IDP Matchups to Exploit and Avoid: Week 16

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 16th 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.

The finish line is in sight, with championships set to be decided in most leagues this week. Having clarity on line-ups with the assistance of the match-up data can be helpful, but there is always a bit of gut involved in these crucial calls as well. Finding the right balance for your management style is the key. Good luck to everyone.

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

Pass Rushing Match-ups to Exploit

New Orleans pass rushers vs. Minnesota offensive line

Averaging pressure on 18.9% of opponent dropbacks, the New Orleans pass rush has been one of the most consistent bets of the season. That means one thing: there is no better team to rely on in championship week, especially with the Saints fighting hard for playoff seeding. Fortunately for them, the Vikings offensive line has been on a negative trend recently, allowing 4.3 sacks per game over the last three games.

The implied game script points to a comfortable Saints victory, which will be aided by having a controlled performance from Drew Brees to complement a stifling defensive effort. While Minnesota has plenty to offer themselves on offense, the Saints should be able to contain even their most explosive players and turn this into a one-sided affair. Be sure to plug in your Saints for extra punch this week.

Key stat: The Saints pass rush averages 3.1 sacks per game at home, compared with 2.6 per game on the road.

Baltimore pass rushers vs. New York Giants

With the Ravens favored by 10.5 points – and with everything to play for – the Giants players might be forgiven for letting out an audible gulp when they ponder the prospects. New York’s offensive line will be concerned, having surrendered pressure on 20.1% of dropbacks along with 2.9 sacks per game. The eight-sack debacle against the Cardinals could be repeated this week against a defense that loves to blitz.

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