To this point in the season NFL scoring is at it’s lowest level since 2006. This means your fantasy players’ scoring is likely much lower than their pre-season and pre-weekly projections. The upside is that it’s happening to everyone, not just you. The game all managers are playing now is will my high draft pick get it going this week or do I sit him? The way to answer that question is, is he going to get the blocking against these suddenly dominant D lines that are running the league right now. Here are my answers for Week 5. I intentionally picked six games which feature top defenses vs good offenses because their success or failure will tell us more about the future.
O–Lines That Should Dominate
Detroit Lions (vs Carolina Panthers) – I recognize this is a dicey pick. The Carolina Panthers defense has been very good this year. These two teams show up next to each other in so many defensive stats the message is obvious; this matchup is even steven. What I believe will tip the balance in the Lions favor is their pass blocking. The Panthers allow opposing quarterbacks to complete over 70% of their passes. Are you listening Golden Tate owners? Coming off their victory over the New England Patriots where Carolina allowed 293 yards I believe they will think they can win a shootout with Detroit, they can’t.
Pittsburgh Steelers (vs Jacksonville Jaguars) – Guess who the worst defense against the rush in the NFL is? The Florida cats already were before week 3 and they actually managed to get worse…against the Jets? With the Pittsburgh aerial attack coming to life the Jags won’t be able to stack the box against LeVeon Bell. Take away last week’s five-sack performance and the Jacksonville pass rush is good but not great. All matchups work against the Jaguars on both sides of the ball.
Philadelphia Eagles (vs Arizona Cardinals) – The Eagles are a unit on the rise. Working behind a great front five Carson Wentz has a good variety of high quality weapons at his fingertips. Those weapons will get a solid test this Sunday against an Arizona Cardinals D that ranks in the top ten vs the run and just outside of it vs the pass. The reason I see the Eagles O-line doing well is the Cards do not get pressure on the QB. Add that to the fact that Philadelphia already pass protects well and the whole playbook is open to Doug Pederson. Too much time equals too many points to overcome.
O-Lines That Could Struggle
Green Bay Packers (vs Dallas Cowboys) – Facing a Cowboys D that’s getting back two strong starters in Anthony Hitchens and David Irving and with tackles Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari still nursing injuries the timing for the Pack is less than ideal. Both the Packers and the Cowboys defenses are solid units that equal each other. I believe that the return of Irving takes away the opportunity to double team Demarcus Lawrence and that will tip the scales for Dallas.
Buffalo Bills ( vs Cincinnati Bengals) – With one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL and a decimated receiving core it’s miraculous that the Bills are 2 and 2. It’s true and significant that in their two wins LeSean McCoy has been dominant. As he goes so goes their season. It’s also true that Cincinnati is the unimpressive 17th ranked run D in the 32 team NFL but throw out the game against the Packers and they’ve actually been much better. Add into the mix the return of Vontaze Burfict and it’s a unit in accession. At the end of the day Jordan Mills and John Miller on the right side of the Bills line can’t move Carlos Dunlap and it costs the Bills.
Kansas City Chiefs (vs Houston Texans) – If you go by stats alone the Texans and the Chiefs are arguably the two best teams in football on BOTH sides of the football right now. In the cold hard light of day however I’m not a believer in either team offensively. Tyreek Hill & Kareem Hunt do not an unstoppable offense make. And Alex Smith is still the same quarterback we’ve been watching for years. That’s not to say they’re not good but they’re not as good as their gaudy numbers. Missing center Mitch Morse and guard Laurent Duvany- Tardiff are huge blows to boot. The only area that the Houston defense hasn’t performed as expected is in sacks. Only Arizona has given up more sacks than K.C in the last three games. J.J Watt and Jadevon Clowney live in Alex Smith’s kitchen all game long on Sunday.