Welcome to Going Deep! This weekly article will make use of charting data, advanced metrics, and other RotoViz tools, specifically the newly released Passing Game Matchup Rater, to help readers better understand the challenges facing wide receivers and tight ends in the coming week. As my process makes heavy use of the Matchup Rater, I’d highly recommend that you set aside a half hour to watch the below walkthrough and take a spin through the tool.
This week, we’ll run through players with notably favorable/unfavorable matchups, and when we have 2023 data next week, we’ll take a deeper dive across the league.
Passing Game Matchup Rater Tutorial
Wide Receivers with Favorable Matchups
Christian Kirk draws the most favorable matchup of the week in Jacksonville’s tilt with the Colts thanks to a Matchup Rating of 70. While the presence of Calvin Ridley will change the dynamics of the Jaguars’ offense, Kirk ran 87% of routes from the slot last season. The Colts allowed a full 0.4 points above league average to high-scoring receivers (10 to 15 PPG) operating out of the slot last season.
On top of that, Kirk contributed 3.6 points per target (PPT) to this average. In his two games against the Colts, he turned seven targets into six receptions, 72 yards, and two touchdowns from the slot. Plus, he punched in a third touchdown when lined up in the backfield against zone coverage in Week 2. This touchdown was unsuccessfully defended by Kenny Moore II. Kirk should spend most of the day against Moore II who covered the slot on 89% of passing plays during 2022.