Week 9 Passing Matchups

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

Jump to Rushing Matchups

Great Matchups: [CHI] [DET] [NYJ] [SEA]
Good Matchups: [DAL] [IND] [JAX] [OAK] [PIT] [SF] [TB]
Neutral Matchups: [BUF] [CAR] [DEN] [GB] [HOU] [LAC] [MIA] [MIN] [NE] [PHI]
Tough Matchups: [KC] [NYG] [TEN]
Bad Matchups: [ARI] [BAL] [CLE] [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.


Chicago Bears Passing Offense at Philadelphia Eagles Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Third-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has yet to make the year-to-year improvements that many had hoped and expected. Trubisky was drafted second overall in 2017 after just one year as North Carolina's starting quarterback, with the expectation that he would improve upon his processing and decision-making skills. Unfortunately, they remain two glaring issues holding back the development of Trubisky as an NFL quarterback, and ultimately, Chicago's passing attack. After two poor performances since returning from a left shoulder injury, many speculated that Trubisky might be in danger of losing his starting job. Still, head coach Matt Nagy stated that Trubisky would remain under center in week 9 against Philadelphia. Allen Robinson stands out as the obvious number-one wide receiver in Chicago's passing attack. Robinson, a favorite of wide receiver aficionados throughout the industry, has tallied more than twice as many targets than any other receiver on the roster since Trubisky returned to the lineup two weeks ago. While Robinson is the obvious top-dog in the passing attack, second-year receiver Anthony Miller has grown into a larger role in recent weeks. Miller is the Bears' top downfield threat, and over the last two games, he has recorded nearly half of his total targets for the entire season. Running back Tarik Cohen is a reliable safety blanket, and Trubisky looks his way nearly as much as any running back in the NFL. Cohen ranks fourth in the league in targets, amongst running backs, with 46 on the season. However, as most running backs do, Cohen works primarily around and behind the line of scrimmage, having to create any potential chunk plays through the air on his own after the catch. Chicago's passing attack has floundered in recent weeks due to a combination of uninspired play-calling from head coach Matt Nagy and poor performance from Mitchell Trubisky. A week 9 matchup against Philadelphia's porous pass defense may be the perfect remedy for this struggling aerial attack.

Philadelphia's pass defense ranks amongst the league's worst in 2019. Two relatively easy games against the Luke Falk-led Jets and the Buffalo Bills in extremely windy conditions have helped their season-long numbers, but the results elsewhere are very concerning. The Eagles have allowed 4 300-yard passing days already through 8 games this season, and there is little reason to believe they will improve any time soon. Along the defensive line, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham have been elite so far in 2019. On the edge, Graham has tallied 5 sacks and 42 pressures, while Cox has recorded 2.5 sacks and 33 pressures on the interior. At linebacker, the Eagles are scraping the bottom of the barrel. Nigel Bradham is questionable for week 9 thanks to an ankle injury, and Philadelphia's other week one starter, Zach Brown, was released two weeks ago. Nathan Gerry and Kamu Grugier-Hill, the two linebackers starting in their places, both have very little playing time to their names in their respective careers. Gerry has been an acceptable coverage player, while Grugier-Hill has struggled to defend the pass. Should they be forced into action once again in week 9, they will be highly exploitable. Behind them, however, it only gets worse. Philadelphia's secondary has been one of the worst in the NFL this season. Ronald Darby and Sidney Jones are both liabilities at cornerback, with Jones primarily playing in the slot recently. Philadelphia's defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz does not like to send extra blitzers, which leaves the team's weak secondary exposed whenever their defensive line is unable to generate pressure.

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


Detroit Lions Passing Offense at Oakland Raiders Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Matthew Stafford is quietly putting together a very strong season as he ranks seventh among quarterbacks in fantasy points per game while the Lions passing offense overall ranks fifth in passing yards per game (282.7). Stafford has passed for over 290 yards and three or more touchdowns in four games and has surpassed 340 yards per game with seven total touchdowns in his last two outings. As the Lions rushing offense has crumbled with the loss of Kerryon Johnson, this passing upside can only be expected to continue. Top wideout Kenny Golladay leads the team in targets, but he has certainly had some ups and downs this season with a pair of 120+ yard outings sandwiching a 1-21-0 game over the past three weeks. Despite the inconsistency, Golladay will remain a top target with a high ceiling in this offense. Marvin Jones went quiet last week after his four-touchdown explosion in Week 7, while Danny Amendola has resurfaced to relevance with back-to-back eight-catch games and 200 receiving yards over the past two weeks. Tight end T.J. Hockenson still has yet to even come close to his big game in Week 1 as he remains a lackluster touchdown-dependent option.

The Raiders secondary was lit up yet again last week to the tune of 279 yards and three touchdowns by Deshaun Watson and the Texans. While this group has had a couple of decent outings, they have widely been extremely vulnerable to the pass. The past three weeks have yielded an opposing WR1 racking up at least 97 yards in each game. This entire group has had problems in coverage throughout the season, including cornerbacks, safeties, and linebackers. Rookie cornerback Trayvon Mullen, who stepped in to replace Gareon Conley, actually looked like their best cornerback on the field last week--albeit, he is still a beatable matchup for any of these Lions receivers. Slot cornerback Lamarcus Joyner has been one of the worst at his position this season, creating a very solid opportunity for Danny Amendola. This group has also given up the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, allowing a score from the position in four of seven games including two touchdowns to the big-bodied Darren Fells last week--stats that all point to a turnaround opportunity for Hockenson.

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


New York Jets Passing Offense at Miami Dolphins Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Another week, another shaky, inefficient showing from 22-year-old Sam Darnold. Four starts into his second NFL season, Darnold has posted one fantastic game (338 yards and 2 touchdowns against Dallas) and three thoroughly ineffective ones (4.7 yards per attempt, 160 per game). The youngster continues to flash a live arm, driving hard throws downfield with a willingness to make things happen. But he’s yet to develop any poise against pressure, which results in far too many limp and off-target throws into traffic. At the moment, it’s hard to trust him to do anything well but occasionally put the ball up for deep threat Robby Anderson. In fact, the pair should have hooked up for a 92-yard score last week, but Jaguars cornerback Tre Herndon interfered intentionally to stop it. There’s definitely a hint of upside in that connection, which has topped 75 yards in 4 of their last 8 games together. But beyond that, there’s little reason to look at this passing game for fantasy purposes. Even against the Dolphins’ bottom-tier defense, there’s a terrifying floor in play.

The Dolphins pass defense was in the running for league’s worst even with franchise cornerstones Minkah Fitzpatrick and Xavien Howard on the field. With Fitzpatrick in Pittsburgh and Howard now on injured reverse, they’ll likely take the trophy home. The talent-starved secondary lacks speed and ball skills, with a wide variety of bodies taking up snaps but providing little resistance. (New trade acquisition Aqib Talib remains on injured reserve and won’t be eligible to suit up until Week 15.) Opposing passers are completing 67% of their throws in this matchup, good for a stout 8.9 yards per attempt, with 18 touchdowns across 7 games. And they get little help from the pass rush, which sits 31st in pressure rate and rarely disrupts anyone. It’s hard to see any form of help on the way, so this looks like a prime breakout spot for the struggling Sam Darnold and company.

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


Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Defense (Great Matchup)

Against all odds, Russell Wilson continues to excel at nearly every turn. Working with a rebuilt receiving corps and a still-shaky front line, what Wilson has been able to do here in 2019 is beyond impressive. He’s long been one of football’s most efficient passers, and regression has yet to come around. Wilson leads the league in both touchdown rate (highest) and interception rate (lowest), and he’s sitting on career-highs in completion percentage (68%) and yards per attempt (8.5). Of course, the Seattle offense remains run-based, and the team would rather grind out wins with the run than introduce a shootout. Wilson sits 21st among qualifiying quarterbacks with just 31 attempts per game. Luckily, he’s armed with the weaponry to maximize whatever volume he does get. Tyler Lockett is versatile and explosive out of the slot, while rookie DK Metcalf continues to make splash plays week after week. And to boot, their Week 9 matchup with the Buccaneers’ is a tantalizing one. If Wilson and company are indeed going to tumble spontaneously to Earth, there’s little chance it will happen this week.

For all of their improvement in run defense, the Buccaneers have yet to fix their vulnerability against the pass. This remains a wide-open fantasy matchup, with vulnerabilities all over the secondary to exploit. Opposing passers have carved them to pieces, particularly on the deep ball - only the Lions and Raiders have allowed more completed air yards. Through 7 games, they’ve somehow given up 70 yards or more to 13 different pass-catchers. On the bright side, they did have success last week on the heels of a subtle personnel shift. Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves moved down into the slot, a more natural spot for him, and Titans wideouts totaled just 62 yards on the day. Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting haven’t been effective, but they fit better on the boundaries and did great work against Corey Davis and A.J. Brown. It’s also worth noting that this unit might ultimately produce the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. Edge rusher Shaquil Barrett is tied for the league lead in sacks (10.0) and forced fumbles (4). Still, this group will need to shut down better passers than Ryan Tannehill to climb out of the fantasy basement. Russell Wilson isn’t afraid to work down the field, so Davis and Murphy-Bunting will have their shaky coverage tested plenty.

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


Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense at New York Giants Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Following a rough two-game stretch against the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets, the Dallas Cowboys' offense bounced back with a strong showing in week seven against the Philadelphia Eagles. Now, following a week 8 bye, they will head to East Rutherford, New Jersey, to take on the New York Giants. Dallas' offense bounced back in a major way last week, as their overall offensive approach resembled its early-season methods that posted gaudy passing totals and efficiency. Dak Prescott's week seven passing numbers do not jump off the page, as the Cowboys held a commanding lead for the majority of the game, leading to a run-heavy attack. However, the efficiency numbers and overall scheme for the Cowboys are both very encouraging. Prescott is flanked by one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL, with both Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper totaling over 420 receiving yards across 7 games on over 15.5 yards-per-reception. The strength of Dallas' offensive attack is clearly up front, where the Cowboys boast one of the NFL's best offensive lines. The unit was banged up earlier in the season, but they were at full-strength against Philadelphia in week seven, and with a bye week before this matchup, they should have all five of their preferred starters at the ready. Dallas will likely dominate in the trenches this week, giving Dak Prescott plenty of time to dissect the New York Giants' bottom-tier pass defense.

The New York Giants' defense has faced very little passing volume, as they have played from behind for the majority of the 2019 season. However, when the opposition has elected to air it out, the Giants have offered little resistance. The Giants rank 20th in passing touchdowns allowed and 29th in net yards per attempt allowed so far in 2019. Overall, there is very little to get excited about for New York defensively against the pass. The Giants have a stunning lack of a pass rush this season. Although Markus Golden has tallied an impressive six sacks this season, he has converted his pressures into sacks at a highly unsustainable rate this season. Nearly one-third of Golden's pressures have resulted in a sack this season, and overall, when Golden has not sacked the quarterback, he rarely makes an impact against the pass. At linebacker, Alec Ogletree is the lone bright spot in the Giants' pass defense. Ogletree has always been one of the most undersized and athletic players at the position, which he converts into above-average coverage skills. Unfortunately, his running mate, David Mayo, struggles mightily in this regard, resulting in offenses focusing their passing efforts away from Ogletree and towards Mayo. The Giants' secondary makes a strong case to be ranked as the league's worst unit. Rookie DeAndre Baker is one of the worst cornerbacks in the NFL, and it does not get much better around him. Janoris Jenkins is having the worst season of his career in coverage, while safety Jabrill Peppers has struggled to adjust out of his unique role deep off the line of scrimmage that he played for the Cleveland Browns. Opposite Peppers, Antoine Bethea, a 14-year veteran, is one of the slowest safeties in the league. Subsequently, Bethea also struggles against the pass, rounding out a secondary filled with below-average coverage players. In all, the Giants' defense is one of the NFL's worst units defending the pass. Expect the Cowboys' deep and talented passing attack to expose the Giants' horrific secondary on national television come Monday night.

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


Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense at Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

With Andrew Luck gone, the Colts are clearly focusing their attention on the run game. Jacoby Brissett certainly isn’t a bad quarterback, but his production has been all over the place as the team looks to control and grind out games when possible. He’s shredded the weak pass defenses of the Raiders, Falcons, and Texans, to the tune of 300 yards a game and 9 touchdowns. In his other 4 games, though, he’s averaged 172 and thrown just 5 scores. Outside of a shootout game script, Brissett is efficient but can’t be counted on to produce big numbers. He’s not getting the ball downfield much to TY Hilton, which caps his best receiver’s upside. Hilton boasts a career 16.0 per-catch average, but sits at just 11.3 this year, with only 4 receptions of 20+ yards. He’s made his fantasy hay with touchdowns, turning strong red-zone usage into 4 of his 5 scores. The outlook gets even murkier beyond him, with only one other wideout (Zach Pascal) averaging over 15 yards a game. Pascal isn’t a dependable producer, which also goes for peripheral targets Eric Ebron, Jack Doyle, Parris Campbell, and Nyheim Hines. None draw targets at a predictable rate, and none have shown much dynamism. The Colts are due for some degree of touchdown regression, which would strip away even more of their fantasy appeal.

The Steelers’ 2019 pass defense has largely ebbed and flowed based on its competition. They’ve looked fantastic in matchups with shakier passers Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Lamar Jackson (5.3 yards per attempt, 174 per game). But in their other 4, they’ve allowed 8.4 and 310, with 9 touchdowns through the air. Overall, though, this remains a relatively tough matchup to expect much from Colts game manager Jacoby Brissett. They’ve struggled some with talented slot receivers and tight ends, who have been able to find holes between the Steelers’ short zones. That’s led to a few high catch totals, but not much downfield impact; this unit is adept at tackling quickly on the catch. That limits big plays and touchdown opportunities - aside from a game in which the Chargers played all night from behind, no opposing receiver has reached 60 yards since Week 2. The Colts don’t feature much firepower beyond speedster TY Hilton, which doesn’t bode well for their chances of bucking that trend.

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


Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Offense vs Houston Texans Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Sixth-round rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew continues to overachieve. He’s averaging just 243 yards per start in the Jaguars’ run-centric offense, but has thrown multiple touchdowns in 5 of his 8 appearances. Minshew is relatively shaky in the pocket, yet truly dynamic when on the move. He channels a young Jeff Garcia when he’s darting to and fro through traffic to extend plays. Last Sunday against the Jets, his mobility allowed him to weave a pair of touchdowns out of whole cloth. D.J. Chark caught one of those scores, an eight-yarder that iced the game late in the fourth quarter. The other was a 70-yard in-stride throw to speedster Chris Conley that showed just how varied and wide-open this passing game has become. There will always be a few big plays on the menu, though it’s never easy to pin down Minshew’s distribution. The good news is that Chark, Conley, Dede Westbrook, and company now have a dynamic playmaker feeding them the ball. Second-year breakout Chark has averaged 83 yards per game, and he comes fresh off a season-high 12 targets last Sunday. He’s the clear-cut No. 1 option, and a dynamic one at that. Westbrook looks unlikely to suit up this weekend, which would keep the explosive Conley on the field plenty. He’s posted 70+ yards in 4 of 8 games thus far and is always a threat to turn just 3-5 receptions into a useful fantasy day.

The Texans continue to field one of football’s weakest pass defenses. Through 8 games they’ve allowed 293 yards on average, and only 3 teams have given up more touchdowns (18). There are serious issues at cornerback, which has forced the team to shuffle the lineup quite a bit. Adding Gareon Conley, the Raiders’ first-round pick just two years ago, likely won’t move the needle much. Conley was up-and-down in his Texans debut, surrendering a touchdown early but helping to ice the game with a timely deflection toward the end. The Texans’ biggest concerns lie inside, though, where slot man Lonnie Johnson and the team’s safeties have been major liabilities. Justin Reid, Tashaun Gipson, and Jahleel Addae have made for one of football’s worst safety groups, a prime reason slot receivers and tight ends have had so much success. Last week, Raiders rookie Hunter Renfrow posted a career-high 88 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown that blew past both Johnson and Addae. The week before, it was the Colts’ Eric Ebron (4 for 70 and a touchdown) putting up season-best numbers. Simply put, the Texans make for one of fantasy’s most attractive matchups. Things have indeed been bleak, and a turnaround seems unlikely with superstar pass-rusher J.J. Watt on injured reserve. His tendency to overpower double-teams and harangue passers will be sorely missed.

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


Oakland Raiders Passing Offense vs Detroit Lions Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Derek Carr and this Raiders passing offense have been serviceable to start the season despite facing some tough defenses and a multi-week injury to their top wide receiver Tyrell Williams. Last week, Carr arguably had his best game of the season despite completing a season-low 18 passes as he racked up 285 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions or fumbles for the first time since Week 1. Spectacular play from his offensive line continues to give Carr opportunities for success as he has taken zero sacks in three straight games and been sacked more than once in just two of seven games this season. Tyrell Williams returned last week and maintained his season-long touchdown streak as he scored for the fifth time in as many games. Williams is the top downfield target for Carr, but he would have had some terrible fantasy lines in Weeks two thru four if not for those touchdowns. From a volume perspective, it is tight end Darren Waller who can be counted on as he has been the clear apple of Carr’s eye this season with at least eight targets in five of seven games as he ranks second among tight ends in fantasy points per game. Rookie receiver Hunter Renfrow burst onto the scene last week with four catches for 88 yards and his first career touchdown. He is the WR2 for this offense but has seen more than five targets just once and did next to nothing in the two games in which Williams missed--so he cannot be relied upon moving forward.

The Lions passing defense is in a tough spot without the services of top cornerback Darius Slay, who is questionable coming into this week after missing the past two games with a hamstring injury. In those past two games, this defense has given up over 320 passing yards and four touchdowns in each outing--including one against the likes of Daniel Jones last week. Cornerback Mike Ford was underwhelming in his effort to backfill Slay, while Rashaan Melvin has not played well at all since joining the Lions. Both should afford Raiders receivers an advantage in this one. If Slay should suit up, however, Tyrell Williams will need to be downgraded. Adding to these issues in the secondary, safety Tracy Walker also went down with an injury last week and is questionable for this game. Given the Lions just traded away their owner safety Quandree Diggs, missing Walker would really put this group in a tough spot. The Raiders have a clear advantage in the trenches this week, especially considering they are allowing a league-low pressure percentage of just four percent while allowing the second-fewest sacks (8)in the league. On the Detroit side, they have accounted for just 13 sacks--tied for sixth-fewest in the league. While their defensive line is certainly improving given the return of Da’Shawn Hand, they lack support at linebacker and in the secondary to really help apply extra pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

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


Pittsburgh Steelers Passing Offense vs Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

On the plus side, they’re fresh off a breakout of sorts after producing 251 yards and 2 touchdowns in Week 8. It came against the lowly Dolphins, but there were still positives to take away. For the first time, coordinator Randy Fichtner allowed Rudolph to open things up a bit downfield, which is always welcomed. Rudolph boasts a solid NFL arm, and he throws to a dynamic group of young wideouts capable of scoring from anywhere; he’s actually thrown multiple touchdowns in every game he’s finished. Leading the pack is JuJu Smith-Schuster, who continues to generate splash plays and maximize the situation. The 22-year-old phenom has topped 75 yards in 4 of Rudolph’s 5 appearances, and his acrobatic touchdown last Monday night was a thing of beauty. He’s a volatile play, and his ceiling has certainly dropped, but he’s gifted enough to be trusted as a fantasy WR2. Rookie Diontae Johnson has also shown playmaking chops, producing long touchdowns in three of the last four games. Overall, this isn’t the most dependable of fantasy attacks. In neutral game script - and against defenses better than Miami’s - the Steelers will look to run early and often. But the more they trust Rudolph, the more they’ll allow him to take shots down the field, which keeps the explosive receivers in value.

The Colts pass defense has been a tale of two units thus far in 2019. They’ve fared well against the likes of Derek Carr, Joe Flacco, and Marcus Mariota, surrendering just 172 yards per game in those matchups. However, they’ve given up 300+ in each of their other four, with 8 touchdowns along the way. There are problems all over this secondary, where cornerbacks Pierre Desir and Rock Ya-Sin have been big liabilities on the outside. Denver’s Courtland Sutton won a few battles in last week’s slugfest, while names ranging from Julio Jones to Byron Pringle have cleared 100 yards in this matchup. With one of the league’s weaker pass rushes up front (24th in pressure rate), it’s no wonder the defensive backs are struggling so to hold downfield coverage. The Pittsburgh passing game certainly isn’t at its best right now, but this matchup bodes well for their playmaking wideouts. If nothing else, last week’s return of dynamic free safety Malik Hooker is a definite plus for the Colts. Hooker is a playmaker on the ball and provides solid help coverage over the top; his absence in Weeks 4-7 played a noticeable role in the unit’s struggles.

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


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

Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers passing offense has been merely suitable through the first half of this season as they have ridden the heels of excellent defense and a solid ground game on their way to this undefeated start. Garoppolo has attempted more than 30 passes in just two of seven games, surpassed 200 passing yards in just three of his last four, and thrown at least one interception in three straight outings with zero touchdowns in two of those games. Needless to say, this is a tough passing offense to trust given the factors surrounding them. The addition of Emmanuel Sanders, however, proved to be a positive one as Sanders made an immediate impact in his debut with the 49ers, immediately leading the wide receiving group in targets while finishing with a touchdown and 25 yards. George Kittle should remain the focal point of Garoppolo as he continues to dominate from the tight end position, but the presence of Sanders out of the slot will only benefit this underwhelming passing offense moving forward.

The Cardinals defense has ranked amongst the worst in the league this season, giving up a slew of yards on the ground along with the fourth-most passing yards per game (277). Opposing quarterbacks have thrown for over 250 yards and multiple touchdowns in five of seven games, leaving this defense in the unfortunate spot of allowing the most fantasy points per game to the quarterback position through eight games. Their pass rush has actually been decent, led by the strong presence of Chandler Jones and his third-most sacks (8.5) this season. Terrell Suggs has also been a solid piece opposite Jones on this defensive line. The secondary, however, has been a problem--especially as they were missing top cornerback Patrick Peterson for the first six weeks. Peterson looked good in his debut Week 7 and had a really tough time against Michael Thomas last week--but almost every cornerback in the league struggles to guard Thomas, so Peterson gets a reprieve from that sluggish performance in which he actually did nab an interception for the first time this season. Peterson should dampen any upside for these outside 49ers receivers. Sanders, however, gets a plus matchup against Trumaine Brock out of the slot as Brock has been suspect in coverage all season. George Kittle has the best matchup for this offense though, as the Cardinals have given up more fantasy points to tight ends than any other team--fueled by a whopping eight touchdowns allowed to the position.

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


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Passing Offense at Seattle Seahawks Passing Defense (Good Matchup)

Week in, week out, Jameis Winston remains one of the NFL’s most volatile players. What’s certain, however, is that Winston will throw often, and that he’ll be wholly unafraid to push the ball downfield. With that aggressiveness comes a dynamic mix of big, game-altering splash plays and head-scratching misfires. Winston has averaged 334 yards a game and thrown 12 touchdowns since Week 3, both top-5 marks. But he’s also thrown nine interceptions and lost three fumbles over that span, routinely bringing his high-flying offense to a halt. Luckily, when he’s on his game, he’s an ideal fit alongside Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, who make up arguably the league’s most dynamic receiving duo. Godwin’s breakout is in full force, with four 125-yard outings and 6 touchdowns thus far. He’s simply too quick and physical for most slot cornerbacks or safeties to contain, and he wins those battles in a number of ways. Evans is less consistent, but last week showcased his top-notch ceiling with 11 catches (on 12 targets) for 198 and 2 touchdowns. It was his second 190-yard, multi-score game of the half-season. This attack is concentrated heavily on those two, though, so there’s not much of a projectable outlook for anyone else. The biggest question is at tight end, where O.J. Howard remains hurt and appears to have fallen out of the team’s favor. He wasn’t dealt at the deadline, but even when healthy and starting, he hasn’t produced anything of note.

Here in 2019, the Seahawks have proven a mediocre (and enigmatic) defense against the pass. They’ve allowed 284 yards per game, though it’s worth noting that 39% of that yardage comes from a pair of wins fueled by catch-up mode. In their other 6 games, that average drops to just 232, which would be good for ninth-best league-wide. Still, there are vulnerabilities here that can be attacked successfully. They boast a near-shutdown cornerback in Shaquill Griffin, but Tre Flowers has been shaky at best across the field. The team hopes new safety Quandre Diggs, acquired from the Lions last week, can assert himself at some point at the safety position, but Pete Carroll said Diggs is a long-shot to play this week with a hamstring injury. This could leave the Seahawks incredibly thin at safety as Tedric Thompson was lost for the year with a shoulder injury. And the secondary gets little help from a pass rush that ranks 31st in pressure rate. Jadeveon Clowney has been hit-or-miss in Frank Clark’s old role, and no other rushers have stepped up. This isn’t an easy unit to handicap for fantasy purposes, but it’s no longer prohibitive, and a high-paced game flow can break this matchup wide open. They’ll have their hands full with dynamic Tampa Bay wideouts Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

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


Buffalo Bills Passing Offense vs Washington Redskins Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Buffalo's passing attack, led by its erratic second-year quarterback, Josh Allen, ranks as a middle-of-the-pack unit in the NFL. The last three games have been underwhelming, topping out at just 204 passing yards over that span. Allen is equipped with very few weapons in this offense, but John Brown stands out as one of the true breakout players here in 2019. At 527 receiving yards, Brown is the only pass-catcher on the roster with more than 325 receiving yards this season. Brown is on pace to post career-high target, reception, and yard numbers this season, and he is by far the most consistent and reliable option in this passing attack. In the slot, Cole Beasley continues to command short targets after moving from Dallas to Buffalo during the offseason. Beasley found the end zone for the second straight game last week against Philadelphia, but his lack of moderately-deep targets will limit his receiving production for the foreseeable future. Throughout his brief rookie campaign, running back Devin Singletary has proven to be one of the most electric players in the NFL with the ball in his hands. Over a small sample of 20 carries, 8 have gone for 10+ yards, and now last week, he emerged as a receiving threat with 4 receptions on 6 targets, including a 28-yard touchdown. Singletary will likely continue to be a strong safety blanket for Josh Allen in this offense, and he is always a threat to break off a big play when the ball is in his hands. Buffalo's passing attack has been inconsistent in 2019, and it will likely continue this way throughout the season. However, there is no lack of high-upside players in this passing attack, with John Brown and Devin Singletary providing Josh Allen with big-play weapons on a regular basis.

Washington's defense has faced very little volume through the first eight games of the 2019 season, in large part thanks to the fact that they've trailed fallen behind early in almost every game. The Redskins rank towards the bottom of the league in efficiency metrics as well, allowing 6.8 net yards per attempt, good for 20th in the NFL. Along the defensive line, Matt Ioannidis is the lone relative bright spot for Washington's pass rush. Ioannidis leads the team with 29 pressures on the season, which is a respectable mark, but far from elite this season. Aside from Ioannidis, veteran edge rusher Ryan Kerrigan has tallied 26 pressures on the year, but he no longer instills fear in opposing offensive tackles the way he once did. At linebacker, Jon Bostic and Cole Holcomb rarely leave the field, but both are horrific pass defenders. In the secondary, Quinton Dunbar was playing the best football of his career before suffering a hamstring injury last Thursday night. Dunbar's status for week 9 is in doubt, and if he does not play, Fabian Moreau will likely move outside rather than defending the slot, as he did throughout the first half of the season. Filling in for Moreau, Jimmy Moreland will likely defend the slot, but both are well below-average cornerbacks. At safety, Landon Collins has disappointed mightily in 2019. After signing a record-setting contract in the offseason, the Redskins expected Collins to continue to be one of the league's best and most well-rounded safeties in the league, but that has not been the case. Collins, much like cornerback Josh Norman, is having one of the worst seasons of his career against the pass here in 2019. Expect Buffalo's inconsistent passing attack to rebound following a string of sub-par performances when they play host to Washington's bottom-tier pass defense.

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


Carolina Panthers Passing Offense vs Tennessee Titans Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Panthers passing offense, still led by Kyle Allen, found themselves up against a stout challenge last week as they were routed by the 49ers. Allen had been serviceable in his four starts before the Week 7 bye, but he truly fell apart last week with just 158 yards, a 51.4 completion rate, no touchdowns, and three interceptions--his first picks of the season. The Panthers offensive line had a very rough game as they gave up a season-high seven sacks as they had been consistently average in pass protection up until that game. The duo of D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel continue to be primary targets in this passing offense with Moore leading the charge in receptions through each of his last three games. Christian McCaffrey also continues to see a steady workload through the air, while Greg Olsen continues to be nearly ignored as he has now finished with fewer than 15 receiving yards in three of his last four games despite suiting up for an average of over 85 percent of snaps over that span. The Panthers coaching staff confirmed early in the week that Cam Newton will remain sidelined in this game, so Kyle Allen will indeed get a shot at redemption in what should be a better matchup against the Titans.

The Titans secondary looked terrible last week against the Buccaneers after what has been a decent start to the season. Mike Evans ripped through this group for nearly 200 yards and two touchdowns as he caught 11 of 12 targets. Inserting cornerback Leshaun Sims for the injured Adoree Jackson certainly played a part in this poor showing, as Sims is a significant downgrade and a desireable matchup for nearly any opposing wide receiver. Even with this showing, however, the Titans still have a very solid defense. Logan Ryan continues to play extremely well while Malcolm Butler even reeled in an interception last week. The pass rush could be better as they have just five sacks in their last three games, but they still have a very strong defensive line that has been bosted from the presence of rookie Jeffrey Simmons, adding depth and size to an already stout interior. The Panthers offensive line has allowed their fair share of pressure this season and should be at a disadvantage here. Outside receivers D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel for the Panthers should be in a good spot though, especially if Jackson misses another game.

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


Denver Broncos Passing Offense vs Cleveland Browns Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Denver’s passing offense is in a state of transition. Joe Flacco will miss significant time with a neck injury leaving Brandon Allen to make his first career start. Looking at his pre-season stats, they were nothing to write home about for the quarterback in his fourth NFL season. Allen completed just 63% of his passes with little upside at just 6.2 yards per attempt and had no touchdowns compared to three interceptions. Allen will also be with a changing wide receiving group that is still trying to find its identity without Emmanuel Sanders who was traded to San Francisco two weeks ago. Last week, outside of Courtland Sutton who had 3 receptions for 72 yards, no receiver had more than 18 yards and DaeSean Hamilton who many thought would see an uptick in production saw just one target.

Cleveland got both Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams back as it was the first time the two starting corners had played since Week 2 as they were out with hamstring injuries. Ward mostly contained Phillip Dorsett, while Williams was fantastic against Mohamed Sanu holding the newly acquired Patriots receiver to just two receptions. Ward did struggle and has struggled when he had to move to the slot in the base defense as he allowed Julian Edelman for a big gain last week. All-in-all, this is a unit that is an average unit, as they have not allowed a 300-yard passer all season, but have allowed an average of 250 yards per game over the last five games. Expect the Browns to continue to be without Damarious Randall, who is dealing with a hamstring injury and did not practice on Wednesday.

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


Green Bay Packers Passing Offense at Los Angeles Chargers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Aaron Rodgers continues to make his job look easy as he passed for over 300 yards and three or more touchdowns for the second straight week despite still being without top wide receiver Davante Adams, who has been sidelined since Week 5. Rodgers has been leveraging a variety of weapons as he spreads the ball around in this offense. Last week, it was Aaron Jones who led the team in the receiving category with 159 yards and two receiving touchdowns from seven receptions. Jones has been heavily involved in the passing game out of the backfield, as he has garnered at least seven targets in four of his last five games while hauling in at least four receptions in all five outings with three receiving touchdowns in his past two games. Wide receiver has been tough to pin down for the Packers, as Rodgers has spread the ball around to multiple names in recent weeks. It has been Allen Lazard who has led this group in snaps for two straight weeks, but the top-performing wide receiver has changed each week without Davante Adams on the field. Adams could very well return this week though, so keep an eye on his status leading into Sunday.

The Chargers defense continues to rely on strong performances from its key playmakers as they held all but two quarterbacks to fewer than 260 passing yards this season. While they have an average number of sacks as a team (18), this defensive front is applying pressure at one of the highest rates in football thanks primarily to the excellent play from Joey Bosa. His partner Melvin Ingram just returned from injury last week as well, which is a huge plus to this unit and should help bring up that sack number. The Packers do have a strong pass-protecting offensive line though, so they should hold up relatively well in this one. Casey Hayward remains the rock of this secondary as he has been routinely locking down receivers with his physical playing style. If Davante Adams does return, it will be to a very tough matchup as Hayward is likely to limit the production of any receiver he lines up against in this one. Kevin King has also been strong in coverage from the slot, which should dampen expectations for Geronimo Allison. The Chargers have also done a decent job defending against pass-catching running backs as only one running back has hauled in more than four receptions and finished with over 50 receiving yards in a game.

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


Houston Texans Passing Offense at Jacksonville Jaguars Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Deshaun Watson isn’t a flawless quarterback. He’s not immune to head-scratching throws, and he continues to take more sacks than anyone. But he’s breaking out this year with his best NFL play to date, and he’s presiding over one of football’s more dynamic attacks. For all of his warts, Watson is putting the ball downfield at a strong rate, yet still completing 69% of his throws, good for sixth-best in football. As a result, he’s topped 275 yards in 5 of his last 6 games, throwing 13 touchdowns along the way. The team missed the field-stretching brilliance of Will Fuller, though Kenny Stills is intriguing in his place. Stills has long been one of the league’s most efficient deep-ball artists, and he’s . DeAndre Carter seems to have leapfrogged Keke Coutee as the slot specialist, but he was used very lightly last week (just three looks). DeAndre Hopkins remains the dominant option here, drawing targets at the league’s second-highest rate (only the Saints’ Michael Thomas has topped it). Hopkins has caught seven or more balls in four straight weeks, averaging 90 yards along the way. It’s odd that he’s scored on just 3 of his 60 receptions; positive touchdown regression could be just around the corner. That would only boost the Week 9 outlook for one of fantasy’s most dynamic units.

With Jalen Ramsey out of town, the Jaguars no longer smother opposing pass games like they once did. Through 8 games, they sit firmly below the middle of the pack in yardage allowed. Ramsey teamed with A.J. Bouye to form a shutdown bracket for three-plus years, and the team sorely misses his presence. In 5 games without him, they’ve now allowed 8 different receivers to post 60+ yards. Tre Herndon has been one of football’s weakest cover men in Ramsey’s place, and quarterbacks have picked on him accordingly. Herndon was shaky again last week aside from a pair of interceptions; he would have allowed a 92-yard touchdown had he not intentionally interfered to prevent it. To make matters worse, the team will now move forward without slot man D.J. Hayden, who looks to be out for at least the next week or two. At least they can still rely on former All-Pro Bouye on the other side, and their swarming pass rush can make life easier for Herndon and the safeties. With Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue leading the way, the Jaguars are pressuring quarterbacks at the league’s ninth-best rate. All in all, this unit has slipped a notch from its dominant 2017 form, and the loss of Ramsey certainly didn’t help matters. But it’s still a talented group that’s schematically strong, and it’s still capable of harassing passers into inconsistency.

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


Los Angeles Chargers Passing Offense vs Green Bay Packers Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Chargers offense will be under new leadership after the firing of coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. Despite this move, it is tough to expect much of a change to what has been a decent passing offense to start the season--ranking sixth with 281.1 passing yards per game and 16 touchdowns. Philip Rivers struggled in a tough matchup on the road in Chicago last week, but he has overall been solid for his 14th season in charge of this offense. He has already matched his number of 300+ yard games from 2018 and should continue spreading the ball around to a multitude of weapons. Last week, Keenan Allen saw double-digit targets for the second straight week and fifth time this season but is still going through a relative lull in performance averaging just 42.6 yards per game with no touchdowns over the last five weeks. Mike Williams continues to be targeted with big-play opportunities downfield, but his conversion of those chances has been inconsistent all season. Tight end Hunter Henry remains a big part of this offense despite putting up a season-low 47 yards last week. Austin Ekeler also saw a season-low three targets last week but found the end zone as he continues to see over 50 percent of the snaps from the backfield due to his pass-catching ability.

The Packers passing defense continues to struggle in recent weeks, allowing a league-leading 331 passing yards per game over the past four weeks. While this group looked stout to start the season, that was more a factor of low-quality opponents rather than a high-caliber passing defense. This group does have some strengths, particularly on the edge of its defensive line as pass rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith have combined for 15 sacks on the season--the most among any edge-rushing duo in the league. While the Chargers did get tackle Russell Okung back, this offensive line still has a disadvantage against these stout Packers edge rushers. In the secondary, the Packers roll out some strong young talent--however, that youth has proven to cost them at times as the inexperience has forced some costly mistakes in coverage. Still, Jaire Alexander should be a pretty even matchup for the likes of Mike Williams, while Keenan Allen should have a slight nod over veteran slot cornerback Tramon Williams. These Packers safeties and linebackers have had a tough couple of weeks covering tight ends though, as Travis Kelce amassed 63 yards and a score last week while Darren Waller exploded for 126 yards and two touchdowns (along with a touchdown from Foster Moreau) in Week seven. Hunter Henry has a significant size advantage over safety Chandon Sullivan and should have a good chance at matching a similar stat line as Travis Kelce from last week.

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


Miami Dolphins Passing Offense vs New York Jets Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

To be fair, Ryan Fitzpatrick has looked somewhat passable over the past two weeks, throwing for 446 yards and 3 touchdowns. But this is still very much an “attack” that’s merely running out the clock on 2019. Fitzpatrick is rarely given time to throw downfield, forcing far too many rushed and off-target throws. Historically speaking, he tends to bleed turnovers and drive-killing misfires when that happens - he’s already thrown 7 picks over just 139 attempts this year. For many reasons, it’s unwise to project a breakout for the 36-year-old and his uninspiring group of weapons. If there’s any upside in this offense, it’s found in rookie wideout Preston Williams, who’s emerged as the clear-cut No. 1 option. The 6-foot-5 youngster has flashed impressive ball skills and leads the team with 51 targets. But he’s turned them into just 51 yards a game, and he hasn’t found the end zone since Week 1. He’s the best and brightest this unit offers, but is no more than a desperation flex play in this near-hopeless situation.

The Jets pass defense isn’t exactly a prohibitive matchup, but it’s certainly tightened up over the past four weeks. Over that span, opposing quarterbacks have averaged just 6.7 yards per attempt, and only 2 receivers (both last week) have cleared 70 yards on the day. They’ve been especially strong up the slots and seams, where Brian Poole has broken out as one of 2019’s strongest cover men. He gets quality help from safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, who make up arguably the league’s best young duo. There are vulnerabilities on the outside, though, as Trumaine Johnson and Darryl Roberts have underperformed for much of the year. Last week, the Jaguars’ Chris Conley (4 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown) and D.J. Chark (6 for 79 and 1) sprang open for numerous downfield plays. That’s where opposing offenses have had success attacking, so it’s safe to assume Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins will concentrate their attention there. But recent play suggests there won’t be much success elsewhere. The inside stays mostly locked down, and opposing passers are struggling against the Jets’ stunt-heavy pass rush, which makes good use of marginal talent. This has quietly become a less-than-attractive fantasy date, and certainly doesn’t look like a breakout spot for the pitiful Dolphins.

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


Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense at Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

The Minnesota Vikings opened the 2019 campaign with 4 consecutive sub-225-yard passing games. Unsurprisingly, the lack of passing volume and production left Stefon Diggs and other Vikings' pass-catchers unhappy. Leading up to week five, Diggs voiced his concerns over the lack of volume that he and fellow top-end receiver, Adam Theilen, saw. Since then, the Vikings' passing attack has posted four straight games of at least 273 passing yards, averaging more than 31 points-per-game during that span. Kirk Cousins has taken his game to a new level over the last month, leading the NFL in yards-per-attempt and ranking second in passer rating. Over the last four games, Stefon Diggs has posted 24 receptions on 30 targets for 497 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is also the team's obvious deep threat, registering 498 air yards over that span, over twice as many as any other Minnesota pass-catcher. His running mate on the outside, Adam Thielen, missed last Thursday's game due to a hamstring injury. He is slated to play this weekend, and over his last three games, he has posted 212 yards and 4 touchdowns on 14 receptions. Aside from these two, running back Dalvin Cook is the lone notable producer through the air for Minnesota with 14 receptions for 179 yards in the previous 4 games. Cook's involvement is almost exclusively on screen and swing routes, registering -34 air yards over the last month. The Vikings' offensive line is a passable unit, grading neither as a strength nor a weakness for the offense. There is no excuse for an aerial attack as talented as Minnesota's to be as grossly underutilized as they were to open the season. In increased volume, as they've seen over the last month, they will almost certainly continue to post impressive numbers across the board.

Across the board, the Kansas City Chiefs field an average-to-slightly-above average pass defense. The Chiefs' defense is banged up right now, but the return of a handful of key contributors is on the horizon will potentially bolster the unit. Along the defensive line, Frank Clark and Chris Jones, the team's two leading pass-rushers, have both missed recent games, and are in doubt for week 9 against the Minnesota Vikings. In their absence, Emmanuel Ogbah has stepped up on the edge with 4.5 sacks through 8 games. At linebacker, Anthony Hitchens is an acceptable coverage linebacker, but his running mate, Damien Wilson, drags down the unit's overall capabilities against the pass. Nobody on Kansas City's active roster outside of the secondary has intercepted a pass yet this season, which makes sense considering the lack of play-makers throughout their injury-plagued defense. In the secondary, Chavarius Ward was strong in limited playing time in 2018, and he has followed that up with another impressive season in a much larger sample of playing time. Juan Thornhill, a rookie safety from Virginia, has impressed for the Chiefs this season, helping to compensate for offseason acquisition, Tyrann Mathieu's struggles during his first season in Kansas City. Cornerback Breshaud Breeland left last week's game with a shoulder injury, and his status for week 9 is in question. Morris Claiborne will likely fill in for Breeland, who had struggled mightily in 2019. Claiborne, although he was initially Breeland's backup, might be an improvement over Breeland in coverage. In all, in its current injured state, the Kansas Chiefs field a league-average pass-defense. Should Frank Clark or Chris Jones make a surprising return to the starting lineup this week, Kansas City's pass rush will immediately improve. The Minnesota Vikings' new-look passing attack will threaten Kansas City's secondary at every turn in week 9 in a matchup between a highly-efficient passing attack against an average pass defense.

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


New England Patriots Passing Offense at Baltimore Ravens Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

Even with no Josh Gordon, the Patriots passing attack continues to be a consistent unit that can beat you in so many different ways. While Julian Edelman remains the top target in this offense, the Patriots continue to distribute the ball efficiently to the rest of their offense. New addition Mohamed Sanu played a limited role in the offense as he caught just two of his five targets in a limited role that kept him on the field for just 54% of the plays as he still is learning the offense. The good news for the Patriots is that they should become even deeper as first-round pick N’Keal Harry is eligible to return from the IR this week. The Patriots do have a bye week next week so while Harry is practicing the Patriots may utilize the bye week to get him right next week. When he returns, expect Jakobi Meyers snaps to be the most impacted by the move and depending on how he produces possibly Phillip Dorsett.

The Ravens secondary is one that was horrendous to start the year when they lost Jimmy Smith allowing three straight quarterbacks to throw for 342 yards or more. They recognized the issue and went out and acquired Marcus Peters who played great last week against the Seahawks to play alongside Marlon Humphrey. The Ravens also got some great news this past week in that they are getting Jimmy Smith back from injury. Smith is likely going to be eased back into what is now a crowded secondary with veteran Brandon Carr also playing well. At the safety position, there is a slight concern for star Earl Thomas who did not practice on Wednesday with a knee injury and coming off a bye is a potential cause for concern, if he would be out that would be a major hit for this secondary. All signs are pointing toward this being a defense that is improving and we started to see it last week in their first real test since their early-season struggles as they held Russell Wilson to just 241 yards and a touchdown prior to their Week 8 bye as the team will no longer need to rely on Maurice Canady who had struggled for most of this season.

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


Philadelphia Eagles Passing Offense vs Chicago Bears Passing Defense (Neutral Matchup)

After struggling in all aspects of the offense over the previous two games, Philadelphia got back on track in week 8 with a 31-point showing against the Buffalo Bills. The weather conditions dictated a run-heavy offensive approach from the Eagles, but the passing attack got the job done when called upon. Alshon Jeffery remains the lone threat at the wide receiver position, as DeSean Jackson continues to miss time with a vague abdomen/groin injury. Over the last month, Jeffery leads the team in targets, receptions, and yards. Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert have picked up the slack at the tight end position, ranking second and third, respectively, in targets, receptions, and yards over the last four games. Goedert sees more action on shorter throws. Head coach Doug Pederson and the rest of the staff have developed creative ways to capitalize on Goedert's elite athleticism at the tight end position through screen plays and other easy completions. Zach Ertz continues to work down the field, as he did last year, and his target numbers remain near the top of the tight end leaderboards. His role is undeniably smaller than it was last year, but the lack of production in recent weeks is inconsistent with the underlying numbers he has posted. Expect Ertz to positively regress in the coming weeks, converting his downfield targets into production at a much higher rate than he currently is. Carson Wentz's passing totals have been underwhelming this season, with just 1 300-yard day on the year. A challenging schedule over the next few games will stack the odds against Wentz righting the ship in the immediate future.

Chicago's pass defense has posted impressive numbers through the first eight weeks of the season, but they are likely bolstered by a relatively easy slate of games against weak passing attacks. The lone 300-yard passing game the Bears have allowed this season was against the Washington Redskins, in a game filled with garbage time pass attempts for Case Keenum to help boost his production numbers. Along the defensive line, Khalil Mack headlines an impressive pass rush for Chicago. Mack is arguably the best edge rusher in the NFL, and he has been one of the most impactful pass rushers in the league this season with 5.5 sacks to his name in 7 games. At linebacker, both of Chicago's primary starters struggle in coverage. Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith have both been exploited by opposing passing attacks throughout the first half of 2019. This season has been an abnormally-poor stretch of games for both linebackers against the pass, which may be attributable to a change at defensive coordinator, as Vic Fangio left to take over as the Broncos' head coach this offseason, being replaced by Chuck Pagano. Chicago's secondary picks up the slack, however, with a relatively deep unit of pass defenders. The lone weak link here is Buster Skrine, the Bears' slot cornerback. In total, the Bears sport a deep and well-rounded unit of pas defenders. An easy schedule has helped their overall metrics through the first half of the season, but they are likely a league-average defense at worst against the pass. Philadelphia's struggling passing attack will need to reach a level that they haven't reached since week one if they expect to see success through the air in week 9.

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


Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense vs Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

After dislocating his kneecap during a Thursday night game in week seven, Patrick Mahomes somehow claimed he would have been able to play in week eight if the team needed him to. Understandably, the Chiefs are being cautious with their franchise quarterback, and they will likely hold him out once again in week 9, but there is a chance he could play. If they do, backup Matt Moore is poised to make his second straight start. Before last week, Moore had taken zero snaps in practice with the first-team offense. Expectations were low for the veteran backup heading into the game against Green Bay's highly-rated defense, but he held his own with a 267-yard, 2-touchdown, 0-interception performance. Moore relied heavily upon Kansas City's top receivers, targeting either Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce on nearly 50-percent of his total pass attempts. Hill finished the day with 6 catches on 9 targets for 76 yards, and Kelce ended up with 4 catches on 8 targets for 63 yards and 1 touchdown. The downgrade at quarterback obviously lessens the projected production for all Kansas City pass-catchers, but the top options remain heavily involved with Moore under center. The Chiefs' offensive line is missing two of its top pass-blockers, Eric Fisher and Austin Wylie. Both Fisher and Wylie are officially listed as questionable for this weekend's game against Minnesota. Should one, or both, of Kansas City's top-end offensive linemen return to action in week 9, the Chiefs' passing attack will get a sizable boost against a formidable Minnesota pass rush.

The Minnesota Vikings field one of the league's best pass defenses in 2019, and the talented personnel throughout this unit will almost certainly keep them near the top of the rankings for the foreseeable future. Along the defensive line, Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen make up one of the league's most dangerous pass-rushing duos off the edge. Hunter ranks 4th in the NFL with 8.0 sacks, while Griffen has 4.5, himself. Then, at linebacker, Eric Kendricks is one of the best all-around linebackers. Kendricks thrives not only in run-support but also against the pass, with a team-leading 10 pass-breakups already this season. In the secondary, the Vikings field, arguably, the league's best coverage duo at the safety position. Anthony Harris and Harrison Smith are both elite all-around safeties, thriving against both the run and the pass. Harris ranks third in the NFL in interceptions, with three to his name already this season, tying his career-high total he posted last season. These two do an elite job of limiting chunk-plays through the air, as the Vikings have allowed only 1 passing touchdown over 30 yards to an opposing wide receiver. Relative to expectation, Minnesota's cornerbacks have struggled across the board, with near career-low numbers from each of Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes, and Mike Hughes. However, these struggles have been masked by elite production at all other levels of the defense. Expect the Minnesota Vikings' elite pass defense to give Matt Moore, and the Kansas City Chiefs' aerial attack fits in week 9. It will take an exceptional performance out of Matt Moore and the rest of Kansas City's offense to post another strong passing performance without Patrick Mahomes.

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


New York Giants Passing Offense vs Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

The New York Giants' passing attack has improved on the aggregate since making the change from Eli Manning to rookie Daniel Jones, but it is primarily a product of higher highs coupled with the same very low lows for the unit. Daniel Jones' rookie season has featured flashes of brilliance, such as his debut start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and last weekend against the Detroit Lions. On the other hand, for every one of those performances, there has been a sub-200-yard, 1-score day for Jones this season, offering very little consistency for the Giants through the air. Since Golden Tate returned from his suspension, he has led the team in targets, receptions, and receiving yards. Evan Engram, at tight end, also remains one of the premier pass-catching options at the position. Out of the backfield, the Giants make a concerted effort to get the ball to Saquon Barkley through the air. Barkley entered the NFL as one of the best pass-catching running backs in recent memory, and last week's 8-catch, 78-yard, and 1-touchdown performance reinforced that. Jones has yet to play a game with his full complement of weapons at the ready this season, as one of Golden Tate, Saquon Barkley, or Sterling Shepard has missed each one of his starts. Sterling Shepard is questionable for week nine's Monday night bout with the Cowboys after sustaining his second concussion of the season two weeks ago. Should Shepard return to the fold this week, it is unknown which receiving option gets the most significant downgrade in volume, given the crowded situation. In total, New York's formidable group of pass-catchers is at the mercy of a young and erratic quarterback, and the week-to-week production of the group will vary wildly. A tough matchup against Dallas' secondary will increase the uncertainty surrounding an unclear situation with regards to individual output through the air for the Giants.

The Dallas Cowboys' pass defense ranks amongst the league's best, posting top-10 marks in both touchdowns and net yards per attempt allowed through the air this season. Dallas' strength starts along the defensive line with Demarcus Lawrence, one of the league's premier pass rushers, coming off the edge. Lawrence's sack numbers have not been there this season, but he is continually disrupting the pocket and making an impact this season. On the interior, Maliek Collins is posting career-best numbers rushing the passer. The Cowboys also acquired edge rusher, Michael Bennett from the New England Patriots via trade about one week ago, adding much-needed depth to the Cowboys' defensive line. At linebacker, Dallas fields one of the deepest and most-talented coverage units in the NFL. Leighton Vander Esch is once again posting elite numbers against the pass, while Jaylon Smith, who struggled early in the season, is rounding into form in recent weeks. Both players are elite athletes at the linebacker position, and they should continue to dominate against the pass, stifling opposing passing attacks at and around the line of scrimmage. In the secondary, Byron Jones and Jourdan Lewis make up one of the league's strongest outside and slot cornerback duos. At the safety position, Xavier Woods rounds out a deep and well-balanced secondary. Woods has been an above-average defender for each of his three seasons in the NFL, with continual year-to-year improvement against the pass. Look for the Cowboys' pass defense to stifle an inconsistent passing attack here in week nine when they go on the road against the struggling New York Giants.

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


Tennessee Titans Passing Offense at Carolina Panthers Passing Defense (Tough Matchup)

Ryan Tannehill had another serviceable start as he led the Titans to their second win in a row with Tannehill as the starter. He threw for three touchdowns last week, but Tannehill focused on short dink-and-dunk passes as he averaged just 5.8 yards per pass attempt while Titans wide receivers amassed only 62 combined receiving yards. Tannehill still remains an upgrade over Marcus Mariota as he is more decisive and takes more productive risks with the football, but he still was seen holding on to the ball far too long last week as he missed a few opportunities and took three sacks behind shaky offensive line play. It has been boom or bust for Titans wideouts this season, but mostly bust as this group has really struggled to consistently produce given the inconsistent play from both their quarterbacks and offensive line. The offensive line really struggled again last week, given injuries and just sheer inconsistency, which was and will continue to be a contributing factor to the lack of downfield passing for this offense. Tight end Jonnu Smith did serve as a focal point last week given the absence of Delanie Walker (injury). Smith led the team with seven targets, converting six of them for 78 yards and a touchdown with a few long catches on the day. Walker is questionable coming into this week, so if he missed, Smith will serve as a viable option again at tight end this week.

The Panthers passing defense has been inconsistent in recent weeks as they allowed over 370 passing yards in two straight games before the Week 7 bye, but played well again last week limiting the 49ers to just 175 passing yards. Despite giving up 400 yards in Week 6, they racked up five interceptions in what actually was a strong showing. In reality, Week five was their only truly poor showing as this group had hend opposing quarterbacks to fewer than 210 yards in each of their first four games. A strong pass rush and solid play from their cornerbacks have been a big reason for their success. James Bradberry has been excellent in coverage and should be a tough matchup for Corey Davis. With Delanie Walker possibly sidelined again, Jonnu Smith is actually facing a favorable matchup with Panthers safety Eric Reid. Reid has contributed to Carolina giving up at least 60 yards to tight ends in each of the past three games, including a dominant performance from George Kittle as he caught six for 86 last week. The Titans offensive line has been in shambles for most of the season, especially against the pass rush as they have allowed at least three sacks in all but two games this season. Having guard Roger Saffold in the concussion protocol certainly doesn’t help this situation, as him missing this game would put this line at even more of a disadvantage than they already were at against a stout Panthers front seven accounting for the second-most sacks (30) in the league. Overall, this should be a difficult matchup for an already underwhelming passing offense.

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


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

The Cardinals passing offense will be in for a challenge this week as they take on one of the top defenses in the league. Kyler Murray has struggled in recent weeks, passing for just 104 and 220 yards with no touchdowns in each of his past two games. He has had an inconsistent start to his NFL career to say the lease. Murray has now finished five of eight games with zero passing touchdowns, whereas he has passed for two or more touchdowns and over 300 yards in four of eight outings this season. While the upside is there, Murray still has some growing to do as he has yet to put it all together for consistently high-level performances. Christian Kirk returned from injury last week and immediately vaulted to the top of Murray’s attention, garnering more than double the targets of any other player. Kirk is evolving into the WR1 for this offense as he has now finished with double-digit targets in three of five games played, whereas it has been seven weeks since Larry Fitzgerald has seen double-digit looks. Fitzgerald has posted extremely meager numbers through his last six games, including just one touchdown over that span and a total of 20 yards over his past two outings. New running back Kenyan Drake, while coming in with limited preparation, could find a quick role in this passing offense as he will be one of the only options coming out of the backfield this week.

The 49ers defense has been one of the best in the NFL against the pass through the first half of this season, giving up a league-low 128.7 passing yards per game with 10 interceptions (T-2nd) and 27 sacks (4th). They have just a scary defensive line that is loaded with talent, including star rookie edge rusher Nick Bosa who ranks tied for seventh with seven sacks on the year. This line is a complete mismatch for the bottom-tier Cardinals offensive line, and the 49ers should be in Kyler Murray’s face all day long. The secondary for San Francisco is also no joke, as they have three very s strong cornerbacks. Richard Sherman has been solid this season, including last week where he was rarely targeted while logging his third interception of the season. All Cardinals receivers will be at a massive disadvantage in this one.

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


Baltimore Ravens Passing Offense vs New England Patriots Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

The Ravens should get a significant piece of their passing attack back this week as Marquise Brown is expected to return after being injured since Week 5. This will be a major upgrade to a passing offense that struggled mightily last week against the Seahawks who have given up the third-most passing yards on the season. Jackson completed just 9 of his 20 passes last week as the team mostly relied on its rushing attack in the win. Even with Brown back, this is an offense that is going to rely on the run and have a low volume of attempts as they have thrown the ball for the third-fewest per game and the lowest percentage of passing plays compared to total offensive plays throwing the ball just 46% of the time.

The Patriots secondary continues to impress almost every week. Since Week 1, which was a blowout against the Steelers that Ben Roethlisberger accumulated garbage time production, the Patriots have not allowed a quarterback to throw for more than 200 yards, and lead the league with 19 interceptions which is 9 more than the next closest team. For reference, only two teams last season had more interceptions than 19 and the Patriots have only played 8 games. The Patriots secondary is incredibly fundamentally sound with all veterans who know their roles led by the McCourty brothers, Stephon Gilmore, and Jonathan Jones who has been one of the best slot corners in football this season.

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


Cleveland Browns Passing Offense at Denver Broncos Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

At this point, things can only go up for the Browns passing offense. Discipline continues to be the issue for this team as the Browns lead the NFL in penalties, interceptions, and are second to last in completion percentage. Part of the blame can be on the schedule as the Browns have faced the two best defenses the past three games in New England and San Francisco, but part of it is Mayfield’s inability to go through progressions. Teams are doubling both Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry taking away his top options which has forced Mayfield to panic. The offensive line continues to be an issue for the Browns as Mayfield was sacked five times last week against New England as while the team replaced Greg Robinson with Justin McCray at left tackle, it made no significant difference. The right side of the line remains a mess with Eric Kush and Chris Hubbard both playing at below league average levels.

Despite losing Bradley Roby in the offseason, and prized free-agent signing Bryce Callahan has been injured for most of the season, Vic Fangio’s pass defense has stood up to the test for most of the season so far this year. Chris Harris continues to play at an elite level and the safeties Kareem Jackson and Justin Simmons have been two of the best safeties in the NFL this season. This is a team that since Week 2, has not allowed more than 235 yards passing and has allowed just four passing touchdowns and the team has faced some great quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, and Patrick Mahomes before he left with an injury. Even in Week 1, Derek Carr threw for just 259 yards and one touchdown. Outside of San Francisco and New England, this is the best pass defense in the NFL. If there is a weakness, it is on the outside opposite Chris Harris as the team utilizes Davontae Harris who has struggled this season with speed receivers which could open up an opportunity for Antonio Callaway on the outside as the slower Yiadom who runs a mid-4.5 40 time will be at a speed disadvantage.

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


Washington Redskins Passing Offense at Buffalo Bills Passing Defense (Bad Matchup)

Case Keenum was forced out of Washington's week 8 game against the Minnesota Vikings due to a concussion. Keenum remains in concussion protocol, and his status for week nine's matchup with the Buffalo Bills is in question. Should he remain sidelined, rookie Dwayne Haskins will assume the starting role. Haskins has struggled mightily in his two relief appearances this season, and there is little reason for optimism in the short-term future with him under center. Washington's passing attack has been horrific this season, regardless of who is under center, with 5 consecutive sub-167 passing-yard games. Washington's interim head coach, Bill Callahan, has been outspoken about his desire to transform the Redskins into a run-heavy football team. Since being appointed as head coach, the Redskins have thrown the ball less than 20 times per game, by far the lowest in the league. Terry McLaurin is the lone producer in Washington's passing attack. However, the low-volume approach under Callahan has dramatically limited his upside, with four or fewer receptions in each of the three games under the interim head coach. Washington's offensive line is one of the league's weakest units, and while Trent Williams will return to the team after not being dealt at the deadline, he reportedly has no intention of playing for the team in 2019. Veteran Donald Penn will remain in the starting lineup at left tackle, and while he is a league-average pass protector, he pales in comparison to Williams. In all, the Redskins' passing attack is arguably the worst in the NFL, and if Dwayne Haskins plays a full game under center as Keenum's injury replacement, it may get even worse.

The Buffalo Bills have played one of the NFL's easiest schedules through their first seven games of the season. They have faced four quarterbacks that have been benched at one point or another this season, and week 8 will add a fifth quarterback to that list. Thanks to this soft schedule, the Bills rank top-five in both touchdowns allowed and ney yards per attempt allowed through the air. Along the defensive line, interior rusher Jordan Phillips tops the charts for the Bills with five sacks already this season. On the edge, Shaq Lawson and Jerry Hughes have also impressed, consistently collapsing the pocket and applying pressure on opposing quarterbacks. At linebacker Tremaine Edmunds is one of the premier athletes at the position. Edmunds has parlayed this athleticism into strong coverage numbers here in his second NFL season. In the secondary, Tre'Davious White is one of the league's best young cornerbacks, consistently locking down his side of the field over his brief NFL career. Behind White, Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer have developed into an elite pass-defending duo at the safety position. The Buffalo Bills' elite numbers against the pass are primarily a product of an exceptionally soft schedule through the first seven games of the season. Week 9 will be no different, as they face the Washington Redskins, who will either be quarterbacked by Dwayne Haskins, an ill-prepared rookie, or Case Keenum, a struggling veteran that has already been benched once this season. It will almost certainly be a long day at the office for whoever ends up under center for the Washington Redskins, as they are poised to struggle once again through the air.

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