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.
Cooper Kupp – After a bit of a slow start to the year, Cooper Kupp exploded last week and reminded us all why we drafted him, with nine catches for 107 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. I’m hopeful he’ll see a bunch of targets again this week, because his matchup looks pretty nice. Against the Giants, Kupp will likely be seeing Darnay Holmes in coverage, who has been pretty bad so far this year, allowing a 102.3 passer rating against and a 75% catch rate, as well as 145 receiving yards, which is 26th worst in the NFL. I could see Kupp putting up yet another good game this week.
Tyler Boyd – Tyler Boyd has been nothing short of fantastic the past two weeks, putting up two games of more than 20 fantasy points in PPR scoring, including a game last week where he was targeted 13 times, catching 10 of those targets for 125 yards. Clearly, Joe Burrow likes Boyd (understandably), and this week, Boyd will see D.J. Hayden in coverage, who so far this year has the third-worst ProFootballFocus coverage grade in the NFL, and has allowed a 136.3 passer rating against (15th-worst in the NFL), an 85.7% catch rate, and 154 receiving yards (22nd-worst in the NFL). That’s a long way of saying this is an extremely beatable matchup for Boyd, and I’m definitely starting him this week.
Kenny Golladay – Kenny Golladay’s 2020 debut was solid, especially considering he was just coming off injury, logging six catches on seven targets for 57 yards and a touchdown. But I think this week, we could see Golladay be the Kenny Golladay we all hoped for in drafts, because he’ll be going up against Marshon Lattimore, who so far this year has allowed a 158.3 passer rating against (tied for worst in the NFL) an 83.3% catch rate, and 155 yards (21st-worst in the NFL). Lattimore is extremely beatable, and I’m pretty confident Golladay can beat him.
Odell Beckham Jr. – It’s been an up-and-down year for Beckham so far, with a good game in Week 2 against the Bengals and two rough games in Week 1 and Week 3. This week though, I could see a nice game for Beckham, as he’ll matchup against either Daryl Worley or Trevon Diggs, depending on which side of the field he’s on, and both have been really bad so far this year. Worley has allowed a 110.4 passer rating against and an 83.3% catch rate so far this year while Diggs has allowed a 131.4 passer rating against (19th-worst in the NFL) and a 68.2% catch rate. Make sure Odell’s in your lineup this week.
DeVante Parker – Parker has returned some solid WR3 value so far this year and I think he could be in for a solid game this week against the Seahawks. He’ll likely be matching up against Shaquill Griffin who has not played well so far this year, allowing a 126.8 passer rating against (21st-worst in the NFL), a 76.9% catch rate, and 318 yards (the most allowed by a cornerback in the NFL).
T.Y. Hilton – Hilton has been disappointing so far this year and I’m worried that’s going to continue this week against the Bears. He’ll likely match up against Kyle Fuller who has been playing exceptionally well so far this year, allowing just a 41.3 passer rating against and a 45.5% catch rate. If Hilton’s able to match up against some of the other Bears corners, he might be able to take advantage, but if he’s seeing coverage from Fuller most of the game, I think he could be in for a tough game.
Darius Slayton – Slayton had an amazing 2020 debut in Week 1 and since then, he’s failed to post more than seven fantasy points in each game. The talent is there, obviously, as is the opportunity (his targets have ranged from six to nine), but I think he’s going to be in for another disappointing game this week. He’ll likely match up against Darious Williams who so far this year has allowed just a 49.1 passer rating against and a 54.5% catch rate. If you’re deciding between flex plays, I’d avoid Slayton.
Mike Evans – I’ll get this out of the way at the top, you’re going to start Mike Evans this week because I doubt you have better options. That being said, I’m a bit concerned about what his production is going to look like, as he’s likely going to be seeing Casey Hayward Jr. for a good portion of the game, and Hayward is very good. So far this year, he’s allowed just a 56.8 passer rating against, a 42.9% catch rate, and 96 yards. Now, Evans may also line up against Michael Davis on the left side, and while Davis is solid, he’s a lot more beatable, so Evans might be in for a decent game, but I am concerned about him going up against Hayward.
Michael Gallup – Gallup finally had an explosive game last week against the Seahawks, logging six catches for 138 yards and a touchdown on nine targets. But this week, I’m a bit concerned we’re going to see something closer to Weeks 1 and 2 Gallup instead of Week 3 Gallup. He’ll likely be seeing Terrance Mitchell in coverage who, so far this year, has allowed just a 36.8% catch rate (which is impressive to say the least), 94 yards, and a 70.9 passer rating against. If you’ve got a better option, I might avoid Gallup.
Robert Woods – Similar to Evans, you’re almost definitely starting Robert Woods this week as you likely don’t have better options, but I am a bit concerned about the fact that he’s going to likely draw shadow coverage from James Bradberry, who’s been really solid so far this year. On the season, Bradberry’s allowed just a 42.1% catch rate and a 79.5 passer rating against. Woods is talented enough to beat Bradberry enough to give you some production, but I’m a bit concerned Woods’ week this week may be more muted than normal (it also furthers my belief that Cooper Kupp could be in for a good week).
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire