In an earlier article, we discussed targeting players based on their competition's offensive pace and time of possession. We are going to expand on this concept and look at another aspect of a player's opponent, the defense they will be playing against. Both an opponent's defense and offense should be considered when selecting your players in a DraftKings lineup. In this article, we'll look at the defenses that present favorable matchups to passers and receivers.
Below I include a chart of defensive team stats against the pass during the 2013 season. It's sorted by total pass yards against, but all of the information is important. Targeting players based on their opponent's pass defense can be very tricky. You can find teams with terrible pass defenses, but their team as a whole may also be terrible, so they are involved in a lot of blow-out losses. Blow-out wins do not usually produce great fantasy numbers for the passers and pass catchers on the victorious side. Pass attempts (Att) shows how often teams were passed against. Losing teams like the Texans, Rams, Redskins and Falcons finished in the bottom six for pass attempts against.
Another important stat to look at is the average yards per play (Avg) to see which teams were passed against with a high level of effectiveness. In the chart below, the stats located in the dark red boxes should be considered advantageous, while the stats in the blue are not (see the Seattle Seahawks). One team that really jumps off the page to me is the New Orleans Saints. For years, the Saints were a great team to target because they scored so many points and you would expect a shootout with a lot of passing on both sides. However, in 2013, the Saints had only 507 pass attempts against them, tied for second fewest in the NFL.
Pass Defenses to Target
In 2013, the Eagles were not too bad per pass attempt, averaging 6.9 yards per attempt (13th worst in the NFL). However, they allowed 670 pass attempts and 289.8 yards passing a game, which were by far the most in the league.
Bottom Line: Target the Eagles this year. Target them a lot.
My No. 2 team to pick on is the Cowboys. They not only gave up the sixth highest yards per pass attempt (7.4) , but they also yielded the fourth most pass attempts (623) and conceded 33 passing touchdowns, tied for second most in 2013.
Bottom Line: The Cowboys combine a terrible pass defense with solid offense. 2014 should include a lot of pass-happy, high-scoring games for the Cowboys and their opponents.
The Falcons finished just behind the Washington Redskins for the highest yards per pass attempt in the NFL last year. However, the Falcons were so bad last year, teams only attempted 516 passes against them for fifth fewest in the NFL. The Falcons should be able to rebound this year and produce enough offense to stay in games, forcing teams to keep throwing against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. The Falcons do have two second-year corners in Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. If one or both of them can make a big leap, Atlanta's secondary could make some strides in 2014.
Bottom Line: The Falcons should be one of the easiest defenses to pass against in 2014.
Other Pass Defenses to Target – Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, and St. Louis Rams
Pass Defenses NOT to Target – Seattle Seahawks (just don't ever target the Seahawks), New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills, and Tennessee Titans