10 Wide Receivers With Great Cornerback Matchups in Week 9
Everyone has a happy place.
Mine is back where I grew up, in Milwaukee, on the shore of Lake Michigan. Sure, close to the docks it’s polluted and gross, but go a few minutes north or south of downtown and the water is serene and slow, glassy. There’s something about being near a lake that gives me a sense of calm, of centering. It allows me to recharge my brain and release stress or worry.
When setting your lineups in fantasy football this week, your goal (should you choose to accept it) is to release your stress and worry about the dearth of fantasy options due to the bye. Don’t think "this is just the next-best option." You’ll make some too-safe or too-risky choices that may have you regretting all over again later on. Before you hit submit, put yourself in your happy place.
In this column, we aim to find wide receivers in an idyllic setting for scoring fantasy points every week. No cornerback matchups will keep our wideouts down.
Which cornerback matchups will be happy places for your fantasy wide receivers in Week 9?
Five Lineup Locks
Kelvin Benjamin vs. Troy Hill -- One of the surest ways to find fantasy success is to chase highly-targeted receivers. When they’re matched up on lackluster cornerbacks, this becomes an even more successful strategy. Over his last four games, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin has been targeted 35 times (15th most among wide receivers). In that span, he has 18 catches for 268 yards and a touchdown. Especially considering that he spent one game blanketed by Patrick Peterson, catching just two passes on five targets, these are solid.
He has a chance to do much better than solid against Los Angeles Rams cornerback Troy Hill, though, as Hill is allowing the 15th-most fantasy points per target among Week 9 starting cornerbacks (per Pro Football Focus). Hill has been targeted on a whopping 26 percent of his coverage snaps -- a very sustainable sample size -- and that should continue this week.
Quincy Enunwa vs. Bobby McCain -- With the absence of New York Jets second wideout Eric Decker, the passing game in Gotham was expected to take a huge step back. Slot receiver Quincy Enunwa stepped right into Decker’s possession role and has thrived, putting up 166 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns in his last two games combined. In Week 9, he’ll get another chance to run ragged against Miami Dolphins slot cornerback Bobby McCain, giving up the 17th-most fantasy points per target. The Miami secondary has jelled somewhat, as they rank 11th by numberFire’s schedule-adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play metric, but McCain is still a liability that the Jets can exploit.
Tavon Austin vs. Robert McClain -- Despite (or maybe due to) playing with lackluster quarterback talent, Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin has seen five targets or more in a game six times out of seven games, including three double-digit weeks. He should stay on track this week against Panthers slot corner Robert McClain, who is allowing the 19th-most fantasy points per target. The Panthers as a whole rank 20th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
Cole Beasley vs. Tracy Howard -- The Cleveland Browns defense ranks 30th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. Need more convincing that this is fantasy nirvana? Slot corner Tracy Howard is allowing the 22nd-most fantasy points per target of any cornerback starting in Week 9, and Dallas Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley has a 23 percent target rate. Dak Prescott's favorite target should have at least one more week in the sun here.
Jarvis Landry vs. Darrelle Revis -- Jets shadow cornerback Darrelle Revis had a really rough start to the season but has slowly gotten back to form and is now allowing just the 31st-most fantasy points per target to opposing receivers. Still, he’s nothing to fear like in his prime; passing attacks are still targeting him at a 20 percent rate going into Week 9. If he shadows the Dolphins’ top receiver in Jarvis Landry, he could find himself shook out of his shoes by the shifty slot receiver. Even if Revis isn’t on him, Landry will take on some member of the fourth-worst secondary by Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play this week.
Five Good Stocks
Terrelle Pryor vs. Anthony Brown -- There are some red flags for Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor this week, primarily rookie phenom wideout Corey Coleman's impending return likely siphoning targets away from Pryor. Still, Pryor can break games with just a handful of chances, and his matchup with Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown (second-most fantasy points per target allowed) should yield returns. Pryor’s floor is lower than recent weeks, but his ceiling is still intact.
Cordarrelle Patterson vs. Quandre Diggs -- Talk about a boom-or-bust option: Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson saw 22 targets over his last four games after just two in his first three. He might’ve had a bigger workload if not for a lingering concussion and a weird game script for the Vikes. He should face Detroit Lions slot cornerback Quandre Diggs a fair amount in Week 9, as top Lions’ cornerback Darius Slay tends to shadow and might not even play. Diggs is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per target, and the Detroit defense as a whole ranks dead last in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
Tyreek Hill vs. Davon House -- Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill boomed big last week, and he has another chance to in this matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars Davon House. House is allowing the 10th-most fantasy points per target among cornerbacks and has been targeted on 22 percent of his snaps in coverage.
Kenny Britt vs. Daryl Worley -- In what we all expected to be a run-first offense for the Rams, Kenny Britt has been targeted nearly as much as the high-volume Tavon Austin. He, however, is earning yardage and touchdowns to go with his receptions and ranks 24th in fantasy points per target among Week 9 receivers. Panthers cornerback Daryl Worley, on the other hand, is allowing the 30th-most fantasy points per target. Fire up Britt once again.
Mike Wallace vs. Artie Burns -- Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace was close to consideration for the “locks” section, but Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Artie Burns is still an unknown quality in some regards. He’s allowing just the 34th-most fantasy points per target on a 16 percent target rate this season. Still, in what should be a shootout, deep threat Wallace should burn the rookie for a big gain or two and produce well.
Two Smoking Craters
Golden Tate vs. Terence Newman -- The Lions’ Golden Tate has started to work his way back into fantasy solidity the last few weeks, but a date with Vikings’ cornerback Terence Newman will slow his roll again. Newman allows the fewest fantasy points per target among Week 9 cornerbacks who have covered at least 100 routes this year, and the Vikings have the third best pass defense, by NEP, in action in Week 9.
Dorial Green-Beckham vs. Janoris Jenkins -- The Philadelphia Eagles have started to work Dorial Green-Beckham into their offense more of late, but this will halt his momentum. New York Giants top cornerback Janoris Jenkins is allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points per target this season, and -- despite being seven inches shorter than DGB -- has the kind of physical play to throw the developmental project wide receiver off in this game.