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.
Marquise Brown – Hollywood had himself a very nice debut against the Browns with five catches for 101 yards on six targets. We know how feast or famine Brown can be, but it’s looking like he’ll draw another good matchup this week. I’m not 100% sure what coverage he’ll see, I could see Bradley Roby shadowing him, which would still be solid, but what I’m hopeful for is a matchup against Vernon Hargreaves III (which I think could happen often since they tend to line up on the same side of the field). If that’s the case, I’m pretty excited about Brown’s potential, because last year, Hargreaves gave up 955 receiving yards, the second-most in the NFL, and a 115.4 passer rating against.
Marvin Jones Jr. – Jones’ week last week wasn’t as exciting as many hoped it’d be with Kenny Golladay out, but still, Jones was targeted eight times, which is encouraging. It’s unclear if Golladay will be back this week, but if not, Jones is likely to be shadowed by Jaire Alexander, which is a matchup I am more than happy to exploit for fantasy. Last year, Alexander gave up 855 receiving yards again (sixth-most in the NFL) and last week gave up four catches for 66 yards and a touchdown. If Jones gets some more targets and Golladay is out, Jones could have some nice value.
Adam Thielen – I mean, you and I both know you’re likely starting Adam Thielen regardless, especially after his excellent season debut, but I think it’s worth mentioning that it’s very realistic he has himself another nice week this week. Depending on which side of the field he lines up on, he’ll likely either be up against Rock Ya-Sin, who gave up a 101.4 passer rating against and a 64.3% catch rate last year, or Xavier Rhodes, who allowed a 131.1 passer rating against last year alongside an 83.5% catch rate and 822 yards (seventh-most in the NFL). So either way, Thielen looks like he’ll be slated for a good week.
Michael Gallup – I have every confidence that Dak Prescott will be able to throw all over the Falcons’ secondary, but I think Gallup could be in for an especially good game. He’ll likely match up against Isaiah Oliver, who gave up a 106.9 passer rating again and 794 yards last year (11th-most in the NFL). Not to mention Oliver got beat last week to the tune of six catches for 80 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks. As long as Gallup gets targeted (and that’s far from a guarantee in a busy Cowboys offense), he could have some nice potential this week.
Terry McLaurin – Not an overly exciting but a nice little season debut for McLaurin last week, with five catches for 61 yards on seven targets, but this week, I think McLaurin could be in for a nice game. He’ll likely be matched up against Dre Kirkpatrick, who last year gave up a 126.5 passer rating against and a 65.5% catch rate. I also think Steven Sims could be an interesting flex play if he gets the targets, as he’ll be up against Byron Murphy, who allowed a 68.3% catch rate and 113.7 passer rating against last year.
D.K. Metcalf – A really nice season debut for Metcalf last week with four catches for 95 yards and a touchdown, but this week, don’t be shocked if his performance is a bit more muted. He’ll likely be matched up against J.C. Jackson in coverage more often than not, and last year, Jackson allowed the lowest passer rating against among all cornerbacks who played at least 10 games at just 35.9, not to mention a 47.7% catch rate. Jackson’s not an easy guy to beat, and that could present a challenge for Metcalf.
Danny Amendola – In deeper leagues, I could see the allure of Amendola if Golladay is out again, especially since Amendola was targeted seven times last week, hauling in five of those for 81 yards. Problem is, he’s likely to match up against Chandon Sullivan, who was excellent last year, allowing just a 43.1 passer rating against and a 41.7% catch rate (the lowest among cornerbacks who played at least 10 games). I like Jones this week, but I might veer away from Amendola if I’ve got better options.
Robert Woods – Let me say off the bat that I know you’re starting Robert Woods regardless, and I want you to know I’m not telling you to bench him. He’s too talented and you likely don’t have better options. That being said, Woods is slated to be shadowed by Darius Slay this week, and that could cause a more pedestrian performance from him, as Slay is a tough guy to beat. Slay wasn’t an absolute shutdown corner last year, but he still allowed a respectable 86.9 passer rating against and had eight pass breakups. Last week, Slay only allowed three catches for 30 yards (and most of that was on one 21-yard pass), so Woods could be in for a challenge this week.
Brandin Cooks – I like Cooks as a sleeper this year and I was kinda bummed out about his debut. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem likely he’s going to have a great game this week either, as he’s likely to match up against Jimmy Smith, who last year allowed just a 49% catch rate and a 62.8 passer rating against. And even if Cooks isn’t up against Smith, he’ll have to face Marcus Peters, who was similarly effective last year, allowing a 72.6 passer rating against. I’m also not huge on Will Fuller V for the same reason, but I think he’s likely to have a better game than Cooks if I had to choose between the two.
Breshad Perriman – This is likely more for deeper leagues, as I can’t imagine Perriman is widely owned in shallower leagues, but if you were considering Perriman for a flex play this week, I’d look elsewhere. He’ll get the pleasure of going up against Richard Sherman this week, who was an exceptionally tough guy to beat last year, allowing just a 45.3 passer rating against and 373 receiving yards against.
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