Wide Receivers With the Best and Worst Cornerback Matchups in Week 4
Exploiting key matchups is one of the best ways to give your fantasy team an edge over your opponent. Poor cornerback play should be exploited whenever possible, as even subpar receivers can produce in positive situations.
These mismatches can be found in every game on every team if you dig deep enough. Here’s a look at the wide receivers with the best and worst matchups in Week 4.
Matchups to Target
While the debate rages on about what Terry McLaurin’s nickname should be, everyone can agree that he is #good. The rookie receiver is having an incredible start to his career, catching at least five balls, 62 receiving yards, and a touchdown in each of his first three starts. He is also incredibly efficient, posting the fifth-best Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per target among receivers with at least 10 catches.
What is even more impressive than “Scary Terry's” production is how often the New York Giants’ secondary is giving up fantasy points to receivers. The duo of Janoris Jenkins and Deandre Baker has given up the most yards to receivers at 17.9 yards per catch.
Meanwhile, McLaurin is accounting for the highest percentage of his team's air yards in the NFL at 46 percent, according to airyards.com. He’s the clear alpha, and Washington utilizes him deep, which is the best way to beat the Giants. Just ask Mike Evans last week.
Marshon Lattimore used to be a top coverage corner. Now he seems to be the top target for most offenses, as his shadow coverage has seemingly lost its luster.
Most Yards Allowed in Coverage
[All Cornerbacks, 2019]
1. Marshon Lattimore (334)
2. DeAndre Baker (296)
3. Janoris Jenkins (287)
4. Johnathan Joseph (279)
5. Vernon Hargreaves (236)
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) September 23, 2019
The rest of the unit isn’t picking up the slack, either, as the New Orleans Saints rank 23rd in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. They’ll have their hands full with Amari Cooper, who ranks sixth in Reception NEP per target among receivers with at least 15 looks.
As the Miami Dolphins continue the most obvious tank in recent NFL memory, the play of the once-great cornerback, Xavien Howard, is falling, as well. The Dolphins now sit 32nd in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
Amari had Xavien Howard asking for a trade mid play, smh pic.twitter.com/4ziVn8lTfp
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) September 23, 2019
On the opposite end, Keenan Allen looks to be having a career year. With a lack of weapons around him, the Los Angeles Chargers’ receiver leads the league in targets, receptions, yards, and air yards. His ceiling is likely capped given the possible blowout, as the Chargers are 15-point favorites against the Dolphins, per FanDuel Sportsbook, but Allen is capable of posting a monster fantasy day in just three quarters of work.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and Emmanuel Sanders just went on a tirade following the Denver Broncos Week 3 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Sanders was only targeted four times while being shadowed by Jaire Alexander.
Emmanuel Sanders: “We’re living in a world of suck.”#4Broncos @CBSDenver pic.twitter.com/JLBK6lO2Yt
— Michael Spencer (@MichaelCBS4) September 22, 2019
Now he will be facing a Jacksonville Jaguars defense that will be without its top player. Jalen Ramsey will miss this matchup due to the birth of his second child. This will make life much easier for Sanders in Week 4.
Matchups to Avoid
Xavier Rhodes locked down Tyrell Williams until a garbage time touchdown late in the game, continuing to prove that he is still a shutdown corner in the NFL. Allen Robinson is next in his crosshairs, as he is the clear top receiver in Chicago's passing game. Mitchell Trubisky has a Passing NEP per drop back and Success Rate significantly worse than Derek Carr, so expecting much from Robinson this week will likely result in disappointment.
After an explosion in Week 1, Sammy Watkins has been a smoldering mess in his two ensuing games. He is seeing ample volume with 21 targets over those two weeks, but he has only caught 11 of them for 113 yards and no scores. He also has a tough matchup with Darius Slay and a Detroit Lions defense that ranks ninth in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
Watkins is easily the most skilled and dynamic receiver that Patrick Mahomes currently has at his disposal, so a big week could come at any time. He is also playing out of the slot on over 50 percent of his snaps, so he has a chance to avoid Slay's coverage for part of the day.
Patriots players in the top 10 at their respective positions through three weeks (overall grade), per PFF:
-Tom Brady- 1 (QB)
-Jamie Collins*- 1 (LB)
-Jon Jones- 2 (CB)
-Jason McCourty- 3 (CB)
-Devin McCourty- 6 (S)
-Stephon Gilmore- 10 (CB)
*t-No. 7 overall defensive player
— Tucker Boynton (@Tucker_TnL) September 23, 2019
The Pats rank first in every defensive efficiency metric as they continue to lock up every team they play. Stephon Gilmore is a big reason for that, and he has shadowed top receivers thus far. John Brown is far and away the best weapon at Josh Allen's disposal, and Brown rarely dips into the slot with the presence of Cole Beasley.
Brown could shake loose for a big gainer with Allen's ability to extend passing plays with scrambles, but betting against the Patriots is never a good idea.