Wide Receivers With the Best and Worst Cornerback Matchups in Week 9
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 9.
Matchups to Target
In two games without Will Fuller, DeAndre Hopkins has seen 12 and 13 targets and has topped 100 receiving yards in both. As the Houston Texans' only bonafide receiving option, Hopkins should continue to be targeted heavily by Deshaun Watson.
DeAndre Hopkins got asked about hitting 8,000 receiving yards before everyone but Moss and Fitzgerald, gave an answer longer than most of his media hits: "To be able to do that with the carousel I've had over my career, I don't like patting myself on the back, but..." pic.twitter.com/hqNQZBylfM
— Rivers McCown (@riversmccown) October 28, 2019
He'll also be facing off against a Jacksonville Jaguars secondary that has certainly lost its bite without Jalen Ramsey. A.J. Bouye and company have given up big games to Sammy Watkins, Emmanuel Sanders, Michael Thomas, and D.J. Moore this season. Even if Bouye tries to shadow Hopkins, Nuk's recent volume and obvious talent should let him dominate this matchup.
Strictly based on need, the Texans traded for Gareon Conley at the right time, as Johnathan Joseph, Bradley Roby, and Lonnie Johnson Jr. are all unlikely to suit up in Week 9. His level of play, however, is up for debate. Injuries thrust him into a 98 percent snap share for his new team in Week 8, per PlayerProfiler. Conley wound up on his former teammate, Tyrell Williams, and gave up 74 yards and a touchdown in coverage.
Houston now ranks 16th in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play, which will undoubtedly dip over time with the recent loss of J.J. Watt to a torn pec. Without Watt, they'll have a difficult time getting to Gardner Minshew in Week 9. This would give him more time to find his favorite deep threat, D.J. Chark, who currently leads the AFC in receiving yards.
Matthew Stafford continues to decimate opposing defenses, as he now has 706 yards and seven passing scores over his last two weeks and has been above 8.0 yards per attempt in all but one game this season. This week he has a matchup with an Oakland Raiders defense that ranks 29th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
One of the most underrated players in the NFL is Kenny Golladay. He's been phenomenal. #OnePride pic.twitter.com/qbFrolnhaq
— Mike GM #OnePride CEO Detroit Lions vs Everybody (@archambeaum3) October 29, 2019
Kenny Golladay will be the prime target in this game after bouncing back from a Week 7 dud to the tune of 123 yards and two touchdowns against the New York Giants. The Raiders have also been sneaky efficient through the air, as Derek Carr's offense leads the NFL in Adjusted Passing NEP per play. That means this game has shootout potential, which would lead to more opportunities for Golladay to torch this bad secondary.
Josh Allen and John Brown were not able to capitalize in a great matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, but there was constant rain and sustained 20 MPH winds throughout the contest. That is obviously problematic for deep-ball specialists.
The good news is that they have another pristine matchup against Washington, who ranks 26th against the pass this season. Josh Norman, who has played like one of the worst cornerbacks in the league based on PlayerProfiler's metrics, has been battling a thigh injury while Quinton Dunbar picked up a hamstring injury last week. Judging by how bad the starters have been in this secondary, it doesn't really matter if they suit up. Expect Brown to blow right by this defense.
It seems to be getting easier to predict which week will be a Mike Evans game and which will be a Chris Godwin game. Last week, Godwin had a tough matchup against Logan Ryan in the slot, while Evans had an obvious advantage over the smaller Malcolm Butler with Adoree' Jackson out.
This week Godwin draws Jamar Taylor in the slot, who grades out as PFF's 101st-ranked corner out of 127. Meanwhile, Evans will be against Tre Flowers and Shaquill Griffin on the perimeter, so expect Jameis Winston to find more success on inside targets to his breakout receiver.
There are plenty of good matchups this week, but none might be better than the Dallas Cowboys receivers against the Giants cornerbacks. Back in Week 1, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup combined for 13 receptions, 264 yards, and a touchdown against Janoris Jenkins and Deandre Baker. Coming off a Week 8 bye, the entire Cowboys offense is fully healthy, meaning Dak Prescott will have excellent protection to find his weapons.
We are now through 8 weeks of the NFL season and your QBR leader is....
Dak Prescott - 78.6
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 28, 2019
The Giants were just shredded by Stafford and the Detroit Lions receivers, so expect a repeat performance from Dallas. Fire them up with confidence in this matchup.
Matchups to Avoid
The Cleveland Browns have not lived up to the hype, and now Baker Mayfield is walking out of media interviews due to frustrations. Odell Beckham has also been a disappointment, and it isn't for a lack of opportunity. OBJ has a 27.4 percent target share this season, which ranks fifth among receivers. But his 55.7 percent catch rate ranks 74th and his six drops are the second-most, according to PlayerProfiler.
Odell Beckham is once pace for career lows in receptions, yards and touchdowns which is surprising b/c Eli Manning “wasted” his talent and Baker Mayfield would “break records” with Beckham.
— Giants Daily (@NYGDaily) October 27, 2019
He also draws a matchup with Chris Harris and a Denver Broncos defense that ranks fifth in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play. We know he is capable of dominating defenses, but the recent play of this offense isn't inspiring much confidence. It's best to avoid Beckham until a softer matchup presents itself.
No, Ryan Tannehill did not fix Corey Davis. In arguably his softest matchup of the season, Davis only caught two balls for nine yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If that stat line isn't enough, he now gets to face James Bradberry on the road. The one thing the Carolina Panthers have gotten right is pass coverage, so expect Davis to be an afterthought in this matchup.
"Scary Terry" continues to be the only positive on an otherwise insignificant Washington team. What's even worse is Washington's interim head coach, Bill Callahan, is an old school "establish the run" mind that wants to feed Adrian Peterson, who now has 61 touches in Callahan's three games. McLaurin still ranks fourth in Reception NEP per target, making him one of the most efficient receivers in the NFL, but this offense severely limits his opportunities. He should be faded against Tre White and a tough Buffalo Bills defense.