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If we learned anything from Super Bowl XL, it's that matchups matter. Peyton Manning was the best quarterback the entire season, throwing for over 5,000 yards with 55 touchdowns. But when faced with the vaunted Seattle Seahawks defense, the top-ranked defense in the NFL according to numberFire's metrics last year, Manning and the Broncos flopped.
You could have the best fantasy quarterback in the league, but they may be practically useless when facing great defenses. Matchups matter. Sam Bradford is numberFire's 22nd-rated quarterback, and in the NFC West, Bradford will have to face the Seahawks, Cardinals and 49ers defense a total of six times. Based on numberFire's Defensive Net Expected Points Metric (NEP), used to measure how many points a team is taking away from an offense compared to another team in a similar situation, these three defenses all ranked in the top seven last year.
Facing those defenses six times is a challenge, and really hurts any players fantasy value. Especially quarterbacks.
Facing a tough defense can give a quarterback a mediocre or even bad week. While targeting a good quarterback is important in fantasy, it's also important to target one with good matchups. And using numberFire's Net Expected Points (NEP) Metrics, we can determine which quarterbacks you may want to target in drafts this season based on beginning-of-the-year matchups, giving you an early-season edge.
Let's get at it.