Much of fantasy football is about exploiting matchups. Sure, there are your guys you start automatically without even thinking, regardless of what defense they’re going up against, but sometimes weeks are won and lost by exploiting good matchups and avoiding tough ones.
In this article, I’ll take a look at some wide receiver/cornerback matchups that could be useful for your fantasy team, and some matchups that could hurt it.
It’s important to note that every team is different, these are just suggestions. Use your best judgment for your team.
Emmanuel Sanders/Deebo Samuel (San Francisco 49ers) – It’s not looking likely that Sanders is going to play after his rib injury, but that’s not a guarantee. But whoever the number one receiver for the 49ers this week is (and I’m betting it’s Samuel if Sanders can’t go) is worth using, as they’ll likely be shadowed by Patrick Peterson. That used to be a scary thing, but so far this year, Peterson has been bad, allowing a 126.4 passer rating against (19th-worst in the NFL) and a 79.2% catch rate. Especially given that George Kittle isn’t likely to play, whoever is the top receiver for the 49ers could be in for a solid target share.
D.J. Moore (Carolina Panthers) – I honestly think both Moore and Curtis Samuel are solid plays this week against a weak Atlanta Falcons passing defense, but I think Moore is a bit safer of a play than Samuel. Still, if you’ve got Samuel, he’s worth a look as a low-end WR2. Moore is likely to match up against Isaiah Oliver, who has allowed a 121 passer rating against and 521 receiving yards (eighth-most in the NFL). Moore looks to be a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 this week.
Tyler Boyd (Cincinnati Bengals) – There isn’t a ton to love about the Bengals offense, but Boyd has proven himself to still be a solid receiver despite the team being really terrible. With A.J. Green still out, Boyd figures to get a good target share and match up against Lamarcus Joyner, who has allowed 412 receiving yards (21st-most in the NFL) and a 112.5 passer rating against. Boyd should be a decent low-end WR2 this week.
Marquise Brown (Baltimore Ravens) – It’s not 100% guaranteed that Brown plays this week, as he’s listed as questionable with an ankle injury, though he did practice Friday, so that’s encouraging. If he is out there, his matchup against Johnathan Joseph looks pretty sweet, as Joseph has allowed 397 receiving yards (25th-most in the NFL) and a 101.5 passer rating against. We all know how explosive Brown can be, against a weak corner, a big game is definitely possible. It’s also worth noting that Willie Snead is likely matching up against Vernon Hargreaves III, who has allowed 591 receiving yards (third-most in the NFL) and a 111.5 passer rating against. If you’re looking for a deep-league dart throw, Snead is somewhat interesting.
Sammy Watkins (Kansas City Chiefs) – Watkins has been fairly inconsistent as of late, but this week he could be in for a solid game. He’s likely to match up against Desmond King II, who has been pretty bad this year, allowing a 132.9 passer rating against (13th-worst in the NFL) and a 90% catch rate. It’s hard to totally trust Watkins, but if ever there was a week for him to blow up, this might be that week.
Nelson Agholor (Philadelphia Eagles) – Since Alshon Jeffery will be out for this game, it may be tempting to start Agholor since he’s likely going to be the top receiver for the team this week. I’d avoid it though, because he’s likely to be shadowed by Jonathan Jones, who has been fantastic this season, allowing just a 55.8% catch rate and an 81.9 passer rating against.
Christian Kirk (Arizona Cardinals) – Kirk had an incredible game last week, and the target share this year has been equally impressive, but this week Kirk will be up against the 49ers’ excellent secondary, and specifically Emmanuel Moseley. So far this year, Moseley has allowed just a 57.7% catch rate and a 79 passer rating against.
DeVante Parker (Miami Dolphins) – Parker has been really solid this year despite being part of a pretty terrible team, but this week he’s likely to be shadowed by Tre’Davious White, who so far has allowed just a 54% catch rate and a 49.3 passer rating against.
Calvin Ridley (Atlanta Falcons) – Ridley has been seeing some good activity since Mohamed Sanu left Atlanta, but this week he’s likely going to match up against Ross Cockrell, who so far has allowed just a 52.2% catch rate and a 63.6 passer rating against. I still think Ridley is an interesting flex play given his involvement in the passing game, but not more than that.
Amari Cooper (Dallas Cowboys) – Given how good Cooper has been this year, you’re almost definitely starting him no matter what this week. But it’s worth noting that he’s likely to be shadowed by Darius Slay this week, who so far has allowed just a 57.1% catch rate and 83.8 passer rating against.
Photo by Ricky Swift/Icon Sportswire