Week 8 Passing Matchups

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

Jump to Rushing Matchups

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


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense vs Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

The Buffalo Bills' passing attack, led by Josh Allen, one of the most polarizing and erratic quarterbacks in the NFL, has been a perfectly average unit on aggregate so far in 2019. Allen's second NFL season has been both encouraging and worrying for his long-term projections as an NFL quarterback. Through six games, Allen has seven touchdowns and seven interceptions, while ranking 24th in the NFL in passing yards per game. Offseason acquisition John Brown has emerged as Allen's favorite target through the air this season. Brown leads the Bills in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns so far this season, and he commands the majority of Buffalo's valuable deep targets. In the slot, Cole Beasley is a high-volume receiver who rarely ventures down the field. Beasley leads the Bills in targets, with 43 to Brown's 42, but his 9.4 yards per reception is exceptionally low. Aside from the team's top two wide receivers, tight end Dawson Knox is the only non-running back with more than five receptions over the past month. However, Knox's production leaves much to be desired, with just 10 receptions over his last 3 games. The Bills' offensive line ranks firmly amongst the league's most average units, lacking either All-Pro level talents as well as glaring weak links in the trenches. A matchup with Philadelphia's horrific secondary is the perfect opportunity for Josh Allen and the Bills' passing game to rebound after a mediocre 202-yard passing day against the Miami Dolphins last weekend.

Philadelphia's defensive identity as a run-stopping defense has left them exposed as one of the NFL's worst pass-defenses in 2019. Through 7 games, the Eagles have already allowed 7 different 100-yard receivers, displaying gross incompetence identifying and containing opposing number-one wide receivers on a weekly basis. Philadelphia's top two defenders line up along the defensive line, with Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham regularly wreaking havoc against the pass. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's reluctance to send additional blitzers leaves Graham and Cox with little assistance disrupting the pocket. At linebacker, the Eagles released Zach Brown two weeks ago, and Nigel Bradham is questionable for week eight due to an ankle injury. Thrown into starting roles, Nathan Gerry and Kamu Grugier-Hill both struggled last week against Dallas. Although Gerry has been a strong coverage linebacker in limited action so far in 2019, he does not appear ready for a starting role. The secondary is a glaring weakness for Philadelphia, as they field one of the NFL's weakest cornerback units. Orlando Scandrick was released from the team following a brutal showing against Dallas, and it is unclear who will replace him in the starting lineup. Sidney Jones is one likely candidate to enter the starting lineup, but he has struggled mightily in coverage throughout his career. Philadelphia ranks in the bottom third of the NFL in almost every notable statistic for a pass-defense this season, and they are unlikely to improve anytime soon with the current cast of characters on the field. Expect Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills' passing attack to post strong numbers at home against Philadelphia's struggling secondary in week eight.

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


Houston Texans Passing Offense vs Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

This Texans passing offense are coming off back-to-back turbulent outings as Deshaun Watson has posted just one touchdown and two interceptions in each of his past two games. Watson certainly remains a capable leader of this passing offense, but he will need to make better decisions to pair with the litany of spectacular plays he often sprinkles in on a weekly basis. Watson will be down one key playmaker for a few weeks though as the Texans lost Will Fuller to a hamstring injury. Expect both Kenny Stills and Keke Coutee to step up in Fuller’s absence, with Stills looking like the biggest beneficiary as he played all but four offensive snaps last week and has already posted games of 89 and 104 yards in his only two healthy starts since joining the Texans. Deandre Hopkins will continue to be the top dog in this passing offense though. After a few disappointing weeks, Hopkins bounced back last week with 106 yards and a touchdown as he saw increased focus with the early injury to Fuller. While not much of a fantasy stat, he also racked up six first down conversions last week--further proving the trust he commands from Watson.

The Raiders defense has had a rough time against the pass this season, allowing the second-most fantasy points per game (non-PPR scoring) to both quarterbacks and wide receivers to start the season. The 429-yard five-touchdown outing from Aaron Rodgers last week certainly put a damper on what little confidence this secondary may have built up after limiting quarterbacks to an average of just 223 passing yards per game over the three prior weeks. This week yielded big news for this secondary as they traded away cornerback Gareon Conley to the Texans in exchange for draft picks. While this trade made big news, it really may not have an impact on the Raiders secondary as Conley was close to being benched regardless due to extremely poor play. If anything, this could be a benefit for the Raiders if they can find hidden talent in some of their young defensive backs that will now see an opportunity for playing time. With that said, this is still a very undermanned defense that lacks playmakers on both the secondary and on the defensive line. All Texans receivers should have significant matchup advantages with Deshaun Watson in a very good spot to bounce back.

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


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

Russell Wilson has somehow managed to improve as a passer across the board in 2019, as he is currently on pace for career-best numbers in passing yards per game, interceptions, yards per attempt, completion percentage, and quarterback rating. Seattle's offensive line has been adequate so far this season, but they have consistently battled injuries to key starters along the front line. D.J. Fluker is likely to return to action while Duane Brown is questionable for this week eight clash with the Atlanta Falcons. The return of both would be a massive upgrade for Seattle's offensive line, but even one would be helpful. Through the air, two primary targets stand out above the rest for Russell Wilson this season. Tyler Lockett, the team's unquestioned number-one wide receiver, leads the team in targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns in 2019. Lockett and Wilson have displayed uncanny chemistry throughout the season, as they are seemingly always on the same page when the play breaks down. Rookie D.K. Metcalf is the team's second-leading receiver, hauling in 20 out of his 40 targets for 389 yards and 2 touchdowns this season. Metcalf's impressive 19.5 yards-per-reception mark is thanks to his role as the team's resident deep threat. Metcalf has a rare combination of size and speed (coupled with a general lack of route-running prowess relative to other top receiving prospects) that makes him an elite downfield target. His catch rate leaves much to be desired, but he is a threat week-in and week-out to break open the game in the blink of an eye with a long touchdown reception. Seattle's passing attack has been one of the most efficient in the NFL, and they will likely keep the momentum going this weekend against one of the league's worst secondaries.

The Atlanta Falcons arguably have the NFL's worst pass defense in 2019. The Falcons rank in the bottom-four of the league in passing yards allowed, passing touchdowns allowed, interceptions, and net yards per attempt allowed this season. The team's defensive line has struggled to generate sacks, but this has primarily been a byproduct of some bad luck. On the interior, Grady Jarrett is one of the NFL's best pass-rushing defensive linemen, and he is flanked by a capable group of edge rushers. The Falcons generate pressure at a respectable rate that typically leads to decent sack totals. Unfortunately, they've been unlucky so far in 2019 not to convert their pressure into sacks. At linebacker, Deion Jones is one of the NFL's best athletes at his respective position. Jones makes full use of this athleticism in coverage as one of the league's better linebackers at defending the pass. De'Vondre Campbell, his running mate at the second-level, however, is a major liability when the opposition airs it out. Atlanta's biggest weakness is in the secondary, where it is nothing but bad news across the board. Desmond Trufant, the player with Atlanta's only two interceptions on the season, is unlikely to play in week eight due to an ankle injury. His replacement, Kendall Sheffield, has been picked on time and time again when he has been on the field. Isaiah Oliver has been horrific against the pass at cornerback as well. At safety, Ricardo Allen is a strong run-stopper, but he has been awful at defending the pass so far in 2019. The Falcons tried to rotate these weak links out of the game, but the backups faired no better against Los Angeles last weekend. Head coach and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn finds himself firmly on the hot seat, and he may find himself without a job sooner rather than later should these results continue. Expect Russell Wilson to continue to terrorize defenses this weekend against one of the league's worst secondaries. Wilson against the Falcons may be the biggest mismatch of the entire week, as it pits arguably the league's best healthy quarterback against the league's worst pass defense.

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


Detroit Lions Passing Offense vs New York Giants Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Matt Stafford has long been regarded as one of the top raw talents at the quarterback position, but this season he is finally posting the requisite efficiency numbers through the air to warrant consideration as one of the league's better quarterbacks overall. So far, in 2019, Stafford is on pace to record career-best numbers in interceptions, yards per attempt, and quarterback rating while still posting impressive yards per game and touchdown numbers. Through the air, Stafford primarily targets two wide receivers: Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, Jr. This season, Jones, Jr. leads the Lions with 30 receptions on 42 targets for 387 yards and 5 touchdowns (4 of which came last week against the Minnesota Vikings.) Golladay, on the other hand, has tallied 25 receptions on 47 targets for 385 yards and 4 touchdowns so far this season. Week seven was an outlier performance all around in the Detroit Lions' passing attack, and very little weight should be given to the polarizing performances of Danny Amendola (8 receptions for 105 yards on 11 targets) and Kenny Golladay (1 reception for 21 yards on 2 targets.) Throughout the 2019 season, Golladay and Jones, Jr. have established themselves as Detroit's two primary aerial threats, and they are both firmly planted atop the Lions' depth chart. Detroit's offensive line has been average so far in 2019. Taylor Decker has typically been one of the league's best left tackles, but this season he grades as an average pass protector, much like the rest of Detroit's front line. Overall, this is a highly efficient passing attack that his heavily reliant upon its top two wide receivers on a near-weekly basis.

The New York Giants have been playing from behind for the majority of their 2019 season during a disappointing 2-5 start. The score has typically dictated a run-heavy offensive approach from New York's opposition, leading to a limited volume of passing attempts on the season. Opposing quarterbacks have been highly efficient against the Giants' porous defense, posting 7.7 net yards per attempt this season against New York, the fifth-worst total in the NFL. New York's struggles start up front, where they lack a dominant pass-rusher like Olivier Vernon, whom they traded away over the offseason. Markus Golden's 5 sacks on the season is a misleading total. Golden has converted his pressure into sacks at an unsustainably-high rate this season, and he will likely regress throughout the year. At linebacker, Alec Ogletree is stronger in coverage than he is against the run, but he is far from a top-tier defender against the pass. Then, in the secondary, the Giants are a dumpster fire. Janoris Jenkins and DeAndre Baker have both struggled mightily in coverage aside from one game against the Redskins floundering offense and one game played in the pouring rain against the Arizona Cardinals. New York's safeties are notably weak as well, with both Jabrill Peppers and Antoine Bethea struggling to contain big plays. Bethea is a run-stopping safety that has lost a step or two in coverage in his 14th professional season. Peppers, on the other hand, is transitioning into a more traditional safety position after playing extremely deep off of the line of scrimmage as a part of Gregg Williams' defenses in Cleveland for a few seasons. In total, the New York Giants' pass defense has glaring holes in the secondary that Matt Stafford and company should have no trouble exploiting throughout the game come Sunday afternoon.

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


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Since Stefon Diggs made headlines over three weeks ago by reportedly voicing his frustrations with Minnesota's exceedingly run-heavy offense, Kirk Cousins has promptly strung together 3 consecutive 300-yard passing days. Over those three games, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen have re-emerged as the top-end fantasy producers their respective talent levels imply they should be. Since his voicing his apparent frustration, Stefon Diggs averages nearly 6 receptions for 120 yards and 1 touchdown per game. Adam Thielen, on the other hand, injured his hamstring last week against the Detroit Lions, and will not play this week against the Washington Redskins. Bisi Johnson is the most likely candidate to replace Thielen in the starting lineup, but the undrafted rookie's talent level pales in comparison to one of the league's best receivers. Johnson has been the third-most-targeted player in Minnesota's offense over the last three games, but his production on those targets has been uninspiring. Minnesota's offensive line has been a below-average unit in 2019. Rookie center Garrett Bradbury has been one of the NFL's worst linemen in pass-protection so far this season, and Minnesota's line lacks the top-end talent elsewhere to make up for his shortcomings. Overall, when Minnesota elects to pass the ball in volume, as they have in recent weeks, Stefon Diggs is one of the best receivers in the NFL, and he will post impressive numbers in almost any matchup. On Thursday night, without Adam Thielen, Diggs has a strong chance of reaching double-digit targets for just the second time this season. If the Vikings elect to continue with the pass-heavy approach that has posted 38 and 42 points in the last two games, respectively, the soft matchup with Washington's defense will likely negate the adverse effects of Adam Thielen's absence.

The Washington Redksins defense has posted respectable aggregate numbers in 2019, but three outlier games largely skew these statistics: one against struggling rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, one against the tanking Miami Dolphins, and one in a torrential downpour against the San Francisco 49ers. The Redskins' defensive talent level is more in line with a below-average unit, and four weak efforts against average pass offenses support that. Along the defensive front, edge rushers Matt Ioannidis and Ryan Kerrigan are both adequate pass-rushers. At linebacker, Shaun Dion Hamilton has been excellent in coverage, but his running mates, Cole Holcomb and Jon Bostic, have played over twice as many coverage snaps. Holcomb and Bostic are both horrendous pass defenders, and the propensity to leave these two on the field instead of Hamilton is baffling. In the secondary, Josh Norman is doubtful to play in week eight. While Norman has struggled so far in 2019, his replacement, Fabian Moreau, has been even worse. Opposite Moreau, Quinton Dunbar has been the lone bright spot in Washington's defense. Dunbar is posting career-best numbers in coverage with three interceptions already in 2019. Washington's safeties, Landon Collins and Montae Nicholson, have both disappointed this season, and the outlook is bleak for this secondary as a whole. Washington's pass defense will be outmatched against one of the league's most talented offenses here in week eight. If the Vikings elect to throw the ball in volume once again on Thursday night, they will face little resistance from the Redskins' defense.

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


New Orleans Saints Passing Offense vs Arizona Cardinals Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Teddy Bridgewater is now 5-0 as the Saints’ starting quarterback, but he won’t be creating a quarterback competition anytime soon. Bridgewater deserves his share of credit, though it bears noting just how little he’s pushing down the field. He’s averaging just 241 yards per start, and only 11% of his throws have gone deep (15+ yards downfield). Rather, he’s mostly playing the game manager role and (successfully) relying on the Saints’ powerful run game and defense. He’s getting by on a steady diet of check-downs and force-feeding ball-dominant No. 1 receiver Michael Thomas who’s commanded 32% of Bridgewater’s targets. It’s been impressive to watch, particularly last week as Thomas worked over the Bears’ imposing cornerback duo for a 9-for-131 line. Behind him, though, there’s little statistical upside here. Ted Ginn and the team’s tight ends played flimsy roles even when Brees was in the lineup; now, they’re little more than novelties. Jared Cook could return to action this week, but he doesn’t move the needle, averaging just 28 yards per game. Ultimately, this attack will go only as far as Bridgewater’s accuracy and Thomas’ route-winning ability take it. And if they can shine against a stout Bears defense, then a date with the porous Cardinals projects even better.

It should go without saying that the Cardinals welcomed back Patrick Peterson last week with open arms. This remains a talent-starved secondary, one that’s wholly beatable even with Peterson on the field. At the very least, Peterson will serve as a shutdown shadow presence against opposing No. 1s, so Michael Thomas is on notice. But he won’t do much to tighten the horrendous play inside, where opposing slot receivers and tight ends have run almost unchecked. With Tramaine Brock struggling mightily and little help from the linebackers and safeties, they’ve allowed 8 of them to top 75 yards through 7 games. Amazingly, tight ends have already produced eight touchdowns in this matchup, coming from a mix of both starters and role players alike. Thomas may have his hands full doing battle with a rested Peterson, but the Saints’ supporting cast is line for one of its juiciest matchups yet.

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


New York Giants Passing Offense at Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

After an impressive showing in his first career start, quarterback Daniel Jones has regressed heavily in the weeks since. Jones has the fifth-worst quarterback rating in the NFL, amongst quarterbacks to have made at least three starts this season. Since Golden Tate returned from suspension three weeks ago, he has been Jones' favorite target through the air. Tate has totaled 15 receptions on 26 targets for 195 yards and 1 long touchdown against the New England Patriots in his three games as a member of the New York Giants this season. Elsewhere, Evan Engram is one of the top pass-catching tight ends in the NFL. Engram leads the Giants this season with 34 receptions on 52 targets for 379 yards and 2 touchdowns. While Sterling Shepard is likely sidelined due to his second concussion of the season, expect these two to command the majority of Daniel Jones' targets. Out of the backfield, Saquon Barkley is one of the NFL's best pass-catching running backs. Last week, Barkley tallied just three receptions on five targets, but in more favorable passing conditions, he will likely improve upon both marks in the coming weeks. The Giants field an above-average pass-blocking offensive line. Nate Solder, Kevin Zeitler, and Will Hernandez each grade as above-average pass protectors at their respective positions. The only below-average lineman for the Giants is center Jon Halapio, whose shortcomings are made up for by the impressive guards that flank him.

Detroit's pass defense is a unit drifting towards the bottom tier of the NFL thanks to a total lack of a pass rush coupled with weak coverage players to defend intermediate routes. So far, in 2019, the Lions rank 22nd in net yards per attempt allowed. The Lions also just traded away one of their starting safeties, Quandre Diggs, in a move that left both current members of the Detroit Lions and media members alike confused. Along the defensive line, the Lions lack an impactful pass rusher this season. Trey Flowers was brought in from New England to fill that role hopefully, but he has had minimal impact against the pass. Then, at linebacker, the Lions struggle mightily to defend the pass. Starters Jarrad Davis and Christian Jones are both horrific coverage linebackers, and they have been exploited weekly by opposing quarterbacks when targeting both running backs and tight ends. In the secondary, aside from the loss of Quandre Diggs, the Lions field a strong coverage unit. Darius Slay still ranks amongst the league's best cornerbacks that will shadow opposing number-one wide receivers on both sides of the field. Slay is questionable for week eight after leaving last week’s game due to a hamstring injury. If he is unable to play, Mike Ford will likely move into the starting lineup. Ford has proven to be a competent player in his limited action thus far in this season, but any replacement for Slay will ultimately be a significant downgrade for the Lions’ secondary. Cornerback Justin Coleman is also enjoying a breakout campaign that has planted his name firmly in the discussion for the league's best slot defender. At safety, Tracy Walker is nearing an elite level defending the pass this season with one interception and three pass breakups to his name. Overall, Detroit's weakness in the trenches and at linebacker will leave the Lions susceptible against the New York Giants passing attack, considering two of their top weapons work primarily in this area of the field. Look for Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley to exploit Detroit's ineptitude at linebacker here in week eight.

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


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense at Houston Texans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Derek Carr posted his highest yardage total of the season (293) in last week’s blowout loss to the Packers. He looked pretty good last week and has played relatively well this season considering the inexperience of his receiving core. Solid protection from his offensive line has certainly helped as Carr has taken one or fewer sacks in four of six games. The emergence of tight end Darren Waller has also been a huge bonus for this passing offense. Waller handily leads the team in targets and has finished with at least six receptions and over 50 yards in five of six outings. He finally found the end zone last week with a pair of scores to vault him firmly within the top five among tight end fantasy scoring this season--currently ranking third just ahead of Travis Kelce. Carr will be eager to get top wide receiver Tyrell Williams back soon though, as Williams was also a core target with a touchdown in all four games before suffering a foot injury. Williams remains questionable coming into this weekend, so keep an eye on his practice status. If Williams misses again, look for Keelan Doss and possibly the newly added Zay Jones to see some usage.

The Texans secondary has been a big problem for this defense as they are a primary reason why this group ranks 29th in the NFL in passing defense with 275.6 passing yards per game and 15 passing touchdowns given up through seven weeks. Opposing wide receivers are scoring the third-most fantasy points per game against the Texans. They have allowed an opposing receiver to rack up at least 80 yards and a touchdown in three straight games while also giving up three 100+ yard outings to three receivers in the first three weeks of the season. While this secondary didn’t start the season loaded with talent, injuries have simply made the situation worse as both Tashaun Gipson and Johnathan Joseph have been battling through injuries while Bradley Roby remains sidelined until at least Week 11 with a hamstring strain. The Texans did make a move to address their secondary this week though, as they acquired cornerback Gareon Conley from the Raiders. Conley was once a touted first-round pick, but he fell out of favor in Oakland after a terrible start to this season. The Texans expect Conley to be a much better fit in Houston as he will be able to play more man coverage in which he has historically thrived. Even with the Conley addition, however, this secondary remains an exploitable unit for the immediate future--particularly out of the slot with weak coverage from Lonnie Johnson. Darren Waller should be looking forward to a plus matchup as well given the injury issues plaguing Tashaun Gipson, combined with the fact that Houston has given up an average of 68 yards per game to tight ends over the past three weeks.

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


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

The Pittsburgh passing game remains in tatters without Ben Roethlisberger. Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges have played safe, sanitized football in his place, committing just a single turnover in four starts. But in the process, they’ve produced just 7.1 yards per attempt (217 a game) and 5 touchdowns. Rudolph should step back under center Sunday after clearing the concussion protocol, but doesn’t bring much of an upgrade on the undrafted Hodges. The team has asked very little of Rudolph - only 14% of his attempts have gone deep (15+ yards) - beyond check-downs and a few play-action strikes here and there. That’s obviously trickled down to the receiving corps. Perhaps no top fantasy wideout has been handcuffed as tightly as JuJu Smith-Schuster, who has landed below 20 yards twice in 4 games post-Roethlisberger. Of course, Smith-Schuster boasts the potential to make the best of his opportunities and maximize production. Beyond him, there’s optimism around Diontae Johnson and James Washington, Rudolph’s three-year teammate at Oklahoma State. But neither is even projectable from week to week in this offense. Even in such a cherry on-paper matchup, there’s no fantasy utility here beyond Smith-Schuster’s ceiling. The Steelers would love to control this game early with defense and grind things out without Rudolph taking on much responsibility.

The Dolphins pass defense remains extremely porous and one of fantasy’s better matchups. On the year, they’ve allowed opponents to complete 69% of their throws and average 9.4 yards apiece, with 16 touchdowns through just 6 games. Speedy downfield receivers like Marquise Brown (4 for 147 and 2), Terry McLaurin (4 for 100 and 2), and John Brown (5 for 83 and 1) have made easy work of this stripped-down secondary. Cornerback Xavien Howard was paid as a franchise cornerstone, but has struggled this season and again looks like a toss-up to even play Sunday. His replacements have been poor thus far, and they get little help from the safeties, where Minkah Fitzpatrick has left a big playmaking hole. Reshad Jones has lost quite a bit to age and injury, while Bobby McCain is regularly roasted down the field. Of course, some of these failings can be blamed on the pass rush, which is nearly non-existent. They’ve recorded just 7 sacks as a unit, ranking 31st in pressure rate. That allows passers to pick apart the talent-starved secondary and produce major efficiency. This could be the week Mason Rudolph and the Steelers’ bare-bones passing game takes off to some degree.

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


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

In his first start of the season in place of Marcus Mariota, Ryan Tannehill led a renewed Titans passing offense to over 300 yards for the first time this season in their win over the Chargers last week. Tannehill was getting the ball out quickly and made much more decisive, powerful throws than what Mariota displayed through the first six games. The spark offered from Tannehill helped to get Corey Davis back on the board with decent volume as he saw as season-high seven targets for six receptions, 80 yards, and his second touchdown of the season. A.J. Brown was actually the favorite target of Tannehill though as he led the team with eight--the highest number of targets Brown has garnered yet on the season. The offensive line did a better job in pass protection last week, which did significantly help this offense as a whole. Tannehill took just two sacks and had plenty of time in most cases. Right tackle Jack Conklin did go down with an injury, however, so his status will be worth keeping an eye on.

While the Buccaneers may have one of the best rushing defenses in football, they rank dead last in passing yards allowed per game as the only defense in football allowing an average of over 300 passing yards per game. They have given up over 300 passing yards in four of the last five games and allowed multiple passing touchdowns in four straight games leading up to their Week 7 bye. Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves has been their top liability in coverage, and he is expected to line up opposite Tajae Sharpe and A.J. Brown on most snaps this week. Corey Davis should also see a favorable matchup with Carlton Davis, who also is not one in particular to fear. The defensive line will certainly pose a challenge for the Titans in the trenches though, particularly edge rusher Shaq Barrett who is leading the league with nine sacks. The Titans offensive line has struggled this season, but they did play much better against the Chargers last week so could be making some progress in the right direction. If Tannehill can stay upright in this one, he should be looking forward to a plus matchup overall.

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


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

Atlanta's offense, much like their defense, is in a state of flux in week eight. Quarterback Matt Ryan reportedly suffered a high ankle sprain late in week seven's loss to the Los Angeles Rams, but he is hoping to play here in week eight. Should he ultimately be sidelined, Matt Shaub would assume the starting role, significantly damaging the projections for Atlanta's entire passing attack. At wide receiver, the Falcons will also be without one of their leading receivers, Mohamed Sanu, following a mid-week trade that sent him to the New England Patriots. Assuming Matt Ryan ends up starting for the Falcons here in week eight, he will be playing behind a very erratic offensive line. Jake Matthews and Alex Mack are two top-end linemen at their respective positions, but they are flanked by three below-average players to round out the starting unit. Rookie right tackle Kaleb McGary has proven time and time again that he is not ready to be an NFL starter, but the Falcons lack any viable replacement for him at this time. At wide receiver, Julio Jones still commands some of the most valuable targets in all of the NFL. So far in 2019, he has hauled in 40 of his 62 targets for 560 yards and 4 touchdowns, while ranking 3rd in the NFL with 810 total air yards this season. Calvin Ridley will likely assume a larger role in Atlanta's offense following Sanu's departure, as Ridley playing time had dipped to around 60-percent in recent weeks with Sanu playing close to 80-percent of offensive snaps. Ridley has totaled 29 receptions on 44 targets for 373 yards and 4 touchdowns himself this season, and he future is bright for the second-year receiver from Alabama. The most surprising pass-catcher on the roster this season is Austin Hooper. Hooper leads the team with 46 receptions on 55 targets for 526 yards and 4 touchdowns so far this season. Hooper has been a model of consistency at the tight end position in 2019, and there is no reason to expect him to slow down any time soon.

The Seattle Seahawks have been mediocre defending the pass through seven games in the 2019 season. A favorable schedule against numerous struggling passing attacks has salvaged respectable totals for Seattle's secondary, but with the 19th-ranked defense in net yards per attempt, they will likely struggle against tougher competition. Along the defensive line, Jadeveon Clowney is the only pass-rusher making any consistent impact. While he has totaled only one sack so far in 2019, his pressure numbers paint the picture of a pass rusher that is disrupting the pocket with regularity. Unfortunately, the rest of Seattle's defensive front has given him very little support. At linebacker, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright have been liabilities in coverage so far this season. Both players are typically much better at defending the pass than they have been in 2019, but after seven sub-par games, this is not ignorable. In the secondary, third-year player Shaquill Griffin has emerged as a lockdown cornerback for the Seahawks. Otherwise, Seattle's defensive backfield has been one of the weaker units in the NFL, which led to a mid-week trade that brought Quandre Diggs into town from the Detroit Lions. Diggs has struggled in coverage this season, so he should not be expected to step into the lineup and improve Seattle's numbers against the pass immediately, but in the long-term, this bodes well for Seattle's secondary. Overall, Seattle's pass defense is a mediocre unit hidden behind respectable numbers from games against inferior offenses. This week, the Seahawks will have their hands full when they head to Atlanta to take on the Falcons' high-volume passing attack inside the dome of Mercedes Benz Stadium.

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


Chicago Bears Passing Offense vs Los Angeles Chargers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Bears passing offense showed virtually no difference between having backup Chase Daniels or starter Mitchell Trubisky under center in last week’s dismal showing. Despite the reasonable stat line of 251 yards and two garbage-time touchdowns, Trubisky played just as poorly as he did before suffering the shoulder injury in Week 4. He continues to make errant throws while relying heavily on check-down options in lieu of finding open wide receivers down the field. His 5.2 yards per attempt on the season goes to show just how timid of a passer Trubisky has been. Top receiver Allen Robinson will continue to be limited by his quarterback, but he is clearly the focal point for Trubisky after receiving 16 targets last week and serving as the team leader in targets in all six games played. The workload afforded to Robinson will continue to keep his floor at a reasonable level--especially considering he has finished with at least six receptions and 60 receiving yards in four straight games with at least a touchdown in back-to-back outings. The same cannot be said for other pass-catchers such as Anthony Miller, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton, and Tarik Cohen--all of whom are tough to trust given the lack of promise shown by Trubisky.

The Chargers defense has performed reasonably well against the pass this season, limiting opposing quarterbacks to fewer than 250 yards in all but two outings while forcing an interception in each of their last four games. The level of competition has been lacking though, as some of their best performances have come against the likes of Devlin Hodges, Joe Flacco, and Josh Rosen. They may get another chance at succeeding against a below average quarterback this week though, as Mitchell Trubisky is playing like he falls into the same category as those aforementioned quarterbacks. The strong edge rushers for the Chargers should have a decent chance at applying pressure on Trubisky this week, forcing him to again rely more on his check down options rather than waiting for routes to develop. Cornerback Casey Hayward Jr. should also give Allen Robinson a tough time as he is expected to shadow Robinson, which actually may open up some opportunity for Taylor Gabriel to find space against the weaker outside cornerback Michael Davis. Chargers linebackers, while disappointing against the run, have done a decent job covering running backs out of the backfield as only one running back has caught more than four passes against them this season.

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


Denver Broncos Passing Offense at Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

If the Broncos passing offense was not in bad enough shape with a struggling Joe Flacco under center, things got much worse this week as they traded away Emmanuel Sanders to the 49ers for a haul of draft picks. Denver has officially given up hopes on its season and the absence of Sanders will make it tough for this 26th-ranked passing offense to improve in the near term. After Joe Flacco was flat out terrible last Thursday night, the Broncos are likely counting down the days until rookie Drew Lock is far enough along in his recovery from a sprained thumb to suit up and play. Courtland Sutton was already slotted into the WR1 role in Denver, but that position is certainly solidified here as he should see even more focus and targets. Daesean Hamilton should be the other biggest beneficiary from a snap count perspective, although he has yet to take the step forward most had hoped for. Running back Royce Freeman has led in catches from the backfield for two straight weeks now as he is seeing a much more reliable target share than Phillip Lindsay over their past four games.

The Colts defense has been inconsistent against the pass, giving up a middling 250 yards per game through the air. They have allowed over 300 passing yards in four of six games, but fewer than 190 passing yards in the other two outings. Overall, this secondary lacks a true playmaker to shut down any portion of the field. Pierre Desir is their top cornerback, but he has struggled this season and will be at a disadvantage lined up against Courtland Sutton this week. Linebacker Darius Leonard is a big reason why pass-catching running backs have had minimal success against this group though, as they haven’t allowed more than 30 receiving yards to a running back since Week 1. The Colts are allowing the third-most fantasy points per game (PPR scoring) to opposing tight ends though, but it will still be tough to trust Denver tight end Noah Fant as he has been far from a consistent producer to start his NFL career.

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


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Despite no Davante Adams and with injuries to Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison being less than 100%, Aaron Rodgers had a career day throwing for 429 yards and five touchdowns against the Raiders. What was even more amazing about Rodgers’ performance was his ability to distribute the ball to all of his available targets as he threw the ball 31 times and no receiver had more than five targets in the game. A big part of Rodgers’ recent success is driven by the offensive line as both David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga have both been tremendous at the tackle position which has led to Rodgers having been sacked only four times over the last three games. The Packers did receive some potentially great news this week as Davante Adams may be close to returning and if he can return this is an incredibly dangerous passing attack against any defense, not just the Raiders.

The Chiefs secondary is an average unit that has not been thoroughly tested this season. On the season, the Chiefs have faced just one offense that ranks inside the top 10 in passing offense per game which was the Lions and they allowed 291 yards passing and three touchdowns. This is a unit that is designed to stop the pass but will be without their best cornerback in Kendall Fuller as Rashad Fenton is forced to slide into the slot and will keep Bashaud Breeland on the outside where he has struggled mightily this season. Breeland could be a major factor in this game as the Packers know him all too well as he played for the team last season, and with how much he is struggling, his former team should know how to take advantage of the struggling corner. At the safety position, the Chiefs are solid as Tyrann Mathieu remains a solid coverage safety alongside Juan Thornhill who is a second-round rookie who has been a reliable contributor for this defense.

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


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense vs Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett set career highs in passing yards and touchdowns in last week’s win over the Texans as he has proven to be a more-than-adequate leader of this passing offense. In what has mostly been a run-focused team, Brissett has now passed for multiple touchdowns in five of six games--three of which were three-touchdown outings. From a fantasy scoring perspective, he has been one of the most consistent producers at his position. T.Y. Hilton has led the Colts in targets in all five games he has played, including last week with a season-high 11 looks. While the yardage totals haven’t been massive, averaging just 61 receiving yards per game, Hilton has scored at least once in four of five outings and continues to be schemed into great opportunities. Zach Pascal may have only run 18 routes while playing 47 percent of the snaps, but he made a huge impact by catching all six targets for 106 yards and two touchdowns last week. Pascal has been minimally involved in this passing offense to date but should continue to see snaps as long as Parris Campbell is sidelined with his abdomen injured. Running back Nyhiem Hines and both tight ends also remain perpetually involved, albeit at low oft-unpredictable levels, in this passing offense.

The Broncos passing defense continued their strong play last week, albeit after catching a break with the unfortunate injury to Patrick Mahomes. This unit currently ranks third with 195.3 passing yards per game allowed despite suffering a slew of injuries in their secondary. Cornerback Chris Harris continues to play very well and anchors this unit as he all but shut down Tyreek Hill outside of a 57-yard touchdown given up to him last week--which is the biggest play Harris had allowed to date this season. Harris should see most snaps opposite T.Y. Hilton this week and make it tough on Hilton to find the end zone for the sixth time this season. Safety Justin Simmons was also sharp last week against the Chiefs as he racked up a couple of pass breakups to go along with his team-leading seven solo tackles. He has been a big part in the Broncos playing much better against tight ends this season, as they held Travis Kelce to just six receptions for 44 yards last week and Delanie Walker to only three receptions for 43 yards the week prior. The Denver pass rush continues to be an inconsistent piece of this group, however, as the injury to Bradley Chubb is certainly having an impact on how effective this defensive line can be. They managed just one sack last week after racking up 12 sacks in the previous two outings--all following up their streak of three games with zero sacks to start the season. The Colts have a strong offensive line and should match up well to protect Brissett against these Denver pass-rushers.

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


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Gardner Minshew has impressed as the Jaguars starter, blowing his sixth-round draft status out of the water in just seven quick weeks. But he’s certainly coming back down to Earth. He’s now completed less than half his passes in back-to-back outings - both against shaky pass defenses - and just 54% dating back to Week 4. That number has been skewed by a few Jacksonville drops, but it’s a far cry from his ultra-efficient Weeks 1-3. Minshew has some degree of a future in the NFL, but he’s still quite raw as a pocket passer, and plays seem to fall apart too early for him. That ultimately handcuffs his talented receiving corps and takes high-impact opportunities away from the offense. It would be nice to see him build on his prolific connection with second-year breakout D.J. Chark, who’s topped 140 yards twice but been held below 60 in 4 others. Chark is fast and explosive, and he’s capable of creating huge plays both on the deep ball and in the open field. Minshew has also had some success targeting dynamic slot man Dede Westbrook of late; the pair turned 9 targets into 103 yards last Sunday. But all told, until Minshew proves he can be efficient with relatively low volume, this attack is volatile for fantasy purposes. Even against a middle secondary like that of the Jets, it’s wise to hedge one’s enthusiasm in terms of both their ceilings and their floors.

The Jets’ rebuilding pass defense kicked off the year in horrendous fashion, but have settled down noticeably over the past month or so. Despite a few glaring coverage holes and a barely-existant pass rush, this is no longer quite such an obviously-exploitable matchup. Make no mistake: there are definite problems at cornerback, where Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts continue to struggle badly with downfield coverage. John Brown (7 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown) and Odell Beckham (6 for 161 and 1) opened the season with huge lines in this battle. On the plus side, though, safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye continue to shine, routinely making plays on the ball to help stop the bleeding. They, along with impressive slot man Brian Poole, are the primary reasons things have tightened up of late - no wideouts or tight ends have cracked 65 yards since their Week 4 bye. If the Jaguars are to find any real pass-game success Sunday, it will likely have to come by way of a few well-timed deep strikes to D.J. Chark and Chris Conley.

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


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Chiefs will have a different look this week as they will be without Patrick Mahomes who left this past week with a dislocated knee and is expected to miss 3-5 weeks. The Chiefs are going to start veteran Matt Moore this week as Chad Henne is not eligible to return this week as he was put on IR which requires eight games to be missed. Matt Moore was not great coming in for the injured Mahomes as he completed just 52% of his passes, but the good news for Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill is that their targets should remain relatively high as both saw five targets a piece on just 19 total targets from Moore. Moore was able to connect for a 57-yard pass to Hill for a touchdown as well in this game. The offense is not going to be the high-powered offense it was with Mahomes, but this is still a team that is going to remain committed to the pass.

The Packers secondary is a unit that is still incredibly young at the corner position as Jaire Alexander and Kevin King are in their second and third years respectively. After looking like one of the best secondaries in football over the first four weeks, we have since learned that the competition that they were facing in those early weeks may not have been the greatest as they faced Mitchell Trubisky, Kirk Cousins, Joe Flacco, and Carson Wentz. Over the first four weeks, they held these opponents to just 207 yards, but over the last three weeks, the secondary has started to show its cracks as it has allowed 463 yards and two touchdowns to Dak Prescott (a lot of this was in garbage time), 265 yards to Detroit, and 329 yards to the combination of Derek Carr and Mike Glennon. This is a unit that has allowed four receivers or tight ends to catch for over 100 yards over the last three weeks including a 226-yard performance from Amari Cooper. The Chiefs will test the secondary here and look to exploit Kevin King which could lead to a big day from Tyreek Hill, the only question is whether Matt Moore will be able to take advantage of the mistakes that the young secondary has made over the last few weeks.

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


Los Angeles Rams Passing Offense vs Cincinnati Bengals Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jared Goff took advantage of a great Week 7 matchup to put up his best game of the year. Goff wasn’t perfect against the Falcons, but he used a varied attack to post 268 yards and 2 scores in a blowout win. This unit is at its best when Goff is mixing things up, using play-action and the screen game to open up the downfield zones. He still misses on his share of throws, but when given time, he can certainly hit on enough to maximize his gifted supporting cast. That said, the recent lack of deep-ball dynamism has kept the receivers from reaching their ceilings. Brandin Cooks has produced just 77 yards over his last 2 full games, with Robert Woods at just 80 (including a catchless Week 6). Even volume dominator Cooper Kupp, who’s averaging 11 targets a game, has gone just 10 for 67 over that span. The silver lining is that Goff’s desire to spread the ball around has gotten more contributors involved. Tight end Gerald Everett, long underappreciated for his all-around abilities, has drawn 44 looks over the past 4 weeks, chiming in with a 100-yard game and 2 scores along the way. And it was refreshing to see Todd Gurley make a dazzling touchdown catch in coverage last week. This attack remains volatile from week to week, but its ceiling remains just as attractive as its floor is frightening. After all, Goff is only 2 weeks removed from a two-game stretch of 912 yards, and his matchup with this Bengals secondary could hardly be more inviting.

Opponents aren’t forced to throw much against the Bengals, but when they do, they don’t face much resistance. This unit is allowing just 244 yards per game, but a hefty 8.3 per attempt, fourth-most in the league. With little pass rush to speak of (30th in pressure rate), the Bengals put a heavy burden on their cornerbacks and safeties, who haven’t come close to answering the bell. It rarely helps matters when starters go down to injury; cornerbacks William Jackson and Dre Kirkpatrick are shaky at best, but the loss of both in Week 6 has made this unit even shallower. Darqueze Dennard returned to action last Sunday, but was predictably unimpressive, while B.W. Webb continued to be a massive liability in the slot. Inside receivers and tight ends have teed off on the Bengals all year, with big lines coming from the likes of Deebo Samuel (5 for 87 and a touchdown), Dawson Knox (3 for 67 and 1), Larry Fitzgerald (6 for 58), and Mark Andrews (6 for 99). Last week, the Jaguars’ Dede Westbrook joined the party with a season-best line of 6 for 103. Overall, the unit is struggling mightily to lock down the seams and prevent after-catch yardage. Cooper Kupp projects especially well out of the slot for Sunday, but every Rams pass-catcher is in play for fantasy purposes. What they may lack in volume, they should make up easily in efficiency.

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


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Unsurprisingly, the Dolphins didn’t get much of an efficiency boost by swapping Josh Rosen for Ryan Fitzpatrick (again) last week. Fitzpatrick opened the Buffalo game hot, but ultimately blew a chance to ice a rare win with a terrible red-zone interception. Through 3 games, they sit 31st league-wide in both yardage and touchdowns, saved only by the Jets’ brief Luke Falk era. Ryan Fitzpatrick has always been a volatile passer, but he’s no longer forcing deep balls to the likes of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Here in Miami, he’s still throwing erratically down the field, but working with far less of a supporting cast. DeVante Parker has caught touchdowns in three straight games, but still struggles to turn his size/speed blend into a true NFL mismatch. Tight end Mike Gesicki has flashed some of late, racking up 92 yards over the past 2 weeks, but remains an uninspiring playmaker. He’s still seeking his first NFL touchdown, 22 games in. The real silver lining among this unit is rookie Preston Williams, who’s emerged as the team’s unquestioned No. 1 target. Williams has drawn 21% of team looks on the season (7.3 a game), but remains a middling fantasy option. A raw rookie surrounded by uncertainty, he’s caught just 52% of his targets and posted a ho-hum 52 yards a game.

After allowing efficient, 300-yard performances to Tom Brady and Russell Wilson to open the year, the Steelers pass defense has tightened noticeably. Philip Rivers managed to top 300 in Week 6, but it was heavily aided by garbage time in the Steelers’ blowout win. The week before, they held Lamar Jackson to just 5.8 yards per attempt and picked him off 3 times. The coverage unit has been strong, but the pass rush also deserves its share of credit, with Cameron Heyward and T.J. Watt leading a diverse group that’s adept at disrupting passers (seventh in pressure rate). There are still clear vulnerabilities, however. The team has long struggled to defend the slots and seams, and that’s still a massive issue, with the safeties primarily to blame. In Week 6, Hunter Henry (8 for 100 and 2 touchdowns) and Mike Williams (5 for 72) consistently won battles and made easy catches down the stretch. Slot cornerback Mike Hilton is solid, but Terrell Edmunds has yet to show any consistency as a pro, while new addition Minkah Fitzpatrick has struggled since coming over from the Dolphins. They won’t face a potent attack in Week 8 with the Dolphins coming to town, but there could be a few openings up the seams for breakout receiver Preston Williams.

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


New England Patriots Passing Offense vs Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Patriots passing offense is undergoing some changes this week as Josh Gordon was placed on IR and is not expected to return this season. To help fill the void of losing Gordon, the Patriots traded a second-round pick for Mohamed Sanu. With just five days to prepare and learn the offense, it is difficult to see Sanu playing a significant role for this offense this week which will ultimately leave the Patriots thin once again at the wide receiver position as they will have just Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett and rookie Jakobi Meyers who has seen nine targets over the last two weeks as the team looks to fill a void at the receiving position. Expect James White to continue to play a primary role in this passing attack as White has averaged nine targets over the last four weeks which is second to only Edelman on the team during this stretch.

The Browns secondary is a unit that just is unable to get healthy as they have now been without both of their top two cornerbacks in Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams since Week 2. The good news for the Browns is that they should get both players back this week which will be a much needed improvement compared to T.J. Carrie and Terrance Mitchell. Ward had a fantastic rookie season as the speedster cornerback makes it difficult to get separation for opposing wide receivers. This is a secondary that had been struggling mightily as they had allowed two or more touchdowns passing in each of the last four weeks and were allowing a high efficiency as they allowed a 68% completion percentage. This is still by no means a perfect unit as they are likely going to be without Damarious Randall who is their best coverage safety which will likely force Terrance Mitchell or Morgan Burnett to safety alongside Jermaine Whitehead who has really struggled in coverage.

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


New York Jets Passing Offense at Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Sam Darnold’s return from illness has very much been a tale of two quarterbacks. He looked confident and prolific in Week 6, carving up the Cowboys for 338 yards and 2 scores. But the pendulum swung back wildly Monday night, with Darnold completing just 11 of 32 passes for 86 yards and 4 interceptions. He was notoriously miked up and admitted to “seeing ghosts” among the Patriots’ smothering pass rush, resulting in a timid performance and his worst game as a pro. Darnold boasts a live arm and a strong connection with deep threat Robby Anderson, who posted 5 for 125 and a long touchdown against Dallas. The duo has averaged a strong 71 yards over their last 7 games together. But the 22-year-old Darnold is also prone to missing reads and head-scratching throws into traffic, which strong defenses can take advantage of. When he’s not targeting Anderson deep, he’ll likely keep things relatively conservative against the Jaguars. Slot specialist Jamison Crowder was held in check Monday night, but caught 20 balls from Darnold in their first 2 games together. He lacks big-play upside, but plays an important role in keeping Darnold grounded and efficient. Demaryius Thomas provides another veteran presence and made two big plays against New England, but wasn’t much of a factor before garbage time. Overall, Darnold is hard to project in this inconsistent state. But if the young passer is able to shake off last week’s demoralizing mess, he could find a nice ceiling against the Jaguars’ in-transition pass defense.

The Jaguars’ imposing pass defense has predictably slipped a notch without Jalen Ramsey’s prowess in coverage. They still have a shutdown-quality guy on one side in A.J. Bouye, and D.J. Hayden is adequate in the slot. Still, Ramsey’s replacement, Tre Herndon, has been a major liability, and opposing passers have taken notice. Herndon was the primary victim in Alex Erickson’s out-of-nowhere eruption (8 catches for 137 yards) last week. That bodes well for the Jets’ Robby Anderson and Demaryius Thomas, who will take turns running downfield routes against him. Still, this remains a talented unit, and Herndon’s failings could be a moot point if the dynamic pass rush hits its marks. They’re pressuring passers at the league’s sixth-best rate, with rookie Josh Allen excelling and Calais Campbell still one of the league’s toughest blocking assignments. On a typical day, there’s enough organic pressure from up front to harass opposing quarterbacks into shaky performances. It will be interesting to see how the 22-year-old Sam Darnold will respond.

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


San Francisco 49ers Passing Offense vs Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The 49ers passing game, for the most part, has struggled this season. Outside of a two-week stretch, where Jimmy Garoppolo faced Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, he has failed to throw for over 250 yards, has thrown just three touchdowns, and three interceptions in four games and completed just 6.6 yards per attempt in those games. Even in the games against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, he failed to throw for over 300 yards and threw four touchdowns to three interceptions. The reality is that Garoppolo has been a game manager this season as the team continues to operate a run-based offense as they have thrown the ball the second-fewest times per game this season. George Kittle remains the focal point of this offense as even though the passing game has struggled big-play potential, Kittle does have six or more receptions in four of his six games and has caught for more than 50 yards in every game except this past week which was played in a downpour.

The Panthers started as one of the top secondaries in the NFL as over the first four weeks, they did not allow an opposing quarterback to throw for more than 208 yards. However, over their last two games, the story has changed dramatically as the Panthers have been shredded via the pass allowing an average of 387 yards against Gardner Minshew and Jameis Winston. The Winston game was a little misleading as the Panthers did intercept the Tampa Bay quarterback five times which is partially why yardage does not tell the full story as the Panthers were in control for a majority of that contest. So the question remains, how good is this defense, and like most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. This is a defense that is an above-average unit that like most non-elite units can have poor games from time to time, especially if they get Donte Jackson back who has been out since Week 3 as the combination of James Bradberry and Donte Jackson is a good one.

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


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense at Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Jameis Winston was slinging it in his last outing against the Panthers as he attempted 54 passes and racked up 400 yards with a touchdown. Despite the gaudy numbers, Winston looked rather awful as he also racked up five interceptions and fumbled twice, thanks mostly to his overly-aggressive play style of trying to make something out of nothing. Winston already had thrown five interceptions this year, so doubling his pick total shot him up up the charts in the wrong direction as he now has the second-most interceptions thrown. Mike Evans had another massive workload with 17 targets--his most in a game this year--but finished with just nine receptions and 96 yards as many of those targets were errant from Winston. Chris Godwin had a much better catch rate as he converted 10 of his 12 targets for 151 yards. Godwin has now finished with 125 or more receiving yards in three straight games and crossed the 120-yard mark in four of his last five as he is proving to be a top-notch option at the position.

The Titans passing defense is a strong, well-rounded unit that has performed at a consistently high level all season. They rank within the top 10 on many passing defense metrics, including passing yards allowed per game, sacks, and interceptions. They have also given up just the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game (PPR scoring) to opposing wide receivers, only one of whom has exceeded 76 receiving yards in a game against this unit of underrated cornerbacks. The Buccaneers have a high-flying passing offense though, and both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will be very tough to keep up with--especially for Malcolm Butler, who has struggled the most amongst Titans cornerbacks and should see most snaps against Evans. The Titans pass rush has been strong though, and the addition of Jeffrey Simmons only makes this defensive line even more of a mismatch for a bottom-tier Tampa Bay offensive line.

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


Arizona Cardinals Passing Offense at New Orleans Saints Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Last week, fantasy players were disappointed to see Kyler Murray and the Cardinals produce just 104 scoreless passing yards. After all, they were facing a Giants defense that had been giving up 304 per game. It’s hard to lay too much blame on Murray, though. The Cardinals built an early lead and sought to grind things out with the run, handcuffing his overall impact. On most weeks, Murray is given the green light to throw significantly more, which makes for steady fantasy volume. Of course, it bears noting that there hasn’t been much efficiency yet - his 6.8 yards per attempt sits 25th among qualifiers. Five Cardinals wideouts have secured at least 5 passes, but together they’ve averaged just 10.6 yards per catch, and only Larry Fitzgerald among them has found the end zone. For his part, Fitzgerald has predictably served as a dependable slot target, but his ceiling is capped tightly. He’s only produced 2 catches of 20+ yards since Week 3. At some point, Murray will need to open things up and test defenses down the field, but he probably lacks the supporting cast to do so consistently. His first NFL offense is composed almost entirely of limited slot-specialist types, without a single deep-ball prospect among them. He’d love to at least have back Christian Kirk, who averaged 6 for 61 before going week-to-week with an ankle sprain. Kirk hasn’t exactly been dynamic either, but is a versatile playmaker who can win a number of different ways. At the moment, that looks to give Murray his best chance at raising his fantasy ceiling.

Over the past four weeks, the Saints pass defense has come alive, allowing just 5.9 yards per attempt and 210 per game. But it’s worth pointing out the quarterbacks they’ve faced over that span: after a Week 4 date with Dak Prescott, they worked against Jameis Winston, Gardner Minshew, and Mitchell Trubisky. This unit can certainly dominate but still struggles with consistency against stronger competition. Top cornerback Marshon Lattimore is in prime form, putting in great recent work against the likes of Amari Cooper, Mike Evans, and Allen Robinson. That trio combined for just 138 yards against the Saints, with Evans going catch-less. However, most of the Cardinals’ passing goes through the slot, where the Saints’ defenders are thoroughly beatable. They’ve been dominated in the slot by Cooper Kupp (5 for 120), Tyler Lockett (11 for 154 and a touchdown), and Chris Godwin (7 for 125 and 2). That’s a daunting stretch of slot receivers to face, but the numbers show a clear inability to even slow them down. Furthermore, the unit was dealt a blow last Sunday when Eli Apple was lost to a hyperextended knee. The team was forced to work out cornerbacks during the week, and whomever they may have to plug in would serve as a clear downgrade.

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


Cincinnati Bengals Passing Offense at Los Angeles Rams Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Andy Dalton is only seven games into new coach Zac Taylor’s tenure, but he actually seems to be regressing. Ever since an impressive season opener against Seattle, Dalton has completed just 58% of his throws at an anemic 6.4 yards per attempt, good for 251 a game. Even with his numbers padded by garbage time and a handful of short touchdown runs, he’s been one of fantasy’s worst producers. Last week’s 276 yards rang hollow, with 80 of them coming after the Jaguars took a fourth-quarter lead, and his trio of rapid-fire interceptions doomed the Bengals’ day. Dalton doesn’t deserve all of the blame, as he operates behind arguably one of the league’s worst front lines, the driving force behind his taking ** sacks . Left tackle Cordy Glenn is expected to make his season debut Sunday, but he can’t patch all of these holes himself. Dalton is also lacking weaponry with both A.J. Green and John Ross sidelined by injury. Tyler Boyd is a solid possession receiver, but he’s not much of a mismatch and loses some of his luster without a game-breaker across the field. He’s caught just 18 of 35 targets since Ross went down, averaging 10.4 yards apiece. Green looks unlikely to suit up before Week 10, and while Auden Tate and Alex Erickson have flashed in his place, this remains a lesser group of playmakers. If there’s to be any usable fantasy production here, it will likely require major volume and a handful of splash plays. Neither looks particularly likely with this unit floundering so badly.

The Rams’ star-studded pass defense has been exceptionally up-and-down for the better part of the past year and a half. But there’s reason to expect some degree of improvement on the heels of yet another shakeup. Their Week 7 performance, holding the high-flying Matt Ryan to just 159 yards, was one of the weekend’s biggest surprises. Marcus Peters never really clicked with the Rams, but new addition Jalen Ramsey brings much more consistent shutdown ability. His Week 7 debut, coming just a few days after signing, made for a great display of back-and-forth with Julio Jones. Jones created a handful of splash plays, but Ramsey certainly made him work for them. He should help this unit tighten up against outside receivers, which routinely beat Peters for big plays and stat lines. They’ll miss Aqib Talib, who just hit injured reserve, on the other side, but Troy Hill was solid last week in relief, and free safety Eric Weddle has looked great here in Year 13. And of course, pass-rushers Aaron Donald and Donte Fowler tend to make life easier from up front. Donald remains the league’s premier disrupter, pushing the pocket consistently and violently. When he doesn’t shut down plays outright, he forces a ton of errant throws. This unit is volatile as a whole: not unbeatable, but definitely not an ideal get-right spot for Andy Dalton and the floundering Bengals.

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


Los Angeles Chargers Passing Offense at Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Philip Rivers posted another impressive stat line of over 300 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s gut-wrenching loss to the Titans. What was most impressive about his performance last week, however, was that it was the first time all season Rivers has not thrown an interception or fumbled as he finally took good care of the ball. Rivers has now passed for over 300 yards and two touchdowns in all but two games and continues to give the Chargers a chance to win games despite his struggles with turnovers. Keenan Allen was back on top in targets last week, but he continues to put forth meager fantasy outings as he and Rivers were out of sync on the deep balls last week. Austin Ekeler continues to be involved through the air as he actually led the team in receiving last week after putting up his worst receiving performance of the season in the prior game. Ekeler may be ceding playing timer to Melvin Gordon and shut out from the ground game, but he remains a weapon to be feared through the air. Tight end Hunter Henry is also a dynamic threat in this passing offense. He has finished with at least 60 yards in all three games he has played in this season. Last week, Henry ran a route on 90 percent of the passing downs--the highest route share of any tight end in football. He has to be accounted for as a top option for Rivers.

The Bears passing defense has put together a decent body of work through six games this season, limiting both opposing quarterbacks and wide receivers to scoring the ninth and seventh-fewest fantasy points per game (PPR) respectively. While this is certainly a step back from past seasons, this defense still has plenty of playmakers to make it a feared unit. The secondary did a great job covering everyone not named Michael Thomas last week as Thomas had his way with nine receptions for 131 yards. Thomas moved all over the place, so it is tough to place blame on any one cornerback--but the biggest liability for Chicago remains Buster Skrine from the slot, which should afford Keenan Allen a decent matchup. However, the Bears have strong safeties in Ha Ha Clinton Dix and Eddie Jackson to make it tough on both Allen and tight end Hunter Henry in coverage. From a pass rush perspective, the Bears may have struggled last week but should have a very clear advantage over the patchwork Chargers offensive line in this one, further complicating things for this Chargers passing offense.

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


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense at San Francisco 49ers Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Cam Newton remains out this week even though he is starting to practice with the Panthers this week and a future date appears not too far on the horizon. Kyle Allen came out in his first start and looked like a future starter in the NFL, throwing for 261 yards and four touchdowns against the Cardinals, but we have since learned more about the Cardinals secondary and have learned more about Kyle Allen. Allen has not played poorly, but he has his limitations as the team is asking him to play the role of a game manager as in the three games since the Cardinals game, he has thrown for no more than 232 yards and just 6.6 yards per attempt. At the receiver position, D.J. Moore has established himself as the top target for Allen as over the last two weeks, Moore has 18 targets.

The 49ers secondary has been a unit that has been almost impossible to consistently throw against. On the year, they are allowing just 133 yards passing per game and have held opponents to 100 yards or less in each of the last three weeks which is unheard of in the 2019 pass-heavy NFL. While last week was mostly an effect of the rain-storm in the Washington DC area, the 49ers did hold Jared Goff to just 78 yards passing and Baker Mayfield to just 100 yards passing. A big reason for this dominant play is a combination of the pass rush on the defensive line which has accounted for 20 sacks this season and the improved play of this secondary as Richard Sherman, Emmanuel Moseley, and K’Waunn Williams are all playing at an incredibly high level and feeding off of each other in stopping the pass.

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


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense at New England Patriots Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Browns passing offense got a much-needed bye week after Baker Mayfield has struggled mightily over the last two weeks with consistency having thrown five interceptions compared to just one touchdown. The problem for Mayfield is two-fold, the first is that he is having a tendency of throwing behind his wide receivers instead of leading them which has caused passes to bounce off of receivers' hands for interceptions. The second issue is the offensive line. Whether it be penalties, sacks, or just hurries, the Browns offensive line is one of the worst in football. The right side is particularly worrisome as Eric Kush and Chris Hubbard have been abysmal for the Browns this season, and Greg Robinson at left tackle has struggled with consistency throughout the season. At the wide receiver position, this remains a unit that is incredibly talented and Odell Beckham came out and said that his hip injury was fully healed which should help this offense as he had been complaining about it for most of the season.

The Patriots passing defense has been one of the best units that we have seen in recent memory. Despite having a point differential of 175 points over their first 7 games which means on average they have won their contests by 25 points, they are still allowing only 148 yards per game indicating that even in garbage time this is a unit that does not let up and is incredibly difficult to throw against. Led by the McCourty twins and Stephon Gilmore, this is a unit that will continue to cause problems for opposing quarterbacks as this defense has forced 18 interceptions as the veterans are fantastic at confusing young quarterbacks. With Mayfield’s issues of turnovers, expect the Patriots to cause all sorts of confusion for Mayfield this week.

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


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense at Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Throughout Philadelphia's disappointing 3-4 start to the 2019 season, the offense's lack of consistency, specifically through the air, has been troubling. Quarterback Carson Wentz has been held under 200 yards passing yards in 3 out of the last 4 games. While the Eagles' primary deep threat, DeSean Jackson, recovers from a vague core injury, Philadelphia's vertical passing attack has been non-existent. Veteran Alshon Jeffery has led the Eagles' receiving corps in targets every game he has been healthy, but in an anemic offense, there has been little production to show for it. Tight ends Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz both play prominent roles in the Eagles' aerial attack. Over the past month, Ertz ranks second on the team in targets and receptions, while leading the team in receiving yards. Goedert ranks third on the team in targets and receptions, and is tied with Alshon Jeffery for the team lead in touchdowns over Philadelphia's last four games. Even with rookie Andre Dillard filling in for the injured Jason Peters at left tackle, the Eagles' offensive line ranks amongst the league's best pass-blocking units. The schematic shortcomings of Philadelphia's passing attack are painfully obvious, and until significant changes are made to the style of play or coaching staff, mediocre results will almost certainly continue for Carson Wentz and company.

Buffalo's pass defense is one of the toughest units to move the ball against in 2019. The Bills' depth and balance at all three levels has given opposing offenses fits trying to identify a potential weak spot to exploit. Along the defensive line, Jordan Phillips leads the way with four sacks in six games so far this season, which ranks seventh in the NFL. Phillips teams up with rookie Ed Oliver on the interior to make up one of the NFL's strongest interior pass-rushing duos. On the edge, Jerry Hughes, Lorenzo Alexander, and Trent Murphy hold their own to round out one of the deepest pass-rushing groups in the NFL. At linebacker, second-year player Tremaine Edmunds is one of the premier athletes at the position. Edmunds makes the most of his athleticism in coverage, as an above-average defender against the pass in 2019. In the secondary, Tre'Davious White is one of the league's best cornerbacks. White has three interceptions already on the year, and he shuts down the left side of the field (the offense's right) on a weekly basis. Behind White, Micah Hyde has developed into one of the best safeties in the NFL since he arrived in Buffalo three seasons ago. The Bills' defense is littered with top-end players in the trenches, at linebacker, and in the secondary this season. The Philadelphia Eagles' passing attack is in for a long day at the office as they attempt to right the ship against the Bills' fourth-ranked defense in net-yards-per-attempt allowed.

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


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Washington Redskins have yet to throw for more than 166 yards in a game since Bill Callahan took over as head coach in place of Jay Gruden. Callahan publicly stated his intent to run the ball substantially more than the Redskins did in the opening five games of the season. Callahan's preference for the run-game is unusual, considering the Redskins have trailed for the majority of the season thus far, and the pass-heavy approach has been an effort to make up ground in the frequently lopsided games Washington has played. While last week's run-heavy game was a product of both a brutal matchup with the 49ers top-ranked defense as well as torrential downpours throughout the game, Washington held true to Callahan's wishes in his coaching debut. In the team's lone victory against the Miami Dolphins, Case Keenum threw for only 166 yards. Rookie standout Terry McLaurin still managed to post respectable numbers in the game, however. McLaurin finished with 4 catches on 7 targets for precisely 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. McLaurin is the only non-running back on the Redskins with more than 165 receiving yards this season, as he has totaled 419 yards even while missing one game due to an injury. Aside from the rookie, no pass-catcher has been able to make a consistent impact in the passing game. Washington's offensive line is an average unit. All five starters in the trenches are approximately average for their respective positions in 2019. As the lone play-maker in a low-volume passing attack, Terry McLaurin is the only semi-reliable producer in Washington's struggling offense.

The Minnesota Vikings have defended the fourth-most pass attempts in the NFL so far this season, in large part due to their run-heavy offense minimizing the opposition's scoring opportunities. Although the Vikings have faced a high volume of pass attempts, the efficiency numbers they have allowed ranks amongst the league's best. Minnesota's strong pass defense starts with the pass rush. Along the defensive line, both Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter rank amongst the league's top edge rushers. Hunter ranks fourth in the NFL with seven sacks, while Griffen has contributed four sacks of his own. At linebacker, Eric Kendricks is one of the best coverage linebackers in the league. In limited playing time, Eric Wilson has also thrived in coverage, but he has been on the field for approximately 25-percent of total coverage snaps. In the secondary, Minnesota's weakness at cornerback has been masked by elite safety play. Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris make up, arguably, the league's best safety pairing. Both Smith and Harris are elite in coverage- Harris leads the team with two interceptions, and Smith has one of his own through the first seven games of the season. In a short week matchup that has typically favored the defensive side of the ball, expect Minnesota's defense to suffocate the Washington passing attack in week eight. Barring true heroics from rookie Terry McLaurin, there is no viable candidate to gash the Vikings' secondary and produce respectable numbers for Washington in this game.

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