10 Wide Receivers With Great Cornerback Matchups for Week 13
I remember when I was a little kid, I believed a lot in bad luck. We had all of these rules that you needed to adhere to, or else you’d induce the dreaded “seven years of bad luck” -- don’t step on a crack, don’t walk under a ladder, don’t cross paths with a black cat, don’t break a mirror; the list went on and on.
I used to do every single one of those just to tempt fate.
Nowadays, I know that bad luck isn't a real thing, but there’s not a lot you can do to guarantee it or wipe it away entirely. For you non-superstitious folks, we call bad luck “risk”, and you can either encourage risk or minimize it.
In Week 13, we hope to find any way possible to minimize the risks for the players in our fantasy lineups in this most unlucky of weeks – though I’m not sure how much more unlucky this can be than Week 8 (knocking on wood). By examining the cornerbacks who will be matched up on our wide receivers, we can see who might have an exceptionally good week thanks to a lucky draw.
Which wide receivers in Week 13 have four-leaf clover matchups?
Six Lineup Locks
Kamar Aiken vs. Brent Grimes – We’ve been huge fans of Grimes’ work in this column, as we’ve recommended you exploit the Miami Dolphins’ holey secondary twice in the past three weeks now. In Week 11, he only allowed a hobbled Dez Bryant just 18 yards on four targets, per Pro Football Focus. Last week against Brandon Marshall, though, he allowed 9 catches on 11 targets for 131 yards and 2 touchdowns. In the past month, Grimes has allowed more receiving yards per snap (3.44) than any other cornerback – as well as a 77.3% catch rate.
Aiken will be catching passes from the very mortal Matt Schaub, but even this shouldn’t bring the possession receiver down much. Last week with Schaub, Aiken produced 80 yards receiving and a touchdown on six catches (10 targets). He created 7.72 Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per live.numberfire.com, despite an atrocious -4.64 Target NEP.
Dez Bryant vs. Will Blackmon – Speaking of Dez, he should see Will Blackmon of Washington lined up across from him in Week 13, and that means good luck for him. Bryant was beaten up by Carolina Panthers’ cornerback Josh Norman in Week 12, only bringing in 26 yards receiving on eight targets. We also know quarterback fill-in Matt Cassel isn’t even league average as a passer, but that shouldn’t matter much. Pressed into service after Chris Culliver's injury, Blackmon gave up 89 yards and two touchdowns on six receptions in Week 12. Start Dez with confidence, as the Washington secondary ranks a middling 16th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
T.Y. Hilton vs. Antwon Blake – T.Y. Hilton has only run 18.9% of his routes over the last month out of the slot, despite his physical type that suggests he’d be a major slot player. Since he’s lining up in the “Z” position for the Indianapolis Colts, he’ll get to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Blake in Week 13. In Week 12, Blake allowed the Seahawks’ receivers to catch 5 of 7 targets for 110 yards and 3 touchdowns when targeted. It should be a fun day to own T.Y.
Alshon Jeffery vs. Kenneth Acker – Alshon Jeffery is not a man to trifle with when injured, so how well do you think San Francisco 49ers’ cornerback Acker will do when asked to match up on him this week? Pretty poorly, I’ll bet. The Niners’ secondary is the fourth-worst per numberFire’s defensive passing metrics, and Acker is allowing a 91.7% completion rate over the last month. Jeffery will use him like a lucky rabbit’s foot.
Jeremy Maclin vs. David Amerson – The Oakland Raiders’ secondary has vastly improved since the beginning of the year, but they’re still very much exploitable; they rank 26th in numberFire’s per-play passing defense metrics as a unit. Maclin has been just as incredible in Kansas City as he was in Philadelphia, posting a top-25 Reception NEP per-play. He’ll toe off against David Amerson of Oakland, and should burn the young cornerback with ease.
DeSean Jackson vs. Dallas Cowboys Secondary – Let’s flip this matchup. We know Dez should have fun against the bad cornerback for Washington, but what about the “X” receiver for Washington? Since Jackson’s return from injury in Week 9, he’s posted 212 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns on just 12 receptions. He should be able to keep ramping up his work against the lackluster Cowboys’ secondary, which ranks 15th as a unit in our defensive passing metrics, but has two starting cornerbacks allowing more than 1.50 yards every time they go into coverage.
Four Good Stocks
Donte Moncrief vs. Ross Cockrell – If you see how poorly Antwon Blake of the Steelers played in Week 12, you won’t be surprised to know that Cockrell also allowed Seahawks’ receivers to catch 9 or 10 passes for 125 yards and a score last week. Moncrief will draw him in coverage in Week 13 -- enough said.
Mohamed Sanu vs. K'Waun Williams – This one is a bit of a sleeper play, as Sanu doesn’t always get the target load he needs to have a great fantasy day. That said, the Cleveland Browns rank 24th in numberFire’s defensive passing metrics as a team, and Williams in particular has been bad. He’s allowing the seventh-most receiving yards per snap of slot cornerbacks over the last month, and has only forced one incompletion on 12 targets.
Rueben Randle vs. Buster Skrine – Randle has progressed immensely as a wide receiver this year, and he ranks 12th in Reception NEP per play among wide receivers with at least 45 targets this year. With Darrelle Revis out for the New York Jets, every cornerback will shuffle up one spot in coverage, putting Skrine on Randle. Skrine is allowing an 81.0% catch rate to opposing wideouts.
Jamison Crowder vs. Byron Jones – More exploitation of what should be a high-offense Dallas versus Washington game: Crowder has seen a diminished role due to Jackson’s return over the last month, but if he can scrounge up the volume to contribute, he could make a mark here. Byron Jones has been the worst slot cornerback in the NFL over the last month, allowing a whopping 3.22 receiving yards per snap; the next worst is 2.04.