Go here for this week's Rushing Matchups.
Top 5 Passing Matchups
NY Jets vs Washington
The Jets have yet to name a starter as Zach Wilson is still in concussion protocol. If he is unable to play, Trevor Siemian will get the start for the Jets and will be the fourth quarterback this season who has started for the team. If Siemian gets the start, it's difficult to get too excited about the upside of this offense, as we've seen throughout his career that he is just a low upside type player, averaging just 6.6 yards-per-attempt throughout his career, and the Jets chose to start the now-cut Tim Boyle over Siemian despite Boyle being a complete disaster. The good news for Siemian is that the matchup goes from a very difficult one facing Jalen Ramsey and the Dolphins last week to now facing one of the league's weakest opponents in Washington, which should hopefully help the entire offense, but in particular, Garrett Wilson who had just four targets last week which was a season-low for the receiver as Jalen Ramsey simply took him out of the game.
Washington's defense had a surprise performance last week compared to their recent standards, as they held Matthew Stafford to only 258 passing yards. While it was not as bad as many had thought it might be and fantasy managers may have left a little disappointed hoping for a 300-yard performance, the Rams got up early in this game and only threw the ball 33 times. For Washington, they have now allowed 250 yards or more in 9 of their last 11 games, with the only two quarterbacks failing to do so being Mac Jones and Tommy Devito, who had a season-high 246 yards and three touchdowns against Washington with that game being the only game that he has topped 200 yards. This is a secondary that, outside of Kendall Fuller, is a complete mess. On the year, eight wide receivers topped 100 yards against this defense as veteran Benjamin St-Juste and rookies Jartavius Martin and Emmanuel Forbes have struggled mightily. Forbes, the 2023 first-round pick, was ultimately benched, while Martin, the second-round pick, has not been able to make any noticeable improvements. We also have to factor in how motivated this team is given the mid-season trades of Chase Young and Montez Sweat and the lack of consistent pass rush that the team has been able to generate since their departures.
Buffalo at LA Chargers
Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills are trying to prove they can be Super Bowl contenders after their rocky season. Last week, this offense had a game plan of just getting out to an early lead and simply ran it all over Dallas' defense to the tune of 49 rushing attempts. From a passing perspective, Josh Allen had one of the lowest outputs of his career, as he threw the ball just 15 times for 94 yards. Stefon Diggs was the only receiver who caught a pass for the Bills. This offense has shown that they can simply exploit elite matchups, as Allen has thrown for 320 yards or more against Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Philadelphia, and Miami (before Jalen Ramsey returned and when it was a completely different defense than it is now). With a lot of options in players such as Stefon Diggs, Dalton Kincaid, Gabe Davis, Dawson Knox, and Khalil Shakir, this is an offense that can create mismatches all over the field.
The Chargers have fired Brandon Staley and GM Tom Telesco as they were publicly embarrassed on Thursday Night last week, falling behind to the Raiders 42-0 at the half in a game in which they ultimately allowed 63 points to Aidan O'Connell and Co. This was a case where this defense just seemed completely uninterested in playing as players who are supposed to be leaders in Khalil Mack and Derwin James were just going through the motions at times. For James, he has been disappointing all season, as the three-time All-Pro has fallen off quickly and has been one of the worst coverage safeties in the NFL this season. While they are allowing the second-most passing yards per game (282), there have been encouraging signs as the Chargers have held four straight quarterbacks to under 250 yards. The problem is the strength of schedule over those four games; they have faced Aidan O'Connell, Russell Wilson, Bailey Zappe, and Lamar Jackson who has topped 250 yards just twice in his last seven games. The Chargers have struggled mightily against any average or above passing offense as Tua Tagovailoa (466 yards 3 touchdowns), Kirk Cousins (367 yards 3 touchdowns), Dak Prescott (272 yards 1 touchdown), Patrick Mahomes II (424 yards 4 touchdowns), Jared Goff (333 yards 2 touchdowns), Jordan Love (322 yards, 2 touchdowns). This is an older defense that may just continue going through the motions rather than seeing some of the inspiration that some younger defenses get when a team fires their coach, as the veterans are simply looking into offseason plans and may try to avoid getting hurt at this point.
Cleveland at Houston
Joe Flacco is now 2-1 as a starter and seems to have solidified the quarterback position for now in Cleveland. Despite a bad start in some worse weather, Flacco ended the day with 374 yards and 2 touchdowns and survived a Hail Mary to lead Cleveland to just their fourth winning record since returning to the league in 1998. Over his last two games, Flacco has topped 310 passing yards in both games, and Amari Cooper and David Njoku have been the primary beneficiaries. Elijah Moore, after a strong showing in Flacco's first start, was largely only a factor due to the Amari Cooper concussion rather than what most had hoped, which was their prior chemistry in New York. This is an offense that has struggled running the ball as Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt have not been able to consistently move the ball, so the team should look to Flacco for the remainder of the season to carry this offense through his arm.
Houston's secondary continues to be a problem for them in the second half of the season. The big issue for this defense is how well their run defense has been, as they're allowing a league-best 3.2 yards-per-carry to opposing running backs, forcing teams to take a more pass-heavy approach against this funnel defense. On the season, the Texans are allowing 258 passing yards per game, which is the seventh-most in the NFL this season, but this is a team that has allowed five 300-yard performances over their last 10 games. During this 10-game stretch, the competition has not been the issue as Desmond Ridder, Derek Carr, and Zach Wilson all topped 300 yards against this defense. At the same time, it could have been much worse if not for the low level of competition as Will Levis, Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield, and Bryce Young were the five quarterbacks who failed to throw for 300 yards during this 10-game stretch. The issue for the Texans is primarily at the tight end and running back position, as they're allowing the third-most receiving yards to tight ends and fifth-most to running backs. The team has invested heavily in run-stopping linebackers, but players such as Jalen Pitre and Denzel Perryman have struggled in coverage, which could lead to a big day for David Njoku this week.
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