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Wide Receiver Matchups to Target in Week 12


We're more than halfway through the NFL season, with several teams already having their bye weeks behind them. Nevertheless, injuries have begun to rack up. Picking on the backups that precede starting defensive backs is a common strategy among DFS players, simply because it's a solid process. Fortunately, we have plenty of data to break down those matchups and pick the best ones to target for the coming week.

Nothing is more important than matchup analyzation when it comes to fantasy football. Playing your teams’ best players on a regular basis is important, but picking apart the top matchups on a week to week basis can win you a championship, or even better, some cold hard cash in DFS. Matchups for the wide receiver position aren’t always as black and white as they can be for other positions. Receivers need to be broken down even deeper by analyzing the potential cornerback matchup they’re going to draw. This is especially true in potential shadow coverage cases such as any time an X receiver plays against Patrick Peterson and the Arizona Cardinals. Some analytical data used here such as fantasy points allowed per route covered, and percentage of routes run on the left side, right side, and in the slot is courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

Now, here are the top WR vs CB matchups for Week 12. Use these to set season-long lineups, as well as gain a competitive edge in the Daily Fantasy realm.

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WR/CB Matchups to Target

BAL WR Willie Snead Versus OAK CB Nick Nelson

Would you believe me if I told you that nobody in the city of Baltimore possesses a higher share of the target market over the last three weeks than Willie Snead? He was also Lamar Jackson's favorite target last week as well, drawing a 42-percent target share and 36-percent of the teams total air-yards. This is encouraging for Week 12, considering Jackson attempted more rushes than he did passes.

Snead will line up in the slot across from Nick Nelson, who was gashed for 83 yards and two touchdowns on inside coverage last week. It's a tremendous matchup, and the opportunity is there for Snead to smash value at $4,400. He's a player I'd be comfortable rostering in all formats, including season-long leagues.

 

CAR WR Curtis Samuel Versus SEA CB Shaquill Griffin

D.J. Moore stole the show with his 7-157-1 performance last Sunday in Detroit, but Curtis Samuel was a large part of the action as well. Samuel hauled in five of seven targets for 55 yards, capping his production off with a touchdown. Samuel was paced for the team-lead in air yards by just Devin Funchess, as well. Samuel has scored three touchdowns over his last three games, and he is always a threat to run the football on a reverse as well.

I partly love the spot Samuel is in because I expect many to chase Moore's production from last week. I partly love the spot because he'll be running against Shaquill Griffin, who's been one of Seattle's worst graded defenders throughout the season. Griffin is allowing a catch rate just shy of 70-percent on the year, and he's surrendered a passer rating of 101.8 when thrown at over the last month.

Samuel is a player I don't quite trust enough for cash-games, but he's a play I'll be looking at a lot in tournaments at just $3,800.

 

SF WR Dante Pettis Versus TB CB Javien Elliott

Javien Elliott has been filling in at nickel for the injured M.J. Stewart. You might recognize Stewart's name, given that I've picked on him in this column on a weekly basis since the start of the season. I'll continue that trend by attacking his backup, who allowed a perfect catch rate on five targets in his coverage last week.

This contest between the 49ers and Buccaneers has gotten a lot of attention from Vegas, with San Francisco posting the sixth-highest implied team total on the slate. The game itself actually has he highest total throughout all of Week 12, which has me interested in some of the pass catchers in this game. I'm most interested in Dante Pettis, who will likely see the most of Elliott on the inside.

Pettis is a rookie, and his volume hasn't been tremendous. With that said, this matchup is too good for me to ignore. Pettis is a tournament-only play, unless you're looking for a high-upside punt play to unlock Saquon Barkley's $9,100 salary in cash.

 

HOU WR Demaryius Thomas Versus TEN CB Malcolm Butler

DeAndre Hopkins is projected to see a shadow from Adoree' Jackson, allowing Demaryius Thomas to run free against the league's most inefficient corner. Malcolm Butler has allowed the second-most receiving yards, third-most receptions, and a league-high seven touchdowns to only one interception.

Thomas won't be a part of the main slate, but he's a lock for me in the showdown given that he's Houston's third-most expensive receiver.

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