Nearly every actionable aspect of the NFL is based on matchups: who to start for fantasy football, what NFL player props to take, even the outcome of the game itself is all based on matchups. Knowing where advantages and disadvantages lie on the gridiron is critical when assessing each week in the NFL. NFL Week 6 matchups are no different.
Below are four mismatches for Week 6. Typically, there’d be positions to take on both sides of the ball, but this week we found a slate of offensive mismatches.
Of course, these aren’t the only NFL Week 6 matchups that could provide opportunities for bettors this week. We encourage you to explore matchups across the league via our NFL game previews and latest NFL news.
NFL Week 6 Matchups And Mismatches To Watch
D’Andre Swift Vs. Bengals Linebackers And Safeties
On the surface, the Cincinnati Bengals are pretty sound defensively against the run (top 10 in rush defense DVOA and rush defense EPA). However, value lies through the air with D’Andre Swift in this game. The Bengals have allowed the second-most targets (51) and receptions (41) to running backs so far this year, as well as the sixth-most receiving yards to backs.
Swift is one of the most versatile backs in the NFL and Dan Campbell has used him in that very manner. Swift is second among running backs, pulling in 18.7% of his team’s targets on the season and first in running back receptions (29). He’s lined up 26 times as a slot or wide receiver this season as well.
Cincinnati’s Logan Wilson does grade out as one of the league’s better coverage linebackers, with lateral quickness not normally found in players at his position. However, he lacks the top end speed necessary to lock down a player like Swift. Also unlikely is his duty to shadow Swift all game long, leading to increased opportunity through the air.
The last aspect in why D’Andre Swift could see a big game through the air is receiver Quintez Cephus– the team’s third-most targeted player– is out with a shoulder injury, vacating those targets.
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Bengals Receivers Vs. Lions Cornerbacks
Swift isn’t the only player expected to see opportunity through the air; even more prominent is the Bengals receiving corps’ advantage over a decimated and abysmal defensive secondary. With their top-two corners– Jeff Okudah and Ifeatu Melifonwu– both on season-ending IR, the Detroit Lions are scrambling to find someone to play corner. All three of their current rotational players are ranked outside the top 90 among CBs, according to PFF.
On the other side is a trio of talented pass catchers in rookie Ja’Marr Chase, sophomore Tee Higgins, and veteran Tyler Boyd. Per PFF, Chase and Higgins have the second- and fourth-most advantageous matchups among wide receivers this week. Leading corner Bobby Price has allowed 19.3 yards per reception so far this season while slot corner A.J. Parker is allowing a catch rate of 92.3% to opposing receivers.
Without a pass rush to write home about (Detroit is last in pass rush win rate), Joe Burrow should have plenty of time in the pocket to find his talented receivers open. This season, teams are targeting their tight ends the second-fewest amount against the Lions due to the success they’ve found both on the ground and through their air to their receivers.
The Bengals throw the ball to their receivers at the second-highest frequency in the NFL and for good reason. That trend should continue and these receivers should be open all day long.
Browns Offensive Line Vs. Cardinals Defensive Line
Everyone remembers how the Arizona Cardinals essentially removed Derrick Henry from their Week 1 game against the Tennessee Titans, holding him to nine first half yards. That makes them a top-tier run defense, right? Not exactly.
That game included, PFF ranks the Cardinals as the second-worst run defense in the NFL, beleaguered by a 28th rank in tackling and 31st run stop win rate. PFF also rates the Cleveland Browns’ offensive line against the Cardinals defensive line as the biggest line of scrimmage mismatch on the week.
The Browns behind Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are third in the NFL in explosive runs, while Arizona allows the most explosive runs on the season so far. They are first and second, respectively, in yards per rush after contact, a juicy metric when coupled with the Cardinals’ poor tackling grade. Jedrick Wills returned to practice Wednesday after missing the Week 5 matchup against the Chargers.
Weather may be dicey in Cleveland on Sunday with reported heavy wind in the forecast. Behind a mismatch up front, the Browns should be able to be productive on the ground once again.
Tampa Bay Slot Receivers Vs. Avonte Maddox
The Philadelphia Eagles have been a tough defense against the pass this season, ranking 10th in pass defense DVOA and fourth in yards per pass. Darius Slay and Steven Nelson have kept their opponents in check, allowing one 100+ yard outing so far this season. That player? Tyreek Hill– who took 15 snaps in the slot that resulted in seven receptions and two of his three touchdowns.
Enter slot corner Avonte Maddox, who aligned in the slot for 48/58 snaps that game. Maddox is the clear weak link in the Eagles’ defense. Maddox stands 5′ 8″ tall and 180 pounds, who is tasked with lining up frequently across from Chris Godwin (6′ 1″, 208 pounds) or Mike Evans (6′ 5″, 225 pounds). If Philly chooses to line Maddox up in the slot for most of this game, he may be bullied for a ton of receptions.
The Eagles as a team are 25th in red zone defense, allowing touchdowns on 75% of opposing red zone drives. Godwin has been targeted the second-most times in the red zone this season (11) and Evans finished fourth in red zone touchdowns a season ago (nine).