TOP 5 PASSING MATCHUPS WEEK 12
To view all of our Week 12 Matchup content, please see the links below:
Top 5 Passing Matchups Week 12
Bottom 5 Passing Matchups Week 12
Top 5 Rushing Matchups Week 12
Bottom 5 Rushing Matchups Week 12
Rushing Matchup Chart Week 12
Passing Matchup Chart Week 12
MIAMI AT NY JETS
The Dolphins, unexpectedly in the thick of the playoff race, likely have no choice but to turn back to Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. Rookie Tua Tagovailoa was dreadful in three of his four games, registering just 6.2 yards per attempt as the offense wheezed along. Tagovailoa might be 3-0 as a starter, but there’s no question who’s more capable of winning right now. Fitzpatrick has produced 300+ yards in three of his last four full starts, and he’s much better for DeVante Parker’s prospects. Parker now dominates targets, and with a more viable arm sending him the ball, his upside is at least more apparent. And of course, all these perks are magnified against the barely-there Jets, who routinely let opponents put up their best lines of the year.
The Jets remain an NFL doormat in all phases of the game, but none so badly as on pass defense, where virtually all opponents have succeeded big. Four of the last six have topped 300 yards, with Patrick Mahomes II II (416 and 5 touchdowns) and Justin Herbert (366 and 3) putting up season-best performances. This unit was in the midst of a full rebuild even before the myriad injuries; there’s just so little talent left standing. They’ve turned to undrafted rookie Lamar Jackson and fifth-rounder Bryce Hall at cornerback, and neither has answered the bell. Keenan Allen and company found ample room across the field last week, with a handful of deep balls winning big. The Jets boast a rising superstar in safety Marcus Maye, but he can only do so much. On the whole, this is arguably football’s most beatable group, with no worthwhile pass rush (dead last in pressure rate) to disrupt things up front. Fitzpatrick should be able to produce handsomely for as long as he’s needed to throw Sunday.
LAS VEGAS AT ATLANTA
The Raiders typically don’t ask much of Derek Carr in terms of hero-ball. He hasn’t thrown 30+ passes since Week 7, and only once over that span has he topped 165 yards. That came in last Sunday night’s loss - Carr dueled admirably with Patrick Mahomes II II for 274 and 2 touchdowns of his own. It was an impressive performance, and this developing attack is capable of even more when they get the volume to do so. The unit rolls mostly through safe throws to tight end Darren Waller and Nelson Agholor, though Week 12 brings the opportunity to test more down the field. Speedy rookie Henry Ruggs III III, for example, makes for a big mismatch against the Falcons’ pitiful deep-cover crew.
The Falcons’ beleaguered pass defense, a punching bag for several years running, seems to be growing even worse. Week 11 saw a disturbing turn, with a brand-new NFL starter finding more success in this matchup than he probably should have. For the most part, the Saints’ Taysom Hill was predictably shaky in his starting debut. But it was telling that he was able to consistently move the chains with 10- and 12-yard quick hitters, his receivers easily slipping through soft coverage underneath. The Falcons simply don’t look capable of stopping anyone through the air - Hill was just the second opposing passer to fall short of 300 yards. And the Saints still managed to post a 100-yard receiver in Michael Thomas, the eighth of the year against this unit. (Amazingly, another 4 receivers have topped 90.) Rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell has been strong overall, but has little help, with teammates Kendall Sheffield and Isaiah Oliver grading out near the bottom of the league. The Falcons desperately need a savvy coverage safety to paper over some of their mistakes. Ricardo Allen isn’t it, and Keanu Neal is more of a linebacker hybrid; neither offers much support to the burnable cornerbacks.
PHILADELPHIA VS SEATTLE
The Eagles offense may have just hit its rock bottom. They’re starting to get healthy - Dallas Goedert, Jalen Reagor, and the front line have shuffled back onto the field - but Carson Wentz simply doesn’t look like a viable starter right now. Here in 2020, he’s produced just 6.2 yards per attempt, sitting 31st league-wide. Despite strong enough volume, he’s only topped 300 yards once over his 10 starts. Goedert remains the most dependable piece of this attack, with Reagor, Travis Fulgham, and the rest all coin flips on a given week. It’s hard to trust any aspect of this attack right now. But matchup matters, and Wentz and company could hardly face a friendlier one Monday night. Offenses can’t seem to not push the ball downfield against the Seahawks’ undermanned, beaten-up secondary. Even Wentz and his patchwork group of receivers get a notable boost in projection here.
The Seahawks continue to field fantasy’s most beatable secondary. It speaks volumes that Kyler Murray’s 269-yard, 2-touchdown showing last Thursday actually checked in lower than was widely expected. Badly banged up and lacking in depth overall, their 344-yard average leads the NFL by a healthy margin. Seattle managed to hold DeAndre Hopkins and company in check, but it was just the second time all year they’ve given up fewer than 300. Of late, they’ve put all their cornerback faith into Tre Flowers and D.J. Reed, who have taken all 137 snaps over the past two weeks. Flowers has long been a coverage liability, while Reed is a fifth-round journeyman who may not even be a starter come Monday. If the team can get Shaquill Griffin and/or Quinton Dunbar cleared, they’ll likely dominate snaps instead - though it’d be hard to call them much of an upgrade at this point. Both have taken big steps back from great 2019 seasons. With uneven safety play from Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs, there’s little reason to expect a shift from this porous crew.
ATLANTA VS LAS VEGAS
The Falcons pass game continues to produce under great circumstances, but crumble under bad ones - there’s very little in-between with this unit. Matt Ryan and company have excelled in recent matchups with the Vikings (371 yards, 4 touchdowns), Lions (338 and 1), and Broncos (284 and 3) - three shaky pass defenses that have been beaten badly for most of 2020. Last week, though, Ryan had no real answer for the Saints’ four-man rush and downfield coverage talent (just 232 and 2 interceptions). Luckily, here in Week 12, he’ll take on an undermanned Raiders secondary that struggles to stay with most receivers. Even if Julio Jones is forced to sit out Sunday, there’s still enough dynamism to turn good volume into a great stat line. Calvin Ridley would be set up for a massive workload - and of late, he’s shown the ability (9.7 yards per target) to turn it into huge fantasy production.
The Raiders have invested heavily in restocking the secondary with young, dynamic talent, and early results have been shaky at best. They’ve been shredded by most opposing pass games here in 2020, giving up 7.3 yards per attempt and 279 a game. Last Sunday night, Patrick Mahomes II II hit on 34 of 45 throws for 348 of his own in a rallying victory. And on the game-winning drive, Mahomes had little trouble leading his weaponry into high-impact spots. There are vulnerabilities all over this Raiders unit, which Mahomes (and others) have been more than happy to exploit. Wide zones, poor angles, and shoddy tackling often turn mid-level crossing routes into game-breaking plays. It was especially disheartening to see the entire secondary abandon Travis Kelce in the end zone on the Chiefs’ final, go-ahead throw. Cornerbacks Nevin Lawson, Trayvon Muller, and Damon Arnette simply don’t make up a formidable trio, and the safeties have struggled mightily behind them. None of them get much help from the barely-there pass rush, which has recorded just 11 sacks through 10 games. This unit isn’t built to slow a high-octane attack like Atlanta’s, which projects beautifully on the fast track of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
CLEVELAND AT JACKSONVILLE
The Browns do their best not to throw the ball too much, or to put too much responsibility on Baker Mayfield’s arm. They know his limitations as a passer, and coach Kevin Stefanski sees this as a definitively run-dominant team. However, Mayfield has at least proven capable of captaining a play-action game with some gusto. Back in Week 7, after falling behind early to the Bengals, Mayfield rattled off 21 straight completions while playing off of Kareem Hunt and the powerful ground game. This unit has produced almost nothing over the past two weeks, posting just 132 and 204 yards in ugly victories. But it must be noted that the Cleveland weather has been atrocious for both games, which greatly hindered the air attack on both sides. A sunnier venue in Jacksonville - and a matchup with one of the league’s worst defenses - is ripe for positive regression.
The Jaguars continue to field one of the worst pass defenses of the 2020 season. This once-proud unit has been deconstructed from the days of Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, and ball-hawking safeties that punished opposing passers. Now, all those pieces are gone, and there’s still a ways to go in this full-on rebuild. Of their 10 opponents thus far, five have cruised easily past 300 yards and seven have thrown multiple touchdowns. Injuries have played a major role, costing this already-thin unit its two best cover men in last Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh. Rookie C.J. Henderson is on injured reserve, while Sidney Jones, a true bright spot while healthy, looks iffy at best with an Achilles injury. There’s little depth behind them - fill-ins Tre Herndon and Chris Claybrooks have been two of the league’s worst throughout the year - and no pass-specialist safeties to soften the blow downfield. There’s also no real pass rush to speak of, either, sitting 25th in pressure rate (15.1%) and dead last in sacks (9). Mayfield and the Browns are no one’s idea of a dynamic fantasy play, but they’re set up on paper for their best and most prolific day of the year.