Week 12 Matchup Review: Matchups to Exploit and Avoid

A look at some WR/CB matchups that could be useful or difficult this week

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.


Good matchups


Curtis Samuel – Samuel had a rough week in Week 10 but bounced back with his third 20+ fantasy point game in the past four games. This week, I think we could see another good game from Samuel, as he’s likely to match up against Jeff Gladney, who’s allowed the third-most receiving yards (562) in the NFL so far this year, as well as a 68.7% catch rate and a 129.1 passer rating against. It’s about as favorable a matchup as Samuel can get.

Marvin Jones – I only want you to start Jones if Kenny Golladay is still out, because if he is, Jones is likely to match up against Vernon Hargreaves III, who has not been great this year. So far, Hargreaves has allowed 512 receiving yards (6th-worst in the NFL), a 66% catch rate, and a 102.1 passer rating against. Jones has proven he can be productive when Golladay is out (though it’s not a guarantee), so I think he’s worth a flex play if Golladay doesn’t play.

Jarvis Landry – I get it, Landry has been awful this year. He’s yet to score a touchdown 11 weeks into the season and hasn’t caught more than five balls in one game. But hey, his luck’s gotta turn around at some point…right? And if it were to happen, this week against the Jaguars might be the game, as he’s likely to see D.J. Hayden in coverage, who so far this year has allowed a 128.8 passer rating against and an 85% catch rate. If you’re looking for a flex play and are feeling a little risky this week, Landry might be worth a shot.

Tee Higgins – Without Joe Burrow, Higgins scares me a little more than he usually would, but I still think he’s an interesting flex play this week for two reasons: 1. I expect he’ll still get his fair share of targets. He’s had at least seven targets in seven out of his last eight games. And 2. he’s likely to match up against Isaac Yiadom, who so far this year has allowed a 138.7 passer rating against and a 67.9% catch rate. If you’re looking for a flex play with upside, Higgins is your guy.

Nelson Agholor – You looking for a lottery ticket this week? Nelson Agholor might be your guy. He’s been pretty up and down this year (mostly down), but last week posted a great six-catch, 88-yard game with a touchdown on nine targets against the Chiefs. This week, he’s likely to match up against A.J. Terrell, who’s allowed a 75.6% catch rate, 120.3 passer rating against, and 457 receiving yards (20th-worst in the NFL). Far be it from me to trust a wide receiver on the Raiders in fantasy this year, but if you’re looking for a dart throw, Agholor could be interesting.


Bad matchups


Christian Kirk – After a pretty impressive four-week stretch, Kirk has turned in two fairly disappointing games in a row and I think he’s bound to turn in another. This week, he’s likely to match up against J.C. Jackson, who’s allowed just a 53.3% catch rate and a 62.7 passer rating against so far this year, and Kirk might be playing without Kyler Murray throwing to him, depending on Murray’s shoulder injury. Either way, I’m not playing Kirk this week.

Jerry Jeudy – Jeudy is getting lots of targets, which I love, but he’s not consistently producing. We’ve seen flashes, his Week 9 game comes to mind especially, but we haven’t seen consistency. If you’re considering rolling the dice with Jeudy this week, I’d think twice. He’s likely to match up against Janoris Jenkins who’s allowed just a 68.2 passer rating against and a 56.3% catch rate so far this year. I think there’s likely better flex plays out there.

Mike Williams – Williams has been quite the boom-or-bust play this year, and I worry that this week might be more bust than boom. He’s likely to match up against Levi Wallace, who so far this year has allowed a 77.4 passer rating against. Williams has a high ceiling, but he’s a bit risky for me as a flex play except in deeper leagues.

A.J. Brown – I’m not going to sit here and tell you not to start A.J. Brown, you’re definitely starting A.J. Brown. That being said, he’s likely to see Xavier Rhodes in coverage this week, which could mean a more muted performance from Brown. So far this year, Rhodes has allowed just a 64.8 passer rating against and a 44.4% catch rate. Brown is obviously absurdly talented, but Rhodes is a pretty tough guy to beat.

Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire

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