TOP 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
Seattle vs NY Jets
The Seahawks left an awful taste in more than a few mouths Sunday, collapsing against a perfectly beatable Giants secondary in an upset loss. Russell Wilson has lost a lot of his MVP luster, averaging just 235 yards (with just four touchdowns) over the past four weeks. Wilson remains a strongly efficient passer, but the team is shifting run-heavy again with Chris Carson healthy, and there aren’t as many balls in the air. Last week aside, though, DK Metcalf has proven more or less immune to dips in Wilson’s volume or efficiency. He continues to dominate regardless of matchup, and he’s posted 80+ yards and/or found the end zone in 5 of the last 6 weeks. The real wild card is Tyler Lockett, who always boasts 150-yard, multi-touchdown upside but just hasn’t been working downfield much lately. Luckily, this whole unit finds itself in a big-play dream spot Sunday, and a rebound looks all but certain.
The Jets pass defense, plagued by ineffectiveness and injury throughout the year, sits firmly in youth-movement transition mode. As a result, it’s been one of the most beatable in football, giving up the sixth-most adjusted yards per attempt (8.1) and third-most per game (284). And the trendline is going straight downhill for this patchwork unit. They’ve cobbled together a young corps of bodies to man the cornerback spots, but it’s been an unmitigated disaster. Undrafted rookie Lamar Jackson has been burned weekly on go routes - none more notorious than Henry Ruggs III’ game-winning touchdown Sunday. Ruggs showcased how easy it is to simply blow through this secondary when it isn’t two-deep. Arthur Maulet and Bryce Hall have graded just about as low; there isn’t a healthy cornerback on the roster that should be starting, and star safety Marcus Maye can do only so much. With such a little pass rush to put the heat on passers, this unit may now be the most targetable in fantasy football. If Wilson and the Seahawks see the need to throw 30 times or so, they’re set up for a terrific bounce-back, with week-winning fantasy upside. The team did fire Gregg Williams after his blitz that ultimately cost the Jets the game, so it likely will take some time for this unit to adapt to the new play calling.
Tennessee at Jacksonville
The Titans don’t throw with much volume, but they do it as efficiently as just about anyone. They’re producing just 237 yards a game (18th in the league), but soaring in adjusted yards (4th) and touchdowns per attempt (4th). Ryan Tannehill continues to excel as a downfield playmaker - no quarterback in football outproduces him on play-action throws. A.J. Brown offers big-play promise on every snap, though it’s been Corey Davis leading the charge over the past six weeks, averaging a 5-93 receiving line. It’s no big surprise to see the former No. 5 pick break out, and there’s no reason to consider it fluky. Even if Brown snaps out of his mini-funk, Davis’ playmaking is likely here to stay, which only boosts the per-opportunity ceiling for this dynamic attack.
The Jaguars simply can’t get out of its own way. Opponents often don’t feel the need to throw much against this squad, but when they do there’s very little resistance. The Jaguars have given up more net yards per attempt (factoring in sacks) than anyone, with 6 of their 12 opponents topping 300 through the air. It has to be noted just how invisible this pass rush has been, recording just 15 sacks through 12 games. And they’ve been decimated by injuries to the secondary, with their only three starting-caliber cornerbacks all on the shelf and a poor rotating crew of replacements. Tre Herndon has never been an effective cover man, yet he continues to dominate snaps on the boundary, and he’s a weekly target for opposing passers. There’s little help from safeties Josh Jones and Jarrod Wilson, who are more valuable against the run than the pass. It all adds up to big-play opportunity for all opponents, and often to one of the best weeks of their respective seasons. When these teams met back in Week 2, Tannehill turned 24 throws into 239 yards and 4 touchdowns. And this stripped-down, overmatched Jacksonville unit has only tumbled downhill since that day.
LA Chargers vs Atlanta
The Chargers endured a devastating 45-0 loss to the Patriots Sunday, unable to generate any usable offense at any point. Impressive rookie Justin Herbert was simply shut down by Bill Belichick’s crew, who routinely dominate young passers with complex coverages and rush packages. The good news, of course, is that the Belichick date is over and that this week’s opponent is far a more forgiving one. Herbert had cleared 270 yards in 5 of his prior 6 games, and he could hardly be in a better position to regain momentum Sunday. He shouldn’t have much trouble finding his playmakers - Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry - on all levels of the field.
The Falcons continue to flail badly in pass defense, and this remains arguably the top fantasy target in any given week. A quick glance at the numbers suggests they may have turned a corner following three straight weeks of allowing fewer than 240 yards through the air. But it has to be noted that they faced Taysom Hill, a gadget man who hardly goes downfield, in two of those games - and that they’d given up 300+ in every single game prior. Even Hill generated a solid 7.8 yards per attempt and threw a pair of touchdowns. This group simply lacks talent in the secondary; only impressive rookie A.J. Terrell has flashed any real ability, and even he’s been picked on consistently throughout the year. Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield are weekly punching bags, and Darqueze Dennard hasn’t been significantly better. There’s definite worry in the slot this week, with Allen and Henry on deck and very few options to slow them. Oliver and Dennard work there most often, and they’ve been beaten badly in recent weeks by Michael Thomas, Jerry Jeudy, and Hunter Renfrow. The safeties provide little help down the field, and no team has given up more completions of 25+ yards. It would be quite the upset to see Herbert fail to bounce back in this matchup, with big-play and touchdown opportunity for the taking. Allen, Henry, and Williams all step into strong individual mismatches from the very first whistle.
NY Jets at Seattle
The Jets are certainly still struggling to throw the ball effectively. Sam Darnold has yet to top 230 yards in a game this year, and his 5.9 yards per attempt sits dead last among qualifying passers. Simply put, they’re aching for a matchup like the Seahawks, and it’s not as though they don’t have any weaponry with which to exploit it. There are at least two big-play threats in the lineup in Breshad Perriman (16.3 yards per catch) and rookie Denzel Mims (17.1), as well as a particularly dependable slot target in Jamison Crowder. If Darnold is going to live up to even a fraction of his potential as a Jet, it will have to be this week.
The Seahawks’ beleaguered pass defense has caught its breath a bit - on paper, at least, keeping its last three opponents below 270 yards through the air. But those passers - Colt McCoy, Carson Wentz, and a clearly-injured Kyler Murray - don’t inspire confidence that this undermanned group has turned things around. Plagued by injuries and ineffective play since Opening Day, they’ve allowed eight of their other nine opponents to clear 300, with a stunning 18 different receivers topping 70 on the day. The cornerstones of the secondary, Shaquill Griffin and Jamal Adams, are both back in action, though neither is playing particularly well in coverage. Across the field from Griffin, D.J. Reed continues to give up catches and yards in chunks, and it’s unlikely he’ll keep the clamps on Crowder when he moves inside. With such a lack of coverage talent - and an inconsistent rush coming from up front - this remains a tantalizing fantasy matchup for any fantasy passer.
Jacksonville vs Tennessee
The Jaguars continue to struggle to make much happen through the air. Shuffling through low-level quarterbacks left and right, they’re producing just 6.6 yards per attempt and 250 a game. At least new starter Mike Glennon is willing to push the ball downfield, which means quite a bit to speedster D.J. Chark Jr. In last week’s overtime loss, Glennon threw 15+ yards on 11 of his throws last week, resulting in 148 yards and a touchdown. Five of those deep targets went to Chark, who already leads the team in looks on most weeks. Glennon appears locked into the starting job, though it’s anyone’s guess as to how long his leash is with Gardner Minshew now healthy. Any chemistry at all between the pair would keep Chark in the WR2 equation in fantasy.
The Titans pass defense, with last week’s thrashing at the hands of Baker Mayfield, has sunk near league-low levels. Mayfield put on a clinic of play-action and read-option playmaking on his way to 334 yards on 4 touchdowns. He was the fourth passer over the past five weeks to throw for 290+ against this unit, and the third to fire multiple touchdowns. Simply put, it appears the midseason shakeup of the secondary didn’t reverse their fortunes. New starters Breon Borders and Desmond King have actually been solid overall, but there are wide, exploitable holes over the middle of the field. Safeties Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro have struggled in coverage for most of the year, and the linebackers don’t recover well in quick throws across the middle. These issues could be papered over more by a disruptive pass rush, but the Titans sit near the bottom of the league in pressures and sacks. (Almost symbolically, the long 2020 Jadeveon Clowney sweepstakes culminated without a single sack.) They’re not affecting anyone in the pocket, and the inconsistent secondary can only do so much against so many easy throws.