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.
Amari Cooper (Dallas Cowboys) – I don’t think you need me to tell you to start Amari Cooper given how well he’s played this year, but this week could be another big one for him. Cooper will likely match up against Trumaine Johnson in coverage, and Johnson has been very bad this year, allowing a 116.3 passer rating against and an 83.3% catch rate. Cooper has been a stud this year, and I’d say it’s a safe bet he turns in another fantastic game this week.
Julian Edelman (New England Patriots) – I know, you’re shocked that I’m telling you to start a Patriots wide receiver against the New York Giants. Edelman took advantage of a garbage Washington Redskins secondary last week for eight catches, 110 yards, and a touchdown, and he’ll likely do the same this week against the Giants. Lining up mostly in the slot, he’ll likely face Grant Haley, who has allowed a 134.7 passer rating and an 83.3% catch rate this year, including allowing at least 58 yards or a touchdown in each of the past three games. Edelman looks slated to be a WR1 this week.
Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals) – Fitz has been consistently solid so far this year, racking up double-digit fantasy points in all but one week. The Cards are throwing the ball fairly short, so Fitz needs targets and catches, but he’s getting both of those, and this week, he’ll likely be matching up against Damontae Kazee, who has allowed a 132.8 passer rating against and an 80% catch rate so far this year. Fitz looks set to be a high-end WR2 this week.
D.J. Moore (Carolina Panthers) – Unfortunately, it’s been hard to predict when Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore are going to have good games, because it doesn’t look like they’re going to have them at the same time. This week though, Moore will be matching up against Vernon Hargreaves III, who has not been overly impressive in coverage. So far this year, Hargreaves has allowed a 127.7 passer rating and a 78.6% catch rate, not to mention 369 total yards and two touchdowns. Carolina played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2, and Moore hauled in nine catches for 89 yards, so there’s a pretty decent chance he has another good game.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (Pittsburgh Steelers) – I realize likely rolling with their third-string quarterback is scary for the fantasy value of Steelers receivers, but I still have faith in JuJu, and I especially do this week, as he’ll likely be matching up against Desmond King II. So far this year, King has allowed a 158.3 passer rating against (tied for the worst in football) and an 84.6% catch rate, not to mention two touchdowns. JuJu’s value obviously isn’t what it was on draft day, but he still absolutely deserves to be in your lineup this week.
Golden Tate (New York Giants) – The Patriots probably have the best secondary in football right now, and Tate will likely be matching up against one of the best members of that secondary, Jonathan Jones. So far this year, Jones has been lights out, allowing just a 61.8 passer rating against and a 48% catch rate. I think Tate is talented, and I do sorta like him in the right matchup, but not this week.
Robert Woods (Los Angeles Rams) – The San Francisco 49ers’ defense has been one of the bigger surprises of the 2019 NFL season. They’ve been excellent so far, ranking near the bottom in fantasy points allowed, and their secondary has especially been good, including Richard Sherman, who will likely match up against Woods this week. So far this year, Sherman has allowed just a 50.6 passer rating against, good for fifth-best in the NFL (minimum three games played), and 57.1% catch rate. Woods has been extremely inconsistent this year, and I wouldn’t be shocked if another down week is in for him.
Mike Williams (Los Angeles Chargers) – Williams turned in his best game of the season last week against the Denver Broncos with six catches for 74 yards, but this week, he’s slated to have what looks to be a pretty difficult matchup against Steven Nelson, who has allowed just a 50% catch rate so far this year and an 89 passer rating against. Don’t be shocked if more targets go Keenan Allen‘s way than Williams this week.
Calvin Ridley (Atlanta Falcons) – This week, Ridley is likely to match up against Kevin Peterson, who has been really solid in coverage so far this year, allowing just a 51.3 passer rating against, good for sixth-best in the NFL (minimum three games played), and just a 40% catch rate. Ridley has a great game last week, but don’t be shocked if things slow down this week.
Curtis Samuel (Carolina Panthers) – I mentioned Samuel’s teammate D.J. Moore as a receiver with a good matchup, but Samuel doesn’t get the same pleasure this week, likely matching up against Carlton Davis, who has allowed just a 59.9 passer rating against and a 45.9% catch rate this year. Don’t be surprised if Moore gets more work this week as he’ll likely be open more than Samuel.
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