NFL Analytics: Positional Success Rates Allowed Through Week 3

Which teams grade out as the best units against each offensive skill position through Week 3?

As fantasy football players, we need to study matchups each and every week.

How exactly to determine the best matchups can be tricky, but rather than look just at yards per carry or passing yards per game allowed, I like to lean on numberFire's Net Expected Points (NEP) metric in various ways. NEP indicates expected points gained for a team's offense -- or denied by a team's defense.

Here's a good example of why it matters. A 15-yard catch looks great on paper, especially compared to a 5-yard catch. But if the 15-yarder comes on 3rd-and-20, it's not very impactful. If the shorter gain comes on 3rd-and-2, it's a significant play and boosts the offense's scoring expectation. It was a success.

Adding this context can show us which teams defend positions well and which teams may have their traditional stats inflated by plays that don't matter as much as others.

You can view our overall, opponent-adjusted passing and rushing defense numbers on our team rankings page, but here's a breakdown of Success Rates allowed to the various positions across the NFL through Week 3's games.

For defensive purposes, lower success rates and expected points numbers allowed are better. Tables are sorted as such.

Quarterback Pass Defense

Defense Passing NEP/
Drop Back
Rank Passing
Success Rate
San Francisco 49ers-0.09238.5%1
Indianapolis Colts-0.27141.7%2
Cincinnati Bengals0.071041.9%3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers-0.06343.1%4
Pittsburgh Steelers0.01743.4%5
Chicago Bears0.00544.1%6
Arizona Cardinals0.081144.4%7
Washington Football Team-0.01445.7%8
Cleveland Browns0.222046.2%9
Buffalo Bills0.101246.7%10
Los Angeles Chargers0.111347.0%11
Philadelphia Eagles0.232347.4%12
Kansas City Chiefs0.01648.5%13
Dallas Cowboys0.322848.7%14
Seattle Seahawks0.272649.4%15
Las Vegas Raiders0.191949.5%16
Detroit Lions0.191850.0%17
Los Angeles Rams0.05950.8%18
Carolina Panthers0.141550.9%19
Minnesota Vikings0.272551.4%20
Atlanta Falcons0.302752.1%21
Tennessee Titans0.171652.3%22
Denver Broncos0.252452.4%23
Baltimore Ravens0.171752.8%24
New York Giants0.393152.9%25
Green Bay Packers0.222252.9%26
New Orleans Saints0.222154.0%27
Miami Dolphins0.141455.3%28
New York Jets0.373055.8%29
New England Patriots0.04855.8%30
Houston Texans0.332957.6%31
Jacksonville Jaguars0.413261.3%32
NFL Average0.15 49.4%

Running Back Rushing

Defense Rushing NEP/
Rank Rushing
Success Rate
Pittsburgh Steelers-0.27123.1%1
New York Jets-0.021527.0%2
Baltimore Ravens-0.23228.3%3
Seattle Seahawks-0.12730.4%4
New York Giants-0.071030.7%5
Philadelphia Eagles-0.031334.7%6
Jacksonville Jaguars-0.15535.1%7
San Francisco 49ers-0.18336.2%8
Tampa Bay Buccaneers-0.14636.8%9
Dallas Cowboys-0.031138.8%10
Indianapolis Colts-0.021439.7%11
Washington Football Team-0.011640.5%12
Los Angeles Chargers-0.16440.8%13
Chicago Bears0.192741.0%14
Arizona Cardinals0.021841.4%15
Denver Broncos-0.031241.4%15
New Orleans Saints0.041941.6%17
Atlanta Falcons-0.07942.9%18
Tennessee Titans0.172643.7%19
Cleveland Browns-0.12846.4%20
Cincinnati Bengals0.132147.2%21
Houston Texans0.212848.8%22
Miami Dolphins0.092049.1%23
Carolina Panthers0.132249.3%24
Detroit Lions0.263050.0%25
Kansas City Chiefs0.152350.7%26
New England Patriots-0.011750.7%26
Buffalo Bills0.212951.7%28
Green Bay Packers0.273153.6%29
Minnesota Vikings0.152455.4%30
Los Angeles Rams0.162559.4%31
Las Vegas Raiders0.373261.2%32
NFL Average0.04 43.1%

Receiving Defense vs. Position

(This table is sorted by target success rate allowed to wide receivers.)

Defense RB Target
Success Rate
Rank WR Target
Success Rate
Rank TE Target
Success Rate
Kansas City Chiefs70.6%3147.1%161.9%25
San Francisco 49ers23.5%147.1%140.0%3
Las Vegas Raiders56.3%2747.3%358.3%22
Arizona Cardinals55.0%2547.9%450.0%11
Cincinnati Bengals35.7%549.0%548.3%10
Chicago Bears33.3%351.4%655.0%18
Cleveland Browns42.1%1251.4%754.8%17
Buffalo Bills38.9%851.5%862.5%26
Washington Football Team53.3%2352.7%955.6%19
Los Angeles Chargers34.6%455.0%1059.1%23
Green Bay Packers60.7%2855.1%1176.9%32
Tampa Bay Buccaneers48.4%1855.4%1238.1%2
Pittsburgh Steelers38.9%856.3%1345.5%6
Carolina Panthers45.9%1556.6%1457.1%21
Baltimore Ravens50.0%1956.7%1570.4%30
Detroit Lions47.1%1657.1%1644.4%5
Tennessee Titans47.6%1757.9%1756.5%20
Atlanta Falcons40.0%1158.3%1863.6%28
Miami Dolphins73.7%3258.7%1946.2%7
New York Giants65.0%3058.9%2047.1%9
Indianapolis Colts50.0%1959.0%2128.6%1
Dallas Cowboys35.7%559.4%2250.0%11
Philadelphia Eagles37.5%759.7%2353.3%14
Minnesota Vikings38.9%860.7%2463.2%27
Denver Broncos45.0%1360.9%2553.6%15
Los Angeles Rams45.5%1461.3%2653.8%16
Seattle Seahawks25.8%261.9%2740.0%3
Houston Texans50.0%1963.0%2875.0%31
New Orleans Saints61.1%2964.3%2960.5%24
New York Jets56.0%2664.3%2950.0%11
New England Patriots52.6%2267.3%3146.2%7
Jacksonville Jaguars54.2%2467.4%3268.4%29
NFL Average47.3% 56.9% 55.0%