Wide Receivers With the Best and Worst Cornerback Matchups in Week 8
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 8.
Matchups to Target
Marvin Jones exploded for four touchdowns against a tough Minnesota Vikings secondary. Meanwhile, Kenny Golladay oddly saw just two targets on Matthew Stafford's 45 attempts. Golladay had seen at least eight looks in every game prior to that, so people should be fading his poor outing in Week 7.
This week they both get an exploitable New York Giants secondary that has allowed the fourth-most receiving yards to opposing wideouts. While this game is unlikely to be a shootout given the way the Giants have been playing in recent weeks, the Detroit receivers should get there on efficiency. Both Golladay's and Jones' Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per target rank in the top-16 among receivers with at least 40 targets.
The Giants also rank 24th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play while ranking a respectable 12th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play. With Kerryon Johnson landing on Injured Reserve, the Detroit Lions will likely be hesitant to establish the run. Expect Stafford and his receivers to dominate this game through the air.
One of the few secondaries worse than the New York's is that of the Philadelphia Eagles. While they have dealt with a plethora of injuries, they have allowed the most yards and touchdowns to wide receivers this season, making any starting receiver a lock when facing them.
Amari Cooper sends Rasul Douglas to another world with his patented sluggo.
my god, amari pic.twitter.com/5lNrOmoiTT
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) October 21, 2019
The next wideout getting the "lock button" is John Brown. Brown is finally getting to flash his skills as the clear alpha receiver in Buffalo. He is seeing 35 percent of the team's air yards, and the next closest receiver was just traded to Oakland (Zay Jones, 18 percent). While his speed and Josh Allen's big arm makes him one of the premier deep threats in the game, his consistent efficiency is the real story.
Brown ranks eighth among receivers in Reception NEP per target and Success Rate per target. Plus, he is one of just two receivers to have 50 receiving yards in every game this season. With only two scores and one 100-yard game on the season, Brown has been playing at his floor despite his successful season. Get on him and wait for the boom.
It looks like Ryan Tannehill is actually an upgrade over Marcus Mariota, as he topped 300 yards and two scores in his first start -- something Mariota hasn't done since 2018. He also brought life to Corey Davis, who caught all six of his targets for 80 yards and a score.
Corey Davis realizing what life in the NFL is like without Marcus Mariota under center pic.twitter.com/qVblGRqPsn
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) October 21, 2019
Davis and Tannehill should continue their success against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary that ranks 21st in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. Vernon Hargreaves III should be on Davis a majority of the time, which would be a boon to his stock. Hargreaves has been exploited in coverage, allowing 9.5 yards per target and a 118.1 passer rating, according to PlayerProfiler.
With Emmanuel Sanders getting shipped to San Francisco, Courtland Sutton's breakout season should continue. He was already leading the Denver Broncos in targets, receptions, air yards, and pretty much any stat you can think of, but now he should be a target magnet with only DaeSean Hamilton to compete with.
Imagine how good Courtland Sutton would be if he had an average QB.
— Peter Jennings (@CSURAM88) October 18, 2019
Sutton will be matched up with Pierre Desir and an Indianapolis Colts defense that ranks 14th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. Still, Indianapolis has struggled against opposing alpha receivers, allowing big games to Keenan Allen, Julio Jones, Tyrell Williams, and DeAndre Hopkins this season. While Sutton isn't quite in the same tier as some of those names, he does rank ahead of all of them in Reception NEP per target this season. The increase in volume should only help this breakout star.
Matchups to Avoid
Should we really be fading the receiver that has had 89 yards or a touchdown in every single game this season, even with Teddy Bridgewater throwing him balls? Probably not. But with Patrick Peterson back, the Arizona Cardinals held Daniel Jones to the fifth-worst Passing NEP per drop among Week 7 quarterbacks.
"Teddy Two-Gloves" and Michael Thomas are clearly a better duo than "Danny Dimes" and Darius Slayton, but Peterson is notorious for shutting down elite receivers. Thomas will likely be closer to his floor than ceiling in this matchup. Expect Sean Payton to avoid the All-Pro cornerback in his game plan, unless Drew Brees comes back -- then none of this matters.
Kyle Allen has made D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel one of the more productive duos in the NFL, but this week they're an easy fade. The San Francisco 49ers rank second in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play and rank first in adjusted sack rate on Football Outsiders.
Fred Warner walks off the field victorious and makes sure to greet the fans.
Warner and the #49ers’ defense were the story again.
They’ve held teams to 98 yards combined passing in the last 2 games.
They’ve also only allowed scores of 3, 7, and 0 in the last 3 games. pic.twitter.com/pd88n2Tsqx
— ourSF49ers (@OSf49ers) October 20, 2019
Allen has been a serviceable backup, as his 78.9 percent completion percentage from a clean pocket ranks ninth in the league. That said, his pressured completion percentage of 28.1 percent ranks 29th among NFL quarterbacks, according to PlayerProfiler. The Carolina Panthers rank 22nd in pass protection, per Football Outsiders, so expect Allen to struggle getting the ball to his playmakers as he's running for his life against this 49ers front.
Stephon Gilmore makes his weekly appearance, this time against Odell Beckham. The New England Patriots rank first in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play, making them almost impossible to defeat through the air. Their real weakness is on the ground, as they rank 15th against the run this season.
Beckham is already struggling this season with a 53.7 percent catch rate and only one score. If the Cleveland Browns come out with a Nick Chubb-heavy game plan, he could be an afterthought in this game.