IDP Matchups to Exploit and Avoid: Week 11

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 the 11th edition of the IDP Matchup column here at Footballguys in the 2020 season. 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.

We have officially entered the beginning of double-digit weeks on the NFL calendar, and with that comes the realization that the fantasy playoffs are on the horizon. Fine-tuning our line-ups, not just for this week but for the long run, will be crucial in edging opponents in tight races for postseason berths. With the data at our disposal thanks to the match-up spreadsheet, we can more accurately project and target match-ups and get a leg up on our opponents during this stretch run.

Without further ado, let’s kick off with this week’s matchups.

Pass Rushing Match-ups to Exploit

Washington pass rushers vs. Cincinnati offensive line

The Football Team is not dead – yet. In what has officially been named the worst division of all time through 10 weeks of play, the NFC East is still, somehow, up for grabs despite the combined ineptitude of these franchises. Ron Rivera’s team will not care, though. The visiting Bengals offensive line and its lack of cohesion offers the best path to success this week, with the Washington pass rush averaging pressure on 16.4% of dropbacks. This is despite a well-below-average number of dropbacks faced; just 32.4. For context, Joe Burrow is dropping back 44.8 times per game. Opportunity knocks for the home team.

Alex Smith should do just enough to keep things close and allow his defense to get after Burrow, though Vegas has this as a tight affair. The Bengals are allowing pressure on 18.6% of dropbacks, with 3.6 sacks allowed per game on average. This could be the week that the relentless pressure finally gets to the number one overall pick, forcing mistakes and, perhaps, a big day from Washington’s key defenders.

Key stat: The Bengals line has allowed 8.3 quarterback hits per game.

Miami pass rushers at Denver

The formula is working a treat in Miami. Brian Flores has rotated his defense to keep players fresh, taking a page from his mentor Bill Belichick’s book. His team has steadily become a force to be reckoned with, and it comes down in large part to their defensive effort. They average pressure as a unit on 17.8% of dropbacks and, as the key stat below shows, that hits a new height on the road. While that is partially opponent-driven, there is no doubt that this is a plum match-up.

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