NFL Analytics: Positional Success Rates Allowed Through Week 7

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 7'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 Bears0.00742.5%1
San Francisco 49ers0.01842.6%2
Pittsburgh Steelers0.02943.6%3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers-0.04443.8%4
Baltimore Ravens-0.03544.5%5
Washington Football Team0.041144.5%6
Kansas City Chiefs-0.07144.7%7
Indianapolis Colts-0.01645.1%8
Los Angeles Rams-0.04245.3%9
Arizona Cardinals0.081246.0%10
Dallas Cowboys0.252546.1%11
Los Angeles Chargers0.151646.7%12
Miami Dolphins-0.04346.9%13
Philadelphia Eagles0.151446.9%14
Denver Broncos0.021047.9%15
Detroit Lions0.201949.1%16
Minnesota Vikings0.352850.2%17
Cincinnati Bengals0.252450.6%18
Buffalo Bills0.161750.8%19
Cleveland Browns0.202051.0%20
Carolina Panthers0.151551.3%21
Las Vegas Raiders0.362951.5%22
Seattle Seahawks0.242351.9%23
New Orleans Saints0.262752.1%24
New York Giants0.212152.9%25
New England Patriots0.091353.1%26
Green Bay Packers0.191853.5%27
Tennessee Titans0.222254.5%28
Atlanta Falcons0.383254.5%29
Houston Texans0.363054.9%30
Jacksonville Jaguars0.373155.4%31
New York Jets0.262655.8%32
NFL Average0.15 49.1%

Running Back Rush Defense

Defense Rushing NEP/
Rank Rushing
Success Rate
Pittsburgh Steelers-0.19227.4%1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers-0.20129.8%2
Baltimore Ravens-0.11531.9%3
Philadelphia Eagles-0.08633.5%4
New York Jets0.031736.3%5
Denver Broncos-0.07736.7%6
Indianapolis Colts-0.021138.4%7
New Orleans Saints0.011238.5%8
New York Giants0.021539.0%9
Jacksonville Jaguars0.011339.4%10
Chicago Bears0.051939.6%11
San Francisco 49ers-0.12439.7%12
Seattle Seahawks-0.021040.3%13
Atlanta Falcons-0.14340.9%14
Washington Football Team-0.03941.6%15
Green Bay Packers0.132842.4%16
Arizona Cardinals0.021642.5%17
Cincinnati Bengals0.082342.7%18
Los Angeles Chargers-0.05844.0%19
Los Angeles Rams0.072145.0%20
Tennessee Titans0.112745.6%21
Dallas Cowboys0.132945.8%22
Carolina Panthers0.102546.8%23
Houston Texans0.203247.1%24
Buffalo Bills0.102447.6%25
Kansas City Chiefs0.082248.0%26
Detroit Lions0.183048.3%27
Cleveland Browns0.021448.5%28
Minnesota Vikings0.041849.4%29
Las Vegas Raiders0.193150.0%30
New England Patriots0.052050.7%31
Miami Dolphins0.112653.8%32
NFL Average0.03 42.5%

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 Chiefs51.1%2246.6%155.8%18
San Francisco 49ers39.0%647.7%253.7%13
Washington Football Team46.7%1547.7%363.8%28
Miami Dolphins58.1%3050.0%454.5%15
Chicago Bears30.2%150.7%550.9%6
Arizona Cardinals47.2%1751.3%651.9%9
Baltimore Ravens36.5%452.1%763.8%28
Tampa Bay Buccaneers44.1%1452.2%851.1%7
Indianapolis Colts51.5%2452.9%938.9%1
Los Angeles Rams41.8%1153.6%1056.3%20
Carolina Panthers56.3%2955.0%1150.0%5
Pittsburgh Steelers39.3%755.7%1240.4%2
Green Bay Packers66.7%3255.9%1360.7%27
Buffalo Bills51.3%2356.3%1458.1%21
Denver Broncos47.5%1856.3%1452.4%10
Dallas Cowboys35.5%356.5%1660.0%24
Detroit Lions41.0%956.6%1751.7%8
Los Angeles Chargers34.5%256.8%1853.7%13
Minnesota Vikings42.5%1357.1%1976.7%32
Philadelphia Eagles36.6%557.1%1960.4%26
Cincinnati Bengals53.7%2658.0%2153.1%11
Cleveland Browns46.7%1558.5%2253.3%12
Las Vegas Raiders47.5%1958.9%2356.1%19
Atlanta Falcons50.8%2159.5%2464.3%31
Tennessee Titans41.7%1059.6%2560.0%24
New York Giants54.9%2759.9%2655.0%16
Seattle Seahawks42.4%1261.0%2745.5%3
New York Jets59.6%3161.2%2859.0%23
New Orleans Saints55.3%2861.3%2958.2%22
Jacksonville Jaguars50.0%2061.7%3055.6%17
New England Patriots51.7%2562.4%3148.3%4
Houston Texans39.5%865.2%3264.2%30
NFL Average46.8% 56.2% 55.6%