Week 10 NFL Matchup Manifesto: Chargers Offense, Eagles Defense Boast Massive Advantages

Nov 09, 2018 10:45 PM EST
  • The Saints-Bengals, Redskins-Buccaneers, Chargers-Raiders and Seahawks-Rams matchups are setting up well for offenses on both sides to create big plays in the passing game.
  • Todd Gurley and the Rams boast the week's best matchup in the trenches against a Seahawks defense that he drummed for 113 total yards and three touchdowns in Week 5.
  • The likes of Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan and Jared Goff shouldn't have too much trouble moving the ball through the air in their respective matchups.

The NFL is a matchup-driven league. Offensive coordinators are always looking to scheme their playmakers into one-on-one situations against a defender, while defensive coordinators will attempt to do anything in their power to upset the timing and rhythm of the opposing quarterback.

Despite the obvious impact that defenses have on opposing offenses, fantasy players are often left with one-way metrics to describe offenses and defenses that they are then forced to compare against each other in an attempt to identify mismatches.

The here goal is to provide easy-to-decipher charts and notes to identify each week’s key matchups on both sides of the ball in:

  • Explosive Plays
  • Pace
  • Pressure
  • Trench Battles
  • Turnover Margin
  • Passing Game

Last week’s manifesto helped correctly forecast shootouts between the Buccaneers-Panthers and Rams-Saints, tough afternoons for the Ravens and Jets offensive lines, as well as solid rushing performances from Nick Chubb/Duke Johnson for Cleveland and Alvin Kamara/Mark Ingram for New Orleans.

The following charts display matchup-specific information meant to highlight the largest mismatches in these ever-important facets of football to ultimately gain actionable betting and fantasy takeaways.

Note: This data is based on what has happened in Weeks 1-9

Explosive Plays

Big plays make the football world go round. Matchups between explosive offenses and leaky defenses are exactly what we’re looking for when compiling game stacks in DFS, or when betting an over. We can calculate this with help from NFL.com’s team-based statistics.

  • Explosive Pass Rate: The sum of an offense’s rate of 20-plus yard completions per pass attempt and the opposing defense’s rate of 20-plus yard completions allowed per pass attempt. A higher percentage is better for offenses (green is good, red is bad).
  • Explosive Run Rate: The sum of an offense’s rate of 20-plus yard gains per rush attempt and the opposing defense’s rate of 20-plus yard runs allowed per rush attempt. A higher percentage is better for offenses (green is good, red is bad).

  • The Chargers easily boast the week’s best matchup as far as explosive pass plays are concerned. The Raiders, Buccaneers and Chiefs as the only defenses in the league that have allowed at least 35 passes of 20-plus yards.
  • The Saints-Bengals, Redskins-Buccaneers, Chargers-Raiders and Seahawks-Rams matchups are setting up well for offenses on both sidelines to create big plays in the passing game.
  • The first two matchups could be influenced by injuries to A.J. Green (toe) and Washington’s offensive line. Be sure to monitor our Week 10 Injury Report for daily practice participation and official game statuses.
  • Additional quarterbacks that could have explosive success passing the ball: Mitch Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes and superstar Nick Mullens.
  • Sam Darnold (foot) isn’t expected to play this week, which could influence the Jets’ passing game and turnover numbers moving forward. Josh McCown is expected to start against the Bills.
  • The Patriots-Titans, Bills-Jets, Jaguars-Colts and Cowboys-Eagles matchups could feature two offenses that are forced to move down the field without the assistance of chunk plays through the air.
  • The over/under has already dropped from the opening number in the latter three matchups.
  • Running backs that are poised for success in creating big runs: James Conner, Duke Johnson/Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt and Melvin Gordon.
  • Running backs from the Buccaneers, Raiders, Eagles, Patriots and Cardinals could struggle to create explosive runs in their respective tough matchups.

Pace

Fast-paced games lead to more plays, which lead to more points. There are several games that could resemble a track meet based on their combined situation-neutral pace ranking (Football Outsiders).

  • Combined Situation-Neutral Pace: Represents the combined situation-neutral pace between each matchup’s two offenses. A lower number indicates fewer average seconds per play (green = fast-paced game), while a higher number indicates more average seconds per play (red = slow-paced game).

  • There isn’t a single matchup between two top-10 teams in situation neutral pace this week.
  • The week’s fastest-paced matchups are easily Patriots-Titans and Jaguars-Colts. This is thanks to the Patriots (No. 1 in situation neutral pace) and Colts (No. 2) having high-octane offenses.
  • Other matchups that could feature an above average pace include the Saints (No. 18) and the Bengals (No. 6) as well as the Seahawks (No. 22) and the Rams (No. 5).
  • The week’s two slowest matchups are the Lions (No. 31) and Bears (No. 19) along with the Bills (No. 17) and Jets (No. 32).
  • Matchups between the Chargers (No. 10) and Raiders (No. 30) along with the Cowboys (No. 23) and Eagles (No. 24) could also feature long stretches of slow-paced football.

Pressure

An overmatched offensive line can result in poor fantasy days for all skill-position players involved. Meanwhile, quarterbacks with all day to throw can help generate points in bunches. We can determine which offensive lines might be especially better (or worse) this week with help from Pro Football Focus’ offensive and defensive pressure statistics.

  • Combined Pressure Rate: The sum of the offensive line’s rate of pressures allowed per dropback and the opposing defense’s total pressures generated per dropback. A higher percentage (red) is better for defenses, while a lower percentage (green) indicates that matchup’s quarterback could face reduced pressure.

  • Dak Prescott might be running for his life come Sunday night in Philadelphia, and the Cowboys’ injury-riddled offensive line could be without starting left guard Connor Williams (knee) in addition to center Travis Frederick (illness, IR).
  • The Bills-Jets and Cowboys-Eagles matchups each feature pass rushes that could spend plenty of time in their opponent’s backfield.
  • The likes of Russell Wilson, Josh McCown, Eli Manning, Josh Rosen and Brock Osweiler could also have trouble finding much time to throw the ball this week.
  • Philip Rivers will attempt to go 60 minutes without being touched against the Raiders’ pathetic pass rush. They’ve pressured the opposing quarterback on just 24% of dropbacks this season. The Colts are the next worst unit at 37%.
  • The Saints-Bengals and Falcons-Browns matchups could each feature two defenses that each struggle to get each other’s quarterback.
  • Tom Brady should also have plenty of time to throw. We wouldn’t expect Alex Smith to see much pressure either… if his entire offensive line wasn’t crumbling.

Trench Battles

Running backs receive most of the praise for an offense’s rushing output, but an overmatched offensive line can thwart a team’s run game before it even has a chance to get started. We can determine the offensive lines that might be especially better (or worse) off this week with help from Football Outsiders‘ offensive and defensive adjusted line yards per rush statistics.

  • Combined Adjusted Line Yards Per Rush: The sum of an offensive line’s adjusted line yards per rush and the opposing defense’s adjusted line yards allowed per rush. A higher number (green) is good for running backs, while a lower number (red) indicates that matchup’s offense could have some trouble running the ball.

  • Todd Gurley and the Rams boast the week’s best matchup in the trenches against a Seahawks defense which he drummed for 113 total yards and three touchdowns back in Week 5.
  • Other running backs that are also particularly positioned for success include Alvin Kamara/Mark Ingram, Melvin Gordon, Kenyan Drake/Frank Gore as well as Sony Michel/James White.
  • Receiving-friendly backs including Duke Johnson, David Johnson and Marlon Mack shouldn’t encounter too many problems trying to run the ball this week.
  • Offensive lines on both sides of the ball between the Bills-Jets and Cowboys-Eagles could have problems attempting to move the ball on the ground.
  • The likes of Joe Mixon, Adrian Peterson and Saquon Barkley could also have a rough time finding much room to run this week.

Turnovers

Matchups between two careless teams are obviously of interest when it comes to targeting fantasy defenses. Crafting a turnover differential for each individual matchup between an offense and defense can help identify when turnover-prone offenses are taking on ball-hawking defenses.

  • Combined Turnover Rate: The sum of the offense’s turnover rate and the opposing defense’s takeaway rate. A higher percentage (red) is better for defenses, while a lower percentage (green) is better for offenses and indicates the absence of a turnover-prone offense or takeaway-happy defense.

  • Offenses from the Bucs, Jaguars, Bills and Lions stand out as the week’s most-turnover prone units.
  • Per Justin Bailey, defenses are averaging 16.3 DraftKings PPG with a +6.8 Plus/Minus and a 77.8% Consistency Rating vs. the Bills this season.
  • Josh Rosen also hasn’t done a great job taking care of the ball this season. The Chiefs defense has allowed 23.5 PPG and 269.3 pass yards on the road compared to 16.7 PPG and 227 pass yards at Arrowhead since 2015.
  • Bills-Jets should unsurprisingly feature an abundance of sloppy football. The matchup boasts a hilariously-low 36.5-point over/under.
  • The Redskins and Chargers stand out as the week’s top-two offenses that shouldn’t make a habit of turning over the ball.
  • The Panthers, Browns and Giants also find themselves in matchups against defenses that haven’t routinely forced turnovers this season.
  • Matchups between the Saints-Bengals and Cowboys-Eagles feature offenses on both sides of the ball that aren’t expected to shoot themselves in the foot too often.

Passing Game

Some pass offenses are obviously more efficient than others, while certain secondaries are seemingly capable of shutting down any aerial attack. We can determine the week’s largest mismatches in the passing game using each offense’s and defense’s net yards per pass attempt (via Pro Football Reference).

  • Combined Net Yards Per Pass Attempt: Net yards gained per pass attempt differs from yards per attempt by accounting for sacks. The rate is calculated by subtracting a quarterback’s sack yards from his passing yards, then dividing that number by the sum of the quarterback’s pass attempts and sacks taken. A higher number (green) is good for quarterbacks and receivers, while a lower number (red) indicates that matchup’s pass offense could be in trouble.

  • Once again, the Chargers boast the week’s top matchup in a passing-related statistic. Their mark of 17 combined net yards per pass attempt is the highest since I started tracking the statistic in Week 8’s manifesto.
  • The likes of Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan and Jared Goff also shouldn’t have too much trouble moving the ball through the air in their respective matchups.
  • Saints-Bengals again stands out as a matchup featuring competent offenses on both sides of the ball. They boast a 54-point over/under in what’s shaping up to be a potentially high-scoring affair.
  • Whoever winds up starting under center for the Bills will join Josh Rosen and Andrew Luck as the week’s bottom-three quarterbacks in combined net yards per pass attempt.
  • Offenses in matchups featuring the Jaguars-Colts and Cowboys-Eagles could have trouble efficiently moving the ball through the air.
  • The likes of Cam Newton, Baker Mayfield, Matt Stafford, Marcus Mariota and Eli Manning also won’t face off against easy secondaries this week.
Credit:

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81).

Follow Ian Hartitz on Twitter
@IHartitz

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SCHEDULE
OPEN
CURR
# BETS
HOU
WAS
43
+3
42
+3
CIN
BAL
43.5
-4.5
44
-5.5
PIT
JAC
47.5
+6
46.5
+5
CAR
DET
50.5
+3
49.5
+4.5
DAL
ATL
47.5
-4.5
50
-3
TEN
IND
48
-3
51
-1
TB
NYG
52
PK
53
-3
OAK
ARI
41
-4
41
-5
DEN
LAC
47
-7.5
46.5
-7
PHI
NO
54.5
-9
56
-7.5
MIN
CHI
45.5
-2.5
44
-2.5
KC
LA
63.5
-1
63
-3.5