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Wide Receiver Matchups to Target in Week 14

We're in the home stretch of the NFL season. The fantasy football playoffs are upon us, and injuries continue 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 14. 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

TB WR Chris Godwin Versus NO CB Eli Apple

It's possible DeSean Jackson misses the remainder of the 2018 season, so I have no issues with going right back to Chris Godwin in Week 14. Godwin was a chalk-smash last week, accumulating 101 yards and a touchdown on five catches. In three career games with Jackson off the field, Godwin averages 103 receiving yards on eight targets, for a grand total of 19.7 fantasy points per contest.

With Mike Evans likely to draw another matchup against Marshon Lattimore, that leaves a shadow coverage situation for Godwin and Eli Apple. Apple has allowed a team-high 17 catches for 216 yards over the last three weeks. In a contest with the highest implied total on the slate, Godwin is a cash-game lock. I don't love him as much in tournaments, now that his price has trended all the way up to $4,900.


DEN WR Courtland Sutton Versus SF CB Ahkello Witherspoon

Courtland Sutton set career-highs in catches, targets, and receiving yards last week against the Bengals. Since then, Emmanuel Sanders has been placed on injured reserve, and Sutton is projected to be the teams most featured weapon outside of Phillip Lindsay. Sutton's usage had already been trending upward over the last three weeks. He totaled a 21-percent target share and a 34-percent piece of DENs air-yards.

He'll now matchup against Ahkello Witherspoon, who's been one of the league's worst-graded corners this season. Witherspoon has the second-lowest grade at his position, and he's allowed the tenth-most fantasy points per route in coverage among all starting CBs. Sutton is still only $4,500, which makes him a great pivot off the Godwin-chalk. Although there's a possibility that rostering both of these two WRs could be a common construction heading into the main slate.


ARZ WR Larry Fitzgerald Versus DET CB Nevin Lawson

Larry Fitzgerald is an extremely interesting play this week for multiple reasons. For starters, Christian Kirk has been placed on injured reserve, thus ending what had been a respectable rookie campaign. Kirk had dominated the target share over the teams last three games, drawing just under 30-percent of the teams looks to go along with 31-percent of the Cardinals' total air-yards. That's a hefty chunk of usage that's opened up for Fitzgerald to absorb in what is likely the final four games of his Hall of Fame career.

It's an extremely favorable matchup in the slot against Nevin Lawson as well. There's been a revolving door at nickel corner for the Lions this season, but it's been Lawson that's absorbed most of the work there over the last several weeks. He's surrendered 221 receiving yards and three touchdowns over the last five weeks. With Fitzgerald on deck, I'm confident this will be the matchup to pick on for the Cardinals.


NE WR Chris Hogan Versus MIA CB Torry McTyer

This is more of a gut-check tournament play than anything else, given that Hogan's volume has diminished into the abyss this season. It's strictly matchup-based.

MIA CB Xavien Howard has been ruled out for Week 14, meaning we should see a lot of Minkah Fitzpatrick covering Josh Gordon. With Julian Edelman as the full-time slot receiver, Hogan's work will be primarily secondary slot work, as well as routes on the outside against Torry McTyer. McTyer is MIAs worst defensive back by a wide margin, allowing an 82-percent catch rate, as well as 2.08 fantasy points per route in coverage. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are too smart to not try and pick on this matchup on the outside.

Hogan is a massive 'roster with caution' obviously, but at $3,400 on DK, he's worth a dart-throw. He'll also be essentially zero-percent owned, which could give a tournament line a massive advantage over the field if he hits.

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