Week 16 Passing Matchups

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

Jump to Rushing Matchups

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


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 vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Here in 2019, Matt Ryan hasn’t been particularly efficient as a passer. Among 31 qualifying quarterbacks, he sits just 16th in yards per attempt, and 15th in touchdown rate. But without much of a run game to speak of, the Falcons ask a ton of Ryan, who’s averaged 41 throws a game. Last week brought the best-case scenario for Julio Jones, who was relied upon heavily (20 targets) against the 49ers’ stout but banged-up defense. Jones caught 13 of them for 134 yards and 2 scores, including the game-winner, proving he can still carry the offense when asked. With Calvin Ridley on injured reserve, though, it’s hard to pin down fantasy value elsewhere. Tight end Austin Hooper has been eased back into action, with just 52 yards on 12 targets over 2 games, and the reserve wideouts are mostly low-impact slot guys. Ryan always carries a strong volume-based floor, but his ceiling has come down noticeably of late. And at the moment, Jones looks like his only fantasy-viable weapon, even in a solid matchup with the Jaguars’ shaky secondary.

The Jaguars’ collapse hasn’t evaded its pass defense, a point of pride for this team as recently as last season. Losing Jalen Ramsey in-season was devastating, but they’ve sunk to new lows over the past 4 weeks, allowing 9.9 yards per attempt and 7 touchdowns to a less-than-stellar schedule of passers. The Jaguars rush the passer well, sitting sixth league-wide in pressure rate and sacks. Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, and rookie Josh Allen have been consistently disruptive, which makes life easier for the secondary. But that’s a group suddenly in dire need of a talent infusion. Tre Herndon has been dreadful in Ramsey’s place, while even All-Pro A.J. Bouye has been shaky across the field. The safety play has been equally disappointing; last week, even Marcus Gilchrist, one of the league’s most burnable journeymen, was forced into a hefty chunk of snaps. Raiders tight end Darren Waller took full advantage, turning 10 targets into 122 yards, and he’s far from the first to do so. The Falcons pass game has been up-and-down for much of the year, but it projects beautifully against this imploding group.

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


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Change is in store for the Panthers passing offense this week as they will turn to rookie quarterback Will Grier in place of Kyle Allen. Allen did some good things earlier in the season, but 18 turnovers in his last eight starts--including six interceptions and two fumbles in his last three games--was simply too much to keep him on the field. Will Grier led an air raid offense in college and showed he has little fear when it comes to slinging the ball around the field. He did struggle in limited opportunities this preseason, completing just 34-of-61 passes for 385 yards, but he will represent a welcomed change from Kyle Allen for this offense. Christian McCaffrey should continue to be a big focus for this passing offense as he is the best offensive player on the team. McCaffrey has seen double-digit targets in four of his last five games and averaged 84 receiving yards per game over that span. Both D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel may stand to benefit if Grier can successfully use their speed to stretch the field. Moore leads the team in targets and has also put up impressive numbers throughout the back half of the season, finishing with over 100 receiving yards four times since Week 9. Tight end Greg Olsen expects to return this week, which will be an added safety blanket for Grier.

The Colts secondary was shredded at a historically high rate by Drew Brees last week, allowing a record-high 96.7 percent completion rate and four touchdowns, marking the second straight week this group has allowed four touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. The Colts have had a shaky pass defense all season, but they have truly been exposed down the stretch, giving up multiple passing touchdowns in five straight games along with an average of 311 passing yards per game--good for allowing the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks over that span. This secondary has also given up multiple passing touchdowns to wide receivers in five straight games, including three 100+ yard performances. A weak cornerback unit is mostly to blame here, as both outside cornerbacks Pierre Desir and Rock Ya-Sin are allowing nearly three-quarters of passes thrown their way to be caught. Both D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel should have excellent matchups here. This defense has not been as friendly to pass-catching running backs though, particularly due to the solid play from their linebackers. Since Week 1, not a single running back has scored a receiving touchdown while only two backs have exceeded 50 receiving yards. Christian McCaffrey could certainly break that touchdown streak, but it will not be an easy task against stout coverage from Darius Leonard.

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


Denver Broncos Passing Offense vs Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Rookie quarterback Drew Lock has certainly flashed NFL tools over his three starts. But overall, he’s one of the rawest of the league’s current starters, posting an anemic 4.8 yards per attempt in his debut and just 5.2 last Sunday. Those were sandwiched around a great performance in Houston (22 of 27 for 309 yards and 3 scores, with a pick), but on the whole, he’s been ineffective. Thankfully, it hasn’t been bad enough to hold back top wideout Courtland Sutton. The big-play dynamo continues to draw attention (22 targets over Lock’s 3 starts) and produce (14.4 yards per catch, with 2 touchdowns) alongside his young quarterback. Surprisingly, the only time hasn’t produced much was in Lock’s huge Week 14. Lock spread the ball around well in that game, with rookie tight end Noah Fant (4 for 113 and 1) the big beneficiary. In general, Sutton has been leaned on heavily by all Denver passers, routinely winning one-on-matchups down the field. Fant continues to impress as a splash-play machine, though his usage varies, and no one else has developed into a fantasy contributor. Both are weekly fantasy considerations, though there’s no further value in this attack. It’s hard to project the Broncos to take much advantage of a shaky Lions secondary this weekend.

The Detroit defense remains one of fantasy’s most targetable matchups against the pass. Ten of their 14 opponents have registered 280+ yards through the air, and only 4 teams have given up more touchdowns (30). They’ve already allowed 80+ yards to a stunning 14 different receivers, from stars like Chris Godwin and Stefon Diggs to the likes of Breshad Perriman, Anthony Miller, and Randall Cobb. Last week was especially egregious: with Mike Evans on the shelf, Jameis Winston still racked up 458 and 4 touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ win. Perriman and Godwin combined for 234 and 3 of those scores themselves, highlighting the Lions’ major issues in downfield coverage. Top cornerback Darius Slay has had a down year by his standards, while Justin Coleman and Rashaan Melvin have been routinely picked apart by opposing receivers. And with little help from a pass rush that ranks 27th league-wide in pressure rate and sacks, there’s a ton of pressure on them to hold that shaky coverage. The Denver passing game looks scattershot right now, but boasts real upside with Courtland Sutton working his way through this shellshocked secondary.

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


Houston Texans Passing Offense at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Texans passing offense was held to just 243 passing yards in last week’s game as Deshaun Watson threw a pair of interceptions in his second straight game, marking the fourth time this season in which he has thrown multiple interceptions. Watson had all his weapons active against a depleted Titans secondary last week, so the rough performance was really quite baffling. Kenny Stills came out of nowhere with two touchdowns last week despite seeing just three targets. Stills has been mostly absent from this passing offense, so he remains a tough option to rely upon. DeAndre Hopkins, on the other hand, has finished with over 115 receiving yards in back-to-back games and at least 80 yards in four of his last five outings. Hopkins saw his targets take a dip with Will Fuller back in the lineup, but he remains the clear-cut top option for this passing offense. Fuller made it back on the field for a full complement of snaps last week and immediately garnered a respectable seven targets. Fuller has seen at least seven targets in six of the eight games he has finished this season and will continue to pose a threat deep down the field to opposing secondaries.

Tampa Bay sports a pass-funnel defense that has been consistently exploited throughout the season, giving up the third-most passing yards per game (277) and fifth-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Recent weeks have looked better on the stat sheet for the Buccaneers, but they faced pretty soft competition from the likes of David Blough, Jacoby Brissett, and Nick Foles/Gardner Minshew over their past three games--a span over which Tampa Bay actually forced more interceptions (5) than passing touchdowns allowed (4). This week should be another story, as Deshaun Watson is on another planet compared to that level of competition. If the Texans offensive line can figure out how to contain Shaquille Barrett, who leads the league in sacks with 16.5, then they should be in good shape as Barrett really is the only strong pass-rusher for the Buccaneers. Cornerback Jamel Dean has been quite good for a rookie in limited action this season, but neither he nor Carlton Davis he should be no match for these outside receivers from Houston. The Tampa Bay safeties have actually been the biggest weak spot for this secondary, which helps explain why they have given up 14 pass plays of 40 or more yards (T-2nd most). This certainly could be a shootout with the Buccaneers secondary on the losing end.

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


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Seattle Seahawks' passing attack is one of the most underused yet uber-efficient units in the entire league. The Seahawks have attempted the 26th-most passes per game this season, yet their 28-to-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio and 7.0 net yards per attempt rank amongst the league's best. Russell Wilson's absurd 2019 campaign is at the core of this incredible season for Seattle through the air, and he directs most of his passes towards his top two pass-catchers: Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. After Josh Gordon, the team's number-three wide receiver, was slapped with another indefinite suspension earlier this week, he is out of the picture for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, Tyler Lockett, the team's number-one wideout, returned to top form last week with an 8-catch, 120-yard, 1-score day after a 4-game slump due to injury and illness. D.K. Metcalf has also impressed this season, with at least 6 targets in 5 out of his last 6 and at least 70 yards in 5 out of his last 7. At tight end, keep an eye on Jacob Hollister, who averages over six targets per game over his last five outings, as he has an especially soft matchup this weekend.

On the whole, Arizona's pass defense is arguably the worst in the NFL this season. While facing a high-volume of pass attempts, they have allowed the most passing yards and passing touchdowns, while generating just seven interceptions. From an efficiency standpoint, they still rank amongst the league's worst defenses, allowing 7.3 net yards per attempt, the 5th-most in the NFL. The lone bright spot for this defense has been Chandler Jones, who ranks 2nd in the league in sacks with 15.0 on the year. The lone above-average member of his supporting cast in the trenches, Terrelle Suggs, was waived last week in an effort to get the veteran onto a contender's roster in what may be the final season of his career. With only Jones up front, the Cardinals' pass-rush ranks amongst the worst in the league. Then, at linebacker, all three players seeing significant playing time (Jordan Hicks, Joe Walker, and Haason Reddick) grade as horrific pass defenders. This ineptitude has led to dreadful defense against tight ends, specifically, where the Cardinals allow the most fantasy points per game (19.7) in the NFL by over 4.0 points this season. In the secondary, the Cardinals field zero above-average pass-defenders, with young safeties Jalen Thompson and Budda Baker grading as the best players in the unit at approximately league-average. On the whole, this is an awful pass defense that lacks the requisite talent or coaching to contain capable passing attacks, and the Seattle Seahawks are primed to take advantage of this in Week 16.

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


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

After an inspiring start to the Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray era, the Arizona Cardinals' passing attack has tailed off across the board since their Week 12 bye. On the whole, this unit throws the ball in medial volume while ranking in the bottom third of the league in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and net yards per attempt. Over his last 4 games, Kyler Murray is only attempting about 30.6 passes per game which is significantly down compared to earlier this season. At wide receiver, Christian Kirk's emergence as the team's number-one pass-catcher is a good sign for the future. Kirk leads the team in targets, receptions, and receiving yards over their last four games, while Larry Fitzgerald is the obvious number-two. Fitzgerald ranks second on the team in all three of those categories, but neither player has posted impressive fantasy totals. In sum, this unit's production has tailed off down the stretch, but a soft matchup this weekend could help the team get back on track and end the season on a high note.

Seattle's pass defense is a below-average unit that has defended an exceptionally-high number of pass attempts this season while allowing 6.6 net yards per attempt, good for 21st in the league. Ahead of this weekend's matchup with the Cardinals, the Seahawks are dealing with numerous high-profile injuries throughout their defense. Along the defensive line, while Jadeveon Clowney, by far the team's best pass-rusher, is poised to return to action this weekend, Ezekiel Ansah is questionable. Then, at linebacker, Mychal Kendricks, the team's best coverage player at the position, is at risk of missing his third straight game due to a hamstring injury. Additionally, Bobby Wagner, who had been trending upwards in his performance against the pass, suffered an ankle injury late in the game last weekend, and his status for this weekend's tilt is also in doubt. Expect Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven, two inexperienced and unimpressive defenders, to potentially slot in for Seattle's injured linebacking duo if they are unable to go this weekend. Then, in the secondary, Shaquill Griffin, by far the team's best cornerback in coverage, was sidelined last weekend due to a hamstring injury, and his status is in doubt this weekend while his backup, Akeem King, is a massive downgrade against the pass. Lastly, midseason acquisition Quandre Diggs, who intercepted 2 passes in Week 14, is doubtful this week due to an ankle injury. In his place, expect Delano Hill, a mediocre third-year safety, to slot into the starting lineup. In total, Seattle's pass defense, when fully healthy, is already a below-average unit. If they end up without several key starters, expect the Arizona Cardinals' passing attack to bounce back in a big way here in Week 16.

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


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

Andy Dalton is likely nearing the end of his Bengals tenure. And while he presents an upgrade on overmatched rookie Ryan Finley, he’s simply not capable of turning around this snakebitten unit. He’s posted just 6.2 yards per attempt (242 a game) and 7 touchdowns over his last 9 appearances. But he’s also lacked weapons, as usual, with A.J. Green out all year and most of his other playmakers in and out of the lineup. Last week, even surviving No. 1 option Tyler Boyd was erased by the Patriots’ Stephon Gilmore, leaving Dalton nowhere to go during a brutal second half. Week 16 brings much less resistance against the porous Dolphins, but this attack just can’t be trusted. Dalton is throwing enough to be fantasy-relevant, but producing very little efficiency, and he hasn’t had a multi-touchdown day since Week 5. Boyd always offers some fantasy appeal based on volume alone - he’s blossomed into one of the league’s more dynamic slot targets - but offers little ceiling in this offense. Beyond him, it’s a fantasy wasteland of little-known, little-used bodies. Even in a cherry matchup, only Boyd makes any dent whatsoever.

The Dolphins continue to flail badly on pass defense, and they’re still one of fantasy’s most targetable matchups. Over the past 5 weeks they’ve faced a less-than-imposing set of opposing passers - Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Carson Wentz, Sam Darnold, Eli Manning - but given up 8.1 yards per attempt and 289 a game, with 13 touchdowns. They’ve allowed a 100-yard receiver in each of those games, including both slot specialists (Jarvis Landry, Sterling Shepard) and downfield threats (John Brown, Robby Anderson). The Dolphins’ secondary has been gutted in-season, with safety Minkah Fitzpatrick traded and cornerback Xavien Howard put on injured reserve, and its patchwork nature is obvious. Names like Eric Rowe, Nik Needham, and Jomal Wiltz have played like replacement-level talents at cornerback, while Bobby McCain has long been a liability at free safety. They get little help from the pass rush, which ranks 25th in pressure rate and 31st in sacks. The Cincinnati pass game isn’t one to take advantage of much, but could hardly ask for a better opportunity to succeed for a week.

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


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

The Dallas Cowboys' passing attack, whose volume has ticked-up in recent weeks, is one of the most productive in the NFL this season, thanks to elite pass-catching options, an impressive (and improving) quarterback, and one of the league's best offensive lines. On the season, Dak Prescott ranks in or around the top five in the NFL in virtually every passing metric, both in terms of raw totals and efficiency. Through the air, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup make up one of the league's strongest one-two receiving combinations. Cooper frequently draws the attention of the opposition's number-one cornerback, leaving Gallup to capitalize on softer coverage, but in a matchup against Philadelphia's weak secondary, both are poised to thrive. Elsewhere, Randall Cobb out of the slot and Jason Witten at tight end command respectable volume, but they are unreliable fantasy assets on the whole. In sum, this talented passing attack is one of the league's most efficient, and their top-end offensive line (number three in the league, according to Matt Bitonti) has a lot to do with that.

Philadelphia's pass defense ranks amongst the league's worst this season, and they face an especially high number of pass attempts as well as a result of their top-tier run defense. In 2019, the Eagles have allowed 5 300-yard passers and 10 100-yard receivers, including 1 in each of their last 3 games. Just last week, the Eagles allowed rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who struggled mightily across his other 5 starts, to record a career-high 261 passing yards and 2 touchdowns to go along with 0 interceptions. Aside from Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, Philadelphia's defensive personnel against the pass is unimpressive, aligning well with their poor metrics. The team rarely blitzes, and when Cox or Graham do not apply pressure on the quarterback, they rarely disrupt the pocket. Then, in the secondary, Ronald Darby has been one of the league's worst cover corners. Additionally, Jalen Mills and Avante Maddox, the team's other starting cornerbacks, both grade as well-below-average players themselves in coverage. The Cowboys are poised for a massive day through the air in Week 16 against Philadelphia's horrific pass defense, as their top-flight pass-catching personnel should dominate the Eagles' weak secondary.

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


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Packers' passing offense has been one of the bigger disappointments of the season. Despite an 11-3 record, Aaron Rodgers is having one of the worst seasons of his career as he has not thrown for over 243 yards in his last six games. It is not all Rodgers fault however as he is getting very little support from the wide receivers as evidenced by Marquez Valdes-Scantling who had a critical drop on the first play from scrimmage which led to Scantling seeing just six snaps the rest of the game after that. Opposite of Davante Adams, the Packers have been playing Geronimo Allison and Allen Lazard over 50% of the snaps, but neither receiver has had any production as they aren’t being targeted in this offense with Lazard having no more than three targets over his last four games and Allison has not had over 21 yards in his last seven games. This is an offense that has relied on their running game and a weak schedule over the last six weeks to keep them firmly in the playoff hunt, but will need to figure out their passing attack quickly as they face better competition.

The Vikings secondary quickly has fallen apart. Once thought of as an elite defense, it is a unit that has allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, and over the last five games, they have allowed nine wide receivers to gain 70 yards or more. Xavier Rhodes has fallen off dramatically this season which has led him to a part-time role as he has seen less than 50% of the snaps over the last two weeks as he is rotating with Holton Hill and Mike Hughes as the Vikings look to desperately find some combination that works. The key to beating the Vikings is just to minimize the pass rush as they do feature two of the best in Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter which will be the key matchup this week as they face off against two great tackles in Bulaga and Bakhtiari, so if the pass rush is unable to impact Rodgers, expect a big game against the weak secondary.

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


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Gardner Minshew hasn’t set the world ablaze, but he’s been better than Nick Foles, whose Jacksonville tenure may already be over. Minshew will close out this lost season as the starter, and he’s at least a tough, instinctive passer who keeps the Jaguars alive in tough games. Still, there’s not much upside here. Since his big Week 1, Minshew has produced just 6.7 yards per attempt (28th among qualifying quarterbacks), with 14 touchdowns over 10 games. Those are passable real-life numbers, but they don’t move the fantasy needle much. The return of top wideout D.J. Chark would help - he topped 75 yards 6 times with Minshew prior to sitting out last week. If Chark can’t go, Minshew will spread the ball around to Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley, and Keelan Cole, but there’s no obvious connection with any of them. Most likely, he’d focus a lot of check-down attention on Leonard Fournette out of the backfield, looking deep for the occasional deep strike. Conley presents the most upside in the midst of his best season ever - he caught two scores last week, including the game-winner with 31 seconds left. But there are no safe options, save for the possibility of Chark suiting up, in this attack.

The Falcons have been consistently worked over in the passing game throughout 2019, and they’re still one of fantasy’s most inviting matchups. They sit 26th league-wide in net yardage allowed per throw, with 6 opposing passers topping 300. And there’s even less juice in the shaky secondary with top cornerback Desmond Trufant on injured reserve. That forces Isaiah Oliver, Kendall Sheffield, and Blidi Wreh-Wilson into heavy usage, and all have been picked on relentlessly for much of 2019. There are even bigger problems inside, where opposing slot men and tight ends have simply run wild. George Kittle turned 13 catches into 134 yards last week, the ninth tight end to top 10 PPR points against the Falcons. That’s to say nothing of huge games by slot receivers Chris Godwin (7 for 184 and 2 touchdowns), Tyler Lockett (6 for 100), and Nelson Agholor (8 for 107 and 1). Without Trufant’s occasional shutdown play, this unit will spend the final two weeks with an even bigger target on its back. The Jacksonville receivers are shaky propositions this week, but all of them take on nice ceilings in this matchup.

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 (Good Matchup)

Poor play from Phillip Rivers continues to plague this Chargers passing offense, as he has now thrown for three or more interceptions in three of his last five games--totaling 11 interceptions to just nine touchdowns over that five-game streak. In true Rivers style, he continues to sling the ball all over the field as he has surpassed 300 yards in three of his last four games, but Rivers is simply being careless with the football and putting this team in terrible spots. Keenan Allen saw double-digit targets for the eighth time last week and has now amassed at least 68 receiving yards in five straight games. Allen is on pace to improve upon his 2018 campaign, but he has still underwhelmed compared to expectations as the ceiling games simply have not been there for him this season. Mike Williams has now scored in back-to-back weeks and has racked up more yards than Keenan Allen over the back half of the season despite seeing less than half the receptions than Allen. Williams is averaging a league-leading 27.4 yards per reception since Week 9 and is taking advantage of the deep balls Rivers continues to toss up on a weekly basis. Hunter Henry has seen his volume drop off a cliff in recent weeks with just two receptions per game over the past three weeks. Austin Ekeler seems to be overtaking those short-yardage targets from Henry, as he has been extremely involved in the passing offense with at least five receptions and over 50 receiving yards in four straight games.

The Raiders have struggled against the pass this season, giving up the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, highlighted by 32 touchdowns allowed and a league-leading 8.5 yards per pass attempt. Their pass rush has been average this season, but certainly tapered off in recent weeks with just four sacks over their last four games as they lack a true pass-rushing specialist with any level of elite talent. The secondary has been one of the biggest problems for this group though, as they continue to allow chunk gains week in and week out, leading the league with 16 pass plays of 40 or more yards and 66 plays of 20 or more yards. They will look for top cornerback Daryl Worley to return from injury this week, but he should still have trouble defending the likes of Mike Williams. Slot guy Lamarcus Joyner also stands little chance against Keenan Allen from a matchup perspective. It is worth noting, however, that Oakland picked off Philip Rivers three times and sacked him five times in their last meeting six weeks ago. Based on the way the Rivers has been playing in recent weeks, a similar result is certainly not out of the question this week. But the Raiders will indeed offer him a chance to somewhat redeem himself.

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


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense at Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Drew Brees was simply breathtaking in his record-breaking performance last week, completing 29-of-30 passes with 307 yards and four touchdowns. Brees has been on fire in the past two weeks, throwing for over 300 yards in each game with nine touchdowns and no interceptions over that span. Brees has now passed for three or more touchdowns in all but two of his seven games since returning from injury, ranking as the fourth-best fantasy quarterback on a points-per-game basis since Week 8. Michael Thomas, on the other hand, has been the top wide receiver in football pretty much all season as he is dominating the league in both receptions (133) and receiving yards (1,552). Thomas has been virtually un-guardable in coverage and has seen double-digit targets in all but three games. He has also scored in four of his last five contests and surpassed 100 receiving yards in all but one game with Brees under center. Alvin Kamara continues to see a decent volume of low-leverage targets, and receiver Trequan Smith has scored in three of his last four games despite hauling in no more than two receptions in each outing. Jared Cook is also still seeing decent targets.

The Titans passing defense is in bad shape given their injuries at the cornerback position along with a lack of consistent pressure being applied by this defensive front. Last week, the Texans wide receivers had their way with this group as DeAndre Hopkins eclipsed 110 yards while Kenny Stills scored twice--with one of those touchdowns coming against cornerback Logan Ryan, who has been the only steady piece of this cornerback group. Ryan has excelled for most of the season, but he has shown some vulnerability in the past few weeks. Adoree Jackson has been sidelined since Week 13 and remains questionable. His absence would again be a big problem, as while Tye Smith has looked decent in spots, neither he nor Trumaine Brock will be any match for the likes of Michael Thomas. Tight ends have also been problematic for the Titans throughout the year, as they have given up seven touchdowns to the position while allowing five different tight ends to exceed 70 receiving yards. In the trenches, the Titans have generated inconsistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks despite notching multiple sacks in six of their last seven games. The Saints have one of the best offensive lines in football, and that immaculate protection should afford Drew Brees and company plenty of time to gash this susceptible Titans secondary.

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


New York Giants Passing Offense at Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

While there is some uncertainty regarding who will be under center for the Giants this weekend, whoever gets the start will lead a high-volume but low-efficiency passing game into action against the Washington Redskins. While they have tallied some semi-impressive raw totals (the team's 24 passing touchdowns is the 13th-most in the league,) the efficiency numbers of New York's aerial attack are extremely worrying at just 5.6 net yards per attempt, 6th-worst in the NFL. Daniel Jones' status this weekend is uncertain, as he has yet to be cleared for action by team doctors while he recovers from a sprained ankle. If he does not get cleared, Eli Manning will be in line for his third straight start. With Manning at the helm, Sterling Shepard re-emerged as the number-one pass-catcher last weekend, with Darius Slayton continuing his surprising ascension to a prominent role in the offense. Otherwise, behind a below-average offensive line, there is little to get excited about in this New York Giants' passing game.

Washington's pass defense is one of the league's most banged-up units in the league entering Week 16, and although their season-long pass defending metrics are respectable, fielding a defense full of backups should foster a significant drop-off in defensive production. Throughout the defense, the Redskins are entering (potentially) their first or second game without four defensive starters, including three cornerbacks. To this point in the season, the primary bright spot in the Redskins' pass defense has been Quinton Dunbar, who, along with fellow starting cornerback Fabian Moreau, is questionable for this weekend's game due to a hamstring injury. Additionally, Ryan Kerrigan, the team's second-most-productive pass rusher, made his way to the Injured Reserve late last week due to a calf injury. Along the front-seven, rookie Montez Sweat is filling in for Kerrigan, but Sweat has struggled to make an impact this season. In the secondary, the replacements for Dunbar and Moreau will likely be Josh Norman, who was benched earlier in the season, and Aaron Colvin, who has barely played this season; however, when he has played, he has been miserable in coverage. Overall, this depleted unit should offer little resistance against the New York Giants' passing attack this weekend, no matter how weak the Giants' offense has been to this point.

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


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense vs Houston Texans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Jameis Winston was on fire last week as he had yet another 450+ yard and four-touchdown outing, this time just throwing one interception compared to three in Week 14. Winston could throw five interceptions and still be a fantasy darling with those kinds of stats, as he is lighting defenses on fire right now. Injuries could change the tun of this offense next week though. After losing Mike Evans in Week 14, the Buccaneers will now be without their other top wide receiver, Chris Godwin, in Week 15 after Godwin suffered a hamstring injury. The absence of both Evans and Godwin vacates a whopping 44 percent of the targets in this offense. Among wide receivers alone, Godwin and Evans represented 70 percent of the targets. Adding to the injury problems, receiver Scotty Miller was also placed on Injured Reserve this week. With that, the next man up appears to be Breshad Perriman, who finished with a huge 113-yard and three-touchdown game last week. Perriman looks more than capable of taking advantage of the volume to come his way, as he has now scored four touchdowns with 183 yards in the past two weeks. Tight end O.J. Howard could also be in store for more looks as Winston will need to throw to someone, and Howard saw a season-high eight targets in last week’s game while Cameron Brate was not far behind with seven targets going his way.

The Texans defense has had a tough time against the pass for most of this season. This defense has given up multiple passing touchdowns to every above-average passing offense they have faced(10 of 14 games), and this week they happen to square off against the top passing offense in football. Tampa Bay is averaging a league-leading 309 passing yards per game while the Texans have given up the fifth-most passing yards per game (266). While this defense has forced an interception in three straight games, they have also given up eight passing touchdowns and an average of 305 passing yards per game over that span--including over 300 yards to rookie quarterback Drew Lock in his first career NFL start. Despite a lack of elite talent at cornerback, this group has played reasonably well against wide receivers in recent weeks, allowing just two receivers to cross the 60-yard mark in the past five weeks. This cornerback group certainly gets a reprieve this week with both Evans and Godwin out, and it will be interesting to see if the likes of Breshad Perriman can break away from their reasonably efficient man coverage. In what could be a shootout, Jameis Winston will certainly put this Texans defense to the test.

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


Washington Redskins Passing Offense vs New York Giants Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Washington Redskins' passing attack has been one of the league's lowest-volume and lowest-production units in the entire NFL. Rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins has struggled mightily across the first six starts of his young career, although he did post career-high yardage and efficiency totals last weekend against the Philadelphia Eagles' porous secondary. Another soft matchup this weekend could foster another strong day for the young quarterback, although it will be an uphill battle with the limited talent that surrounds him in this offense. Aside from wide receiver Terry McLaurin, who has been one of the league's most impressive rookie pass-catchers, this receiving corps is one of the league's worst. McLaurin has tallied over three-times as many receiving yards and touchdowns as any other Redskins wide receiver, and he is just 167 yards shy of eclipsing the century mark here in his first NFL campaign. The only other notable pass-catcher on the roster is fellow rookie Steven Sims, Jr., who has tallied 18 targets across his last 2 games. Aside from last weekend's touchdown, Sims, Jr. has provided little fantasy production across the two games (just 85 total receiving yards,) and he is still just a mediocre fantasy asset, even in his larger role down the stretch. Overall, this passing attack is one of the league's worst, and only a matchup against New York's soft secondary makes Washington's passing attack viable for fantasy consideration this weekend.

The New York Giants field one of the league's worst pass defenses despite defending the 10th-fewest passes of any team in the NFL this season. The Giants rank in the bottom third of the league in passing yards allowed, touchdowns allowed, and net yards per attempt allowed through 14 games. Overall, this defense lacks quality pass-defending talent, although they did part ways with Janoris Jenkins last week, a cornerback struggling through one of the worst coverage seasons of any player in the league. In his place, Sam Beal will slot into the starting lineup, although he has not been much better than Jenkins in his limited playing time this season. Along the defensive line, the Giants lack a true disruptor — Markus Golden's sack total (9.0 on the year) is misleading, as he rarely makes an impact unless he is bringing down the quarterback. Then, at linebacker, the Giants field one of the weakest coverage units in the NFL. Lastly, in the secondary, aside from Beal, New York's coverage unit is one of the weakest and youngest in the NFL. The Giants are effectively starting three rookies at the back end, with DeAndre Baker and Jullian Love starting as 2019 draftees along with Sam Beal, who was drafted in 2018 but made his NFL debut just a few weeks ago. The Giants' secondary is inexperienced and ineffective in coverage, which could foster another fantasy-friendly environment for Dwayne Haskins and the Washington Redskins' passing attack.

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 (Neutral Matchup)

The Ravens since Week 5 have designed their offense to be even less pass dependent as they were earlier in the year. Since Week 5, Lamar Jackson has thrown for an average of 178 yards per game, but when he does throw has a high touchdown rate especially recently as over his last seven games he has thrown for 22 touchdowns. This is an offense that uses the run to set up the pass. At the wide receiver position, while Marquise Brown has struggled the last few weeks, Mark Andrews continues to be a matchup nightmare for opposing teams as he leads the team in receiving yards with 759.

The Browns secondary has been a unit that came into the season with high expectations and while they have not been as good as they had hoped, they have been a solid unit for most of the season. The Browns have not allowed a 300-yard passer on the year which they are just one of two teams to do so this year, and since Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams came back from their hamstring injuries, they have allowed just 230 yards passing per game to opponents. Now as good as the stats look, this is by no means a shut-down defense as the talent that they have faced has been poor during that timeframe as they have faced Tom Brady, Brandon Allen, Josh Allen, Mason Rudolph, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Devlin Hodges, Andy Dalton, and Kyler Murray. This is a young inexperienced defense led by Denzel Ward and rookie Greedy Williams both of which are talented, but like most young players make mistakes at times. The good news for the Browns is that Ward is one of the few cornerbacks fast enough to keep up with Marquise Brown which should bode well for the Browns this week.

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


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Colts passing offense was embarrassed by the Saints last week as they were stifled on nearly every drive until finally moving the ball in garbage time in the fourth quarter. Last week was not the first time Jacoby Brissett has struggled moving the ball, as he has finished with fewer than 170 passing yards in three of his last five games and has scored zero touchdowns in four of his last seven outings. This Colts passing offense also ranks amongst the bottom of the league in first downs with just 152 this season--sixth-fewest. Top receiver T.Y. Hilton made his way back to the field last week after missing five games since Week 8. He played only 52 percent of the snaps and led the team with nine targets, but he did appear to be limited as he routinely ceded snaps where he normally would have been out there if at 100%. Hilton was a scoring machine when on the field earlier this season, and he will be a favored target to find the end zone down the stretch as long as he can stay healthy. With Hilton back on the field, Zach Pascal’s upside becomes diminished while Marcus Johnson should fade back out of focus for this passing offense.

The Panthers passing defense has disappointed in recent weeks, giving up multiple passing touchdowns and over 280 yards in three of their last four games. This group has actually allowed 300+ passing yards six times this season, and they are allowing opposing wide receivers to score the fourth-most fantasy points per game (PPR scoring). They have talent on the perimeter with James Bradberry and Donte Jackson, but neither have played up to expectations this season while support veteran from strong safety Eric Reid has been hard to come by. This has indeed been a playmaking defense though, as they have forced 14 interceptions (T-6th most) and rank tied for the most sacks in football with 49. Their pass rush has cooled off with just three sacks in the past two games though, and this Colts offensive line is one of the best in the league in pass protection. Given the lack of success Carolina has had against the run, this game script looks to be setting up for a run-heavy approach by Indianapolis. If that comes to pass, look for another tough day from Colts pass-catchers and Jacoby Brissett.

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


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

Against all odds, Ryan Fitzpatrick has breathed some degree of life into the Dolphins’ punchless pass game. Thanks mostly to generous volume () and the exploits of wideout DeVante Parker, he’s topped 275 yards in 5 of 9 starts since moving back into the lineup, with 5 multi-touchdown games. Those aren’t exactly fantasy-winning numbers, but if nothing else, Fitzpatrick has dependably targeted Parker and allowed the playmaker to succeed in ways Josh Rosen (and several others over the years) couldn’t. On pace for his first 1,000-yard season - it would also his first of 16 games - Parker is averaging a line of 5 for 77 in full games with Fitzpatrick. The team rewarded him with an extension, with $21.5 million guaranteed, just last week, and he’s the clear-cut face of this attack. Albert Wilson and tight end Mike Gesicki are next in line for attention, but they’re low-impact guys. Wilson topped 35 yards for the first time just last week, and Gesicki has produced just 6.2 yards per target over his past 9 games. If there’s to be any fantasy utility from here, it’ll be from Parker, who should feast in both volume and efficiency in this plum matchup.

The Bengals have long fielded one of football’s weakest pass defenses. It’s improved of late on the stat sheet, giving up just 6.0 yards per attempt and 191 a game over the past 4 weeks. But the Bengals’ competition over that span wasn’t exactly robust, and Tom Brady spent much of Week 15 throwing high and past open receivers. Under typical circumstances, this unit can still be beaten down the field. They’ve allowed big recent plays and stat lines to Robby Anderson (101 yards), James Washington (98 and a touchdown), Jarvis Landry (76), and Tyrell Williams (82). Cornerbacks William Jackson and Darqueze Dennard have struggled mightily in outside coverage, while B.W. Webb has graded among the league’s worst in the slot. The linebackers and safeties provide little help, which allows competent passers to find mismatches and holes up and down the field. Overall, despite recent numbers, this remains a matchup to target. Even if Ryan Fitzpatrick is too scattershot to take advantage, there’s a ton of fantasy potential for top wideout DeVante Parker against this secondary.

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


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Kirk Cousins is quietly having a tremendous season. Even with no Adam Thielen, Cousins is completing 70.5% of his passes and has thrown 25 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions as he has been a nice complement to the run-heavy offense. The Vikings got back Adam Thielen last week and while he was relatively quiet, he was on the field for just 51% of the plays as he is likely going to ease back into the rotation. One would expect that this is the game that the Vikings are going to gear up for as they have to win to have any chance at winning the division. When Thielen is healthy, this is one of the best duos of receivers in football as Thielen and Stefon Diggs complement each other and along with the running game of Minnesota make it a very difficult offense to game plan for.

Green Bay’s secondary like most young secondaries has been up and down for most of the season. This is a unit that has its flaws particularly at the corner position as outside of Jaire Alexander, Kevin King has struggled on the outside along with Tramon Williams has been inconsistent for most of the season. Where the Packers have struggled significantly is against the tight end position as Blake Martinez has been awful in coverage this season. Since Week 7, the Packers have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. This is a unit that is firmly in the middle of the pack as while they have their flaws, they have only allowed two quarterbacks to throw for over 300 yards on the year, but they have benefitted from a fairly easy schedule as they have faced just one quarterback inside the top-10 in passing yards this season, they did shut down the Vikings earlier this season holding Kirk Cousins to just 230 yards.

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


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense at New York Jets Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Steelers find themselves in the rare position of lacking a starting-caliber quarterback, yet remaining in the thick of a playoff race. As a result, it’s actually crucial as to whether they’ll start Devlin Hodges or Mason Rudolph to close out the regular season. Hodges had won each of his first three starts, but was mown down last week by the Bills’ stout pass defense, which intercepted him four times and sacked him four more. Hodges is an NFL backup at best, but has been an overall improvement on Rudolph, who ranks dead-last among qualifiers in yards per attempt (6.2). The Steelers ask little of Hodges, who attempted just 60 passes over those first 3 starts, and that’s the situation they’d love to find themselves in every week. But the Jets defense tends to force opponents to throw, which could expose either Steeler to a mistake-filled day. If JuJu Smith-Schuster can’t return Sunday - he looks unlikely - then James Washington and Diontae Johnson will again dominate targets. But both are extremely big-play dependent, and no one else beyond the running backs draw even noticeable target shares. With low floors and good-not-great ceilings all around, this simply isn’t a fertile spot for fantasy production. Dating back to Ben Roethlisberger’s injury, the Steelers’ game-high for pass yardage is just 251, and they haven’t thrown multiple touchdowns since Week 8.

The Jets’ rebuilding pass defense has made strides, but remains a fully beatable unit overall. They looked great for a few weeks against a pitiful schedule, but were torched repeatedly last Thursday by Lamar Jackson, who posted a 134.4 rating and fired 5 touchdowns. Of course, it doesn’t help that the unit’s two best players, safety Jamal Adams and slot man Brian Poole, both sat out. Darryl Roberts, Nate Hairston, and Maurice Canady remain liabilities in coverage, and they’re relied upon heavily in this blitz-heavy scheme. They’ll continue to see a ton of snaps with Adams and Poole shutdown candidates for the 5-9 Jets. Their Week 16 hopes hinge on whether edge rushers Jordan Jenkins and Nathan Shepherd can keep the Steelers’ Devlin Hodges in the pocket and under pressure. If Hodges is given time, he can likely find at least few mismatches downfield against this shaky group.

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


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense vs New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Titans passing offense has been one of the most surprising units in the league over the second half of the season due to the spectacular play from both Ryan Tannehill and A.J. Brown. Tannehill regressed slightly last week as he completed a season-low 61.1 percent of his passes and was noticeably more hesitant than he had been in the past three games, but he still showed no fear with the deep ball and found the end zone twice for the seventh time in eight starts. A.J. Brown continues to explode onto the scene as he finally saw a WR1 level of volume with 13 targets--five more than he has been given in any other game this season. Brown has now exceeded 110 yards and scored at least one touchdown in three of his last four games, ranking as the second-best fantasy wide receiver in points scored over that span. Jonnu Smith is typically next in line for targets in this offense as he bounced back with a nice game last week after seeing just six targets in his previous three games combined. Adam Humphries remains questionable with an ankle injury from which he hopes to return this week, but he has offered little upside on the fantasy radar this season.

This Saints defense made the Colts offense look silly last week as they suffocated Jacoby Brissett and every other offensive player for Indianapolis. New Orleans does have a very good defense overall, but last week’s showing certainly was an outlier for this passing defense that had given up over 300 yards in three of their last four games leading into Week 15 along with multiple passing touchdowns in five straight weeks. A.J. Brown should draw shadow coverage from the Saints’ top cornerback Marshon Lattimore in what should be a very fun and relatively even matchup. Slot cornerback P.J. Williams has not played well at all this season though, and he should afford a favorable matchup to either Tajae Sharpe or Adam Humphries (if healthy). The Saints front seven has been one of the best in football this season with 44 sacks (4th-most), but they did struggle to apply pressure against a top-tier Colts offensive line last week. While the Titans line has played better in recent weeks, they still have been quite susceptible to strong pass rushes with four or more sacks allowed in eight games this season.

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


Chicago Bears Passing Offense vs Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Mitchell Trubisky is finally looking healthy after an early-season shoulder injury that prevented him from trusting his mobility and scrambling. What Trubisky does tremendously well is throwing on the run and create plays with his mobility within the pocket. Anthony Miller has been a top-tier receiver over the last five weeks as he has 74 yards or more in four of those contests as it took Taylor Gabriel to be out with an injury for the Bears coaching staff to put Miller into a role to succeed. Alongside Miller, Allen Robinson continues to be one of the best wide receivers in the league even if he was not selected for a Pro Bowl as the receiver has been tremendous for most of the season, but especially late as he has two 125 yard games over his last four. This is a team that even in a disappointing season is heading into the offseason with optimism that they have figured out consistency in the passing game.

The Chiefs are designed to stop the pass and while they are by no means a perfect unit, they are an above-average unit holding opponents to just 243 yards per game which is the 11th best in the league. On the year, they have been nearly dominant against wide receivers allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points to the position and allowing only one 100-yard receiver on the year which was D.J. Chark back in Week 1 as the safeties in Juan Thornhill and Tyrann Mathieu have been tremendous preventing big plays as the Chiefs mostly play a zone scheme. Where the Chiefs have struggled mightily is against the tight end and running back position as they have allowed the third-most receiving yards to tight ends and the most receiving yards to running backs as the linebackers for the Chiefs have been a problem all year with Anthony Hitchens, Daniel Sorenson (sub-linebacker in a dime package), and Damien Wilson. The good news for the Chiefs is that the Bears don’t have a tight end that has 100 yards on the season as they do not utilize the position in the passing game and Tarik Cohen has largely been a disappointment averaging just 5.8 yards per catch. This should be a matchup problem for the Bears who rely so heavily on their receivers to have success in the passing game.

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


Detroit Lions Passing Offense at Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Matthew Stafford was finally placed on injured reserve this week, serving as the white flag for the Lions’ 2019 season. It cements third-stringer David Blough under center to close things out, and he’s been subpar in three straight losses. In last week’s juicy matchup with the Buccaneers, Blough went just 24 of 43 for 260 yards - mostly fueled by catch-up mode - and 2 interceptions. His late pick-six was a back-breaker, and it’s fair to wonder how much his presence dings top wideout Kenny Golladay’s value. Golladay is a born playmaker, and he’s caught a pair of touchdowns from Blough, but was neutralized (3 for 44) by the Buccaneers. Marvin Jones is also on injured reserve and has been replaced with Chris Lacy, but the downgrade is enormous. Only Golladay and slot man Danny Amendola, who posted 102 yards last week as Blough’s security blanket, are usable for fantasy purposes. And even so, their ceilings are definitely capped in this low-impact attack.

The Broncos have made for a rough pass-defense matchup for years, and 2019 has been no exception. They’re allowing the league’s 10th-fewest net yards a game, with only 17 touchdowns through 14 games, and only 6 opposing passers have topped 250 in a game. Last week’s hiccup against Patrick Mahomes (27 of 34 for 340 yards and 2 scores) can be generally excused, considering the competition - and the fact that this group hounded Deshaun Watson so badly the prior week. This unit isn’t impenetrable, as seen by Mahomes last week and by Kirk Cousins’ dynamite Week 11 (29 of 35 for 319 and 2). Top cornerback Chris Harris has struggled in recent weeks, dinging the Broncos’ biggest strength, and playmaking safety Kareem Jackson was just lost to suspension for the rest of the season. But overall, it’s fair to give Harris & Company the benefit of the doubt - especially against David Blough and the Lions.

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


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense at Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Even in the snow, Patrick Mahomes was able to get back on track against Denver last week throwing for 340 yards and 2 touchdowns after coming off of one of his worst three-game stretches in his young career statistically. The Chiefs went back to their superstars in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce last week as Tyreek Hill scored two touchdowns and Kelce had 11 receptions for 142 yards. Since Mahomes returned, Kelce has been dominant as he is averaging 93 yards per game over the five games since Mahomes returned from injury.

While the Bears secondary has not been nearly as good as last season, it is still an above-average unit with veteran corners. The Bears on the season have allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks allowing just 237 yards passing as the defense has allowed just two 300-yard passers both of which were in garbage time performances. This is a unit that does not have a weakness as they are solid across the board with Kendall Fuller, Prince Amukamara, Eddie Jackson, and Haha Clinton-Dix. Surprisingly, the Bears pass rush has struggled this season as Khalil Mack has just 7.5 sacks and has mostly been neutralized this season. With Akiem Hicks being back that should help the unit tremendously as the defense is unable to double both of the two stars next to each other on the defensive line.

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


New York Jets Passing Offense vs Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Sam Darnold is making progress as an NFL quarterback, just not at the wild pace set recently by Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, and others. The Jets have to be pleased that the 22-year old has weathered the ups and downs of this rough team so well. Still, Darnold has a ways to go, both on the field and on the stat sheet. Still struggling to push the ball downfield, he’s producing just 7.0 yards per attempt - 19th among qualifying quarterbacks - and a modest 240 a game. And he continues to make a few head-scratching throws each week, such as the inexcusable interception at the goal line that closed out last Thursday’s first half. As it stands, he’s not much of a fantasy option, which bleeds over into his receiving corps. Robby Anderson remains an explosive playmaker - he’ll be paid as one in the offseason - and Jamison Crowder is a dependable slot specialist who scored twice last week. But their weekly contributions tend to bounce around, and they’re rarely capable of producing big days simultaneously. All told, playing this unit in fantasy is little more than a floor-only move. There’s just not enough volume (34 attempts per game) or efficiency here to project big numbers anywhere, even in great matchups - which this date with the Steelers is not.

The Pittsburgh pass defense may or may not be as dominant as its numbers suggest. There’s no denying the data: they’re allowing the league’s fifth-fewest net yards per game, and only the Patriots have intercepted more passes. But it must be noted they Steelers have spent most of the year on an astoundingly favorable schedule of opposing passers. They haven’t faced a top-10 quarterback by yards per attempt since Jimmy Garoppolo back in Week 3. And when they did take on strong passers early in the season, they were shredded by Tom Brady (341 yards and 3 touchdowns) and Russell Wilson (300 and 3). Of course, that was ages ago, and before Minkah Fitzpatrick came to elevate this unit into one of the league’s best. The Steelers now boast major coverage talent both inside and outside, as well as down the field. Joe Haden and Steven Nelson are strong on the boundaries, which allows Fitzpatrick to freelance more and attack the throw. Only 2 receivers have cracked 100 yards in this matchup; most of the production they allow comes through quick-hitters into the slot. Anything is possible, but it’s hard to project Sam Darnold as the shaky quarterback to break up this long stretch.

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 pedestrian group over the second half of the season as Derek Carr has topped 270 passing yards just once in his six games while throwing for more than one touchdown in just one of six games as well. Carr strung together some nice games in the early part of the year, but this recent tapering off has really done a number on the Raiders offense as a whole as they enter this week on a four-game losing streak. Tight end Darren Waller remains the go-to option for this offense as he comes into this week ranking as the third-best fantasy tight end in football, having become just the second tight end this season to exceed 1,000 receiving yards. Waller has found the end zone in just two games this season, but he has exceeded 70 yards in three straight games and saw triple the targets of any other pass-catcher for the Raiders last week. Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow aims to return this week after a three-game absence. His presence will certainly help Carr while enabling more three-receiver sets, but Renfrow is tough to rely upon for any fantasy production. Tyrell Williams scored again last week, his sixth touchdown of the season, but he has been targeted four or fewer times in four of his last five games--not the volume anyone would want from a team’s supposed WR1.

The Chargers did a great job putting a lid on this Raiders passing offense back in Week 10, and they have been spectacular since then with no opposing quarterback exceeding 210 passing yards and no wide receiver exceeding 76 receiving yards in their last five games. This defense is just one of four teams to have kept opposing passing offenses to below an average of 200 yards per game. Having a pair of elite pass-rushers combined with one of the top cornerbacks in football--Casey Hayward--certainly helps keep t his passing defense in the conversation as one of the better groups in football. The return of both starting safeties, particularly Derwin James, also simply can’t be stressed enough in terms of the positive impact it had on this defense. Wide receivers for the Raiders will be in a tough spot this week, and even tight end Darren Waller could have his hands full with pretty solid coverage by Rayshawn Jenkins. This defense did hold Waller to one of his worst games of the season back in Week 10 (3/40/0 stat line), but they have also allowed a touchdown to tight ends in three of their last four games. With Waller acting as the focal point of this Raiders passing offense, it is tough to count him out in any given week.

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


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

The Philadelphia Eagles' struggling passing attack, which throws the ball in high-volume (6th-most attempts per game,) is an inefficient and extremely banged-up unit overall that has benefited from a string of soft matchups in recent weeks. Their last three games have come against three of the worst pass defenses in the NFL: the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, and Washington Redskins. These soft defenses have allowed Carson Wentz and the Eagles to bolster their season-long passing numbers, even without a number of their top pass-catchers. With Alshon Jeffery sidelined for the remainder of the season, Greg Ward, Jr. has emerged as the Eagles' top receiver over the last two weeks, with back-to-back nine-target games, including the game-winning touchdown reception last weekend. Additionally, Zach Ertz's receiving volume has returned to the upper-echelon of NFL tight ends without Jeffery in the fold. With at least 10 targets in 5 out of his last 6 games, he is one of the best fantasy tight ends in the league down the stretch. Dallas Goedert, the team's number-two tight end, is another relatively high-volume receiving option for the position, with at least five targets in eight out of his last nine outings. Overall, this banged-up passing attack has been inefficient against tough defenses, while shredding their weaker opponents. Week 16 against the Cowboys' impressive pass defense could lead to serious regression for Philadelphia's aerial attack.

Overall, Dallas' defense is a deep and talented unit that has faced medial volume on the season, but excelled when tested. The Cowboys' pass defense ranks in the top-10 of almost every defensive metric against the pass, both in terms of raw totals and efficiency numbers, aside from interceptions. The Cowboys have only forced 6 interceptions on the season, the 2nd-fewest in the league, which is partially due to some bad luck. On the season, they have only allowed 2 300-yard passers and 2 100-yard wide receivers, which is a testament to their strong coverage unit at the back-end of the defense. However, the strength of this team defensively is along the defensive line, where Demarcus Lawrence, Maliek Collins, Robert Quinn, and Michael Bennett make for one of the league's most consistent and deep pass rushes. Then, at linebacker, Sean Lee, who recorded his first interception since 2017 last weekend, has seen a resurgence as one of the league's better coverage players at the position. Lastly, in the secondary, the Cowboys field an extremely well-rounded defensive backfield. At cornerback, Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, and Jourdan Lewis, all grade as above-average defenders, while Xavier Woods is the team's highest-graded coverage player at safety. In total, this deep and well-rounded defense should put Philadelphia's improved passing attack to the test this weekend in a tough matchup for the Eagles.

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


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Los Angeles Rams Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The San Francisco 49ers' passing attack is a low-volume unit, but thanks to some strong performances out of their quarterback along with schematic genius from their offensive-minded head coach, their efficiency numbers are top-tier. At 7.2 net yards per attempt, the 49ers rank 4th in the league, while their mark 27 passing touchdowns is the 5th-best in the NFL. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's best performances have been awe-inspiring, but his inability to string them together week-in and week-out keeps pundits questioning his prowess at the helm for the 49ers. Out wide, Emmanuel Sanders and Deebo Samuel are capable pass-catchers, with the former being the top-dog in the wide receivers' room when healthy. Samuel's recent performance as a rookie has been encouraging, but he seemingly thrives when Sanders is off the field. At tight end, the 49ers' number-one pass-catcher, George Kittle, is coming off of one of the most impressive individual receiving performances of the season. In Week 15, Kittle tallied 17 targets and 13 receptions, with both marks at least matching the rest of the team combined. Kittle is undoubtedly one of the league's best tight ends, and he remains an elite fantasy option regardless of the availability of other 49ers' pass-catchers.

The Los Angeles Rams' pass defense is one of the most talented in the NFL, and although their raw totals are unimpressive due to a tough schedule and high passing volume faced, their efficiency metrics rank amongst the league's best. The Rams' deep and well-rounded defense has allowed just 5.8 net yards per attempt this season, the 5th-best mark in the NFL. The strength of this defense is undeniably along the defensive-front, where Aaron Donald, Dante Fowler, Jr., and Clay Matthews make up one of the league's best pass-rushing trios. Donald leads the way with 11.0 sacks this season, 7th-most in the NFL, while Fowler, Jr., and Matthews have contributed 9.0 and 8.0 sacks, respectively. Then, at linebacker, Cory Littleton has continued on as one of the league's premier coverage linebackers. Littleton leads this impressive unit in pass breakups this season, along with rookie safety Taylor Rapp, with six on the year. Then, in the secondary, Eric Weddle and Taylor Rapp provide elite protection against big plays. At cornerback, Jalen Ramsey's 2019 campaign has been disappointing, but he remains an above-average pass defender in spite of the comparatively poor performance. Overall, this unit is supremely talented, and they should make life tough for Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers' passing attack this weekend in a pivotal NFC West matchup.

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


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Bills this season are throwing just enough to keep the defenses honest as they are a unit that is designed to run the ball first. Since Week 3, Josh Allen has thrown for over 250 yards just twice and has thrown for under 200 yards six times in those 11 games. The problem for the Bills is that outside of John Brown the Bills just do not have any receiver who can consistently beat a defense as Cole Beasley is a nice complementary player, but outside of Beasley they do not have a receiver who has over 250 yards. At the tight end position, Dawson Knox has just three games this season over 40 yards and has only 355 yards on the year. Simply put, this is a limited offense that is not designed to be a pass-heavy offense.

The Patriots secondary simply put has been the best in football by a wide margin this season. On the year, they have allowed only two quarterbacks to throw for over 250 yards, and are allowing just 190 yards passing per game which is the best in football this season. In the first meeting, the Patriots had Josh Allen confused for a majority of this game as he threw for three interceptions and just 153 yards before Matt Barkley almost led a comeback late in the game with Allen injured. If there is a concern for the Patriots it is that Jason McCourty continues to struggle with a groin injury which has put some additional responsibility on second-year player J.C. Jackson who has been up and down this season, but playing better as of late. There is simply too much talent on New England’s side of the ball with Stephon Gilmore who will likely win Defensive Player of the Year, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon at safety, and Jamie Collins who is a tremendous coverage linebacker for Buffalo to exploit much of anything against the Patriots this week.

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)

This has been a season to forget for the Browns passing offense. Coming into the year with so much hype, the Browns have struggled seemingly all season with the passing game as Baker Mayfield has just two games over 300 yards, and has thrown as many interceptions as he has touchdowns. Consistency at the wide receiver position has been an issue as outside of Jarvis Landry they have been unable to have consistent success. Odell Beckham has struggled finding a rhythm and the offensive line especially at the tackle position has been a disaster in pass blocking with Greg Robinson and now Kendall Lamm who has replaced the benched Chris Hubbard. The Browns seem like a team in disarray with reports that Odell Beckham and potentially Jarvis Landry want out one day then the next day they’re talking about how they need to build something here it just seems like a highly dysfunctional team. Playcalling has also been a major issue for the Browns as reports came out that other teams knew the plays and tendencies that the Browns were running.

Baltimore’s secondary since getting Jimmy Smith back and acquiring Marcus Peters has been a completely changed unit. Since Week 7, the Ravens secondary has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks allowing just 200 yards passing per game and 0.9 touchdowns. This is a unit that has been dominant with Smith, Peters, and Marlon Humphrey to go along with Earl Thomas at safety makes this one of the most talented units in football. Expect Baker Mayfield to struggle mightily this week especially with the edge rushers in Tyus Bowser and Matthew Judon will have an advantage over the tackles for the Browns.

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


Los Angeles Rams Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Los Angeles Rams' passing attack is one of the highest-volume units in the league, and subsequently, their passing totals are quite impressive. However, from an efficiency standpoint, the Rams' passing game has lagged far behind the levels it reached last season, and it grades as a below-average unit on the whole. Jared Goff has been under frequent pressure this season behind a patchwork offensive line that has performed as one of the league's worst. Under pressure, Goff struggles, as most quarterbacks do, and therefore his efficiency has been highly erratic this season. At wide receiver, Robert Woods has been a bright spot in recent weeks, with at least nine targets in five straight outings. Conversely, Cooper Kupp's volume and production has trended downwards in the latter half of the 2019 campaign. Kupp has caught all 16 of his targets over his last 3 games, an unsustainable stat, and 3 touchdowns over that span have salvaged his fantasy production. His underlying metrics, however, are worrying in the final weeks of 2019, and he has one single 100-yard game since Week 5. At tight end, Tyler Higbee has shined down the stretch, with 3 straight 7-catch and 100-yard games. He remains a top-tier tight end to finish 2019, especially while Gerald Everett is out.

When they're at full-strength, the 49ers field one of the league's best pass defenses, grading as a top-10 unit across the board, including first in the league in passing yards and net yards per attempt allowed. However, in recent weeks, injuries have decimated this unit, leading to a drop-off in efficiency numbers against the pass. Along the defensive line, San Francisco's quartet of pass-rushers featuring Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, and Dee Ford is one of the league's best, as they have combined for 32 sacks on the season. However, Dee Ford is dealing with a hamstring injury that has his status for Week 16 in doubt, leading to increased playing time for Solomon Thomas, whose pass-rushing prowess pales in comparison to Ford's. At linebacker, Fred Warner is an above-average coverage linebacker that likely deserved a Pro Bowl nomination this year for his performance. In the secondary, the 49ers hope to have K'Waun Williams and Richard Sherman back in the fold this weekend after they missed out last weekend. Both cornerbacks grade as strong coverage players, and the 49ers struggled against Julio Jones in their absence. Lastly, safety Jaquiski Tartt is questionable for this weekend's game. Tartt's defensive versatility is key to the 49ers' scheme defending the pass, as he can play around the line-of-scrimmage and deep in coverage. Without him, the 49ers are forced into bland defensive coverages, as they do not have another defender capable of wearing the many hats Tartt is. Overall, the 49ers' defense is poised to welcome multiple key pass defenders into the fold this weekend, which should lead to a difficult day for the Los Angeles Rams through the air. Expect the 49ers to dominate the battle in the trenches while giving Jared Goff fits all night on Saturday.

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


New England Patriots Passing Offense vs Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Patriots passing offense continues to struggle mightily this year especially as of late as Tom Brady has five consecutive games in which he has completed 55% or less of his passes and has thrown for 190 yards or less in three of his last four games including 128 yards last week against the Bengals. Making matters worse is that Julian Edelman is now dealing with a knee/shoulder injury and remains limited at practice on Wednesday as he was on the field for just 62% of plays last week. Outside of Edelman the Patriots remain incredibly limited at the wide receiver position as they have gotten next to nothing from Mohamed Sanu after trading a second-round pick for the receiver. Sanu since coming back from injury is averaging just 13 yards per game over his last three games even as his snap counts increased to 86% last week. Rookie N’Keal Harry has also been a non-factor as while he was on the field for 58% of plays last week saw just 2 receptions for 15 yards. The reality is that the Patriots can only go so far without being able to throw the ball and as great as Tom Brady is, he is 42 years old and needs more separation for his receivers than he may have needed several years ago.

The Bills secondary for most of the year has been a lockdown unit led by Tre’Davious White and one of the best safety duos in the NFL in Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. This is a team that has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and all but shut down the Patriots earlier this season holding Tom Brady to just 150 yards and no touchdowns. If there is a way to beat the Bills, it is throwing to the running back as when the Bills have faced adequate receiving running backs in Patrick Laird, James White, Ezekiel Elliott, Kareem Hunt, and Le’Veon Bell they have struggled relative in comparison to the wide receiver position as they allowed an average of seven receptions to those players. Julian Edelman struggled in the first meeting between these teams as he had just 30 yards receiving and could be in for another long day as with just how much emphasis he will draw without any support from the rest of his receivers and with Edelman not being 100% healthy.

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