10 Wide Receivers With Great Cornerback Matchups in Week 6
Before we get going, let's look back at last week to see how things worked out.
Keep in mind as you read through this column: numberFire has two advanced metrics for wide receivers that are important to use for wide receiver matchups. Target Net Expected Points (NEP) tells us the number of expected points a player is adding for his team on all targets, while Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) tells us the number of expected points a player is adding on all catches. You can read more about NEP in our glossary.
All prices below are from FanDuel.com.
Odell Beckham ($9,100) vs. Byron Maxwell: While Beckham lines up all over the field, I imagine he'll be playing a lot of snaps as the wide receiver on the right side, in Maxwell's coverage. The Eagles get absolutely obliterated by wide receivers, just as they did last year. In Week 1, Julio Jones recorded 9 catches for 11 yards with 2 touchdowns and a Reception NEP of 13.45, the highest of any receiver on the week. The primary outside receiver against the Eagles has averaged 6.00 Target NEP and 9.05 Reception NEP totals per game, both higher than average totals among the top-30 receivers in football. Those numbers have resulted in the primary outside receiver against the Eagles averaging 20.22 FanDuel points a week, which would trail only Julio, who's at 21.6. Absurd. Maxwell is making his cash this year, so let's use him to help us make some too.
Julian Edelman ($7,900) vs. Darius Butler: I almost wrote up Chandler Worthy last week, who may not even catch a single football this season. The sole reason for that was that he would be lining up against Butler in the slot. Minus Worthy, the Colts are allowing an average of 5.51 Target NEP totals to the primary slot receiver. A.J. Green, for reference, is averaging 5.15 Target NEP weekly. The craziest thing about that number is that it includes half a game from Eric Decker and a game where Tyrod Taylor only threw 19 passes, with Robert Woods only receiving two targets.
While mostly in Butler's coverage, Decker and Allen Hurns both posted their best fantasy games of the season, totaling 19.7 and 23.1 FanDuel points. To top it all off, in Weeks 2 through 4, each of their opponents' slot receivers scored a touchdown. Edelman already runs more than half of his routes from the slot, and I expect Belichick to use Edelman in the slot even more than normal to draw coverage from Butler. We can hope to get a nice view of Edelman's sweet haircut in a post game interview for his huge game.
Brandon Marshall ($8,000) vs. Injured Redskins Secondary: While the Redskins secondary looked better on Sunday, they faced off against an ailing Julio Jones and Leonard Hankerson. Matt Ryan did not have much time to throw, and the offense looked out of sync. The Jets have a much more effective offensive line, and I imagine that we'll be back to seeing why we targeted this secondary in Week 4.
Look for Eric Decker to line up in the slot against the really impressive Kyshoen Jarrett, who limited Jordan Matthews to three catches on eight targets in Week 4 (a -2.88 Target NEP total). Marshall, however, will draw whichever healthy outside cornerbacks the Redskins can muster up on Sunday. Marshall has been really effective this year, averaging an 8.16 Reception NEP total per game -- Beckham is averaging 8.27.
Emmanuel Sanders ($7,900) vs. Cleveland Secondary: Joe Haden is injured, and he's not playing well. On top of that, he was concussed in Week 5 and looks unlikely to play in Week 6. With Haden on the field, Amari Cooper, who has a similar playing style to Sanders as a shifty route runner, shredded Haden and the rest of the secondary. He ended the game with 8 catches for 134 yards, good for 15.4 FanDuel points (his second highest finish on the season).
With Haden off the field, Keenan Allen also had a good game against this secondary, finishing with 4 catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. Allen also runs a lot of the quick slant routes, which are Sanders' bread and butter. Look for Sanders to take advantage of an ailing secondary, with Peyton's noodle arm unable to connect on deeper throws to Demaryius Thomas anymore.
Larry Fitzgerald ($7,500) vs. William Gay: Fitzgerald is going to continue to see his name in this article until his price catches up to his value, and finally faces a corner who isn't a five feet tall. Fitzgerald sits atop the chart in Target NEP total of 41.69 through five weeks, and has caught 35 of his 44 targets. The main reason that he's able to be so efficient with his targets is because he's running highly efficient routes from the slot, and is generally taller and stronger than the cornerback covering him.
This week it's William Gay. If you walk up to a Pittsburgh fan at Heinz Field and ask him how he feels about Gay, the answer won't be pretty. Gay is 5'10'' and less than 200 pounds. Fitzgerald is 6' 3'' and weighs 220 pounds. Look for Carson Palmer to go Fitzgerald's way early and often since the Steelers' defense can effectively stop the run, allowing the fifth least FanDuel points to running backs on the season.
The Deeper Targets
Allen Hurns ($6,500)(Available in 43% of Yahoo Leagues) vs. Kareem Jackson: The Houston Texans defense has been average at best against this pass this season, ranking 17th against the pass according to our metrics. The weakest link in their secondary is Kareem Jackson in the slot. In Week 4, while running most of his routes from the slot, Leonard Hankerson posted a Target NEP total of 10.32 and a Reception NEP total of 11.98, the fourth highest of any wide receiver on the week and good for 19.3 FanDuel points.
To top that off? Jackson spent his night covering the corpse of Andre Johnson in Week 5, and Johnson ended the night with a Target NEP total of 10.51 and a Reception NEP total of 11.21 while scoring the only two touchdowns he'll probably ever score again. Johnson tied with Allen Robinson as the top FanDuel wide receiver on the week when had zero catches his previous two games. Fire up Hurns -- if Jackson can't cover Andre, he can't cover anyone.
Willie Snead ($6,200)(Available in 55% of Yahoo Leagues) vs. Phillip Adams: While the Atlanta defense has played better than advertised, Adams has been the worst player in the Atlanta secondary. Just this past week, slot man Jamison Crowder caught all 8 of his targets for 87 yards. Cole Beasley also caught all four of his targets in Week 3 while working from the slot. When a cornerback is allowing receivers to catch all of their targets in multiple weeks, we want to be targeting him. NFL coaches aren't stupid (well, not all of them), and I expect Sean Payton knows exactly where this weak link is. Snead has been running more routes from the slot than Brandin Cooks over the first five weeks, and has looked genuinely better at football -- he's by far the best wide receiver on the team per NEP.
Mohamed Sanu ($5,000)(Available in 97% of Yahoo Leagues) vs. Nickell Robey: The Bills' defense has been pretty good this year, but the one area they have struggled is against slot receivers. In Week 2, Edelman went bananas against the Bills in the slot, posting an 11.62 Reception NEP total and ending the day with 11 catches, 97 yards and 2 touchdowns. To follow that up, Jarvis Landry caught 8 passes for 67 yards (12.6 FanDuel points), and Dwayne Harris caught 5 passes for 51 yards and a touchdown (13.6 FanDuel points).
So far this year, the Bengals have picked their spots really well, exploiting defenses where they're weak. Andy Dalton has executed this to perfection, torching Oakland and Seattle with tight end targets and Kansas City and Baltimore with wide receiver looks. When they faced Kansas City, he picked on Ron Parker, also in the slot. In that game, Sanu caught 4 passes (on 6 targets) for 84 yards and 10.4 FanDuel points at near minimum salary. Look for Dalton to exploit another weak slot cornerback this week.
Ted Ginn Jr. ($5,500)(Available in 67% of Yahoo Leagues) vs. Cary Williams: While I continue to struggle to spell his name with one "D," Ginn continues to put together solid outings. He hasn't been a very efficient wide receiver this season, catching fewer than 50 percent of his targets, but he has averaged a respectable 5.39 Reception NEP total and 11.15 FanDuel points per week.
By no means do I think Ginn is especially talented, but he'll be running most of his routes as the left wide receiver, on the opposite side of Richard Sherman, against Cary Williams. Williams has been one of the worst cornerbacks in the NFL over the last few years, and someone that has consistently yielded huge fantasy days. Just last week, Seattle actually moved Sherman out of his normal position and into shadow coverage against A.J. Green because Williams was playing so poorly. Ginn has a great shot at a long touchdown catch, as I doubt Sherman will be shadowing him.
Stefon Diggs ($4,500)(Available in 98% of Yahoo Leagues) vs. Ron Parker: With Charles Johnson injured, Jarius Wright or Diggs will start opposite Mike Wallace this week again. This will push Diggs into the slot in three-wide sets, where he had success against Bradley Roby and the Broncos in Week 4, posting 6 catches for 87 yards. He received 10 targets in Week 4, and seems to have the trust of Teddy Bridgewater. Diggs should have even more success against the struggling Parker, who has surrendered plenty of catches in the slot.