The Matchup Machine - Week 4
For those who missed it last season, I will look into all of the different matchups in fantasy football including quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends in an attempt to pick the overall best and worst matchups of the week. Fortunately, PFF has all the tools to break down each individual matchup. Want to know how your wide receiver is going to do? Well if he lines up as a split end on 90% of his snaps, we can pinpoint which cornerback he will be matching up with for those snaps.
Of course, as was the case last season, this column will become more accurate as the season goes on and we compile more grades for the players and get a feel for tendencies and overall strengths/weaknesses of the 32 teams.
Ben Roethlisberger vs. Buccaneers
Through three weeks, the Buccaneers defense has brought up the rear in PFF’s overall defensive grades. They have been the worst team overall in pass coverage (-21.3), the third-worst in generating a pass rush (-7.4), and in the bottom 10 in overall run defense (-4.4). Even if you take out last Thursday’s embarrassment and used the average of the team’s grades from their first two games, the Buccaneers would still grade out in the bottom five teams in pass rush and pass coverage. The likely return of defensive end Michael Johnson has a greater impact on the Buccaneers run defense, and in the passing game he should be neutralized by Kelvin Beachum (+2.7) who has graded out as the 10th-best left tackle in PFF’s pass block grade. The Steelers interior line is also pass blocking much better in 2014, and Maurkice Pouncey (+2.3) and David DeCastro (+3.3) have barely allowed any pressures to come through them. I expect the Steelers to eliminate the pass rush almost entirely which will give Roethlisberger plenty of time to pick on a secondary that doesn’t feature one player with a positive pass coverage grade.
Dan Schneier is a staff writer at PFF Fantasy and also writes about real football for FOX Sports. If you want to know any of his other evaluations on skill position players, continue the conversation, or yell at him for something he missed, you can find him on Twitter @DanSchneierNFL. You can also add him to your network on Google+ to find all of his past material.