6 Wide Receivers With Great Cornerback Matchups in Week 14
Sometimes it’s the simplest thing that you can do that leads to better self-care.
In my case, that’s sleeping more. When I’m stressed, it’s harder to fall asleep before midnight, but when I don’t sleep well, I get more stressed out. Either this vicious cycle repeats and makes things worse, or I break it by forcing myself to do the simple thing and just get ready for bed. I simply put myself in a position to succeed and hope for the best.
The same is true for setting your lineups. You can do absolutely nothing when you select starting wide receivers and get random results that, over time, will put a damper on your total points or DFS bankroll. The alternative option is to read up on which wide receivers have good cornerback matchups, put yourself in the best position to succeed, and then hope for the best.
Are you choosing to let the whims of random fate dash your fantasy chances on the rocks, or will you do the simple thing and ask: which fantasy wide receivers have the best cornerback matchups in Week 14?
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: Tyreek Hill (29.6) and Chris Olave (10.5). In a negative game script against the impenetrable 49ers’ defense all game, Hill’s Dolphins had to throw a ton. That led to 14 targets, 146 receiving yards, and a touchdown for the speedster. Olave had a strong week, catching four of six targets for 65 yards, but it wasn’t quite “Locks” strong. He did still lead the team in targets, however, so that’s not nothing.
Good Stocks: Christian Kirk (16.4), Mike Williams/DeAndre Carter (2.4), Parris Campbell (8.5), and Olamide Zaccheaus (3.3). Getting blown out will make you throw a lot, and the Jaguars took their shellacking as a chance to funnel eight targets to Kirk. He was a big-play machine, racking up 104 yards on those looks. I had assumed there would still be a wider target tree for the Chargers, even without Williams healthy; instead, all of the targets I expected for Carter went to Josh Palmer alone. Alec Pierce took over the Colts’ receiving lead in this contest, though they were barely able to get anything done due to quarterback Matt Ryan's utter incompetence against the Dallas defense. Zaccheaus saw five targets but caught just two for a paltry 13 yards; he’s not fantasy-viable despite our best hopes.
Smoking Craters: Quez Watkins (8.7) and David Bell (0.0). Watkins did rack up just 37 yards, but he saw surprising season-highs in targets (six) and receptions (five) on his way to nearly startable territory in fantasy. Bell saw just one target before a thumb injury forced him from the game, but it was unlikely he’d have gotten much more even if he lasted through it.
Two Lineup Locks
Amon-Ra St. Brown vs. Chandon Sullivan – The hero of this column in 2022, Detroit Lions slot receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has blossomed from “Cooper Kupp Lite” into his own brand of player this season. “The Sun God” may not regularly reach the same touchdown-scoring levels as the aforementioned Kupp, but his reliability as a catch-and-run option has made him one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and fantasy leagues alike.
This week, the Lions will visit the Minnesota Vikings, who plan to throw column-favorite cornerback Chandon Sullivan at St. Brown. Sullivan has allowed his coverage assignments a league-average 15% target per route run rate (49th percentile among Week 14 starting cornerbacks). If they get open against him, however, Sullivan has gotten wrecked; he allows a stunning 78% catch rate when targeted (91st percentile) and gives up 1.4 yards per coverage snap (80th percentile). The weak link in an already weak chain in the Minnesota secondary, Sullivan should be expecting to be rocked this week.
St. Brown has the ability to do it, too. As the focal point of his offense, ARSB is seeing a target on 32% of his routes run (97th percentile among Week 14 starting wide receivers), catching 77% of them (82nd percentile), and then turning them into 2.7 yards per route run (94th percentile). Expect a high-volume day for St. Brown based on his ability, but plan for a high-ceiling day on top due to his cornerback matchup.
Chris Godwin vs. Jimmie Ward – Since coming back from his injury stint, San Francisco 49ers defensive back Jimmie Ward has not looked like his previous self. Perhaps he’s just not back to speed yet, or perhaps he’s lost a step, but the hybrid slot safety has been taken advantage of a lot in the passing game in 2022. Ward to date has allowed a 17% target rate (68th percentile) while also forking over a 94% catch rate (99th percentile) when targeted. The big play has also been a nightmare for him, as he’s allowing 1.4 yards per cover snap (82nd percentile) on top of all of that.
Enter Chris Godwin, who has seen 10 targets or more in seven of his nine games since returning from injury in Week 4. Godwin has been the chains-moving, reliable engine of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ passing game in 2022, and we should expect that to continue in Week 14. Godwin has drawn a strong 24% target rate (85th percentile), catching 72% of his looks (68th percentile), and turning in an above-average 1.7 yards per route run (59th percentile) to boot.
Tampa Bay will need to throw here to keep a stifling 49ers’ run defense off-balance. The best way to do that is with the secure hands of Godwin against the lackluster coverage of Ward.
Four Good Stocks
Laviska Shenault vs. Coby Bryant – A lot of very good wide receivers are in tough matchups this week. That makes writing this column hard, but it means that the players we’re profiling for you are more likely to be available in your fantasy leagues or at affordable salaries for your DFS lineups.
The first deep dart you can go for is Laviska Shenault of the Carolina Panthers. While most of the season has seen him sparsely used in terms of routes run (just 55 total; an average of under 8 per game), Shenault has gotten much more work lately. In four of his five last games, Shenault has run 10 or more routes in each contest. Perhaps the Panthers used their Week 13 bye to work out more ways to get one of their most dynamic playmakers on the field more often -- one who is already earning a 99th percentile target rate, 97th percentile catch rate, and 98th percentile yards per route run.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Coby Bryant is their most vulnerable secondary member, allowing 68th percentile or higher marks across the board. Shenault should be dirt cheap and has nothing but upside this week with the Panthers likely chasing points.
Jerry Jeudy vs. L’Jarius Sneed – When healthy, Jerry Jeudy of the Denver Broncos is a dynamic receiver. This year he has earned a 70th percentile target rate on his routes and a 73rd percentile yards per route run. The problem with him is the limited offensive upside of the team he plays for, so he’ll need to rely on a good matchup and high volume this week. Fortunately, Kansas City and cornerback L'Jarius Sneed should offer a package deal of both. KC is likely to run away with this game, forcing Denver to throw and throw a lot. Sneed is often much better than this, but he’s allowing an 84th percentile target rate and 72nd percentile catch rate. Jeudy might not have a high ceiling in this environment, but his floor should be good here.
Richie James vs. Josiah Scott – Another matchup means another sneaky slot receiver, with New York Giants speed slot Richie James earning the nod. James hasn’t been much outside of a guy who catches the ball well (95th percentile catch rate), but he has scored twice in the last three games and can be a checkdown option for the G-Men. They’ll need to pass to keep pace with the Philadelphia Eagles, and luckily, cornerback Josiah Scott is nothing to fear. He allows a 91st percentile catch rate and 84th percentile yards per cover snap, so James has some value in this matchup.
Jauan Jennings vs. Zyon McCollum – I keep banging this drum, hoping it will resound; this week, I again think the 49ers’ Jauan Jennings could boom. Jennings draws an above-average target rate (55th percentile) and a roughly average yards per route run (48th percentile), but he also gets Buccaneers rookie slot corner Zyon McCollum in Week 14. Z-Mac is giving his assignments 88th percentile catch rates and 89th percentile yards per cover snap. Let’s cross our fingers one more time with the San Francisco size slot.
Two Smoking Craters
Courtland Sutton vs. Trent McDuffie – If Jeudy is a sneaky floor play this week, his teammate Courtland Sutton looks like he could be a surprise trap play. Sutton has largely been fine in and of himself in 2022, with average-to-above target rate (55th percentile) and yards per route run (51st percentile), but the ineffective Denver offense will come face-to-face in Week 14 with impressive Kansas City rookie corner Trent McDuffie, as well. McDuffie is our toughest matchup of the week, allowing 13th percentile marks in both target rate and catch rate while limiting his assignments to a 4th percentile yards per coverage snap mark.
Devin Duvernay vs. Cameron Sutton – Another Sutton is involved in a “Craters” matchup, but this time on the opposite side of the ball. Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton has been a daunting matchup this year, allowing an 18th percentile target rate, 10th percentile catch rate, and 21st percentile yards per coverage snap. This week, he not only faces Baltimore Ravens speedster Devin Duvernay but a Ravens offense that will be without quarterback Lamar Jackson. Duvernay has been inefficient himself, earning just an 18th percentile target rate and 23rd percentile yards per route run. Avoid him if you can in the final weeks before the fantasy playoffs.