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.
Terry McLaurin – After a tough week against the Rams in Week 5, I was a bit concerned that Washington’s shift away from Dwayne Haskins, who very much loved throwing to McLaurin, to Kyle Allen was going to hurt McLaurin’s fantasy value. But last week, McLaurin turned in a respectable game, with seven catches for 74 yards on 12 targets. I love seeing that, and this week, he’ll get the Cowboys where’s he’ll likely match up against either Daryl Worley, who has allowed an 83.3% catch rate and 158.3 passer rating against (tied for worst in the NFL) so far this year, or Trevon Diggs, who has allowed 385 receiving yards (third-worst in the NFL) and a 105.8 passer rating against. So wherever McLaurin lines up, he’s got a pretty favorable matchup, and he’s clearly getting the targets, so I feel pretty good about starting McLaurin this week.
Christian Kirk – I mentioned Kirk last week in this article and he ended up with a nice game, scoring 22.6 fantasy points, though I’ll admit it was a pretty fluky performance considering he had two catches, both touchdowns, for 86 yards. Still, stock has been rising for Kirk each week, and while I’m not saying he’ll turn in a 20+ point performance this week, I do think he’ll be pretty serviceable, as he’ll be matching up against Shaquill Griffin, who so far this year has allowed 382 receiving yards (fourth-worst in the NFL) and a 108.0 passer rating against. If you’re looking for a flex play, you could do worse than Kirk.
DJ Moore – It’s been a bit of an up-and-down year for Moore so far, but the past two weeks he’s been very solid, and you especially love to see the 11 targets he got last week. This week, he’ll match up against Marshon Lattimore most likely, which is great news for Moore, as Lattimore has allowed a 158.3 passer rating against (tied for worst in the NFL) and a 78.9% catch rate. I like Moore as a low-end WR2 this week.
Calvin Ridley – For the first time this year, Calvin Ridley didn’t surpass 100 yards last week, but who cares? The guy has been the best wide receiver in fantasy this year and he still snagged you six catches, 61 yards, and a touchdown. This week, I’d expect Ridley to keep it up and be a strong WR1, as he’s likely to match up against Jeffery Okudah, who’s allowed 299 receiving yards (tied for ninth-most in the NFL) and a 71.4% catch rate. Keep Ridley in your lineup this week, but I don’t think you needed me to tell you that.
Darius Slayton – I think this is the third week in a row Slayton has been featured in one of the sections in this article. What can I say? I like the guy. And I especially like him this week, as he’ll likely match up against Nickell Robey-Coleman, who so far has allowed a 125.5 passer rating against and an 88.9% catch rate. Slayton should be a strong flex play this week.
Robert Woods – We haven’t seen a lights-out game from Woods yet this year, but generally he’s been really solid as a sort of low-end WR2 most weeks. This week, I’d be a bit worried about his potential production, as he’ll likely draw coverage from Kyle Fuller, who so far this year has allowed just a 48.6% catch rate and a 60.8 passer rating against. I think you’re likely starting Woods no matter what, as you likely don’t have better options, but be wary.
Henry Ruggs III – In deeper leagues, I see the appeal of Ruggs. I’ll be honest, I’m a big fan of the guy’s talent, and he’s shown some flashes of talent (see: Week 5). But this week, I have zero interest in starting him, even in deep leagues, as he’s likely to match up against Jamel Dean, who’s been phenomenal this year, allowing just a 66.7 passer rating against and a 59.3% catch rate. I want nothing to do with Ruggs this week.
Michael Gallup – It was nice seeing Gallup get six targets last week (even though he only caught two of them), and we’ve obviously seen Gallup really turn things on before, but this week, I’m not interested in the least. He’ll be matching up against Kendall Fuller, who’s been excellent this year, allowing just a 27.3% catch rate and an 8.7 passer rating against (yea, you read both of those numbers correctly). As I said last week, those numbers are a bit skewed because he hasn’t been out there for a ton of snaps, but he’s been out there enough to see that he’s pretty good. He played great against Darius Slayton last week, and I’d expect him to hold down Gallup too.
Will Fuller V – I do love Will Fuller, and this year, we’ve gotten to see what he really can do, and it’s been impressive. You’re likely starting him no matter what, just given how good he’s been and his target share, but this week he’s likely drawing coverage from Jaire Alexander, who’s been really solid this year, allowing a 71.3 passer rating against. Again, I’m not saying bench Fuller, that would be crazy given what he’s done this year, but I would temper my expectations.
Travis Fulgham – Did you pick up Fulgham off the waiver wire? Good! He’s really good and the target share has been awesome. But this week, I’m a bit worried about his potential, as he’s likely to draw James Bradberry in coverage, who so far this year has allowed a 57.1% catch rate and a 69.9 passer rating against. I still think Fulgham is worth starting given how much he’s involved in the offense, but I think he’s more a WR3 than a WR2 this week.
Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire
Would you start any of Cooks, Mercole, Cole or Higgins over Woods in a PPR?
Sorry for the late reply! Didn’t see this til just now
I think I’d still go with Woods, but if I had to pick one of that group, I’d go Kirk