Each week, this column will take a critical look at key statistical trends to highlight pass rushing and tackle matchups to exploit and avoid. We'll be heavily relying on another great feature at FBG this season, the IDP Matchup Spreadsheet that will be generated by Aaron Rudnicki. That spreadsheet will contain weekly average statistical measures to help identify those defensive teams who are facing the best and worst opportunity as the season progresses. While this column will include analysis of tackle and pass rush opportunity and matchup data, it's only a fraction of the data available in the spreadsheet. We hope that the Matchup Spreadsheet and this column will join John Norton's weekly IDP projections, Doug Drinen's Matchup Analyzer Tool and our customizable MyFBG function as useful tools to assist in making weekly line-up and waiver wire decisions.
You are very welcome to the second edition of the IDP Matchup column here at Footballguys in 2019. I have been penning this defensive diary for the past several years and I am delighted to be able to share some tidbits to help you secure a league title come December.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Dave Larkin. I am a veteran IDP player and what some would call a diehard fan of this game of football that we all love so much.
Defense is my passion. Over the past few years, I have assimilated countless pages of data from various sources to hone my knowledge of the defensive side of the football. Every week I will study film from the previous week’s games and provide you with nuggets of wisdom that will lead you to a championship.
It is tempting to think that one week of data is enough to make sweeping assumptions about these teams, their fortunes and how much we can exploit their fantasy assets. The wiser approach, however, is to approach things with an open mind; the script will shift, make no mistake. The season is all about capitalizing on the windows of opportunity, whether that be individual players’ situations changing or simply identifying the trends.
Let’s dive into this week’s matchups cognizant of the fact that things change quickly around the NFL, but that doesn’t mean our window isn’t open.
Without further ado, let’s kick off with this week’s matchups.
Pass Rushing Matchups to Exploit
Baltimore pass rushers vs. Arizona offensive line
The Ravens made short work of Miami in Week 1, prompting some to question the substance of their victory. To do so flippantly, however, would be folly; it is tough to manhandle an NFL opponent, much less score 50+ points. The underrated aspect of the win may have been the play of their defense, which hassled and harried Dolphins quarterbacks. The sample size isn’t big enough to make any firm judgments, but the matchup this week plays right into their hands.
The Cardinals offensive line is in for a long season if the home clash with Detroit is anything to go by. The Lions don’t exactly boast the most dangerous pass-rushing unit, and yet still they were able to shut down the Arizona offense, force Kyler Murray off his spot (and into mistakes) and derail any game plan that Kliff Kingsbury had in mind. A repeat performance may not be forthcoming for the Ravens, but their pass rushers – including the linebackers – should get special consideration this week in a plum matchup.