​6 Wide Receivers With Great Cornerback Matchups in Week 14

Sometimes, when you’re looking at the same information for the hundredth time and it’s not clicking, you just need a different perspective on the situation. I’ve heard from friends that when they’re writing and get stumped, it helps them to stand up, do a lap of the house, and let their fingers rest while their minds puzzle through the writer’s block. I myself have learned that if I sit upside-down on a couch or chair, that helps me literally get a different angle on what I’m doing. Something about it – blood flow, spinal comfort, maybe laughing at myself – helps me shake things out of stasis and get back on track.

These are physical ways to get different perspectives on something. My goal, however, is to help you find a different perspective on fantasy football. Each week, I hope to offer you information and rationale that confirm your hunches – or stress test them and force you to reconsider your assumptions about certain wide receiver matchups with cornerbacks. My hope is that this zoomed-in angle at least gets you thinking about the minutiae and individual components of what makes a good wide receiver play as we head into the next week.

Don’t flip your lineups upside-down in frustration; which wide receivers have beneficial cornerback matchups in Week 14?

Last Week

One of the things I do is reflect on my process, analyzing the successes and fixing the failures, so that I can give you all the best fantasy football advice possible. Each week, we’ll look at the previous one’s hits and misses.

I consider 15.0 PPR fantasy points (the weekly fantasy average of the WR24 over the last six years) a hit for Lineup Locks, and a score of 9.0 (the average WR48) a hit for Good Stocks. A player with 7.0 PPR fantasy points (the average WR60) or fewer as a Smoking Crater is a hit as well.

Lineup Locks: Adam Thielen and Tyreek Hill. Thielen (1.0) suffered a high-ankle sprain after catching just one pass for zero yards. It’s hard to expect that as a potential outcome, so I’m giving us a pass on this one. Hill’s (4.2) dud was theoretically more foreseeable, but even in a game so dominated by Kansas City, one doesn’t presume they will be this quiet in the passing game.

Good Stocks: Cooper Kupp, Jerry Jeudy, Marquise Brown, and A.J. Green. Kupp (26.9) had a characteristically great week, earning 10 targets and converting them into eight catches for 129 and a score. Jeudy (11.7) was set up for reasonable success by Denver being in such a hole all game. Brown (10.5) did just enough while seeing just enough looks to be a viable starter last week, but A.J. Green (2.4) went unused -- just like the rest of the Cardinals’ pass-catchers in a romp over the Bears.

Smoking Craters: Adam Humphries and Zach Pascal. Of course, Humphries (7.8) led Football Team’s receivers in fantasy scoring, picking up just enough to be outside our threshold for “Craters.” He wasn’t good by any means, but he definitely wasn’t so bad he needed to be avoided. Pascal (2.8), though, did nothing with his three targets, picking up a large chunk of his fantasy scoring on a 12-yard rush.

Two Lineup Locks

D.K. Metcalf vs. Desmond King II – As long as he is healthy, it will be hard to see Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf as anything but an elite fantasy option in Week 14. Metcalf has an incredible matchup as the entire Seahawks' offense will have a get-right spot against the Houston Texans. All they’ll be able to do to stop Metcalf is throw cornerback Desmond King II in his way and hope for the best.

Metcalf has so far earned a 22% target rate per route run (76th percentile among Week 14 starting receivers) and converted that solid volume of looks into 2.0 yards per route run (81st percentile). His counterpart, King, has been a mess; King has allowed a 19% target rate (92nd percentile among Week 14 starting cornerbacks), 77% catch rate (90th percentile), and 1.6 yards per coverage snap (88th percentile). This is a perfect opportunity for Metcalf to shine.

Terry McLaurin vs. Trevon Diggs – In spite of Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs getting Defensive Player of the Year buzz for his bevy of interceptions, he has actually been a below-average defender. Diggs has given up a 17% target rate (72nd percentile) and 1.8 yards per coverage snap (94th percentile), forking over a ton of big plays despite making some decent stops on regular passes.

That means this is a great spot for Washington Football Team star wideout Terry McLaurin to exploit. McLaurin has earned a 23% target rate (81st percentile) while also churning out 1.8 yards per route run (71st percentile). It won’t take much for "Scary Terry" to begin returning on your fantasy investment this week with this kind of favorable matchup.

Four Good Stocks

Hunter Renfrow vs. L’Jarius Sneed – Hunter Renfrow of the Las Vegas Raiders doesn’t often come to mind when trying to think of the most dominant wide receivers active in the NFL today. That said, he is drawing an 86th-percentile target rate, 95th-percentile catch rate, and 86th-percentile yards per route run. As a reliable check-down and yards-after-catch option for the Raiders, Renfrow has thrived in 2021. Even better, in Week 14, he’ll get to take on Kansas City cornerback L'Jarius Sneed, who is allowing a 63rd-percentile target rate, 88th-percentile catch rate, and 73rd-percentile yards per coverage snap. Renfrow seems certain to outperform expectations this week.

Cole Beasley vs. Sean Murphy-Bunting – “Stocks” is ending up a slot-heavy issue this week, but we’ll continue the fun with Buffalo Bills short-area man Cole Beasley and Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting. SMB is getting positively obliterated, allowing a 99th-percentile target rate and 98th-percentile yards per coverage snap since returning from injury. Beasley has the skills to exploit that, earning a 67th-percentile target rate and 94th-percentile catch rate. He’s just a volume-based play here, but it takes all kinds to fill out a lineup.

Tyler Lockett vs. Terrance Mitchell – Similar rationale to teammate Metcalf, Seahawks’ deep threat Tyler Lockett should also be in a position to thrive in Week 14 against a lowly Texans defense. Lockett has been above-average in both target rate and catch rate but has really shined in yards per route run (93rd percentile). At points this year, Terrance Mitchell has been one of the better cover corners in the slot, but he has slipped in recent weeks. Mitchell allows a 72nd-percentile target rate and 57th-percentile yards per coverage snap.

Christian Kirk vs. Donte Deayon – All you can really project the Arizona Cardinals' passing game for is good pace and volume of targets. Where those targets go on any given week is an entirely different story. Still, speedy slot man Christian Kirk is as good a bet as any to earn some looks this week, rocking up to Week 14 with a 60th-percentile target rate, 90th-percentile catch rate, and 77th-percentile yards per route run. Los Angeles Rams cover man Donte Deayon brings with him a 72nd-percentile target rate allowed and 83rd-percentile yards per coverage snap. Kirk should blow him out of the water.

Two Smoking Craters

Jamison Crowder vs. P.J. Williams – Jamison Crowder has been a nice possession-oriented security blanket receiver for the New York Jets in 2021, but in Week 14, he runs into a pure buzzsaw of a matchup in New Orleans Saints cornerback P.J. Williams. While playing among the highest snap rates in the NFL this year, Williams is giving up just a fourth-percentile mark in target rate and a fifth-percentile rate in yards per coverage snap allowed. Crowder has drawn an above-average target rate (60th percentile) and a strong catch rate (73rd percentile), but his yards per route run comes in at just the 31st percentile. He might get to a startable level based on just catches alone, but Crowder’s fantasy ceiling comes with a hard cap here.

Michael Gallup vs. William Jackson III – Even though William Jackson III has missed a significant portion of the season to date, the Washington offseason acquisition has played well when he’s been on the field. WJ3 is giving over just a 14th-percentile target rate, 15th-percentile catch rate when targeted, and 10th-percentile yards per coverage snap. That puts a big-time damper on the return that Dallas wide receiver Michael Gallup has made so far. He is above average in target rate (64th percentile), but he has a below-average clip in yards per route run and a very poor catch rate (12th percentile). Sit Gallup for this matchup.