Defense Slot vs. Wide Analysis – NFC Home Games Week 1

If you haven’t read the first article on the AFC Home Games Click Here. That article provides an overview on what we are doing for this article.

The below chart outlines all the teams that are featured in the NFC home games in week 1 and listed by how many total fantasy points they allowed to the wide receiver position last season.


Team Slot PPG Wide PPG Total PPG % Slot
ATL 12.3 25.3 37.5 33%
DET 13.6 22.9 36.5 37%
PHI 9.3 23.7 33 28%
NYJ 11.4 19.7 31.1 37%
NO 13.6 16.2 29.8 46%
SF 11.8 17.3 29.1 41%
DEN 9.5 19.5 29 33%
CAR 9.3 19.3 28.6 33%
NYG 10.5 17.6 28.1 38%
CHI 9.2 18.3 27.5 33%
LAC 11.2 15.2 26.4 42%
GB 9.9 15.8 25.7 38%
WSH 8.1 17.2 25.3 32%
LAR 9.6 12.2 21.8 44%
NFL AVG 11 19.2 30.2 37%

Slot PPG – This represents how many fantasy points a defense allowed to the slot in .5 PPR in 2020

Wide PPG – This represents how many fantasy points a defense allowed to outside wide receivers in .5 PPR in 2020

Total PPG – This represents how many total fantasy points a defense allowed to the wide receiver position in .5 PPR in 2020

% Slot – This represents what percentage of the total fantasy points the defense allowed from the slot in 2020


What We Think We Know…Hopefully?


The Broncos Secondary Will Be Elite

Week 1 Opponent: New York Giants

Downgraded Matchup: Daniel Jones, Kenny Golladay and Sterling Shepard

The Broncos last season were solid against the pass allowing the 16th most pass yards and the 2nd fewest passing touchdowns in 2020. This all came with Broncos dealing with multiple injuries in the secondary. Last season only one cornerback played over 10 games.

This season the Broncos secondary got a facelift as they added veterans Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby and spent a first-round pick on Patrick Surtain. Both Darby and Fuller finished inside the top 24 in PFF coverage grades. Meanwhile, all the cornerbacks not named Bryce Callahan finished outside the top 70. This depth to go along with the return of stud slot cornerback Callahan should give fantasy manager pause heading into 2021.

This brings us to the Giants who have a lot of questions marks heading into week 1. After a disastrous 2020 it is hard to bank on Daniel Jones turning the corner right away vs. the Broncos. New wide receiver Kenny Golladay would normally be a matchup nightmare for these corners as his 6’4 frame is 5 inches higher than any of these corners. However, because of his limited offseason due to injury it is probably best to fade him. Finally, Sterling Shepard is on the PPR radar with Evan Engram out, but the Broncos allowed the 8th fewest points to slot in 2020 making him a flex at best in PPR.


The Saints Can Be Beat From The Slot

Week 1 Opponent: Green Bay Packers

Upgraded Matchup: Davante Adams and Randal Cobb

The Saints pulled off a stunning trade acquiring Bradley Roby from the Texans. This gives the Saints a solid cornerback duo with stud cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Last year the Saints used Lattimore to shadow opposing number ones. This left Janoris Jenkins to play a similar role vs. opposing number twos. Roby is more than qualified to play that role as he shadowed five players in 2020 including players like A.J. Brown, Adam Thielen, and D.J. Chark.

The Saints will be using Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in the slot once again in 2021. In 2020 Gardner-Johnson allowed the 9th most yards and the 4th most YAC from the slot. This includes double-digit fantasy point performances from Curtis Samuel (2), Allen Lazard, Russel Gage, Anthony Miller, and Chris Godwin.

The key for the Packers in this game will be to get Davante Adams away from Marshon Lattimore as much as they can. They can do that by moving Adams into the slot as Lattimore only played 39 snaps inside in 2020. Adams on the other hand saw 39% of his targets from the slot which means wheels up! Randall Cobb has a bit of the shower narrative working for him. Aaron Rodgers lobbied to get Cobb back on the team and could pepper him with targets. This makes him an intriguing DFS play and possible WR3/4 in week 1.


What Has Changed From 2020?


The Eagles Gave Up The 4th Most Points To Outside Wide Receivers In 2020

Week 1 Opponent: Atlanta Falcons

Matchup Downgrade: Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, and Matt Ryan

The Eagles DST last season was a big play waiting to happen as they allowed the most 40+ pass plays with 12 in 2020. The Eagles’ stats overall don’t look terrible as they were 18th in pass yards and touchdowns allowed. When you dive deeper on a per play basis that is where the issues lied. The Eagles were 26th in yards per attempt, 27th in comp percentage, and 29th in first down percentage. These were the main drivers to why the Eagles allowed the 7th most points to the wide receiver position last season. 

A new coaching staff is in with Nick Sirianni as he brought over the Colts Defensive Back coach Jonathan Gannon. The biggest difference in the scheme will be the reliance on man coverage. Under the previous coaching staff, the Eagles cornerbacks played roughly 45% of their snaps in man. The Colts were under 20%-man coverage last year. This led to the Colts only allowing 6 40+ pass plays which tied for 3rd fewest in 2020. This is good news for top cornerback Darius Slay who’s PFF grade was 23 points higher in zone. Also, the Eagles added solid veteran cornerback Steven Nelson who was inside the top 30 in PFF zone coverage grades last season Pittsburgh.

The impact for Calvin Ridley won’t be huge as he is still a must-start player. This information is more for ongoing purposes as the Eagles secondary should improve vs. wide receivers in 2021. A side note is for Russell Gage as the Eagles allowed the 6th fewest points in the slot in 2020. Gage won’t be in a lot of starting lineups along with Matt Ryan, but our suggestion is to fade both for DFS and season-long if you do have them as a potential starter.


The Rams Allowed The 9th Fewest Points To The Slot

Week 1 Opponent: Chicago Bears

Matchup upgrade: Allen Robinson

The Rams are changing their Defensive Coordinator (DC) to Raheem Morris in 2020. It would be unfair to compare Morris’ experience last season as the Falcons DC, but the Falcons did allow the 8th most points to the slot in 2020. Now we know the Falcons didn’t have the talent that the Rams do in the secondary, but there are some notable changes to the Rams Personnel.

The two players who played the most slot snaps for the Rams in 2020 were Troy Hill and John Johnson. Both players left in free agency to ironically play for the Browns. This leaves the Rams to fill that role with third-year corner David Long Jr. who had the lowest PFF grade among Rams cornerbacks in 2020. Jalen Ramsey does travel inside from time to time, but only spent 19% of snaps in the slot in 2020. This could make whoever is the main slot cornerback a liability for this defense.

The question you might be wonder is why does this impact Allen Robinson. Robinson did see over 33% of his targets from the slot in 2020, but that isn’t why he is the focus. After the trade of Anthony Miller reports surfaced that Robinson could be the primary slot wide receiver for the Bears. This does make sense as the Bears current roster is full of vertical outside wide receivers including Darnell Mooney, Marquise Goodwin, Damiere Byrd and Breshad Perriman. Also, we could see Matt Nagy start to use Robinson similar to how his former employer Andy Reid uses Tyreek Hill in the slot. Hill saw 54% of his targets from the inside in 2020. This potential move inside would greatly help Robinson improve on his performance of 4-70 vs. the Rams and Ramsey last season.

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Sources: Razzball, Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference, FFToday, and Football Outsiders

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1 year ago

Always appreciate these articles. Last year, you had one on air yards, that led me to a Will Fuller start in DFS the week he went wild.