keal Harry, and Cedrick Wilson. Simply put, this secondary is in dire need of another talent infusion; the one from this offseason hasn’t yet paid dividends. Cornerbacks Shaquill Griffin and Quinton Dunbar have been massive disappointments after great 2019 seasons, and they’ve gotten little help from shaky holdover Tre Flowers. Of course, the unit as a whole will take a notable step forward once star safety Jamal Adams returns to action. If he’s able to suit up Sunday, he’ll at least be able to help up the seams - Adam Thielen and DeVante Parker dominated in his absence - and as a difference-making blitzer. Still, he wouldn’t move the needle much on this matchup; the Seahawks were shredded by the Falcons, Patriots, and Cowboys even before his injury. There are so many downfield holes to exploit that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see multiple Cardinals exploit them for big lines.
Pittsburgh at Tennessee
The Steelers haven’t needed to throw a great deal thus far - just 33 attempts per game - thanks to lots of positive game script. But situationally they’ve been fantastic, and they boast as much quick-strike potential as anyone. Ben Roethlisberger (deep). The biggest story there has been the prodigious play of rookie wideout Chase Claypool, who continues to win downfield matchups several times a week. Over the past two games, he’s drawn 26% of Roethlisberger’s targets and spun them into 184 yards, with 3 touchdowns through the air. James Washington has stepped back up as a downfield playmaker as well, while JuJu Smith-Schuster has disappointed but looms as a slot threat. As soon as this unit is forced to throw for four quarters, it will likely erupt and singlehandedly win a fantasy week.
The Titans pass defense is packed with big, notable names, from the pass rush to the very back end of the secondary. But it’s yet to truly come together, as seen last week in Deshaun Watson’s brilliant (and far too easy) performance. Watson hit on 28 of his 37 throws for 335 yards and 4 touchdowns; if the Texans were blessed with a better defense themselves, he’d have been the Week 6 hero. Starters Johnathan Joseph, Malcolm Butler, and Kenny Vaccaro all carry much bigger names than games at this point, and all three were scorched at some point by Watson last Sunday. Butler’s slip-up was particularly egregious, giving Will Fuller V an easy 53-yard touchdown in the final minutes of regulation. Of course, not all the blame falls on the secondary. The pass rush, paid well and headed by Jadeveon Clowney and Harold Landry, is hurrying passers at a bottom-five rate. The coverage guys may well turn things around mentally, but it will be hard to bet on them if forced to hold downfield coverage all season. This looks like a top-tier matchup for Roethlisberger and his receivers, who project to big wins both inside and outside. The biggest mismatches, though, are in the slot, where Smith-Schuster and tight end Eric Ebron will see a steady diet of the deficient Vaccaro and Kristian Fulton.
Green Bay at Houston
The Packers have enjoyed a major Aaron Rodgers resurgence here in 2020, drawing MVP-level numbers the first four weeks of the season. Rodgers produced 8.7 yards per attempt to open the year, with 13 touchdowns and nary an interception. Even more impressive was the fact that top receiver Davante Adams and fellow starter Allen Lazard missed most of that stretch. The whole unit hiccupped badly in Week 6, but Adams is now back in action, and there’s little reason to worry about the Buccaneers’ dismantling. Rodgers is seeing the field well, spreading the ball to a number of dynamic playmakers. If there’s a big Week 7 concern, it’s over the health of star left tackle David Bakhtiari, who could conceivably fail to suit up. Bakhtiari left Sunday’s loss and didn’t return, though his chest injury isn’t believed to be serious.
The Texans make for a fantastic bounceback matchup. Struggling to rush the passer or cover downfield, they’ve allowed 70% of passes to be completed, and they’ve registered just a single interception through six games. The last two weeks have brought them to their statistical low point, with Gardner Minshew and Ryan Tannehill combining for 665 yards and 6 touchdowns. Opposing passers simply don’t fear the rush or the secondary, and they tend to drive the ball efficiently for as long as game script allows. The Texans’ scheme bounces the cornerbacks around, with Bradley Roby doing the most shadow work, but none of them present much of an obstacle. Safeties Justin Reid and Eric Murray are underwhelming in coverage, offering little help when dynamic wideouts hit the seams. Adams shouldn’t have much difficulty working through this leaky unit, and deep threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling is in a great spot for a handful of splash catches.