Week 11 Passing Matchups

by Justin Howe, Devin Knotts, and Keith Roberts, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

Jump to Rushing Matchups

Great Matchups: [ARI] [KC] [NE] [NYG]
Good Matchups: [BAL] [JAX] [LAC] [MIA] [OAK]
Neutral Matchups: [HOU] [NO] [PHI] [PIT] [SEA] [TB]
Tough Matchups: [ATL] [BUF] [CIN] [DAL] [DET] [LAR] [MIN] [TEN] [WAS]
Bad Matchups: [CHI] [CLE] [DEN] [GB]


PLEASE NOTE: This does NOT replace the Cheatsheet ranking. The Cheatsheet rankings are the final say on where we see a player for that week. The Matchup Breakdowns are simply one more tool in the box when it comes to helping choose your lineup.

Also note, just because a player has a "bad" matchup, it does NOT mean he's not a starter in your league. If Tom Brady is playing the toughest pass defense in the league, that just means he's got a tough matchup that week. He's also your starter unless you're loaded at QB. In the same way, if the worst QB on your roster has a "great" matchup that week, it doesn't necessarily mean he's your starter. It means we think he'll fare better than normal that week.

Bottom line is that the cheatsheets are the final say.


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at Houston Texans Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Blaine Gabbert is expected to start for the Cardinals this week after Drew Stanton continues to struggle and suffered a sprained knee against the Seahawks last week. Gabbert has really struggled throughout his seven-year NFL career. Trying to evaluate Gabbert can be challenging as we have not seen him play with the Cardinals who are now his third team in the NFL, but Bruce Arians came out today and defended Gabbert stating that he has been on some really bad teams throughout his career which is largely true as last season he was throwing to Jeremy Kerley and Torrey Smith. This is a situation where Gabbert is going to be asked to do as much a the game script dictates as if the Cardinals get an early lead, expect them to go run heavy, but if it is a close game, Gabbert will have to throw and he has shown that he is not afraid to throw the ball downfield throughout his career.

The Texans secondary just is not what it once was which we predicted early on in the season that they would be decimated by the loss of A.J. Bouye to free agency and then Kevin Johnson’s early season injury in which he has not really recovered from as he is not playing anywhere close to the level that he played at last season. On the season, the Texans have allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks as they have allowed 269 yards per game as well as 2.1 touchdowns per game to the position. This is a team that is really struggling as their best cornerback has been Johnathan Joseph who is on his last legs and has lost a significant amount of speed compared to his prime.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

This Chiefs passing game has been a two headed attack for most of the season as they have yet to develop a third receiver on this team outside of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. This is a passing offense that still ranks as the seventh-best passing offense on the year as they are averaging 255 yards passing per game and Travis Kelce leads all tight ends on the year in yardage with 629 yards on the season which Kelce has shown that when he is in great matchups he has a tendency to dominate as he has four games with 98 yards or more this season and has scored a touchdown in three straight games.

This is a secondary of the Giants that has seemingly given up more than the front seven as Landon Collins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Janoris Jenkins have seemingly lost interest in this season over the last two weeks. The Giants secondary has allowed an average of 300 yards passing per game through the air and have given up six touchdowns to the Rams and the 49ers over the last two weeks. They are also dead last against the tight end this season having given up a touchdown to a tight end in every game so far this season which bodes well for Kelce in this game.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New England Patriots Passing Offense at Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Week after week, and regardless of opponent, Tom Brady continues to ooze both efficiency and all-around fantasy upside. Even when his personal script looks negative – say, the Patriots are heavy favorites and expected to throw less than usual, or the opposing defense presents a stout matchup – Brady is a weekly threat to deliver both yards and touchdowns on a top-of-the-week level. We just saw him carve up an elite Broncos secondary (266 yards and 3 touchdowns in an incomplete game) without his No. 3 target (Chris Hogan), so we know just how strong of a floor and ceiling he boasts. His per-attempt efficiency (8.13 adjusted net yards, third-best in the NFL) remains top-notch, so we know he’ll generally maximize whatever opportunity he’s given. And he’s tied for second in touchdowns, having thrown multiple scores in 6 of 9 games thus far. There’s simply no safer play for 275 yards and 2-4 touchdowns on the quarterback board, and Brady remains the optimal fantasy choice virtually every week. And his dynamic weapons, specifically Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks, and Hogan, always carry that same world-beating upside into their matchups as well.

The raw numbers don’t show it, as the Raiders tend to play extremely slow-paced games, but their pass defense has performed near the bottom of the NFL barrel in 2017. They’re struggling mightily to rush the passer or cover downfield, allowing the league’s third-most net yards per attempt (which factors in sacks). As a result, opposing quarterbacks are teeing off with regularity; the Raiders have given up 268+ yards in 3 of their last 4 games, and they’ll likely enter Week 11 with heavy injury-related questions in the secondary. Rookie cornerback Gareon Conley, who has impressed majorly, looks iffy to suit up, while fellow starter David Amerson is also uncertain. All told, this looks like a good spot for Tom Brady to flex his arm, and it’s hard to find many answers for it in this battered, underachieving unit.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

It's weird to say, but Eli Manning over these next few games is likely fighting for his career as the Giants are likely to take a quarterback with their early draft pick and while some of the members of this team have given up, Manning has not as he was fighting until the end last week. Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram have become the two-headed monster on this team as both players are having breakout seasons filling the void created with Odell Beckham Jr.’s injury.

The Chiefs secondary outside of Marcus Peters has been atrocious this season. They are averaging 259 yards per game which is the fifth-worst in the NFL on the year. Kenneth Acker and Steven Nelson have both been horrendous this season as they replaced Terrance Mitchell and Phillip Gaines. The secondary does not get much better at the safety position as Ron Parker and Daniel Sorensen have both struggled this season. On the season Kansas City has allowed 1.7 touchdowns per game to opposing wide receivers which is by far the worst in the NFL as the next closest team has allowed 1.3 touchdowns per game. The one thing to note here is that Andy Reid is 16-2 coming off the bye in his career, which is the best of all time, so it would not be surprising if some of these issues got fixed this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense at Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Joe Flacco had season highs in pass attempts (52) and yards (261) as he threw for two touchdowns for just the second time this season while throwing two interceptions for the fourth time on the year. Overall, this passing offense continues to struggle as they still rank at the bottom of the league in both passing yards per game (166) and yards per pass attempt (5.3). Jeremy Maclin had his best game of the season in their last outing as he hauled in eight grabs for 98 yards as he finally looks to be getting over a shoulder injury that set him back after Week 5. Ben Watson and Buck Allen are the other primary weapons in this passing offense, both serving as safety valves for the struggling Joe Flacco, and both holding relatively low ceilings because of it.

The Green Bay secondary continues to be a weak spot for that defense as they allowed Mitchell Trubisky, of all quarterbacks, to pass for nearly 300 yards and a touchdown last week. The Packers have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers since Week 6 this season, with those receivers averaging just over 210 yards and 15 receptions per game. During this span, at least one receiver has hauled in a minimum of seven receptions and 88 yards with six separate receivers going for 80 or more receiving yards. All three cornerbacks have played quite poorly on the season with both outside guys ranking near the bottom in yards allowed per route covered. Jeremy Maclin should have a good opportunity to make some plays and keep up the momentum he established in Week 9.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Over his last four games, Blake Bortles is averaging 275 yards passing per game. While the touchdowns are not there as he is only averaging one touchdown per game, this is an offense that is looking to become more balanced as Marqise Lee has emerged as a reliable receiver in this offense. Lee, over his last four games, has averaged 9.8 targets per game including ten or more targets in three of those four games. He has filled a void in this offense that was created in the preseason when Allen Robinson went down with an injury.

The Browns pass defense on the season is a defense where the individual parts are better than the sum of the entire defense. On the season, the Browns have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and the biggest reason for this is their struggles against the tight end and the touchdowns the Browns are allowing as the Browns have actually held opposing wide receivers to the ninth-fewest fantasy points this season. The Browns have struggled against the tight end this season as they have allowed the third most fantasy points to opposing tight ends which could set up well for Marcedes Lewis this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Los Angeles Chargers Passing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Philip Rivers has fast become one of the more volatile names among the third tier of fantasy quarterbacks. He’s thrown for 268+ yards 3 times, but 237 or fewer 5 times – including each of his last 3 games. That’s a trend that should iron out naturally, though: the Chargers have faced a cornucopia of stingy, dynamic pass defenses, and we can’t read too much into a quarterback totaling 235 yards against Jacksonville’s shutdown unit. Rivers remains a strong weekly play for both volume and touchdown upside, even if he’s yet to truly utilize big-play weapons Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin. This week, he’ll face a Buffalo secondary that’s similarly hit-or-miss, and their aggressiveness could doom his outlook or create openings for huge plays down the field. Given the current shape of the Bills pass defense, it’s fair to lean toward Rivers posting one of his better 2017 lines.

Like its run defense, Buffalo’s pass unit is tumbling fast after a red-hot start. There are great pieces in place: the pass rush is dynamic and occasionally overpowering, while cornerbacks E.J. Gaines and TreDavious White have impressed and safety Jordan Poyer has looked like an All-Pro. But the unit’s aggressiveness and occasional mental lapses in coverage have allowed for some massive chunk plays of late. They’ve allowed a wideout to notch 73+ yards and/or 1 touchdown in each of their last 5 games, including mammoth lines from A.J. Green (7-189-1) and Mike Evans (7-88-1), and opposing quarterbacks have averaged a solid 7.15 adjusted yards per attempt over that span. White, in particular, seems to have hit a rookie wall; he and Leonard Johnson have been victimized several times for huge plays of late, and Chargers wideouts Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin look to carry elevated big-play potential for Week 11.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jay Cutler, at this point, looks best suited to the dink-and-dunk style we’ve seen in spurts in his age-34 season. The notorious gunslinger appears past his days of deep-ball fireworks – or maybe he just hasn’t yet clicked with his receivers down the field. He’s completed just 12 of his 41 attempts 15+ yards downfield, virtually wasting the big play talents of DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills. Rather, Cutler is nursing the ball, leaning mostly on low-impact slot man Jarvis Landry (10.6 targets per game), and it’s not adding up to any fantasy dynamism. As long as that keeps up, we can’t project this passing game to anything more than slow-churning, low-impact production. Unless he and Parker (and/or Stills) gain major rapport Cutler has probably already maxed out in terms of yardage (197.3 per full game) and touchdown (1.43) potential, and he’s barely earning QB2 status.

No matter the opposing quarterback, it seems, the Tampa Bay pass defense remains a sieve. They’ve tightened up a bit lately – their early-season pace was historically bad – but have still given up 262+ passing yards in 9 of their 10 games. For the record, that’s a list of opposing quarterbacks that includes Mike Glennon, Case Keenum, Tyrod Taylor, and Josh McCown. Having top cornerback Brent Grimes back healthy has been a boon, but he can’t be everywhere, and his counterparts at safety have played poorly all year. Opponents are exploiting the Buccaneers consistently down the field (29 completions of 20+ yards, 11th-most in the league), so we can start to (tentatively) project strong weeks for the Dolphins’ wideouts, particularly big play threat DeVante Parker.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense vs New England Patriots Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Derek Carr is making great strides, both as an NFL quarterback and as a fantasy producer. Armed to the teeth with speedy and dynamic weaponry, Carr has dazzled over the past 3 weeks, averaging 343.3 yards on 43.7 attempts. This offense is gradually opening up, affording more downfield opportunities and further chances for Carr to generate big passing days. He still has a bit of a touchdown problem, though: this remains an offense that runs on the goal line. Michael Crabtree remains a reliable source of volume for fantasy owners – and absorbs a hefty share of Carr’s touchdowns – but the key to Carr’s success lies in Amari Cooper. Carr routinely peppers Cooper with targets, but the young receiver’s wild inefficiency tends to put a serious damper on their ceilings. Dating back to last year, Carr averages 20.2 fantasy points when Cooper catches 6+ balls, but only 15.4 when he doesn’t. Cooper sees a lot of his action down the field, so heavy-Cooper days also maximize Carr’s touchdown potential. All in all, this passing game carries weekly potential to threaten 350 yards and multiple scores. The only issue is that Cooper, tight end Jared Cook, and the hit-or-miss supporting cast are particularly volatile x-factors.

The Patriots opened the year as the NFL’s worst pass defense, then tightened up for a few recent weeks, and are likely now settling in closer to the weak end of the spectrum. After corralling Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers, they immediately put on a pedestrian look against the Broncos, allowing both Emmanuel Sanders (6 catches for 137 yards) and Demaryius Thomas (5 for 44 and 1 touchdown) to churn out strong fantasy days. The raw numbers looked decent, but had the Broncos been starting an NFL-caliber quarterback, things could’ve gotten much uglier. The fact is that the Patriots lack consistent coverage skills in the secondary, relying on back-heavy sets to contain opposing pass games. That’s always a shaky proposition, and it’s made even worse here by the Patriots’ lack of a pass rush (just 16 sacks through 9 games). As with all facets of a Patriots game, flow will typically determine the successes and failures of the opposing team; a 34-10 third-quarter deficit can push an offense into predictability and doom them against an aggressive Bill Belichick defense. But if the Raiders can keep within a score, Derek Carr will likely have a field day.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Houston Texans Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Texans suffered a significant loss this week as Will Fuller is out this week with a rib injury. While Fuller has not scored a touchdown since DeShaun Watson went down with a torn ACL, his speed forced defenses to stay honest and stay off the line of scrimmage. Expect a combination of Braxton Miller and Bruce Ellington to try and fill in for the Texans this week which is a big loss to this offense. This passing offense continues to go through Deandre Hopkins as he has 31 targets over the last two weeks and while he is catching under 50% of those targets, Tom Savage is simply throwing the ball up for him to go get.

The Cardinals continue to be a defense in which you stay away from Patrick Peterson and whoever he is shadowing, but the rest of the receivers are all in great spots. On the season, the Cardinals have allowed 261 yards passing which is the 9th highest in the NFL. The problem for Houston this week is that Patrick Peterson will be shadowing Deandre Hopkins every step of the game this week, as this could severely limit this offense and force the Texans to go through their running game or have one of these other receivers step up this week. This could open up opportunity for Bruce Ellington.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

This is not your Saints offense as they have gone to a run-heavy offense as the team that once led the league in pass attempts is averaging just 26.7 passing attempts per game. While they are throwing less, Brees’ completion percentage is on pace to be a career high at 71.7% and over his last three games, he is averaging a remarkable 78.8% completions. The lack of volume has not impacted their overall production due to the completion percentage being as high as it is as they are still averaging 260 yards passing per game on the season which ranks as the fifth most in the NFL this season, but the risk is that if the completion percentage regresses back to Drew Brees’ historical averages it could have a severe impact to this offense due to the lack of volume.

The Redskins found themselves in a shootout last week as they allowed Case Keenum to throw for 304 yards and four touchdowns. The issue for the Redskins on the season has been out of the slot as they have allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing players out of the slot position. The Redskins Bashaud Breeland along with the safeties have been horrendous in coverage this season in D.J. Swearinger and Deshazor Everett who has filled in for the injured Montae Nicholson. Adam Thielen tore this defense apart last week going for eight receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown. The Redskins mixed and matched their defense putting linebacker Zach Brown on Thielen as well as Bashaud Breeland and neither worked this week. While the Saints move their wide receivers around quite a bit this could be a good opportunity for Michael Thomas or Ted Ginn to play more in the slot than they typically do to take advantage of some of these mismatches. Overall this is a defense that from a yardage perspective is about league average, but can be exploited if the team designs a game plan to exploit the slot receiver.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense at Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Eagles offense has been clicking on all cylinders this season as they are averaging the second most points (31.4) per game. Carson Wentz has been spectacular in leading this offense in his second season. He is one of the top fantasy quarterbacks in the league, fueled by a league-leading 23 passing touchdowns. Wentz has been on a scoring tear, passing for four touchdowns in three of his last five games with only three interceptions across that span. While his accuracy is slightly down, Wentz is making big plays where it counts, many of which have gone to his elite tight end, Zach Ertz. Ertz leads all tight ends in touchdowns with six, averaging just over five receptions and 66 yards per game. He is definitely a favorite target of Wentz, but Ertz surprisingly missed his last game due to a hamstring injury. He has had the bye to rest, to look for Ertz to suit up this week. Alshon Jeffrey had his best game of the season in Ertz’s absence last week as he scored two touchdowns and finished with six receptions for 84 yards. Jeffrey had a great game against Aqib Talib last week, which is encouraging as that is one of the more difficult matchups he will have faced this season.

The Cowboys secondary played well last week in their loss to the Falcons. This unit held Matt Ryan to just 94 yards and one interception before halftime, while they kept Julio Jones out of the end zone for the entire game limiting him to just six receptions for 57 yards despite his team-leading eight targets. This unit has been decent overall on the season, ranking near the middle on most pass-defense categories. They just lost Sean Lee for the second time this season due to injury, so the middle of the field will be left more vulnerable for a guy like Zach Ertz to find space. The Cowboys pass rush has been outstanding this season as they have tallied 28 sacks, tied for fifth most in the league. DeMarcus Lawrence is the core of that defensive line as he leads the league in sacks with 11.5. Lawrence will be matched up against a strong right side of the Eagles offensive line here though, so it will be interesting to see if he can continue his dominance.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Ben Roethlisberger appears back to his game-managing days similar to his early career numbers. He’s averaging just 255.3 yards per game, his lowest mark since 2012, and a truly pitiful 1.38 touchdowns. And not all of it can be blamed on his (modest) drop in volume; he merely hasn’t been very efficient in his age-35 season. Through 9 games, he’s posting the lowest adjusted yardage per attempt of his career, as well as his lowest completion rate since 2008 and his second-worst interception rate since 2006. Roethlisberger still has the weapons: Antonio Brown remains a week-to-week megastud, and rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster looks outstanding, with 521 yards and 5 touchdowns across 43 targets. He’s usurped Martavis Bryant by two or three noses, and he’s making plays all over the field at just 20 years old. His future is blindingly bright, and his per-target present is thrilling; between those two starters, the Steelers should boast a consistently high-octane passing game. The problem here is, for the sake of streamlining, Roethlisberger. Without his dynamic deep ball clicking, he’s simply not producing enough opportunity to view this unit quite the way we have in recent years. They remain explosive, just on a smaller scale than we’re used to.

The Titans pass defense has rebranded itself majorly after a horrid start to 2017. They allowed 276.8 yards per game over the first 4 weeks, but just 208.2 since. Safety Kevin Byard’s breakout season is the big catalyst for the turnaround, but another has been the play of rookie cornerback Adoree Jackson, one of the most targetable cover men in the league early on but a near-shutdown presence ever since. He helped erase T.Y. Hilton from the Colts game plan in Week 6, then performed fantastically on A.J. Green last Sunday. Jackson, like the rest of this secondary, remains a work in progress – there are a lot of missed tackles and enough blown coverages to exploit. But this is by no means the same attackable unit we saw to start the season. The flashes of dynamite coverage – as well as Byard’s outstanding, ball-hawking play – are enough to make us think a bit before merely plugging their opponents into our lineups.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Russell Wilson may not have had a huge game on the stat sheet last week, but he continued his very solid play as the leader of this Seahawks passing offense. Wilson only amassed 238 yards through the air, but he had his fourth game in a row with multiple passing touchdowns with an efficient 68.8% completion rate and no interceptions. Wilson is the top fantasy scoring quarterback of the season now, due mainly to his rushing upside with just over 50 rushing yards per game. Jimmy Graham continued his hot streak last week as he found the end zone twice on six receptions despite amassing his lowest yardage total in the last seven games. Graham has now scored five touchdowns in his last five games since the Seahawks bye week, ranking as the top-scoring fantasy tight end across that span. Graham now gets the pleasure of facing a 49ers defense that has allowed a touchdown to opposing tight ends in each of their last four games. Doug Baldwin had another great game last week as he now has over 90 receiving yards in three of his last four games with a touchdown in two of those outings. He was only targeted six times last week compared to double-digit target numbers in each of his previous three outings, but he still leads the Seahawks on the season with 79 targets and is an integral part of this offense with big play upside on a weekly basis. Paul Richardson made a big 43-yard catch, but that was his only contribution as he remains a hit or miss option in this offense.

The Falcons passing defense continues to play well in recent weeks. They held Dak Prescott to just 176 passing yards and no touchdowns due largely to their defensive front amassing eight sacks. Pass-rushing specialist Adrian Clayborn racked up six of those sacks single-handedly as he clearly exploited the Cowboys’ backup left tackle. Clayborn only had one sack prior to last week, but he has been in the face of opposing quarterbacks on a consistent basis this season, ranking near the top of the league in overall pressures applied on passing downs. The Falcons have seen great play out of their secondary as well this season as they are allowing the sixth fewest fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. The Falcons have also been better against pass-catching running backs this season, allowing just three receiving touchdowns to running backs this season and only one game with an opposing running back amassing over 50 receiving yards. There is, however, one important matchup to watch here—and that is Doug Baldwin facing up against Brian Poole from the slot. Poole has allowed one of the league’s highest catch rates and is the Falcons’ worst cornerback. While he may receive some help with the Seahawks’ best receiver, this is a potential mismatch that Baldwin has the talent to expose.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense at Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Typically, when a backup quarterback steps under center for multiple games, the team goes somewhat underwater with a high-risk, low-reward passer. With Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm, the Buccaneers don’t project to the bottom of that barrel, but they’ll be highly volatile. Fitzpatrick tends to vacillate from solid to devastatingly bad; he can win or sink fantasy weeks on his own. He was a borderline QB1 for much of 2015 with the Jets, and he threw for 290 yards and 3 touchdowns in garbage-fueled relief in Week 6 of this year. But neither of those situations are relevant to our evaluation of him for Week 11, and he looked quite bad (187 yards and 1 touchdown on 34 attempts, with 1 interception) in last week’s start. As a result, it’s hard to outright expect anything strong. He’ll get a nice boost from Mike Evans’ return, and given the team’s firepower, there’s a nice ceiling in play here. But for Fitzpatrick, like most backup passers, the bottom falling out projects to be horrendous.

The Dolphins’ flailing pass defense couldn’t be happier to see Ryan Fitzpatrick come to town. Miami has struggled all season to rush the passer or cover on the boundaries, and as a result they’re allowing the 11th-most net yards per attempt. Cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley have allowed numerous splash plays; opponents have thrown touchdowns of 29+ yards in 5 straight games. There’s a chance they’ll get a bit of a “breather” with aging scattershot Fitzpatrick under center this week, but this remains a targetable unit that hemorrhages big plays. Fitzpatrick should be able to maximize whatever he can muster for Week 11.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Falcons passing offense is nowhere near what it was last season. Matt Ryan finished with just 215 passing yards last week, his lowest yardage total of the season. He has been consistently disappointing as Ryan hasn’t had a single big game compared to his slew of 300+ yard, multi-touchdown outings in 2016. However, Ryan did complete over 75% of his passes and pass for two touchdowns for the third straight week, so he is trending in the right direction. Julio Jones has definitely suffered from the lackluster passing offense, eclipsing 100 yards only twice with just one touchdown on the season (coming back in Week 7). Both Austin Hooper and Mohammed Sanu have more touchdowns than Jones, but they are both inconsistent options also as their floors can be as low as a couple receptions for less than 30 yards.

The Seahawks secondary took a huge blow last week as they lost cornerback Richard Sherman for the season with a torn Achilles. While Sherman had not been elite this season, he still was a very solid cornerback and an integral part of the Seahawks defense. Jeremy Lane should now see an expanded role filling in for Sherman, which presents a slight bump for opposing receivers as Lane is definitely a significant downgrade from Sherman’s coverage abilities. Safety Earl Thomas is expected to return this week after missing the last two weeks with a hamstring injury, so his return will be just in time as the Seahawks will need both him and Chancellor over the top in Sherman’s absence. Julio Jones should be matched up against Shaquill Griffin on most snaps, but he does move around the field, so he will also see Jeremy Lane at times. Regardless of who he is up against, Julio should have an advantage in man to man coverage—but it is the safeties helping out that should really limit the potential for Jones this week. This Seahawks defense poses a tough challenge for the Falcons even without Richard Sherman due to their strong pass rush and overall solid secondary unit.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense at Los Angeles Chargers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Tyrod Taylor faceplanted badly in Week 10, managing a pitiful 56 passing yards through 3+ quarters of play against the Saints. As a result, he was benched for Week 11, and there’s a decent chance it’s a permanent move. The current coaching staff has no ties to him, after all, but chose Nathan Peterman in this year’s draft. Peterman is an experienced, pro-style passer, but he lacks NFL athleticism and timing at the moment, and he’s likely to experience some debut pains – especially against one of the league’s best pass defenses. That’s why Kelvin Benjamin’s addition – and Charles Clay’s return from injury – are so crucial to Peterman’s outlook. The rookie needs a go-to option or two, which Benjamin can be at times and Clay was consistently before going down. Both can help to maximize Peterman’s middling volume and errant throws, but it’s unlikely we’ll see the big-time efficiency needed to stoke interest in this passing game. Until we see what Peterman actually has, this unit is not just a guessing game: it’s entirely hands-off for fantasy purposes.

The Chargers pass defense has remained one of the league’s best despite the season-long loss of stud cornerback Jason Verrett. Armed with an explosive pass rush and another shutdown-esque cover man on the other side (Casey Hayward), they’ve allowed opponents to throw for 250+ yards just twice all year. Tom Brady excelled in Week 8, and Blake Bortles managed to throw for 273 yards last Sunday, but let’s take those with a grain of salt. Brady is Brady, the best to ever play the position, and Bortles needed 51 hotly-contested attempts to reach his mark, giving away 3 sacks and 2 interceptions in the process. This unit is still a relatively prohibitive one to opponents’ fantasy value – especially that of wide receivers. Hayward provides occasional shadow coverage, but even when he doesn’t, emerging star safety Jahleel Addae and company are adept at disrupting downfield throws. Ultimately, most opposing pass games face rough floors and depressed ceilings in this matchup, and Tyrod Taylor’s outlook is no different.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense at Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Since Bill Lazor took over as coordinator in Week 3, Andy Dalton’s statistical outlook has certainly improved, and he’s become averaged 266.8 yards against the Packers, Browns, Bills, Colts, and Titans, interspersed with clunkers against the Steelers and Jaguars. Of course, the latter two are the NFL’s best pass defenses, so we can generally overlook those and consider him a solid (if low-end) QB1 when the matchup is right. Wideout A.J. Green remains a matchup-proof stud who wins deep, in the air, and in the end zone, and the team boasts just enough playmaking elsewhere – including impressive tight end Tyler Kroft – to maximize Dalton’s solid if limited skill set. His Week 11 opponent, the Broncos, fall closer to the tough end of the matchup scale, but they’re not necessarily a prohibitive unit anymore. Green won’t see too much coverage from All-World slot cornerback Chris Harris and will find himself matched up mostly against gambling outside men Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby. If he can shake loose from the Denver secondary a few times, as Brandin Cooks and Rob Gronkowski did last week, then Dalton will make for a sneaky Week 11 play.

The Broncos pass defense remains a talented unit and a dicey weekly matchup for anyone, but it’s not as prohibitive as it was just a month ago. With the Denver offense imploding, more pressure is mounting on this side of the ball, and we can’t expect the same level (nor anything close) of suffocating defense. After all, they’ve surrendered 29, 51, and 41 points over the last 3 weeks, with the last 2 opponents combining to throw 7 touchdowns. They’re still doing a decent job against No. 1 wideouts, but cracks are indeed showing on the boundaries, where Alshon Jeffery (6 receptions for 84 yards and 2 touchdowns) and Brandin Cooks (6 for 74) have found success over the past 2 weeks. It’s still scary to target slot receivers against cornerback Chris Harris, but there’s fair game elsewhere to pick on for sneaky production.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense vs Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Dak Prescott had a rough outing last week against the Falcons as he passed for only 177 yards with no touchdowns. Prescott went down for a season-high eight sacks as he was under constant pressure with a struggling offensive line in front of him. His line is normally stout, but the absence of left tackle Tyron Smith really made an impact on that typically elite unit. Prescott now has thrown for less than 200 yards and zero touchdowns in two of his last three games. Dez Bryant has been nursing an ankle injury for over a week now and he did not look sharp in last week’s game. Jason Witten led the Cowboys in receptions and receiving yards last week as Prescott was noticeably checking down more often due to his bad pass protection.

The Eagles pass defense has really stepped up their playmaking ability in recent weeks with eight interceptions compared to only six passing touchdowns allowed over their last four games. While opposing quarterbacks are still putting up yards against the Eagles (8th most per game in the league) as they are often playing from behind due to how great the Eagles offense has been playing, the Eagles secondary is making it tougher on them to have success. Patrick Robinson has been a tough cornerback to match up against this year, and he should give Dez Bryant a run for his money this week. Joe Walker is still struggling to fill in for Jordan Hicks at middle linebacker though, which makes for a positive matchup for Jason Witten as the Eagles had already been easy on tight ends, allowing the 10th most fantasy points and tied for the fourth most receptions per game to opposing tight ends. If Tyron Smith can’t make it back to the Cowboys offensive line, look for even more check downs for Witten this week.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Detroit Lions Passing Offense at Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Matthew Stafford has played very well in recent weeks, ranking as the second-best fantasy quarterback over the past three weeks. During that span, Stafford is averaging over 340 passing yards per game with five touchdowns and only one interception. The Lions receivers are finally all back and healthy again as Kenny Golladay made his return last week while Eric Ebron finally showed a pulse with his first touchdown since Week 2 of the season. Marvin Jones Jr had been hot lately coming off a couple of back to back outings with over 100 receiving yards, but he fell off the map last week with the worst game of his season, hauling in only one of two targets despite playing nearly 100% of the Lions’ offensive snaps. Golden Tate has been the most reliable contributor for this Lions offense, especially in the last three weeks since returning from injury as he has caught between six and seven receptions with between 86 and 113 receiving yards per game and a couple of touchdowns over that span. With Kenny Golladay only playing 11 snaps last week, expect for him to contribute more as they slowly increase his workload—but Tate’s role at least should remain fairly safe in this offense.

The Bears have been proficient all season long against opposing passing offenses. They had not allowed a passing touchdown in three straight games leading up to last week Brett Hundley managed to find the end zone one time. This success in keeping quarterbacks from the big plays has largely been due to the outstanding play of their safeties, led by Adrian Amos who is one of the best free safeties in the league this year. The big weak spot for this Bears secondary though comes at cornerback with Kyle Fuller. Opposing receivers have made plays on Fuller all season, as he is allowing one of the highest yards per route covered in the league. Last week alone, Fuller allowed eight receptions on 10 targets for over 120 yards—accounting for over half of Brett Hundley’s total passing yards. With Fuller playing mostly on the left side, he should match up against Marvin Jones for the majority of the day. Kenny Golladay should also see a few snaps against Fuller as the Lions rotate him in for more work this week. Golden Tate looks to match up against Bryce Callahan out of the slot, who has actually done a great job covering slot receivers over the last few weeks.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Los Angeles Rams Passing Offense at Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Rams passing offense has been one of the biggest surprises of the season as Jared Goff has this team playing very well now that they finally have some decent offensive line play to enable a run game that allows him some support. Goff is coming off his two best games of the season, amassing 666 passing yards and seven touchdowns with no interceptions in the last two weeks—good for the top scoring fantasy quarterback over that span despite his non-existent contribution in the rushing department. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp have been his primary targets on the outside, while Todd Gurley continues to be a huge weapon in the passing game as he now has seven games with at least 36 receiving yards, averaging just under four receptions per game. Robert Woods has emerged as this team’s top wide receiver as Sammy Watkins continue to be minimally involved in the offensive gameplan. Has exceeded 50 receiving yards in each of his last five games and is coming off a 171-yard explosion against Houston last week. Woods had not scored a touchdown all season until Week 9, and he has now scored twice in back to back games. While that pace likely won’t continue this week against a tougher test in Minnesota, Woods should still look to be heavily involved.

The Vikings pass defense got caught up in a shootout with the Redskins last week as they allowed Kirk Cousins to pass for 327 yards and a touchdown. This was the first time an opposing quarterback had passed for more than 210 yards against them since Week 3, which goes to show how much of an anomaly this game was for a stout Vikings defensive unit. The Vikings still did a great job in limiting overall scoring as they held Cousins to just one passing touchdown, keeping that streak alive of no multi-touchdown games since Week 3. Most of the production went to Jameson Crowder out of the slot as he was matched up against Terrance Newman, but Newman only allowed Crowder to haul in four of his 11 targets, which is an excellent catch percentage from the cornerback’s perspective. Xavier Rhodes has been great this season, and he showed it last week by shadowing Josh Doctson and limiting him to just four receptions for 30 yards. Rhodes should be stuck to Robert Woods like glue this week, so expect a big regression from Woods. Sammy Watkins actually draws the best matchup of the group as he squares off against Trae Waynes, who has allowed a 63% catch rate and a well-above-average yards per route covered due to so many targets getting funneled his way by the lockdown coverage of Rhodes.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense vs Los Angeles Rams Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Case Keenum has been riding high over his last two games at the helm of this Vikings passing offense. Last week was one of Keenum’s best games this season as he racked up 304 passing yards and a career-high four touchdowns. He looked great right out of the gate with three touchdowns in the first half, but Keenum fizzled as the game went on, throwing two bad interceptions on back to back drives. Keenum now has at least one interception in four straight games. Turnovers have been a problem for him throughout his career, so this is something to watch as Keenum continues to fight for his starting job with Teddy Bridgewater lurking on the bench. The Vikings receivers could not be happier with Keenum right now though, as the duo of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen have racked up the fantasy points this season. Diggs had a better outing last week with 78 yards and a touchdown after a stinker in Week 8. Thielen continues to dominate on a weekly basis as he hauled in a season-high 166 yards and a touchdown last week. Thielen is the fourth best fantasy receiver this season and one of the most consistent contributors you will find on a weekly basis.

Rams passing defense has been tough on opposing offenses all season long as they rank within the top-10 in most pass defense categories, culminating to a #2 overall ranking against the pass using DVOA. They have been on fire as of late, racking up eight sacks, four fumble recoveries, and five interceptions over their last three games. Over that span, the Rams are allowing the third-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. On the season, only one quarterback has exceeded 300 passing yards against them, and that was Brian Hoyer in the rather fluky Week 3 shootout against San Francisco. The Rams did allow 111 receiving yards to DeAndre Hopkins last week, but that is tough to prevent when a receiver is force-fed 14 targets like he was. Rams cornerback Kayvon Webster actually did a decent job against Hopkins on the majority of the snaps though as Hopkins had just a 50% catch rate. The Rams defense as a whole was all over the field last week as they had a whopping 10 passes defended between eight separate players. This week, it looks like Webster will match up with Laquon Treadwell three-receiver sets, with some time against both Diggs and Thielen on the right side. Adam Thielen actually should draw a relatively favorable matchup for easy catches underneath against Nickell Robey-Coleman out of the slot, as Robey-Coleman is allowing a 64% catch rate on the season. Both Rams safeties, however, have been playing very well this season—so big plays should come at a premium here, which is something the Vikings have relied on in the passing game this season.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Marcus Mariota continues to present a mixed bag. He’s improving in some real-life aspects of the game, like negotiating pressure, but his fantasy contributions are actually declining. Week 10 marked just his third 2017 line of 250+ yards, and he’s averaging a modest 1.0 touchdowns across his 7 full starts. Some of that can be chalked up to volume, as the Titans remain a run-heavy team, but Mariota’s efficiency has mostly trended down since a solid 2016. He’s dipped majorly in adjusted yards per attempt, and he’s been one of the league’s worst short-yardage passers (just 4 of 10 with 1 touchdown from inside the 10). He remains a strong weekly fantasy play due to his rushing potential, but has yet to show much dynamism through the air, even with a stocked cabinet of receiving talent. Eric Decker has been largely phased out of the offense, while Rishard Matthews, Delanie Walker, and Corey Davis have all had their big-play and touchdown upsides capped. Until we see more commitment to the pass – and more efficiency from Mariota and his receivers – we should treat this as a volatile unit that’s underwhelming a lot more often than erupting.

As smothering as their run defense has been, the Steelers have been flat-out dominant against the pass. Aside from the Jaguars, no unit has suffocated opposing passing games quite to this level. They’ve allowed 246 yards or fewer in 8 of their 9 games, and only Jacksonville has allowed fewer touchdown passes. Granted, the Steelers have built those numbers against a who’s who of poor starting quarterbacks; among their nine opponents, six have been DeShone Kizer, Case Keenum, Mike Glennon, early-season Joe Flacco, Blake Bortles, and Jacoby Brissett. But predictably, they’ve utterly suffocated each of those passing games, with only 2 opposing wideouts on the year (Detroit’s Golden Tate and Marvin Jones) managing to top 61 yards in a game. The unit will feel some sting with cornerback Joe Haden forced out of Week 11 action, but not a ton of it. Haden has been extremely up-and-down in his Steelers debut and has relied quite a bit on safety help thus far. His absence upgrades the outlooks of the Tennessee wideouts, but not overwhelmingly so. This will still be exceptionally rough sledding for Marcus Mariota and his weaponry.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Redskins last week were in a tough spot going up against a tough Vikings and Kirk Cousins delivered in a big way as he threw for 327 yards as the team put up 30 points in a game that was a surprising shootout. Over the last two weeks, Cousins has shown signs of improvement in tough matchups against Seattle and Minnesota and the biggest reason why is that the team has largely given up on Terrelle Pryor and is funneling their passing game through Jamison Crowder and Vernon Davis due to Jordan Reed’s inability to stay on the field. Reed is questionable once again for this game and even if he is able to go it is unlikely he will be 100% healthy so look for Davis once again to be utilized heavily in this offense.

Marshon Lattimore is making a strong case for defensive rookie of the season as the cornerback has led this Saints secondary to become one of the better units in football. On the season, this team has allowed 201 yards passing per game which is the seventh-best in football this season. Ken Crawley is also having a tremendous season opposite of Lattimore as while they do not boast the big names of some of the cornerback tandems in the NFL they are one of the two best this season. The Saints also have been one of the best against the tight end this season as they are fourth in fewest fantasy points allowed to tight ends as Vonn Bell and Marcus Williams have done a tremendous job out of the safety spot defending the pass.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Chicago Bears Passing Offense vs Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Bears passing offense has been one of the worst in the league this season, ranking 31st in passing yards per game with just under a 60% completion rate and only nine passing touchdowns to show for. The Bears coaching staff knows they have a tough situation to deal with on offense with a rookie quarterback and lack of receiving weapons, so they have done a good job at limiting Mitchell Trubisky’s pass attempts thus far. Last week, however, the Bears were playing catch-up for most of the game and actually had a decent matchup against the Packers secondary. This combination resulted in a season-high 35 pass attempts from Trubisky as he completed 60% of them for 297 yards and a touchdown. The newly acquired Dontrelle Inman made an immediate impact as he tied for the team lead in targets (eight) while leading the team in receptions with six for 88. Wide receivers typically do not have this level of chemistry and success in their first game with a new team, especially midseason. This success, however, goes to show how bleak the Bears receiving corps really were. Inman is by no means an elite talent though, and he remains in a run-heavy offense which will limit his fantasy upside this season.

The Lions own the 10th ranked pass defense using DVOA despite allowing a below average 7.4 passing yards per attempt and 247 passing yards per game. They have done a great job preventing big games against them by opposing passers, as only three quarterbacks have passed for multiple touchdowns with only two exceeding 300 passing yards. Darius Slay is having a great season as their top cornerback, and he looked great last week against the Browns as he nabbed a big interception late in the game while allowing just 42 yards despite being targeted more than any other cornerback in that game (11 targets). Slay should be expected to take care of Inman this week, which will likely put an abrupt end to Inman’s brief success with the Bears.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Browns pass offense is one that has struggled on the season as they lack an identity. In their last game, DeShone Kizer was temporarily replaced with Cody Kessler with a rib injury and while it looks probable that Kizer will play, the Browns still rank as one of the worst passing offenses in the NFL with just 206.8 yards per game. The issue for the Browns is that they have a lack of talent at the receiver position as their leading receiver on the team is running back Duke Johnson and they have 16 different receivers who have caught a pass this season.

The Jaguars pass defense continues to be one of the best in recent memory as they held Phillip Rivers and the Chargers to just 235 yards passing this week which is 20 yards below his average. ON the season, the Jaguars are allowing just 165 yards passing per game. While the cornerbacks A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey continue to be the best cornerback tandem in football, the Jaguars did show some vulnerability to running backs out of the passing game as Austin Ekeler, Melvin Gordon, and Derek Watt combined for 11 receptions, 104 yards and two touchdowns. This could setup well for Duke Johnson this week who is the Browns leading receiver as a running back.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Denver Broncos Passing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

With Brock Osweiler at the helm, there’s little reason to be hopeful for the Broncos passing game. Osweiler has again proven a sub-mediocre quarterback, generally incapable of moving the ball or avoiding drive-killing sacks and turnovers. He showcased a great connection with Emmanuel Sanders in Week 11, connecting 5 times for 114 yards in the first half, only to fall apart in the second. It’s hard to imagine what Osweiler brings to the offense that Trevor Siemian doesn’t – he’s completed just 52.1% of his throws, with 3 interceptions – but he’ll remain the starter for at least another week. We saw against the Patriots that Osweiler’s presence doesn’t doom Sanders’ or Demaryius Thomas’ fantasy outlooks, since they absolutely dominate the offense’s attention, but it certainly caps their upsides. We may not see this passing game threaten 250 yards again this year.

In Week 10, the Bengals continued their strong (and sometimes overwhelming) 2017 run of pass defense. This is a top-five NFL unit in both raw yardage and net yardage allowed per attempt, and it’s allowed just 3 days of 250+ yards on the season. The dynamic pass rush and solid coverage unit have combined to suffocate opposing wideouts; through 9 games, only 2 opponents (Geronimo Allison and Marqise Lee) have reached 75 receiving yards, while both Antonio Brown (65 on 10 targets) and T.Y. Hilton (15 on 7) have been more or less neutralized. This group will provide tough sledding to virtually any NFL passer, and it’s almost appropriate to pity Brock Osweiler right now.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense vs Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Brett Hundley took a big step forward last week as he completed over 70% of his passes for 212 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. While Hundley did not shatter any records with his performance, he did a solid job running the offense and executed some great throws when it mattered. He did take three sacks for the second game in a row as the Packers offensive line struggled to offer consistent protection. Hundley also suffered a hamstring injury last week, but he didn’t miss a snap and should be expected to play this week. Davante Adams has been the most targeted receiver of the season for the Packers, and he has led the team in targets since Hundley’s first start in Week 7. Adams led the team in receptions, yards, and scored the only touchdown last week as the rest of the Packers receivers have all but disappeared with Hundley under center.

The Ravens defense has played very well lately as they have forced three interceptions and racked up six sacks over their last two games, allowing just 20 points during that span. Opposing passers are only averaging 185 yards per game against the Ravens, third fewest in the league. The Ravens have done well at making plays in their secondary as they lead the league in interceptions with 13 interceptions, 11 of which went to their defensive backs. Jimmy Smith has been their best cornerback, and he should see most snaps against Devante Adams this week. The Packers do move their receivers around quite a bit though, so he will not be shutting down Hundley’s favorite target the entire game. Marlon Humphrey should man the other side of the field, and he also has looked great in his rookie campaign this year. With the Ravens playing well over their last two games, Hundley and the Packers receivers should again be in a tough spot.

Please refer to the NFL's injury report for the latest injury news regarding your players.