The Quest for the Perfect Coverage: NFC

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The Quest for the Perfect Coverage: NFC

We spend countless hours each week attempting to identify the peak performers in order to build the optimal lineup/s. It’s a constant attempt at perfection that can lead our patience toward a descent into madness. No matter how we approach the process, game script, injuries, inconsistent targeting, and unreported coaching decisions will always force us into that cat-and-mouse trajectory. While it’s far from a foolproof tool, the purpose of this study is an anticipative projection of the optimal matchups for key offensive skill players. To accomplish this task, the first step of the painstaking process was accomplished during the 2021 season, reading and collecting the coverage shell data for every play from all 32 defensives.

The next step is accounting for the replacement of 12 of the 32 defensive coordinators (DC) from last season (38%). Three of those vacancies were filled by coaches that have already been on staff for at least three seasons. No scheme changes for those teams are expected at this time. For the other nine, a study into the background influences that paved their path to the DC role determined the defenses' shell expectations for the 2022 season.

A spreadsheet was constructed listing the shell percentages for Cover 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, total Man, and total Zone from each defense that each offense will face on their respective ‘22 schedules. A formula determined the ranking each offense was assigned against each of those schemes. You’ll also notice schedule difficulty rankings for each offense that are provided for the overall schedule, fantasy playoff schedule, and the schedule of passing defenses each passing offense will face.

The final sequence of steps in the process was to compile a chart of the top ‘22 coverage matchups for every key fantasy contributor. The top-three coverage schemes were selected from each individual’s profile that they have found the most success against during the last one to three seasons. For the key incoming rookies, that coverage success was taken from their collegiate profiles.

For a matchup to be considered positive, the combined percentage of those three schemes selected from that individual’s profile must exceed the combined NFL average percentage for each scheme. The resulting positive matchups are provided in charted form below. The players that had the most selected beneficial matchups from the schedule are listed for each team.

If any of that is unclear, allow me to simplify the deal by stating that the charts below show the best matchups each featured player will face this upcoming season. That’s all of the reading required, as we’ll allow the numbers to tell us everything we need to know. Let’s dive into the statistical goodness from the NFC.

Arizona Cardinals

Overall Estimated Ranks for the Coverage Schemes the Passing Offense will Face in 2022:

  • Cover 1 = 26th-most

  • Cover 2 = 17th

  • Cover 3 = 17th

  • Cover 4 = 14th

  • Cover 6 = 1st

  • Man = 15th

  • Zone = 19th

Schedule Difficulty:

  • Overall = 3rd-most difficult
  • Fantasy Playoffs = 17th-easiest
  • Passing Defenses = 9th-most difficult

Player Benefiting Most from ‘22 Schedule:

Notable Matchups for Key Players:

Atlanta Falcons

Overall Estimated Ranks for the Coverage Schemes the Passing Offense will Face in ‘22:

  • Cover 1 = 20th-most

  • Cover 2 = 24th

  • Cover 3 = 10th

  • Cover 4 = 2nd

  • Cover 6 = 17th

  • Man = 5th

  • Zone = 24th

Schedule Difficulty:

  • Overall = The most difficult
  • Fantasy Playoffs = 6th-most difficult
  • Passing Defenses = 6th-most difficult

Player Benefiting Most from ‘22 Schedule:

Notable Matchups for Key Players:

Carolina Panthers

Overall Estimated Ranks for the Coverage Schemes the Passing Offense will Face in ‘22:

  • Cover 1 = 30th-most

  • Cover 2 = 1st

  • Cover 3 = 9th

  • Cover 4 = 19th

  • Cover 6 = 20th

  • Man = 28th

  • Zone = 3rd

Schedule Difficulty:

  • Overall = 8th-most difficult
  • Fantasy Playoffs = 5th-easiest
  • Passing Defenses = 13th-easiest

Player Benefiting Most from ‘22 Schedule:

Notable Matchups for Key Players:

Chicago Bears

Overall Estimated Ranks for the Coverage Schemes the Passing Offense will Face in ‘22:

  • Cover 1 = 4th-most
  • Cover 2 = 18th
  • Cover 3 = 32nd
  • Cover 4 = 12th
  • Cover 6 = 8th
  • Man = 9th
  • Zone = 28th

Schedule Difficulty:

  • Overall = 4th-easiest
  • Fantasy Playoffs = 5th-most difficult
  • Passing Defenses = 10th-easiest

Player Benefiting Most from ‘22 Schedule:

Notable Matchups for Key Players:

Dallas Cowboys

Overall Estimated Ranks for the Coverage Schemes the Passing Offense will Face in ‘22:

  • Cover 1 = 27th-most

  • Cover 2 = 7th

  • Cover 3 = 14th

  • Cover 4 = 7th

  • Cover 6 = 14th

  • Man = 31st

  • Zone = 2nd

Schedule Difficulty:

  • Overall = 14th-easiest
  • Fantasy Playoffs = 13th-most difficult
  • Passing Defenses = 7th-easiest

Player Benefiting Most from ‘22 Schedule:

Notable Matchups for Key Players:

Detroit Lions

Overall Estimated Ranks for the Coverage Schemes the Passing Offense will Face in ‘22:

  • Cover 1 = 5th-most

  • Cover 2 = 28th

  • Cover 3 = 29th

  • Cover 4 = 20th

  • Cover 6 = 5th

  • Man = 7th

  • Zone = 25th

Schedule Difficulty:

  • Overall = 12th-easiest
  • Fantasy Playoffs = 12th-easiest
  • Passing Defenses = 14th-most difficult

Player Benefiting Most from ‘22 Schedule:

Notable Matchups for Key Players:

Green Bay Packers

Overall Estimated Ranks for the Coverage Schemes the Passing Offense will Face in ‘22:

  • Cover 1 = 8th-most
  • Cover 2 = 19th
  • Cover 3 = 31st
  • Cover 4 = 17th
  • Cover 6 = 10th
  • Man = 10th
  • Zone = 22nd

Schedule Difficulty:

  • Overall = 7th-easiest
  • Fantasy Playoffs = 13th-easiest
  • Passing Defenses = 6th-easiest

Players Benefiting Most from ‘22 Schedule:

Notable Matchups for Key Players:

Los Angeles Rams

Overall Estimated Ranks for the Coverage Schemes the Passing Offense will Face in ‘22:

  • Cover 1 = 21st-most

  • Cover 2 = 14th

  • Cover 3 = 22nd

  • Cover 4 = 5th

  • Cover 6 = 12th

  • Man = 23rd

  • Zone = 8th

Schedule Difficulty:

  • Overall = 4th-most difficult
  • Fantasy Playoffs = 3rd-most difficult
  • Passing Defenses = The most difficult

Player Benefiting Most from ‘22 Schedule:

Notable Matchups for Key Players:

Minnesota Vikings

Overall Estimated Ranks for the Coverage Schemes the Passing Offense will Face in ‘22:

  • Cover 1 = 16th-most

  • Cover 2 = 25th

  • Cover 3 = 21st

  • Cover 4 = 9th

  • Cover 6 = 22nd

  • Man = 17th

  • Zone = 16th

Schedule Difficulty:

  • Overall = 13th-most difficult
  • Fantasy Playoffs = 15th-most difficult
  • Passing Defenses = 9th-most difficult

Player Benefiting Most from ‘22 Schedule:

Notable Matchups for Key Players:

New Orleans Saints

Overall Estimated Ranks for the Coverage Schemes the Passing Offense will Face in ‘22:

  • Cover 1 = 24th-most

  • Cover 2 = 3rd

  • Cover 3 = 5th

  • Cover 4 = 30th

  • Cover 6 = 18th

  • Man = 26th

  • Zone = 9th

Schedule Difficulty:

  • Overall = 9th-most difficult
  • Fantasy Playoffs = 8th-most difficult
  • Passing Defenses = 12th-most difficult

Player Benefiting Most from ‘22 Schedule:

Notable Matchups for Key Players:

New York Giants

Overall Estimated Ranks for the Coverage Schemes the Passing Offense will Face in ‘22:

  • Cover 1 = 12th-most
  • Cover 2 = 8th
  • Cover 3 = 26th
  • Cover 4 = 25th
  • Cover 6 = 15th
  • Man = 19th
  • Zone = 14th

Schedule Difficulty:

  • Overall = 9th-easiest
  • Fantasy Playoffs = 6th-easiest
  • Passing Defenses = 3rd-easiest

Player Benefiting Most from ‘22 Schedule:

Notable Matchups for Key Players:

Philadelphia Eagles

Overall Estimated Ranks for the Coverage Schemes the Passing Offense will Face in ‘22:

  • Cover 1 = 14th-most

  • Cover 2 = 11th

  • Cover 3 = 19th

  • Cover 4 = 15th

  • Cover 6 = 30th

  • Man = 16th

  • Zone = 17th

Schedule Difficulty:

  • Overall = 2nd-easiest
  • Fantasy Playoffs = 10th-most difficult
  • Passing Defenses = 2nd-easiest

Player Benefiting Most from ‘22 Schedule:

Notable Matchups for Key Players:

Seattle Seahawks

Overall Estimated Ranks for the Coverage Schemes the Passing Offense will Face in ‘22:

  • Cover 1 = 28th-most

  • Cover 2 = 9th

  • Cover 3 = 7th

  • Cover 4 = 26th

  • Cover 6 = 6th

  • Man = 27th

  • Zone = 6th

Schedule Difficulty:

  • Overall = 7th-most difficult
  • Fantasy Playoffs = 11th-easiest
  • Passing Defenses = 5th-most difficult

Player Benefiting Most from ‘22 Schedule:

Notable Matchups for Key Players:

San Francisco 49ers

Overall Estimated Ranks for the Coverage Schemes the Passing Offense will Face in ‘22:

  • Cover 1 = 29th-most
  • Cover 2 = 26th
  • Cover 3 = 13th
  • Cover 4 = 1st
  • Cover 6 = 11th
  • Man = 30th
  • Zone = 5th

Schedule Difficulty:

  • Overall = 10th-most difficult
  • Fantasy Playoffs = 10th-easiest
  • Passing Defenses = 14th-easiest

Player Benefiting Most from ‘22 Schedule:

Notable Matchups for Key Players:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Overall Estimated Ranks for the Coverage Schemes the Passing Offense will Face in ‘22:

  • Cover 1 = 15th-most
  • Cover 2 = 4th
  • Cover 3 = 27th
  • Cover 4 = 23rd
  • Cover 6 = 21st
  • Man = 14th
  • Zone = 18th

Schedule Difficulty:

  • Overall = 6th-most difficult
  • Fantasy Playoffs = 11th-most difficult
  • Passing Defenses = 11th-most difficult

Player Benefiting Most from ‘22 Schedule:

Notable Matchups for Key Players:

Washington Commanders

Overall Estimated Ranks for the Coverage Schemes the Passing Offense will Face in ‘22:

  • Cover 1 = 17th-most

  • Cover 2 = 5th

  • Cover 3 = 20th

  • Cover 4 = 18th

  • Cover 6 = 26th

  • Man = 25th

  • Zone = 13th

Schedule Difficulty:

  • Overall = 10th-easiest
  • Fantasy Playoffs = 3rd-most difficult
  • Passing Defenses = 15th-most difficult

Player Benefiting Most from ‘22 Schedule:

Notable Matchups for Key Players:

With a dedicated focus on studying game film and a faithful commitment to metrics & analytics, Huber’s specialties include DFS (college and NFL), Devy & Dynasty formats, and second-to-none fantasy analysis of high school prospects.

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