TOP 5 PASSING MATCHUPS WEEK 13
To view all of our Week 13 Matchup content, please see the links below:
Top 5 Passing Matchups Week 13
Bottom 5 Passing Matchups Week 13
Top 5 Rushing Matchups Week 13
Bottom 5 Rushing Matchups Week 13
Rushing Matchup Chart Week 13
Passing Matchup Chart Week 13
Minnesota vs Jacksonville
The Vikings prefer not to throw much, leaning whenever possible on a ground game that’s capable of dominating. But Kirk Cousins and his two scintillating wideouts continue to produce whenever pushed into a pass-heavy script. Cousins has thrown 30+ times in 5 games thus far, averaging 301 yards and 2.6 touchdowns in them. His 8.7 yards per attempt ranks second only to Deshaun Watson - clearly, he’s building quite a rapport with Adam Thielen and rookie Justin Jefferson. The pair dominates this attack when both are on the field, as they almost certainly will be Sunday. Thielen still leads the way, but Jefferson has stolen the headlines with his dynamic debut. Averaging 18.8 yards per catch and 85 a game, he’d be the Rookie of the Year runaway if not for Justin Herbert’s success.
The Jaguars continue to field one of fantasy’s most targetable pass defenses. Seven of their last 8 opponents have thrown for 260 or more, and the same seven threw multiple touchdowns as well. Quarterbacks simply face very little resistance when attacking on any level of this undermanned unit. Top cornerbacks C.J. Henderson, Sidney Jones, and D.J. Hayden are all out of action, and their replacements have been nothing short of awful. Tre Herndon has long been a major liability in coverage, and Chris Claybrooks and undrafted rookie Luq Barcoo don’t inspire confidence themselves. There’s little help from the safeties, and the utter lack of a pass rush (dead last league-wide with 11 sacks) puts a ton of pressure on those replacement-level bodies. That’s allowed pocket passers like Ben Roethlisberger and Baker Mayfield to pick them apart in recent weeks, using play-action to manufacture big plays between the zones. Cousins shouldn’t have much difficulty following suit, and the Jaguars don’t boast a healthy soul capable of tracking Thielen and Jefferson across the field.
Indianapolis at Houston
The Colts aren’t getting quite what they’d likely hoped for from Philip Rivers. The 38-year-old has been remarkably up-and-down, mixing in strong play with some of his most erratic. Luckily for fantasy players, though, he and the Colts have been dragged into a number of recent shootouts. That’s boosted his volume of late (39+ passes in 4 of the last 6 games) and allowed him to post 4 outings of 280+ yards over that span. Sunday’s date with the Texans’ barely-there secondary suggests another high-octane matchup, which ups Rivers’ Week 13 ceiling greatly. He throws to a handful of dynamic targets in TY Hilton, rookie Michael Pittman Jr, and a pair of play-making tight ends. If he can avoid pitfalls and back-breaking turnovers, the stars are aligned for his most effective day in months, if not all season.
The Texans have stood as one of football’s weakest pass-game matchups even with top cornerback Bradley Roby on the field. With Roby suspended for the remainder of the season (and then some), this may wind up a historically-bad unit once the smoke clears. Not even J.J. Watt, still one of the most imposing players in all of sport, is enough to even moderately slow opponents on his own. Roby’s absence forces the likes of Vernon Hargreaves III, Lonnie Johnson, and Phillip Gaines into the top three roles, which is a terrifying proposition for the Texans. All are thoroughly beatable on all levels of the field, as seen in recent matchups with Davante Adams (196 yards and 2 touchdowns), D.J. Chark Jr (146 and 1), and even Damiere Byrd (132 and 1). Hargreaves has long been one of football’s least effective cover men; now, he’s moved around the Houston defense as a forced jack-of-all-trades. And there’s been little help from the safeties, with ascending star Justin Reid suffering through a rough season overall. Overall, these Texans look like a ripe matchup for Rivers to exploit for one of his better days of 2020. If nothing else, there’s a clear path for downfield threats Hilton and Pittman to generate more than their share of difference-making splash plays.
Las Vegas at NY Jets
The Raiders come fresh off an embarrassing loss to the Falcons - and Derek Carr off his worst showing of the season. It’s worth noting this was at least the third time in the past 24 months that Carr was yanked from a blowout loss, and that Marcus Mariota is one of football’s highest-paid backups. Still, the smart money is on Carr returning to the huddle Sunday. Carr has his share of limitations but is probably more capable of keeping the ball moving. There are weapons to play with, and explosive rookie Henry Ruggs III impressed with a dazzling deep-ball catch Sunday that he nearly scored on. This beleaguered unit could hardly ask for a friendlier bounce-back matchup, so one of their best 2020 games should be on tap.
The Jets have worked to rebuild their secondary, and there are indeed some reasons to be optimistic. But a wave of injuries and ineffectiveness have left the whole group in tatters, and virtually all opponents are taking advantage - six of the last seven have cleared 270 yards. Safety Marcus Maye is enjoying another strong season; he’s an ascending star, and a big reason the team was willing to let Jamal Adams leave. But around Maye, there’s almost no intriguing coverage talent anywhere. The team knows this, as they’ve shaken up personnel and shifted snaps around through the season. Lamar Jackson, Arthur Maulet, and Bryce Hall make for a profoundly weak cornerback trio but have dominated snaps of late. And they’ve essentially taken turns giving up splash catches to Jakobi Meyers (12 for 169), Keenan Allen (16 for 145), and DeVante Parker (8 for 119) over the past 3 weeks. Carr failed to take advantage of the Falcons’ weak secondary last Sunday, but this one is a different animal - it’s unlikely the Jets will be able to control this game’s flow. Hence, Carr should have a much easier time chewing through this porous Jets unit.
NY Giants at Seattle
The Giants passing game remains a spotty, low-floor one, barely worthy of fantasy attention with Colt McCoy under center for the time being. But there may be just enough dynamism here to be relevant against the porous Seahawks. McCoy will throw to a receiving corps that’s at least locked into stable, high-probability roles. Sterling Shepard (55 yards per full game) and Evan Engram (43) should lead the charge, and both come fresh off a strong Week 12 showing. Both should find success on the short and intermediate levels as McCoy looks to dink-and-dunk against the Seahawks’ soft pass defense.
The Seahawks pass defense remains arguably the most beatable of 2020. No team is giving up more yardage per game than their 329 - in fact, no team is within 10% of that mark. Injuries have played a role, particularly the multi-game losses of safety Jamal Adams and top cornerback Shaquill Griffin. Both are healthy now, but this unit has been worked over even with them in the lineup. There’s simply not much talent or depth on display here, forcing shaky names like Tre Flowers, D.J. Reed, and Ugo Amadi into heavy coverage action. Flowers has been a huge liability dating back three seasons; it’s astounding the team has yet to replace his snaps. And even Griffin, for his part, has taken a huge step back from his breakout 2019. The cornerbacks as a whole have been terrorized by opposing wideouts all year, with a whopping 17 of them posting 70-yard days and 9 of them clearing 100. That’s a problem that can be papered over somewhat by a strong pass rush that works the pocket and forces off-target throws. The Seahawks rank eighth league-wide in sacks, but only 20th in overall pressure rate. With little safety help over the top - Adams can do only so much - this unit is always susceptible to big plays and big stat lines. It’s unlikely McCoy is set up for a massive game of his own, but his receivers should find lanes all over this patchwork secondary. If nothing else, it makes for their best blow-up opportunity of the season.
Chicago vs Detroit
The Bears are plagued with far more questions than answers in the passing game. It’s unclear how much leash Mitchell Trubisky has left, but Nick Foles presents no better option. What they do boast, however, is an elite No. 1 wideout in Allen Robinson. The 27-year-old is explosive with the frame and radius to adjust to erratic throws. (Consider that 94% of his career targets have come from Trubisky, Foles, or Blake Bortles. The other 6% - Chase Daniel and Chad Henne.) Robinson is capable of shredding this Lions secondary, or at least of maximizing his team-high opportunity. When pressed into volume, he’s a fantasy WR1, particularly in such a generous matchup. Outside of Robinson however, the outlook of the Bears receiving group gets particularly bleak as Anthony Miller has largely struggled the last few weeks with consistency.
The Lions are turning over several new leaves, replacing their coach and general manager in one midseason swoop. The outgoing Matt Patricia is a defensive coach, but he has presided over a bottom-tier unit since coming to town, and it’s hard to imagine things getting any worse. Deshaun Watson had little trouble en route to 318 yards and 4 touchdowns on Thanksgiving - he only needed to throw 25 times to hit those marks. Will Fuller V faced almost no resistance on his two fourth-quarter touchdowns, an all-too-common situation for this undermanned secondary. They’ve already allowed seven different wideouts to top 100 yards, so the opportunity is there for the ball-dominant Robinson. His outlook will improve even more if top cornerback Desmond Trufant, who left the Thanksgiving game with a hamstring ailment, can’t go. Trufant hasn’t played up to his usual standard this year, but Amari Owurariye and Justin Coleman make for shaky replacements at best. There’s not much support at safety, either, with a weak rotation of bodies struggling on the back end. The Bears pass game scares very few, but this Lions unit is simply looking over its future prospects at this point.