Week 5 Passing Matchups

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

Jump to Rushing Matchups

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


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

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

Bottom line is that the cheatsheets are the final say.


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Arizona Cardinals continue to have one of the highest-volume passing attacks in the entire NFL. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury clearly favors the passing game, as his coaching history in the collegiate ranks would suggest. The Cardinals have also trailed for the majority of the season, leading to an even more pass-heavy attack from the team. Arizona's offensive line has been adequate to start the season. While they are still a league-average unit at best, they've improved leaps and bounds from where they were last season. Unfortunately, rookie quarterback Kyler Murray has struggled to process NFL defenses early in his career, and he is consistently holding onto the ball for too long. This propensity to hang onto the ball too long has put Murray under unnecessary pressure to get rid of the ball that a more experienced quarterback would likely avoid. Larry Fitzgerald is undoubtedly Murray's favorite target through the air. Through four games, Fitzgerald averages nine targets-per-game. Christian Kirk, the team's number-two wide receiver, suffered an ankle injury late in last weekend's game and his status for this week is in question. If he is unable to go, Trent Sherfield and KeeSean Johnson will likely see more significant roles in the offense. To this point, neither has proven to be a productive NFL pass-catcher, but Johnson has been the more impressive of the two throughout the early weeks of the season. David Johnson saw 11-targets last week against the Seahawks, by far his highest tally of the season. In Kirk's absence, Johnson may in for another large workload through the air in week five. Overall, Kyler Murray must improve as a passer for the Cardinals' passing attack to grow as a whole. If Murray develops as a quarterback, then this passing attack will be not only one of the highest-volume attacks in the league but also one of the most efficient units.

The Cincinnati Bengals' pass defense has struggled at every single turn in the young 2019 season. While the Seattle Seahawks opted to run the ball in volume in week one, Russell Wilson still found the end zone twice throughout the day. In the following three weeks, the Bengals have been shredded by two very different passing approaches. In weeks two and three, the Bengals have consistently torched down the seams of their defense. Then, in week four, Mason Rudolph put together an impressive 229-yard, 2-touchdown day with primarily underneath passes. Rudolph did connect with Diontae Johnson for a long touchdown on a busted coverage, however, which has been a theme for this Cincinnati secondary all season. The Bengals' safeties rank as two of the league's worst in coverage this season. The team's cornerbacks, William Jackson III, and Dre Kirkpatrick are supposed to be a strength of the defense, but through four weeks they've also struggled mightily. The pass rush has done the 0-4 Bengals very few favors to open the season. Aside from perennial Pro-Bowler Geno Atkins on the interior, Cincinnati has failed to disrupt the pocket at all in 2019. The Bengals' inability to get to opposing quarterbacks has enabled multiple below-average quarterbacks to post strong passing numbers already through just four games. A matchup with a porous Bengals pass-defense poses the perfect opportunity for Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals' passing-attack to get on the board with their first offensive explosion of the 2019 season.

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


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Cincinnati Bengals struggled mightily on national television when the Pittsburgh Steelers held them to just three points on Monday Night Football. Andy Dalton finished the game completing 21 of 37 pass attempts for only 171 yards and 0 touchdowns on the day. Dalton struggled to push the ball downfield at all, and Monday night's loss to the Steelers exemplified the issues that have plagued this offense all season. The Bengals' offensive line is arguably the worst in the NFL. The lone relative bright spot along the offensive line is center Trey Hopkins, who merely ranks as a league-average pass-blocker. The lackluster performance in the trenches severely hinders the passing game, as Andy Dalton rarely has adequate time to get the ball out to his receivers. The primary receivers in this offense, Tyler Boyd and John Ross III, are both elite playmakers with the ball in their hands. Both Boyd and Ross III have at least one 100-yard game already this season, and their skill-sets complement each other perfectly. Boyd is a route-running tactician out of the slot while Ross III is a speedster who thrives in space. Tight end Tyler Eifert has yet to make a significant impact in head coach Zac Taylor's new offense, but a matchup with the Arizona Cardinals may help the former-Pro Bowler get back on track.

Arizona's pass defense has been arguably the worst in the NFL to start the 2019 season. Through 4 games, the Cardinals have allowed 10 passing touchdowns and have yet to intercept a single pass. The obvious weak link in this secondary is safety D.J. Swearinger. Swearinger has consistently matched up against opposing tight ends, and he has been relentlessly picked on by opposing quarterbacks. Last weekend, Seahawks' tight end Will Dissly found the end zone twice, registering the fifth and sixth touchdowns for tight ends facing the Arizona Cardinals this year. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury acknowledged this weakness before last week's game, even proposing a potential solution, but the failure to enact any schematic changes is worrying. Budda Baker, the team's best player in coverage, is a candidate to take over coverage duties against opposing tight ends, but taking him out of his role as a true safety in this defense may leave the Cardinals exposed elsewhere. The Cardinals' pass rush is undoubtedly the calling card of this defense. Chandler Jones has long been ranked amongst the league's best pass rushers, and his production has not slowed down in 2019 despite the overall struggles of the team. Seasoned veteran Terrell Suggs has found a second wind in Arizona as well, with four sacks to his name already this season. The up-tempo style of Arizona's offense will continually leave this defense exposed against opposing passing attacks. The Cincinnati Bengals could not have asked for a better matchup to get the passing game back on track after being decimated on national television by the Pittsburgh Steelers last weekend. This is a team that desperately needs Patrick Peterson back, but will be without their star corner for another two weeks.

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


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

It says a lot about Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ explosive offense that last week’s 315-yard, 34-point performance was a mild disappointment. It served as only the fourth among Mahomes’ 23 starts in which he’s failed to produce a touchdown. Mahomes, who has averaged 325 yards and thrown 63 scores over those starts, wasn’t exactly at his best against the Lions. He misfired on a few easy throws and didn’t hit on much down the field Still, he was outstanding down the stretch and likely would have found the end zone once or twice if not for a few crucial turnovers. In other words, the stage is likely set for an emphatic rebound. Even with Tyreek Hill likely still sidelined, Mahomes works with a thoroughly explosive arsenal that’s capable of creating splash plays on all levels of the field. Tight end Travis Kelce, the NFL’s gold standard at the position, still leads the way. He’s topped 85 yards in each game thus far, and given his solid red-zone usage (4 targets from inside the 10-yard line), the touchdowns should be coming. Without Hill in the fold, Mahomes has spread his potent deep-ball skills across several explosive wideouts. Sammy Watkins isn’t the dominant No. 1 option he looked like on opening day but remains a versatile weapon capable of posing mismatches both inside and outside. Blazing rookie Mecole Hardman and Mahomes' favorite Demarcus Robinson have come on situationally, averaging 19.0 yards on their 22 receptions. Neither broke loose for a deep ball last week, but both are play-to-play threats to do so. Simply put, there’s no real week-to-week ceiling for this attack. If 315 yards was a fantasy disappointment, then Mahomes could top 400 on any given week without a single jaw-dropping.

After a surprisingly impressive 2018 season, the Colts pass defense has taken a step backward to open 2019. Through 4 games, this unit has been burned twice, by Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers, for 300+ yards and 3 touchdowns. They’ve faced lesser quarterbacks in the other two, but even Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr managed to complete 68% of their throws and avoid interceptions. Cornerbacks Kenny Moore and Rock Ya-Sin have been the primary culprits, giving up several big plays to opposing wideouts. There’s no shame in struggling against Keenan Allen (8 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown) and Julio Jones (8 for 128 and 1), but neither faced much resistance at all in this matchup. And last Sunday, the Raiders consistently carved up the Colts’ slots and flats to chew up yardage and keep the chains moving. Darren Waller caught 7 of his 8 targets, winding up the third tight end to top 50 yards against the Colts thus far. They’re desperate for the returns of free safety Malik Hooker and middle linebacker Darius Leonard from injury. Hooker is a dangerous centerfield type who makes plays over the middle, while Leonard is fresh off arguably the best rookie season in NFL linebacker history. Hooker will miss the next month or so with a torn meniscus, but Leonard has a chance to play after losing two games to a concussion.

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


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

With Drew Brees sidelined, the Saints are missing more than just his pinpoint accuracy. They also miss his deep ball, still one of the game’s best, and are not shooting for the moon with Teddy Bridgewater under center. Coach Sean Payton has kept Bridgewater under wraps: through 2 starts, he’s thrown deep (15+ yards downfield) on just 4 of his 57 attempts. Last week, Bridgewater sent 9 of his 30 targets to possession receiver Michael Thomas - and 15 others to tight ends and running backs. This was typically a ground-based, ball-control offense even with Brees on the field, and it’s simply ground to a halt without him. As a result, there’s both a low floor and ceiling for this attack right now. Bridgewater has followed a shaky preseason with an ineffective starting run, averaging an anemic 6.1 yards per attempt and 178 per game, with just 2 touchdowns over 3 appearances. At least he hasn’t downgraded Thomas much, as any timid passer would look his way early and often. Thomas has posted 14 catches for 149 yards and a touchdown in Bridgewater’s 2 starts. And electric back Alvin Kamara is a threat to turn any touch into something special. But any peripheral Saints are little more than placeholders right now. Until Brees returns, Thomas and electric back Alvin Kamara will be the only relevant fantasy pieces from this unit.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, and the Buccaneers’ porous pass defense is no exception. This unit has tightened against the run, but remains perhaps the league’s worst against the pass, giving up 333, 336, and 517 yards over the past 3 weeks. Opposing receivers have had no trouble exploiting the Buccaneers’ shaky coverage group - over that span, 7 have topped 80 yards and 4 have found the end zone. Last week, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks (a combined 19 catches for 235 yards) won time and again down the field, while Cooper Kupp (9 for 121 and a touchdown) dominated from the slot. Cornerbacks Vernon Hargreaves and Carlton Davis simply haven’t shown the ability to slow anyone, while M.J. Stewart remains one of football’s most picked-on slot men. Overall, this secondary rarely even challenges the catch, on the rare occasions they’re in position to. That makes them beatable on all levels of the field. At least the rebuilt pass rush continues to improve. Shaquil Barrett has looked like an All-Pro thus far, with nine sacks through four games, while Carl Nassib provides a strong bookend. Still, until the secondary shows it can provide any resistance to receivers, this will remain one of fantasy’s best matchups.

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


Atlanta Falcons Passing Offense at Houston Texans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Matt Ryan is putting up big passing numbers so far this season, but it is not directly translating into wins mostly due to turnovers and sacks. Ryan threw for 397 yards last week against the Titans on 53 passing attempts, but the team was only able to score 10 points as Ryan was sacked five times in the loss one of which led to a lost fumble which was Ryan’s seventh turnover of the season as he had six interceptions in his first three games. The Falcons offense continues to run through Julio Jones, but the one player that has struggled with consistency so far this season is Calvin Ridley as Ridley has been a non-factor over the last two weeks giving way to Mohamed Sanu and Austin Hooper to play a larger role in this offense. Ridley who is the speedster of the group is still on the field for 75% of the plays as the Falcons run primarily a three-wide receiver set but at the moment is mostly being used as a decoy to open space up for the other three targets.

So far, the Texans rebuilt secondary is not performing to the level that they had hoped when they brought in Bradley Roby and Tashaun Gipson in the offseason. Roby who played the last five seasons with Denver is struggling to adjust to becoming the number one corner which previously had been Aqib Talib and Chris Harris during his time in Denver as he was responsible for allowing Keenan Allen to catch 13 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns in Week 3. Alongside Roby is 35-year-old Johnathan Joseph who is on the downside of his career and second-round rookie Lonnie Johnson Jr. who has struggled thus far in his short stint in the NFL. This is a team that has had the benefit of facing Gardiner Minshew and Kyle Allen which make their stats look better than what they are as they allowed 223 yards in those games. However in the games in which they have faced two experienced quarterbacks in Philip Rivers and Drew Brees they have averaged allowing 344 yards passing. This is a situation in which the Falcons will have a tough time running the ball and will look to exploiting this pass defense.

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


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Lamar Jackson the passer has been nothing short of dynamic to open his second season. Still, it’s fair to point out that his two best performances came against the Dolphins and Cardinals, arguably the league’s two worst pass defenses. In those games, he completed 72% of his throws and generated 10.5 yards per attempt, with 7 touchdowns and no interceptions. Ever since, he’s slipped to 60% and 6.7, with 3 scores and 2 picks. His second-year improvement has certainly been impressive, and the team is trusting his arm quite a bit. But when defenses put brackets on Marquise Brown and the deep ball, Jackson’s impact is lessened. Brown opened his career with a two-week bang of his own, but has posted just 71 yards on 6 catches since. Tight end Mark Andrews has been similarly clamped down on, leaving Jackson in check-down mode too often. Brown and Andrews are explosive talents, and both are capable of winning one-on-one matchups on any given snap. But the Ravens will need to open up further options downfield to unleash them consistently. Otherwise, this attack could quickly grow stale and predictable.

The Pittsburgh pass defense has been on a steady decline for years, and they opened the new season horribly, with both Tom Brady and Russell Wilson reaching 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. At least Week 4 brought significantly better results. It’s hard to glean much from a win over the 2019 Bengals, but it’s worth noting just how dominant this unit looked Monday. The pass rush couldn’t be stopped by the Bengals’ atrocious line, hitting Andy Dalton 12 times and registering eight sacks. They’re getting their usual strong push from ends Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, and T.J. Watt is collapsing the edges on an All-Pro level. The big questions, as always, lie with the secondary. The Steelers gave up quite a bit to acquire Minkah Fitzpatrick, but at least their new free safety has brought a stabilizing force to the slots and seams, where they’d struggled mightily. San Francisco’s George Kittle made little impact in Week 3 (6 catches for 57 yards), and Tyler Boyd was all but invisible Monday night (3 for 33). Fitzpatrick came to town on the heels of big early performances from Julian Edelman (6 for 83), Tyler Lockett (10 for 79), and Will Dissly (5 for 50 and 2 touchdowns). He’ll spend much of Week 5 dueling with Baltimore breakouts Mark Andrews and Marquise Brown, who move around the field plenty to create mismatches. Joe Haden and Steven Nelson have been mostly solid on the boundaries, funneling even more attention to the inside. Ultimately, this matchup will likely hinge on the abilities of Fitzpatrick and slot cornerback Mike Hilton to corral the Ravens up the seams. It will be a great matchup of young, dynamic talent all looking to make plays on the ball.

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


Chicago Bears Passing Offense at Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Bears passing offense is without third-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky who will likely miss this week after being knocked out of last week’s game with a dislocated shoulder. If there is good news for the Bears it is that they have one of the best backup quarterbacks in football in Chase Daniel who is everything that you could want out of a backup as he rarely turns the ball over and while he doesn’t possess the big play potential that Trubisky does, he is more of a game manager who takes what the defense gives to him. Daniel focused on Allen Robinson who remains the focal point in this offense as he had 7 receptions for 77 yards. In Daniel’s three starts with the Bears, he has focused on getting the ball to three positions, first to Robinson who has 20 targets from Daniel, then to the slot receivers with 20 targets (Taylor Gabriel/Javon Wims who filled in for Gabriel this past week), and then a check down to Tarik Cohen who has 27 targets from Daniel in their three games.

The Raiders passing defense so far this season has been below average as they have allowed 281 yards passing per game which is the sixth-worst in football, but a lot of that is overstated by the 440-yard performance from Patrick Mahomes. One of the big problems for the Raiders so far this season is defending players out of the slot as converted safety Lamarcus Joyner is attempting to play the slot corner position and so far is struggling tremendously at stopping receivers out of the slot. On the outside, Daryl Worley and Gareon Conley are average cornerbacks and safety Erik Harris appears as if he is improving his play after an abysmal start to the season.

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


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Through four games in the 2019 season, one thing is painfully obvious for the Minnesota Vikings: they want to run the football. Minnesota opened the season with a game against the Atlanta Falcons that featured just 12 Kirk Cousins pass attempts. Since then, the Vikings have struggled mightily to throw the ball with any consistency. This offense, equipped with two of the NFL's top wide receivers, has mustered just one 100-yard performance from a pass-catcher through four games. From top-to-bottom, this passing attack is filled with red flags. The pass protection from the Vikings' offensive line has been abysmal all season. Center Garrett Bradbury has been especially poor, ranking as one of the NFL's worst blockers at any position. Through four games, Kirk Cousins has looked like the game manager that many feared he is. Cousins' struggles inherently limit the Vikings' deep corps of pass-catchers. There is no reason to believe that either of Adam Theilen or Stefon Diggs has regressed as a pass-catcher, but they will only go as far as Cousins allows. Until they prove otherwise, the Vikings' passing attack ranks as one of the league's worst. A matchup with the New York Giants' secondary may be just what they need to get back on track, however.

The New York Giants opened the season as one of the worst pass defenses in the entire NFL. Through the first three games of the season, New York's defensive back trio of Janoris Jenkins, Jabrill Peppers, and DeAndre Baker ranked as three of the worst coverage players in the NFL at their respective positions. Last weekend's game against Washington's horrid passing attack served as a fantastic opportunity to right the ship in the secondary. The Redskins benched Case Keenum mid-game, and rookie Dwayne Haskins threw three interceptions in relief during the week four victory over Washington. The three games preceding this clash with a struggling divisional rival were three of the worst of Jenkins' and Peppers' careers. The one-game sample against one of the NFL's worst passing games does not trump the three-game sample of being decimated by three very different passing attacks. The Giants also field a lackluster pass-rush devoid of a single player to register double-digit pressures on the opposing quarterback this season. The Giants enter week five allowing an average of 279.5 passing-yards-per-game. While the Vikings are unlikely to pass in comparable volume to New York's previous opponents, this matchup is an excellent opportunity for Kirk Cousins to prove his worth to the Vikings with an efficient passing day.

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


New England Patriots Passing Offense at Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Patriots faced the best pass defense that they will face this season and struggled last week. Tom Brady completed just 46% of his passes for 150 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception. The Patriots have a depth issue after cutting Antonio Brown as essentially they have two number two receivers in Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman and then just have Phillip Dorsett. When facing a team such as Buffalo with elite talent at the cornerback position that shut down Gordon and Edelman, the team had to look towards James White who led the team in receiving with 8 receptions for 57 yards. The good news for the Patriots is that while they have not had any production out of their tight ends so far this season, they should be getting some help this week as Benjamin Watson returns from suspension and while the 38-year-old tight end is not going to be the elite tight end we have seen in years past in New England, the team will just need him to do enough to keep the defense honest to open up space for Gordon and Edelman.

The Redskins pass defense is a unit that really has not yet been tested by an offense as strong as the Patriots, but they do appear to be a unit that is improving after allowing 313 yards to the Eagles in week 1 as they have held Daniel Jones, Mitch Trubisky and Dak Prescott to an average of 241 yards. The problem for the Redskins has been health as both Quinton Dunbar and Fabian Moreau have missed time this year, but when Dunbar has been on the field he has been strong. The real weaknesses have been Josh Norman who has been one of the worst cornerbacks in football so far this year and Moreau out of the slot has struggled as he doesn’t appear to be 100% healthy. This is a unit that has allowed 10 touchdowns on the year so with having two weak spots at corner for the Patriots to game plan to exploit those weaknesses.

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


New York Jets Passing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

In the absence of quarterback Sam Darnold, the New York Jets' passing game has been one of the league's worst. The Jets' new signal-caller, Luke Falk, has been exceptionally conservative with his pass attempts, has he has failed to eclipse 200-yards passing in either of his games. The only player to total more than six targets in either game Luke Falk played is running back Le'Veon Bell. In Falk's first game under-center, when he came in for the injured Trevor Siemian and attempted 25 passes, Bell saw 10 targets, which he converted into just 61 yards. The Jets' offensive line has done Falk no favors at any point. This unit, devoid of any bright spot, is one of the league's worst, regularly forcing the ball out of Falk's hands sooner than he may like. Luke Falk predominantly targets Jamison Crowder on short, underneath routes out of the slot, which fits his profile as a quick and conservative passer. The volume, however, for Crowder has been so minimal (five and six targets in each of Falk's first two games) that it barely impacts the game. The Jets field one of the worst passing attacks in the NFL, and until Sam Darnold returns to the fold, it is unlikely to change.

Philadelphia's pass defense has been abysmal to open the 2019 season. Through four games, the Eagles have allowed five different wide receivers to top 100-yards through the air. Last Thursday, on a shortened week, Philadelphia allowed Aaron Rodgers to dissect their secondary for a whopping 422 passing yards. There is no sign of Philadelphia's pass defense turning around any time soon- the issues of last year are painfully prevalent once again this season. The defensive line is the clear strength of this defense, featuring two potential All-Pro candidates in Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox. Graham is in the midst of, arguably, the best season of his professional career. Cox, on the other hand, struggled in the opening games of the season. Last week against the Packers was Cox's strongest game of the season, and as a player with a long track record of being an elite pass-rusher, him rounding into form will spell trouble for opposing quarterbacks. Philadelphia's secondary is a glaring issue for the team once again this season. This unit has been ravaged by injuries to open the season, with both Ronald Darby and Avante Maddox going down with injuries in recent weeks. The cornerbacks were already struggling to stymie opposing passing attacks, and the second-team players are unlikely to help solve these issues anytime soon. Fortunately, a week five matchup with the struggling New York Jets passing attacks will likely offer a reprieve for the Eagles' pass defense. Even as one of the weaker units in the NFL, Luke Falk has yet display any competency under-center that may threaten Philadelphia's secondary.

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


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Philadelphia Eagles are approaching full-health here in week five, following a string of games where several impactful injuries held back their passing attack. Last week, however, on Thursday night, Alshon Jeffery returned to the starting lineup and provided a much-needed boost to the offense. While Carson Wentz did not throw the ball at a high volume against the Green Bay Packers, he found the endzone three times throughout the game. Jeffery hauled in the first touchdown, with Dallas Goedert and Jordan Howard each catching one as well. Overall, Carson Wentz's favorite targets have proven to be tight end Zach Ertz and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Week five may add another weapon into the mix, as DeSean Jackson is questionable for this game after missing the previous three due to a groin injury. In Jackson's lone game of 2019, he proved to be the elite deep threat that the Eagles had hoped. His inclusion in this offense adds an extra dimension to the passing game that is not there in his absence. While Jackson will poach targets from the other top aerial threats in the offense, his presence will increase the efficiency of this passing attack dramatically. Carson Wentz, behind one of the NFL's best offensive lines, has been afforded plenty of time to throw in 2019, which is paramount to a successful passing game.

The Jets' pass defense has a very clear strength: two play-making safeties that excel in disrupting opposing offenses and generating turnovers. Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, two former first-round draft picks, both rank amongst the league's best safeties in coverage. Aside from these two, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams does not have very much to work with. The Jets allowed 2 of their first 3 opponents to throw for 300+ yards on the day against them. The odd man out here, Josh Allen, put together one of the best passing days of his young professional career against this defense as well. Aside from Brian Poole, cornerbacks on this defense are an obvious weakness. Poole has been a quality pass-defender in 2019, but teams have had no trouble picking on Nate Hairston and Darryl Roberts through the air. Through three games, the Jets' defense has allowed four 100-yard games to opposing wide receivers. The Philadelphia Eagles' offense is built to distribute targets relatively evenly amongst various pass-catchers, which makes pinpointing a likely candidate for a 100-yard game difficult. As a whole, it is shaping up to be a long day at the office once again for the New York Jets' secondary here in week five against a very deep Philadelphia Eagles' passing attack.

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


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

he Steelers don’t yet know what they have in new quarterback Mason Rudolph - and they’re clearly not eager to find out. Through 2.5 games, Rudolph has thrown just 74 passes, and only 10 times has he thrown 15+ yards downfield. He hasn’t bombed, but has looked quite raw and premature as a starting passer. Naturally, that’s cratered the value of top wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster, who’s caught just six passes over the past two weeks. Smith-Schuster is among football’s most dangerous weapons after the catch - he’s now put up 13 receptions of 40 yards or more over his young career. Still, with Rudolph under center, there’s no underlying philosophy to get the ball into the best receiver’s hands. When he is asked to throw, the Steelers tend to rely on screens, rollouts, and play action to keep his reads quick and clean. On Monday night, Rudolph threw a pair of touchdowns: a rollout quick-strike to running back James Conner in stride, and an crossing route to rookie Diontae Johnson though a busted coverage assignment. Both were encouraging to see, but neither was a particularly impressive display by Rudolph himself. For his part, Johnson is finding big-play opportunity - he’s vanquished Donte Moncrief in the pecking order and has caught long scores in back-to-back games. There’s still playmaking talent all over this offense, and the Steelers are pulling out all of the creative stops to prop up their quarterback. But until further notice, this attack is mostly hands-off for fantasy purposes. The Ravens pass defense is in a holding pattern right now, but Rudolph simply doesn’t have the latitude to create enough big plays on his own.

The Baltimore secondary is packed with big names and carries a stingy reputation. But over the past three games, they haven’t earned it in the slightest. Dating back to Week 2, opposing passers have completed 67% of their throws, averaging 10.0 yards per attempt and 355 a game. Over that span, they’ve let 7 different pass-catchers post 60 yards or more, including the last 2 tight ends they faced (Travis Kelce and Ricky Seals-Jones). It was hoped that future Hall of Fame safety Earl Thomas would dominate in a centerfield role, but the team’s biggest problems thus far have come downfield, where communication seems to be lacking. On the year they’ve allowed 17 pass plays of 20+ yards, sixth-most in football. Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr, one of the league’s strongest coverage duos in 2018, have opened this year on a rollercoaster. Humphrey in particular has blown a handful of recent assignments, giving up big plays in the process. A rash of missed tackles hasn’t helped, either, as evidenced on Jarvis Landry’s career-long 65-yard reception last week. Nor has a shallow pass rush that’s produced just eight sacks through four games. A turnaround could come at any moment for this talented group, but right now, it’s not looking like its shutdown self of old. Fantasy players needn’t avoid it until further notice.

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


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

The Bills passing offense was put in a tough spot last week when Josh Allen was forced from the game after taking a nasty helmet-to-helmet hit at the end of the third quarter. Allen was having an abysmal game prior to the hit, completing just 13 of 28 pass attempts for 153 yards, three interceptions, and a pair of fumbles. Allen will be questionable coming into this week, so monitor his status closely. Matt Barkley will start if Allen is unable to suit up. Barkley provided lackluster relief in one quarter of play last week, passing for 127 yards and an interception. Barkley is not someone you want leading this offense and would dampen the upside of guys like John Brown and Cole Beasley--both of whom had solid outings last week. The pair lead the team in targets by a wide margin and should remain focal points of this passing offense that lacks a true WR1 playmaker. Tight end Dawson Knox been a consistent low-volume contributor in recent weeks though, hauling in three receptions for at least 58 yards in back-to-back games.

The Titans secondary allowed a season-high 397 passing yards to Matt Ryan last week, but this was partially a product of how well both their offense and run defense played. Titans cornerbacks have been up and down this season, but they all stepped up last week to help limit Falcons wide receivers--including holding Julio Jones to just four receptions for 52 yards. A wide receiver has yet to crack the 100-yard mark against this group, and none of the Bills receivers should have an advantage in their matchups this week. Where this defense has faltered on a weekly basis has been against the tight end position. They gave up a touchdown in each of the first three games, then were scorched by Austin Hooper last week to the tune of nine receptions for 130 yards. The Bills have been getting Dawson Knox more involved in recent weeks, and this would be a good opportunity for him to keep it rolling. Overall, however, the Bills should not have an easy time against the league’s fourth-ranked scoring defense (points allowed).

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


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Kyle Allen regressed after his stunning Week 3 performance. The Texans defense did prove to be much more of a challenge as Allen completed 24-of-34 pass attempts for 232 yards, leaning heavily on his running back Christian McCaffrey both for carries and catches. The offensive line struggled against talented edge rushers, forcing Allen to constantly evade pressure while allowing him to be sacked three times. Allen could not hold on to the ball as he actually fumbled, either forced or just via bobbling, on all three sacks. From a passing perspective, Allen did try to force the ball downfield but rarely succeeded. After completing splash plays one after the other in Week 3, Allen completed just two passes of more than 20 yards. Christian McCaffrey was the focal point through the air as he hauled in all 10 targets for 86 yards. McCaffrey leads all running backs in receptions through Week 4 and will continue to be a big threat through the air. D.J. Moore has not fared well with Allen under center as he has been targeted just seven times in the past two games after garnering 24 targets in the first two games with Newton. Curtis Samuel remains steadily involved, particularly with deep targets from Allen. Greg Olsen saw his production drop off a cliff last week as he had a very hard time getting open.

The top story for this Jaguars secondary last week was the absence of Jalen Ramsey. Sparing all the dramatic details of his situation, Ramsey missed Week 4 and has a very good chance of missing Week 5 as well. Without Ramsey, this defense allowed a very mediocre Broncos passing offense, led by Joe Flacco, to put up 303 yards and three touchdowns while picking him off once. The interception was just the first one of the season for the Jaguars, and this marked the third game in which they allowed over 300 passing yards. A.J. Bouye struggled in coverage last week but has otherwise been a stalwart for this group. D.J. Hayden has been decent from the slot but struggles when having to move to the outside. Tre Herndon showed how much of a liability he really can be last week as he was torched on numerous routes. D.J. Moore should have a field day on snaps against Herndon. Tight ends have had relative success against this unit, but safety Tashaun Gipson has done a passable job in coverage and shouldn’t make it easy for Greg Olsen to bounce back from a forgettable week. This defensive line will need to step up as they managed zero sacks in Week 4. After stunning the Titans with nine sacks in Week 3, the performance last week was about as inconsistent as it gets. Overall, this defense should remain an average unit without Ramsey. If Ramsey does suit up, the matchup is tilted in favor of Jacksonville.

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


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Browns passing game is one in which has struggled for most of the season, but looked impressive this past week against the Ravens mostly due to scheme. The first three weeks, the team has put a significant emphasis on getting the ball to Odell Beckham Jr. and this past week the offense abandoned that philosophy and utilized the defensive double and triple teams against the Ravens as the team was able to find Jarvis Landry for 167 yards of Mayfield’s 342 yards. The Browns did suffer a key injury as Landry went down with a concussion and is questionable for this week, but they will get speedster Antonio Callaway back from suspension this week and will look at him to fill in some of the void if Jarvis Landry were to miss this week.

The 49ers passing attack is one that is still a wait and see as so far excluding a game against Andy Dalton in which most of the production was in garbage time they have been solid shutting down each of their opponents including the high-powered passing offense of Tampa Bay holding Jameis Winston to just 194 yards and a touchdown. In their last game, the 49ers had the benefit of facing Mason Rudolph in his first start which was a struggle for the rookie as he threw for just 174 yards in the loss and looked confused for a majority of the game. Richard Sherman in his 9th NFL season continues to play at a high level for this defense. If there is a weakness to this unit, it has been against speed and stopping the big play which could lead to an opportunity for Odell Beckham as John Ross, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chris Godwin all caught long touchdowns against this unit.

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


Denver Broncos Passing Offense at Los Angeles Chargers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Joe Flacco threw for 303 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s game--his best performance of the season. With that, he did have his fair share of mistakes as Flacco struggled with accuracy throughout the day. These struggles were highlighted with a terrible overthrow to Emmanuel Sanders, leading to a game-changing interception by Jaguars safety Ronnie Harrison. Flacco has now thrown an interception in three straight games and provides a very low floor for this Broncos passing offense. Emmanuel Sanders and Cortland Sutton share a hefty lead in targets for the Broncos this season. Sutton has been the most consistent performer here, and he finally had a breakout game with two touchdowns last week. Sanders had a nice bounceback after a disappointing Week 3 as he led the team with 104 receiving yards. He did look to tweak his foot in last week’s game, but Sanders has yet to show up on the injury report. Tight end Noah Fant found the end zone for the first time last week as he made a couple of athletic catches, but he is seeing no more than four targets per game to start the season with no red zone looks in the past three weeks. Phillip Lindsay saw his passing workload drop off a cliff last week as Royce Freeman was the choice running back through the air. Lindsay should normally get the work, but the split between these two has proven to be unpredictable dating back to last season.

The Chargers defense had a strong showing against the Dolphins last week, for what that is worth. Overall, this defense has been exploitable to start the season. They allowed multiple passing touchdowns in each of the first three games while an opposing wide receiver amassed at least 87 yards in each of those first three games. This secondary has been riddled with injuries to start the season, but they did get healthier last week with the return of cornerback Michael Davis, who finished with an interception in his first start of the season. Granted, even with that nice game, Davis is barely a starting caliper cornerback and could have some issues against the likes of Cortland Sutton this week. Casey Hayward Jr. will likely shadow Sanders in this one, but even if he doesn’t, Sanders will still have a difficult individual matchup with Desmond King in the slot. While cornerback may be a strong suit, safety has been a weak spot as this secondary has struggled with big plays. They allowed three touchdowns to Texans tight ends a couple of weeks ago, so keep an eye out for Noah Fant this week. From a pass rush perspective, the Chargers will be without Melvin Ingram to pair with elite defensive end Joey Bosa. While Bosa should certainly put the heat on Flacco, the absence of Ingram will downgrade this unit as a whole.

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


Houston Texans Passing Offense vs Atlanta Falcons Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

So far this season, DeShaun Watson has struggled with consistency as he has two games in which he looked great on the road against New Orleans and the Los Angeles Chargers averaging 309 yards and three touchdowns but struggled at home averaging just 160 yards passing and no touchdowns against Carolina and Jacksonville. The biggest problem for Watson has been holding on to the ball too long looking for the big play to open up. This has been a big reason why he has been sacked 18 times so far this season which is third in the NFL. DeAndre Hopkins so far this season has yet to put together the consistent performances that we saw last year as he has three straight games with 8 or fewer targets which is something that has happened just 7 times over the last 31 games heading into this season. This is a unit that needs to get back to basics by focusing on Hopkins, taking their deep throws to Will Fuller and avoiding taking as many hits as Watson has taken so far this year.

The Falcons secondary has been decimated by injuries this season as Robert Alford was lost in the preseason with a tibia fracture and Keanu Neal was lost with an Achilles injury. All told this is a unit that is still yet to be tested as they have not yet faced a passing offense that is in the top half of the league in total yards per game. The lack of competition is partially why this unit has allowed the 7th fewest passing yards in the NFL as outside of Marcus Trufant, the Falcons have two corners who are potential liabilities in Isaiah Oliver and slot corner Damontae Kazee who is coming off of a great year last year but has struggled thus far in defending Nelson Agholor and T.Y. Hilton out of the slot allowing an average of 86 yards per game to the pair. This is a team that is also susceptible to the big play as Ricardo Allen took a horrible tackling route last week allowing A.J. Brown to score a 55-yard touchdown.

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


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Starting in place of Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett typically does a solid job of managing the game behind a strong ground game. And that’s likely where his NFL capabilities lie. Brissett still struggles to generate big plays with his arm, and that was on full display in last Sunday’s loss to the Raiders. It’s fair to note that he was playing without T.Y. Hilton, the team’s only proven wideout, and that Hilton’s replacements committed a number of drops. But Brissett’s flaws were noticeable, particularly when asked to create splash plays down the field. He often threw off-balance and into coverage, and was lucky to come away with just a single interception. His late pick-six, which essentially ended the Colts’ rally, was particularly egregious. Standing in his own red zone, Brissett stared down his receiver before throwing into the waiting arms of a quick-closing Raiders defender. He badly misses Hilton, whose speed and aggressiveness make him a viable threat regardless of the quarterback. Over 2.5 games, he’s posted 20 receptions for 195 yards and 4 touchdowns. If he’s held out again Sunday, things will remain dicey for this attack. He’s essentially all Brissett has to rely on, with a motley crew of unproven youngsters and career backups splitting up his role. The most promise lies in rookie Parris Campbell, whose blazing speed and playmaking ability could eventually force Brissett to look downfield more. Campbell drew two deep-ball targets Sunday and made a few splash plays over the middle; he’s the only option with such marketable skills. Second-year man Deon Cain looks lost, having caught just 3 of his 11 early-season targets, while Chester Rogers and Zach Pascal are limited reserves. No one misses Luck as much as tight ends Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle, who have combined for just 19 receptions thus far. For his part, Ebron has been a mess of drops thus far - he had three on Sunday - and is little more than a novelty in this attack.

Following a disastrous 2018, the Chiefs invested heavily in rebuilding their pass defense this offseason. They rebuilt the pass rush around tackle Chris Jones and ex-Seahawk edge man Frank Clark, and they installed Bashaud Breeland and Charvarius Ward as their primary cornerbacks. And through 4 weeks, the Chiefs sit right near league-average in yards allowed per attempt (7.0) and touchdown rate (4.7%). Opposing passers are averaging 277 per game, though some of that impact can be explained away by game flow. The explosive Chiefs tend to score early and often, forcing opponents to throw with more volume than normal. Of course, that doesn’t tell the whole tale. As a group, they’re still losing more often than they should in high-leverage situations. Clark has yet to make his presence felt much on opposing pockets, giving quarterbacks more time to attack with clean edges. And on the back end, Breeland and Ward have been wildly inconsistent in man coverage. Tyrann Mathieu is still a playmaker, and rookie safety Juan Thornhill has been a dynamic surprise, but they’ll all have their hands full with T.Y. Hilton if the Colts’ speedster can suit up. New coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has brought an aggressive, ball-hawking approach to a unit that definitely needs to make splash plays to succeed. But when they don’t materialize, this remains a very beatable unit, and one to target in fantasy matchups.

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


Los Angeles Chargers Passing Offense vs Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Philip Rivers had his most efficient game of the season as he completed 24-or-30 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win over the Dolphins. It certainly helped to be playing the Miami defense, but Rivers has looked good all season. He is averaging over 310 passing yards per game and has been turnover-free with multiple touchdowns for the past two weeks. Keenan Allen was dethroned by Dontrelle Inman as the weekly target leader last week as Allen struggled against tight coverage from Xavien Howard. Inman saw an increased workload due to the injuries sidelining both Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin. Inman suffered an injury of his own, however, as he exited the game in the fourth quarter with a quad injury that has landed him with a questionable designation coming into this week. This will be a big injury situation to monitor with three of the four primary Chargers wide receivers all questionable. Austin Ekeler had his usual big role in the passing game last week and should continue to maintain a role despite snaps to be lost from Melvin Gordon’s return this week. Depending on this injury situation, both Ekeler and Allen could be set up for massive workloads.

The Broncos pass rush finally came alive last week as they tallied five sacks on Gardner Minshew, with Von Miller accounting for two of those. It was just a matter of time as Miller has proven to be one of the top pass rushers in the league, and he looked like one last week. The Broncos will be without their other edge rusher, however, as Bradley Chubb suffered a season-ending knee injury. This is a huge blow to their defensive line, as UDFA Malik Reed is far from an equal replacement. The Denver secondary has done a fine job at suppressing top receivers for most of this season. While they gave up a big game to Tyrell Williams in Week 1, they held opposing WR1’s to 41, 56, and 44 yards in the past three weeks. Chris Harris Jr. continues to perform at a high level in coverage, but he was the only true starting cornerback out there for Denver last week as slot cornerback Kareem Jackson was sidelined with a hamstring injury while Bryce Callaham remains sidelined, having yet to make his season debut. Jackson’s average forced rookie Duke Dawson Jr. into action. Dawson played well, but lining up against Keenan Allen will be an entirely different challenge above and beyond what Dede Westbrook presented. The Broncos linebackers and safeties have done a great job covering opposing running backs, as no single running back has been allowed to haul in more than two receptions for 28 yards to start the season. This could be tough news for Austin Ekeler.

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 (Neutral Matchup)

The offensive genius of Sean McVay has been well-documented over recent years. This season, the Rams' passing attack regained Cooper Kupp following a mid-season knee injury that kept him out for the latter half of the 2018 campaign. Kupp's presence in this offense maximizes the efficiency of everyone on the field. The other primary receivers in the offense, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks, perform better with Kupp on the field than off of it. Jared Goff has been criticized almost as much as any quarterback in the NFL to start the season. The public perception is that Goff's on-field performance has regressed and he is hurting this offense. While there is still some meat left on the bone in this offense, the struggles are primarily along the offensive line. Last season, the Rams started the same five offensive line for every game of the season. Through five games, they've already gone back-and-forth between two different five-man combinations, and they've had little success with it. The only bright spot along the offensive line has been all-pro left tackle, Andrew Whitworth. Aside from Whitworth, the performances have been miserable across the board from the other starting offensive linemen. Expect this to remain one of the league's most-threatening passing attacks for the duration of the future, but the struggles in the trenches are certainly worth keeping an eye on.

So far in 2019, the Seattle Seahawks have played an odd slate of games that add much noise to their numbers. In week one, the Seahawks played host to the Cincinnati Bengals in Zac Taylor's first game calling the plays for Cincinnati. The Seahawks held the Bengals to just 20 points on the day, but quarterback Andy Dalton finished the day with over 400-yards passing. Then, in week two, the Seahawks took on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the game where Ben Roethlisberger suffered his season-ending elbow surgery. Mason Rudolph stepped into the lineup on short notice and completed 12-of-19 passes for 112 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception on primarily underneath throws. In week three, the Seahawks faced off with Teddy Bridgewater in his first start since Drew Brees' thumb injury, but multiple defensive and special teams touchdowns for New Orleans kept the Saints' offense off the field for the majority of the game. Finally, last week the Seahawks went into Arizona to take on rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, and they stifled one of the league's highest-volume passing attacks. The Seahawks field a defense filled with obvious strengths and weaknesses, but the data they've provided to this point is filled with noise, making it tough to nail down the unit as a whole. Along the defensive line, Jadeveon Clowney and Ezekiel Ansah make up one of the league's best edge-rushing pairs when healthy, but Ansah has yet to play a full game in 2019 following offseason surgery. At linebacker, the Seahawks struggle in pass-coverage, as their stars, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, primarily excel stopping the run. Then, in the secondary Shaquil Griffin is a star at cornerback. Through four games, Griffin has allowed only 7 catches for 52 yards. Opposite Griffin, however, is a visible weak link in the defense, Tre Flowers. Flowers has allowed 18 receptions for 238 yards through the first month of the season, and the safeties are not providing him with much help, as Bradley McDougald and Tedric Thompson have both struggled in coverage in 2019. Expect Sean McVay and the Rams' passing attack to exploit the weaknesses in the Seattle secondary, by staying away from Shaquil Griffin at all costs on Thursday night, as long as the Seahawks' pass rush doesn't get to Goff before he can get rid of the ball.

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 (Neutral Matchup)

The Seattle Seahawks' passing attack has posted impressive numbers to start the 2019 season, almost entirely thanks to quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson is undoubtedly one of the NFL's best quarterbacks, and he proves it week-in and week-out by extending plays and finding his receivers (mainly Tyler Lockett) down the field. The Seahawks' offensive line has been a weak point on this offense for a few seasons, and 2019 has been no different. Off the right edge, Germain Ifedi has been one of the worst tackles in the NFL in pass protection. In spite of the team's shortcomings in the trenches, Russell Wilson's connection with Tyler Lockett remains strong. Lockett is the obvious number-one wide receiver on Seattle's depth chart. Lockett has commanded nearly 10 more targets and 100 more yards than any other pass-catcher on the team through four games. Rookie D.K. Metcalf is the team's second-leading receiver on the roster. Metcalf is primarily used as a deep threat in Seattle's offense, stretching the field with his unmatched physical traits and athleticism. Tight end Will Dissly flashed last week against the Arizona Cardinals, but that may have been a function of an elite matchup. Dissly will play more often with Nick Vannett out of town, following a trade to the Steelers, but eight-target games are an outlier performance for Dissly. Russell Wilson keeps this passing game afloat in a run-heavy offense, and he has earned the benefit of the doubt in recent years. The biggest threat to the production of Seattle's aerial attack is the scoreboard. Seattle notoriously turns to an extremely run-heavy approach when in the lead.

The Los Angeles Rams field one of the deepest and most well-balanced defenses in the NFL. Along the defensive line, Aaron Donald is one of the most disruptive pass-rushers in the NFL. Teams attempt to counter Donald's pass-rushing prowess by double-teaming him with two offensive linemen. This, however, is a flawed strategy that leaves Dante Fowler, Jr., one of the league's emerging edge rushers, one-on-one against a tackle. This pass-rushing duo consistently wreaks havoc on the pocket with their athleticism and technique, and they're also supported by a strong coverage unit behind them. At linebacker, Corey Littleton burst onto the scene in 2018 thanks to his exceptional coverage skills. Littleton earned a trip to his first career Pro Bowl in 2018, in part thanks to the three interceptions he had on the season. In 2019, Littleton is mounting another Pro Bowl campaign, as he already has one interception over the first four games of the year. Then, in the secondary, the Rams have allocated vast amounts of dollars and assets to bring in Marcus Peters and Eric Weddle. Both Peters and Weddle rank amongst the best players at their respective positions in the secondary, and they carry the load in one of the NFL's strongest coverage units. While the defense was shredded for 50-points last weekend by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, all signs point to this being an outlier performance. Before week four, the Rams had yet to allow an opposing quarterback to pass for more than 216-yards in a game in 2019. Expect this defense to return to form this week against the Seattle Seahawks and give Russell Wilson fits on Thursday Night Football.

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


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The 49ers passing game is a unit that has struggled with consistency so far this season. Jimmy Garoppolo looked fantastic in Week 2 against Cincinnati, but against two weak passing defenses in Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay this offense has thrown for just two touchdowns and three interceptions this season. The biggest issue for the 49ers is that they’re a low volume passing offense averaging just 28 passing attempts per game which is the second-fewest in the NFL so far this season as this continues to be a run-heavy offense. The passing attack runs through tight end George Kittle and rookie Deebo Samuel, who are the only two players in this offense who have double-digit targets through the three games this season.

The big question for the Browns this week is whether or not they will still be starting their second-string secondary as Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams and Morgan Burnett have each missed the last two games with a hamstring, hamstring, and quad injury. The backup unit consists of veterans Jermaine Whitehead, Travis Carrie, and Terrance Mitchell and for the most part, the unit has been solid holding Jared Goff and Lamar Jackson to an average of 259 yards passing and a combined four interceptions. Last week most of the Jackson yardage was in garbage time after the game was over as well as the team shut down the Ravens offense in the first half of that game. Keep an eye on the injury report as at the moment, this is an average to slightly below average unit without Ward or Williams, but if they were to get them back this would move to an above-average unit and make the matchup for Jimmy Garoppolo much more difficult.

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


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jameis Winston is a volatile passer, and his Week 4 date with the Rams’ stingy secondary looked ominous beforehand. But Winston responded with arguably the best game of his career, throwing for 385 yards and 4 touchdowns, spearheading 48 offensive points for the Buccaneers. Coach Bruce Arians’ attack pushes the ball fearlessly down the field, while also maintaining a strong presence over the middle. That’s a fine match for the personnel here: Mike Evans is one of the league’s toughest downfield covers, while Chris Godwin may be breaking out as the NFL’s best slot receiver. Evans has shredded Janoris Jenkins and Marcus Peters on a number of splash plays over the past two weeks, so he’s likely unfazed by a date with Marshon Lattimore. Godwin comes in fresh off the best game of his young career, catching 12 of 14 targets for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Rams. Godwin, who plays even bigger than his impressive frame, was simply too much for the Rams’ slot team. Week after week, both are matchup-proof dynamos with sky-high ceilings. As usual, at the expense of those gaudy wideout numbers, Arians’ tight ends are fading into the background. O.J. Howard is playing 80% of the snaps, but has produced just 10 touchdown-less catches on the season. He’s just a novelty right now and has been outdone by Cameron Brate, who remains a sneaky red-zone favorite of Winston’s.

After a shaky first three games, the Saints’ volatile pass defense showed off its strong side in Sunday’s Superdome upset. Dallas’ Dak Prescott was pressured into his first subpar game of the year, managing just 223 yards on his 33 attempts and failing to find the end zone. Top cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who has been beaten soundly throughout the young season, bounced back with a dominant performance against Amari Cooper, and the other Dallas wideouts combined for just 46 yards. That forced Prescott into a lot of harmless check-downs and kept Dallas from moving the ball. Of course, one game does not erase three troublesome ones. The Saints need Lattimore to consistently slow the opponent’s top weapon like this every week - and Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans makes for a tall task. At the same time, they desperately need to fortify their coverage in the slot. Cooper Kupp (5 catches for 120 yards) and Tyler Lockett (11 for 154 and a touchdown) have feasted inside, and on Sunday night, Dallas tight ends combined to do most of the Cowboys’ damage (7 for 99). Chris Godwin, fresh off the game of his life, must be excited to tangle with weekly liability Patrick Robinson inside.

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


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Dak Prescott was made to look human Sunday night, breaking up an early run of three fantastic performances. Against the Saints, he managed just 223 yards over his 33 throws, failing to throw a touchdown for the first time this season. Unfortunately for Dallas, it showed something of a blueprint for keeping this attack contained and low-impact. The Saints blanketed Prescott’s every deep-ball try, forcing him into a lot of harmless check-downs throughout the night. With breakout candidate Michael Gallup sidelined, Amari Cooper is facing more defensive attention and less opportunity to break free. Devin Smith hasn’t replaced Gallup as a clear-out threat, catching just two of six balls in his two starts. And Randall Cobb remains a limited weapon, adept at quick-hitting slot routes but lacking in dynamism. It doesn’t help matters that star left tackle Tyron Smith is out, which will likely speed up Prescott’s clock and continue to ding the downfield game. It’s hard to argue with Prescott’s early-season accuracy, and he’s clearly taken a step forward here in 2019. But with injuries taking such a toll, this pass-game ceiling is somewhat limited until further notice.

The Green Bay pass defense is humming along, massively improved from last year’s version. Through 4 weeks, they’re allowing just 6.2 yards per attempt and 208 per game, with only 4 touchdowns. Carson Wentz threw three red-zone touchdowns on Thursday, but couldn’t make anything happen downfield against a Green Bay secondary packed with talent. Cornerback Jaire Alexander, in particular, is performing on an All-Pro level. He’s played a huge role in limiting the likes of Emmanuel Sanders (10 on 4), Alshon Jeffery (38 on 9), and even Zach Ertz (65 on 8). Another former first-round pick, Kenny King, has provided stout coverage on the other side, while new free safety Adrian Amos has thrived behind them. Some of the secondary’s success, however, can be credited to a pass rush that’s developed into one of the league’s best. Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith lead a versatile group that pushes the pocket from all sides, forcing shaky throws into coverage. Dallas will be without All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith Sunday, and Cameron Fleming is a noticeable pass-blocking downgrade. That makes for a fully exploitable matchup for the Smiths and company.

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


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Aaron Rodgers finally broke out of his early fantasy slump Thursday, turning 53 attempts into 422 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Eagles. Rodgers remains effective and capable of audibling his way into big games, but they’re coming fewer and farther between. Davante Adams remains his top option by far, commanding 25% of Rodgers’ targets through the first 4 weeks. And he’s off to another dynamite season, averaging 6 catches for 95 yards a game. But Adams injured his toe while shredding the Eagles on Thursday, and he’ll need to be monitored closely. After the game, he claimed to struggle just to put on shoes. Second-year man Marquez Valdes-Scantling is developing as a potent deep threat, though he hasn’t broken loose for many big plays yet. Rodgers still forces the issue to Adams quite often, even when he’s well-covered; he’s long been slow to trust young receivers in high-leverage situations. Even slot specialist Geronimo Allison (76 yards through 4 games) is often an afterthought. Tight end Jimmy Graham posted a nice stat line last Thursday (6 for 61 and a touchdown), but missed on two short end-zone throws and has had little impact overall. Prior to Thursday, he hadn’t caught a pass since Week 1. This unit, led by an all-time great passer still in his physical prime, always carries big week-to-week upside. But with dwindling big-play options at his disposal, Rodgers is playing game manager far more than we’re used to seeing.

Thus far in 2019, the Dallas pass defense has looked suffocating on paper. They’ve allowed just 6.2 yards per attempt (fourth-best in football) and 222 per game (tenth-best), with just 3 touchdowns through 4 games. But closer inspection reveals the run of quarterbacks they’ve faced: Eli Manning, Case Keenum, Josh Rosen, and Teddy Bridgewater. It remains to be seen how well this banged-up unit will fare against upper-tier passers. If they can keep bending the edges with Demarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn, they’ll open in good shape. Still, the most crucial cog in this unit is cornerback Byron Jones, who’s playing on an All-Pro level for the second straight year. Jones is adept at both blanketing receivers and making plays on the ball, and while he doesn’t shadow much, he’ll pose a stout challenge for Davante Adams (if he suits up) when asked to. The Cowboys depend heavily on Jones’ shutdown skills, considering the struggles of Chidobe Awuzie on the other side and Jeff Heath at free safety. Rising star Xavier Woods’ return helped Sunday, but there are still holes to exploit throughout this secondary. Aaron Rodgers has limped along at times this year, but is more than capable of taking advantage - especially if Adams can play.

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


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense vs Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Without Antonio Brown, the Raiders offense has been a low-threat high possession offense in which they are completing 72% of passes but average just 6.9 yards per attempt which is the 8th lowest in the NFL this season and the next lowest team that has completed over 70% of their passes is the Falcons at 7.5 yards per attempt. The Raiders could be without their number one receiver this week in Tyrell Williams who is dealing with a foot injury that would leave this wide receiver very thin with just Hunter Renfrow and J.J. Nelson at the position. Darren Waller continues to be the top receiving option in this offense as he has seen 33 receptions over the first four weeks and has caught 33 of his 37 targets so far this season.

The Bears pass defense is not nearly as strong as it was last year with Bryce Callahan and Adrian Amos, but it still an above-average unit. The Bears set up their entire defense through their pass rush in which they have 17 sacks on the season which is third in the NFL. If teams can block the pass rush, we have seen passing attacks have success as Joe Flacco threw for 292 yards and Case Keenum threw for 332 yards against this unit which has allowed the 12th most passing yards per game. Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara at the moment are not at the elite levels that they were last season, but there is still plenty of talent on this defense to make for a long day for the Raiders. One area that the Bears have been outstanding at so far this year is defending the tight end position as no tight end has caught for more than 33 yards this year as Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has done a tremendous job defending the position.

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


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Gardner Minshew continues to have success leading a rejuvenated Jaguars passing offense. While he only passed for 213 yards last week, Minshew finished with two touchdowns and no interceptions while spreading the ball around to nine different receivers. Minshew did go down with five sacks, but he showed strength in the pocket and evaded pressure on multiple occasions to extend plays with his legs. Dede Westbrook led the team in receptions and yards, but he continues to take a back seat to D.J. Chark, who led the team with eight targets. Chark is the top playmaking wide receiver in this offense through the first quarter of this season. He has scored in three of the first four games and should have scored in a fourth straight game last week had a penalty not nullified the play. With Minshew averaging just 32 pass attempts and 210 yards per game, it is clear this will not be a high volume passing offense. Minshew has also been spreading the ball around to multiple different offensive weapons, making it tough to rely on any single player to consistently produce in this passing offense.

The Panthers passing defense has been a nightmare for opposing offenses this season. Quarterbacks are averaging a league-low 182 passing yards per game while wide receivers have scored the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game (PPR scoring) when facing the Panthers. This group has performed well despite facing a few key injuries. Cornerback Donte Jackson missed last week’s game with a groin injury, and his status should be monitored as the combination of Ross Cockrell and Javien Elliott are both relatively winnable matchups for the outside Jaguars receivers. James Bradberry remains healthy, however, and should see a decent amount of snaps as a difficult matchup for D.J. Chark. The Panthers were also without interior lineman Kawaan Short for the second straight week, but they still managed to bring spectacular pressure and should continue to bring here it with a highly talented front seven. This defense is tied for a league-leading 18 sacks and will have the edge over a Jaguars offensive line that gave up five sacks last week and has been shoddy in pass protection all season.

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


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Following an impressive debut, rookie quarterback Daniel Jones came back down to earth in his second start for the Giants. Against the Washington Redskins, Jones found the end zone just once while turning the ball over two times. The Giants won the game handily, so Jones did not need to throw the ball very much throughout the game. The top pass-catchers in the offense, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, have both commanded at least seven targets in each of Jones' starts, and they will be joined by Golden Tate here in week five. Tate returns from his four-game suspension here against the Vikings after failing an offseason drug test. It's unknown how he will impact Engram and Shepard entering his first game for the Giants. Last weekend, in the Giants' first game without Saquon Barkley, running back Wayne Gallman saw seven targets. In all likelihood, Tate will poach targets primarily from Gallman on short and intermediate routes, with Engram and Shepard also likely losing a few to Tate. The inclusion of Golden Tate will almost certainly boost the efficiency of the Giants' passing attack, but the individual production levels are tough to project at this point. As long as the Giants' offensive line keeps up its strong play, Daniel Jones and this New York aerial attack is trending upwards.

The Minnesota Vikings field an elite group of defenders against the pass both in the trenches and in the secondary. Along the defensive line, the Vikings have two of the NFL's best pass-rushers off the edge: Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter. This duo has wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks for years, and 2019 has been no different. In the secondary, Harrison Smith and Andrew Harris are both elite coverage safeties. The Vikings have yet to allow an opponent to score more than 21 points in any game this season, in large part thanks to the team's impressive pass defense. Through four games, only one opposing passer has eclipsed 250-yards passing against the Vikings is Matt Ryan in the season opener when he attempted 46 passes. The Vikings have allowed just 5.5 adjusted-net-yards-per-attempt, the 8th-best mark in the entire NFL. The Vikings pose a massive test for Daniel Jones here in his third career NFL start. Following his first taste of adversity in the NFL, Jones' performance against one of the best pass defenses in the league will be highly-scrutinized.

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


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

Marcus Mariota actually looked good in last week’s game, passing for 189 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone. While the Titans passing offense cooled down in the second half last week, that one half of play last week bought Marcus Mariota a few more weeks (at least) as the starter after calls for Ryan Tannehill to take over. After being sacked 17 times to start the season, Mariota didn’t go down a single time last week as his offensive line played very well. With Taylor Lewan coming back this week, Mariota’s chances for a clean pocket will only improve. A.J. Brown found the end zone twice last week as he showed some spectacular playmaking ability. While he was only targeted three times, all in the first half, he hauled in all three of them and looks the part of what could be a WR1. Corey Davis easily had his best game of the season as well, seeing a team-leading six targets while hauling in five of them for 91 yards and a touchdown. Delanie Walker was not a factor in last week’s game due to the run-heavy game script with the Titans protecting their lead. He should continue to serve as a top target in this offense, but his pass-catching prowess does pose the risk of losing snaps to his run-blocking tight end counterparts.

The Bills did a top job against Tom Brady and the Patriots passing offense last week, limiting Brady to a season-low 150 passing yards with no touchdowns and one interception. This secondary has been led by the spectacular play Tre’Davious White, who has nabbed two interceptions and has yet to allow a receiving touchdown in coverage. White has also shut down opposing WR1’s to start the year, as a team’s top receiver has yet to amass more than 67 yards against White’s coverage. White should make it tough on Corey Davis, and may even see some snaps against A.J. Brown based on how well Brown has played. Levi Wallace has been no slouch in coverage either, making it an uphill battle for both outside receivers here. Safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde are also having very solid starts to the year and should limit Delanie Walker’s upside this week. The Bills defensive line does only have seven sacks on the year, but they have talent on the edges to match up well against a Titans line that has struggled in pass protection. It may take Taylor Lewan a week to get back integrated, so with strong pressure and tight coverage, Marcus Mariota and crew should be in for a long afternoon.

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


Washington Redskins Passing Offense vs New England Patriots Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Redskins passing game is a mess at the moment as Jay Gruden said the team does not have a quarterback plan right now. Essentially the team is not sure what direction they want to go whether that is to start Case Keenum or start Dwayne Haskins who came in after Keenum was benched and struggled mightily throwing three interceptions. With the matchup, it is likely to assume that Keenum will start as they likely will not want to expose Haskins to Bill Belichick’s elite defense after struggling this past week. Regardless of who will start at quarterback, part of the issue remains who the Redskins are going to throw the ball to as outside of Terry McLaurin this team has very little depth at the wide receiver position with Paul Richardson and Trey Quinn out of the slot. At the tight end position, the Redskins could be forced to give a full complement to third-stringer Jeremy Sprinkle after Vernon Davis was added to the concussion protocol on Wednesday.

Outside of Ben Roethlisberger in week 1 who threw for 273 yards most of which came in garbage time, no quarterback has thrown for more than 153 yards against this ferocious Patriots defense. The Patriots secondary has not been tested by an elite passing offense, but they won’t be this week facing off against Washington and either Case Keenum or Dwayne Haskins. This is a team that is designed to confuse you with Stephon Gilmore who might be the best cornerback in football alongside the McCourty twins and Patrick Chung at safety. Combining this elite secondary that is all playing at Pro Bowl levels with the pass rush that has 18 sacks which is the most in football so far this season makes for a long day for any offense let alone one with offensive line issues so far this season.

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