NFL Analytics: Positional Success Rates Allowed Through Week 12

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 12's games (excluding the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers game).

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
Pittsburgh Steelers-0.10139.5%1
Los Angeles Rams-0.07243.5%2
Chicago Bears0.101444.0%3
Los Angeles Chargers0.141744.7%4
Washington Football Team0.00444.8%5
Denver Broncos0.05746.0%6
Baltimore Ravens0.02546.1%7
New Orleans Saints0.081146.4%8
San Francisco 49ers0.081246.4%9
Philadelphia Eagles0.081046.6%10
Indianapolis Colts0.05847.3%11
Miami Dolphins-0.05347.3%12
Kansas City Chiefs0.05647.6%13
Tampa Bay Buccaneers0.07947.7%14
Dallas Cowboys0.162048.4%15
Arizona Cardinals0.091348.5%16
Cincinnati Bengals0.202348.8%17
Cleveland Browns0.151849.2%18
Atlanta Falcons0.212549.4%19
Buffalo Bills0.151949.9%20
Las Vegas Raiders0.242850.0%21
Minnesota Vikings0.222750.2%22
Green Bay Packers0.131650.5%23
Seattle Seahawks0.212651.1%24
Carolina Panthers0.202251.7%25
New York Giants0.111551.8%26
Detroit Lions0.282951.9%27
Jacksonville Jaguars0.303152.6%28
Tennessee Titans0.212452.7%29
New England Patriots0.172154.1%30
Houston Texans0.283054.5%31
New York Jets0.313254.6%32
NFL Average0.13 48.7%

Running Back Rush Defense

Defense Rushing NEP/
Rank Rushing
Success Rate
Tampa Bay Buccaneers-0.15233.2%1
Pittsburgh Steelers-0.04934.3%2
Philadelphia Eagles-0.08534.8%3
Baltimore Ravens-0.09435.1%4
New York Jets-0.06735.3%5
New Orleans Saints-0.09335.5%6
Chicago Bears0.021636.5%7
Denver Broncos0.011538.0%8
New York Giants0.052239.0%9
San Francisco 49ers-0.06640.0%10
Atlanta Falcons-0.17140.3%11
Jacksonville Jaguars0.011441.2%12
Arizona Cardinals0.041941.5%13
Tennessee Titans0.031842.0%14
Carolina Panthers0.042042.6%15
Indianapolis Colts0.011342.8%16
Los Angeles Rams-0.05842.9%17
Seattle Seahawks0.001243.0%18
Washington Football Team-0.031043.4%19
Green Bay Packers0.133044.0%20
Miami Dolphins-0.011144.2%21
Dallas Cowboys0.122845.0%22
Las Vegas Raiders0.163245.6%23
Kansas City Chiefs0.062545.7%24
Cincinnati Bengals0.112746.2%25
Los Angeles Chargers0.031746.4%26
Houston Texans0.133146.6%27
Detroit Lions0.122947.3%28
Buffalo Bills0.072647.8%29
New England Patriots0.062448.0%30
Minnesota Vikings0.062349.0%31
Cleveland Browns0.052149.8%32
NFL Average0.02 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
Washington Football Team53.7%2848.0%157.9%22
Kansas City Chiefs54.5%2949.0%261.5%27
Miami Dolphins59.4%3149.8%351.6%8
Pittsburgh Steelers33.3%150.5%439.2%1
Chicago Bears33.3%150.7%553.3%12
Los Angeles Rams39.0%551.0%653.2%11
Atlanta Falcons46.8%1453.3%762.7%28
Los Angeles Chargers37.5%453.5%849.3%7
San Francisco 49ers43.5%1053.9%949.1%5
Green Bay Packers61.7%3253.9%1053.6%14
Baltimore Ravens34.2%353.9%1163.5%32
Denver Broncos42.3%854.2%1256.5%19
Cleveland Browns46.9%1754.5%1358.9%23
Buffalo Bills50.0%2155.1%1459.3%25
Indianapolis Colts52.5%2555.4%1546.2%2
Arizona Cardinals44.1%1255.8%1656.5%19
Cincinnati Bengals48.3%1855.9%1747.8%4
Tennessee Titans55.4%3055.9%1859.2%24
Carolina Panthers50.0%2156.3%1957.6%21
New Orleans Saints43.8%1156.3%2046.4%3
Philadelphia Eagles41.8%756.5%2154.5%15
Las Vegas Raiders45.2%1356.9%2253.4%13
Minnesota Vikings46.8%1457.3%2363.1%31
Dallas Cowboys42.6%957.5%2462.9%30
Tampa Bay Buccaneers39.3%657.7%2555.6%17
New York Giants49.4%2057.9%2661.4%26
Jacksonville Jaguars50.0%2158.4%2752.2%10
Detroit Lions46.8%1659.3%2851.7%9
Seattle Seahawks51.1%2459.5%2949.3%6
New England Patriots52.5%2660.3%3055.2%16
New York Jets52.7%2761.0%3156.3%18
Houston Texans48.7%1962.8%3262.7%28
NFL Average46.9% 55.5% 55.0%