Go here for this week's Rushing Matchups.
Top 5 Passing Matchups
Kansas City vs LA Chargers
The Chiefs offense this season has just been a little out of synch from a fantasy perspective. So far this season, Mahomes is averaging just 265 passing yards per game, 43 yards less per game than 2022. From a fantasy perspective, Mahomes has finished outside of the top 10 in four of his six weeks this season. This offense has faced very favorable matchups so far on the year, as they've faced Chicago, Jacksonville, and Denver, three of the five worst pass defenses in the NFL this season. The issue for the Chiefs is that they have not found a wide receiver to step up, as Rashee Rice and Justin Watson have been their two leading receivers. It also appears that Travis Kelce's age is starting to catch up to him. While he's unquestionably still the best tight end in the league, this player averaged 12 yards per completion or more in every season throughout his career. This year, he's averaging just 9.6 yards per completion, which is a massive decrease.
The Chargers' secondary is unquestionably the worst in the NFL. Even if we can somehow convince ourselves to throw out the 446-yard performance by Tua Tagovailoa and the 367-yard performance by Kirk Cousins, this is a defense that is allowing an average of 252 yards to Aidan O'Connell, Ryan Tannehill, and Dak Prescott. This defense allows a league-worst 318 passing yards per game, 32 yards more than the next-closest team. Outside of Asante Samuel Jr, who has been a bright spot for this team, the secondary is extremely weak as this was a unit that had relied on J.C. Jackson, who they brought in as a high-priced free agent last season, but it just never worked out leading to Jackson being traded to New England. This has forced veteran Michael Davis and former 2022 6th-round pick Ja'Sir Taylor into prominent roles when neither of these guys should be starting in the NFL, as they should be depth or practice squad players. It also looks like the Chargers will be without safety Alohi Gilman this week, which will force Dean Marlowe to get the start again. This defense severely lacks talent but will need to rely on its pass rush to help out the secondary. Khalil Mack has seven sacks over the last two games as he has found a way to reverse time and looks like the 2018 Khalil Mack in Chicago.
Green Bay at Denver
The Packers have issues on offense, and the problem is that it is difficult to point to who is to blame. This team has been able to get by with seemingly any wide receiver due to the greatness of Aaron Rodgers, but they are quickly seeing how difficult it can be when you don't have one of the league's best quarterbacks. Jordan Love has not been great, as the Packers are last in completion percentage at just 55.6% and, to make matters worse, are last in passing attempts. The issue for Love is who he is consistently throwing to. Christian Watson has been injured for most of the season and is proving to be a great downfield threat but not necessarily a number-one receiver. At the same time, Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed have shown flashes of breakout performances but have struggled with consistency this season. The good news for the Packers is that we are only five games into the Jordan Love tenure, and sometimes, these things take time to develop and come together.
The Broncos this season have been one of the league's worst passing defenses and defenses in general. The team seems to be a bit chaotic, as they traded Randy Gregory and cut their offseason signee Frank Clark, who was envisioned to make up a significant part of this defense. Combined with Zach Allen, those two were expected to give the Broncos one of the better pass-rushes in the NFL. In the secondary, this unit, outside of Patrick Surtain Jr., has really struggled. Fourth-round 2022 corner Damarri Mathis has been one of the league's worst, as he has allowed the fourth-most passing yards in coverage in the NFL this season. This defense is allowing a 76.4% completion percentage. The last time a team finished above 70% allowed was in 2019 at 70.7%, and no team has ever finished higher than 72.7%. Four quarterbacks this season have thrown for 299 yards or more. Sam Howell barely missed the 300-yard mark in Week 2, but Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Fields, and Patrick Mahomes II all topped the mark, with Fields and Tagovailoa adding four passing touchdowns in those performances.
New Orleans vs Jacksonville
The Saints are still trying to find their identity in the passing game. Last week, we saw Derek Carr have a season-high 353 passing yards in a game that the Saints threw the ball 51 times as they were trailing for most of the game. However, this was a complete shift from the prior two weeks in which Carr threw for just 310 total yards in those contests (155 average). So, this week will be an interesting one in that we should start to see how the 3-3 Saints want the rest of their season to go, whether it is the high-volume passing game with Carr or having him play more of the game manager that we have seen throughout most of the season. The good news for the Saints is that Carr showed he is healthy, as he was dealing with a shoulder injury earlier this season. This likely led to some of those low output numbers. This is a very talented offense, as Chris Olave has 85 yards or more in four of his six games on the year, while Michael Thomas has developed into a nice safety blanket possession receiver for the Saints this season.
Jacksonville's secondary is starting to show some major cracks, as they're allowing the fourth-most fantasy points and yards to opposing quarterbacks. Over the last five games, four quarterbacks have thrown for 280 yards or more, while three have topped 300 passing yards. While some of this could have been explained with the Jaguars facing Patrick Mahomes II, Josh Allen, and even C.J. Stroud, giving up 329 passing yards to Gardner Minshew was a tough performance. Yes, it was in a game script that forced the Colts to throw the ball 55 times. Had the Jaguars been great all season, it could have been written off as a one-off performance. The issue for the Jaguars is the lack of pass rush, which this team was essentially built to be their strength behind Josh Allen and Travon Walker. While Allen has been outstanding with seven sacks, this team has the sixth-fewest sacks in the NFL this year, as they have a total of 12, with 9.5 coming from Allen and Walker. The Jaguars are getting no pass rush from any of their other defensive linemen. In the secondary, the Jaguars will be without Tyson Campbell this week, forcing 2022 seventh-round draft pick Montaric Brown into the starting lineup. Brown struggled last week and could be a liability alongside Darious Williams, who has been good this season, although size will always be an issue for the 5-foot-9, 180-pound corner.
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