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Next Gen Stats: Week 8 fantasy football matchups

Now in its third season, Next Gen Stats has quickly exploded. De statistikker er omtalt i spilludsendelser, de er leveret…

Now in its third season, Next Gen Stats has quickly exploded. De statistikker er omtalt i spilludsendelser, de er leveret i utallige artikler, tweets og podcasts i løbet af ugen, og den næste Gen Stats database er fri til adgang.

I denne ugns kolonne vil vi dykke dybt ind i Next Gen Stats’ metrics and explore player and team-based matchups. The goal is simple: Next Gen provides truly unique analytical data that we can use to uncover edges when making fantasy lineup decisions. Most importantly, Next Gen Stats’ data coffers make us more informed viewers of the game.

Let’s break down the Week 8 slate through the lens of Next Gen Stats.

Eagles at Jaguars (9:30 AM ET); in London

Key Matchup: Who has the edge in the battle of 3-4 playoff teams?

Week 8 is a pivotal week for the Eagles and Jaguars. Both teams won their division in 201

7, both teams now sit at 3-4, and both sides are 11th in their respective playoff hunts. No one could have envisioned either team in this disappointing scenario.

Obviously, the key to this game will be if the Jags passing offense can get off of the mat after three abysmal performances by Blake Bortles. Tenzij Jacksonville kan melden dat het een mislukking is, zal het niet hoeveel Carlos Hyde en T.J. Yeldon can “hammer” the ball on the ground. Over the last three weeks, Bortles’ 7.7 percent completion rate below expectation is fifth-worst per Next Gen Stats. When face pressure from the opposing pass rush, Bortles is 14-of-36 (39 percent) for 5.0 yards per attempt and a 0: 3 TD-to-INT ratio. His 20.5 fits rating when underwhelmed is the second-worst clip in the NFL over the last three weeks, among qualified passers.

This is the stone worst week for Jacksonville to take on one of the best front sevens in the league.

Per Next Gen Stats, the Eagles Force Pressure 31 percent of the time on non-blitz pass snaps (highest rate in the NFL). Meanwhile, the Eagles are stuffing run plays at or behind the line of scrimmage on 30 percent of attempts, the second best rate in the NFL. Derek Barnett’s loss for the season (shoulder) hurts, but make no mistake: The Philly front seven is still vicious.

One of the main reasons Cam Newton is presently having His best season in completions (65.6 percent) and sack rate (4.6 percent) is because the Panthers aerial attack is finally condensed. Gone are the days where Cam was asked to haphazardly chuck the rock deep to big lumbering receivers. Seriously, though – Newton’s deep ball attempt rate is way down this season compared to 2016 (15 percent) and last year (10.4 percent):

https://twitter.com/GrahamBarfield/status/1054799716238614529?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

More short pass is paying off in Carolina. Per Next Gen Stats, Newton has a 105.6 passes rating on passes traveling less than 10 air yards (4th-best in NFL). In fact, Newton is completing 76 percent of his throws that travel less than ten yards in the air (ninth best).

Unfortunately for Cam – and the Panthers passing offense this week – the Ravens are locking down aerial attacks at all field depths. Baltimore owns the NFL’s fifth best match rating (77.2) on throws that fly less than 10 yards in the air and they are also fifth-best on passes that travel between 10-19 yards in the air (76.3 pass ratings). Christian McCaffrey has yet to finish worse than the PPR RB22 in any game this season, but it’s hard to be confident in any other Panther against this Ravens defense that’s permitting just 22.2 yards per drive, the lowest clip in the NFL.

Jets at Bears (1 pm ET)

Key Matchup: Can Trubisky beat the blitz?

About his last three games, the Bears second-year signal caller has piled on QB1, QB5, and QB2 overall weeks in fantasy. In this team, Trubisky has thrown for over 315 yards in each contest and put up 3/53, 8/47, and 6/81/1 rushing days on the ground. Trubisky has been on fire for fantasy … but there is some dissonance between his numbers and real-life play. This week, Trubisky will have to figure out the Jets blitz-heavy scheme. Per Next Gen Stats, Todd Bowles’ defense is sending five or more pass rushers 34 percent of the time, the fourth-highest rate behind Arizona (43 percent), Baltimore (38 percent), and Cleveland (35 percent).

Trubisky has not exactly been stellar against the blitz this season, owning the NFL’s seventh-worst completion rate below expectation (-7.3 percent) and fifth-worst pass YPA (6.1). Trubisky makes an excellent QB1 play for Week 8 because of his second-reaction scrambling ability, but his passing floor is lowered against the aggressive Jets. Look for innovative head coach Matt Nagy to schedule some quick-hitters to Tarik Cohen to subdue the Jets attack.

Buccaneers at Bengals (1 pm ET)

Key Matchup: Which version of Andy Dalton will we see?

With Andy Dalton’s Week 7 disaster in Kansas City still fresh on everyone’s mind (15-of-29, 148 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) – the Bengals need a layup draw to kick-start their passing offense once again. They’re going to get it this week. Tampa has been a turnstile of passing output this season, allowing the most pass YPG, the most fantasy points per dropback, the highest passing TD rate, and the league’s highest match rating.

Not only are the Bucs cornerback’s struggling, but their front seven are also not generating pressure. It’s created a recipe for Tampa disaster and fruitful fantasy picks for us. Per Next Gen Stats, Tampa has forced pressure on just 23 percent of dropbacks this season (fourth-lowest rate). In the Bengals four wins this season, Dalton has shredded secondaries when facing pressure (111.8 fits rating) while he’s supremely struggled against heat in Cincy’s three losses (13.5 fits rating under pressure). Dalton will see plenty of clean pockets in Week 8, though. Hopefully, we get Good Andy .

Seahawks at Lions (1pm ET)

Key Matchup: What difference does Damon “Snacks” Harrison make for Detroit?

Heading into Week 8, the Lions inarchively have one of the worst rush defenses in the NFL. They’ve allowed a gargantuan 6.02 YPC to opposing backs this season, by far the worst clip in the NFL. Per Next Gen Stats, the Lions permit 4.5 yards after a defender has closed within a yard (sausage), over 51 percent of runs against their front seven are successful (ninth worst), and they are stuffing runs at or behind the line or scrimmage just 17.8 percent of the time (11th-worst).

However, Detroit’s destitute interior defense is about to get a huge boost. This week, the Lions flipped a fifth-round pick-up to the tanking giants in exchange for the league’s best interior run defender. Per Next Gen Stats, Harrison leads all inside defensive lineman in run stuff since the beginning of 2016:

Harrison practiced with the Lions on Thursday this week, perhaps putting him on track to make his Detroit debut against Seattle. We’ll see.

Broncos at Chiefs (1 pm ET)

Key Matchup: Breaking down Philip Lindsay’s potential blowup spot

With Royce Freeman (high ankle sprain) likely sidelined for Week 8, rookie phenomenon Philip Lindsay is in a near-perfect situation this week against the Chiefs. While Kansas City’s Secondary has quietly played significantly better over the last month – they’ve held quarterbacks to a 68.3 rating (second best in this team) – they are getting routinely whacked by receivers out of the backfield.

This year, the Chiefs have allowed 7.0 receptions (second-most) and 73.0 yards (most) per game to enemy running backs. Per Next Gen Stats, 18.3 percent of Kansas City’s total matching output allowed this season has gone to receivers out of the backfield (tied with Atlanta for the ninth-highest clip). Since Freeman will more than likely miss Week 8, Lindsay should handle most of Denver’s backfield duties. Prior to injuring his ankle in Week 7, Freeman averaged 10.0 routes run and a 35 percent snap rate per game. Lindsay’s projected increase in playing time should lead to more targets for the shifty satellite back, which leads all Broncos in target rate per route run (29 percent).

Redskins at Giants (1pm ET)

Key Matchup: Is this the week Eli steps up? Narrator: “Probably not.”

No team is pushing the quarterback more often than Washington (34.4 percent). Meanwhile, no quarterback turns into a turtle against pressure faster than Eli Manning. Seriously, when Manning faces pressure – he has absorbed a sack 28.8 percent of the time, the ninth highest rate in the NFL. The Giants offensive line is not doing Manning any favors for sure (8.4 percent adjusted sack rate; ninth worst). Men, to be fair, Manning rarely sticks in the pocket and delivers a throw under duress. Per Next Gen Stats, Manning gets rid of the ball in 2.88 seconds (seventh-fastest) and averages just 5.9 scramble yards per attempt (seventh-fewest) when under pressure. Manning’s lack of aggression is especially apparent on third-downs, as he’s throwing 2.2 yards short of the sticks on average (worst in NFL). With limited pocket mobility, Manning turns into a sitting duck against violent front sevens. Washington has one. Watch out.

Browns at Steelers (1 p.m. ET)

Key Matchup: It’s Jarvis Landry week. Again.

Just like last week, Jarvis Landry finds himself in a pristine matchup out of the slot. After rinsing the Bucs shoddy slot coverage for 10/97/1, he gets to face a Steelers’ side that has allowed 141.5 yards per game to enemy slot wideouts. That’s second-most behind only … Tampa Bay. In fact, 46.2 percent of the Steelers total fit yardage output allowed has gone to final receivers (highest clip in NFL).

Since Baker Mayfield took over as the Browns starter, Landry leads the team in target share (27 percent) air yards (30 percent), and red-zone targets (8). He’s seen double-digit targets in each game (45 total) and runs 60 percent of his routes from the slot. Landry is about to eat again.

Colts at Raiders (4:05 p.m. ET)

Key Matchup: Andrew Luck vs. tanking raiders

The Raiders are clearly playing for 2019 (and beyond), giving Andrew Luck and the Colts passing offense a perfect road spot to stay in the hunt for the AFC South title. Over the last month, Andrew Luck has finally looked at or near full health as he has thrown 15 passing scores and averaged 7.9 air yards per pass attempt. In the first three games of the season, Luck’s 5.6 air yards per throw was third-lowest in the NFL.

Without Khalil Mack and behind a faltering secondary that has benched their two most talented cornerbacks (Gareon Conley and Rashaan Melvin), Oakland is third-worst in match rating (102.8) and dead last in pressure rate forced (15.8 percent). Over hun laatste vier wedstrijden, de Raiders hebben toegelaten een passende winst van 20 of meer meter op 15 procent van hun pogingen geconfronteerd (worst rate in NFL). With T.Y. Hilton gets back to full speed after a hamstring kept him sidelined for two weeks, the Colts’ aerial attack is full-go in week 8.

49ers at Cardinals (4:25 pm ET)

Key Matchup: Will new Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich save David Johnson’s season?

The Cardinals have not played in over a week, but they are going to have a new identity in Week 8 against the Niners. New offensive Byron Leftwich is taking over Mike McCoy, vowing to (insert) emulate David Johnson’s use under former head coach Bruce Arians. We shall see. In 2017, Arians hired Leftwich and praised him enthusiastically when given the opportunity.

Regardless, Johnson’s use can not be much worse. As we have noted in this space all year, Johnson is running just three percent of his routes split out wide as a receiver, down significantly from his 2016 season under Arians (20 percent of routes in the slot or out wide). Additionally, former offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was using Johnson as a “hammer” back – instead of the dynamic weapon he actually is:

Over the full season, the Cards’ defense has allowed a rushing gain over 10 or more yards at the seventh-highest clip even though the unit sends eight or more defenders into the box at the league’s second-highest rate. What’s more, no team is permitting more fantasy points per goal to opposing running backs than Arizona.

Robert Woods has quickly become a fantasy stud this season, earning at least 5 catches and gaining over 78 yards in six-straight games. Woods leads L.A. in target share (26 percent) while his 653 air yards bests speed demon Brandin Cooks (579).

Without Cooper Kupp (knee) last week, Robert Woods was the Rams primary slot receiver, running 62 percent of his routes from the interior. That’s a sizable jump from his season-long average (30 percent final rate; per Next Gen Stats). Now, Woods faces a Green Bay secondary that has actually done an adequate job slowing down receivers out wide but is still getting whacked by final receivers. Per Next Gen, the Packers are allowing 97.3 yards per game to interior receivers (tenth-most) while 42 percent of their total passing output allowed comes via the slot (fourth-highest rate). Bargain is “doubtful” to play for Week 8, allowing Woods to remain the Rams slot man for one more game. Load up.

Saints at Vikings (8:20 p.m. ET); Sunday Night Football

Key Matchup: Will the Saints use long-developing plays to exploit the Vikings?

The Vikings pass defense has been up-and-down to start the season, to say the least. This year, Minnesota has allowed a perfect game to Jared Goff and coughed up a 68 percent completion rate, 8.9 yards per attempt, and a 111.2 matches Josh Allen’s rating in Week 3. Those were all easy season highs for Allen. [19659002] Of course, the Vikings also just demolished rookie Sam Darnold on the road in Week 7, forcing three interceptions, three sacks, and two fumbles (one lost). So, what’s behind their inconsistency?

Well, one factor could be Minnesota’s lack of discipline in coverage when the quarterback holds the ball for an extended amount of time. Next Gen Stats data shows the Vikings have given up an enormous 10.5 yards per try and 116.1 fits the rating when they give the opposing quarterback over 2.5 seconds to throw:

You do not need Next Gen’s incredible data to tell you that Drew Brees is incredible, regardless of how long he possesses the ball in the pocket. Men, de Vikes’ inability to hold their coverage could spell trouble if the Saints choose to call longer developing pass plays. While Xavier Rhodes is still performing near an all-world level (5.5 yards per goal; 69.1 fits rating allowed when he’s the closest defender), opposite boundary corner, Trae Waynes, is working in coverage ). Michael Thomas will get much-deserved shadow treatment from Rhodes this week, but Rhodes is banged up (ankle) and was torched for 7/85/2 in the playoffs last season when these two sides met. How the Saints try to beat the Vikings unsettled defense makes for a perfect primetime storyline.

Patriots at Bills (8:15 p.m. ET); Monday Night Football

Key Matchup: Josh Gordon’s Impact

It’s official: Josh Gordon is back. Gordon may never return to his 2013 form (6.2 receptions, 117.6 yards per game), but he has been a crucial part of the Pats’ recent offensive turnaround.

Unsurprisingly, Gordon’s presence has allowed the Patriots to employ a significantly more diverse attack. In weeks 1-3 (without Gordon), the Patriots used 11 staff (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WRs) just 35.6 percent of the time (lowest rate in the NFL), per Next Gen Stats. Over the last month, New England has used 11 staff 57 percent of the time. In this team, the Pats are averaging the fourth-most yards per play and have the league’s best success rate when they are in ’11’:

This week, Josh Gordon will probably draw shadow coverage from the Bills best corner, Tre ‘Davious White. Among qualified cornerbacks, White is top-25 in yards per goal allowed when he is the closest defender (per Next Gen Stats). White also plays press coverage on 56 percent of his snaps, the eighth-highest rate in the league. Get your popcorn ready.

– Graham Barfield is the managing editor of fantasy football content at NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter @GrahamBarfield .

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