Week 13 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


Justin Jefferson – Jefferson hasn’t been without his low points this season, but generally speaking, the guy is looking great in Stefon Diggs‘ old role, and I think he could have himself another great week this week. He’s likely to see Tre Herndon in coverage this week, and so far this year, Herndon has allowed a 127.1 passer rating against and 450 receiving yards (bottom-30 in the NFL). Jefferson should be a solid low-end WR1/high-end WR2 this week.

Brandin Cooks – Now that Will Fuller V is suspended for a handful of games, Cooks looks to be the top option in Houston, but understandably, people were a bit apprehensive of diving all into Brandin Cooks SZN. This week though, I think Cooks could have a really nice game. He’s likely to match up against Rock Ya-Sin in coverage, who so far this year has allowed 527 receiving yards (12th-worst in the NFL) and a 105.1 passer rating, as well as a 70.8% catch rate. I think Cooks could take advantage and be in for a really good game.

Cooper Kupp – It seems like every other week Kupp has a bad game. Last week, he had just two catches for 41 yards, in Week 10 he had just five catches for 50 yards, and in Week 7, he had six catches for 43 yards. In between those weeks though, some great, top-level production. So what should we expect this week? I like his chances. He’ll match up against Byron Murphy, who’s allowed 403 receiving yards, a 66.1% catch rate, and a 93.1 passer rating against. Going up against a receiver as talented as Kupp, I think Murphy is going to have problems.

Henry Ruggs III – I want to be perfectly clear here – this is a lottery ticket play. Ruggs has been disappointing to say the least this year, but we’ve seen some flashes, and the guy is getting a ton of air yards per target (averaging 19.6). This week, Ruggs is likely to match up against Lamar Jackson (not that one), who has allowed a ridiculous 146.5 passer rating against and a 74.1% catch rate. If anyone is beatable, it’s Jackson, and if you wanna take a shot at a home run in your flex this week, Ruggs is interesting.


Bad matchups


Tee Higgins – Even without Joe Burrow last week, Higgins was pretty solid, but this week I’d be avoiding him. He’s likely to matchup against Xavien Howard, who so far this year, has allowed just a 50.3 passer rating against and a 48.5% catch rate. Higgins’ involvement in the offense could warrant a flex play if you don’t have a better option, but I’d likely try to find something else.

DeAndre Hopkins – You’re starting DeAndre Hopkins this week, I should make that clear. His ceiling is obviously the best receiver in all of football. That being said, he’s likely to match up against Darious Williams this week, who’s allowed just a 49.8 passer rating against and a 48.1% catch rate. That, combined with the fact that Hopkins hasn’t surpassed 11 fantasy points in four out of his last six games worried me a slight bit. I’d just be wary and temper expectations.

Stefon Diggs – Similar to Hopkins, you’re starting Stefon Diggs this week. The guy has been a top-10 wide receiver all year, he has yet to score less than 10 points in a game, you’re starting him. However, I wouldn’t be shocked if things are a bit tough for him this week, as he’s likely to match up against Richard Sherman, who so far this year has allowed just a 22.9 passer rating against. Sherman hasn’t played a ton of games, so obviously that number is a bit skewed, but Sherman is and has been a great cover for a while now. Last year, for example, he allowed just a 45.3 passer rating against, so Sherman is great. Diggs’ involvement in the Bills’ offense and his season so far means you’re definitely starting him, but it’s a tough matchup, so like with Hopkins, be wary.

Diontae Johnson – Diontae Johnson’s getting a ton of targets, having at least 10 in every game but one since Week 7, so that helps his floor a lot. That being said, this week is a tough matchup for Johnson, as he’ll likely see Kendall Fuller in coverage. So far this year, Fuller has allowed a 63.2 passer rating against and a 50% catch rate, so he’s been tough. I still think Johnson can return WR2 value, but more like low-end WR2 value.

Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire

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