NFL Analytics: Positional Success Rates Allowed Through Week 5

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 5'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
Chicago Bears0.02542.3%1
San Francisco 49ers0.091043.5%2
Los Angeles Rams-0.10243.8%3
Indianapolis Colts-0.10144.2%4
Tampa Bay Buccaneers0.02644.6%5
Pittsburgh Steelers0.07844.8%6
Arizona Cardinals0.121545.6%7
Washington Football Team0.111145.9%8
Cincinnati Bengals0.121446.2%9
Kansas City Chiefs0.02446.6%10
Baltimore Ravens-0.02346.6%11
Denver Broncos0.111347.7%12
Philadelphia Eagles0.182048.2%13
Dallas Cowboys0.252448.3%14
Minnesota Vikings0.252548.6%15
Las Vegas Raiders0.292948.9%16
Carolina Panthers0.111249.2%17
Los Angeles Chargers0.161749.5%18
Cleveland Browns0.171850.0%19
New Orleans Saints0.222250.0%19
Seattle Seahawks0.242350.8%21
Miami Dolphins0.04750.8%22
Detroit Lions0.262651.9%23
Buffalo Bills0.192152.0%24
Houston Texans0.282852.3%25
New York Giants0.272753.5%26
Green Bay Packers0.171953.8%27
Tennessee Titans0.151653.8%28
New England Patriots0.07954.4%29
New York Jets0.333056.1%30
Atlanta Falcons0.423256.4%31
Jacksonville Jaguars0.393159.0%32
Grand Total0.15 49.2%

Running Back Rush Defense

Defense Rushing NEP/
Rank Rushing
Success Rate
Pittsburgh Steelers-0.16425.0%1
Baltimore Ravens-0.18230.4%2
New York Jets0.031730.6%3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers-0.20131.8%4
Philadelphia Eagles-0.03933.3%5
San Francisco 49ers-0.18336.6%6
Indianapolis Colts-0.021037.8%7
New Orleans Saints0.011538.0%8
Chicago Bears0.092138.1%9
New York Giants0.031838.5%10
Denver Broncos-0.07738.6%11
Seattle Seahawks-0.06839.0%12
Jacksonville Jaguars0.001339.5%13
Arizona Cardinals0.031640.3%14
Washington Football Team0.001441.4%15
Los Angeles Chargers-0.08642.6%16
Atlanta Falcons-0.09543.4%17
Tennessee Titans0.142843.8%18
Cincinnati Bengals0.112244.0%19
Buffalo Bills0.071944.0%20
Dallas Cowboys0.072045.5%21
Houston Texans0.172947.8%22
Kansas City Chiefs0.122448.1%23
Cleveland Browns-0.011248.3%24
New England Patriots-0.021148.8%25
Carolina Panthers0.142749.1%26
Green Bay Packers0.213050.0%27
Los Angeles Rams0.122351.1%28
Las Vegas Raiders0.253153.1%29
Minnesota Vikings0.142554.0%30
Detroit Lions0.293254.7%31
Miami Dolphins0.142656.1%32
Grand Total0.04 42.8%

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 Chiefs56.4%2947.6%157.6%23
Chicago Bears32.4%148.1%252.3%14
Football Team
Arizona Cardinals55.2%2549.0%450.0%11
Carolina Panthers52.0%2351.6%552.9%16
Indianapolis Colts51.9%2252.3%641.2%2
San Francisco 49ers37.9%552.7%745.2%6
Tampa Bay Buccaneers45.7%1453.1%848.4%9
Baltimore Ravens41.3%753.4%966.7%29
Las Vegas Raiders46.2%1754.4%1054.8%19
Minnesota Vikings43.8%1154.5%1173.1%32
Green Bay Packers68.6%3254.7%1268.4%31
Los Angeles Rams42.9%955.1%1348.8%10
Miami Dolphins60.0%3155.1%1453.3%17
Cincinnati Bengals46.2%1755.4%1547.9%8
Philadelphia Eagles43.3%1055.7%1664.9%26
Denver Broncos44.0%1256.4%1747.1%7
Buffalo Bills45.2%1356.6%1862.7%24
Cleveland Browns47.2%2056.8%1952.0%13
Pittsburgh Steelers40.9%657.3%2041.4%3
New Orleans Saints56.3%2757.5%2157.4%22
Los Angeles Chargers36.5%459.1%2252.6%15
Atlanta Falcons56.0%2659.3%2365.0%28
New York Giants56.3%2760.2%2451.9%12
Tennessee Titans46.2%1760.6%2553.8%18
Detroit Lions45.8%1560.8%2645.0%5
Seattle Seahawks36.0%361.3%2744.8%4
Dallas Cowboys33.3%262.1%2855.3%20
Houston Texans41.4%862.8%2963.6%25
Jacksonville Jaguars51.4%2163.5%3067.9%30
New York Jets56.8%3063.5%3055.6%21
New England Patriots52.2%2466.7%3238.1%1
NFL Average47.4% 56.5% 54.7%