The Matchup Machine – Week 4

Dan Schneier looks into PFF's unique stats and grades to pinpoint the best matchups at each position for Week 4.

| 3 years ago

The Matchup Machine – Week 4

roethlisbergerBack by popular demand, The Matchup Machine has returned. This season, I’ve got more data and more tools at my disposal—the hope is that this will lead to even more accurate predictions.

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.

To read the entire article, please login or sign up for a PFF Membership

Not a PFF member? Compare our membership features here.

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.


Dan Schneier is a staff writer for PFF Fantasy, a former FOX Sports NFL scribe, and an auction format enthusiast.

  • Matt C.

    Dan, thanks for bringing this back. It is nice to see some of the matchups from Clay’s article highlighted in more detail as well as the RB and QB matchups you highlight. Great job to all you guys, your content has been worth every penny these past few years and I have been an avid follower since grading began in 2008 (I think).

    Regarding the above matchup you highlighted for Antonio Brown, would you say there is an equal chance that Markus Wheaton gets targeted for some big plays when he is matched up with Banks?

    • Dan Schneier

      Hey Matt, thanks for reading! To answer your question, I would say yes. The reason I highlight Brown is because he should still see around 40 percent of his snaps matched up with Banks. However, Wheaton will probably see closer to 50 percent with Banks. I do believe that this makes Wheaton an interesting WR3 or FLEX play, but Brown is just so much more consistent. Putting the matchups aside, from what I’ve seen on NFL Game Rewind, Ben and Markus still have some work to do from a chemistry standpoint. They have flashes of being on the same page, but it’s not all the time. Having said that, Wheaton is certainly capable of burning Banks who has looked lost in Lovie Smith’s new scheme.

      P.S. – Tight ends are tough to tackle because it’s difficult to know how a D coordinator will play them (i.e. will he use bracket coverage, will he use a LB, will he use a safety, will he use a nickel corner). However, I was so close to including Larry Donnell in this bad boy! I wish I had. I highlighted him on the Fantasy Slant podcast here if you want confirmation haha or if you just want to hear about some of the other matchups I like this week. I would certainly appreciate the follow on itunes or stitcher!

      Anyway, thanks again for reading.

  • shawn

    Glad the column is back…thanks pff

    • Dan Schneier

      Shawn – glad to be back! This will be a weekly feature. Let me know if there are any matchups you want to highlight. I think going forward, if possible, I would like to take a suggestion each week for a matchup to highlight (even if it’s not necessarily one of the best/easiest of the week).

  • PaulyG4

    Yes! This column is great!

    • Dan Schneier

      Thanks Pauly. I appreciate it.