Yardbarker’s Michael Nania analyzes the biggest positional mismatches each week during the NFL season.
DVOA (Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average): A method of evaluating teams, units or players in a comparative fashion. It takes every play during the NFL season and compares each to a league-average baseline based on situation.
EPA (Estimated Points Added): The measure of a play’s impact on the score of the game. It represents the difference between a team’s “expected points value” (the net point value a team can expect given a particular combination of down, distance and field position) before and after a play.
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes vs. Raiders defense
Why Raiders are overmatched: Oakland struggles against the pass, ranking 28th in net yards per pass attempt (7.3), 29th in opponent passer rating (104.7), and 30th in pass defense DVOA. They are especially awful on the road, where the Raiders have allowed 32.2 points per game and a passer rating of 120.1, the worst marks in the NFL.
Oakland has a dormant pass rush and a shoddy back end, a recipe for disaster. Up front, the Raiders have struggled to put heat on quarterbacks, ranking 29th in pressure rate (19.7 percent) and 30th in quarterback hits per game (4.2). Behind them, the secondary is a sieve, with the Raiders allowing a league-high 55 passing plays of 20 yards or more. Oakland’s safeties have combined to allow 10 touchdowns.
Why Mahomes will dominate: He is just as effective as he was in 2018, leading qualified starters in net yards per attempt (8.16 in ’19, 8.13 in ’18) for the second consecutive season. Mahomes is also on track to become first quarterback in history to record multiple seasons with over 300 passing yards per game and a passer rating of at least 110. The reigning MVP’s success has Kansas City ranked second in pass offense DVOA and EPA despite Mahomes’ absence because of injury for nearly 2 1/2 games.
In three games against Oakland, Mahomes has tossed 10 touchdowns and one interception, and averaged 339.7 passing yards and 9.6 yards per attempt (122.3 passer rating). Kansas City won all three matchups, putting up an average of 32 points.
Fantasy impact: Mahomes ranks fifth in fantasy points per game among quarterbacks (21.6 in standard scoring). Based on the above factors, this could be a massive week for him.
How Mahomes does it: In Week 2, Mahomes dropped 443 yards on the Raiders, the third-best total of his career. He burned them for eight 20-plus-yard gains, four to Demarcus Robinson. In that game, Kansas City wide receivers had no problem gaining separation over the top. Here, Robinson (wide left, bottom of picture) draws a favorable matchup against safety D.J. Swearinger. Robinson gives a hard fake inside, and Swearinger bites, earning Robinson a step of separation. That gives Mahomes all the room he needs to drop the ball in, and Robinson makes a tremendous contested grab.