Bottom 5 Passing Matchups Week 9

Footballguys Staff takes you through the Bottom 5 Passing Matchups for Week 9

Bottom 5 Passing Matchups Week 9

To view all of our Week 9 Matchup content, please see the links below:
Top 5 Passing Matchups Week 9
Bottom 5 Passing Matchups Week 9
Top 5 Rushing Matchups Week 9
Bottom 5 Rushing Matchups Week 9
Rushing Matchup Chart Week 9
Passing Matchup Chart Week 9

Tennessee vs Chicago

The Titans have a proficient passing attack that has had its mix of ups and downs throughout the season. Ryan Tannehill is completing just over 67 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns to only three interceptions as he enjoys an efficient season ranking as the ninth-best fantasy quarterback amongst active passers. The Titans have seen production from several receiving options this season, but they will be without slot receiver Adam Humphries this week as he should be sidelined with a concussion suffered in Week 8. Corey Davis has seen 10 targets in back-to-back weeks while A.J. Brown has finished with seven or more targets in the five healthy outings he has had this season. Production from Jonnu Smith, however, has dropped off significantly since suffering an ankle injury in Week 6 as he has seen fewer than five targets with less than 30 yards per game in three straight weeks, losing some snaps and looks to Anthony Firkser.

The Chicago defense has held up well against the pass this season, having yet to allow a 300+ yard passer and only allowing quarterbacks to pass for multiple touchdowns in two of eight games. Opposing offenses are averaging only 6.6 passing yards per attempt (third-fewest) while opposing quarterbacks are scoring the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game when facing this defense. The strength of the Bears lies on the defensive line behind the likes of Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks. Mack has racked up 6.5 sacks (T-4th most) while Hicks, combined with a strong rotation of interior defenders, have been constant battering rams against opposing offensive lines. The Titans offensive line is strong, but the Chicago unit should have the advantage--especially against a relatively vulnerable tackle position. At cornerback, the Bears have seen strong play from Kyle Fuller, but have actually seen their other cornerbacks struggle at times. Safety is where this secondary excels, as Eddie Jackson has played a huge part in limiting big plays and will do so yet again this week in keeping tabs on the likes of A.J. Brown and Corey Davis.

Dallas vs Pittsburgh

The Cowboys offense is stuck in neutral as they have scored just one touchdown, in total, since the loss of Dak Prescott in Week 5. Andy Dalton will not clear the concussion protocol this week, and Cowboys management has already announced that Ben DiNucci will not start for a second game after a very poor showing in his debut last week. The Week 9 starting job is now left to a competition between Cooper Rush and Garrett Gilbert--both recently added from the practice squad. In either case, the news is not good for this passing offense overall, as they have suffered in these past three weeks. Michael Gallup saw 12 targets as the downfield passing game was basically absent last week, and while that attention could continue if the Cowboys rely on the dink and dunk approach, Amari Cooper does remain a top option through the air here. Ezekiel Elliott has been a hit-or-miss option in this passing attack, hauling in just one reception in three of his last four games but also sandwiching an eight-catch outing into Week 6. With minimal NFL snaps under either quarterbacks’ belts, it is tough to predict exactly how they will use these potent offensive weapons--but the floor of this offense remains basically zero.

While no team wants to be in a position as the Cowboys are, basically signing a quarterback off the street to start, they certainly hate to be in this position when facing one of the top defenses in the league--the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh has held opposing passers to 220 or fewer yards in each of their last three outings, which included the hot-handed Ryan Tannehill and last year’s MVP Lamar Jackson. This defense has not only kept yardage and fantast scoring down, but they have forced multiple interceptions in four of seven games, totaling 10 interceptions this season (third-most). The Steelers also thrive in the trenches as they lead the league in sacks (30) and now get a struggling Cowboys offensive line that has given up the fifth-most sacks (24) in the league--a clear mismatch in favor of the Steelers. All Cowboys receivers are in very tough spots here against stout Steelers cornerbacks who should have a big benefit from the unyielding pressure expected to come for whoever starts under center for Dallas.

Baltimore at Indianapolis

The Ravens passing offense has struggled this season, due in large part to questionable play from quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson is trending far below where he finished the 2019 season in many metrics, including completion percent (60.5% compared to 66.1%), yards per pass attempt (7.07 compared to 7.8), and passing touchdowns per game (1.7 compared to 2.4). Turnovers have been a problem for Jackson in recent weeks, throwing two interceptions last week and four in his past four games. Now, Jackson will be without his starting left tackle as Ronnie Stanley suffered a season-ending injury in last week’s game against Pittsburgh. This is a massive loss for the Ravens offense, as Stanley was one of the best pass-blockers in football. Reliable production from a Ravens receiver has been tough to find, as target-leader Marquise Brown caught just one ball for three yards (and a touchdown) last week and has finished with fewer than 60 receiving yards in half of his games. Mark Andrews has also been very unreliable with three or fewer receptions in all but two games this season.

The Indianapolis defense has been one of the best units in the league against the pass, limiting opposing offenses to just 213.6 passing yards per game while holding quarterbacks to the fewest fantasy points per game through Week 8. While they had a rough game allowing 336 yards and three touchdowns to Matthew Stafford last week, much of that production came in garbage time while this defense still forced an interception, a fumble, and five sacks. The defensive line has played a major role in the success of this passing offense--especially their strong interior behind DeForest Buckner, Denico Autry, and Grover Stewart. Linebacker Darius Leonard returned to the field last week after a four-week absence and continued to make a massive impact as one of, if not the, best players on this defense. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes is also having a spectacular season and should have a decisive advantage over Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin. Slot receiver Willie Snead IV should also struggle against Rock Ya-Sin, who has cleared the concussion protocol and should play this week.

New Orleans at Tampa Bay

Despite lacking top wide receiver Michael Thomas for virtually the entire season, the Saints still have managed to rank as a top-10 passing offense with 266.6 yards per game as Drew Breese sports a league-high 73.1 percent completion rate. Michael Thomas practiced in a limited fashion last week and should do the same this week, but he remains questionable to return--so keep an eye on his reps. Emmanuel Sanders has been on the COVID list but appears probable to return this week. If both do suit up, expect significantly diminished roles for Tre'Quan Smith and Deonte Harris. Alvin Kamara may also see reduced volume through the air, as he has been the workhorse of this passing offense with 30 more targets than any other Saints player while leading the team in both rushing and receiving yards. Jared Cook will remain a top red-zone threat as he has seen at least one red zone look in all but one game this season, scoring in each of his last three games despite a relatively low volume of targets.

The Tampa Bay defense continues to rank as one of the best in football, especially against the pass. A big part of this unit’s success against the pass comes from their opportunistic secondary, contributing to a league-leading 11 interceptions--forcing at least one pick in each of their last seven games. Both Jamel Dean and Carlton Davis have played very well at cornerback and should be in great spots to limit outside receivers for the Saints. Linebacker Lavonte David will also be expected to play a big role in coverage as he will be keeping an eye on Saints’ leading receiver Alvin Kamara. David has been one of the top linebackers in coverage this season, which should certainly help keep Kamara in check. The defensive line is another big strength and will be an advantage for Tampa Bay this week, as this unit has applied relentless pressure on opposing quarterbacks tallying up to the second-most sacks (28) in the league. Considering Drew Breese managed only 180 passing yards in their first meeting this season, look for the Saints passing game to similarly struggle in this very difficult matchup.

San Francisco vs Green Bay

The decimation continues for San Francisco’s offense as they lost their top two contributors in the passing offense last week. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a high ankle sprain and landed on injured reserve, hopeful to return before the season ends. Top pass-catcher George Kittle also landed on injured reserve with a foot injury, likely to miss around eight weeks. Quarterback Nick Mullens will start under center this week, and he actually has looked better than Garoppolo in spots this season, including last week as he passed for 238 yards and two touchdowns in one half of play. Kittle will be far less easily replaced, as the injury-prone Jordan Reed (if healthy enough to start) will step in for him. If not Reed, Ross Dwelley will assume pass-catching duties at tight end. With the continued absence of Deebo Samuel, look for more work to be funneled to new top wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk along with Kendrick Bourne.

The Green Bay passing defense has put up some strong performances against good offenses throughout this season. They held the Falcons passing offense out of the end zone in Week 4 and kept Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay offense under 170 passing yards in Week 6. Only three wide receivers have finished with more than 60 receiving yards against what has been a strong Packers secondary, led by shut-down cornerback Jaire Alexander. Playing in shadow coverage, Alexander has had a smothering effect on opposing top receivers and should certainly have the upper hand against these young 49ers receivers this week. While Green Bay and San Francisco are relatively evenly matched in the trenches, the clear advantage of the Packers in coverage combined with the lack of threatening weapons in the passing attack should give Green Bay the nod in making this a difficult matchup for the 49ers on Thursday night.

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