IDP Matchups to Exploit and Avoid: Week 1

Dave Larkin breaks down the key clashes to target and fade for IDP production.

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 a new season of the IDP Matchup column here at Footballguys. 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.

A new season brings with it a new set of players, challenges, and decisions. With no data to underpin this week’s picks from our matchup spreadsheet, I will rely more on offensive line vs. defensive line strengths, team trends, and some personal insight.

Without further ado, let’s kick off with this week’s match-ups.

Pass Rushing Match-ups to Exploit

Buffalo front seven vs. New York Jets offensive line

The Jets enter the 2020 season with more questions than answers, particularly regarding head coach Adam Gase and just how long a lifeline he has in the big chair. While Sam Darnold should take a step forward after a forgettable 2019, the offensive line remains one of the most suspect units in the NFL, ranking 31st per our offensive line guru Matt Bitonti. Defenses should have an advantage in early weeks as offenses adjust to their timing and rhythm. As a result, Darnold could be under fire early and often.

Vegas has the Bills installed as a firm six-point favorite at home, a nod to their superior talent and the perception surrounding them as a legitimate contender this season. The Bills have a rock-solid defensive unit capable of locking down the Jets’ receivers and forcing Darnold to hold the ball, inviting pressure from the likes of phenom interior presence Ed Oliver and new edge rusher Mario Addison, formerly of the Panthers. The game script calls for a Buffalo romp on opening day, one that could yield major fantasy dividends from a pass-rushing perspective.

Key stat: The Bills applied pressure on 15.2% of opponent dropbacks in 2019.

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