Wide Receivers With the Best and Worst Cornerback Matchups in Week 6
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 while elite receivers can hand in career games.
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 6.
Matchups to Target
Fantasy gamers have been looking forward to this matchup ever since the 2019 NFL schedule was released. In Week 14 of 2018, Keenan Allen racked up 14 receptions for 148 yards and a score against the Steelers. Allen was able to post that monster stat line because Pittsburgh opted to guard him with a linebacker in the slot for half the game.
Keenan Allen was targeted 9 times when a Steelers linebacker was the nearest defender. No wide receiver has been targeted more against a linebacker in a game since #NextGenStats began tracking nearest defender metrics in 2016.#LACvsPIT #FightForEachOther pic.twitter.com/J4jOev3nER
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) December 3, 2018
The Steelers have been great against the pass in recent weeks, as they are allowing a sixth-ranked -0.02 Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play, but part of that credit should go to T.J. Watt and their ridiculously good pass rush. Per Football Outsiders, the Steelers have a 10.1 percent sack rate, which is second to only the New England Patriots.
After a hamstring injury and a tough Week 5 matchup with Stephon Gilmore, Terry McLaurin gets to take on the tanking Miami Dolphins. The speedy rookie receiver should spend most of his time with Xavien Howard. According to PlayerProfiler, he has allowed 26 receptions for 315 yards and 3 scores through four games. Case Keenum, who has shown great chemistry with McLaurin, should also get the starting nod in Week 6 if healthy.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an 11th-ranked defense according to our metrics, but they were just torched by Teddy Bridgewater, of all people. Carlton Davis was ejected early in the contest, so Vernon Hargreaves III attempted to shadow Michael Thomas and gave up a 40-bomb in PPR leagues.
Buccaneers didn't really come close to covering Curtis Samuel back in Week 2pic.twitter.com/UA9nEk16Ba
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 9, 2019
This defense held Carolina to just 14 points in Week 2, but that was with a hobbled Cam Newton struggling to put any zip on his throws. With a healthy Kyle Allen throwing the ball against this beatable secondary, both Curtis Samuel and D.J. Moore should find success. The Bucs also rank first against the run, allowing -0.18 Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play, so Allen will be forced to throw the ball in this contest.
The Baltimore Ravens already rank 29th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play, and now they lost safety Tony Jefferson for the year. This once-revered unit is now an easy target for fantasy football, and their weakest link is in the slot. Brandon Carr is the culprit, as the 33-year-old is playing 40 percent out of the slot, per PlayerProfiler.
Baltimore has given up over 100 yards or a score to Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald, Jarvis Landry, and JuJu Smith-Schuster over the last four weeks. Now they have a matchup with Tyler Boyd, who just hung 10 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown on the Arizona Cardinals.
Matchups to Avoid
James Bradberry started shadowing Mike Evans at the start of the 2017 season. In the five matchups since then, Evans has caught less than half of his targets, has not scored a touchdown and averages less than 60 yards per game. Bradberry is the real deal, and his big frame matches up perfectly with Evans.
James Bradberry took Mike Evans out of the game and took his jersey too pic.twitter.com/kJSTs5cb9k
— Max Henson (@PanthersMax) November 4, 2018
Evans was also held without a catch on three targets against Marshon Lattimore, so we know what good shadow coverage can do to him. He could always smash with one big play, but his floor is obviously zero.
Speaking of elite shadow coverage, Lattimore has turned around his incredibly poor start to the season. He was allowing the most yards through four weeks but has since shut down Amari Cooper and Mike Evans. The Panthers decided to not shadow D.J. Chark with Bradberry in Week 5, and he dropped 164 yards and two scores on them. The New Orleans Saints won't make the same mistake with how Lattimore has been playing.
Thanks to three touchdowns in three games, nobody seems bothered by the fact that Alshon Jeffery hasn't topped 6 catches or 52 yards in a game this season. Now he has a matchup with Xavier Rhodes and a Minnesota Vikings defense that ranks fifth in Adjusted Defensive NEP per play. Rhodes gave Jeffery fits last season, limiting him to two catches on eight targets. Expect more of the same in this one.