NFL Analytics: Positional Success Rates Allowed Through Week 6

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 6'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 Bears-0.02441.0%1
San Francisco 49ers0.071142.3%2
Tampa Bay Buccaneers-0.05143.0%3
Pittsburgh Steelers-0.02544.1%4
Baltimore Ravens-0.03344.5%5
Arizona Cardinals0.081244.7%6
Indianapolis Colts-0.01645.1%7
Los Angeles Rams0.00745.7%8
Kansas City Chiefs0.00845.8%9
Washington Football Team0.101445.8%10
Dallas Cowboys0.242546.3%11
Detroit Lions0.171646.6%12
Denver Broncos0.01946.8%13
Miami Dolphins-0.04246.9%14
Philadelphia Eagles0.181848.0%15
Cincinnati Bengals0.181948.1%16
Carolina Panthers0.101348.7%17
Las Vegas Raiders0.292848.9%18
Cleveland Browns0.171749.0%19
Los Angeles Chargers0.161549.5%20
New Orleans Saints0.222150.0%21
Minnesota Vikings0.353050.2%22
New England Patriots0.021050.3%23
Seattle Seahawks0.242450.8%24
Green Bay Packers0.192052.0%25
Buffalo Bills0.232352.9%26
New York Giants0.222253.5%27
Houston Texans0.322954.3%28
New York Jets0.282755.4%29
Atlanta Falcons0.383255.6%30
Tennessee Titans0.262655.9%31
Jacksonville Jaguars0.353156.3%32
NFL Average0.14 48.6%

Running Back Rush Defense

Defense Rushing NEP/
Rank Rushing
Success Rate
Pittsburgh Steelers-0.21125.9%1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers-0.18231.7%2
Baltimore Ravens-0.11531.9%3
Philadelphia Eagles-0.06833.1%4
New York Jets0.031634.5%5
Denver Broncos-0.09636.9%6
Chicago Bears0.052037.3%7
New Orleans Saints0.011438.0%8
Indianapolis Colts-0.021138.4%9
New York Giants0.031538.4%10
San Francisco 49ers-0.14338.5%11
Seattle Seahawks-0.06939.0%12
Jacksonville Jaguars0.041740.1%13
Arizona Cardinals0.001341.0%14
Tennessee Titans0.092341.1%15
Washington Football Team-0.011241.1%16
Atlanta Falcons-0.12442.0%17
Los Angeles Chargers-0.08742.6%18
Cincinnati Bengals0.102443.5%19
Dallas Cowboys0.132845.8%20
Kansas City Chiefs0.092245.8%20
Green Bay Packers0.182946.4%22
Carolina Panthers0.102546.5%23
Los Angeles Rams0.082146.8%24
Houston Texans0.233047.2%25
New England Patriots-0.031047.8%26
Buffalo Bills0.112647.9%27
Minnesota Vikings0.041849.4%28
Cleveland Browns0.041950.0%29
Detroit Lions0.243152.5%30
Las Vegas Raiders0.253253.1%31
Miami Dolphins0.112753.8%32
NFL Average0.03 42.3%

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 Chiefs56.1%2846.6%157.1%21
San Francisco 49ers38.2%947.0%251.3%12
Washington Football Team44.4%1648.5%365.1%28
Chicago Bears30.0%149.2%448.9%8
Arizona Cardinals47.7%1949.6%550.0%9
Miami Dolphins58.1%3050.0%654.5%17
Carolina Panthers54.5%2650.5%751.1%11
Baltimore Ravens36.5%452.1%863.8%27
Tampa Bay Buccaneers44.2%1552.1%948.6%6
Green Bay Packers66.7%3252.8%1060.7%26
Indianapolis Colts51.5%2452.9%1138.9%1
Denver Broncos48.6%2054.4%1248.6%6
Las Vegas Raiders46.2%1854.4%1354.8%18
Cincinnati Bengals51.4%2354.8%1451.8%13
Detroit Lions37.5%855.0%1542.9%3
Pittsburgh Steelers42.3%1155.4%1645.0%5
Los Angeles Rams42.0%1056.3%1752.8%15
Cleveland Browns43.6%1456.7%1850.0%9
Minnesota Vikings42.5%1257.1%1976.7%32
Philadelphia Eagles37.1%757.1%1965.9%30
New Orleans Saints56.3%2957.5%2157.4%22
Buffalo Bills50.0%2157.7%2260.0%23
Dallas Cowboys32.1%258.0%2356.4%20
Atlanta Falcons52.7%2558.9%2465.3%29
Los Angeles Chargers36.5%459.1%2552.6%14
New England Patriots50.0%2160.2%2640.9%2
New York Giants54.5%2660.7%2754.8%18
Seattle Seahawks36.0%361.3%2844.8%4
New York Jets59.1%3162.2%2952.9%16
Tennessee Titans43.3%1362.7%3060.0%23
Jacksonville Jaguars45.2%1762.8%3160.0%23
Houston Texans36.8%666.1%3266.0%31
NFL Average46.1% 55.7% 55.1%