Week 5 Passing Matchups

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

Jump to Rushing Matchups

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


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.


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

It’s hard to overstate the impact rookie Calvin Ridley has had on the Atlanta passing game thus far. For years, this has been a largely stale, predictable attack. Defenses haven’t had to respect much more than Julio Jones’ downfield game and the running backs in the flats. Despite a poor SPARQ score at the combine, Ridley has proven an explosive target over the middle, one that runs a fine route tree and can beat mismatches in the seams. Last week’s 30-yard touchdown showcased what a diversifying asset he is for Matt Ryan. And with extra attention on him, Jones should see more and more opportunity to win his downfield battles. Ryan has now topped 272 yards in 3 straight games, averaging a stunning 397 over the last 2, and has completed 76% of his throws along the way. This group is back to being dynamic, and while Ridley’s weekly role isn’t too consistent, Jones’ is in full gear.

Few NFL pass defenses are being exploited as blatantly as the Steelers’. After a dominant 2017, they’ve now allowed each of their last 3 opponents top 326 yards and throw a combined 11 touchdowns. Most of the blame lies with the secondary, which still drastically lacks coverage talent. Joe Haden is no longer anyone’s idea of a shutdown guy; he’s routinely burned downfield and no longer has the quick-twitch ball skills to disrupt throws. Artie Burns has been even worse on the other side, and altogether, they’ve allowed a 100-yard receiver in each game thus far. The team’s only reputable cover man, slot back Mike Hilton, looks set to miss another week with a hyperextended elbow. The safeties are providing little help, and with the edge rush scuffling, the secondary is forced to hold downfield coverage for far longer than it can manage. Until some dynamism appears, this is one of fantasy’s juiciest units to target.

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


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense vs Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Bill Lazor has truly been the saving grace of this Bengals passing game. He took over as coordinator midstream last year, gradually implementing his versatile, motion-based scheme. This season, it’s taken off tremendously, with Andy Dalton averaging 318 yards and throwing 9 touchdowns over his last 3 games. On the year, he’s completing 65.6% of his throws, consistently hitting his receivers on the mark downfield. A.J. Green has benefited, of course, looking unstoppable in the red zone and catching five early touchdowns. But the big story has been the leap made by slot man Tyler Boyd. Showcasing just enough quickness and a sticky pair of hands, Boyd continues to succeed as a dependable underneath target for Dalton who can also exploit bad coverage in the seams. His work on last week’s game-winning drive, on which he converted a third down and two fourth downs, was a perfect snapshot of his breakout. Sadly, the team will saunter on without the services of tight end Tyler Eifert, who was lost last week to a broken ankle. Still, there’s enough firepower in this scheme to keep springing the playmakers open. Dalton is in the zone with Green and Boyd, and second-year man John Ross, while still wildly inconsistent, keeps breaking free for a downfield catch a week. When Dalton is kept upright – never a given behind this still-shaky front line – he’s a threat to create a splash play at any time.

The Miami pass defense remains an aggressive, gambling unit. It was built that way, with a premium pick spent on Alabama ballhawk Minkah Fitzpatrick this year. That’s been a big addition – Fitzpatrick has filled in all over the secondary and made plays on the ball, including a nice interception of Tom Brady last Sunday. In fact, through four games, the Dolphins lead the league in interceptions with nine. On the whole, though, this unit is wildly inconsistent. Top cornerback Xavien Howard flashes in coverage, but can be beaten on the outside, and fellow starter Bobby McCain won’t suit up Sunday. And the safeties often find themselves out of position, as during Cordarrelle Patterson’s long touchdown last week. Big strides are being made here, but they’re not comprehensive enough to make this a frightening matchup. They’ve given up an average of 321 yards over the last 3 weeks, and Brady could’ve racked up more if not for last week’s blowout.

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


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Blake Bortles is a roller coaster of a player as just when the fantasy world is about to write him off, he sucks us back in with these incredible performances that we saw last week where he threw 388 yards and completed 76% of his passes. In his four games this season he has thrown for 375 or more in two of them and 176 or less in two of them. The good news for the Jaguars is that they got both Dede Westbrook and Donte Moncrief involved this week which should be great news for the Jaguars going forward if this can continue as they needed both of these players to step up after slow starts to the year.

The Chiefs have designed their team to be in high scoring contests as they essentially have three slot corners playing for them this season as Orlando Scandrick who traditionally has been a slot corner has moved outside, and Steven Nelson who was the team’s slot corner last season is also playing on the outside. This is an undersized unit that has had very little success so far this season allowing 343 yards passing including two games to Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger in which they allowed an average of 438 yards passing. This should be a potentially big game for the Jaguars receivers especially Donte Moncrief and Keelan Cole both of who have significant size advantages over the Chiefs cornerbacks who do not start anyone over six feet tall.

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


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

All it took was a date with the Ravens defense to send Ben Roethlisberger and company crashing to earth after a blistering stretch. After averaging 380 yards and firing 7 touchdowns over the first 3 weeks, Roethlisberger managed just 274 – mostly in garbage time – against a Baltimore defense that’s quite familiar with his machinations. Last Sunday, Roethlisberger was forced out of his big-play mentality and into a check-down-heavy game plan that saw low-impact slot man Ryan Switzer catch seven worthless passes. Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster will always create their catches, but both were held in check by complex Baltimore coverages. That can be an issue with this offense: when the downfield game is taken away, Roethlisberger has to look underneath far too often to make much of an impact, and defenses will study the Ravens’ Week 4 gameplan. Make no mistake: this passing game remains electrifying, with two fantasy WR1s in tow. But between Roethlisberger’s age and relatively one-dimensional approach, this unit can absolutely be slowed. When he starts throwing into traffic, he finds himself in an interception-fest that dooms fantasy weeks, although his wideouts never really suffer.

Ravaged by injuries through the first month of the season, this Falcons secondary is a shambles. Both starting safeties, including rising star Ricardo Allen, are on injured reserve, and the downfield seams are springing wide open. Each of their last 3 opponents has thrown for 335 yards or more, and over that span, a whopping 7 wideouts have topped 52. The pass rush, led by explosive Vic Beasley and blossoming second-year man Takk McKinley, is pulling its weight up front. Last week, the duo combined to collapse the pocket and break up three crucial third downs. Still, with such lackluster coverage downfield, this has the look of a thoroughly burnable unit. Quarterbacks are completing 70.4% against them, winning both underneath and down the field. Until there’s marked improvement on the back end, it remains fair to target passing games in this matchup.

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 (Great Matchup)

After a year of doing dynamic things in Kansas City, Alex Smith is back to game-manager mode for Jay Gruden. It’s not ideal – Gruden is an aggressive play-caller who loves to attack down the field. But Smith is generally best utilized as a dink-and-dunk artist, occasionally leveraging his short game into an open deep strike. In the last game, Smith was able to draw the Packers to the line and spring Paul Richardson for a 41-yard deep ball. Still, it doesn’t happen often enough to expect much from these Washington wideouts. Richardson and Josh Doctson are at their most impactful winning routes down the field and making tough catches, but Smith is generally content to feed Jordan Reed and Chris Thompson underneath. The wideouts are often decoys, as when Smith had Jeremy Maclin and Dwayne Bowe in Kansas City. There’s plenty of efficiencies to be posted with that approach, but it’s not a very fantasy-friendly one.

After seemingly undergoing a turnaround in 2017, the Saints pass defense has looked horribly overmatched thus far this season. Last Sunday they looked better on the stat sheet, keeping the Giants from creating many big plays, but they lose points considering Eli Manning’s dead arm. On the whole, they’ve been shredded all season, allowing quarterbacks to complete a wild 74.6% of passes and throw 11 touchdowns. Reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore seems to have lost his mojo, routinely allowing big plays down the field as he gambles for the ball. And on the other side, Ken Crawley and P.J. Williams have alternated as burnable cover men, losing both downfield and at the sidelines. The team misses Patrick Robinson, its only reasonable effective cornerback, who’s on injured reserve. Offenses are back to beating this overly-aggressive, poor-tackling group all over the field, and until Lattimore regains some shred of his shutdown rookie form, it’s hard to be optimistic.

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


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Cardinals passing offense had a new face in Josh Rosen last week as he started his first career game under center. Rosen had a clean and quiet debut, passing for 180 yards and a touchdown with no turnovers. He showed good mobility and a willingness to push the ball downfield with a few completions of over 20 yards. Rosen’s stats could have been better if not for a few dropped passes by his receivers, two of which could have been touchdowns. Overall, Rosen’s presence in the offense does signify a boost to what had otherwise been an absolutely dreadful passing attack. Top target Larry Fitzgerald was not his normal self last week as he continues to struggle through a hamstring injury. Rookie Christian Kirk has at least four receptions in three straight games as he is making an immediate impact on this offense. David Johnson was finally more involved in the passing game last week hauling in three of four targets for 41 yards including a long catch of 30 yards.

The 49ers passing defense has underwhelmed this season, giving up multiple passing touchdowns and at least 240 passing yards in all four games this season while notching only one interception and just eight sacks. Both cornerbacks Richard Sherman and safety Jaquiski Tartt were sidelined with injuries last week, which further detracts from this unit’s ability to manage opposing passers. Sherman is expected to miss this week again while Tartt may have a chance to suit up as he has been practicing. The absence of Sherman should help Christian Kirk and Chad Williams, as Jimmie Ward has not looked good in his limited snaps. Larry Fitzgerald will draw the toughest matchup here out of the slot, while tight end Ricky Seals-Jones should find some room in the middle of the field. David Johnson is the matchup to watch here though, as we saw Melvin Gordon have his way against this passing defense last week with seven receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown while both Dalvin Cook and Theo Riddick hauled six and nine receptions respectively.

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


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense at Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Joe Flacco looks reborn in his 11th season. Through the first 4 weeks, Flacco is averaging his most yardage per attempt since 2010 and has averaged 339 yards over his last 3. Evidently, all he needed was a speedy mismatch on the outside, something Breshad Perriman and their recent host of retreads never offered. John Brown has stepped in beautifully, routinely squashing man coverage and beating safeties for long gains. Over 4 games he’s caught a modest 15 passes but picked up 20 yards or more on 6 of them, including a pair last Sunday night. His lid-lifting explosiveness has opened things up underneath for Michael Crabtree and, to Flacco’s delight, the tight ends. All in all, this looks like a rejuvenated attack after a moribund 2017 that featured some of Flacco’s worst football. Finally healthy and stocked with at least one dynamic weapon, he’s proving he can still spin volume into borderline-QB1 fantasy numbers.

Cleveland has certainly prioritized its pass defense over the last two offseasons, spending first-round picks on edge rusher Myles Garrett and cornerback Denzel Ward. The returns have been encouraging: Garrett is working his way toward dominance, with 11.5 sacks over his first 15 games, and Ward has logged 302 of 305 rookie snaps in impressive fashion. Still, those two difference-makers haven’t been enough to keep this unit from being scorched through much of their first four games. Save for a date with green Jets rookie Sam Darnold, Browns opponents have completed 64% of their passes and thrown for 335, 243, and 437 yards (with 7 touchdowns). Losing starting cornerback Terrance Mitchell last Sunday didn’t help matters a bit. Replacement Briean Boddy-Calhoun was generally solid last year but has hardly played since Week 1

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


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense at Houston Texans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys passing offense finally surpassed the 200-yard mark last week as Prescott threw for two touchdowns with zero interceptions in the win. It was Prescott’s first multi-touchdown game of the season as he showed poise this week after struggling throughout his first three starts, including throwing multiple interceptions in Week 3. This entire offense, passing included, ran through Ezekiel Elliott last week though as he gained a massive 240 total yards, including a team-leading 88 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. Four other receiving options were targeted five times each with Cole Beasley leading the charge among wide receivers with four receptions for 53 yards. Beasley leads this thin receiving group on the season with just 183 yards through four games while Ezekiel Elliott is the most heavily targeted player on the team.

The Texans have been vulnerable through the air this season despite owning one of the strongest pass-rushing tandems in the league. Both J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney will make it very tough on even one of the top offensive lines in the game this week. This duo has been spectacular all season, especially last week as they combined for 14 total pressures with a couple sacks apiece against the Colts. Despite their success this season, the Texans defense still ranks in the bottom third against the pass, giving up 288 passing yards per game, 8.1 passing yards per attempt, and a whopping 11 passing touchdowns. Andrew Luck’s performance in a shootout last week certainly does not help the stats for this passing defense as he put up 464 yards and four touchdowns against them. Colts receivers were basically getting open at will as this could have been even worse for the Texans secondary if not for a number of dropped passes. Cornerback Aaron Colvin has been having a dreaded season that appears to have been cut short by a severe ankle injury to make this Texans secondary even thinner than it already was with defensive backs Andre Hal and Kevin Johnson both sidelined. Even a bottom tier Cowboys wide receiver group should have little trouble finding space against this secondary.

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


Los Angeles Rams Passing Offense at Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jared Goff has been unstoppable over the last three weeks, completing over 75% of his passes for at least 350 passing yards in each of those outings, including two games against tough opponents in the Chargers and Vikings. This offense is one of the most well-rounded groups in the league if Goff is playing well. They have one of the best offensive lines in football, three spectacular receiving options, and one of the best running backs in the game both on the ground and through the air. One of those wide receivers, Cooper Kupp, broke the mold of Mr. Consistency as he absolutely exploded to finish as the top fantasy receiver of Week 4. Kupp now has three touchdowns and is averaging three red zone looks per game with nearly double the red zone opportunities than any other wide receiver or tight end for the Rams. Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods both had spectacular games last week as well and are each having great starts to the season. There is plenty of production to go around in this high-flying fantasy offense.

The Seahawks defense will need to show some resiliency in the coming weeks after the loss of one of their top players, safety Earl Thomas. Adding fuel to the fire, starting linebacker Mychal Kendricks was officially suspended after last week’s game--so they will now be down two defenders who normally would be looking after the middle of the field. Bobby Wagner remains one of the top coverage linebackers while Bradley McDougald is no slouch at safety, but depth outside of those guys is lacking--particularly at cornerback as all three starting cornerbacks have shown their flaws this season. Brandin Cooks should see at least half of his snaps against cornerback Tre Flowers, who has played quite poorly this season. The Rams have tough on opposing pass-catching running backs as they limited Tarik Cohen and Ezekiel Elliott to under 20 receiving yards, but we saw David Johnson break away for a big reception last week, so there is some upside here for Todd Gurley to work his magic.

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


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense at Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Ryan Tannehill has shown quite well through the young season, using play action and great downfield play by his receivers to great advantage. But last week gave us a glimpse back to the frazzled, inefficient Tannehill of yesteryear. When his ground game isn’t dominating, Tannehill still struggles to push the ball downfield and make plays on his own. When there’s any defensive resistance at all, he’s only effective at checking down. Not precise enough to be a game manager, Tannehill looks like merely a hot-and-cold passer who can be stymied more easily than one would like to see. His lack of a deep ball hinders Kenny Stills, one of the best deep receivers in football. Also, it may be time to throw in the fantasy towel on wideout DeVante Parker, who’s rarely healthy and involved enough to contribute as a playmaker. On the whole, this is a passing game for which success is never projectable. They may erupt here and there, but only when the game lines up for them. Otherwise, it’s a discombobulated attack that lacks a real big-play outlook.

In general, the Bengals are stronger against the pass than they’ve looked on the early-season stat sheet. Three of the four quarterbacks they’ve faced have thrown for 319-419 yards, but it’s worth pointing out that 2 of them did so with garbage-time padding. The Bengals actually did a solid job containing the downfield games of both the Colts and Ravens, only to watch them churn out numbers in the second halves. Of course, there was no excuse for last week’s effort, which saw Matt Ryan a 29 of his 39 throws for 419 yards and 3 touchdowns. Cornerbacks William Jackson III and Dre Kirkpatrick are both ascending players, but neither had an answer for Julio Jones downfield, or Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley inside. All told, this is a perfectly safe unit to target in fantasy. With the pass rush hit-or-miss and the aggressive cornerbacks always open to breakdowns, they’re a weekly threat to give up a handful of splash plays.

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


New England Patriots Passing Offense vs Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Just as Tom Brady gets Julian Edelman back into his hollowed-out receiving corps, he may face the near future without Rob Gronkowski. The all-world tight end suffered a relatively minor ankle tweak last Sunday, but it’s likely enough to keep him from suiting up on a short week. If Gronkowski can’t go on Thursday, it’s fair to expect a heavy dose of Edelman, who should bring polish and experience to a hit-or-miss group of receivers. Cordarrelle Patterson and Phillip Dorsett are novelty weapons who need to be schemed the ball, while Chris Hogan (just 109 yards through 4 games) remains invisible, routinely misconnecting with Brady and finding himself ground out of games. Josh Gordon saw extensive time last week but doesn’t look like a major weapon yet. Of late, running back James White has been Brady’s most dependable and productive receiver, a sad state of affairs that Edelman can help – but not fix. There’s still a nagging lack of a downfield element to this attack, keeping things one-dimensional and Brady’s numbers ho-hum. Gronkowski’s return – and Gordon’s emergence – can’t come soon enough.

As usual, pass defense remains the Colts’ truest vulnerability. Since the mid-2010s heyday of Vontae Davis, this has been among the league’s more picked-on units, and with good cause. Severely lacking talent in the secondary, the Colts have allowed their first 4 opposing quarterbacks to complete a stunning 71% of their throws and average a robust 7.61 yards per attempt. Last week they had no answer for Deshaun Watson and his receivers – Watson threw for a career-high 375 yards, and 2 Texan wideouts topped 100 yards. (Will Fuller could’ve been a third had he not left early.) The cornerbacks are indeed a problem – the team shouldn’t have let 2017 star Rashaan Melvin walk in the offseason – and their poor play is squandering an improving pass rush.

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


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Josh Allen struggled in a big way last week as he completed less than 50% of his passes for only 151 yards with no touchdowns, two interceptions, and a lost fumble. His offensive line made it tough on him as Allen went down seven times under relentless pressure. Allen has taken more sacks than any other quarterback this season despite not even playing the full game in Week 1. He has a ragtag receiving corps with Kelvin Benjamin as the top target who has yet to haul in more than three receptions in a game this season. Charles Clay came on last week with four receptions for 40 yards, but he is as unreliable as they come as well. LeSean McCoy is more than capable of generating yards for this offense through the air, so watch his usage going forward as the Bills will need to get him more involved to have any chance of competing.

The Titans passing defense has been slightly above average on paper, but their secondary has certainly not been the strength as we have seen opposing wide receivers find plenty of success. With the exception of Week 3 against an inept Jaguars offense, the Titans have been bitten by big plays to wide receivers, allowing two touchdowns in each of those three games along with four receivers finishing with over 100 receiving yards. Cornerback Malcolm Butler, in particular, has given up big play after big play this season as he has really struggled in coverage. The Titans will also be missing starting safety Kenny Vaccaro this week as he suffered a dislocated elbow against the Eagles and will miss at least a couple weeks. Where the Titans do excel is applying pressure to opposing quarterbacks, which will certainly be an advantage against what has been the worst pass protection in the league by the Bills offensive line. Despite the poor cornerback play by the Titans, Josh Allen may not have enough time to even let a big play develop nor does he have the talent at receiver to gain a significant advantage over even below average opposing cornerbacks.

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


Denver Broncos Passing Offense at New York Jets Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

It appears the Broncos still have yet to find their quarterback. Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch clearly weren’t the answer, and Case Keenum has yet to prove an upgrade. Journeyman backup Keenum has always overachieved, using smarts and instinct to succeed in short bursts. But he’s not catching any breaks in Denver, where his lack of starting-caliber ability is a huge wart on this talented team. There were signs of this last year, with Keenum winning with yards after the catch but finishing near the bottom of the league in downfield efficiency. He’s still struggling to push the ball, wasting most of the big-play juice left in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. And when he does try to create plays, he’s intercepted as often as his predecessors were. As a result of his inability to strike downfield, both Thomas and Sanders are mostly volume-dependent fantasy plays, without much dynamism on the horizon.

Last week’s 2018 debut of second-year safety Marcus Maye actually marked an exciting time for this group. Maye and Jamal Adams were the team’s top two picks last year, and their development will be the biggest factor in determining whether this pass defense can straighten itself out. As it stands, their work is cut out for them. With almost no pass rush to push the issue – reserve lineman Henry Anderson leads the team in sacks, with 2.5 – the Jets’ solid cornerbacks are forced to hold coverage for far too long, resulting in far too many big plays downfield. Kenny Golladay, Jarvis Landry, and even Donte Moncrief have taken turns scorching them on the deep ball. And when quarterbacks attack underneath, as Blake Bortles did last week (29 of 38 for 388 yards), there’s little resistance. Until this unit shows some impact ability, such as a ballhawk in centerfield or just one feared rusher, this remains a great matchup to target in fantasy.

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


Detroit Lions Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Matthew Stafford continues to be playing at a high level this year outside of the first-week debacle against the Jets. Stafford is on pace for a career high in completion percentage and is on pace to have the highest amount of attempts since 2012. A big reason for this success over the last three weeks is the additional weapon that the Lions this year in Kenny Golladay who has been tremendous so far this year. This is one of the best wide receiving groups in the NFL that was able to move the ball with ease against a good Cowboys secondary last week as Stafford threw for 307 yards last week.

The Packers pass defense has largely been an untested group so far and going up against the Lions offense will be a test for them this week. To date, the Packers have been a good pass defense outside of the 425 yards that they allowed to Kirk Cousins and the Vikings, but they have faced Josh Allen, Mitchell Trubisky and Alex Smith in the other three games. The Packers secondary is a talented group, but outside of veteran Tramon Williams, this is a very young group with a lot of first and second-year players. The Packers could get a big increase this week as they may get Kevin King back who has missed the last two games. King will replace Josh Jackson who has struggled so far this season.

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


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Finally, Andrew Luck appears close to being back. After three weeks of sanitized, dink-and-dunk football, Luck uncorked his creative, dynamic game last Sunday against the Texans. Luck dialed up a career-high 62 pass attempts, completing 40 – and his receivers dropped several more. Most importantly, he finally showed a willingness to throw down the field. Luck hit old friend T.Y. Hilton on a pair of deep balls and actually looked confident in doing so, an abrupt jump. Unfortunately, Hilton looks extremely unlikely to suit up Thursday, likely putting Luck back into turtle-ball mode. Luck will still throw with absurd volume this weekend, but it’s hard to project much downfield efficiency without Hilton. Rookie running back Nyheim Hines’ ability to shake linebackers and run routes will be a big part of what Luck can utilize Thursday. He and the tight ends should dominate the passing game, especially with the line struggling to pass-block (both starting tackles remain sidelined). Deep and high-impact throws will be few and far between with just Chester Rogers, Ryan Grant, and Zach Pascal running downfield routes.

Every now and then, the Patriots pass defense shows up and excels for a week. That happened last Sunday when they shut down a Miami passing game that had been rolling to open the year. Ryan Tannehill managed just 100 yards over 20 attempts, failing to lead any offensive output of note. Still, more often than not, this is a wildly inconsistent unit that struggles to either cover or rush the passer. Over the two games prior, Blake Bortles and Matthew Stafford combined to hit on 69% of their throws for 639 yards and 6 touchdowns. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore continues to look like a huge free agency mistake, routinely losing on downfield routes and being flagged when it happens. Jason McCourty has been similarly disappointing on the other side, and the safeties are of little help in the passing game. And Trey Flowers stands as the team’s only feared edge rusher. He’s an ascending star, but he can’t do it alone. The rest of the line is slow and lumbering, and once-dynamic linebacker Dont’a Hightower is no longer trusted to rush the passer much. Game flow can vary wildly in Patriots games, but this remains one of fantasy’s more mouthwatering targets.

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


Los Angeles Chargers Passing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Philip Rivers is off to an impressive start so far this season. While he has not put up eye-popping yardage numbers outside of Week 1, he has thrown for 11 touchdowns in his first four games and is extremely reliable on a week to week basis. Rivers is on pace to throw for his second-highest completion percentage of his career and a big reason for that is Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler who have both been a tremendous boost to the Chargers passing game. Gordon came into the league very raw as a receiver and has developed into a solid receiver that is paying dividends this season as he is averaging six receptions per game after averaging just three receptions per game heading into this season. Mike Wiliams will continue to be volatile for this Chargers team as evidenced by last week where he was largely taken out of the game.

The Raiders secondary are a unit that does not really have any weaknesses, but at the same time does not have any strengths. The Raiders have continued to want Gareon Conley to emerge as an elite corner and while he had an interception return for a touchdown, has not been a cornerback that can be consistently relied upon as that elite player and has been losing playing time after the first two weeks. This is a defense that is really trying to find it’s rotations as they had 7 safeties and corners rotate through last week. So far they have not allowed a 300-yard passing quarterback, but also have not shut down a quarterback and a big piece of this is the run defense so bad that teams do not have to throw against them.

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


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

It feels strange to say, but Kirk Cousins’ blistering run thus far has felt fairly under the radar due to the 1-2-1 start to the year. But Cousins has been outstanding, and has been let down far too often by a generally disappointing team. The porous defense keeps putting him in deep holes, forced to throw without much strategy or rhythm. More directly, his line is struggling mightily with numerous bodies already lost for the year, and Cousins routinely faces heavy pressure. He’s been strip-sacked three times over the past two weeks, including last Thursday’s game-ender. It’s a wonder he’s been able to find Adam Thielen (averaging 10-118 with 2 touchdowns) and Stefon Diggs (7-78 and 3) as often as he has. Both are simply winning downfield routes with tremendous foot speed and body control, and Thielen has emerged as an elite target on underneath routes as well. Cousins’ outlook should improve with better game scripts. He and the receivers have been so good thus far that their success can’t be chalked up to wild-throwing losses. There’s so much efficiency on the table here that this is a matchup-proof unit for fantasy purposes.

Generally speaking, the Eagles pass defense is a stable unit. Both starting cornerbacks boast talent and strong track records, and the pass rush is so dynamic it maximizes the hit-or-miss nature of the secondary. But they simply had no answer for Corey Davis in Week 4; the second-year Titan caught 9 balls for 161 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Davis routinely beat the secondary on crossing routes, but also burned Jalen Mills on a deep ball. He may be ramping up to star level, but it was disconcerting for such a talented unit. It’s fair to give the Eagles a pass for one bad outing, but they were gashed by the Buccaneers in Week 2, as well. They’re not a targetable unit in fantasy, but they’re far from a shutdown one.

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


New York Giants Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

In many ways, this is looking like the end of the line for Eli Manning’s efficiency. He’s completing a ton of passes (78% over the past 3 weeks, with no interceptions), but isn’t scaring anyone but the Texans beyond the underneath level. He no longer boasts the sneaky arm strength that would routinely throw Mario Manningham, Victor Cruz, and Odell Beckham Jr. open down the field. Last week, he hit on 31 of 41 passes against the Saints, but generated just 255 yards in the process. He clung tightly to short throws to slot man Sterling Shepard and check-downs to Saquon Barkley, rarely making much of an impact. And when he did look to his playmakers deep and outside, he was consistently off the mark, with Beckham’s dynamism thoroughly wasted against a flailing Saints secondary. Manning still makes for a fine streaming option in fantasy, with plenty of opportunity and a handful of major playmakers to throw to, even with explosive tight end Evan Engram out. But the days of Beckham both scorching defenses and catching deep balls in stride are coming to a close.

Carolina’s pass defense remains an aggressive, pestering unit, but a beatable one for fantasy purposes. The pass rush is still loaded with big names and big talent, and quarterbacks rarely have fun avoiding them. Mario Addison, Julius Peppers, and Wes Horton may be the league’s premier edge-rushing trio, even with Peppers on the verge of retirement, and Kawaan Short is dynamic inside. But in the secondary, things aren’t as rosy. Rookie cornerback Donte Jackson has looked like a fiery playmaker, but on the other side, James Bradberry has regressed sharply since a promising 2016 debut. He was routinely beaten on deep balls last season, and this year he’s struggling against quick underneath moves, too. Slot-based receivers are having a field day against the Panthers in general. Cole Beasley, Calvin Ridley, and Tyler Boyd have combined to catch 17 balls for 269 yards and 2 touchdowns in the matchup.

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


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Carson Wentz is not only back on the field – he’s dynamic again. After a catch-up week of playing small-ball, Wentz opened up tremendously last Sunday, hitting on 33 of his 50 throws. He would’ve had more, too, had Nelson Agholor not committed multiple key drops. Wentz looks confident in driving the ball down the field, and he’s dialed in with his receivers, as seen on an impressive redzone touchdown strike to Alshon Jeffery. He’s making do with a pared-down supporting cast, involving four wideouts, two tight ends, and two backs last week. As long as Jeffery and/or Zach Ertz are upright, Wentz carries a massive ceiling into every single week. As one of the more downfield-minded passers in football, he’s always a threat to open up a shootout, and his wild efficiency has yet to taper off.

The wheels may be coming off of the vaunted Minnesota pass defense. They’ve allowed 3 of 4 quarterbacks to throw for 261 yards or more, and in the other game, it was disconcerting to see rookie Josh Allen consistently evade their rush and beat them with well-placed throws. And of course, last Thursday night was a sheer nightmare, with Jared Goff and his bevy of weapons racking up 465 yards and 5 touchdowns. Much of their struggles can be blamed on the cornerbacks, who are definitely underperforming. Xavier Rhodes often flashes shutdown ability, but struggles against smaller, speedier receivers; Brandin Cooks scorched him downfield last Thursday and drew a handful of penalties. And former first-rounder Trae Waynes has been just as inconsistent on the other side, and may sit Week 5 due to a concussion. Everson Griffen’s unfortunate health situation dings one of the league’s best pass-rush units; it’s deep and able to recover, but a talent like Griffen is always missed. This talent-packed group looks like one in transition – not one to attack in fantasy, but also not one to shy away from.

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


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense at Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Marcus Mariota surprised many last week as he passed for nearly 350 yards and a couple touchdowns against a stout Eagles defense in the Titans’ overtime win. It has been tough to rely on this passing offense to start the season with Mariota injuring his arm, the loss of top target Delanie Walker, and now the loss of veteran receiver Rishard Matthews who was released last week. Despite these challenges, Mariota shined in a big way last week as his arm appeared to be healthy and he had no issues delivering deep balls on target downfield. One of the beneficiaries of those deep balls was Corey Davis, who had a breakout game with nine receptions (from 15 targets) for 161 yards and his first career touchdown in the regular season. While his target share has been up and down based on the game script, Davis is clearly the focal point of this passing attack. Taywan Taylor stepped up as the #2 receiver last week also, earning nine targets with seven receptions for 77 yards. Taylor is a speedy receiver who has flashed when given the chance, and without Rishard Matthews, his path to starting opposite Davis is now clear. Dion Lewis also had his best game of the season through the air last week as he was peppered with nine targets, hauling in all of them for 66 yards. When playing from behind, the Titans have shown their willingness to put Lewis on the field with routes out of the backfield as that safety valve for Mariota.

The Bills secondary has been up and down this season, netting out to a middle-of-the-pack unit against the pass overall. The defensive line has applied decent pressure with 10 sacks this season, led by Jerry Hughes who has made an impact from the edge. The Titans still have the advantage in the trenches here though, rolling out a fully healthy offensive line that has allowed Marcus Mariota to be sacked only four times. The Bills have a dynamic young cornerback tandem in Tre’Davious White and Ryan Lewis, both of whom have looked solid overall this season despite a shaky outing against the Packers last week. The big matchup here to watch will be Corey Davis against White. While Davis has the size advantage, White has shown he can be a lockdown cornerback in big matchups.

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


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs New York Giants Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Cam Newton’s cannon of arm remains both a blessing and a curse. It enables him to spearhead huge plays, as when he repeatedly scorched Atlanta in Week 2. But it also limits his touch, and Newton still fires high and hard a bit too often. Still, the Panthers have surrounded him with intriguing weapons that are capable of reining in his erratic throws, and this offense is a bit shaky but certainly dynamic Devin Funchess, still just 24 years old, is developing into a strong downfield target. Rookie D.J. Moore looks electric, if still quite raw, and Christian McCaffrey makes for a backbone that’s both dependable and explosive. Newton has spent much of 2018 thus far playing game-manager football, relying on McCaffrey underneath and little else. But he boasts both the talent and the mentality to run with just about anyone in a shootout – or even to create one himself.

Keyed by shutdown cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who looks back to his All-Pro self, the Giants pass defense is morphing into a tough matchup. Since allowing a long touchdown to Tavon Austin in Week 2, Jenkins has been red-hot in coverage, putting in strong days against a pair of elite wideouts. DeAndre Hopkins caught 6 balls in Week 3, but Jenkins made him work for them and prevented much of an impact before a late-game rally. And last Sunday, Jenkins held world-beater Michael Thomas to just 4 receptions (after 38 over the first 3 weeks). Of course, production has to go somewhere when a No. 1 wideout is slowed, and the Giants were worked over downfield by Will Fuller while Hopkins was held in check two weeks ago. But on the whole, this group has improved dramatically from its atrocious 2017 form. The pass rush is regaining its edge, and even Jenkins’ cornerback counterpart, Eli Apple, is emerging after a 2017 to forget.

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


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

While Aaron Rodgers continues to play, he just does not look anywhere close to 100% healthy. Part of the Rodgers magic is that he is the best throwing quarterback on the run and losing his mobility has hurt this team so far this season. The Packers are expected to be shorthanded this week against the Lions as Randall Cobb seems unlikely to play with a hamstring injury and Geronimo Allison who has been a tremendous surprise this season is dealing with a concussion. This would essentially leave Davante Adams and Jimmy Graham as the only two receivers that Aaron Rodgers has a connection with and could leave the Packers considering moving Ty Montgomery back to receiver for this week. Adams did miss practice on Thursday and was a late addition to the injury report which is something to monitor moving forward as he has a calf injury. If he were to miss, it would leave the Packers barren at wide receiver with Equanimeous St. Brown, J'Mon Moore, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling as the starting receivers if all three were to miss.

The Lions secondary continues to be one of the better units in football this season which is a nice surprise for a unit that historically has been weak as long as you avoided Darius Slay. The Lions did struggle last week showing that they may be regressing a little bit as they allowed Dak Prescott to throw for 255 yards which was the first time he threw over 200 yards this season. Darius Slay and Glover Quinn at safety continue to be the backbone of this unit while if there is a weakness on this team it is Jamal Agnew out of the slot. There are two injury situations to keep an eye in Detroit as safety Quandre Diggs broke his hand last week and is practicing in a cast. If Diggs is able to go this would be a big help for this secondary. The other injury situation to keep an eye on in Detroit is the status of pass rusher Ziggy Ansah who has not played since Week 1, but did return to practice this week and would be a significant help to the pass rush if he was able to play.

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


Houston Texans Passing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Deshaun Watson has hit his full stride since his disappointing outing in Week 1, passing for multiple touchdowns and over 300 yards in each of his last three games with over 370 passing yards in his last two contests. His accuracy has consistently improved while Watson showed great poise under surprisingly limited pressure as one of the worst offensive lines in the league actually had a decent outing from a pass-blocking perspective. Will Fuller re-injured his hamstring last week and is in jeopardy of missing this week’s game. In Fuller’s absence, the Texans appear to have their WR2 in rookie Keke Coutee. Coutee was a focal point of the offense last week as he saw more targets than DeAndre Hopkins. With 15 balls coming his way, Coutee hauled in 11 of them for 109 yards and will be a big factor in this offense if Fuller is out. Despite a couple fewer targets last week and multiple injuries leading into last week, DeAndre Hopkins was still the dominant force in this offense with a whopping 169 yards plus one touchdown. Hopkins has seen double-digit targets and at least 78 receiving yards in each game this season and will continue to be one of the top receivers in football.

The Cowboys passing defense has been an efficient unit against opposing passing offenses, led mainly by the strength of their pass rush. This defense has recorded at least three sacks in each game with 14 sacks on the season--third most in the league. Facing off against one of the worst offensive lines in football that have allowed 10 sacks the past two games, the Cowboys defensive line led by Demarcus Lawrence should easily keep Deshaun Watson on the run. The Cowboys secondary, while certainly benefitting from the solid pass rush, has played well overall to be allowing the sixth-fewest passing yards per game (209). Up until last week, they had not allowed over 80 yards to a wide receiver, including holding Odell Beckham Jr. to only 51 yards in Week 2. Byron Jones has played on an elite level so far and should be a big test for the equally elite DeAndre Hopkins here. Golden Tate came up big against this secondary last week though, including making plays against slot cornerback Anthony Brown and safety Jeff Heath. The safeties for Dallas have been a liability here, so if Watson can find time for a play to develop, look for some big-play upside from Hopkins and especially Will Fuller (if he plays) and Keke Coutee.

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


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

What is there to say that has not already been said about Patrick Mahomes. After being largely shut down for three quarters he led the Chiefs back for a win last week against a good Broncos secondary ending up with over 300 yards passing. What has been impressive with Mahomes is his ability to spread the ball around to different receivers this season and they may need him to do it this week as Sammy Watkins looks to be a game-time decision with a hamstring injury after leaving the game in the second quarter last week. This is a unit that is going to be facing it’s toughest test of the season, but at the moment it does not look like anyone can shut them down. This is a unit that is going to be facing its toughest test of the season, but at the moment it does not look like anyone can shut them down.

The Jaguars passing defense is an incredibly tough one to deal with as not only do you have arguably the best cornerback tandem in football in Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, but the defensive line is really the driving factor of this team. On the season, the Jaguars have allowed just 183 yards passing to opposing quarterbacks which is second in the NFL. This is a Jaguars defensive line that is going to force you into keeping extra blockers as they are simply too good to go one on one for the entire game. If there is a spot that the Jaguars can be susceptible this week it is at the slot cornerback position which could be good news for Tyreek Hill as D.J. Hayden is going to miss this game with a toe injury which means Tyler Patmon who has been a journeyman corner is likely going to start out of the slot which if there is one way to take advantage of the matchup this would be the one.

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 (Tough Matchup)

Through four weeks, Drew Brees has yet to find an impactful connection with his supplemental receivers. Ted Ginn, Cameron Meredith, and Ben Watson have combined to generate just 335 yards over 45 targets, failing to create separation or make tough catches down the field. But Brees has seemed perfectly content revolving his attack around his two dynamic playmakers, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Through 4 weeks, Thomas has astoundingly caught 42 of his 44 targets, producing 445 yards and 3 scores along the way. When the Saints offense stalls, Brees routinely starts feeding Thomas a diet of square-ins and other routes that let him use his monstrous physicality to box out. Thomas’ sure-thing hands give Brees an ideal No. 1 threat, and while Janoris Jenkins did a fine job in coverage last Sunday, Thomas remained a reliable underneath target. Out of the backfield, Kamara is so dynamic that he’s a weekly threat to win on a downfield route while eating linebackers alive in the flats. Brees knows what a threat Kamara is to turn any touch into magic, so he’s unafraid to use his young star extensively to make up for a shaky downfield game. This unit doesn’t look great beyond Thomas and Kamara, but it’s been enough to give Brees 324 yards a game. He’s so poised and precise that even a two-pronged attack has been enough to create statistical gold.

Washington’s pass defense remains a generally solid, though beatable, unit. Through 3 weeks they’ve allowed just 199 passing yards per game, and they sit second league-wide in net yardage per attempt (factoring in sacks). Some of that has been inflated by the matchups, but it’s worth noting that they made Aaron Rodgers and his receivers work for their 265 yards in Week 3. Cornerbacks Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar have been hit-or-miss, but the safeties have been a great story thus far. D.J. Swearinger, in particular, has made life difficult over the middle for offenses – he’s broken up four passes and intercepted two. And the pass rush, led by Ryan Kerrigan and second-year man Jonathan Allen, has consistently pushed the edges to rush throws.

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


New York Jets Passing Offense vs Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Sam Darnold is the youngest quarterback to start in the NFL in decades, and he’s a talented one. Better days are coming. But right now, he looks overwhelmed by NFL defenses, and he’s not even executing his sanitized, small-ball scheme very well. Over the past 2 weeks, he’s completed just 49% of his throws and generated just 5.17 yards per attempt. In fact, his 4.82 adjusted net yardage per attempt, which factors in touchdowns, sacks, and interceptions, sits 30th among 34 qualifiers. As shaky as Darnold looked last week against Jacksonville’s fearsome defense (17 of 34 for 167 yards and 1 touchdown), it could’ve been even worse, as the rookie had two interceptions dropped in Jaguars territory. At the moment, the unit’s only fantasy value comes from slot receiver Quincy Enunwa. His small-ball, east-west game is all Darnold looks capable of taking advantage of right now. That leaves deep threats Robby Anderson and Terrelle Pryor out in the cold and keeps this “attack” near the bottom of the NFL.

Denver’s once-vaunted pass defense has now been gashed four times in four weeks to open the year (an average of 292 yards). They still boast a fine tandem of cornerbacks, but there’s not nearly enough help from the safeties or linebackers to lock down the middle of the field. Much of the damage that’s been done against them has come in the slot and down the seams, as when Amari Cooper caught all 10 underneath targets in Week 2. Chris Harris and Bradley Roby remain stout and dynamic in coverage, and the pass rush is still a terror – despite Patrick Mahomes’ elusiveness last Monday night. And they’ve given up just 3 touchdowns since Week 1, a great sign. Still, with so many attackable holes over the middle, quarterbacks are having little trouble piling up yardage.

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


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense at Los Angeles Chargers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The Raiders passing offense has been a bright spot this season after coming into the season with low expectations based on the 2017 season. Derek Carr looks to be playing like 2016 Derek Carr instead of the Carr we saw in 2017. A big reason for the success is that the veterans in Jordy Nelson and Jared Cook have stepped up and played big roles in this offense. Nelson who most wrote him off as being finished after last season is adding a nice complementary role and has scored in two consecutive games. Amari Cooper continues to be extremely volatile as he has two games with 116 or more yards and two games where he had under 20 yards making him hard to trust in this offense on a week to week basis but should produce solid numbers throughout the season.

The Chargers passing defense went into the season with big expectations as they were one of the top units in 2017 and brought back the same cast in 2018 with Casey Hayward, Trevor Williams and Desmond King. The issue is that Hayward who was one of the top corners last season just is not playing at the same level and a big reason behind this may be that the pass rush is not creating as many opportunities as the Chargers have just 8 sacks on the year. Missing Joey Bosa seems to be a part of this decline in the performance of the secondary as the amount of time that opponents have to throw which has caused the Chargers to allow 276 yards passing yards per game after allowing just 197 yards per game in 2017.

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


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense vs Los Angeles Rams Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Russell Wilson had another underwhelming start last week compared to usual expectations, passing for just 172 yards with no touchdowns despite completing a season-high 73.1 percent of his passes with zero turnovers. Wilson has failed to put up QB1 numbers in three straight games now despite running the Seahawks passing offense in a relatively efficient manner. Over the past two weeks, the Seahawks coaching staff has clearly made a concerted effort to get the rushing game going, which has played a big part in relegating Wilson to more of a game manager than a playmaker with those game scripts. Doug Baldwin returned to action last week and led the team in targets, but he had a quiet afternoon along with the rest of this Seahawks receiving group. Baldwin’s return puts a damper on the upside of both Brandon Marshall and Jaron Brown in particular, as both saw their snap shares cut in half last week. Tyler Lockett should remain the second option here, but he too should see lower volume if Baldwin can stay on the field.

The Rams secondary coughed up a whopping 422 passing yards and three touchdowns to the Vikings last week as the loss of Aqib Talib proved to be a huge one. The veteran Sam Shields stepped in for Talib, but he is nowhere near the playmaking shutdown corner that Talib has proven to be. Shields did make some impressive plays last week, but he was also burned on more than one occasion by the Vikings receivers for some big gains. Marcus Peters played 100 percent of the snaps last week after being a game-time decision with a hamstring injury, but he likely should not have been on the field as he was very much a liability in coverage. Slot cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman is the best cornerback the Rams have at the moment, which will not bode well for Doug Baldwin out of the slot. The safety position has been relatively strong with last week’s game aside though, so they will need to play very well to help make up for Talib’s absence. The pass rush for Los Angeles has also been a strength despite racking up just eight sacks, and this defensive line should find some success against a Seahawks offensive line that has given up 16 sacks on the year.

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


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

C.J. Beathard and the 49ers came out firing on offense last week with a surprisingly pass-heavy game script with nearly two-thirds of their plays through the air. Beathard did throw a couple interceptions in his season debut as the new starter, but he also notched a couple touchdowns with nearly 300 passing yards. Tight end George Kittle continues his impressive play as he led the team in targets for a second straight week and the third time this season. Kittle now has at least 79 yards in three of four games, including an 82-yard bomb for his first touchdown of the season last week. Part of Kittle’s volume last week can be attributed to the losses of both Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis to leg injuries. Goodwin appears to be fine, but Pettis will not play in Week 5. Pierre Garcon continues to put up mediocre numbers despite opportunities with Goodwin off the field due to injury on more than one occasion this season.

The Cardinals appear to be a very proficient passing defense on paper, giving up very few fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers and the 11th fewest passing yards per game with only three passing touchdowns allowed. Both Budda Baker and Jamar Taylor are allowing over 75% of balls thrown their way to be caught, but they are not allowing big plays to opposing receivers as the Cardinals are the only team in football to have not allowed a touchdown to a wide receiver. These stats require some serious context though, as the Cardinals suffered a couple blowout losses in their first two games while facing run-heavy game scripts in their last two contests--so they really have yet to be challenged through the air by an offense required to pass the ball often. Patrick Peterson is still a tough cornerback to match up against while Bene Benwikere has been playing well also. It is actually George Kittle who has the advantage as he should draw coverage from safety Antoine Bethea, who is allowing over 2.5 yards per route covered and played a role in a couple of the passing touchdowns this defense has managed to cough up this season.

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


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense vs Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Baker Mayfield’s second NFL appearance (21 of 41 with 2 interceptions) wasn’t quite as pristine as his first (17 of 23 and 0). But his mobility and aggressiveness have both been welcomed sights in Cleveland, where talent-deprived quarterbacks have been the norm for years. Mayfield is confidently throwing his receivers open, with great ball placement that allows his targets room to catch and run. It’ll be nice to see him face a pass defense better than the Raiders’ for a full game, but there’s reason to be optimistic. He’s utilizing his proven targets – Jarvis Landry remains the unit’s leading attention-getter – while also maximizing his lesser-known guys with creativity and instinct. Those worried he wouldn’t produce big plays as a rookie saw him create numerous chunk gains last Sunday with well-placed throws down the field. There will be bumps along the way, such as his brutal early pick-six, on which he stared his target into double coverage and simply made a poor throw. But on the whole, Mayfield looks ready to lead a successful NFL passing game. He certainly looks skilled enough to keep the Browns competitive in shootouts.

Baltimore’s pass defense certainly has its ups and downs. The pass rush, led by ageless Terrell Suggs and second-year man Tim Williams, is imposing, and cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr are generally strong in outside press coverage. Jimmy Smith will return to the mix soon – though possibly not this week, according to head coach John Harbaugh – and add even more shutdown potential. Still, this isn’t an impeccable group. There are lapses in the slots and the seams, with slot man Tavon Young very hit-or-miss and neither safety particularly good in coverage. Still, they did a fine job last week against Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster (122 yards on 22 targets, largely in garbage time) in Pittsburgh. When the pass rush is haranguing quarterbacks, their coverage slip-ups hardly matter, and this group is capable of shutdown days.

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