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Top 5 Passing Matchups
Cleveland vs Detroit
The Browns are a decidedly run-first team, which suits their personnel nicely. When the ground game isn’t clicking, Baker Mayfield and the air attack tend to find limitations and hit hard ceilings. With Nick Chubb returning to action, the whole offense should stabilize and return Mayfield (or Case Keenum) to his comfort zone: play-action and rollouts designed to shake their playmakers loose downfield. The pecking order isn’t much clearer post-Odell Beckham Jr, but the team has seen big things in small doses from Donovan Peoples-Jones and the tight ends. Over the three games prior to last week’s dud, the speedy Peoples-Jones had posted 11 catches for 257 yards and 3 long touchdowns. A date with the Lions’ pitiful defense tends to highlight those strengths, so Mayfield looks poised to maximize whatever opportunities he gets Sunday.
The Lions pass defense continues to flail badly against all comers. They haven’t faced much volume through the air, but no team allowed more yardage per throw. It still appears only garbage time can keep opponents from taking what they want in this matchup. Most defenses would make a meal out of Mason Rudolph and the depleted Steelers in a downpour, but this group still gave up 240 yards through the air in an ugly tie. Rudolph is not an NFL-caliber quarterback, but he was able to find holes throughout the short and intermediate zones all day. The bleeding is even worse against better competition, as Matthew Stafford (334 yards, 3 touchdowns) and Joe Burrow (271 and 3) can attest. Cornerbacks Amani Oruwariye, Jerry Jacobs, and A.J. Parker have been overmatched all season yet continue to dominate full-time snaps. So it goes for a secondary that was already starved for talent before losing multiple Week 1 starters. With shaky play at the safety spots and little pass rush to speak of (just 14 sacks), this remains one of the game’s weakest units and perhaps the most targetable of fantasy matchups.
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