Week 5 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


Deebo Samuel – Deebo Samuel’s 2020 debut wasn’t what we hoped it might be, snagging just three balls for 35 yards on three targets, but I’m hopeful this week he’ll be worked more into the offense than he was. If that’s the case, and he sees some targets, he’s got himself a pretty nice matchup against Noah Igbinoghene, who so far this year has allowed a 146.8 passer rating against (11th-worst in the NFL) and 280 receiving yards (second-worst in the NFL). Samuel’s value is going to depend on him getting the targets, but if that happens, he could be in for a nice game.

Adam Thielen – Last week was a welcome one for Thielen owners everywhere, who I’m sure were a bit concerned about the fact that Thielen had just one game with more than 13 fantasy points in the three weeks he’d been playing. So what should we expect this week? I’d bet more of the WR1 Thielen we all know and love. He’s likely going to be matched up against Shaquill Griffin, who so far this year has allowed 318 receiving yards against, the most in the NFL. If you remember from last week’s article, I recommended DeVante Parker for the same reason, and what happened? Parker caught 10 balls for 110 yards. Don’t worry about Thielen this week.

DJ Moore – Moore hasn’t exactly been what many hoped so far this year, logging just one game with more than 10 fantasy points (an excellent Week 2 game where he caught eight balls for 120 yards). This week, however, I think Moore has a shot to redeem himself. He’ll likely be matched up against Isaiah Oliver, who so far this year has allowed 277 receiving yards (tied for third-most in the NFL) and a 135.6 passer rating against. If Moore can’t have a good game here, I’m going to be concerned.

Darius Slayton – Last week, I was down on Slayton, but this week, I think he could be finally in for a pretty good game. He’s likely going to match up against Daryl Worley, who so far this year has allowed a 139.8 passer rating against and a 77.8% catch rate. You may also remember that Worley matched up against Odell Beckham Jr. last week and that turned out alright for Beckham owners. I’m not saying Slayton’s in for a massive game, but this could be a solid one if you need the help.

Anthony Miller – Looking for someone to toss a flier on in your flex in a deep league this week? Anthony Miller represents an interesting lottery pick. He’s likely to draw coverage from Sean Murphy-Bunting, who so far this year has been pretty bad, allowing a 155.1 passer rating against (bottom-five in the NFL) and a 94.4% catch rate. Miller hasn’t seen a ton of targets so far this year, just five in each of the past two games, but the matchup looks pretty nice in the slot, and if you’re in a deep league looking for a guy to toss out there, Miller is interesting.


Bad matchups


Amari Cooper – You’re almost definitely starting Amari Cooper if he’s on your team, but I would personally temper my expectations for him this week. Yes, he had a monster week last week, and yes he’s had a really good year so far, but this week he’s drawing some tough coverage. He’ll likely be shadowed by James Bradberry, who has allowed just a 52.2% catch rate and an 82.7 passer rating against so far this year. Not to mention, last week Bradberry held Robert Woods to just six catches for 35 yards.

Terry McLaurin – There are a few reasons I’m concerned with McLaurin. First, there’s his thigh injury that, as of this writing (Wednesday), has kept him out of practice. Then, there’s the news that Dwayne Haskins will be benched this week in favor of Kyle Allen this week, and McLaurin was one of Haskins’ favorite targets (though, if Allen’s smart, McLaurin will be one of his favorite targets too). And then, there’s the matchup against Darious Williams, who so far this year has allowed just a 46.8 passer rating against and a 55.6% catch rate. I don’t know that I’d necessarily bench McLaurin, given the volume he typically gets, but there are definitely a number of reasons to be concerned about him this week.

Odell Beckham Jr. – I recommended Odell last week and he had an absolutely monster game (thanks in large part to his rushing touchdown), but this week, I’m a bit concerned about what he might do. I think you’re still starting him, but it’s worth noting that he’ll likely match up against Xavier Rhodes, who’s been really solid so far this year, allowing just a 47.0 passer rating against and a 44.4% catch rate. We’ve seen two bad games from Beckham so far this year, and I worry that this week we’ll see a third.

Scotty Miller – Miller was a popular waiver wire pickup this week in many leagues, in part because Chris Godwin won’t be playing this week, and in part because he had a really nice game last week with Godwin out, catching five balls for 83 yards and a touchdown. I like the opportunity for Miller, but I really worry about his likely matchup with Kyle Fuller, who has allowed just a 56.6 passer rating against and a 44.4% catch rate. I was similarly worried last week about T.Y. Hilton‘s matchup against Fuller, and Hilton ended the game with just three catches for 29 yards. I get putting Miller out there if you need the help in deeper leagues, but I do worry about his potential.

Marquise Brown – After a disappointing Week 2 and Week 3, we got ourselves a pretty nice game from Hollywood Brown last week with four catches for 86 yards on eight targets. But this week, against the Bengals, I’m a bit worried we’re going to see another down game from Brown, as he’ll likely match up against Darius Phillips, who so far this year has allowed a 53.3% catch rate and an 84.3 passer rating against. Not lights out numbers, but solid enough that I’m concerned about a guy like Brown, who’s so up-and-down usually.

Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

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