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.
Allen Robinson II – Robinson has been impressively consistent so far this year, and as long as he’s healthy (which is a big if, considering he entered the NFL’s concussion protocol after Monday’s game), I think he could be in for a nice game. He’s likely to match up against Marshon Lattimore, who so far this year has allowed a 155.9 passer rating against and a 78.3% catch rate. If Robinson is out, we’re probably looking at Darnell Mooney in his role, and Mooney would be an interesting flex play if that’s the case.
DJ Moore – After a bit of an up-and-down start to the season, Moore has been pretty consistently good over the past three weeks, with a season-best game last week. This week, I think he could be in for yet another great game, as he’s likely to match up against one of two Atlanta cornerbacks—Isaiah Oliver or Kendall Shepard (most likely Shepard more often than not). Both Oliver and Shepard have been really bad this year, with Oliver allowing a 137.1 passer rating against and 453 receiving yards (the most in the NFL) and Shepard allowing a 120.3 passer rating against and 401 receiving yards (third-most in the NFL). Either way, I think Moore should be a lock for high-end WR2/low-end WR1 value. I also think Curtis Samuel is an interesting deep-league flier, since Oliver pretty frequently covers the slot.
Travis Fulgham – Despite a tough matchup last week, Fulgham turned in a respectable performance (even though it was his season-worst game). This week, though, I think Fulgham should be in for a good game, as he’s likely to match up against Trevon Diggs, who so far this year has allowed 437 receiving yards (second-most in the NFL) and a 112.9 passer rating against. Fulgham looks to be a solid WR2 this week.
Cooper Kupp – So far this year, Kupp has one game in which he’s gotten more than 100 yards and just two games where he’s scored more than 13 fantasy points. He hasn’t been horrible, but he hasn’t been great either, especially over the past few weeks. Still, I think this week he could be in for a nice game, as he’s likely to match up against Nik Needham, who’s allowed a 108.3 passer rating and 78.9% catch rate so far this year. I’m hopeful Kupp can right the ship and produce at least WR2 value this week.
T.Y. Hilton – No doubt about it, Hilton has been really bad this year, and if you dropped him, I don’t blame you at all. I might give him one more week, this week, in a nice matchup against Jeffrey Okudah, who’s allowed 350 receiving yards (12th-most in the NFL) and a 68.6% catch rate so far this year. I think Hilton’s only really startable as a flex in deeper leagues, but if he turns in yet another dud this week, cut bait as fast as you can.
Adam Thielen – Every week when researching for this article, one of the first things I do is say “Okay, so who is Jaire Alexander shadowing this week?” This week, it’s Thielen, and he’ll be in for a tough matchup, as Alexander has allowed just a 68.4 passer rating against and a 58.3% catch rate so far this year. You’re still starting Thielen, I’d be shocked if you have a better option, but I might temper my expectations with him. As an aside: I could also see this being a good game for Justin Jefferson if Alexander locks down Thielen a bit. Jefferson is likely to go against Josh Jackson, who has not been particularly impressive this year.
Kenny Golladay – Golladay has been pretty consistent so far this year, but this week, I’d be worried about him. He’ll likely match up against Xavier Rhodes, who has been excellent so far this year, allowing just a 41.4% catch rate and a 46.6 passer rating against, some of the best numbers in the league. I think Golladay could work out well as a flex play, but I’m worried about really relying on him this week.
Mike Evans – Evans has been rough to say the least the past few weeks, logging just three catches on four targets in the past two games combined. This week, Chris Godwin isn’t going to play, meaning Evans could see some more targets, but he’s also likely to be shadowed by James Bradberry, who has been really solid this year, allowing just a 62.7 passer rating against and a 58.5% catch rate. I still think Evans warrants a start as a low-end WR2, given the likely increase in targets, but I’d definitely be concerned this week.
D.K. Metcalf – Metcalf had a really bad week last week, but other than that, the dude has been as solid as they come. I think you’ve got to start Metcalf this week no matter what, given his ceiling, but it’s worth noting that he’s likely to match up against Jason Verrett, who’s been really good so far this year, allowing just a 23.2 passer rating against and a 46.2% catch rate. Now, Verrett hasn’t been out in coverage as much as other CBs, so those numbers are slightly skewed, but the guy has been really good when he’s out there, so I think Metcalf is going to be in for a tough matchup. Like I said, I still think you’ve got to start Metcalf given his ceiling, but just be wary.
Darius Slayton – Yet again, here I am mentioning Slayton in this article. I promise I don’t plan on talking about him every week, but this week it’s worth mentioning that he’s got a tough matchup. He’ll likely be up against Jamel Dean this week, who’s allowed a 70 passer rating against and a 57.6% catch rate. To me, Slayton represents a flex play at best this week.
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