Week 8 Matchup Review: Receiver Matchups to Exploit and Avoid

Ben Palmer takes a look at some of the WR/CB matchups that could be useful for fantasy this week, and some that could prove difficult.

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


Kenny Golladay (Detroit Lions) – Golladay had a disappointing week last week with just one catch for 21 yards, but I think he could bounce back to have a nice week this week going up against the New York Giants. He’ll likely match up against DeAndre Baker, who has allowed a 144.6 passer rating against (seventh-worst in the NFL), not to mention 409 yards (fifth-worst in the NFL). Golladay is the Lions’ number one guy, and he’s going up against an easy secondary, so I think he could be a solid choice this week.

DeAndre Hopkins (Houston Texans) – I’m not sure you needed all that many more reasons to start Hopkins this week, but his matchup against the Oakland Raiders should give you yet another. He’ll likely be seeing Trayvon Mullen in coverage, who has given up a 134.6 passer rating against (12th-worst in the NFL) and an 80% catch rate. Hopkins finally had a very DeAndre Hopkins-like game last week, expect another this week.

Tyler Lockett (Seattle Seahawks) – Lockett has been very solid this year, producing double-digit fantasy points in every week but one, and I don’t expect that streak to stop this week against the Atlanta Falcons. He’ll likely be seeing Damontae Kazee in coverage mostly, who has allowed a 117.5 passer rating against and an 84% catch rate. Lockett’s also notably faster than Kazee, so I wouldn’t be shocked if he beats him on a deep ball or two.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (Pittsburgh Steelers) – Again, I’m not sure you needed more reason to start JuJu this week, but I could see a nice game for him. He’ll likely be seeing Jomal Wiltz in coverage who has not been good this year, allowing a 130.9 passer rating against (16th-worst in the NFL). Even with Mason Rudolph throwing him the ball, I could easily see JuJu with a nice game this week.

D.J. Chark (Jacksonville Jaguars) – Chark has had just one explosive week within the past four, but he’s also seen some good secondaries in the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints. This week, however, he’ll see the New York Jets and likely match up against Trumaine Johnson in coverage, who has allowed a 75% catch rate and a 103.1 passer rating against. I think Chark could put in a solid WR2-level week this week, with the obvious potential for way more.


Bad matchups


Odell Beckham Jr. (Cleveland Browns) – We all know by now how absurdly good the New England Patriots’ defense has been, and unfortunately for the Browns, they have to face it this week. Odell is likely to be shadowed by Stephon Gilmore, who has been lights out this year, allowing just a 36 passer rating against and a 44.4% catch rate. You’re likely still starting Odell given his skill and potential, but I’m definitely worried about this game for him.

Curtis Samuel (Carolina Panthers) – Speaking of great secondaries, the San Francisco 49ers have been excellent so far this year too, and the Panthers get the pleasure of facing them this week. Samuel is likely to match up against Richard Sherman, who has allowed just a 49.2 passer rating against and a 53.8% catch rate. Samuel had a great week last week, but up against this secondary, I’m very concerned and wouldn’t start him as anything more than a flex play at best.

Sterling Shepard (New York Giants) – As of now, Shepard is questionable to play this week, so if he doesn’t, apply this blurb to Golden Tate, but one of the two of them will likely be shadowed by Darius Slay this week. Slay hasn’t been a total shutdown corner so far this year (though he’s been a bit limited by injuries), but he’s still been very good, allowing just a 57.7% catch rate and an 81.6 passer rating against.

Allen Robinson II (Chicago Bears) – I think you’re probably still going to start Robinson because of the volume he’ll get in the passing game, but he’s likely going to be shadowed by Casey Hayward Jr. this week, which is not great news for him. So far this year, Hayward has allowed an 80.9 passer rating against and a 59.3% catch rate.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (Green Bay Packers) – MVS is questionable to play this week, but still played last week despite not logging any reps at practice, so there’s definitely a decent chance he plays this week. He’s been inconsistent, and I worry that this week will be one of his down games, as he’ll be matching up against Charvarius Ward for the most part, who has allowed a 69.8 passer rating against and a 58.3% catch rate.

Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire

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